During certain moments of her life, the elderly woman would often leave her village, Auldearn, and seek solace in a wooded area near the River Nairn. The trees and the streams spoke to her, and the night skies often gave her hope when all hope, it seemed, had fled. And tonight, she needed hope. She needed a vision. The elderly woman sat on a blanket on the ground and shivered in the night air. Isla was grateful for the small fire, for the fall evening was cool, but soon, the blaze would chase the autumn chill.
Isla stood and moved around the fire, slowly at first, but the blaze from the fire seemed to draw her into a rhythm of its own, and her movements quickened. The woodsy smoke embraced her, and she moved in step with its shadowy figure. Her mind raced, and flashes and images of the people she loved and lost shimmered before her. A husband’s last stand in battle. Her mother’s final moment in childbirth. Her father’s last breath on his deathbed. A son drowned in the River Nairn. A favorite sister married and far removed from her homeland. But the vision of her daughter, Mairi, made her drop to her knees, and the old woman wailed. And when she could lament no longer, she softly whispered, “Mairi” over and over until her soft words sounded like a plea, a supplication, a petition to right the wrongs committed against her child. And hope, she knew, would flee on this dark night. It had been a stranger for far too long. Isla felt lost and alone; sorrowfully, the woman hung her head and softly wept. She grieved for all she lost and mourned for all she loved.
Dreams. But on this particular night, they spot something … interesting.
“What do you say about the accusations presented against you on this day?” The court’s officer asked Rachel.
Rachel stood and looked around the court. In the front rows, her parents looked at their child, and Rachel witnessed the pain and fear in their eyes. Levi sat smugly with his arms crossed and sneered at her. When she glanced at him, their eyes met for one brief moment. Still, his countenance and smirk changed to a look of trepidation and horror. He dropped his head, afraid to look at the woman he had accused of witchcraft.
Rachel’s tangled mass of black hair had not been brushed for days. Her dress was torn and dirty, and the young girl looked tired after spending days in the town’s jail. But even in this state, her beauty touched those in attendance.
Taking a deep breath and smiling at her parents, Rachel addressed the court. “Most of you have known me since I was a small child when my parents, Samuel, and Prudence Edmonds, took me into their home and loved me as if I were their own child. I grew up in a home that taught me right from wrong, a home that taught me about God and his infinite wisdom and love for mankind. My parent’s taught me to care about my neighbors and friends. Often some of you even came to me when you needed a tincture or tea when a loved one was ill or suffering from some condition. I delivered your children and tended to the sick. I never caused harm to anyone.”
The crowd began to murmur. Some grumbled and mocked Rachel’s confession, but the majority stood, talking at once of her virtues and her kindness. They explained when someone in the village needed her help, Rachel rushed to their side.
“Silence!” The court’s officer bellowed, then turned to Rachel and said, “Continue.”
“The only thing I am guilty of is loving Levi Andrews. I believed his lies when he told me he loved me and wanted me as his wife. On the day I discovered his treachery, I was injured, too, when the storm appeared. When I saw him with another woman and heard him tell her the same words he once whispered to me, my heart crumbled into a thousand pieces. I stand before you today without trickery and tell you I did not harm Levi. How could I create a storm? But I will tell you what Levi has done to me. He took my virtue, and he took my love, and he has caused my family and me to drown in the sorrow of his lies.”
She hung her head before she continued. “I believe that man cast a spell on me! I believed him when he told me he loved me. I allowed him to have his way with me, and now, I carry his child!”
People gasped, and an uproar filled the courtroom. She glanced at Levi, and fear filled his eyes. He tried to explain, but young girls around the courtroom stood and pointed fingers at him. Then, one by one, the girls spoke of his deception, and one by one, the girls repeated Rachel’s words, “He cast a spell over me.”
Rachel looked at her parents, and relief filled their eyes. The tide had turned for the child they loved. As the discourse and disputes erupted in the courtroom, people glanced at the man that had started this mockery. In an instant, everyone in the courtroom knew that no woman would be executed that day.
