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Very Close Relations (standard:fantasy, 2004 words)
Author: Alpha43Added: Apr 16 2005Views/Reads: 2087/1284Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they must stand at the crossroads, opting for the high road or the low road, picking the left fork or the right fork in the road to the future. I wondered if anybody from the left fork would ever find out what w

“Very Close Relations” 

I wondered if the barn was going to stay up in this fierce winter wind.
No big fluffy flakes falling tonight, these frozen B-B’s were being 
driven horizontal, pelting everything like birdshot. I had the oil 
lamps all turned off except for the one in the kitchen where I could 
see the sleet collecting in the corners of the windowpanes. The wind 
blowing around the chimney of the wood cook-stove sounded like a kid 
blowing over a Coke bottle. I work so hard to maintain this meager 
existence and on nights like this, cold and alone, I sometimes wish I 
would have never chose to grow up at “Millers Meadows”. 

The house was getting very cold. The storm was going full force outside
and the old potbelly stove was cherry red, but it was still cold in 
every room but the parlor. The old house was not very air tight, I 
noticed the shear drapes flutter in a couple of the rooms. The price of 
this old place was right, I inherited it from “Uncle” Archie Miller, 
but it sure was no gold mine. 

The winds have been blowing at gale force strength for some time now,
and the temperature is 20 below and falling. Usually when the 
temperature is expected to get down to 40 below, it is dead calm, but 
tonight the whole house is shuttering and the cold is making timbers 
knock and creak. The potbelly is so hot that it too is emitting an 
array of clunks and clicks and the howling of the wind is non-stop. 

My left leg had a steady ache for two days now, so I knew we were going
to get a powerful storm. As a small child, my lower left leg was 
crushed by our plow horse, it was nearly amputated, and the permanently 
misshaped foot and ankle are throbbing from this fierce storm. My 
deformed and arthritic weather forecaster. 

I was massaging my ankle and nearly missed the first set of raps that
sounded like hammering at the door. Nobody would be outside on a night 
like tonight. But still, it sounded like knocking, and I listened 
closely for several seconds, then figuring it must have been the cold 
settling into the foundation. No, there it is again and I was stunned 
for a second, not really wanting to open the door. 

I checked the back door, nothing but blowing snow. As I moved to the
front, I lit an oil lamp and considered grabbing a poker. I looked out 
the parlor window, but I could not see anybody from that angle. I had 
strange feelings about opening the door, but I couldn’t let someone 
freeze to death out there. I put my foot firmly back from the door 
about 3”, hoping to slow down anybody forcing their way in and then I 
turned the knob. The door slammed against my foot and the lamp blew 
out, but I could see that nobody was ramming it in, it was the powerful 
winds driving the heavy oak door open. 

I peeked around the jamb and nobody was there, but then I saw a dark
shadow moving down the front path. I hollered “I’m here” and the figure 
halted and slowly turned around. “Come out of the storm” I yelled, and 
the dark silhouette moved closer. 

Once inside the dark entry, I saw a lady about my age and size. I
hustled her in, and asked if I could take her coat and boots. Bolting 
the door, I told her that we needed to move into the parlor if we 
wanted any heat. I re-lit the oil lamp and took her expensive coat, 
real mink I think, and a matching mink hat. The lady had on the most 
beautiful outfit I had ever seen. The high top suede boots had fur 
around the top and she pulled off mink trimmed gloves. I had seen 
pictures of ladies apparel like this in fashion magazines at Sophie’s 
Salon, when I got my mousy red hair set. 

We moved into the parlor and I told her my name was Dorothy, but local
folks call me Jeannie. She said that everybody called her Dot, Dot 
Hildebrande. I saw that she was wearing nylon stockings, the kind 
without the seam in the back, impressive! 

I told her to sit down close to the potbelly stove and I asked if she
would like something to drink? She told me she did not want to be any 
bother. I mentioned that I was going to have something hot; tea, or 
better yet, hot chocolate. She smiled and said that something warm did 
sound good after coming in out of the frigid gale-force winds. 

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