A Taste of Freedom

Charlie never liked his circumstances…he didn’t feel loved.  He didn’t feel appreciated.  He gave a lot of himself and it seemed he didn’t get a lot in return.  Today he was going to change that.  Today he was going to break through all the barriers and he was going to taste freedom.  He woke up and breakfast---well—who in their right mind would try any of what they left him this morning anyway?   It didn’t even look good.  He looked around, because he was thirsty and apparently there was nothing left to drink either. 

He decided he needed a fresh start, there was nothing left for him here anyway.  He started to walk, took one look back, and decided he better bolt out of there for good.  Would they miss him?  Probably not.  How he ever ended up there---he’ll never know.

His first mission was to get some real food and something good to drink.  He walked over to the park, where he seen kids playing in the fountains.  He wasn’t sure it would look right if he jumped in with them…after all they were kids…but he went over to the side and got his face wet and took a sip of the refreshing water.  The kids all smiled at him and he smiled back, but he knew the moms would probably freak out a bit so he continued on his walk.

Red PathHe came upon a path in the woods.  Charlie was feeling adventurous and the path provided some wonderful shade from the hot sun.  He had no idea where it would lead him, but he could feel a taste of freedom he hadn’t ever felt before.  It was freeing to be jogging along that path and enjoying God’s beauty.  He came upon a stream and dipped in his face and sipped in some very cool refreshing water.  Charlie rested for awhile but decided he his hungry tummy wouldn’t let him rest peacefully for long.  So he got up and continued down the wooded path.

He was on that path for quite sometime, and then suddenly it ended.  He made his own path, finding some rail road tracks he crossed them and found himself deposited into a very busy street. This made Charlie really nervous.  He had a feeling he was lost, and trying to get to the other side of the street was quite nerve-racking.  In his daze, he was almost hit twice! 

Then he seen her!! The prettiest lady he ever seen in his whole life.  She whistled at him and he smiled.  This was his kind of lady.  She had pulled over and called for him to come and meet her.  It took everything he had not to run…as if to seem desperate.  Her eyes shone love and her smile told Charlie she could be trusted.  She offered him a ride—and finally he knew he found someone that could appreciate him.   As soon as he got in his seat, she drove them off that crazy busy highway and away from everything he ever knew or saw. 

She took him home and fed him a great meal.   She showed him the way outside and where he could rest his head.  She also introduced him to several friends.  He knew he had found a new place to stay. He knew he was forever in her debt.

Jennifer & Max 3 1995

A taste of freedom for Charlie was all he needed to live out a very satisfying life. He experienced enough freedom to change his circumstances and thankfully it worked out for the better.  He realized that he might not have been so lucky…especially if his lady hadn’t of come along!!

**Inspired by my friend Karen and her recent discovery** 

Photographs by Duffee © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Running—Story #8

The Estelle Series

Story # 8

It took another month for Estelle to recover from being so sick.  By the time she was healthy again, it was time to return to school. This year, Iris the third born, was old enough to start, so each day, Margie, Estelle and Iris would walk to school together.  Estelle returned to doing light chores, and was up each morning at the crack of dawn to get some of them done.  When she finished, she would get her things and walk with her sisters to school.

On some mornings, she simply had too much to do, and Margie and Iris were told to leave and Estelle would catch up.  Estelle didn’t like these mornings, because part of that walk to school, involved a small stretch through the woods.  It wasn’t that Estelle would lose her way, rather there was something mysterious about those woods that spooked the heck out of her. 

She had asked Betsy several times during her recovery why she had these extra senses---why she was able to see and feel that which others could not.  And the answer was always the same, because she was strong enough to handle it.  That didn’t set too well with a ten year old girl, at all; it was a rather alienating burden she felt she carried.

It was the beginning of October, and the rain hadn’t let up since the September’s Harvest Moon appeared in the sky.  Estelle hadn’t finished her morning chores by the time Margie and Iris were ready to leave, so she would have to run along by herself after they left.  By the time her mother told her she had done enough, Estelle grabbed her book and tablet and raced off the path toward the school.

It was a rather dreary morning, the rain pelted her face as she ran toward the school.  Upon entering the woods, the trees gave her some cover from the rain, but a feeling crawled along her back as she raced to get through the wood covered path. As she ran, she was acutely aware of her surroundings.  Every noise, every movement, every scent came over her.  The sound of her feet hitting the ground and the wind whistling as she passed through, pounded in her ears.  She saw everything around her as she ran, and it was caught somewhat in slow motion as it passed her peripheral vision, her eyes caught everything down to minute details.  The smells of pine, cedar, leaves decaying and animals that had left their marks, filled her nostrils, reminding her where she was.

She had another sense too, that someone or something was watching her.  It was as if someone had a birds eye view of her, yet was all around her at the same time.  She tried to pick up speed, but it just seemed to follow her closer.  If she slowed down, she felt as if she would fall prey to what ever it was.  Dread over came her and panic set in..until she reached the clearing at the back of the school property.

Once in the clear, Estelle didn’t have to think about haunted woods, but being late for school meant that she would have to stay after.  And thus, she would have to face traversing the woods alone again. She closed her eyes and wished that she wouldn’t have to go through the woods again alone. 

After school, she told herself that it was just the woods and this was just another one of her senses kicking in fear.  When she reached the back of the school yard and entered the woods, she decided she would walk, just like she did when she was with her sisters.  She kept reminding herself that it was all just silly nonsense.  The heightened awareness returned and she fought the urge to bust out into a full sprint.

