Flash Fiction -The Thought of Summer

Fiction: The Thought of Summer
Written by -M. Taggart
Copyright 2016

The Thought of Summer

 

The barn was dank. Inside the bull’s stall was worse. It was dark and he’d left the lamp at the house. He couldn’t always see what he was digging his shovel into, but it didn’t matter it was all the same.

His friends were in the ravine. He imagined Nick fishing in the large pool near the road and Pete walking barefoot further downstream. Pete wouldn’t be fishing, he’d most likely look for bait and return what he scavenged to Nick. Nick would catch a few trout and gut them there on the road. Then he’d wrap the trout in tin foil and put them in his pocket and head for home, or he’d put them under a rock in the brook to stay cool.

The bull’s waste smelled ripe. He didn’t mind the smell. He didn’t mind working the stall. He’d do this for his grandfather every time it needed to be done. He only thought of the ravine because it was the first day of school break. He remember telling his grandfather he’d clear the stall, but he wasn’t sure why he’d selected the first day of break. He knew Nick and Pete would be waiting for him. He’d forgotten to tell them he wouldn’t be there. It wasn’t a problem, other than that he’d forgotten to tell them and that didn’t feel right to him. He should have told them.

He dug his shovel deep into the manure and let it stand on his own. He walked out of the dark stall and into the open area where hay was stacked before being lifting into the loft. The sunlight, coming from the open barn door, looked as clean as anything he’d seen. It cut through the shadows of the barn and brought with it a smell of fresh air. Outside, he squinted his eyes hard. He could hear the chickadees talking back and forth and crows cawing just as they took flight from a large oak.

He noticed the wind playing with the leaves on the oak. The leaves were flipped over forcefully. Then all leaves on every tree were flipped and pushed in the same direction. The wind picked up dust from the corn field and come toward him. He looked from the leaves, to the corn field, back to the trees. Just behind the row of oak, maple, and pines was the entry to the ravine.

The first clap of thunder was so loud he ducked and then squatted covering his head. The sky became black and purple. He wasn’t sure when it had happened, but it had and now it was. A strap of lightening struck the oak the crows had flown from. A large branch crashed its way down into the ravine. He crawled to the barn. Rain was mixed with hail and had beaten him in the few short feet he made his way through the field on his stomach back to the barn. He was drenched and covered in mud. He felt his body running into the barn but his mind wanted to know about Nick and Pet. He thought he had seen tops of trees flying through the air. He’d never seen anything like that and he wasn’t sure.

And now he hunkered in the same stall he’d been working in. He’d made a small indent in the manure which was not level with the rest of the floor and he felt safest there, with his face in bull waste. He felt the need to pull the manure over him like a blanket. His ears popped. He could feel the barn moaning. It creaked loudly and he heard what sounded like a portion of the barn roof ripping away. He covered his neck and breathed the moist air and tried to pin himself as deep as possible into his small sanctuary.

What of Nick and Pete, he thought. The storm raged and they were in the ravine. He’d seen the lightening hit the oak. And seen pieces of trees in the air. If he had told them he’d be working in the stall they wouldn’t have gone to the ravine to wait for him today. They always meet on the first day and now this. He promised himself to never forget how he felt. To always remember. But, would they have still gone? Maybe, he thought. None of that matters though, he told himself. Because now he’s stuck to the thought of it and that can’t go away, not matter what. He created this, the thought of it, the remembering and now he’s here in the stall waiting.

 

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For my self published shorty story please click the link below.

Our Path – Odd Walking Thoughts

There’s a path in back of the old school. We ran to it and slammed into the wood-line and then further. You laughed first and I held mine back. The woods slept while watching. We weren’t sure to leave or stay and then decided to ask a rock. We asked, ‘Would we be alright to stay?’ the rock said nothing. We jumped over the brook and leveled the ferns.  

