Hello loves! I had so much fun writing a picture story for Savannah Rayne's blog I've decided to offer a spot for writers, both published and not, to spin a tale for us from a picture I send them. To kick off the new Thursday theme, I present to you my lovely friend, B. Huntsman.
Closing her amber eyes, her soft pink hued lips moved silently. Every evening without fail Caroline's legs padded across the field to their spot. It was here upon the setting sun she murmured her wish.
Jasper had left for battle three months and eight days ago. Having grown up together in the wheat fields of Nebraska, her heart cried from his absence. It was here where the ridge over looked that he had asked for her hand.
"Every night upon the sunset my thoughts will be with you, and wishing I was by your side." He had told her, trying to ease her suffering heart.
"Not a day will pass that I do not return to our spot and do the same" she promised faithfully. With that she never had.
The night sky displayed its waves of color in its salute to day, or wave to the night time sky. Clutching her book of poems to her chest she made the trip back to the cabin she shared with her Aunt Katharine and Uncle Henry. They had taken her in after the death of her parents some twelve years ago. Having no children of their own she was revered and cherished.
Henry waited for his niece upon the porch. It hindered him to watch her waste away with the sorrow she felt from her beloveds absence. There were no words that would ease the burden her heart carried. Moving her fingers across her face she removed a wisp of blond hair that had fallen from her bun. "I'm sorry I took so long Uncle" she advised him with her soft soprano tone. Henry looked lovingly upon the young woman before him. She was a spitting image of his dearly departed sister. "You must do what is in your heart, for doing other will only make the pain worse." he advised her wisely as he held open their cabin door.
In this time of their life there were no cars, electricity, or phones. Their days would begin with the sun and end shortly after its span in the sky. Once in a while on a cool day such as this they would gather upon the porch and listen to the sounds around them. The crickets seemed to serenade the moons arrival with a welcome tune. The frogs would join in chorus adding the right amount to make the tune soothing to all that could hear. Farming was a great deals many way of life. You lived from the land, and the land gave you your life.
As they walked to the town the next day, Betsy looped her arm with Caroline's talking of upcoming dance. "I don't know why they are throwing a dance" her nasally voice continued. "It's not as if we have anyone that we can dance with." Betsy had been Caroline's best friend since the day she arrived in Bellevue. She was a mousy girl of 17, who jet black curly locks and olive skin attracted the eyes of many. Unfortunately it was when she opened her mouth and complained about everything life had to offer, the suitors would depart as quickly as they arrived.
"Have you nothing to say upon the matter Caroline" Betsy asked her friend, watching as her fingers ran gently over the skin of a leaf. "No Betsy." she replied softly. "Perhaps we shouldn't look at the dance as a celebration of what we have, and what shall soon return to us. Instead of what is missing. Come let us get some ribbons before the Stark twins take all the good ones." With that they giggled and ran frivolously the rest of the way. Arriving at the general story they panted and laughed resting their hands upon their knees before entering.
Caroline, although not the town’s beauty, was sought after for her disposition. She was a girl of intelligence and valid insight. She spoke when it mattered, and refused to speak an unkind word of any.
With their purchase of ribbons in tow, they set upon their walk home. Approaching a topic she pattered lightly upon Betsy asked softly to her friend "have you heard from Jasper?" Caroline smiled as her hand fondled the locked upon her neck that he had given her. "Only two letters so far and that is all I have replied to." Looking perplexed upon the answer Betsy couldn't help but then follow with "why only two letters? If I had a beau, I would be writing him every day." Caroline smiled lightly at her friend’s question.
"I write him a little each day like a journal, until I receive a letter. Then I send it and start again. That way he can see each day that he is in my mind and heart."
After Caroline's nightly tradition she accompanied her Aunt and Uncle to the spring dance. The young lads were enthralled with their chances to dance with the older girls. It did leave the younger girls a tad miffed, for there weren't enough boys as it was to begin with. A bell rang loudly in the distance of the old church. It was the alarm of the town, if it rang on any other day then Sunday. Just as quick as the dance had begun it ended as the horses were mounted, and wagons boarded.
Although Bellvue was not a large town, it was a well connected one. Its members looked out and helped each other when the times were hard. Trading services was more common then trading paper currency. Smoke billowed into the sky with an orange glow meeting and challenging its skyline.
The dense woods had caught fire. If it spread it could ignite the fields and ruin the winter wheat harvest that would be in a couple of weeks. It would also set back the planting of the spring wheat. The time line they had set kept them busy four months of the twelve. Its importance to the families was priceless. Caroline and the older girls gathered all of the children and took them to the church. The farmers and their wives headed toward the blaze to try and head it off.
After seven hours of hauling water from the Mississippi, the blaze was finally vanquished. As in many of nature’s tragedies it took with it six of the town members. Caroline’s Uncle Henry and Aunt Katharine were among them. The revelation of their passing hit her hard. She had been with them for twelve years, longer then she had with her own parents. Sitting upon the porch she rocked under the moon. Her eyes still damp from the tears, her throat still raw from gasping at the cool air as her hysterics left her breathless.
The harvesting weeks were now among them. It was up to her now to reap the harvest. She began before the sun, taking care to take a break and keep her exhaustion at bay. The townspeople told her that she couldn't and shouldn't make the attempt. If her Aunt Katharine had taught her anything, was that one should always be able to be the rock when their spouse could not. No, she didn't have to reap the harvest. She could simply let it die and hope that Jasper would be back before needed to plant the next. But she had watched her aunt work by her husbands side when times where hard and they could get help. Now having him home, meant it was up to her.
The only thing she had left in the world was her betrothed. Her nightly wishes to the sun as it departed were her salvation. Their future was in the fields, they had talked of wanting to stay in Bellvue and have their own spread of wheat in which to depend upon.
Her once soft petite hands were now callused and rough. Her once fair skin, now tan and weathered. However, with much determination and will Caroline reaped the entire harvest on her own. With her wagon full of wheat she headed off to the granary to sell what she wouldn't require.
Having haggled beneficially she vowed to take a couple of days of rest before starting the planting. Taking a basket up to the ridge she sat and read her book. Her fingers traced over the words evaporating them into her soul. From the poem of Keats she read the words sang into the air in a baritone voice she had not heard for what seemed like a life time "And I drink at my eye. Till I feel in the brain. A Delphian Pain."
Dropping the book she felt the hair on the back of her neck rise. Tears welled in her eyes as she slowly turned to see him. Jasper stood with the aid of a crutch, and a cocky smile upon his face staring at his beloved. Her eyes went over him taking him in. He looked older and weathered. There was no more boyish innocence upon his face. His dark curls had grown with a beard. His eyes however still reflected the light she had fallen in love with.
Caroline rose and walked into his waiting arm. Wrapping herself around him holding him tight. He smiled and stroked her hair lightly kissing the top of her head. Word had gotten to him about the loss and the determination she had exhibited. It wretched his heart that he could not have spared her. Vowing silently to the sun as it began to disappear in the sky he would never again leave her side.
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