For this last prompt, write based on the line “I wish I could tell you…” If you feel so inclined, you can title your piece based on who your character is speaking to
Rachel finished her morning chores, and the young woman wandered to her favorite spot in the woods. Once she arrived, she marveled once again at its beauty. Among the towering pines, the valley opened to the south. Peering between the trees, the Merrimack Valley stretched before her. In the distance, the chimneys on the village rooftops looked like sentries guarding the small town of Andover. The valley sprang to life in the early spring with its lush meadow. Wildflowers bloomed among the grasses. At this time of the year, hope returned to the land and promised sunny days. Native birds returned, and their songs could be heard throughout the valley. This time of year had always been Rachel’s favorite season.
And this spot held such loving memories for the girl. In the meadow, her father taught her to ride Old Bart. Her mother showed her the native plants that could be used for tonics and teas. Some they had transplanted to their own garden. Her family would often come to this spot to rest on warm afternoons and share a meal of chicken, corn, and apple cakes. Gideon would play for hours, dropping sticks at their feet, hoping someone would continue throwing them, so he could play an endless game of fetch.
It was the exact spot where Levi had asked her to be his wife. It was the same spot where the two had eventually merged into one at his insistence that it could not be wrong since they were to be married. Rachel loved Levi and could never believe he would lead her astray.
His whispered promises spoke of a home on this very spot, for the land was fertile and perfect ground for their own farm. The nearby pond provided a fishing hole and would provide fresh water for their future livestock. It would be the ideal place to raise children.
And Rachel had a secret. She touched her swelling belly. The young woman knew she carried Levi’s child and could not wait to tell him. Rachel hoped he would be happy at her news. Then, she sighed. Soon they would marry and start their lives together.
As she neared the wooded area, Rachel heard Levi speaking. She quietly stepped along the grass and hid behind a tree. But to her horror, she discovered he was with one of her father’s servants. As they made love, he whispered the words he often spoke to her in moments of passion. Her heart stopped momentarily when Levi told the young girl that he loved her and could not wait to make her his bride.
His words haunted her and cut deep into her very being. Finally, Rachel could not breathe and turned to flee. Still, when she turned to run, she tripped, fell on the trail, and cried out in pain. Her ankle throbbed and hurt almost as much as her churning emotions. When Levi explored, he found Rachel crying on the path. He called to the servant and demanded that she run to the house and have his brother bring the wagon so he could transport Rachel home to her family.
Once the girl was out of sight, Levi tried to explain, but Rachel cut him off before he could speak another lie.
“Don’t you dare try to fix this, Levi! I witnessed your, your lies firsthand. Instead, you have betrayed me this entire time, telling me I was your true love. You spoke to me about the life we would share and the children we would have.”
Rachel began to uncontrollably sob when she spoke of children. The distraught girl buried her face in her hands, and her tears flowed.
“What am I to do?” She wailed as she thought of the child she carried.
Levi tried to help her, but Rachel demanded that he leave her. “I never want to see you again, Levi Andrews. Leave me! I do not want your help.”
The young woman grieved. Her distress touched the heavens, and the skies screamed with her. Dark clouds formed overhead, and blue skies disappeared under ominous black clouds. Thunder rolled, and lightning struck. The world mourned with its child. Levi stood to his feet. Fear showed in his eyes, and he began to run. Still, the lightning followed him, hitting the trees closest to him. One crashed and nearly hit him as he moved quickly down the path. He screamed and begged Rachel to stop the madness. “Stop, Rachel! Make it stop! What are you doing?”
Rachel laughed at his irrational thoughts. “What makes you think I have anything to do with this?” She asked the fleeing man. “I don’t know what’s happening, and you can’t leave me here!”
But the man continued running down the trail, leaving Rachel to fend for herself.
Rachel shivered, more from fear than the sudden burst of cold air. She feared the storm. The black clouds rolled low and overhead. Thunder boomed so loudly it echoed through the valley. Great sheets of rain hammered down upon the land. Soon, thick chunks of ice pelted the ground. One the size of a duck’s egg hit Levi in the back of his head, knocking him to the ground. He did not stir, and Rachel wondered if he were still alive.
At that moment, she noticed the stormy skies did not touch her. Although torrents of rain flowed, she remained dry to the touch. The winds howled, trees bent over from the gales, yet not a single hair on her head moved. “How could this be?” She wondered.