About half way through the woods, a clear and distinct voice boomed around her, “Run Estelle!! RUN!!”  And at that point, Estelle took off running like her entire existence depended on it.  She ran so fast that when she reached the clearing on the other side, she ran smack dab into Mrs. Shrock, knocking her over on her backside.  Estelle landed across Mrs. Schrock and each had a look of surprise and utter horror on their faces. 

Mrs. Shrock was carrying a basket full of fresh baked bread and jam, which she had made for another neighbor, and when Estelle flew into her at such a quick pace, the loaves and jars flew everywhere.  Estelle quickly apologized and Mrs. Shrock took a moment to catch her breath.  Estelle scurried over to pick up the loaves of bread and place them back in the basket and then offered her hand to help up Mrs. Schrock to her feet.

“You horrid child!!” she spewed. “I certainly do not want your hand or your help. You hustle along to your home, and stay away from me!”

Estelle was quite shaken, “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Schrock” her voice still in shock.  “I certainly didn’t mean to hurt you or upset you.  Please, let me help you up.” Once again, Estelle offered her hand.

Mrs. Schrock refused the hand and got to her feet.  Estelle picked up the basket and its belongings and handed it back to Mrs. Schrock and she snatched it right out of Estelle’s hand.

“You listen to me,” Mrs. Schrock demanded. “Stay away from me and my family. I don’t like witches and I don’t like evil children.  I won’t be subjected to them either.  So get…shooo…go!!  Move along quickly, and stay away you wretch!!”

Mrs. Schrock’s words stung.  She had never done anything to her to deserve those harsh words.  Estelle grappled with why she saw, heard and felt what others could not and why she was seemingly different.  She didn’t like being called a witch and she didn’t like someone thinking of her as evil.  Tears streamed down her face and she ran on home.

She told her mother about running into Mrs. Schrock and what she had said.  Her mother fumed at the thought and decided she would address Mrs. Schrock on her own.  Her children, especially Estelle, had not deserved that, and like a mother hen protecting what is hers, she took off her apron, put on her coat and headed out to meet up with Mrs. Schrock.

Estelle decided to get busy with chores, what ever she could find.  Betsy appeared from around the corner and Estelle made no quams about how hurt she was. “Tell me it is going to be alright?”

Betsy just smiled saying nothing.  Estelle was agitated with that response.  “Well?  Tell me it is going to work out alright?!

“I don’t know how things will work out, but usually time has a way of straightening out the kinks.” And Betsy wandered off.

Her mother came in the back door hollering “Estelle!  Estelle!  Come here this instant.”

Estelle, fearful her mother was upset with her, ran and was greeted by her mother and Mrs. Schrock at the back door.

“Estelle,” her mother was firm in her line of questioning, “are you a witch?”

“No.  How could you think that?  How can anyone think that? I’m a good Christian girl.” she answered with a tone of disbelief and hurt.

“Do you do evil things?” Her mother kept pressing.

“No, I don’t do evil things.”

Then her mother turned to Mrs. Schrock and scolded, “Shame on you Mrs. Schrock for calling my daughter these awful things.  You’ve certainly fell short of the Golden Rule.  I’m ashamed to call you a sister in the faith.”  And her mother just stared coldly at Mrs. Schrock for the longest time.

Mrs. Schrock, taken back by Estelle’s mother calling her out.  Estelle’s mother held her gaze almost the entire time as if hypnotizing her into some weird form of submission.  Mrs. Schrock looked over at Estelle briefly, then looked away. Finally, she apologized to them both and sank her head and headed home.

Margie and Estelle had prepped most of the dinner, her mother had finished cooking it. They ate as soon as her father returned home from the Mill.  As they were eating, Estelle noticed Betsy pacing back and forth from one room to the next.  She found this awfully curious.

A knock came from the front door.  Her father had answered it and spoke for a few minutes.  Then he returned and announced, “That was Mr. Wojeski.” He paused long enough to sit himself back down at the table. “He just informed me that Mrs. Schrock died suddenly this evening.  Mrs. Wojeski was there when it happened, she’s pretty shook up.  Mr. Schrock is out of town and another neighbor is keeping there kids.”  That was all he said on the matter, but that was all he needed to say.

Estelle locked eyes with her mother.  This was part of their doing.  There was something said between them that was unspoken and unmistakable. Estelle had made an undeniable connection.

Friendship and Celebration—Story 7

~Estelle Series~

Chapter 7

Estelle Picture

Estelle had no sense of time passing during her times of deep sleep.  She always woke up feeling as if she had just closed her eyes.  What seemed like moments, were hours if not days.  Usually she would come to briefly, when someone was trying to nourish her with hot tea or broth.  Today when she fluttered open her eyes, her sister Margie was trying to get her to take in her nourishment.  Feeling thirsty, she latched on to the cup that was put to her mouth and opened her eyes and tried to focus.  Margie had noticed she was really waking up this time and went to go grab their mother. 

Her mother ushered into the room with a swiftness that told Estelle she had a lot her plate that day.  Behind her, a lady about ten years older than her mother also walked in.  Estelle's mother had her sit up and then she and the lady helped Estelle get into the chair so they could help her change her clothes and the bedding.

"I do hope you are finally coming out of your sleep, Estelle," her mother said while examining her eyes closely.  "But until you do, we have to keep an extra eye on you so you don't slip away from us."

Then the lady who was standing next to her mother offered, "And that is why I am here.  I'll be the one to keep an eye on you while your mom and your sisters are busy."  Leaning in, she smiled at Estelle and touched her arm softly, "My name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Betsy."  Estelle smiled, she had no idea how her parents were affording this nurse lady, but she was glad someone would be around when the others couldn't be.

