February - a short story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic

February, a young girl with a strange name.

 

February – a short story

 

 

February skipped happily through the huge house, down the expansive staircase and out of the big oak door. She was heading towards the well, which her mother had explicitly forbidden her to go near, but February thought, ‘what harm can it do?’

February sat down by the well and pulled out the battered book from her dress pocket. This was the book that had taught her to read and she loved it. After a while February got bored of reading, and so she climbed on to the edge of the well and began a journey across the narrow wooden plank that ran across the hole, pretending she was a world famous tightrope walker making her way across Niagara Falls.

Suddenly February slipped, she fell forward, bounced her knee on the plank and rolled off the edge. She flung her arms out in front of her and managed to catch on to the edge of the plank. There February dangled, her nails digging into the almost rotten wood in an effort to stop herself dropping to her death. She tried to heave herself up back onto the plank, but it was no use, she wasn’t strong enough. Part of her wanted to shout for her mother, but she knew she would not hear February all the way down in the third garden. She also knew that once she was home and safe, her mother would shout at her for going near the well in the first place, and she would be sent to her room.

Just as her fingers were beginning to slip, skinny arms appeared over the wall of the well, and bony fingers closed around her wrists. As she was hauled up and over the wall, she saw a young boy, he was very thin and hardly looked as if he could take February’s weight, but he never the less managed it. They both collapsed in a heap on the floor, him trying to catch his breath after the struggle, and February herself bursting into tears.

“Hey, don’t cry , you’re safe now, you should have been crying when you thought you were gonna fall” said the boy

“They’re tears of relief; everyone does it when they’re relieved. Don’t you know anything?” she said matter of factly

“Oh, well then I’m very sorry, I wasn’t aware of this fact” replied the boy sharply

“Well, anyway, thank you very much for coming to my rescue but I can tell you I would have managed to get myself up eventually”

“Well, you’re welcome. And I’m sure you would have. My name’s Will by the way”

“Pleased to meet you, my name is February”

“February? What sort of name is February?”

“It’s the one my mother and father chose for me thank you very much” she answered smartly

“O.K. sorry. I’ve just never met anyone named February before. I mean, I’ve met, April’s and June’s and May’s and I even met an Augustus once, but never a February”

“Well, now you have, so you can run along and tell all your friends”

The boy looked down at his worn shoes and began to turn crimson.

“Oh, now it appears to be my turn to say sorry. Did I say something to offend you?” asked February sheepishly

“Well, it’s just…I don’t have any friends” whispered Will

“Oh? Erm… well, now you do” she extended her hand and Will gingerly took it in his, and they shook, and they smiled at each other.

You see, although she would never admit it, February had no friends either. She had always tried her hardest to make friends, and she was a very confident girl, it was just that… well… she tended to get on peoples nerves. She was a very intelligent girl for her age, but sometimes this was more of a hindrance than a help, she would contradict people, all the time. And there was her way of asking questions that people found hard to give answers to. And God help anyone who misspelled anything.

“Well, now that we’re friends… would you like to play a game? Or we could go to the park?” asked Will

“Welllllll… I’m not supposed to go outside the gates” February replied

“I don’t think you were supposed to go near the well either but you did that”

“How did you know that?”

“Oh, children are never supposed to go near wells, or cross roads, or play with fire. But they always do”

“Yes, we do don’t we?” she laughed “I suppose it’s the being told not to that does it. I bet if grown ups never mentioned things like wells and roads and fires, then there’d be far less accidents involving them”

“I expect you’re right. So what would you like to do then?”

“Erm… well I did hear that the farm over the way has a maize maze, I’d quite like to try that”

“Ok, that’s what we’ll do then” and he led the way down the long driveway, out of the gates and across the road towards Simkins farm

“Now all we have to do is find some fire” Said February with a mischievous grin

“Nah, two out of 3 aint bad” they both laughed and decided almost telepathically that he was right; playing with fire would definitely have been pushing it.

After the maize maze, they went to the park and played on the swings, and then climbed the trees in the wood, which February thought must be every unladylike but then decided she didn’t care, she was having far too much fun with will. It was nice to have a friend. They had an adventure where February pretended to be a damsel in distress and the good knight sir William had to rescue her from the evil queen (February also played this part). Then they went down to the lake where they looked for fish but didn’t manage to spot any. Will showed off his balancing skills as he walked right out into the middle (Almost) of the lake on a long branch.

