Standing on the hilltop Anna could see all the way down to the tiny black shack.  Dark smoke chugged from the chimney.  Someone was there.  Anna crouched down in the tall weeds and waited until there was a sign that the little cabin was empty.  The sun was getting ready to set and Daniel would surely be fixin to leave for some drinking down the road with the Shinners. 

At long last Anna heard Daniel whistle for the mare to come and get saddled.  It was only a matter of time before Anna could get her things and get away.  Her life long dream.  To get away.

Daniel threw her out three nights ago.  The night she had her fourth miscarriage.  Daniel didn't want a woman that couldn't give him sons.  No man wanted any woman that couldn't give them sons.  There was no way one lone man could farm his land and feed himself.  You need home born workers and you needed a woman that could have them.  

Three nights ago Anna became no good to anyone.  Daniel won't take her back and her parents couldn't afford to keep her.  She is on her own at sixteen, with barely an education.

As she lays in the tall grass, her body aching from the miscarriage and lack of care, she wonders what is to become of her.  She thought that maybe for a few nights she could sleep down the mountain at the schoolhouse.  Come Sunday when the Preacher comes for service, maybe he could find a place for her.  Maybe she could take care of some rich woman's children and have a small little room all of her own.  Daydreaming of a real bed and nice clothes she hears Daniel ride off.

She makes her way back to the horrid little shack.  Anna wants the china plate her Grandma had given her on her and Daniel's wedding day.  There is some lace and a quilt Anna made.  A few pieces of clothing and a pair of shoes.  That is all she has.  She wishes she could carry half of the jar goods she put up.  It doesn't seem fair that Daniel should eat from her effort any more.  Angered and empowered Anna begins smashing the quart jars to the floor, letting the dogs lap up the contents. 

With the noise of the jars crashing and the dogs yelping, Anna didn't hear Daniel in the doorway.  She turned at the exact moment the shovel smashed her head in two.  She was dead before she hit the floor. 

The next day two old ladies came from down the mountain and took Anna to the schoolhouse.  They laid her there, until the Preacher came on Sunday.  The Preacher did the best he could.  Daniel wanted nothing to with her and her parents had no money.  The preacher and the ladies said some words of God and placed Anna in the ground, right next to school house.  They buried her wrapped in her quilt, with her lace upon her broken head, they placed her china plate in her arms and laid her shoes at her feet.  With last shovel of dirt upon the mound under which Anna laid, they planted a white lilac bush and that was the last moment anyone was to ever think of poor Anna.

Freestanding Freestanding
56-60, F
30 Responses May 20, 2008

Your way with words deserves a standing ovation. Bravo!

Hey! You dug up 'Anna'.... :) Thanks for the kind words. This short is part of a series of shorts dealing with women in peril. I was just thinking of these a few days are so cool :) Peace Kath.

You were just thinking of them... no surprise. My darling younger Sister is named Anna, and that's what caught my eye. Peace right back to you. :-)

Way groovy :)

Its a sad story told in a pragmatic fashion that almost strips out emotion. Very clever.

Thank you kind of you to leave such an encouraging comment. Peace. :)

Thank you, Ari. Thank you very much.

Shucks, girl. Thanks.


I appreciate the rythm created by "until the preacher came on Sunday". What a clever way to enhances the sense of irony.

Wow, awesome story. I look forward to more.

CH-words, are always fun to read. That is the beautiful thing about writing and visual art...there ARE so many nuances. In the begining, she is on the hill, above the miserable, rotting house looking at it. On the verge of escape...but she ends up right back where she started, and worse. Or maybe is hard to say.

BrutMystik -- I didn't catch that subtlety. For some reason, I love the sentence, "Dark smoke chugged from the chimney." Just really is enjoyable to read.

Also, the opening lines about how she is standing on the mountain looking down at the tiny shack-VERY mimcs the action, philosophy and inverts the emotional structure of the story. DDAAYYYUUUUMMMMM. That is a Professional insight.

I think a mob is going to decend on this story and keep pestering SFM until she promises to write more.<br />
<br />
*grabbing my shovel*

You're making me feel all squishy inside.

The curse of the damn shovel.

Thanks, Alan! That made me feel weird, but good! I wish I could get some help with the kids, though...deadbeat words...

Published? Hardly.<br />
<br />
<br />
Watch it Jess. Like I said this system is highly advanced!

SFM -- Listen to BrutMystik. She has an amazing relationship with words and knows great writing when she sees it.

I have ways of detecting cloaking devices, Jess. It is a highly advanced system.<br />
<br />
Besides, you're too pretty to be hidden.

Thank you so much Brut. It pleases me that you enjoyed it.

What I liked, was the matter of fact, and almost detatched (although, not completely...) tone of the narrator.I LOVE omniscient narrators...This is great. Seriously. It made me feel hard, like a tennis racquet, when I read it. I hope Anna comes back from the dead.

I have encased myself in a protective shield, much like the shield on Star Trek. People, or as the case may be mobs, can no longer harm me. It is unpenetratable. Should the mob ever arrive, I am safe.

SFM -- The scary thing about the angry mob is that you don't see them until it's too late.

Right. What mob?

SFM -- If you don't keep writing, and angry EP mob is going to come after you with their shovels.

Really? I'll try.

Yes that was a bummer about the shovel.

Sometimes shovels happen.

I was sure she was going to escape and face the world in her new found freedom. The shovel was a big surprise.


Wow. I didn't see the shovel coming.<br />
<br />
That is really, really powerful.

It is a little bleak, isn't it. Thanks, Jess.