I had a hard time remembering last night that today was Friday not yesterday. You see, we babysat Krista, James and Joel last evening, and that usually happens on a Friday. So when I want to bed I was really confused. :) But hopefully I'm straightened out now.
Thank you Hank and Abigail for leaving questions about "Meleah's Western." They have already helped me think of where I need to take the story. It is amazing what a simple question or two can do to your creative writing powers.:) Thanks for the push.:)
This story that I'm posting now was rather difficult to write. I don't know if it was just the way I was writing it, or if I was trying too hard to follow the instructions. Whatever it was made it hard. But as you can see, I did get it finished. I'm not sure if I did it right or if it is any good, so I hope you all will tell me what you think.
Characters: 1 adult, 1 child
Word Count: 1500 - 2500 (I did 2007)
Special Instructions: "Omniscient narrator" -- knows and shares characters feelings and thoughts, not just words, action and settings.
An Autumn Path
With a long look around him at the trees glowing with brilliant autumn colors above him, their branches meeting and twining together to form a roof of flaming orange and yellow, he paused. The trunks were dark, contrasting sharply with the leaves and the golden brown grasses and ferns about their base. Here and there pine and spruce trees added their dark green to the stunning picture of fall glories causing the young man to catch his breath in wonder and awe. For several minutes he stood in silence.
“It’s beautiful,” he said to himself. “No, that isn’t the right word, it’s too common. Charming, wonderful, glorious,” he shook his head with each word. “I just can’t describe it. The words won’t come. Now Grandfather could--” The young man bit his lip suddenly and blinked back the sudden rush of tears. “No!” he ordered himself firmly. “I will go on. I promised him I would. I’ll go straight down this path and out into the world where men rush hither and yon with hardly a pause for the Creator’s magnificent designs. This will be the first picture I’ll paint.” Sitting down suddenly in the middle of the old rutted path, he gazed steadily at each color and shape so as to fix it forever in his memory. For a time this took all of his concentration, but eventually, as so often happens to even the most dedicated thinkers, his thoughts began to wander. Back they drifted to another autumn day. The young man closed his eyes, lay back with hands clasped under his head and lived that day over again.
“Come on, Sammy, we still have a long way to go before we reach our supper tonight,” the voice was kind, but Sammy looked doubtful. He didn’t know this man, his grandfather, yet here he was going to live with him until he was ‘of age,’ whatever that meant. Slowly Sammy scuffled along in the leaves wishing he was back in the city with his aunt.
Grandfather watched him out of the corner of his eye as he kept on striding forward. This boy of eight had been his late daughter’s only child. Not until this morning had he ever even lain eyes on the boy. How would the lad take to living in the country he wondered. It would certainly take some getting used to for both of them.
The two companions tramped on in silence under the autumn leaves until they came to a small farm house set back at the base of a gentle hill. They had reached home, but the only one to welcome them was a dog who barked and wagged his tail as they came up the lane.
“Here we are, Sammy,” Grandfather said setting the pack he had carried down on the porch.
Sammy looked around him. He was not impressed. He had to live here? Even the dog was looked down on with disdain as it made friendly advances. There weren’t even any houses at all within sight. Sammy didn’t think he would like it. In fact, he made up his mind that he wouldn’t like it.
Picking up the pack once again, Grandfather opened the front door, “Come on,” he gave a jerk of his head. “I’ll show you your room.”
Listlessly, as though not caring if he ever saw his room, the boy followed. Up the narrow winding stairs and into a small but pleasant room he was led. The roof sloped down on one side of it and a brick chimney ran up near the wall. Two small windows with simple muslin curtains looked out over the barnyard and pasture hill. Sammy glanced around. Disgust was written in every look and movement as he unpacked his things after his grandfather had left him. “This is not a room,” he muttered. “This is a closet. Why Aunt Agnes’ cook wouldn’t even think of sleeping here!” Sammy didn’t know his aunt’s cook, but being a spoiled eight-year-old had given him a sense of knowing everything. Yes, I am sorry to say, Sammy was spoiled. His aunt had even called him a spoiled brat at times behind his back and was greatly relieved when his grandfather came to take him.
That was how Sammy came to live with his grandfather, but it wasn’t easy for either one to adjust to the other. Sammy didn’t care about anything on the farm. He cared only for himself. Grandfather saw it was going to be a struggle, but he was determined to try his best at raising his grandson to be a true man.
Only the day after his arrival, Sammy met with a great surprise. Grandfather expected him to work! He was told to bring in some wood for the stove and then to pump water for the cows. Never had he been told to do something he didn’t want to do. Sammy gazed at Grandfather and then turning, stalked out of the house.
Grandfather watched him from the window. “That boy has got to learn to work. Why when I was his age I was milking the cows, bringing in the eggs, as well as fetching wood and water.” For over an hour the older man waited for Sammy to return with the wood. When he failed to return he went out to find him.
“Sammy,” Grandfather spoke quietly but firmly to the boy sitting on a great rock. “I told you to water the cows and bring in wood for the stove. Now get to it.”