Much is said – Odd Walking Thoughts

He had said much but much was said without seeing.  He wasn’t my friend though he thought so. In fact he thought we ought to be best of friends.  Mud has a funny color and at most times we cannot see it.  A hole deepens and we approach and ask if we might want to follow it down to see what’s to find. We ask, ‘Should we?’ and wait and the trees care very little about our question.  However, the frog is again here and replies, ‘If you were to lay your small face against the mud and listen you might know before asking.’

A Winter Crust – Short Story

Written by -M. Taggart
Short Story. Non Fiction.

A Winter Crust

It was cold. The snow was deep and had a crust covered top. If I wanted, I could stand on the top layer because I was small and light. I was eight years old. We stood on the side of the road, waiting for our school bus. I waited with my older brother. Sometimes, we’d stomp through the crust and make foot paths. Creating paths a few feet wide and ten feet in any direction was an activity we enjoyed. If we had time we’d make a path to the ravine.

The ravine was deep and very steep. In many places it was well over one hundred feet to the bottom where the brook was. We constantly played in the ravine during the spring, summer, and fall. The winter weather made it treacherous to reach the bottom.

I wore a winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots. My brother, Chris, wore nearly the same outfit. Our jeans were caked with snow. We’d be wet once we were on the bus and the snow melted. We didn’t mind. During spring melt, we’d crack through ice, and wade waist deep in an ice water gully which was located in a piece of farmland next to our house. We’d slosh around and wave at the people driving in cars when they slowed down to get a better look at us. We’d go home soaked and try to hide our clothes from our mother.

The bus wasn’t within ear shot yet. We’d stomped a foot path to the very edge of the ravine. “Do you think the bus will be here soon?” I asked.

“It will be here. It always is.” My brother replied. We were under strict orders to always get on the bus and to always go to school. Skipping school wasn’t an option.

I, standing in our self made foot path, wanted to get an even closer glimpse to look over edge. I stepped up and onto the crusty snow. I slid my boots carefully over the surface and peered down into our heaven.  “I can’t wait until all of this melts and we can watch the spring run off come rushing through. The brook is huge then.”

“I know it! Remember when there was so much water that it was dangerous to be near because it was running too fast?”

“I remember,” I said while trying to look back at my older brother. I lost my footing and fell onto my side. I started to slide down the ravine. Feeling a flash of fear I reached out with both hands, desperately trying to grasp anything that I could. I picked up speed and found myself sliding on my stomach. I felt a small tree that had somehow peeked through the crusted snow and held on as tightly as I could with my right hand. Looking up the ravine’s banking at my brother, I croaked “I need some help.”

The small tree snapped in two. Once again sliding, and picking up speed, my body crashed into an oak tree which spun me around and I disappeared out of view. “Matt!” I heard Chris yelling after me. It was too late.  I was on top of the crusted snow and sliding down the ever steepening banking. I continued to reach for trees, low hanging branches, vines, anything at all.

I felt my body life into the air, I had come to a large lip in the banking, just above the brook and slammed through the ice and into the water. For a moment I was completely submerged and could taste the cold brook water. Luckily, the water wasn’t over my head. I found my footing and stood. Chris was yelling something to me from up above. I was trying to shout back that I was OK and to wait for me. I wasn’t shivering but I was wet and cold. I now needed to get out of the brook and find a way back up the steep ravine wall. I needed to go to school.

I heard Chris yelling something from above and I could hear the school bus engine and the sound of the door opening. “Wait for me! Wait for me!” I was trying to stomp a foot hold in the snow.

The bus pulled away. Chris had done as he was told and gone to school. I was frustrated and angry and wet and alone. I kicked and punched into the snow to gain footholds and grip and after some time found myself again at the top of the ravine. I didn’t feel the cold. I didn’t care that I was wet. I knew I had to go into my house, pick up the phone, and dial the number that would lead to my undoing. I had to tell on myself to my mother.

 

To this day my brother and I have a running joke concerning his abandonment of his little brother. I’ll say something like, “Yea, just like the time you left me at the bottom of that ravine in the winter!” And he’ll counter while smirking, “I did what I was told. I got on that bus and I went to school.” Which is funny because Chris is very successful and works in education. This takes place in the mid 80’s and near the VT and NH line.