Soon her fear turned to awe and fascination. Her breathing slowed, and the panic that welled up inside of her vanished. As her emotions settled, the storm calmed, the dark clouds disappeared, and the sun shone again. The only evidence that a storm had blown through the valley was a downed tree struck by lightning. It still smoldered from the strike. And then, Levi still was sprawled, unmoving on the ground. Rachel could not move as she tried to reason what had just occurred.
For today’s prompt, write about something eerie. It might not make your characters scream with fright or rush to lock their doors, but it should raise the hair on the back of their necks!
As Samuel rode through the Merrimack Valley, the land’s beauty did little to soothe his inner demons that day. Once he approached Andover, the tension within him bitterly arose. The worried man longed to have some good news on this day. He and Pru deserved to be parents; hopefully, Rachel would need a family to care for her.
Riding into town, only a few townspeople were out that morning since the icy temperatures kept the townfolk inside near the warmth of their fires. Samuel knew the town constable, Henry Ingalls, would probably hole up on his farm during the cold spell, so Samuel pushed Old Bart toward’s the Ingalls’ Farm along Mosquito Brook.
Samuel dreaded his mission as Old Bart plodded along, but he knew he had to take this first step if Rachel were to be their daughter. If. The man tried to push his fears away once Ingall’s home came into sight.
The Ingall’s home was impressive for the area. It was a large two-story affair with many windows facing the southern exposure. It was a luxury few could afford, but Henry Ingalls had done well. In turn, the man served his community with dedication and devotion. Samuel liked Henry, and he was one of the few men in the area Samuel trusted.
As Samuel rode up the drive, Henry walked out to greet him. He called for his son Edward, “Take Old Bart to the barn and care for him,” the father instructed his son.
Henry invited Samuel into his home and asked his wife Martha to fetch them a draft. After their cordial greetings, Henry and Samuel got down to business.
“I gather this is not a social call,” Henry simply stated as he sipped his beer.
“No, I am afraid it is not,” Samuel confessed.
In detail, Samuel explained his discovery on his hunting trip, the cabin, the death of the family, and Rachel.
When he finished, the older man told Samuel, “I’ll organize a party of men to properly bury the family. Once this is done, I will have you lead us to the site.”
Samuel nodded in agreement with Henry’s plan.
“William and Faythe Clarke,” Henry stated, “I do not recognize the names, but I will do some digging to see what I can find out about the man and his family and to see if he has any relatives. In the meantime, can the girl remain with you and Prudence?”
“Pru and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Samuel told his friend.
Henry smiled and nodded. He knew their history and hoped the child would find a permanent home with the man and his wife.
Mrs. Ingalls insisted that Henry stay and eat dinner with the family, and Samuel enjoyed his visit. The couple had seven children, and watching the family interaction at the meal caused Samuel to long all the more that Rachel would one day be his daughter.
After the meal, Henry’s oldest boys went out to saddle Old Bart, which gave the two friends a moment to speak before Samuel headed back to the village.
“I pray the best for you and Prudence,” the older man told Samuel. “The child would have the best of homes with the two of you.”
Samuel smiled, thanked him for his hospitality, and shook hands with the man before climbing onto Old Bart. He turned down the road and headed back to Andover. The husband wanted to stop at the mercantile and purchase some material for Pru. His two girls could use another dress, and he didn’t care if Pru fussed about such luxuries.
Samuel trotted along to Andover, and although he and Pru would still have to wait before they discovered anything new about Rachel, Samuel felt more at ease. He felt confident in his decision to talk to the constable and friend. At the very least, they would finally receive some answers about Rachel and her family.
For today’s prompt, write about the ease of friendship.
Although the Edmond family followed the town norms and attended church meetings, they didn’t follow its misguided notions of sin and family. They once followed Anne Hutchinson’s teachings until she and her family were turned away and shunned from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. However, in private, they still followed her instruction and practiced their beliefs away from the prying eyes of their neighbors. They did not want their family to become victims of the holy wrath of the misguided townfolk.
Before her sixteenth birthday, Rachel began having dreams that foretold of the future. At first, she kept her visions to herself. She did not want to burden her parents, and she knew what would happen if the people in town ever discovered this knowledge.
