Fatigued almost beyond bearing, Anya’s head felt as though it would burst. Her jaw ached and blood drained from her left ear. Her stepmother, Bessie had deafened her right years ago, but now she’d developed a deafening roar in her left. Barely conscious, she struggled to maintain her death grip on the cow’s halter and half-walked and was half-dragged the final half-mile to the barn. Though she couldn’t hear it, the farm dog barked at her staggering approach, but for some reason didn’t offer to bite as she struggled to the barnyard. Instinct alone guided her into the barn where she collapsed on the haystack. Old Bossie followed her in and was grateful of the opportunity to get her feed early. Hay drifted over Anya as she slept, keeping the secret of her presence, though in her decreasing consciousness, she had no concern for anything. Unaware of anything except pain and fatigue, she slept late into the next day.
Anya’s mind was foggy when she awoke, only aware of pain, hunger and thirst. The beating she’d taken left her deaf and confused. She did vaguely remember trying to fire the pistol, but nothing after that. Her raging thirst drove her from the barn. With the pain in her jaw, eating would not have been an option. She made her way toward the cabin, seeking water.
Had anyone been there to see her, she’d have been a horrifying specter as she fell against the door. Wakening to find Jack licking the blood from her ear, she managed to hang onto the wall and table till she got to the water bucket. Slaking her thirst, she dropped painfully to the cabin floor, unaware she was in the world.
Though my father saw a barn a’building, I saw a cathedral of rough-hewn lumber rising in the lot behind our house. Mr. Bradley, a crotchedy old grandpa in khakis, showed up about daybreak every morning for coffee, then shuffled on to his barn building. He and a helper worked all day till Daddy and a couple of his buddies took over and worked on as Continue reading
Thanks Author S B Mazing for challenging me to join her Five Photos, Five Stories. This is just the type challenge I love. It stimulates me to do what I want to do. I will be writing a series based on vintage photos. This will eventually become a book. I have four others in front of it. Who knows if it might push itself further up the line? I don’t know the story behind this photograph since it came from an estate sale. I just love it. It hangs in my writing room. I know I am not telling the true story, but at least I am giving my friends a voice. Now, the best part, I’d like to challenge Mom, at Maybe someone should write that down to join me. I just love her stories and pictures!
Hard Time Marrying
Their union had a bleak start. Meeting at the train in the freezing rain, she clutched his letter. They married minutes later at the preacher’s house, barely speaking as they shivered the two hours home in his open wagon. In her letter, she’d not mentioned the two little ones, though with all fairness, the marriage was only one of need on both parts. They were proof she could bear the children he hoped for. Burning with fever by the time they got to his homestead; dead by the next sundown, she left him with two little ones he had no taste for. Barely reaching his knee, they toddled mutely in perpetual ,soggy diapers dragging to their knees, uttering gibberish only they understood. As soon as he could get her wrapped in a quilt, he buried this stranger wife and headed back to dusty Talphus, Texas with the sad burden of her orphaned little ones. The church or the town would have to do for them. Loading them in a snug in a bed of hay, wrapped in a ragged quilt, hay heaped over them. he pitied and grieved for them on the long trip back to town, knowing the hard life they faced. Stopping several times to make sure they were warmly covered, he was relieved to find them pink and warm.
He hardened his heart against them, knowing only too well the life they were facing. He’d never known family, just been passed from hand to hand.
to be continued