The Long-Grass Field

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two sisters head into the field below their house to look for one's lost pin under the gloomy eye of the Watcher Tree.
A short story written for an English assignment.

Submitted: March 18, 2016

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Submitted: March 18, 2016

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I was playing on my favorite rock out back of our house with some little stones when Erin came and sat next to me. She didn’t care that she was getting her new clothes dirty, just like I didn’t care that I was getting my new clothes dirty. Hers were green. Mine were blue. Blue was better than green, I thought, ‘cause then people could find you if you got hurt in the woods. Erin always said that if we never got hurt in the woods, then it wouldn’t matter, and then she always said that green would always be better because then we could sneak up on people and spy on them. But the clothes were already ours, so I couldn’t change from blue to green, so I became blue.

“Hi, Bear.” Erin picked up a stone that had died in my mind, so I changed my mind so that Erin’s stone was still alive and could play with my stones. “Mom and Dad are at work again.” I shrugged and killed off another stone in my head, throwing it down into the long-grass field, towards that evil forked birch tree a long ways down. “Did that stone die?”

“Yeah. Spots attacked it.” I held up Spots the stone for emphasis, then went back to my game. “Where’d your shiny zing go?”

“At the far rock, I think,” she offered. I threw another stone away, again killed by Spots. “I think I dropped it when we were hunting for dragon eggs yesterday.”

“Oh.” Erin clashed her Stripes with my Spots, so we had a stone battle. We both got cut. “But Ms. Ericka gave ze shinies to us, so how could you lose yours?” I dashed her finger with Spots, but she twisted Stripes and knocked Spots from my hand. Spots died out in the long-grass field. “I still have mine.”

“Yeah,” Erin responded. “We need to get it back before Mom and Dad come home.”

“But you said it’s at ze scary rock.”

“Yeah… That’s why I need you to come with me, sis.” She shrugged, her shoulders in green so that she could spy on people in the woods. “It’s too creepy to go down there alone.” Erin put Stripes the winner on the highest point of the friendly rock. I’d learned in class that this kind of rock was called a “boulder,” and that it was like the Old Man of the Mountain and had gotten here during the Ice Age, all the way from Canada. The Dragon’s Head rock was a boulder, too, I thought, but it could also be a dragon’s fossil. I’d learned about fossils because Erin told me about them. The scary rock down in the long-grass field was also a boulder, but it wasn’t friendly or cool like Dragon’s Head or Friendly.

“But down zere’s scary,” I muttered. “We should wait for Mom or Dad to help us.” Erin shook her head rapidly, and her brown hair looked like the bird’s nest on one of those pretty pillar-y things on the house with the doctor guy and all the cats.

“Remember when we went into the top of the garage on our own, or walked the lupine path without telling Mom or Dad?” Erin shrugged. “We weren’t supposed to do that, either.”

“Zey called Dave the Policeman because we didn’t get home on time.” I blinked. “He has a nice car.” Erin shook her head again. I don’t think any birds could’ve lived in her hair because she shook her head too much.

“That doesn’t matter. And remember all the times we get left home alone while Mom and Dad are working, and how scary it gets at night?” Erin pointed down into the long-grass field to the forked birch. The scary boulder was right next to that tree, and that’s what scared me the most. That tree watched the entire long-grass field, and if we went down there, it would reach out and grab us. It had done that to a bear, once. That’s why there were those three long scratches down its left fork. “Well, if we go down there, we won’t be scared of the dark anymore.”

“But it’s creepy. I don’t wanna go.” I grabbed some unnamed stone and threw it into the long-grass field.

“Please, sis? I can’t go down there alone either,” she shuddered. “The lightning tree is just too… wrong.” I crossed my arms and pouted. Lighting tree, bear tree, forked birch, however you called it, it would always be Watcher Tree.

“Can we pick raspberries after?”

“They’re in season right now, so yeah!” Erin hopped to her feet and didn’t bother to brush all the little pebbles and dust off of her legs. I scrambled to my feet, too, and tucked most of the bottom of my blue-flower dress into my dark blue pants. Sis scrambled off of the rock on the short-grass side, and I hopped down next to her.

