The Choice

Written for Chuck Wendig’s Pick a Sentence and Go flash fiction challenge.
Many thanks to kirajessup for the opening line.

The emerald ring was pretty enough, but the man offering it wasn’t. Helen stared at his crooked teeth, a piece of a dark green plant stuck between the front two of his pearly yellows. The sun glinted off the golden crowns that replaced his fangs. A sudden gust of the wind that hit the man’s back and tousled the wisps of his thin gray hair carried a sickly sweet smell of rot, and Helen suppressed a shudder.

“How much do you want for this?” She nodded at the ring lying on a greasy black cloth. Around them, the crowded market bustled with activity, but the man and his old wooden cart seemed to exist in a bubble of empty space. Nobody was in a hurry to approach him, not even a young fishmonger encroaching on the baker’s stall.

“Fifty Dragons, madam.”

“Fifty?” she scoffed, disbelief coloring her voice. “That’s a hefty price for such a simple trinket.”

“Fifty Dragons and not a coin less.” He picked up the ring and twirled it between his fingers, his dirty, too long nails clicking. Unlike the rest of the sellers, he didn’t look like a person inclined to haggle, the mulish set of his jaw attested to that. Still, she had to try. Continue reading