She knew Mr. Winters would fall into the ice, and the men in town would have to amputate his frostbitten toes. She knew her friend Charity would marry Josiah Winslow eight months before he even asked to come courting. Often, she would be ready for visitors in advance of their calls and make remedies for townsfolk before they even became ill. In time, her mother, Prudence, began noticing the changes in her daughter. She would find her child in the garden picking elderflower, yarrow, or milk thistle to make teas and tinctures just hours before women would come seeking remedies for their children or husbands.
Rachel would bake extra bread or cook extra portions for evening meals as if she knew guests would be stopping to visit. Then, one evening, Prudence began asking questions.
“Mama, I know things before they happen,” Rachel whispered to her mother, afraid to even say it out loud.
“What do you mean?” The mother questioned.
Rachel explained what she dreamt. Mr. Winter’s accident. Unexpected guests and women who needed potions for their families. She even told her about Charity, even though Charity and Josiah never even spoke to one another.
Prudence tried rationalizing each occurrence, but she saw Rachel’s countenance fall.
“Mama, tonight before our evening meal, Mrs. Baker will arrive asking for tea to stop Sarah’s fever.”
“Do you have the ingredients ready?”
“Yes, Mama,” Rachel replied, “I picked the herbs this morning.”
Prudence could not sit still for the rest of the day. What if her daughter could foresee the future? No one could ever know, for if word spread, Rachel could face an uncertain, frightening future. She wondered if she should talk to Samuel but decided to wait until after the evening meal. Mrs. Baker would most likely not even stop by their home.
Prudence kept busy and told Rachel she would milk that evening. She had to stay active. Her conversation with Rachel continually played over and over, and the mother became worried. Leaving the barn, Prudence carried the bucket of warm milk toward the house. As she entered the gate, she noticed a woman hurrying up the drive. Suddenly, she dropped the bucket of milk and covered her face in her hands, for it was Mrs. Baker coming to the house. Prudence ran to meet the woman, not quite believing that the woman had appeared.
“How do you fare, Mistress Edmonds. Is Rachel home? My Sarah is not feeling well, and I could use some of her elderberry tea and some yarrow to help my girl. I am afraid she has a bit of a fever.”
Prudence stood frozen, not speaking.
“Are you well, Mistress Edmonds?” the woman asked.
Thankfully, Rachel appeared and invited the woman into their home.
“Rachel, my dear, I need some of your special tea. My Sarah has a fever.”
“Of course, Mrs. Baker. Let me gather what she will need,” Rachel told the older lady.
Prudence stood quietly in the doorway, as pale as a ghost.
Mrs. Baker whispered to Rachel, “You may want to check on your mum. She does not look well herself.”
For today’s prompt, write about the future. Whether that draws you into the realm of sci-fi or not, that’s OK! Let inspiration strike as it may.
Feeling exposed and more than a little awkward, Morgan sat backward in the chair. She had placed her long dark hair in a ponytail holder, which fell over her right shoulder and draped across her breast. Her bra strap was in the way, and the man asked her to remove it. She really hadn’t thought this out, she told herself. But she wasn’t backing out now. The young girl was glad her back was to him, or he would see that she blushed at this request. She had to remain calm, or he might guess her ID was fake.
The young man had a calming voice and told her, step by step, what he was doing. She wasn’t sure if that helped, but Morgan remained quiet.
“So what is significant about the dove,” the artist asked?
“It’s a family symbol, a show of strength,” Morgan replied. She hoped he wouldn’t ask any more questions, or she might cry. It was so much more than just a symbol or a sign of strength, but words would never adequately describe the meaning of the dove.
As the man flicked a switch, The tattoo gun softly vibrated, and the sound reminded her of the bees that hummed in her grandmother’s garden on warm summer days. “Okay,” she thought to herself, “that was a good sign, right?”
Once the gun touched her skin, however, the pain shocked her. Although she had never been stung by a bee, she was sure this was how it must feel, except in this case, she was being stung repeatedly.
“Try to relax, love,” The man told her. “Take a deep breath.”