Estelle took some more of the broth from the cup Margie had brought her, but as sometimes happens when one is weak, her hand started trembling.  Betsy, put her hand to the bottom of the cup to help her steady it and her mother turned around and said, "See now, that's better, you drink your broth and we'll get you cleaned up and back in a clean bed.”  Estelle was grateful for her mother and for this new lady that came to sit her. 

It seemed that for the next week, she was pulling longer stretches of being awake but she still needed to take frequent naps.  Betsy was a source of comfort to Estelle.  She kept Estelle aware of everything going on with her parents and her sisters, and even filled her in on the neighbor gossip.  It seemed that Betsy never tired of talking to Estelle and Estelle was just grateful somebody was there to keep her company.

Betsy had told Estelle it was Saturday and that her father would be home early this evening.  Estelle had lost a lot of weight and was very unsteady on her feet, and therefore still took her meals in her room. At first, it was very necessary but now Estelle just wanted to be at the table with the family when she ate.  Betsy was a wonderful person, but Estelle was missing her family.

That evening her father knocked on the door, "Estelle?" he called as he walked in.  Betsy got up to give Estelle's father a place to sit down, and she left the room to take a break while her father was in with her.

Estelle beamed at the sight of her father.  She rarely saw him these days, as Estelle had been sick and her father was working as many extra shifts at the Mill.

"How are you?" He asked.

Estelle just nodded her head as if to say "yes, I'm better."

"Today is your birthday, Estelle.  You are 10 years old.  And your mother, well, she's made a wonderful carrot cake for you.  Do you think you feel up to coming out and having a slice?"

Estelle loved her mother's carrot cake and was thrilled when her father carried her out to the table.  Her parents sat next to each other across from Estelle and her sisters sat on either side of her.  Betsy seemed to be standing back, watching letting Estelle just enjoy this time with her family.

They sang her a happy birthday and her mother sliced the cake, giving Estelle the first piece.  Estelle was so delighted until she seen the boy standing between the two chairs where her parents sat.  Estelle was immediately alarmed and she looked to Betsy who just gave her this great big smile as if to say everything was okay. Still, Estelle wanted to know, who was this boy and what did he want?

She realized that he was a figure like the man in the mirror, only this boy wasn't scary and dark.  And he was younger than the boy with the apple, but not near as creepy.  He appeared peaceful and held a beautiful smile.  He was happy, and he seemed to fit right in.

For the first time, Estelle noticed glances shared between her parents and she figured out why the boy was standing there.  She was totally excited and she blurted out, “It’s a boy!”  Everyone, including Estelle was shocked by her words because they hadn't heard her voice in weeks.

Her parents looked at her rather confused, so she repeated it again, “It’s a boy!” with just as enthusiasm as the first time.  They were still completely puzzled and this amused Estelle.

She began to laugh, almost uncontrollably, repeating once again, "It's a boy!"  Her younger sisters also laughed with her, although they had no idea why they were laughing.  Margie looked terrified, which made Estelle laugh even harder.  Her parents were simply not amused.  They sent a look of disapproval toward Estelle, and she calmed down a bit.   Then she attempted to explain, “Mother, you and Daddy are having a boy!"  

Her revelation seemed to shock them even further, and Estelle wanted them to understand, "He’s here with us right now.  He’s right there between you two. You’re finally going to have a boy!”

Estelle was quickly carried back to her room.  Perhaps they thought she was losing it mentally.  Perhaps they were upset because feeding mouths during the depression was hard enough without the added burden of another child to worry about, or perhaps they had heard enough.  Estelle knew given some time, they'd be okay with this whole idea.  She was so happy that her parents were finally getting the boy they always wanted.

A few moments later, Betsy came into the room and sat in the chair. “I do believe you divulged the information to them too soon,” she offered in a matter of fact tone.

There was a long silence.

“Betsy, you aren’t real either are you?” Estelle inquired.

Betsy looked at her rather puzzled, “Why do you think I am not real?”

“Because mother didn't offer the boy any cake and that told me right away that he wasn't real.  Then I realized she never offered you any cake.  This means you aren't real either. You're just like the others.”

“That is where you are wrong, Estelle.” She cleared her throat and said, “While it is true that very few people can see our energies that does not make us any less real.  We are definitely real; you just have to learn to trust your senses.”

Estelle felt dizzy at the affirmation, if one could call her vision speaking back to her an affirmation.  She had questions, like why were most of what she saw dark beings or creatures?  And did this make her a dark being as well?  Was Betsy dark too or was she actually something good?  And what about the boy? Why could she see him?  Would he turn out to be good or dark like the others?

Estelle looked to Betsy wanting answers, but not sure she was ready to hear them.  She looked toward the window and remembered that man in the window had found her here, just before she had taken ill.  She questioned Betsy as if she already knew the answer, “You chased that bad man away, didn’t you?” as she nodded her head toward the window.

“No I did not; you did that on your own.” Betsy slowly admitted. “But he’s not far off, so I’m here to see that you get well enough to deal with him.”

Estelle was worried now, “Can’t you just make him go away?”

“Ah child, I really don’t want for you to worry, for he is at a distance for now,” she replied. “But, I’m not strong enough to keep him away, should he come back.  No, that will be something you will have to handle once you are feeling better,” then she hesitated for a moment and murmured, “If you are still able .”

Estelle heard that last part a little too clearly, and she didn’t like it one bit.

**Image by Vintage Duffee 2011, All Rights Reserved**

***This story was originally posted to my RedGage Account, which is located here.***

The Deep Sleep—Story 6

~Estelle Series~

Story 6

Estelle Photo

Estelle had never heard his voice before, not back when she lived in her home in the city. He had been there in her bedroom window for as long as she could remember and never once had he ever said anything or even moved for that matter. She was never so glad to leave that house and move to the country. 

