Microfiction: The Hatchlings (Sample)

A piece of microfiction inspired by a writing prompt from The Tale Foundry for the week of the 9th of December, 2019: “Were the Angels Wrong?” Thank you for the prompt, Tale Foundry team!

The Hatchlings

Cracks formed on both eggs, just a few seconds apart. The team sensed it immediately and rushed from their homes to the hatchery, despite the late hour. They chattered as they watched the cracks widen and the babies struggle to get their first tastes of freedom.

Together, they made speculations about the soon-to-be hatchlings. Archaeologists had found the eggs sealed away in a crypt. The last of their kind, surviving for hundreds, maybe thousands of years with the remains of an ancient mage whose name was long forgotten to time. Just like the identity of the species that hid within these blood-red shells.

A piece of shell fell off the smaller egg. A beak poked out. It made small chirping noises. Its sibling was not far behind. They were gaining strength. The mage-fire kept them warm within the incubator as they fought to hatch.

Then, they both burst free like adorable little explosions.

The team oohed and aahed. As big as housecats, the hatchlings had beaks, feathers, and tiny little wings, but long, scaly tails and the beginnings of horns. And… were those teeth?

The team of preservationist-mages exchanged laughs and handshakes, quickly making plans to find food for their charges. Their work wasn’t over. They still had to make sure these babies grew to maturity.

They didn’t expect the next, larger crack. The hatchlings grew exponentially before their eyes, shattering the incubator and sending glass flying. The team tripped over each other as the hatchlings bared their teeth and spread their clawed wings. Now as big as bears, they shook their feathers and bared their fangs at the team.

It seemed the hatchlings knew the answer to the dilemma of their first meal.