Morgan breathed in deeply and repeated the process several times. Finally, she felt her shoulders relax, and the man continued. Morgan focused on Rachel and the women that came after her. Slowly, the pain dissipated. She smiled. “Strength in numbers,” she whispered.
The following morning, her shoulder ached when she moved it. And now she wondered how she was going to clean it. Clearly, she needed help. But, of course, it wasn’t like she could ask her mother. Still, the tattoo was beautiful, and she had no regrets. It tied her to the family she revered and respected. Morgan loved that it represented a long line of the Dove woman and her family. It was her memorial to Rachel’s strength and the determined women who followed this grandmother.
She went to the mirror and removed her shirt. Then, turning her head slightly, Morgan tried to peel a corner of the bandage from her skin. She winced. “Not quite the badass,” she laughed.
At that moment, Krista barged into the room, rambling about the latest injustice of extra laps that her coach forced upon the team because Stella Johnson was late again and was caught making out with her boyfriend, Jimmie, in his father’s frumpy Oldsmobile.
Krista stopped in her tracks when she witnessed Morgan’s latest disaster. A bandage covered her sister’s shoulder, and Krista knew it was a tattoo.
“Oh, you’re dead. You’re so dead. Wait till Mom sees this.” Krista whistled. “Does it hurt?”
“Yes, it hurts, and Mom will not find out from you,” Morgan warned. “Now help me clean it.”
Morgan gathered the cleaning products that the tattoo parlor provided. Krista laughed, “Let me guess. You didn’t think about who would help you clean it after it was done.”
Morgan rolled her eyes and asked, “Will you help me or not?”
“Oh, I’m in,” Krista stated. “Every step of the way. From the beginning to the end, when the parents ground you. How did you get it anyway? Did you forge mom’s name? Fess up, sis.”
Morgan groaned, but suddenly, Krista stopped her insane rambling when she uncovered the dove, and for once, Krista was speechless. Morgan turned to face her sister and watched as tears spilled down Krista’s cheeks.
For today’s prompt, Character A has a very surprising tattoo and Character B discovers it.
As Samuel rode into the clearing, he surveyed his land. The fields had been harvested, and food was stored for the winter. Pines and chestnut trees bordered his farm. It had snowed the night before, and the fields and pasture were blanketed in snow. The sun glistened, and the trees looked like they had been covered in delicate lace that sparkled in the brilliant light.
In the distance, a fire burned in the hearth of his home. The smoke and burning pine wafted in the air. He knew Prudence would be preparing the evening meal. His stomach rumbled at the thought of food, for the man was starving. The kind man had fed the last of his food to the child he had found in the woods.
The little lamb sat in front of him, wrapped in a thick woolen blanket. Old Bartholomew’s gait had rocked her to sleep. The child had been through so much. He didn’t want to disturb her slumber.
As he got closer to his home, Gideon began to bark, signaling Prudence that Samuel had arrived home safe and sound. She came running out of the house, wrapped in her shawl. Laughing as she ran towards the man she loved. As he entered the opened gate, Samuel whispered, “We have a tiny little guest.”
Prudence arched her eyebrows, wondering what Samuel was bringing home now? Another fawn? Another lamb? What kind of animal had he rescued this time?
He pulled away the blanket from his body. Cradled in Samuel’s arm was a tiny little girl. Dark matted hair framed her heart-shaped face. Although the child needed a bath, Prudence could see the child’s beauty with her rosy cheeks and olive complexion. Prudence moved quickly to take the child from her husband. The girl’s eyes fluttered open. Beneath long dark lashes, the child’s dark eyes stared at Prudence. Suddenly, the girl cried out in fear, reaching for Samuel. Her cries cut through the couple, and they rushed to take the girl inside their home.
“Sit,” Samuel told his wife, pointing at the rocker he had fashioned. He laid the girl in her arms and covered them with the woolen blanket. Then, he grabbed some biscuits from the table and handed them to his wife.
“She’s hungry. Keep her fed while I attend to the horses and the venison. I’ll explain everything when I return,” Samuel promised his wife.
The tiny girl enjoyed the motion of the rocking chair and settled in Prudence’s arms. She smiled when she saw the biscuits, so Prudence broke one in half and gave it to the child. Happily, the child gulped down the biscuit, and she surprised Prudence when she demanded, “More.”