Except now, he had had found her once again.

Dread consumed Estelle.  Her heart pounded and her eyes failed to blink.  Paralyzed by fear she lay there as still as a mouse.  Her breathing was heavy and she knew that he could sense her fear.  He stood in the window, watching her, killing her with his silence.  Screaming wouldn’t help her, although it would wake everyone in the house, it was useless, as only she could see him.

A few moments had passed and she remembered the crow.  Maybe she could will the man in the window away, “Leave! Just LEAVE!”  She tried with all her brain power to speak to him, but her thoughts seemed to hit an invisible brick wall and they fell short of reaching him.  She looked around the room, her sisters were sleeping, and she didn’t want to wake them.  She found the nerve to stand up and walk toward the window, stopping short of it by at least two feet.  Her knees trembled at the site of him.

“I said to LEAVE!” she demanded in a seriously quiet tone.  “Don’t you understand you have NO place here?  LEAVE!”

  Window Shadow

His presence stayed right in front of her.  She thought better of raising her voice and at the same time she would not be defeated.  She tried again to will this figure gone, and once again her efforts fell short.  “I am NOT yours.  Never will I be yours!” She tried again to persuade him to leave.  “Go!!  Be Gone.  Away from my Window!”  Frustrated by his unwavering stance, she almost yelled, “By God, Just Leave!”

And with that he vanished.

The dread was lifted.  She crawled back into her bed and fell asleep for what seemed like the last few hours of the morning.  She woke up and the sunlight was filtering the room.  Her sisters were already up and she was late to start her chores.  She sat up and realized she was soaking wet.  Summers could get especially hot, but she had no idea it would start this early in the morning. She was surprised by how hot she had to have been to be sweating this badly.

She pulled the covers back across to the other side of the bed and went to put her feet on the floor.  In the doorway stood an older man, but she instantly recognized this man to be real.  Quickly, she pulled the covers back across her body.

“Hello there Estelle,” said the man in a friendly, patient voice.  “Good to see you are awake.”  He brought in a bag and set it down next to her bed.  He gave her a smile and a wink and then left the room.  He returned a few moments later and her mother walked in, with tears in her eyes.

Doctor's Bag Side

Her mother sat down on the bed next to her and took her hand.  This was significant because her mother didn’t show displays of affection very often.  It was fine at holidays and birthdays, but it just didn’t happen every day.  She gave her mother a puzzled look.  The older man, apparently a doctor, sat down in a chair next to the bed, picked up his bag and started with his stethoscope.   Estelle had no words.  Why was this necessary?  She looked back and forth from her Mom to this doctor.  She wondered where her sisters were and her father.

Had she been sick?  She could only assume so.  For how long?  It was all very puzzling.

The doctor finished, excused himself from the room without saying a word.  After he left, her mother, still on the verge of tears, took Estelle’s face in her hands, “Child, how do you feel?”   Estelle’s eyes must have grown to a frightening large size because her mother just pulled her into her chest and held her and cried. 

She hugged her mother back.  She had no idea why her mother was upset.  She began to fear that perhaps something happened to the others.  Then her mother pulled away and whispered, “We almost lost you, Estelle.  They said that you weren’t going to make it.  You got the high fevers and you were in such a deep sleep.  We never thought you’d wake again.”

Her mother helped her get up and sit in the chair.  Estelle was surprised at how weak she was on her feet.   Her mother brought in a bucket with water and a wash rag.  She helped her out of her clothes and Estelle washed herself from the top down.  Then, he mother brought her in clean clothing and helped her put those on.  Her mother scurried around and brought in new bedding for her to lie on and a tray with some hot tea.  She helped Estelle back in bed and propped her up into a sitting position with pillows.  Then she went into the vanity and brought out a brush and started working on Estelle’s hair, while Estelle sipped her tea.

Her mother didn’t say much during all of this, she just hummed a sweet tune.   She loved that no matter what; her mother always hummed this familiar tune.   Then her mother took the tray away, lowered her pillows and told her to get some rest. 

Estelle was sad to see her mother go, but she felt especially tired from doing very little.  She didn’t recall too much of what had happened prior to getting sick, and she thought long and hard about what her last memories were before she fell asleep. Vaguely, she remembered it was raining and she found a book in the barn.  The rest seemed a bit fuzzy to her. 

It felt rather awkward falling asleep on such a beautiful day, but at the same time she didn’t have much strength to move, let alone keep her eyes open.  She gave in to the heaviness of her eye lids and fell into another deep sleep.


**Estelle Picture by Vintage Duffee 2011, All Rights Reserved**

***The other images were found by using Google search terms.  Each picture is linked back to the original author in the original format presented.***

****This story was originally published to my RedGage Account, which can be found here.****

Moon Dust and Shadows—Story 5

Estelle Series

Story 5


Mrs. Shrock was mortified when she witnessed Estelle staring down the crow through the dining room window, and it suddenly dropped to the ground.  She had a bigger issue on her hands which was Estelle’s father, but she had not forgotten it.   She helped Estelle’s father up off the ground and into the living room chair and she summoned Margie to run back to her place so that Mr. Shrock could fetch a doctor.

The doctor came, but not without a price, and Estelle’s father was confined to bed for several weeks.  Her mother, just having a baby could do light things around the house if necessary, but it left the shoulder of the burden on Estelle and Margie’s shoulders to run the household. Margie would have to cook and clean and watch the two younger sisters, her mother would take care of the baby, and this left Estelle to do all the outside work.  For a nine year old girl, this would prove to be quite a responsibility.

