So, I read Anna‘s amazing post, and then I read Kate‘s amazing post, and then I said I would write a flash fiction with a friend. So what happened? Jac agreed to join me on my crazy adventure, and we both wrote a quick story. Well, her story was quick. My story? Well, I’ll let you read it, but it’s like the beginning of a book. I’m bad at writing short stories.
BUT! Before I get any farther I need to promote myself. Last post I forgot to do this, so…Yeah. Anyway, check out my giveaway! It ends on August 31, and y’all don’t want to miss the opportunity to get this AMAZING mystery book. Who doesn’t want to read something that’s called haunted? So, check out the giveaway here.
And now…For the prompt.
In the Hay
The cheerful sound of whistling filled the air as a tall, muscular lad walked towards the barn. He held two buckets full of feed, and the evening sun made his sandy brown hair sparkle. He whistled loudly as his boots accompanied him with a rhythmic clip clop.
“Hello, guys,” David spoke cheerfully to the horses, who stood in their stalls. It was his job to give them some feed before dark. He did his job with energetic goodwill, speaking to each animal in turn. To finish off, he had to go up to the loft to get some hay.
“We’ll roll the old chariot along, we’ll roll the old chariot along,” he sang softly as he ascended the ladder. When his head peaked over the hay, he nearly fell backwards at what he saw.
“Great Scot!” And his hand flew to his hat to keep it in place. Lying stretched out in the hay was a girl in her early teens. Her hat was pulled down to cover her face, and she was dressed in rather plan, but warm, clothes.
David stood there for a moment, wondering what to do. She appeared to be asleep, but how could anyone sleep through all the noise he had just been making? Deciding what to do, David rapidly descended the ladder and ran back to the sleepy farmhouse where his family lived. He burst through the door, interrupting a quiet family circle in the kitchen.
“Dad, Mom, Kit, Jonathan, Joanna!” He burst out. “Come see what I’ve found!”
The older people in the room were sitting at the table, leisurely sipping coffee, while two young girls were washing the dishes.
Kit, who looked about seventeen, looked up at David in disbelief. “Please tell me that it isn’t kittens again.”
“It’s not,” David replied. “Jonny, tell them it’s not kittens!”
Jonathan, who was lying on the floor, looked about eleven. “It’s not kittens,” Jonathan said passively.
“C’mon, guys!” Joanna, who was glad of an excuse to skip washing dishes, threw down her rag. “Let’s go see what David found.”
Mr. and Mrs. Fowler exchanged glances before standing up and following David and Joanna. Jonathan jumped up and threw the wood he had been whittling and his knife on the table.
“Well,” Kit said aloud, “I suppose I shall come, too.” The whole party made there way into the stable, and one by one they climbed up the ladder. There, in the loft, lay the girl.
“Good heavens!” Mr. Fowler exclaimed. “It’s a girl!” That exclamation seemed to wake the girl from her deep slumber. Everyone else had been so surprised that they had been unable to say a thing. Now, Kit spoke.
“What are we going to do with her?”
The girl sat up, and slid her hat to the back of her head as she looked at the family with wide eyes. She had a thin face with large blue eyes and a small nose. Delicate and determination seemed to clash in her face, for her chin was rather square, her eyebrows were rather thick, and her lips had a determined way to them.
“What in the world are you doing here?” Mr. Fowler asked abruptly.
“Charles!” Mrs. Fowler rebuked. “He means, would you like some tea, dear?”
The girl looked from Mrs. Fowler’s worn, wrinkled face, to Mr. Fowler’s weathered scowl, and back again. The children subconsciously stepped out of the limelight.
“Sir, I really am sorry,” the girl began, and stopped. She stood up, and looked like a frightened hare. She took a few steps back to a small window that they had in the loft. The shutters were closed like usual, but the girl unlocked them, and threw it open.
“Thank you for the bed,” she whispered, before jumping out of the window. It was just big enough for her to slip through.
“Holy Smokes!” Mr. Fowler exclaimed, as Jonathan ran to the window. David flew down the ladder, with Joanna behind them. Both regularly trained for races, and were known to be fast. They dashed around the corner of the stable, and saw the girl’s black hair in the distance.
The race was on, and David threw all his energy into it. He suspected that slip of a girl wasn’t the fastest runner. In his hurry, he forgot about setting his pace to match Joanna’s. Soon, he left her far behind.
Up in the loft, Jonathan was staring at the running forms. Kit was standing there, her hand had flown to her neck in surprise when the girl had dropped from the window, and there it had remained. Mr. Fowler was pacing back and forth in the loft, and Mrs. Fowler clutched her apron corner.
“How did that girl do it?” Mr. Fowler demanded, running his fingers through his sandy hair.
“Oh, I hope the girl hasn’t injured herself,” Mrs. Fowler said softly.
“Injured herself! I hope she hasn’t injured any of my property!” Mr. Fowler bellowed.
“Oh, dear,” Kit said, finally regathering her wits. “If I did that, it would scare me heebies-jeebies!”
“You were already scared stiff just thinking about it,” Jonathan remarked.
“I just hope David catches her,” was Mrs. Fowler’s final thought.
David’s breath was ragged as he neared the girl. She had hopped fences, and dashed around trees. Now, she was tiring, and David spurred himself onward. He watched her stumble, and slow.
Picking up his speed, he reached out and grabbed her arm.
“Ow! Let me go, I tell you!” The girl stood, and faced him with a frustrated pucker to her brow. “Unhand me!” She stomped her foot, and scowled fiercely.