Laughing, Prudence gave the girl the rest of the biscuit. “So where did you come from, little one? You look well-fed and healthy,”
The child laughed and pointed to the last biscuit. Prudence broke it in half and handed it to the girl.
“Ummm umm,” the baby gushed before stuffing the biscuit in her mouth. She climbed from Prudence’s lap and began to explore the room. Prudence stood and decided to check on the stew. While she was stirring, she felt a tug at her dress. Looking up at Prudence, the child reached for her hand. And Prudence stood frozen on the spot. The child had touched her in a way she never thought was possible.
For today’s prompt, set your story in a very common place.
Samuel stood and stretched, and the man began to formulate a plan. First, he would need to fashion a halter for the cow, and he would need to find a rope so he could bring the cow along on his journey home. Picking up the leather bridle and reins from off the peg, he decided he could alter the horse reins and use them to rig a halter for the beast. The lean-to was organized, and Samuel spied cotton ropes on a peg on the back wall. He picked one up, a piece in each hand, and simultaneously tugged on each end. The rope would hold as he led the cow down the trail.
He also knew he would have to carry the girl, but he would want to keep his hands free. He would use the softest rope to tie the girl close to his chest to keep her from falling off his horse. He would wrap the woolen blanket around her and tie it in front like a shawl.
Now he wondered about the child. Did she have a family? Would she be an orphan? Would Pru want to take in this child as her own?
For years after Samuel and Prudence married, she grieved a child’s absence. The barren woman simply could not conceive. She apologized over and over to her husband, for she knew he wanted children too. Then, one day, when he could no longer bear her sadness, the man grabbed his sobbing wife by the shoulders and shook her. “Stop!” Samuel bellowed. “That is enough!”
Surprised, Prudence looked up at her husband. He never raised his voice.
“You need to know I do not blame you for not conceiving a child. Even if we could have known before we married that you could not have a child, I would have married you still. I love you, my wife. I love you,” Samuel told his wife.
“But Samuel,” Prudence began.
“No,” he whispered, “You are more than enough for this man.” He raised an eyebrow and continued. “Maybe it’s not you. Maybe I have bad seed. Did you ever think of that?” He wickedly smiled at his wife.
Prudence shook her head and smiled. When she laughed, he wrapped his world in his arms and kissed the top of her head, wishing he could give her the desires of her heart. From that moment, the couple decided to find joy in their circumstances and rejoice in their sweet union.
Over the years, the townspeople of Salem had approached the couple, asking them to take in orphaned children. They had taken in a few, but often family members were found, and relatives claimed the children.
One year, Samuel and Prudence were asked to take in siblings Thomas and Mary from Ipswich, a neighboring village. Their parents had died from smallpox. The children grew to love their new parents, and finally, the couple felt they had a family of their own. For nearly three years, the happy family prospered until a barrister arrived at their door one day. Apparently, the children had a grandfather in Chester, and he demanded that the children should live with him. Despite the wishes of the children or the concerns of Samuel and Prudence, the children were forced to sail across the seas and live with a complete stranger.
It was too much for all involved, and Prudence swore to her husband that her heart could not take any more losses. From that moment on, Samuel intercepted any requests for homes, wishing to save Prudence any more heartache. That was over two years ago, and the man wondered how Prudence would react when she discovered his hunting trip delivered more than a winter’s bounty of wild game.
For today’s prompt, include a flashback in your story
Jake groaned as the alarm went off on his phone. The man quickly rolled over to turn off the offending sound. Then, in the dark, he patted the nightstand beside him, looking for his glasses. Before he stood, Nancy whispered for him to stay in the warmth of his bed.
“Go back to sleep,” he told her as he kissed her cheek.
The tired man shuffled to the kitchen, knowing his morning coffee would be waiting. He grabbed his favorite mug from the cabinet, the one that said “world’s best dad.” It had been a gift from Holly when she was about eight. Or was it nine? It was hard to remember. He worked so often that the days and years blurred together like the broken glass of a kaleidoscope, only he felt as if he missed the true beauty of life’s designs. He heard about his family’s day trips as they explored museums or hiked in local forests. On homemade videos, he watched Holly’s dance recitals and volleyball games but promised not to miss graduation.
