The Strawberry Women

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Growing up was very strange for Michael. In the middle of no where, living next to a strawberry field that two very odd women occupied.
Was written for class assignment and refined.

Submitted: July 12, 2017

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Submitted: July 12, 2017

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The Strawberry Women

Children are too young to understand what parts of the world are good and what parts are evil. They are too young to identify the issues. I had never grown out of it myself. I only wished I had grown out of the density to save my own life.

 

I lived full time with my father. Narrow visits with my mother. They split up when I was about five. According to my mother, my father had become distant, turned into a completely different person. I don’t really know what my father’s side but I once heard him tell his friends it was because of me.

I didn’t really understand then why it would’ve been my fault but as I grew up I realized it was because due to having no siblings and being home schooled, I had no friends. Schooling was my father’s duty. I had a controversy with learning. It took me a while to grab and keep grasp of anything my father was saying half the time. It was very exasperating for him. Balancing my difficult schooling on top of his job.

My father was rude and scary sometimes but he wasn’t a bad person. A while before things started to crumble he was a cheery family man. He always found time to spend with me after work and as soon as he walked in the doorway he’d give my mother a kiss on the cheek. After a year or so his job was more difficult, I wasn’t progressing in my education, and my mother wasn’t singing while doing little tasks anymore.

 

Then they split up. My father moved to an old country house next to a strawberry field. My mother moved into a nice apartment in a big city not far from where we used to live. Going between them was very difficult for me because they were two polar opposite people in completely different worlds and I had to pretend to be someone different every time I returned to one of them. It was easier not having to be shoved back and forth constantly. Truth is I never was able to figure out who I was myself. And living with people nothing like one another wasn’t going to help me realize.  

 

My father quit his job and began working a farm in a field on the other side of the house. The strawberry field was on the right, his field was on the left. The strawberry field belonged to the folks who lived in the red house across the lane from us. I never met the residents who lived there until I was about seven years old. A tall woman with rose red hair and chestnut-maroon eyes and her daughter who was an exact replica of her.

 

The woman’s name was Dana I recall. The day my father met her I could see the sparks in his eyes. That instant I knew he loved her. They were like two peas in a pod. They enjoyed all the same things and had never ending conversations over coffee on Sundays. One Sunday while my father and Dana sat on the porch enjoying their coffee and bonding I was sitting by the strawberry field feeling the breeze. The country air was so calming and clean unlike the city air which suffocated me with the smog and crowds. I began to close my eyes when a puff of dust rose in the air as someone sat beside me. I flinched slightly, she had startled me.

It was the little girl from across the street. I assumed she must have arrived today with her mother. I glanced at her with slightly widened eyes. “Hello…” I mumbled. “Hello!” she said in a cheery voice with a cheshire grin. I relaxed a bit as she stuck out her left palm.

 

“I’m Abilene!” she said once again very excitedly. I smiled widely in return. ‘Fitting’ I thought. I took her hand in mine and shook it. “My name’s Michael.” I said quietly. I didn’t know really how to act since I had never interacted with another child my age before. It was strange. “Would you like to be my friend Michael?” she asked with curiosity in her eyes. I was a bit taken back. I actually had someone who wanted to be my friend. “Of course.” I said still a bit stunned. “Come on Michael I want to take you through the strawberry field.” she stood up quickly, kicking dust into the air getting in my eyes and lungs. I coughed a bit and pushed myself off the ground. She grabbed my hand and began running, pulling me through the field. Strawberry fields aren’t very tall and I was struggling not to trip over the delicate fruit.

 

Every Sunday was like that. The ‘Strawberry Women’ as I called them, came over and Abilene would take my hand and run me through the field. We’d always stop dead center. We’d stand there for minutes at a time. As we got older we stayed there longer and longer. Hours usually. Then she’d let go of my hand, smile, and take off giggling back to my house. I never understood why she’d always drag me out to the strawberry field. I’d asked her many times but she would never give me an answer really. She’d just chuckle and say “Because I want to.” which wasn’t helping me understand why.

