Below is my entry for Write that Photo Contest (blog) put on by Kara Stewart, owner of Art in Photography web site and ArtinPhotography Zazzle store. You can read the winning entry at Write that Photo Contest.
Take a look at her blog, photography and Zazzle store. She's an excellent photographer and has wonderful gift items in her store.
I hope you enjoy both short stories. Please note: My story is incomplete and was meant to be an excerpt for the contest entry only.
Gracie and Her Pumpkins
Grace raised herself off her knees then stepped back as she swiped her hands. She pointed her face to the clear Spring sky and hoped rain would soon come to wet the garden soil in which she had planted seven pumpkin seeds. The seeds wold never germinate if they didn't get water soon.
Grace loved Autumn; the colors, the smells and most of all large round pumpkins. She didn't know why she loved pumpkins. She didn't plan on entering them into any contests and she certainly wasn't going to butcher them for pumpkin pie though Lord knows she did love pumpkin pie.
She tilted her head down and stared at the ground to ponder this odd obsession. Her three brothers, mom and dad, aunts, uncles and cousins thought she was a might titched upstairs and didn't bother hiding their opinion of her odd interest in pumpkins from her. In the Spring – the time she planted her seeds – she would begin hearing the comments.
“Mom, are you sure you didn't adopt Gracie? She's so weird about those stupid pumpkin seeds. Yesterday I caught her doing a rain dance around them,” said Jason, the red headed, blue eyed second oldest brother.
But Grace wasn't bothered by his opinions. If anyone looked or acted like they were adopted, it was Jason. Grace looked most like her mother with dark hair, long legs and neck, and trim features although she had her father's dark eyes. The remaining two brothers looked like their father who also had dark hair but he was short in stature and brawny about the shoulders and arms as though he had worked at bending metal upon an anvil like the old time guys in westerns.
Yes, as far as she was concerned it was Jason who was the adopted one not her.
When she looked up at the clear sky again she felt a small twitch of worry in her stomach. This wasn't uncommon. She always felt a bit worried the seeds would die from thirst, and their suffering touched her plenty; touched her as though they were small babies left on their own to survive; and like babies, the seeds could not defend themselves or feed themselves. They were left in the arms of Mother Nature.
The days turned into weeks that turned into months until it was finally fall. Grace had watched the progress of the seeds from the moment they broke ground throughout their growth of leaves then blossoms then fruit. Small pumpkins, wee things no larger than a marble appeared one after another. All seven of her plants produced ; she didn't loose one plant. While watching their progress during the summer months she often talked to them, did her rain dance and suffered ridicule from her family members. But eventually the day came when the pumpkins looked like pumpkins;solid, orange, large and round nestled upon the ground in contact with the soil. Grace was certain the soil and pumpkins talked to one another throughout the day and night when one or the other was interested in conversation.
What the two would say to one another Grace wasn't sure except for knowing without so much as a doubt the pumpkins were grateful to the soil for ensuring nutrition. Water and soil; put the two together and you can create life.
On a morning late in September when Grace was headed to the end of the driveway where the school bus would stop to pick her up along with her brothers, Grace strolled through the garden and brushed each pumpkin softly with her hand as she had done since the pumpkins were large enough to touch. But this day, this cloudy, misty, cool day she thought the pumpkins trembled beneath her touch. Shaking her head in disbelief she continued to the end of the driveway to wait.
Her day couldn't pass quickly enough for her. She thought about and wondered about the reaction the pumpkins had to her touch. She wanted to get back home, run her fingers over the pumpkins again to see if they really trembled or if she imagined they trembled. Finally, the school bus stopped at the end of her driveway. Her brothers rushed ahead of her after shoving her down in her seat. Nonplussed, she quickly scrambled up and rushed after them then ran the whole way to the garden where her pumpkins waited for her.
She stood at the garden's edge breathing hard from the run. She wanted to wait until she had caught her breath; she didn't want anything to contaminate her test of the pumpkins. Once her breathing had slowed, she walked up to the first pumpkin and held out her free hand, grasping her books in the other, and prepared to walk between the enormous fruit. Slowly she walked along one side then down the other while brushing each pumpkin with her fingertips. Just as they had done in the morning before school, each one trembled and vibrated or she thought, “shivered” as her fingers glided along the smooth skins. After she had finished, she remained at the end of the rows and stared at the group, heart pounding at the base of her throat, wondering if she should make a report to her mother of what she had discovered.
Instead, she directed questions toward the two rows.
“Are you trying to tell me something? Am I hurting you when I touch your skin? Are you uncomfortable?
But she got no answer. Not one pumpkin reacted to her questions. For a moment after she finished asking the pumpkins her questions, she thought – for only a moment, mind you – they would somehow communicate with her and put to rest what she was now going to be dreaming about in her sleep and while awake: Are the pumpkins conscious?
Half disappointed and half disgusted, she made her way over the muddy path to the old farm house. She entered the back porch allowing the screen door to slam behind her then shoved open the old door that separated the porch from the kitchen.
“Did you have a good day, Hon?” her mother said while peeling a large potato to put into a pot of stew.
“It was okay,” said Grace. She continued walking, avoiding her mother's concerned gaze and climbed the stairs to her room she fortunately didn't have to share with any of her brothers allowing her privacy to brood over the days event with the pumpkins.
“Why are they doing that?” she wondered. “I must be obsessing to much. Maybe I'm crazy.”
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