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Broken Dawn (Aisling and Other Stories)

The Farmer's Daughter

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The child rocked idly on the swing set, pretending at play, but mostly it was a failed attempt to distract herself from the pain, thirst and hunger. She left little half-foot prints in the dust as she used the balls of her feet to walk herself forward and back.

Mommy and daddy were still in bed sick, which they had been for awhile. Daddy needed to get better soon, or he wouldn’t be able to teach her about farming, like he and mommy promised.

They lived in a small farmhouse, which used to be worker housing for the large farm mommy and daddy had inherited from daddy’s parents. The big farmhouse got burned down when the bad stuff happened (she didn’t know what bad stuff, but daddy said so, so it must be true), so daddy’s parents had moved in this house with mommy’s parents a long time ago. The farm had always been in the family, her parents had told her time and again, and it was the perfect place for them to live now that everything was different (she didn’t really know what that meant, not really, because it had always been this way since she could remember… a whole 5 years old last month!). It was the perfect place because it was very old and still had a hand-pump well with good water. Water they could use to still grow a garden and have food.

It wasn’t enough to make a big farm run, mommy had told her, but at least they wouldn’t be hungry or thirsty.

Mommy’s family used to work for daddy’s family, back before the bad thing happened. You could tell when you looked at her that she carried a mixed heritage, that’s what daddy said. She had the same light skin as daddy, even a few freckles, but she had the black hair and dark brown eyes like mommy. Mommy’s family came from a place called Mexico a very long time ago and worked very hard so that they could stay here and live. She didn’t know where Mexico was, but she knew it was somewhere south.

The child planted the balls of her feet in the dirt to stop her gentle swinging and hunched herself over in pain. Her tummy hurt so bad and she was so hungry, except she knew she couldn’t eat even if she had food because her tummy hurt so much.

It was the water. Something had happened to it, and it had made mommy and daddy sick last week. They were still in bed sick, and hadn’t woken up for over three days. The sick was even making them start to smell funny. She knew she shouldn’t drink the water, daddy said something bad got in the water; but she’d been so very thirsty last night that she couldn’t help herself.

The cramps grew more painful, and she felt like she was going to throw up.

The sun moved in the sky, casting its light over the parched land, with its one small house and a green square in the earth, where plants grew and would eventually bear. In the house, the child’s parents lay in an embrace; their lasts efforts to find comfort when the illness overtook them. Now they lay in death’s parody of a loving couple embracing in bed, while their happy child played on her swing set.

The child began to gently swing again, but this time it was just the breeze. The child was dead, her final convulsions had tightened her grip on the swing’s chains, plantar flexed her feet, her toes pointing to the ground. Bloody vomitus trailed down the front of her dress, and her dark brown eyes bulged behind eyelids that were squeezed shut from her final moments of pain.

As the breeze blew, ten small toes dragged ten small furrows in the dusty soil.


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Updated 06-16-10 at 01:37 AM by Benjamin Burch

Life , Virtual Life


    asianator365's Avatar
    That's...kindof disturbing.
    Benjamin Burch's Avatar
    Post apocalyptia is not supposed to be a pretty place