“I don’t think I should try that, after my near fatal fall this morning” said February

“Ok, so what should we do now?” replied will

“Well, we’ve had some very big adventures; maybe we should call it a day”

“Oh no, we can’t, it’s still early in the afternoon, there’s so much more we could do”

February thought about this and then decided Will was right, she would be in trouble when she got home anyway, so she might as well enjoy her freedom while she still had it “Ok, let’s build a fort”

“Yeah, ok let’s go looking for some wood then. You go that way” pointing “And I’ll go this way. Meet back here in 10 minutes”

They built a great fort, and when it was finished they both went inside, lay down exhausted and fell asleep. When they awoke the sky was growing dark and it was beginning to get cold. February sat up with a start “Oh no, I’m going to be in so much trouble, my mother will have called me in for tea and noticed that I wasn’t there, and, oh, she’ll be going spare” she moaned

“Oh, well, ok, I guess it was time we were getting back”

“Won’t your parents be worried? You’ve been gone all day” February asked

“No, I don’t have any parents any more” replied Will sadly

“Oh, oh, I’m so sorry. But you must have some adult who is missing you”

“No, I don’t have anyone”

“But then, where do you live?”

“Around. I live everywhere and anywhere I like, and I don’t have anyone to tell me what to do.”

“But, who makes you your tea? And who tucks you in at night? And if you hurt yourself or get sick, who takes you to the doctors?”

“I don’t have anybody to do those things for me. But its ok because I don’t get sick any more, I used to, all the time, I remember my mother would sit with me night after night, she would bring me medicine, and make sure I was warm. But then one day my mother wasn’t there any more, or my father. But I also didn’t feel sick any more, and I could go outside and visit the park and the lake and the woods, and although I was really sad that I didn’t have parents any more, I was happy that I was better”

“Oh” said February blinking back tears “That’s such a sad story”

“Anyway that was a long time ago”

They walked in silence for a long time until they reached the gate through which they had left earlier.

“I’ll walk you back to the well” said Will

“Thank you, my mother will be so angry I don’t think I could face her alone”

Then they heard voices coming from further up the path, and the sounds of sobbing. February saw her mother crouched down by the well, crying into the arms of February’s father, he was crying too. February didn’t think she had ever seen her father cry.

“Oh, no, they must think I’ve been kidnapped”

“I don’t think so February”

“Yes it must be that” she ran towards her mother and father crying “Mum, Dad, it’s ok, don’t worry I’m not lost, I’m here” but they seemed not to hear her “Mum, I’m so sorry” still there was no reply “Oh, dad don’t be mad at me, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stay out all day, I wont do it again I promise. Mum please don’t give me the silent treatment”

“They can’t hear you February” Wills voice was right behind her

“Of course they can, they’re just trying to punish me”

There were men approaching now, with a ladder and some ropes.

“No, really they can’t”

“Stop it Will” she began to cry

“My name’s not Will any more, it used to be, but I don’t really have one now”

“You’re talking nonsense”

“People have many different names for me, but I don’t have one for myself. I just am”

“Will you’re scaring me, I don’t understand”

“I think you do, you just don’t want to”

“But, but, you saved me. I was slipping, I was going to fall, but I didn’t, you saved my life”

“I just saved your spirit, that’s all. That’s my… job… I suppose”

“No, it can’t be, you can’t have a job, you’re just a boy”

“I was just a boy, a very sick boy, but now I’m… well… I’m here to help you”

“What about my parents?”

“They’ll be sad, for a long time, but they will find peace eventually, just like my parents. And one day you will see them again”

“But I can’t leave them here”

“You have to; you have to come with me”

“And what if I don’t?”

“You could stay here, but you would be alone, for ever, and you could see your parents every day, but they would never be able to see you, or talk to you, they wouldn’t know you were even there, and you would be miserable for the rest of eternity. Do you think they would want that?”

“No” February was whispering now, but she had stopped crying

“Then it’s time to go”

February walked over to her mother and father and kissed them both once on the cheek. Then she walked back over to will. He stretched out his hand and she took it in hers, and together they faded into nothing, leaving behind them the group of men pulling the broken body from the well, and the man and woman crying into each others arms.


Submitted: April 17, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Nicola Chudasch. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Chris Gerard

A beautiful story, beautifully written. I thought at first it was heading one way, then another and by halfway, I had a sneaky feeling what was happening, but unusually, that didn't detract from the story at all. It was haunting and moving all the way through. Great stuff.

Thu, April 19th, 2012 1:24pm

Author
Reply

awww thank you so much for reading and leaving your comments, it's appreciated :o)

Thu, April 19th, 2012 1:39pm

Insane Membrane

Oh you are to good for here , as is Mr G above I really enjoyed this and read every word ( some times I dont for I am a "trained speed reader ") all the rage in the eighties ...
Well done I shall recommend you when the occasion arises

Thu, April 19th, 2012 7:43pm

Author
Reply

thank you so much, i really appreciate your comments :o)

Thu, April 19th, 2012 1:38pm

ClarinetCandy

Wow, that certainly wasn't the ending I was expecting! Great short story :D

Wed, May 2nd, 2012 5:55pm

Author
Reply

oh thankyou so much for reading and commenting :o)

Wed, May 2nd, 2012 12:42pm

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