Age of Innocence: flash fiction
Age of Innocence
He watched his daughter, only a child, walk in front of the crowd, dressed to impress. She was nervous, shy, and afraid, too young to understand the significance of the pageantry and the honor it was to have been chosen from among all the girls present.
At an event like this, a ring of red, blue, yellow and pink flowers might have adorned her head. A necklace of white blossoms may have hung low, emphasizing her undeveloped youthfulness and innocence.
But there were no flowers in the ceremony, no efflorescence at all in the surrounding countryside. These were mere insinuations of greater perils which led to the selection of the child and the solemn tradition that was to follow.
Dan Fogelberg's The Innocent Age
In the shade of the trees that lined the brim of the pit and the pool far below, the gathering of friends, neighbors and families watched as the girl was escorted to the stone waiting chamber on the brink of the chasm.
Rain had not come to the Yucatecan hinterland for many months. The drought had taken its toll on gardens and wild plants alike. Food became as gold and hunger everyone’s constant companion. Desperation hung in the air like a heavy fog.
In the innocence of childhood, she stood on the far side of the chamber facing the pool below, her back to the congregation, naked, obedient, hands and feet bound. The hand of the otherwise unseen priest reached out, and she fell.
The crowd dispersed with heads bowed, hearts hopeful, leaving the child’s father gazing into cloudless skies.
“Mighty Chaak, rain god of the Mayan people, are you happy now?”
Pool, or Cenote, at Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
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