It was after lunch and Daniel was still haunted by the incident of the egg. He explained to Aunt Abby that he accidentally dropped one, but besides saying “Accidents will happen” and giving him a rag to wipe up the mess with, she proceeded calmly with the matter of making breakfast.
Only the broken shell and a small bit of the yoke was left on the floor by the time the ten year old got back to the henhouse. Now, as he was walking down the path leading to the pond near the edge of his uncle’s property, he was still wondering what happened to the rest. For that matter, ever since he arrived at the Harris farm for his annual summer vacation, he was wondering how everything that had once been comfortable and familiar had become strange and menacing.
Daniel sat on a rock next to the pond and tried skipping flat stones across the surface. It was an absentminded activity and he really wasn’t paying attention. Why a pink kitten, which by the way, still hadn’t reappeared? Why did the world around him keep subtly changing color? Did anything really jump out of that egg at him, or did he imagine the whole thing?
The child turned to his left toward the sound.
He looked down near the pond’s edge. “The proverbial frog on a lily pad.” He smiled to himself at the cliché.
Then Daniel leaned more toward the frog. What he had mistaken for a white underbelly was…an egg. A very white egg. Was the frog holding “the” egg?
The boy blinked and the world appeared as slightly tinted again. The sounds of buzzing insects deepened and slowed.
“I see you’re puzzling about the egg.”
The frog was addressing Daniel. It was actually speaking, and in a rather pleasant baritone voice. The child spontaneously remembered the classic Warner Bros. cartoon One Froggy Evening (Dad was a sucker for Chuck Jones cartoons).
Daniel opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.
“I can’t explain everything to you, at least not right now, but there’s a reason for all of your strange experiences. You can’t avoid them, nor should you. This is for your own good.”
Then the frog leapt up.
The egg was in the air halfway between the frog and the boy before he realized it. Fortunately, the world was still moving in slow motion, which gave Daniel more time to react and catch it.
“Whew.” He was momentarily relieved it didn’t break, then remembering his vision of this morning, he carefully put it on the ground.
Looking back at the lily pad, he saw the frog was now gone.
“Or were you ever really there?”
He gazed back at where he put the egg and it was gone, too.
“I’m going insane. I must be.”
Daniel stood up and looked back up the path. “If this keeps up, I may have to ask to be sent back home. None of this can be real.”
He took a step away from the pond.
“Oh, its real alright,” said the baritone voice behind him. “Just be careful and you’ll learn something.”
Daniel spun around, but the frog must have been too well hidden…or he was just hearing voices.
He turned again and walked back up the path toward the farmhouse.
“ribbit,” said the frog. Then, after the boy was out of sight, he looked under his lily pad and saw the drowned thing, a strange reptile, all fangs and claws. “Good riddance. No more jumping out of eggs for you.”
This concept is loosely based on Iain Kelly’s recent A to Z Challenge 2017 story series. Every day, Iain crafted another puzzle piece to his murder mystery that had me and his other readers spellbound. I doubt I can create the suspense he conjured up, but when my wife got a giant A to Z jigsaw puzzle for our two-year-old granddaughter, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I don’t have a lot of time, so I think each “letter” will be shorter and I’m not sure I can write one every day, but I’ll do my best.
The previous story is E is for Egg.
The next story is G is for Grape.
Let me know what you think.