Friday, May 3, 2013

THE BIRCH IS BACK! (Chapter 4 Preview)

Lara ran her hands up and down Sur's white blazed nose. Her palm under his forelock, gently and subconsciously telling the horse to relax. Anna had been away from her cart, and her Haflinger for over an hour. The last time Lara saw her she was milling about the Freight Yard's market stalls, and she didn't see where she had wandered from there. Sur had though, and kept turning his large head back towards the town's center shops. He was a calm animal, but leaving any creature to stand in a combination of leather and metal with his mouth tied to an iron post's ring causes a bit of boredom after a while. Certainly when the person who unties that knot had scuttled off in such a rush.

Meredith came to the cart then, both of her market baskets filled to the brim with a combination of squashes and pork. Lara looked at the two toppling baskets her cousin had adorned herself with, bug eyed.

"For Anna." she explained, somewhat sheepishly "She lost that side of pig and all those pumpkins on her ride home last night, and I don't gather she'll ever explain rightly why. But I do know a side of pig salted and some pumpkins in the cellar last a long time, and we have a lot of winter left and that dear heart is alone"

Lara was taken aback for a moment being reminded of her cousin's wealth, which was only made apparent at times of commerce. (She didn't act like an aristocrat around Lara or the rest of the Thomason Family.) Still, Lara was a farm girl and had been her entire life. The only way they held a piece of meat at market was if they were selling something they raised. And to choose to buy so much whole, without a hand in the work of raising it, was a decadence she rarely partnered on the receiving end. Lara was a humble woman, but loading a horse cart with that much wealth almost made her want to load it far in the back where everyone could see their fortune. Hot Dog.

"Fine Christian Charity, Mer." And swallowed a silent gulp as she nodded.

"I know. A bit much."

"No no, it'll be welcomed with open arms, be sure." And she helped her load them right behind the bench seat and cover it with the wool blankets.

"Did you see where Anna ran off to?" Meredith asked as she wiped her hands onto the apron tied to her skirt. "Last I saw she was marching right out of the yard and towards town. I didn't catch what shop though?"

"I'm not sure." Lara kept her hands on Sur's neck, keeping the beast calm was a second nature. The way a mother rocks a child back and forth to stop it from fussing while keeping the conversation at a good clip.

"I didn't see, myself. Whatever the rush, it isn't like Anna to leave her horse like this. Not this long. Could you wait here while I go search some?"

Lara wrapped the wool sweater with the fur-lined hood around her head and started walking towards the library. She had an idea Anna would be there. And if she wasn't...she had a few questions for the man who used to sing a song about a monster who left black bones in the snow...

more soon!

Catch up on the story:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Interlude I

Birchthorn is a work of community fiction, a story of the Battenkill Valley in 1919 dealing with a mysterious creature of local legend and song. Readers of the CAF farm blog are part of it, becoming characters, names of places, horses, and so forth. Reader emails and suggestions help move the plot along, and create the mystery. Each chapter is supported through donations to the "Story Pot" which is the donate button on this blog, always located on the right-hand side, under the heart image and also below this post. If you like what you read, and want to read more, please throw in a dollar or two and send an email with your thoughts and ideas. It may become legend!

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