Asher’s Dream

Asher went to bed to take a nap.  It had been a strange few days.  He hoped he could sleep without the strange dreams.  He did.  Instead, he dreamed of Meggie.
They were sitting in their living room with books, like they had every Sunday afternoon of their life together.
“Asher,” said Meggie.
“Hmmm.”
“It’s ok.”
Asher looked up from his book.  “OK to do what, baby?”
“To move on.”  She looked back down to read.
He opened his eyes, alone in his single bed.  He closed his eyes again to fight back the tears.
He felt a hand brushing the hair from his forehead.  “Mr. McRae?” a soft voice said.
Opening his tear-filled eyes, he turned his head toward the voice.  Emeline Pigott smiled at him and disappeared.

#TheSpinstersNeighbor

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Danger: Unknown

Night was falling and Niall situated himself against the log in the lean-to. Next to him was his rifle, a couple of books and a bag of apples his mother had packed for him. Sitting on the damp ground, he thought of his mother crying when he left. There was no way he could have stayed in the house, as much as he loved his parents. When he returned from Scotland, she was elated to see him again. Now he left their home once more to wander the mountain, seeking healing from the wounds that covered his soul.

His father, David, reacted differently. The letter Niall’s parents received from his uncle explained that Niall had experienced some trouble and would be returning home. David grilled him with his grouchy manner, but Niall managed to keep his secret close to his chest. When Niall told his father he was leaving, David generously gave him a tract of land on the mountainside so Niall would always be at home. That was his father: grouchy then kind.

The freedom of the mountain forest was now his in which to live. He would roam in the day and retreat to some shelter at night.

Within a short distance, he heard the cry of a…baby? Investigating, he looked out of the shelter of his lean-to when he heard the growl of a mountain lion. Before he could reach his rifle, the cat was flying through the air to pounce on his prey – Niall. Then he heard a hissing noise and a “thwap”. The cougar hit the ground with a thump. Dead. Niall lifted his rifle aiming to shoot when he heard a familiar voice.

“Hol’ on there, Elliot.”

With his rifle raised, Niall walked around his lean-to and spotted Cramer Mitchell, a known mountain man. Niall lowered his gun and breathed a sigh of relief.

“What are ye doin’ out here?” Mitchell asked, holding a cross-bow in his hand.

“Existing,” Niall replied, catching his breath.

“Come on. Let’s us clean this creature ‘afore it attracts more.”

Despair: Unsettled

Rebekah soaked her blistered hands and feet in the cool water of the mountain stream. She hiked up her ragged skirt and rubbed her hands in the water between her ankles. She then lifted her wet hands and rubbed her neck. How did she get here?

Her parents were dead and the Andersons were kind to her after recovering her from the wreckage. However, things were changing. She had found herself enslaved to the whims of Mrs. Anderson and the source of leers from the woman’s husband. She found her own hygiene disgusting. She tried to bathe, but Mrs. Anderson jerked her away by her hair or Mr. Anderson openly watched while rubbing himself.

Rebekah knew that her 17th birthday was close; she just didn’t know the current date. Mimi would have baked a luscious chocolate cake and Mother would have brought her some fabric or yarn to make something luxurious. Father would have supplied something to use outside on her adventures into the swamp, creeks and rivers. Lee would whisk her away to walk through the garden and steal tender kisses.

If Lee only knew what had happened, he would rescue her. How could she let him know without the Andersons finding out? Nowhere they had been was conducive to finding a way home.

“What are you doing, Wench?” Mrs. Anderson startled her.

“I’m trying to rest.”

“Stupid girl. You’re not here to rest. Now get up and scrub my drawers!”

Desires: Unknown

Niall felt a jolt as the swing of his axe struck the log. The temperatures were dropping and most of the leaves had fallen off the trees. What were left were dangling, waiting to fall at the smallest blow of a breeze. He knew he would have to get as much wood chopped and in storage before the night was over. Snow was announcing its advent by the faint smell in the air.

Swinging the axe helped him ease the frustration he had been feeling recently. Each night, he found himself pacing the floor with anxiety trying to grasp the feelings inside. The firewood was piling high with every swing of irritation. He began to search through the logs, locating the driest piece of wood to split into kindling. With the smaller hatchet, he knocked off splinters of the log that would eventually help him light a fire.

While he sliced the log, he noticed his brother’s legs approach his splitting log.

“What do you want, Ian?” he asked with disdain.

“I love you, too, little brother,” his sibling smiled. “Do I not get a hug?”

“No.”

Ian laid his pack on the ground and sat on it. “What’s your problem?”

Niall blew out a puff of impatience and grasped his hatchet firmly. “I’m busy.” He let the hatchet fall on the working log.

“My boy, it appears that you need a visit to Rosali. She would take care of what ails you.” Ian’s mouth lifted on one corner.

“I don’t want Rosali.”

“Ah, well, I’m sure there are other women that wouldn’t mind taking care of your needs. Maybe, the sweet little Margaret.”

Niall looked at him with disgust. “I don’t want Margaret, either.” He put the hatchet down and retrieved his axe and a large log to split.

Ian grunted. “Then you wouldn’t mind if I have a go at her.”

Niall stood straight and pointed the axe at his brother. “You touch Margaret and I’ll kill you.”

Throwing his hands in the air in surrender, Ian withdrew. “Whoa! Sorry, brother. You know how I am. Freedom of the trail and the warmth of a woman in my bed. If you don’t want a woman, I’m sure that there are men in the village that would give you the time of night.”

Anger surged in Niall and he stormed towards his brother. He felt Ian’s hand shoot out and land on his chest, stopping his forward movement.

“You don’t want to do that, Niall. Instead of getting angry with me, why don’t you discern what’s bothering you? You have everything you want: Land, shelter and the open sky. The only thing left to have is companionship and you say you don’t want that. Maybe you left whatever it is you want in Scotland. 

I’m gonna set up a bed on your floor by the fire. I’ll bet there’s even stew.” Ian retrieved his pack and headed toward the house.

Niall began the task of stacking the firewood. What was it that he wanted? What was it that he needed?  Would he ever know?