“I’m not going to. I don’t have to do anything if I don’t want to, and you can’t do anything about it because I’m eight years old and too big to be punished. Mama said so.” Sammy spoke confidently and with a defiant toss of his head.
“Anyone who talks that way to his elders is too young not to be punished,” was his grandfather’s reply and without another word he led his grandson to the barn. There Sammy received a licking he never forgot. And though it was by no means the last he received, it had it’s effect. For several days he was careful of the words he spoke.
The years slowly rolled by and found Sammy growing to actually enjoy his work, at least most of the time. No longer did he criticize his cozy upstairs room, for he had grown fond of it. There was no school nearby for Sammy to attend, so Grandfather, himself quite well educated, taught Sammy all he knew. Sammy learned rapidly and never tired of listening as Grandfather pulled words out of the air to paint beautiful pictures for his mind’s eye. Grandfather, watching the boy’s eyes glow as he talked, smiled to himself. “That boy is going to make a fine man someday if he doesn’t go out and get spoiled before he is ready.”
One day in early spring, Sammy sat at the kitchen table with his paper and pencils. He was supposed to be working on his arithmetic, but instead his thoughts were on the story Grandfather had just told him. Absentmindedly, he began to sketch what he saw in his mind. Rapidly the picture took shape, and to his great delight, Sammy could actually begin to see before him a little lake nestled in the valley between some high hills. So busy was he that he didn’t hear his grandfather enter the room.
“What are you up to now, Sammy?”
Sammy looked up. His cheeks became scarlet as he attempted to cover his drawing with his hands. “Uh, . . . I . . . uh,” he floundered, his eyes dropping to the table.
Without a word Grandfather held out his hand. What was Sammy trying to hide? Grandfather had begun to place great trust in the boy; was that trust premature?
For an instant Sammy remained still, then slowly, with eyes still down on the table, he placed his drawing in Grandfather’s waiting hand. Would Grandfather be angry? Would this mean another whipping? He hadn’t meant to disobey, he hadn’t even meant to draw. It just almost drew itself. Could he make Grandfather understand? At last, as the silence lengthened into minutes, Sammy glanced up. His grandfather was staring from the picture to Sammy and then back again to the picture.
“Sammy, where did you learn to do this?” Grandfather’s voice held only wonderment in it.
Sammy shrugged. “It just did it itself almost. I could see it in my mind, and my fingers just took it out.”
Grandfather shook head. Never had he seen such marvelous work for someone who had no training. At last he spoke. “You drew this from what I had told you?”
“Get out another piece of paper. Let’s see if you can do it again,” Grandfather directed sinking into a chair while he continued to stare at the picture.
In surprise Sammy obeyed. His arithmetic was shoved gladly out of the way. There would be time for that later.
For several minutes Sammy just sat and listened as his grandfather began talking, then his pencil began to move across the paper. Under his fingers there soon arose a ship with sails unfurled as it rose on the crest of a wave.
Arithmetic was entirely forgotten and for several days Sammy spent hours drawing picture after picture.
A few mornings later, when Sammy came into the kitchen for breakfast, Grandfather sat frowning at the table.
“Sammy,” he ordered, “I have to go into town today. While I am gone you are not to draw anything. You are to work on your arithmetic! Is that clear?” Though his voice sounded stern, he could not hide the twinkle in his eyes.
Sammy grinned. He’d work on his arithmetic.
When Grandfather returned, he brought with him some paints and brushes.
Sammy was thrilled. After a little practice he found he could mix the paints to get whatever color he wanted. He practiced his painting any chance he got and reveled in watching the colors mingle to form mountains, sunsets, flowers and trees. His eagerness was so great that Grandfather took time to show him the beauties of tiny insects, of animals and birds. For a time all Sammy wanted to do was draw or paint, but when he suddenly noticed Grandfather moving more slowly than was his want, he knew his work had to come first.
The years passed. Sammy and Grandfather were content to stay on their small farm together. Theirs was a happy and peaceful life, for they had come to love each other dearly. They seldom left the farm except for church. And their trips to town were so few that they remained strangers to most of the folks there. Sammy had begun to sell his artwork through a friend, yet none who saw him in town would have guessed the talent that lay in his fingers. Grandfather encouraged him to keep working to improve his work, telling him that one day he would have to go out into the world.
“But never forget, Sammy,” he always added. “That God makes the loveliest pictures. Always draw and paint to please Him. Men ought to take more time to notice His artwork, but since they won’t, it is up to you to bring it to their attention.”
A wind sprang up and ruffled the hair of the young man. He sat up. His eyes looked again at the glorious colors about him. Slowly he stood and picked up his pack. “I will go on Grandfather,” he whispered, glancing back at the road behind him. “I will make them see the beauties that God has made.” In his mind’s eye he could see the old farm house and barn and up on the hill a newly formed headstone. “I’ll take God’s loveliness into their homes and business.” He swallowed hard. “I can’t ever thank you again, Grandfather, for taking me in, but I’ll never forget it.” With those last whispered words he set forth down the path of brilliant colors.
Well, what did you think? I can't decide if I like it or not.