Estelle woke up at the crack of dawn to milk the cow and to feed it and the horses.  She was responsible for harvesting all in the garden, as well as maintaining it.  Margie washed the clothes, and Estelle hung them and took them down and folded them.  Her life had become one of necessity for the sake of the family.

The whole ordeal with the crow confused and scared Estelle.  Although she lived through what had happened, comprehending exactly what transpired wasn't as easy for her nine years of understanding.  Had she really killed that crow with her thoughts?  Could she kill anything with her thoughts? Is her punishment having to do all this work?  If all life is sacred as she’d been taught in church, was she evil?

There was absolutely no one to turn to in this situation.  Her parents would whisper once in a great while about her “condition” but it wasn’t spoken of aloud.    To bring it up would upset them and get her in trouble.  Mrs. Shrock had already been rumoring to more than one neighbor about her evil powers according to her sister Margie, who believed it all was a coincidence. Estelle was left to her hard work and all her thoughts as she pondered what all of it meant.

Why couldn’t she just be a normal nine year old?

That night, she prayed fervently that God listen to her and take away the evil inside her.  She wasn’t convinced that trading the crow’s life for her father’s life was evil, but she would gladly do it again, whether it be evil or not.  Exhausted from the manual labor, she fell asleep mid-prayer and woke up late the next morning.

Thankfully, it was raining and most of the chores would be put on hold as she just had to concentrate on getting the animals fed and the cow milked.  As she finished that up in the barn, she found an old dusty box.  She lifted the lid to look inside and there were lots of books.  She noticed some bugs had eaten away some of their pages overtime, but they were still in a readable condition. 

The box seemed to beckon her to pick one and open it and start reading. 

The the first paragraph of the first book almost jumped off the page at her, figuratively as much as literally.  Reading was something she was still struggling with learning, but the way the letters seemed to dance mid-air, understanding slowly and steadily came together for her.

Norse Mythology Chart

The book was a collection of stories on mythical creatures, which was seemingly written for someone about her age.   She needed to get back inside the house, so she slid the book up under her dress and took the milk bottles with her.  Fighting the rain across the yard, she made it inside, putting the milk in the icebox and heading straight to her room to put the book under her mattress.

After supper, she went to her room to lie down early.  There were no questions asked, as her parents knew she had worked hard all week.  She fell asleep early, only to wake when her sisters crawled in bed.  It was then that she woke up, slid the book out from under the mattress and began to delve into the world of mythical beings.

The words on the pages were like dust spilt from the moon, lighting up the images and the stories of another world. Gods and goddesses, men and women, animals and monsters, dwarfs and giants, they all entertained Estelle as she read more and more about them. There were fascinating tales and frightening tales, and tales she didn’t quite understand.  She had found a new love of the written word and the art of telling the story.  And through most of the night, with the moon as her lamp, she filled her mind with a world that seemed so unfamiliar yet so enchanting. 

BFF 99

She fell asleep with her head upon the book.   She jerked awake at the crack of dawn as the sound of something boomed in her ears,

You are MINE!  YOU are finally MINE! ” 

Estelle's stomach sank as she realized that the man in the window had found her once again.


*Estelle Photo (c) 2011 Vintage Duffee, All Rights Reserved*

**Norse Mythology Chart found through Google Search.  You may click on the image to be taken to the original author and see it in his original content**

***This was part of the BFF (Blogging For Fun) group challenge write based on the picture shown above.  You may click on the picture to be taken to the facebook group where the picture was initially posted.***

****This originally was published to my RedGage Account, which can be found here.****

Willing Life & Death—Story 4

~Estelle Series~

Story 4


Estelle had raced Misty over to Mrs. Shrock’s farm in the early morning hours.  Fear did not grip Estelle as much as the worry she had for her mother and the new baby and the bewilderment over the whole incident with the noises, the voice, and that crow.  She didn’t trust it.  A sinking feeling gripped her when she thought about that crow.

Mr. Shrock answered the door and got Mrs. Shrock up in a hurry and he hitched his horses to their wagon and followed Estelle back to the house.  Estelle’s father had managed to get her mother inside to their bedroom and Mrs. Shrock, the farming community’s unofficial midwife, started asking for towels, boiling water, scissors, you name it. 

Estelle couldn’t sleep and therefore assisted Mrs. Shrock in any way she could.  As her mother labored some awful pains, Estelle cringed at the thought of what her mother was going through.  She vowed then she would never have children.

Then Mrs. Shrock asked Estelle to leave the room and close the door.  She went out into the family room and sat on the couch and listened as her mother agonized in pain.  Her father sat in a chair across from her and she could tell by the look on his face that he was especially worried.  At one point, he got up and started pacing.  Then he would sit back down.  He’d glance at Estelle and cast a smile her way, saying nothing, but conveying his worst fears.

Eventually the other three girls woke up.  Estelle’s oldest sister, Margie was responsible for cooking the breakfast and Estelle had to dress the younger two girls and watch them.  Shortly after breakfast, Estelle and her sisters went to play outside. Her dad would wander between the house and the yard, unsure of his place in all of this.  The girls played, but they were unusually quiet.  Every now and then screams would come from the house, which frightened Estelle and her sisters.  And that crow…was now sitting up in the tree ever watchful of their every move.

An hour before lunch, Mrs. Shrock summoned Estelle’s father inside and it was the longest twenty or thirty minutes Estelle could remember.  He came back outside and told Margie to get in the kitchen and make everyone lunch.  Her dad walked out toward the barn and just sat up against one side.  Estelle went toward him, with her younger sisters in tow.

“Dad, Is Momma okay?”  She asked in a rather frightened voice.

