The market was a beehive of activity. Colored flags waved from tents. Bells and drums competed with the shouting vendors, creaking carts, bleating sheep, and crowing roosters.
Adelina’s father drew a copper from his leather purse and crouched. “Can you find the sweets by yourself?”
Adelina beamed and forgot the port-wine stain on her cheek. “I can!”
“Come right back when you’re done.” Her father pointed toward a stall with farming tools. “I’ll be over there.”
Adelina grasped the coin and weaved through the crowd. At the candy wagon, she exchanged her penny for a sweet on a stick and licked the sugary treat.
A boy about twelve bumped her, jarring the candy from her hand into the dirt.
Her eyes filled with tears, and she looked up at several boys who’d gathered. Adelina backed away and turned to run.
The boys laughed and herded her from the market into the woods with sticks and jeers. “Witch!” “Monster!”
Adelina’s cheeks burned and heart hammered as she plunged through the leaves. The market sounds dimmed but so did the boys’ taunts. As silence descended and light faded, she lost her way amid the trees. Weary, Adelina huddled under a viburnum bush. Her father would be very worried.
Adelina wiped her tears, peeked from the brush, and gasped.
Slow, yellow eyes blinked at her. “Are you lost?” The creature’s long fangs protruded from fat, slack lips.
Adelina nodded. “Are you a troll?”
The creature chuckled. “I am. Aren’t you afraid of me?”
“No. Are you afraid of me?” She touched the port-wine stain on her face.
The troll’s hairy forehead wrinkled. “You’re not a monster.”
Adelina curled her lip in a pout. “Neither are you.”
The troll laughed again and offered his hand. “Come. I’ll show you the way back.”
Meta-story: Because I have a couple of this type now, I made a new category for the blog, children’s fantasy flash fiction. I’ll post another soon. The contest prompt by Arakun at writing.com for this one was to use the words beehive, lost, and monster in a story less than 300 words with 24 hours to write. This piece won first prize that day.