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Spring from Fall (standard:other, 1001 words)
Author: Andrew DaytonAdded: Nov 30 2012Views/Reads: 1792/1210Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Another contest entry dealing with Halloween

Spring from Fall 

Liza walked, huddled over protecting her baby from the cold wind.  Going
for a walk with little Jeremiah was not a good idea after all.  Bad 
weather was rolling in and it was time for him to be fed.  Much as Liza 
would like to, she just couldn't nurse an infant while walking. 

She reached the house and rushed inside, setting Jeremiah down in order
to light the lamp.  Sitting at the table with the lamp in her hand she 
saw the black and white tintype she had left out earlier this morning.  
She reached out to the picture taken just last spring during a trip to 
Chicago. Her fingers stroked the picture as she looked at her husband 
Ralph, holding Jeremiah.  Next to him was Liza holding 10 year old 
Bobby's hand. As she sat, she relived the memory of that nightmarish 
evening when their house burned down.  Ralph handed Jeremiah out the 
window to her before turning and plunging back inside for Bobby, but 
neither one of them ever came out. She had heard one short scream from 
Bobby, “Mama!”  The scream had cut though the roar of the flames and 
leaped beyond and it was still going.  She heard it reverberate in the 
mournful wind against the eaves and it came to her in the rain sliding 
down the roof. Just five months ago and it seemed like years.  She had 
rented this house in August and still found herself staring out the 
window for long periods of time, seeing nothing. 

The first time she had seen the boy next door she had been stunned; he
looked that much like Bobby.  She had stared at him from the porch even 
as he'd turned toward her.  She had hurried back inside as he called 
hello and managed to slam the door before sobs wracked her and drove 
her to her knees.  She hadn't gone outdoors for days after that. 

Jeremiah's wail snapped her back to the present and gathering him up, he
began to nurse. 

Outside night had fallen and rain started slowly.  It built against the
roof and walls of the little house to a low roar.  Rainwater filled a 
small runoff by the steps and continued downhill to the garden next 
door and then beyond. 

The next morning was bright and clear.  Liza had just awoken when she
heard a loud bang next door.  She peered through the window and saw the 
little boy and his father laying a plank up against the tailgate of 
their buckboard.  The giant pumpkin lay nearby waiting to be rolled up. 
They strained with it and just as they got to the top of the ramp the 
plank gave a loud crack causing the team to start.  The man and boy 
jumped back and the pumpkin hung on the edge for a moment, and then, 
majestically tipped over and smashed to the ground. The boy gave a wail 
as his father leaped and grabbed the bridle of the near horse.  He 
walked back and together they surveyed the damage.  The boy was trying 
not to cry.  His father rested a hand on his shoulder and stood with 
him silently. The boy turned, shoulders slumped and headed off across 
the stubbled hayfield.  His father absently kicked one of the pieces 
and started picking the mess up. 

Liza nursed Jeremiah and thought about what had happened next door. 
That they were going to the fair was obvious, and the boy was obviously 
planning to enter the pumpkin in a contest.  “What a shame,” she said 
aloud and tried to dismiss it from her mind.  But even as she did, she 
looked in the direction the boy was wandering and came to a decision. 

She harnessed the team in the barn and, after placing Jeremiah's basket
in the wagon, turned and started them trotting in the direction the boy 
had gone. Soon she had drawn close enough for him to hear her.  He 
glanced up at her with a sullen look on his face and watched her roll 

“Hi” said Liza. 


“Can I give you a ride?” she asked. 

“No ma'am, thanks.” he said. 

“Well, it's a nice day for a ride, and I'd like to show you something.”
He hesitated but curiosity won out and he climbed aboard. 

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