The Orchard of Hope | Teen Ink

The Orchard of Hope

November 18, 2008
By Ian_S. GOLD, Chappaqua, New York
Ian_S. GOLD, Chappaqua, New York
12 articles 9 photos 8 comments

The moon was shining upon the figure, shadows flickering back and forth, as a hand reached up high for the desired object. The apple was swiftly thrown into the worn out basket. She ran through the orchard full of fruit, her dress slowing her down. She looked ahead, wondering if she should take the chance. She didn’t; the garden of vegetables were too close to the farmer’s house.

She heard a noise and slightly turned her head. The lights of the house flickered on. Silently, she ran out of the orchard, all the way home, not stopping until she reached the door.
She grabbed a small lantern from the lop-sided wooden stool by the side of the door. James, her five year-old brother, sat huddled up in a corner with many blankets wrapped around him.

“James? Are you awake?” she asked in a small whisper but received no answer. She looked at the clock with the broken glass front that had once belonged to her parents; she pondered for a moment. Her older brother, Michael was late as usual. He was three years older than she was, 15. In his effort to support his family, he worked long and hard hours in the town, several miles away.

She put an apple beside James but as soon as she turned around, he coughed.

“You are awake. Hope your not getting sick,” she whispered.

“Jacquie…I’m hungry,” James said weakly.

“Have the apple…I brought it for you,” Jacquie replied softly. He grabbed the apple from her hands. Her hands met with his. Suddenly, warmth flowed through her body for a moment until he let go. Only then, did she realize how cold she was.

An hour later, her brother walked in.

“How’d it go?” was the first thing he asked. She pointed to the basket full of apples. “How’s Jamsie?”

“He’s okay. He might be getting sick though,” Jacquie told Michael. Michael eagerly took a bite out of one of the apples. “Will you help me carry him into the bed?”

“Sure.” He picked James up and placed him on the small, rickety, bed, the only one they had. “Here you get in too.”
“No, you should,” Jacquie protested.
“No, I’ll be fine,” Michael replied. She obeyed him sliding in, next to sleeping James, her eyes already beginning to close. Next thing she knew, the sun was blinding her.

When she awoke, Michael was gone and James was up playing with some stick figures he had made. She looked at the clock and realized it was 11:00 in the morning. Sliding out of bed, her feet touched the cold floor, making her wish they had a rug but instead, all they had in their small shack was one bed, blankets, and a broken stove. Outside was a rope tied to the trees, which dried the few clothes they had. A small rock circle was below, where the occasional fish were cooked. Rarely, did she get lucky to catch a fish with the crude fishing pole, which kept snapping. But, Jacquie was always very handy and made another one quickly.

“James? We’re going to go fishing today,” she announced. He cheered at the thought of having something to do. Jacquie went outside, James following her. She shivered as the wind blew her brown hair into her face; it was a cold morning. After successfully lighting a fire, she tried to cook a tasty meal with the few ingredients she had. Instead, she ended up with a bland corn bread like cake that made James frown.

“Sorry. We’ll get some fish today,” she said meekly. Later that day they did just that.

Jacquie grabbed her fishing pole with one hand, James holding the other tightly. They both wore small jackets that needed to be replaced. The river wasn’t far from their small shack. They silently walked on the dirt path towards the river. Once they arrived, James helped Jacque set up. She sat and waited. After only a few minutes James became impatient.

“Why are you so bad at catching fishies?” James asked in irritation.

“It takes time,” she replied, trying to suppress a giggle.

“Let me try,” he replied. “I’m a big kid!”

“Maybe next time, Jamsie,” Jacquie told him solemnly.

“Why can’t I?” he whined.

“Michael will show you how to fish next time…I promise,” she replied. Her arms jerked forward a bit. She started reeling the fish in; it was small but it would do. The fishing rod snapped and the fish fell on the grass, flopping back towards the river. “Don’t let it get away!” James proudly scooped it up.

“I got it! I got it!” he exclaimed in joy. She gave him a hug and they began walking back. Their short trip ended with a small success. She cooked up the fish and they ate it for lunch, feeling a pang of guiltiness, knowing she hadn’t shared with her older brother. Afterwards, she lied down on the bed and dreamed of being rich and not having to worry. She dreamed that she had a different life, but awoke from this care-free dream with the smell of smoke in her nostrils and James sobbing.

“James! Are you alright?” she exclaimed flying out of bed, trying to find out what had happened.

“I burnt the apples,” James replied.

“How’d you do that?” she asked, relieved he wasn’t hurt. She pushed the crooked door opened, to see James hovering over the fire.