 

My father and her mother always continued their Sundays the same way too. Nothing ever changed between them and my father never talked about her when she wasn’t around. He never said anything so I never asked about her. Life continued on this way never changing until about a month after I turned eighteen. Dana and Abilene had come over to visit once again like usual but something out of the ordinary happened. Dana suggested her and my father go for a walk. My father gave her a confused expression since Sundays were sit on the porch and chat and she had never once suggested a different activity. When he asked why she just replied “Because I want to.” and giggled.

It was slightly unsettling to me because I remembered Abilene saying the exact same thing to me once. I brushed it off though, it wasn’t anything to get so bothered about.

 

So my father and Dana left and began strolling down the dirt road. Abilene wasn’t bubbly today like usual. She had a blank expression as she sat in the chair next to mine. I began to worry so I prepared us both coffee and tried to talk to her about a book I was currently reading but she just silently sipped her coffee and nodded along as I explained the plot of the book. About an hour after our parents had left the phone began to ring. I stood and excused myself to answer.

 

She looked down at her cup and smiled. Maybe she was going to be ok now.

I walked into the living room and grabbed the phone off the wall. The first thing I got as soon as I held it to my ear was Dana’s panicking voice.

 

“Micheal! Please come quick! We made it about 3 blocks from the house and your father collapsed! I was able to pick him up and carry him to the strawberry field so we would be out of the way, please hurry!”

I dropped the phone and left it dangling by the cord. I ran to the porch and grabbed Abilene’s arm. She looked up at me but wouldn’t let me pull her with me. I tugged a bit more until she finally stood and trailed behind me slowly as I ran into the field. As soon as I got there I fell to my knees grabbing my father’s head. He was freezing ice. His skin had gone more pale than snow. He was rigid. I checked his pulse, his breathing, his eyes. Nothing.

 

A while afterwards I was going through the house trying to clean it of all the memories when I began crossing strawberries. They were everywhere. I’ve discovered them on bookshelves and between cushions. I didn’t know where they originated from but after I began finding them things just became extremely creepy around my house. It was insanely silent lately and I began hearing giggles and sprinting footsteps along the wooden floorboards where no one else could be. A couple of times I’ve gotten knocks on my window facing the strawberry field but when I spin around to check it, no one is outside. The Strawberry Women hadn’t been dropping by anymore, I had come to the conclusion they moved. Their car was not home anymore and the strawberries were dying.

 

But one cloudy Sunday afternoon, a knock came to my front door. Upon opening it I found Abilene. She stood smirking, holding a basket of strawberries. I don’t know where she got them due to the matter that all of hers were dead. I accepted the basket and thanked her as I set it upon the kitchen counter. Once I turned around she was right behind me. I jerked back in shock.

“Abilene! Please don’t do that… sorry I’ve been a bit jumpy as of late.” she just giggled and grasped my hand. The snicker sounded odd. It sounds like the exact sound I’ve been hearing echoing through my halls lately.

 

I already knew where we were heading.

 

She dragged me rapidly through the field. I, as always, stumbling over the dirt mounds but never falling. Abilene was incredibly strong. As soon as we got to the center we stood in silence. Her eyes glowed on a gloomy day like this. They began to alarm me because they were seeming more fierce by the second. She captured my arm and dug her nails into my skin. They felt as sharp as claws. I took the risk and moved my eyes away from my limb to her. Her skin began to grey and become chilly. Then she grinned her cheshire grin but this time it was sick and twisted. I thought I was just hallucinating until I saw sharp fangs emerging from her burgundy gums. I launched back in fear as she started cackling murderously as she dove for my throat. A sharp pain shot through my neck and shoulder. I couldn’t assess my situation or surroundings. The world around me spinning and fading in and out of focus.

 

The last thing I saw was the grey, withered, Strawberries blending red again.

Then everything went black.

 


© Copyright 2017 Kacey Leo. All rights reserved.

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