Blogging 101 asked us to try a genre different from the one we normally use. So here is a little fiction for you. Let me know what you think:
A Calling of Light
Portsmouth, Indiana 1965
Leenie tilted the book yet again toward the last of the waning light in the afternoon sky. Her thumb peeked out from the hole in the side of her worn wool mitten as she turned the page. Chapped lips silently followed the words along. This book was harder. She sighed as she gently closed the cover. It was getting too dark to read now. Edging down off the wooden box that was her seat, she pulled up to the side of the large crate she was sheltered in.
It was an odd playhouse, yet it was all hers. It stood in a hidden copse of trees far behind her house and far beyond the interest of any adults. Just a large cargo container built of wood, it had a heavy drop down door on the front. By tilting the door up with all her strength, the inside could be protected from the snow. And the snow was coming, Leenie knew. The pink sky and the man on the radio had said so. The man was very smart. It was good to listen to him.
A light. A flashlight. That was her dream. With batteries. If she had a flashlight she could read out here in the dark. Leenie had seen flashlights at the hardware store near her house. She wasn’t sure about the money. But her grandmother had once gotten a toaster with stamps. The green ones. And the grocery store next to the hardware store gave those stamps away. They blew all over when people dropped them. Leenie had seen her grandmother lick the stamps and stick them neatly in a book. A full book of stamps might get the flashlight. She would never ask people but it wasn’t stealing to pick up stamps. That was not wrong to do.
Her stomach growled again. It was time to face the monster stove. Leenie hated that thing. This was a new house and it was not all good. The burners were bigger and rounder and they made such a loud hissing noise. And her grandpa had always told her about people getting blown up if you didn’t light the match fast enough. If you were dumb enough to let the gas just hiss and it didn’t light on its own. Someone dumb could blow themselves and the whole house up. But grandpa had said she wasn’t dumb. Still, she was scared. She wished there was something cold to eat. But there wasn’t and the monster was waiting.
Crawling out of her hidden place, she headed toward the house. Her hand pushed open the kitchen door and she eased inside. She carefully put her book on the table away from any mess she might make. The new school was very fancy and she didn’t want to return a book with any problems. Leenie liked the big, tidy library and the pretty library lady.
The cupboard opened with a squeak and she pulled down the bag and the box. They were her friends. The happy man on the rice bag and the girl on the raisin box. They always looked just the same. Carefully measuring the rice and water in the pan, she set it on the stove. And holding her breath, she turned the knob. Her noise of relief as the swoosh came was loud. Leenie felt like a baby. Maybe the monster wouldn’t be so bad once she got used to it. They had only been at the new house two weeks.
The raisins and milk and rice were good. She read a little more of her book. It was about a princess which was fine but boring. The library lady gave her princess books so far. The lady had asked her about the last one. Leenie could tell the lady didn’t believe she had been able to read it. But she had. Reading was easy. Some of the kids in her class pretended like they couldn’t read. They just wanted attention from the teacher. They were dumb.
Glancing out the window, she stared at the darkness. She could see no snow, but she wondered if it was falling. She had strict instructions not to go out at night. Her hands worked automatically to clean up her dishes. If Leenie left the kitchen neat, her mother would be happy and call her a big girl. That was nice. Wandering into her mother’s room, she sat on her bed. She checked it again. Earlier, she had carefully pulled the sheets and bedspread up neatly. Her grandma had taught her to make a bed. Leenie glanced at her mother’s dressing table, but there was little of interest there. Make-up and all was really for bigger girls like her cousins.
Leenie shivered as she headed to the back of the house. She loved her big room, but it was cold. Someone had said it had been an “add-on”. It was very long and big, but she had her own tiny bathroom. The washer and dryer was also in there. Leenie loved that. She was good at doing laundry. She could do her mother’s fancy things all by herself. Undressing, she found her nightie, crawled under the blanket and reached for her tiny black radio. She turned it on and heard the man talking. A song came on next. She loved the music. Leenie wondered yet again how all those people waited in the radio station. Didn’t it get crowded in there? She was allowed to leave her light on and so she did. Her eyes closed and her breathing became regular.
Mara Eileen Connor was six years old.