“Yes, dear, your mom is going to be just fine.” He reassured but something told Estelle there was more.

“How about the baby?” she asked.

“Well, you have another baby sister.” He answered.

Estelle seemed rather puzzled.  Her father’s behavior wasn’t normal, “Are you sad it wasn’t a boy this time?”

“No Estelle, I’m thankful it’s a girl.” He gave her a wink and looked away.  

“What’s wrong then?” she asked.

“I’m just a little taken by all the excitement,” then he added, “Life is a miraculous thing, you know.  It can be overwhelming I guess.  Run along now, I’m fine, I just need a few moments.”

At that Estelle took her two sisters by the hand and headed back toward the house.  She thought there would be a sigh of relief but even her father’s reassurances could not appease her.  Then there was that crow, that evil crow, watching her every move.  Oh, how she wanted it gone.


Clip Art of Crow

Margie finally called them all in to lunch and Mrs. Shrock joined them.  Estelle was allowed to take her mother in a tray with some food.  As she brought it in, her mother asked her to set it aside so she could see her baby sister.  “This is Audrey, your baby sister,” her mother introduced.  Estelle was utterly taken at her beautiful little face.  Her sister seemed very alert, turning her head to sounds and trying to take in the world around her.  Her mother added, “She looks just like you did.”

This made Estelle smile.  She handed her mother the tray and helped put the baby down in the bassinette so her mother could eat and she shut the door as she left the room.

At the lunch table, Mrs. Shrock was going on and on about all the deliveries she had assisted with in the area and the tales that went along with them.  The children rarely spoke at the table unless spoken to…and her father just took a bite and instead of engaging in the conversation he would put his fork down in between mouthfuls and rub his shoulder.   Estelle wondered if he had hurt his shoulder carrying his mother in from the yard earlier.

And then she spotted the crow through the window on a tree branch looking inside.  She knew this meant something. Her thoughts raced toward her mother and the baby, but they were fine.  Then she looked at her father.  His coloring was off.  He was clutching his shoulder.  Everyone at once seemed to notice, including Mrs. Shrock.  Her father slumped ungracefully to the floor.

Estelle immediately got up and left the table.

She was angry; angrier than she had ever been in her entire life.  She walked right outside and around the house to where the crow was perched.   She stared it down.  Her eyes connected with its eyes.  My father WILL live and if anything shall die it will be you , she willed the message to the bird without speaking.  My father WILL live!  It is you that will die!   Her eyes never averted its eyes.  She sent her message over and over and when she reached the branch where the bird was perched, it fell to the ground lifeless.

Dead Crow

Estelle immediately felt relief.  She knew deep down her father would be fine.


**Estelle Picture (c) 2011 by Vintage Duffee, All Rights Reserved.**

***Crow pictures above were found using Google Images Search.  Each photo can be clicked so you can see the image by the original author in its original format.***

****Story originally posted on my RedGage Account, which can be viewed here.****


Rude Awakenings—Story 3

~Estelle Series ~

Story #3

Rude Awakenings

Estelle's experiences so far with her visions had not been welcoming.  For a little 9 year old girl they were downright frightening, but only after she was able to comprehend them, which was usually long after they'd occurred.   Especially seeing Wells, because she thought he was as real as the cup of coffee in front of her.  Disillusioned or crazy were words her parents whispered but never spoke aloud.  So Estelle prayed every night that God would make her a bit more normal.

And for awhile, she didn't really encounter much...but little things continued to happen.  A small feeling here, a shadow there, and sometimes a sinking feeling would envelope her.   These more subtle things didn't bother her as much, because they were nudges and she could choose to ignore them, most of the time.

The first memorable "nudge" she felt was in late August.  Her mother was very far along with her 5th pregnancy and it seemed she should have had this child months ago.  Estelle walked out into the kitchen, where her mother was scrubbing everything she could get her hands on.  Estelle noticed an unusual glow about her mom and remarked, "Mom you look like a glowing star, you're bright and beautiful."  Her mom was not one to listen to anything but plain speak and she just muttered something about being hot and sweaty and not enough time to clean the kitchen.

That night, Estelle's nudges were more like shoves.

Whispers surrounded her that night as she slept.  She really didn't understand what exactly she was listening to, but it sounded like a hundred crickets or a hundred cat scratches filling her ears.  To make sense of what she was listening to wasn't possible, there was no sweet rhythm or beat to it...more like a continual hum. You could listen to it without going crazy but you wouldn't want to hear it all the time.  Just as the noises finally lulled her into a false sense of sleep she heard a very audible "Get UP!"

Immediately Estelle sat up and looked around the room.  She couldn't tell you if the voice was male or female...just that it was.   Her eyes could only focus on so much in the darkness. Her spirit was too unsettled to ignore what she heard or to even attempt to go back to sleep.  Estelle just waited.   When she listened she heard a scream.

At that Estelle raced out of her room.  She ran to her parents' room but only her father was in bed, and her mother was not to be found.

"Help Me!" came the next cry.  It was from outside and Estelle raced through the kitchen out the back door to see her mother on the ground with fear riddled on her face. 

"Momma" she cried as she took flight across the wet grass. "Momma, what's the matter is it the baby?" she asked. 

Her mother panted and in between moans grumbled, "Quick, get your Father and then grab Misty and ride and grab Mrs. Schrock. It's time."

Estelle saw the pain in her mother's eyes and then stood up to run and grab her Dad, but not before she noticed a crow perched atop the outhouse.  She found it odd it would be there this early in the morning, as it beckoned for her attention.  After waking her father, she ran as quickly as she could to the stable and got Misty their half-breed and had her racing to waken Mrs. Schrock.


