It was dawn. The sun shone bright, just peeping over the horizon. The rays of golden sunlight reflected off of the drops of morning dew, causing little blinding droplets of light to shine above all else. At a nearby farm, the cock crowed happily.
From atop her favorite climbing tree, Elmira Tims, age thirteen, sat intently, studying the ripples in the Arkansas River, just below her feet. She admired the way the water had different ripple patterns in different places. Water spiders swam past her, giving her no recognition.
Elmira loved the view from the branch she always sat atop. She could see across the Arkansas River, and look out between the trees into the open plains. Many a day she'd catch sights of some cowboys cracking their whips at running bulls as they dashed across the plains. Watching from up above made Elmira feel as if she were a bird. But that was ridiculous, if she were a bird, she could fly. Fly away from everything bad in her life. She could fly from her father, fly from Kansas, and fly from the horrid times.
Elmira sighed as she gently swung her feet back and forth, her bare skin feeling the cool morning breeze. It had been a long time since she had been this relaxed. The last few months had been hell on earth for Elmira. Although she believed in the concept of hell on earth, she was sure that she hadn't found it quite yet.
Her life was horrible, she knew it, too. Between loosing practically everyone in her family, and having her father go down the rough side of life, Elmira was sure she'd be alone in the world forever.
Her father, Jeremiah Tims, was a drunken man of forty five. He was mean, and in every way, did everything he could to harm Elmira. Whether it was insulting her looks, beating her senseless, or using her hard, he always seemed to want to come out on top in Elmira's life. Ever since his wife had died, Jeremiah Tim had gotten it in his mind that it was Elmira's fault in the whole lot of it. How was it Elmira's fault that her mother had died after birthing a baby girl?
Elmira was afraid of her father. She was more afraid of him when he had a whiskey bottle in his grasp. Whiskey was very easy to come by in Kansas, so her father possessed it often. She refused to travel with him to town to purchase his supply of whiskey. He often bought it from buffalo hunters, and Elmira was afraid of buffalo hunters.
She was a quiet young girl, who was often coveted by many of the men who met her. They thought her so pretty that everyone of them had offered her father money to be able to wed her. But it always ended the same. Her father bests everyone. Elmira soon gave up hope after he beat the last man practically to death. It was true she hated her father enough that she'd do anything just to get away from him. And marriage seemed like a good way to go. She just had to find the right guy.