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

Similar Articles


This article has 53 comments.

JessC SILVER said...
on Mar. 30 2009 at 12:58 am
JessC SILVER, Waterloo, Other
7 articles 6 photos 27 comments
WOW. this story was...well, wow. I love the ending. I was really into the story. I could sort of feel what Jacquie was thinking, and I like that in a story. You definitly have talent when it comes to writing. Keep up the amazing work.

on Mar. 24 2009 at 1:31 pm
volleygirl6 SILVER, Lake Oswego, Oregon
5 articles 0 photos 12 comments
Nice Job! I admire the ease in which this piece was written. You used great imagery, and the reader really feels like they are in the middle of the story. Congrats on being the top of the fiction section!

on Mar. 24 2009 at 12:44 am
Mandiella DIAMOND, Plaistow, New Hampshire
73 articles 58 photos 349 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't waste time. Start procrastinating now.

This was very sad, and I love sad stories. Good work. The ending was great! That's very nice of the farmer to give her food.

on Mar. 23 2009 at 3:05 pm
YeseniaG SILVER, Livonia, Michigan
7 articles 1 photo 122 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is what happens when you're busy making plans.

Hey good work. The ending could have been a bit better, just like the last line. Other than that good work as far as substance goes.

Descant GOLD said...
on Mar. 22 2009 at 3:45 am
Descant GOLD, Huntington Beach, California
15 articles 40 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened" –Albert Camus

Good story, but watch the grammar and punctuation. A few sentences need editing, especially for comma placement.

Sydney GOLD said...
on Mar. 19 2009 at 8:18 pm
Sydney GOLD, Baltimore, Maryland
19 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
treat others how you wish to be treated

I think you have a very creative mind! You're story plots are carfully structured. Also It is so sweet. Keep writing, your good at it! :D:P:I:)

on Mar. 5 2009 at 1:26 am
hey_itskatelyn PLATINUM, Willis, Texas
21 articles 0 photos 217 comments

Favorite Quote:
“God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for would not do you full honour. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything”

Thanks for commenting on my work:)

on Mar. 1 2009 at 9:11 pm
AnAuthenticAuthor2B BRONZE, Idaho Falls, Idaho
2 articles 0 photos 7 comments
I loved the heart-warming effect this story-line creates in combination with your word usage. Keep up the good work!

on Feb. 28 2009 at 2:01 am
GothicCrayons BRONZE, Hudson, Wisconsin
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments
It was lovely. You surely should become a writer. :D You do amazing work. Mote It Be. :D

on Feb. 27 2009 at 9:48 pm
Kathryn S BRONZE, Bedford, New York
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Ian- Congrats on making top fiction- nice job. I really like this story, good imagery. I can hardly believe it was inspired by a postcard. It's a great story. If you got in the magazine that would be really cool! great job!

on Feb. 27 2009 at 9:45 pm
hey_itskatelyn PLATINUM, Willis, Texas
21 articles 0 photos 217 comments

Favorite Quote:
“God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for would not do you full honour. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything”

Wow thats really awesome that you are at the top of the fiction section, I totally envy you! I really liked this story. Your imagery is amazing. I could see all the scenes playimg out in my head. There were a couple of verb-disagreements I think, but thats it. Really cool. Good luck

DDwriter said...
on Feb. 21 2009 at 3:50 pm
Congratz on making it to the top in the raw fiction section. Maybe you can get published? It is a bit long though...I loved it though. It was filled with great imagery and a few typos. It was somewhat humorous during the "Pie" scene. I loved it! I can't wait to read more of your work.

Danny23 said...
on Feb. 19 2009 at 10:10 pm
I love this story! It'd be great to see this on the magazine. I look forward to reading more of your pieces. Good luck...