Crow Modified

As Estelle left the stable she saw once again the crow perched atop of the outhouse seemingly watching her every move.  She gave Misty a good squeeze and trotted by as quickly as she could out of the driveway.  As she passed by, the crow took off in flight, circled over their home and flew away.


**Image courtesy of free-extras.com .  You can click the image above to see it in it's original format.**

***This story originally appeared on my RedGage Account, which can be found here.***



Wells-The Boy with the Apple—Story 2

The Estelle Series

Story 2

The depression had set in and in the summer of 1930, Estelle had turned 9.  Adjusting from the city life to farm life wasn't particularly easy, especially when the family went from modest means to barely scraping by.

Her father found work when and where he could and in the evenings he taught his girls how to farm.  It seemed that Estelle usually got stuck with the garden work, while her older sister took care of the two younger sisters and helped with house chores because their mother was quite far along with her fifth pregnancy.

Estelle didn't like that she couldn't see the house from the garden.  From the house there was no way to tell if rabbits or deer were trampling on their food, and there was no way to see her Mom from the fields.  After all, she was the designated one to run and get help from the neighbors if her mother went into labor and her father wasn’t home.

It was a particularly hot June day.  Estelle was weeding row upon row of garden vegetables.  She was working on the row of cabbages and after tugging hard on a really deep root in the dry soil, she turned up a snake.  She flung that thing across the garden and screamed a shrilling loud scream.  Jumping to her feet trying to catch her heart before it leapt out of her throat, Estelle heard someone laugh at her. 

She looked around, but her sisters were nowhere to be seen.  She definitely heard a laugh...it was unmistakable.  She continued along, but had the creeping feeling like someone was watching her.  Not the doomed feeling she had with the man in the window...it was more like she was being watched...like a tiger that follows you in the jungle...you know he's on your trail but you can never quite see him or where exactly he lies in wait.

As she approached the end of the row of cabbages, she was up against the property line fence.  She rested for a few minutes from the shade the neighbor's apple trees gave her.  That is when she heard a snap and a rustling on the ground.  She quickly turned around...and then she saw him.  He was about 3 inches taller than she...and he had brown hair that swooped down in front of his eyes.  His eyes were outlined with thick eyebrows and his eyes never really looked at hers but she could tell they were dark.  His nose and cheeks were dotted with freckles and his skinny frame barely held up his britches.

Blond haired boy

He leaned up against the tree and polished off the red apple on his shirt.  Concentrating on his food, he ate the apple.  Estelle could see that was one juicy apple and this made her hungry.  "Can I have one of those apples please?" 

The boy didn't reply, he just continued to eat his apple.  "Hey boy!" she shouted a bit louder, "May I please have one of your apples?"  And again he ignored her.  He ate his apple down to the core and then walked off.  While she sat in the shade, the wind blew gently and low and behold a red apple fell out of the tree and into her lap.

Estelle ate the apple with delight.  It was perfect.  It put some food in her belly and it was juicy enough to quench her thirst.  Again she heard some rustling behind her.  This time she recognized her older neighbor Mr. Wojeski.  He came up to the fence line, "Hello there young lady."  His voice was gruff and deep. 

Estelle immediately felt the need to explain, "I was sitting here and the apple fell in my lap, I promise I didn't steal it."

"Well if it fell in your lap, then I guess it is yours then.  God puts plenty of apples on the trees you help yourself whenever you like."  He smiled.  Estelle realized his gruff voice didn't necessarily make him mean.  She couldn't bear getting the switch over something so delicious as an apple.  Then Mr. Wojeski said, "When your Pa gets home tonight, tell him I have some squash coming in from my brother down south.  He's welcome to stop by Friday and take as much as he likes."

Estelle thanked him and promised to tell her Dad as soon as he got home.  Bread and butter were a staple dinner during these times and some squash would be a fantastic treat.  She got up and finished her weeding and headed back to the house.  That evening over dinner, she told her Dad about Mr. Wojeski's offer and how she was allowed to eat from the apple trees out back.  Her Dad warned her not to eat more than an apple a day if she didn't want to live in the outhouse and so she agreed.

The next day she had house chores to do but as soon as her dad got home, he had Estelle help him carry buckets of water to keep the garden watered.  He found a cart and it made things easier, but still they had to carry the buckets from the cart to the plants because there wasn't enough room to roll it down the rows of vegetables.

On one trip to water the cucumbers near the fence line, she felt something catch on her leg and it seems she got her leg cut by the barbed wire.  The cut was long and deep and it hurt...but she knew she had to go about getting the watering done.  At this point, she took some of the water out of the pail and poured it down her leg to help it relieve the pain. When she looked up she saw the boy sitting up in the apple tree eating his apple.

Apple Orchard

"You could scare a girl out of her skin!!" she startled, but he didn't seem to notice and stared down at his apple while he ate it.  She seen her dad come with another load of buckets and scurried up the row to drop her empty buckets off and get some full ones, she started on a row of peppers back by the fence and worked her way up.

The boy was still up there eating his apple.  "So what's your name?"  She asked.   He didn't answer so she turned to continue doing her work and she heard him answer, "Wells".

She snapped her head around, "Wells is it?" and with that he nodded his head.  She noticed his shiny yellow golden apple and the white juicy center.  Her mouth watered at the site of it.  "Mr. Wojeski said I could have an apple too." she declared.  "Would you mind if I had one?"  Wells shook the branch of the tree and a golden yellow and red apple fell in her hands and she polished it off and ate it.  She finished her chores and thought she was beginning to like Wells.

