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The young girl waded leisurely into the pond. Worried about how cavernous the pond was, she was unsure whether to go any farther; for fear that she would drown in the thick, marsh-like waters of this bottomless pond. She could hear the slight whispers of the wind through her ears and all around her. Slowly but surely, she pulled herself up out of the frigid water, lifting out into the baking sun, and the air around her seemed to fill with comfort and warm surroundings. It was a superb and warm day. Everything was green. The trees were climbing higher than anything in the area. Flowers in every color were blooming as far as the eye can see. The birds were chirping, and the crops around a huge, old barn looked so delicious, they made the girl’s mouth water. The sky was unbelievably blue. No. Blue is not enough. The sky was a light, but somehow rich baby blue, and there were a few small patches of misty white. It was peaceful and quiet. Everything in the world for the girl was just a blur. All her troubles seemed to fade away every breath she took.
After a lengthy view of her surroundings, she swiftly wrapped her towel around her body, and quietly dressed. On the long walk to her Aunt’s cottage, she ran into a minute terrier. The dog looked like it hadn’t been fed in a long while. But unfortunately for the terrier, the girl was not fond of dogs.
The girl carefully walked home, her feet patting the hard, wet ground. Her thin boots, which were made out of cloth, were so shredded that she almost felt her feet touching the rough dirt ground. But she had absolutely no clue that the stray dog had been following her the whole way.
* * *
Once the girl was back at her own big, old barn, she could hear her aunt calling her from their fields.
“Lucy! Is that you?” she called. Lucy, the girl, called back that yes, indeed it was her, and began her evening chores that were to be done before dinner without a fuss. But first, she strolled inside their small cottage, through the dimly lit hallway to her room, pulled off her boots, grabbed her brother’s boots, scuffed, a bit big, yet she had no other choice but to wear her old, shredded ones. Then she, unwillingly, fell to the ground, and started to sob. She cried and cried for a few minutes, her aunt hadn’t come back yet, and then she abruptly stopped. She sniffled, and then realized she was just being a sissy, and that she needed to get her chores done immediately. So, she pulled herself together, took her brother’s boots off again, pulled on and tied her old boots on, and hurried out both doors once more.
Walking down the path, wiping her tears away, she ran into their black slave, ‘Tall Tim.’ Everyone called him this, because he was 6’ 4” tall.
“I plow some field, and peal potato, and I chop wood for fire, Miss Lucy,” he said. Lucy just looked up at him, thanked him, and offered for him to stay for dinner.
“No, thank you, Miss Lucy, but I have family to get to,” he said. She nodded and smiled, then told him he could leave. He thanked her, and left. She then proceeded along the long and winding path to the barn to finish her evening chores.
* * *
Once Lucy was seated at the table, Lucy decided to keep quiet about trying on Mac’s boots. Aunt Meredyth would certainly not approve of Lucy doing this, given the fact that Meredyth hadn’t given her permission to do so. So the atmosphere was quiet, until
Meredyth scurried over to the table to pour Lucy some squash, Ranch-style beans, and some fresh brisket she had recently traded with a neighbor for some extra beans. Even the delectable food didn’t seem to cheer Lucy up a bit. But still she went on and asked for some squash, not too many beans, and extra brisket anyway. Then, in her head, she started thinking up ideas of how to become cheerful again. She thought of reading her favorite book, The Wizard of Oz, jumping rope, putting all her anger and sadness into her chores, but none of them seemed to work. She missed her brother so much, she felt incomplete. Her aunt hadn’t even realized this; she had been stealthy with Lucy by hiding all Mac’s belongings in a safe somewhere underground. Lucy had guessed that she had hidden all his belongings in the tornado “hideaway,” but she hadn’t thought to check, so as not to raise suspicion.
Then the thought she needed most came to her. Going to the pond again and relaxing. It was the most perfect idea she had ever thought of. She would finish her morning chores, hurry to the pond for an hour or two at the most, and come back and finish her evening chores, and she would certainly become optimistic yet again.
