The first time I laid eyes on the stranger he was stretched out flat on his back in the sunshine on the edge of my great Uncle Enoch’s sweet tater patch.
Dressed in a fancy Sunday-go-to-meeting suit with his hands pulled up and across his chest, he looked an awful lot like a dead man fixing to be tossed down into a burying hole, but I reckoned right away he wasn’t. I came close, close enough to see his chest was rising and falling so I knew he was breathing, slow and steady like a turtle taking a stroll down the road, but he was breathing.
Seeing him sort of sudden like I did came close to scaring the life plum out of me, so I whirled around and tore off down the hill to the barn to get my Papa.
With my overalls’ strap loose and flapping in the breeze, and my bare feet making a slapping noise against the dirt path as I ran, I commenced to hollering long before I ever reached the old barn.
“Papa! Papa! There’s a man stretched out in the tater field behind the hog pen. You’ve gotta come.”
Papa didn’t answer, didn’t even so much as peek his head out of the barn, so I called out to him again.
“Papa! Papa, are you in there?”
I rounded the front of the barn. With both my hands, and leaning all my weight against it, I cracked open one of the old, weathered doors. The barn smell I was in love with smacked me in the face as the door squeaked open. The odor of leather saddles, horse manure, and fresh cut hay was a welcoming aroma to me and no matter how many hours a day I spent inside, I never tired of being in the old barn.
“Papa, you need to come quick,” I said, huffing and puffing and out of breath from the run. “There’s a stranger laid out behind the hog pen.”
He didn’t respond. He didn’t even turn or look my way. Matter of fact, I wasn’t sure at that moment he even believed what I was saying, which would have hurt my feelings a bit if I hadn’t been prone to lying.
We want to thank author Pauline Creeden for offering us her first page last week. I thought it was fun having a Steampunk page on our blog.
Stop by Pauline's website to learn more about her and this genre.