Sighing, he poured a cup of coffee and tiptoed to the living room, a habit from when Holley was little. The father didn’t want to wake her as he readied for work. He turned on the lamp next to his recliner, grabbed the remote from the table stand, and clicked on the fireplace. The cheery warmth chased away the chill in the room, but it did nothing for his somber mood. He’d had been a horrible husband and father that only shared parts of himself with his wife and daughter. Rationalizing, he told himself he only wanted to provide for them.
But all the overtime was not necessary. Did his family really need the condo in Breckinridge? Moreover, Jake worked so often that he rarely took the time for weekend ski trips, the ones his girls enjoyed.
He always thought he made up for his absences with lavish gifts. So for Holly’s eighteenth birthday, he surprised her with a brand new Wrangler with a big red bow and parked it in the driveway. She squealed when she saw it. “Thanks, Dad. Let’s go for a ride. We can take it over Tincup Pass. Let me change.”
He remembered how her voice wavered when he told her no.
“Let me guess,” she sighed, “You have to work.”
With tears in her eyes, Holly placed the keys in his hands and walked away. She never even drove it. That was over two weeks ago.
Jake needed to change and quickly. Holly would only be home until the fall before heading to Berkley. He didn’t have much time. So even though it was a Saturday, the father decided to call off sick and cancel his appointments for the day. He phoned Mia.
“Hi, Mia. I am taking the day off. No, No, I am not sick. I am taking my girls on an adventure. Yeah, we are taking a day trip over to Tincup. Cancel my appointments. Tell them something came up. You take the day off too and enjoy. I will still pay you for your hours. Thanks, Mia!”
Jake smiled. He stood and walked to the kitchen to pour another coffee and begin preparing their lunch. He remembered Nancy had a picnic basket somewhere, probably in the pantry.
The man chuckled. He didn’t think his girls would mind waking up early to go on an adventure. Tincup Pass would make for a perfect day.
He placed his mug on the counter and walked to the pantry. Stepping in, he glanced at the shelves. On top of one, he spied the basket, so he grabbed the step ladder, climbed up, and reached for the item.
Suddenly, a pain wracked his body, and then another. He couldn’t breathe or even call out. He tried to steady himself and grabbed a shelf, but as he fell, the top racks tumbled down along with Nancy’s Christmas china. As the plates fell, they hit cupboards and counters, and the dinnerware shattered. The shards rained down over his limp body.
Before losing consciousness, he looked at the broken glass. The slivers of shattered china glittered like snow. “Lovely,” he thought before he took his last breath.
For today’s prompt, let’s write about a workaholic.
Prudence cried for Samuel, “I can’t find her anywhere!”
Samuel stopped working on the bed he was making for their daughter and followed Prudence from the barn.
“I’ll search the trees, and you search the fields,” he told his wife.
The two separated, running in opposite directions, calling for the child they dearly loved.
As Prudence neared the pond, she heard a child’s laughter, and relief and gratitude washed through her. She slowed her pace to enjoy the moment. Her daughter was safe and happy!
As she turned the bend in the road, she suddenly froze, shocked by what she had witnessed. Rachel sat in the meadow grass, but she was not alone. Animals surrounded her, and her daughter laughed with glee as a doe came near and licked the child on her head. Fox kits laughed along with her baby and rolled on their backs. Chipmunks sat in Rachel’s lap. But the magic ended when Prudence shrieked!
The doe quickly sprang into action and bolted for cover under the canopy of the nearby sycamores. The kits ran to a thicket of blackberries, hiding in the brambles. Chattering, the chipmunks disappeared into the tall grass. As the animals retreated, Rachel began to cry, and Prudence ran to pick up her daughter. The mother could feel her heart pounding as she held the crying girl. Fear swirled, and she wished to know more about the child her husband had brought home to her.
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.” Teaching children values and giving them the opportunity to excel is essential to good parenting. However, I feel I must also provide my children (and myself) insight into the ones who came before us: our ancestors whose lives and stories have shaped us into who we are. This is my journey; these are their stories…
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