That night, under her covers, Lucy felt a bit excited, but she couldn’t be sure whether or not she was. But she got up early the next morning and ate breakfast quickly without her aunt noticing. Then both Meredyth and Lucy went outdoors, and Lucy headed to the barn to let the cows out to graze a bit, out in the grassy fields near the pond she would go to soon. She was also to throw some corn out for the chickens, and gather up some of the corn, for it was late summer, and it was already that season. She would also help out by sweeping the porch for Meredyth, for she would later scrub it, and Lucy would also shake out the rugs. Henry, a neighbor who always helped them out, a young boy, the age of fourteen, was sent to go plow the fields with the two horses, and next he would muck their stalls. Meanwhile, Aunt Meredyth would wash the clothes, scrub the porch, slop the pigs, and go over to the country store to buy some more horse feed. Soon, Lucy was finished, having done everything quickly. She told Aunt Meredyth she was going to set off to the pond again, and Meredyth was extremely delighted, because she used to go to the exact same pond when she was a child.
After she got into the pond again up to her armpits, she relaxed and completely forgot about what she had been so sad about. Except she still felt a small tugging inside her stomach; it was like the worrying was coming back to her again. She tried to ignore it and then actually drifted off to sleep. She dreamed about when she was almost five years old, and Mac just turned nine. His short, dark brown hair blew slightly in the wind. They were at a park in Kansas city, where their parents lived. They visited them every year, yet Lucy’s parents were too depressed at the moment from Mac’s death that Lucy hadn’t visited them in two years. Lucy hadn’t quite gotten over it yet either.
Then, suddenly, Mac started to walk away from Lucy.
“Wait!” she called. She was on a swing, he had been pushing her, and she soon came to a stop.
“I’ll be right back,” Mac reassured her, carefully pronouncing each word very slowly. He then turned back, and slowly faded into the darkness, and he was gone.
“No!” Lucy called out, “Mac! Mac, come back! M-m-Mac?” And then she got off the swing in a jump, because the swing was high up for her.
“Wait for me!” she whined. Then, she suddenly fell over, and her legs became numb. She soon couldn’t feel anything from her hips down, and she started to shiver. Her eyelids started to droop, and now her breath was becoming faint. Just seconds later, her breath became a gasp. When she tried to breathe again, she just gulped up something that tasted like murky water. Now she became numb up to her neck. She twisted and twisted her neck, but she couldn’t do anything. She felt as if she were surrounded by cold water and her eyes closed. She could almost make out a picture of Mac smiling in front of her with her eyes closed. Suddenly, the dream came to an end.
I t was 3:00 pm and Lucy still hadn’t come home. Meredyth just figured he was having too much fun at the pond. But fifteen minutes later, she began to fret. So she finished up in the kitchen, grabbed her shawl, and headed out the door.
When she finally reached the pond, out of breath, Meredyth stopped dead in her tracks.
“Lucy?” she called. No one answered; just the wind whistling in her ears. Meredyth tightened her shawl.
“Lucy, dear, it is time you start your evening chores,” she called out. Then she saw something in the pond floating. Meredyth walked a tad closer to the pond and squinted to see what it was. She still couldn’t make out what it was. Her eyes darted suddenly to the left of the pond, only to see Lucy’s everyday dress and shredded boots. Meredyth gasped and covered her mouth. She then started running like she did when she was merely sixteen.
When she strolled inside, she started to cry, loudly, and for what seemed to her forever. Soon she found herself clutching a corner of her dining room table, and she sighed. She knew she shouldn’t be acting like this, and she finally decided to calm herself down by making a cup of nice mint tea, along with some bread and cheese.
Meredyth got up and walked over to a cabinet, pulled out a deep, blue tea cup and a kettle, filled the kettle with water, and set it on the stove. Next, she turned on the cook stove, warmed her hands up by setting up a fire in the woodstove, which was in the center of the small, muddled room. After the tea kettle whistled, she decided that this was hardly bad at all, and stumbled over to the tea kettle. She then lifted up the tea kettle, and shoved her face into the flames.
And it was all over.