“I wanted to make apple pie, like Daddy!” James exclaimed, upset. She laughed.

“That’s not how you make apple pie…Michael can show you sometime,” Jacquie looked in the basket to discover that Max had used all the apples. It would be another night trip to the orchard.

Once it became dark, Jacquie ran off to steal more fruit. She followed the twisted dirt path until she arrived at her final destination. She had been down the same path so many times that she could have gotten there with her eyes closed.

She turned her head from both sides to makes sure no one was around. It began to drizzle so she quickened up her pace, swiftly grabbing apples from the trees. Thunder roared. Jacquie ran under the tree for shelter, sliding her back down the trunk until she reached the ground. She was sick of this life and was sobbing loudly. Why did everything have to be so hard? A light shined on her. Was this death? Had she been struck by lightning? Of course not, she was in an orchard, sheltered by a tree. Still, that didn’t keep her thoughts from running wild.

A figure came closer. A man taller than she was, walked toward her, shining a light at her face. He had a frown and opened his mouth. She was ready to sprint; her face could not be revealed. He got closer and closer until finally he was close enough that she could see his face. Gray hair covered his forehead with shining blue eyes, keeping her attention from all the wrinkles. She froze in fear; she’d done this millions of times but never had she been caught.

“Now, who are you?” the man asked loudly. He shined the light directly in her face, studying her. “Oh, you’re that girl who takes food from me every night.” Her cheeks turned pink with embarrassment. He started to raise his other hand. She flinched but was surprised when he brought his hand closer to show a basket full of meats, vegetables, and fruit.

“Take this home. And this.” He handed her an over-sized coat. She did something she had not done in a long time; she smiled. This smile was brought to her face because she knew there was hope.

The author's comments:
Inspired by the "Olive Orchard" by Vincent van Gogh

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This article has 53 comments.

reesha SILVER said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 10:36 am
reesha SILVER, Rawalpindi, Other
6 articles 15 photos 124 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."
Walt Disney

"Hakuna Matata!"
Lion King

"The British policy was 'unite and conquer'. But I say 'unite and conquer'."
Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea)

beautiful. Keep writing!

Katyq14 said...
on Oct. 22 2009 at 5:18 pm
holy wow.. i really liked that. i was so entranced in the story, i wanted to read more! lol. but you should deffinatly keep writing.

on Oct. 22 2009 at 9:37 am
very_literary SILVER, Ballwin, Missouri
7 articles 0 photos 46 comments
This was a great story. The characters were really well portrayed. Keep posting writing. Keep up the good work.

on Aug. 25 2009 at 9:14 pm
LoVeWrItInG BRONZE, San Francisco, California
3 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have to be unique, and diffrent, and shine in your own way."
-Lady GaGa

That was VERY good! You should've gotten published in the magazine.......

Bella PLATINUM said...
on Jul. 10 2009 at 10:37 pm
Bella PLATINUM, Belleville, Illinois
20 articles 3 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"loving someone who doesn't love you is like worshiping the behind, of a wooden statue, of a hungry devil." -author unknown

i love it, i was captured into the story and i wanted to read on. great job and you've got the makings for an author

on May. 31 2009 at 7:35 pm
*LunaNight* GOLD, Staten Island, New York
12 articles 0 photos 46 comments
that was a good story. dont listen to all those people talk bout dialogue. its YOUR story, and if they dont like it, then they shouldnt read it. you did a great job, and i wish to read more...

hola14 BRONZE said...
on May. 1 2009 at 3:37 am
hola14 BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 11 comments
This is a good piece. But like a few others it lacked some voice and character. The dialogue was fluid in some parts and weird in others. For example the end. I couldn't imagine some old guy saying something like that. Overall it was really good though. I could see the scenes in my head and I find that rarely. Keep up the good work. 8D

on May. 1 2009 at 12:38 am
nextkidd30 SILVER, Oregon, Wisconsin
7 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts."
-- William Shakespeare

Dialogue is probably one of the most difficult aspects of writing to make seem realistic, and I felt you did a nice job. It's a pretty subjective comment when a person says that parts of the dialogue were "hard" to read, which I noticed was mentioned in a previous comment. I didn't find anything very difficult about reading "Why are you so bad at catching fishies?" or “He’s okay. He might be getting sick though." so I'm having a hard time imagining where this reader was coming from. It's not as if there's a set way you're supposed to write a dialogue, so I'd like to repeat myself, I think you did a nice job with it.