“I’ll unhand you as soon as you come back to our ranch. Ma has a bit of tea ready for you to sip, and we’ll all just have a chat.”
“I don’t need to chat, and I do not like tea.” She held up her small nose haughtily.
“Well, we have coffee and cocoa, too. I’m David, by the way.” David said, walking her slowly back in the direction they had come. David was glad when he could see the farmhouse. The whole walk home had been uncomfortable, as the girl had said nothing the entire time. She seemed to stiffen as the neared the house, but David tried to ignore that. He just hoped she wouldn’t bolt.
He opened the door, and led her into the kitchen. Everyone was in the same positions as earlier. Kit and Joanna were almost finished with the dishes, and Jonathan lay on the floor with what he was whittling. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were at the table discussing the unusual happenings of the night.
“Here she is,” David announced, and that sent everyone scrambling. Jonathan again dropped his wood and knife. Thankfully, the knife missed his foot. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler stood, scooting the chairs across the floor. Joanna left go of a plate, sending it shattering to the ground, and Kit did nothing but stare.
“Excuse our manners, deary,” Mrs. Fowler said hastily. “You see, we live so far out from civilization we forget what another human being looks like.” Mrs. Fowler ended her sentence with a nervous chuckle.
“Here,” Mrs. Fowler pulled the chair out before nudging Mr. Fowler.
“Hello, Miss,” Mr. Fowler quickly pulled off his hat, and motioned to the chair. “Please, be seated. David, let her go.”
David released the girl, and she slowly (and rather reluctantly) sat down. Mrs. Fowler was already making tea.
“I hope you don’t mind black? Joanna, clean up this plate.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Joanna said, walking to find the dustpan and brush. The girl said nothing, simply sitting mutely at the table. David and Jonathan stood near Kit, who was draining the dishwater. Mr. Fowler stood by the table, fiddling with his hat.
“Now, there you go, dear,” Mrs. Fowler set a teacup in front of the girl, and sat down across from them. “Everyone, come sit down and stop standing around like fish out of water.” Mrs. Fowler’s family obeyed her, all except Joanna, who was still cleaning up the dish fragments.
“May I ask what your name is?” Mrs. Fowler smiled pleasantly. Her smile made her face look younger, and sparkled in her eyes.
“You may ask,” the girl nodded, “But I might not answer.”
Mr. Fowler suddenly found a catch in his throat, and turned around with a bit of coughing while Mrs. Fowler smiled.
“What is your name, dear?”
“You can call me Tan. That might stop you from saying dear so much.” The girl stirred her tea with her spoon, and avoided all eye contact.
“Tan, that’s a nice name.”
“You can say that,” the girl snorted, but then David caught her eye. She immediately turned away, but David hoped she had seen the sternness in his eyes.
“What are you doing here, Tan? It isn’t often a young girl is caught this far from the real world.” Mrs. Fowler kept up her smiliness.
“I needed a place to sleep,” Tan shrugged her small shoulders.
“In my barn?” Mr. Fowler spoke up, as Joanna joined the family.
“Well,” Tan had the grace to blush. “It was rather hard for me to find anywhere else this far out of the way.”
“And that brings us to another question, Tan.” Mrs. Fowler paused to sip her tea. Her eyes had a sharp look to them, but her mouth continued to smile. “Why were you running away? And from what were you running?”
“I don’t know nothing about running away,” Tan looked deep into the black tea.
“Tan, we would like to help you.” Mrs. Fowler reached her hand across the table and patted Tan’s. “Please, explain why you’re here.”
“I needed help,” Tan’s bright blue eyes looked down, and her determined lips turned in a frown. “I didn’t know where to go, or what to do, so I came here.”
“Can you tell me your troubles? The rest can go, if you don’t wish them to stay,” Mrs. Fowler got up, and pulled some pastries out of the pantry. “I made these tarts today.”
“Thanks,” Tan said, taking one of the pastries and taking a bite. After she had chewed, she started her story. “I lived with my step-father, and mom. Mom was always sick. She was just sick, and so she married him.” Tan’s eyes narrowed at the last word. “He was kind to her, but he didn’t want me. I didn’t want him, either. So…” Tan’s lips puckered, and her eyes sparked hatred. “When I got old enough, I left.”
David looked supicsiouly at Tan. Something about everything just wasn’t right, but Mrs. Fowler looked sympathetically at Tan.
“I’m so sorry, dear. Tonight you’ll stay here, and share a room with Kit and Joanna. Kit’s full name is Katherine, but we call her Kit for short. They have a lovely room, and I’m sure some of Kit’s clothes will fit you.”
Tan said nothing. She simply stood up, and followed the girls out of the room. Once they were out of earshot, Mr. Fowler put his legs on the table.
“I know that girl.”
“You do?” David asked incredulously.
“Yep, sure do,” Mr. Fowler reached towards the plate of pastries and was soon munching on a blackberry tart.
“Well, who is she?” Jonathan and David asked together.
“Well, I haven’t seen her since she was a wee thing, but about a few miles that way–” Mr. Fowler stopped to point in the direction he was indicating. “Is where she lives. She said mostly the truth.”
“Then she lied?” Jonathan asked, his eyes almost popping out of his head.
“Well, I can’t know for certain, but some mysterious things happen in that neck of the woods.”
“Ooh…” Jonathan looked confused, but Mr. Fowler didn’t explain. He slapped the table, and put his feet on the floor.
“Time for you bedtime, sonny.”
“Yes, sir,” Jonathan sighed, and he walked up the rickety wooden stairs, soon to be followed by David.
So…Should I continue it? What do you think? Have you ever written a flash fiction?