To get into the long-grass field, we had to climb down a little hill on our hands and knees so we wouldn’t fall and hurt ourselves. People would see me if I did hurt myself ‘cause I was wearing blue, but Mom and Dad wouldn’t be happy if I hurt myself. Once Erin hurt herself when we were playing chase because she ran into a little clothesline during the Lupine Festival on the day all the old ladies were showing off their hand-made blankets. Mom and Dad weren’t happy because they had to call an ambulance, and I think that scared them, but I’m not really sure. Erin was okay, though, just dizzy. I had to play with the Dauphnes down at the bottom of the hill near the candy store for the next week. Erin doesn’t like the Dauphnes, so I didn’t want to get hurt, so I climbed down the little hill on my hands and knees. Erin lifted me to my feet when I got to the bottom. I could already feel Watcher Tree looking at me. Sis could too.

We needed to look at our feet as we walked, and Mom would be proud, because we had to lift our feet up really high to move, otherwise we would’ve tripped. She’s always trying to get us to lift our feet when we walk, and she says it’s so we don’t look like we’re little slouches. So, Erin and I lifted our feet high to get over the fallen branches and little streams running through the long-grass field, and Mom would’ve been proud.

Erin grabbed my hand once we were half-way to Watcher Tree. We could feel it, really, really strongly, like there was one of our dragon eggs sitting on top of our stomach. I know I could feel it. It was the same feeling I always got when I got near the Forbidden Woods, or the Forbidden Road, or even near Hidden Pond in the woods past the pond Erin and I always caught tadpoles at. Here, though, in the long-grass field, it was a really big stone pressing on my stomach. The other places were always just pebbles. Maybe I had a boulder in me from the ice age.

My hand started hurting because Erin was holding me so tight, but I didn’t mind. She could feel a boulder too, especially now that we were entering the brambles portion of the long-grass field. Here, the grass was past my waist, and I knew that we’d be pulling ticks off of ourselves later. Little things like little creeks were hard to see, so my left foot got very wet. I hoped Dad wouldn’t think we’d been playing with the hose again. He doesn’t like it when we play with the hose when he’s not at home, because he says that water costs money, but I find that strange, because there’re tons of rivers and ponds and creeks in the woods, and the water there is good.

Erin tripped on some grass and got scratched in brambles, but the green of her shirt was too green to match the brambles, so it didn’t matter because she could be seen. I pulled her to her feet as best as I could, because I couldn’t go farther without her, and I couldn’t go back without her, because Watcher Tree especially watches people who are alone.

We kept walking after she stood back up, and her grip got tight on my hand again, but that was okay. I was scared too. We were nearly at Watcher Tree by now, and it hadn’t done anything yet, and that was scarier than if it had done something by now. It was going to wait for us to be really, really close, then it would strike. That’s what I would do if I were Watcher Tree.

The grass was shorter around Watcher Tree. It was shorter in a ring. It wasn’t a perfect ring, like what Erin or Dad would mow on sunny days, but it was still a ring of short grass in the long-grass field around Watcher Tree. I didn’t go into the ring, and neither did Erin. That ring was Watcher Tree’s guard, and not even the Dauphne kids were stupid enough to go into it, and they were pretty stupid, according to Erin. We walked in the long grass around the short grass around the tree because the scary boulder was not in the short grass.

I thought Watcher Tree turned as we walked around its short grass ring, but that would’ve been silly, because Watcher Tree is a tree and it can’t move like that. It could fight, though, and snatch people, and it was strong, and it could watch. That’s how it had gotten those long scratches down its left fork. A giant bear a long time ago had walked into the short grass circle and tried to climb Watcher Tree, but Watcher Tree didn’t like that, so it attacked the bear. The bear fought back because it was a bear, and it managed to scratch Watcher Tree really well, but Watcher Tree just batted it away and made it disappear. That’s why the deer and moose and coyotes and all the other creatures will go into the ring, but the bears never do. Least, I’ve never seen them go into the ring.

Erin let go of my hand because we reached the scary boulder and needed to search for her shiny thing that Ms. Ericka had given her. She began looking under the scary boulder, so I climbed to the top of it and started looking there. It wasn’t a flat boulder like Friendly, and it wasn’t bumpy on the top like Dragon’s Head. It was shaped like the roof of a house, nice and slanted, and steeper on one side than the other. No snow ever stuck on it during the winter. I climbed up the less steep side because it nearly touched the ground of the long-grass field, and I wasn’t tall enough the climb up the other side. Watcher Tree couldn’t see the less steep side as well as the steep side either, so that was good, too.

