Harvest

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Her soil was turned, and her vineyard scraped bare. There would be no harvest.

Submitted: August 04, 2018

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Submitted: August 04, 2018

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It was 6 a.m. On a normal morning, Leigh would be preparing to leave home. She’d be mapping out lessons in her head and thinking of mini activities to make smoother segues into the content. This morning, though, was very different.

She was awake, alright, but there would be no school for her. Not today. She lay in a ball on her side of the bed, squeezing her pillow tightly and staring ahead at the blinding light entering the sheer, white curtains that covered the window.

Her eyes ached and began to throb violently at the realization that the sun would only get brighter. Still, she refused to turn—to move—to speak. She faintly acknowledged her existence through the continuous sinking feeling within her chest.

A shadowy figure eclipsed her view. Was she… was she going blind?

“Leigh…”

A hand extended from the obscurity and clasped her own two hands which were tightly tucked underneath her chin.

She breathed.

“I’ll get your shoes.”

Slowly, she sat up and pressed the tips of her bare toes against the hardwood floor. Still staring into the blinding white light, she closed her eyes and exhaled.

Pain.

Her throat tightened, threatening to close, and her nose began to leak. Her eyes, tired and dark, glowed a deep red.

‘Ere long, she convulsed, feeling waves of disappointment vibrate through her. Her belly was alight with regret and despair and though she cried, the steady stream of water escaping her tightly closed lids couldn’t quench the fire within.

She was prideful. Foolish. She had committed a grave sin and now, she had to suffer punishment. No form of repentance would ever quell her deep regret.

The figure arrived once again, holding her shoes.

“I’ll help.”

Daniel knelt, carefully placing a hand upon Leigh’s heel and helped slide her foot into one shoe. Then, the other.

Then, he stood, took her hand, and encouraged her to stand with him. Leigh arose for a short while and slumped into Daniel’s arms, barely holding herself aloft.

Inhale.

He was a tower. A pillar of strength. A—body, made for destruction. He was fearless. But in this moment, she breathed the stench of trepidation emanating from his person and she, too, became afraid. And although he wanted to scream, Daniel lifted Leigh into his arms and made his bowels like steel.

*

It was cold. She would always remember this. Her body shivered, and Daniel’s large hands couldn’t offer adequate warmth.

He encouraged her to look into his smiling eyes, but she couldn’t. Lest she die of shame. So, she picked a bright spot in the ceiling and stared ahead.

It hurt. She would always remember this. Her body tightened at the intrusion, and she squeezed Daniel’s hand for comfort but could find none.

It was soft. She would always remember this. Like… wet clay or—thick grape jelly, far past its expiration date. And, prickly… like colletias. Slick… like bloodied roses.

It was done.

*


© Copyright 2018 Jennifer Brighton. All rights reserved.

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