I also want to comment quickly on the character development. It's a short story, probably not more than a thousand words, and I don't find that incorporating tons of information about a person in order to develop their realism is completely necessary, or effective for that matter. I find that when people comment about character development, especially negatively, that they really don't realize they're reading a short story . . . not a novel.

I'm not one to post subjective and negative/critical comments about other's work, especially on topics involving things that are difficult for EVERYONE to write about in the first place, so I will repeat myself again, great job.

BigDogNotes said...
on Apr. 30 2009 at 9:39 pm
The story moved me. I also really like the poem "Power of Death". Usually in writing the authors feelings and experiences are revealed. Is that true with you? What drives you as a writer?

olivia said...
on Apr. 29 2009 at 12:05 pm
The dialogue in your story is hard for me to read; it's not natural at all. How the characters interact and their wording is not how most people would talk to each other or speak in the first place.

I think you have great ideas, but when the characters aren't developed enough in one aspect of their creation it is hard to get into the story. The phrases and context of the dialogue sounds too proper, as if you're afraid your teacher would disaprove of using different dialects, phrases and speech patterns. All of the people seem to have the same voice.

mmfdg623 GOLD said...
on Apr. 28 2009 at 12:10 am
mmfdg623 GOLD, Lyndhurst, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
Louisa May Alcott

This story is really good.I think that this story could get published in the magazine. If you have some free time on your hands, maybe you can read my story. Here's the link:

Ian S. said...
on Apr. 25 2009 at 12:17 am
I was just saying that I was taking this light-heartedly and I had no anger or sadness toward your comment!

on Apr. 22 2009 at 9:50 pm
Denae Worcester BRONZE, Castle Rock, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 31 comments
(er, I meant the trying something new, like just referring to her as "she" was really neat and I liked that part, sorry for the confusion)

Also, for some reason my computer won't let me see any of the "MORE" on comments, which is a pain, and I don't actually know what you said beyond the first few lines of your reply.....

Thanks for reading what I said, and I hope it helped rather than discouraged.

alex_k said...
on Apr. 16 2009 at 7:26 pm
that was a really good story...i think it could defidently get in the magazine...i also have a story on this website you can advanced search my first name and last story is called "one long note" thanks yo, and keep up the good work XD this story was good

Ian_S. said...
on Apr. 15 2009 at 7:51 pm
I'd like to thank everyone for their constructive criticism, however I am replying to Denae W. I admit there are some grammatical mistakes (some because the format of Teen Ink and I copy and pasted). If this was a first person piece I would understand why I would need more of my voice. However, I am not Jacquie. I want Jacquie's voice to be heard! Second off, I say Jacquie plenty of times in the story and there is only one girl...what is the need to repeat myself. Also, you are the first to read it and say its confusing. Parents, friends, family, I'm not angry or upset, I mean this in the most lighthearted way! Plus, I mention her age...

on Apr. 15 2009 at 3:53 am
Denae Worcester BRONZE, Castle Rock, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 31 comments
Look, you had a great message and an interesting situation, but you had nothing to add to it. Where was your writing voice, your style? (there was a little, like almost never referring to her as Jacquie)

Also, you had several typos/grammar errors that were elementary. Nobody lied down. You once said Jacque instead, and you were unclear in many places.

With your dialogue, always make sure your reader knows who's talking. Oh, and is SHE fifteen or her brother? Plus, you need more of an overall plot. Is it the fact that they're poor and James is sick and their parents are dead?

Or is it that she has no hope and can see no end of their poverty? This would work with your ending, but you need to make it clearer earlier, and the fishing scene added nothing besides showing she and her brother got along and her older brother had to do everything, include teach James how to fish and make pie.

So, edit content, but your idea was fine.

Stephenmcrey said...
on Apr. 6 2009 at 9:26 pm
That was really good, I was amazed. I would really like you to check out my story, so that you can give me feedback on what I should improve.

Thanks a lot

on Apr. 6 2009 at 9:26 pm
Laurennnn PLATINUM, Sadieville, Kentucky
31 articles 9 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people merely exist, that is all." -Oscar Wilde

pretty good.

on Apr. 5 2009 at 8:31 pm
LvU4evr3 BRONZE, West Point, Virginia
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes the thing that makes you most different, is the thing that makes you the most special."

this was really good, and I liked it a LOT. it made me want to read more and more and more. great job! and I thought the sentences and paragraphs flowed together fluidly. nice.

on Apr. 5 2009 at 2:08 pm
bluejay31 SILVER, Scottsdale, Arizona
5 articles 0 photos 29 comments
Great story. I loved it. Very nice job in the description department. Hey, why don't you check out my story?

If you do, then here's the link to my story: