Reads: 80


He could feel the morning arrive he yawned and looked over to his father's bed. 

“Father … father” Andrew called out “Its early morning, past time to get up, the logs won’t cut themselves.” He said through a stretch as he smothered his face into his pillow.

“Though sometimes I wish they did,” he said as he raised his head and rubbed the morning light from his blue lavender eyes.

With a yawn and a stretch Andrew raised his head as a small memory of his dream came to him as he recalled a brilliant flash of glowing light, the woods and a scream … but nothing else.

Suddenly Andrew's father cried out like a wounded animal and he shook slowly back and forth cradling himself. 

Andrew shook the dream from his mind.

“Amanda?” Andrew called “Amanda please, can you help father, he seems to be having a bad one this morning.”

“Yes … yes of course Andrew” Mrs. Salts replied from the back room.

Mrs. Salts arose from her cot in Mr. Abrams house, James had had another fit in the late afternoon and a storm had come and Andrew insisted Mrs. Salts spend the night; she hurried over quickly as she tied up her hair and brushed herself off.

“Come James let’s make you some breakfast and a nice cup of tea.” She said as she reached down and grabbed ahold of James’s arm and lifted him from bed.

James’s early routines of getting dressed and shaved were always by the help of the nurse Amanda.

 Andrew laid there a moment while Amanda started the kettle and put butter in a small pan, she then went over to James and dressed him slowly and helped shave the morning rust from his face.

Andrew arose adjusted the straps from his suspenders to his shoulders and ran his fingers through his black wavy hair and withdrew the dusted curtains covering his windows.

Andrew stared off into the distance outside, he pulled up his pants and wrapped a worn out work shirt around him he quickly grabbed his coat and gloves and adjusted his boots ready for the morning or at least as ready as he could be for such a day. 

Turning towards the beds he set the sheets and blankets, took a broom to the worn out wooden floors and cleared the table.

The doctor Mr. Rocklin would be there shortly to see to his father and write up reports, Andrew decided to saw some logs and give as payment to the good doctor.

“After all” he said to himself. “It will be a cold winter this year.”

Andrew walked towards the fire place where he kept his money and his most valuable possession, it had been in his family for generations passed down from his father and given to him on his 10th birthday, a silver chained necklace with a small square honey colored gemstone. He kept it stashed in a hollow brick in the chimney.

Andrew carefully withdrew the necklace and the money. 

A merchant whom Andrew had met at the bakers back in February had told him of better prospects in America and Andrew had decided to board a ship that would take his father and him to a better land, that was the idea of course but it seemed that life had altered his way, he had fallen in love … with an angel ... Hazel.

He remembered it well, they had met during a most dreadful rain storm in April, he had just left the shop of the local chemist when the climax of the storm hit, thunder roared overhead and pockets of rain drenched him bare he pulled up his coat and quickly turned down Bleak street when he slipped in a puddle and fell right into the arms of Hazel knocking them both to the ground.

Andrew reached for her and his top hat and profusely apologized, he jammed his top hat on his head which was full of rainwater and it flowed down his face soaking him more thoroughly.

Hazel smiled and began to giggle, Andrew could not help but smile and laugh out also, since then he had treasured the last six months, he felt something incredible with Hazel something that was powerful and beyond emotion he could only describe the feeling as fate …

Andrew shook his head and placed his money back into the chimney brick and pulled the necklace around his neck “fate” he thought, a silly notion.

He adjusted the necklace and fidgeted with the stone.

He ruffled his hair and scratched the back of his head, a small birthmark like a spiral burned at the back of his neck as he pondered his thoughts.

A small surprising gasp from the nurse Amanda brought him back to reality.

“O for goodness sake ” Mrs. Salts huffed as the ground shook ever so suddenly, she quickly ran over to the mantelpiece to stop the paintings and flower pots from falling over, after the quake had passed she promptly took a seat in an old rickety chair.

“God save us from the monsters below” she said with her hand clutching her chest.

“Just a small tremor Mrs. Salts, nothing to fear… Just Mother Nature telling us where we stand.” said Andrew with a smile “Anyway … I’m off” he said as he opened the door.

“O Andrew, please eat something before you go. You won’t have the strength for such work if you don’t.” Amanda said as stood and began to prepare breakfast.

“It’s all right, I feel fine.” he said “If the doctor should come around, tell him I will have his payment ready by tomorrow. I’m off to the woods to find some solid logs, be back before supper … goodbye father” he said as he kissed James forehead.

James stared off in the distance no acknowledgment of any kind; sill and almost lifeless.

Andrew sighed and looked up “Take good care of him Amanda.”

“Of course Andrew” she replied back with a strained sad smile.

Andrew stepped outside into the cold greying day.

“What a morning” he said with a small grumble.

He walked to the back of the woodshed, grabbed his axe and headed off into the woods following the trail that lead to Elephant Rock.

As he wondered about the woods the concern for his father flooded his mind, what was he to do if his father was taken away and what would happen if he had to leave the town?

The idea swirled bitterly as his thoughts turned to his small broken family, he wished he had more help, he wished he could remember his mother, where was she, where had she gone?

Andrew never knew anything of her, ever since he was born, she had not been there, he didn’t even know her name and back when his father did speak he never spoke of her. 

Was she even still alive?

His thoughts continued to swirl bitterly, he needed someone to talk too, he needed help, slowly his mind began to crawl from its darkened depths and turned to Hazel.

Andrew smiled knowing if anything he always had her to talk to; he remembered that soon it was to be her sixteenth birthday; she had celebrated with him for his sixteenth birthday just a week ago.

He smiled as he thought of a gift to give to her.

“ … Flowers?” he thought as he looked around, there were no lilacs, Hazel’s most favorite flower growing this time of year.

“ … Chocolates” He thought again, Hazel did have a sweet tooth for such things especial if it had caramel.

“ … Books” Maybe he thought as he remembered her talking about all sorts of subjects from astronomy to adventure.

Hazel loves reading he whispered to himself, but what kind of book, Adventure … Romance … Mystery?

“Do girls like mysteries?” he thought slowly shaking his head, suddenly a sound came from the woods surrounding him, a sound blowing swiftly throughout the trees, a sound like … A scream.

He felt a pinch of fear as he looked upwards towards the sky it was drizzled with soot colored clouds, little pockets of light peeked throughout and shined bright but nothing out of the ordinary occurred.

Slowly he shook his head without a second thought and pressed on, he came suddenly to a small clearing and ahead of him to his delight he saw Hazel.

 “As luck would have it, my beautiful angel is here.” he proclaimed to himself happily, a few frozen twigs snapped loudly under Andrews boots as he made his way towards her.

Hazel turned and stared right at Andrew, a small smile and a wave he expressed but Hazel turned away and started to run. 

“What is this?” Andrew smiled to himself as he gave chase after her the faster Andrew ran the quicker Hazels pace seemed to stride.

Andrew pumped up his speed till he was right behind her and grabbed ahold of her arm, that’s when Hazel let out a terrible scream that petrified the silence of the ice covered forest.


Submitted: July 17, 2019

© Copyright 2020 Mark Anthony. All rights reserved.


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Book / Young Adult