On the less steep side of scary rock, my back was to the woods. The woods were comfortable because Watcher Tree couldn’t watch them, and even though big and scary critters came out of the woods sometimes, they never bothered sis and me when we were together. My hands were getting covered in little shiny stones. I knew it was called mica, because Dad and Mom and Erin and I had gone mica hunting once, and that was fun, and Erin had a school friend named Micah. It was a pretty type of rock because it was really shiny, but it was also flexible and easily broken, so it wasn’t worth it to take any. Not when Watcher Tree was watching, anyway.

“Have you found it, Bear?” Erin called to me beneath the steep side of the boulder. I shook my head.

“No. But I found mica,” I shouted back as I looked at a band of white running through the otherwise grey boulder. “And some quartz, or marble, I zink.”

“Can you get any?” Erin’s voice sounded muted. There were lots of ticks right now because you could see them on the grass, so we’d need to be checked for ticks later, and I wondered who had the most ticks on them, me or her. My school-friend Caroline and I would play a game whenever I had a playdate at her house where we’d run around in her long-grass field because it didn’t have a creepy watching tree and then, after a few minutes, we’d go back inside to the bathroom and count how many ticks we’d collected before we flushed them all down the toilet. The most we’d ever collected in one run was twenty-five per person. Her parents weren’t very happy, but they were all the big kind of ticks, so they weren’t dangerous. I wondered if Erin and I would manage to beat that record. I hoped we wouldn’t get any of the small kind of ticks, either. Maybe Watcher Tree would purposefully plant a few on us.

“No, I can’t.” I pulled on some of the quartz or marble with my fingers, but couldn’t get any to come lose, so I grabbed a pebble on top of scary stone and hammered at the quartz or marble with that as Watcher Tree watched. The pebble wore down before the quartz or marble. “We should go back. I want raspberries.”

When Erin finally stood, I could see her. She had grass in her brown hair, and she had some mud on her nose, and was holding a nice big slug in her fingers, which she set on the steep side of scary rock for watcher tree to watch. We’d sometimes play with the slugs after it rained, and we’d make a slug resort for them. That, or we’d take salt and our bikes and clear trails through them on the sidewalk under the lilac bushes.

I slid down the not-steep side so watcher tree couldn’t watch me as well and make the boulder in my stomach even bigger. I think I would’ve been sick if it’d gotten any bigger, kind of like when I get my headaches. As soon as my feet hit the long-grass field’s ground, Erin took my hand again, and we began walking out of Watcher Tree’s territory, being really careful to not walk in its circle of short grass.

“Mom and Dad,” Erin stated, “aren’t going to be happy that I lost the pin Ms. Ericka gave me.” Instead of walking through the brambles, this time, we walked around them through a patch of those Velcro plants. They clung to both of us and kind of hurt, but once, I’d accidentally rolled in them when I was getting to my favorite blackberry patch, so these few on me were really nothing. “What should I tell them?”

“I know!” I shouted. Erin looked down at me. “’Member when I lost my angel shiny in zat other long-grass field and zen I went looking but I couldn’t find it?”

“Yeah. You were freaking out.”

“Yeah!” I grinned. “But zen Dad said zat a bird who loves shiny zings took it for his nest, and zat we wouldn’t find ze bird, because it’s a bird zat doesn’t like to be found because it’s a zeif, so it was okay zat I lost my shiny, because a shiny-crow zing had taken it!” I beamed at my older sister, the boulder in my stomach shrinking so that it was just the size of the smallest of our three dragon eggs. Watcher Tree hadn’t taken us when we were in its territory, and we were nearly out of its territory, so why would it take us now?

“Are you saying that I should blame it on the bird?”

“Yeah! It’s a zeif bird!” I kept smiling, and Erin’s grip on my hand lessened.

“Okay,” she shrugged. Her shirt was a different green than the long-grass field, because I thought that the long-grass field was actually called “hay”, like that the stuff that the horses ate. It wouldn’t matter though, because she didn’t get hurt, and we’d reached the end of the long-grass field and Watcher Tree couldn’t get us anymore. I know because the boulder in my stomach had disappeared, and Erin had let go of my hand to pull a big tick off of my shirt. “Let’s go get some raspberries, then!”

“Yeah!”


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