Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Mystery Micro Fiction

Who Is Ruth?

The house stood on a hill way out in the country. Laura grew up playing in the avocado groves. Her father didn’t like music. Father claimed that the sounds of nature filled his head. If that wasn’t music enough for a person, then they must be daft. So, Laura listened to the sounds in the groves, the birds and the bees, the wind in the trees overhead. At night, inside the house, the music came from outside the window, from the frogs down at the creek, the owl, and the coyote’s cry. 

Father home-schooled her. As far as Laura knew, most children were educated in this fashion. As far as Laura knew, all children were motherless. All children were friendless.

***

On her thirteenth birthday a woman arrives in a gleaming low-to-the-ground car, she pulls right up the driveway as if she belongs. Father sends Laura to her room. He thinks she can’t hear from up there, but she does. The woman’s name is Ruth and she plans to take Laura.

A still heart beats harder. Like rolling thunder. Laura eyes shut tight. Is this woman her mother? The other parent? The missing one? Oh heart, don’t hope. Stop. Stop it. You have no mother. He told you that.

Ruth raises her voice. Says he has no right. No right. He is a monster. She will call child services. He hasn’t heard the end of her. Ruth will not give up. Ruth is mad. She calls Father William. William, she pleads. Let me see her.

Laura listens. She listens and she listens and she listens. All she hears is the slamming door, the tires in the gravel, the car’s motor growing fainter and fainter.

For weeks she waits for Ruth. She listens for the car.
Father is William The Monster.
When she asks him, who is Ruth? Father says nobody. Ruth is nobody.

That night the frogs grow louder. They are multiplying. A thunderous deafening presence. Laura waits. She is good at this.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

2 comments:

ckanderson said...

Cool story!

PopArtDiva said...

Oh, poor Laura. See, this is what children hear, how they interpret - they soak up baggage that lasts an entire lifetime - old bags that used to belong to someone else but become the battered property of adulthood.

It's why I like to travel light. No baggage.