The following day was Friday, she was excited to go with her Dad to get the squash from Mr. Wojeski.  They came around to the front of their farm.  Back then, neighbor helped neighbor during these tough times.  Her family would return the favor in kind when their crops harvested.   They arrived and there was a whole wagon full of yellow squash.  Her Dad was so excited and Mr. Wojeski insisted he take enough to do some canning with.  Over by their car, Wells was leaning his back up against the door.  He had an apple and he was staring at it curiously.

Estelle helped her Dad load up some squash into their wagon.  Estelle went to jump out of the wagon and when she grabbed the wooden side she got a deep splinter from it.  The pain stung and she fought to hold back the tear.  Afterall, she didn't want to seem ungrateful to Mr. Wojeski.   When they were done, her Dad had about a 20 minute conversation with the neighbor...and Estelle watched as Wells hesitated in eating his apple.  Maybe he had been eating more than an apple a day and it was bothering his stomach, as her father suggested it would.

Just before it was time to go, she watched as Wells finally took a bite and then another.  From where she stood the apple was red but she couldn't see the juicy center.  She watched mesmerized for several minutes and realized that Wells had a mouth full of apple that he couldn't swallow.  She thought maybe he was choking...as his eyes grew big and he seemed to be on overload.  Each bite he tried to take looked painful.  She raced toward him and got within 10 feet and stopped in her tracks, "Wells, are you okay??  Are you choking??"  She was panicking on his behalf.

The boy just opened his mouth and to her horror she seen a mouth full of worms wiggling out.  They were all on his tongue, between his teeth and all over his hand that held what was left of the apple.  Estelle screamed in horror...and her Dad and Mr. Wojeski ran over to her.

"Make him stop that...Make him Stop!!"  She was ready to heave the lunch she had earlier.

"Young Lady, make who stop what?"  Mr. Wojeski replied.

"Him!" She pointed toward the car but couldn't turn to look.

"Who?" Her dad demanded.

She turned around and noticed Wells had run off.  "He was just right there." She said through her tears.  "I don't know where he went, but his name is Wells."

Her dad looked puzzled and Mr. Wojeski looked away.  When he looked back he was visibly shaken.  "Wells is my son." he admitted.  "Only he died 14 years ago, along with my daughter.  They got the TB and there was nothing we could do to save them."

Her Dad gave Estelle a rather strange look.  And Mr. Wojeski said, "I always had a feeling he hadn't left here."

On the way home, Estelle said nothing until her Dad asked about who she had seen.  He really didn't have much of a reply to what she told him and they pulled into their yard and her older sister was waiting to help unload the squash.

When she started to help unload the wagon, she saw worms all over the squash.  She screamed in horror, but her father would have no more of this nonsense. 


At the dinner table, they had bread and butter and squash for dinner.  Estelle asked for only bread and butter and her father scolded her for not eating what was in front of her.  She asked to be excused, which meant the switch and off to bed she went.  And that night Estelle went to bed hungry.

The next day, the entire family was extremely ill, except Estelle.  Their stomachs were cramping and they were heaving up the previous night’s dinner and waiting in line at the outhouse.  Mr. and Mrs. Wojeski were taken ill too.  Estelle realized that Wells had tried to warn her that the squash was bad.  Her family had her take it all out of the house and burn it.  That was the last she saw of Wells for several years...


**The images presented here are from Google Images Search.  Each one can be linked back to its original author by clicking on the picture, where you can see a better view of the picture in its original format.**

***This story first appeared on my RedGage Account and can be found here.***

The Man In The Window—Story 1

~The Estelle Series~
Story 1
Little Estelle was born in the house she lived in until she was eight years old.  She shared a room with her older sister and when her younger sister came along, she too was moved into the same room.
Estelle actually liked the idea of sharing the room with two sisters.  The room was plenty big, but there was another reason.  Estelle was utterly scared to be in this room alone.  For as long as she could remember there was an uneasiness about that room.  Estelle didn't quite understand the heightened sense of doom that was immediately present upon entering it.  She could see his figure on the other side of her window and she knew he was always watching her.

Now Estelle could only see his silhouette, she never saw him because of the curtains that hung to the floor. They were white and layered and it let the light filter in the room, but they were thick enough that she couldn't make out the details on the other side.  And she couldn't make out the man's features either.  But she knew one thing...that man wasn't a good man...he meant harm and that scared her.   And that had Estelle wondering why on earth was this man was always on the other side of her window?

By the time Estelle was in grade school, she had expressed to her folks she had an uneasiness about the room.  Her parents didn't want to hear such nonsense and reassured her there was no one on the other side of the window.  From her room, her father would say, "See there is no man standing there."  This confused Estelle because as her father said those words and pointed to the window, Estelle saw the man scoff at her from the other side.  The man was always in the window.  Why could she see him and no one else?

At night she shared a bed with her older sister and during the day she played outside or anywhere else but in her room.  She kept out of trouble and never back talked because she didn't want to be sent to her room alone as a punishment.  One time she was really sick with the flu and her mother told her she had to stay in bed.  That man watched her all day long and her fever got worse.  Fear grew within her and she begged to lay out on the couch.  Finally, her mother agreed, but she ended up getting the rest of the family sick.  From that day forward, she was told she had to stay in her room when she was sick.  This had her praying every night that she would be well the next day.  She was too scared to stay in that room alone.

Another time, she was late for school and she didn't get to eat breakfast.  Being in a rush she forgot her lunch and had remembered it half way down the block.  She ran back to the house and had to pass her bedroom to get the kitchen.  That day the man was in the room.  In a split second, she wondered, How did he get inside?   She couldn't make out his details, but she utterly panicked at the site of him.  She grabbed her lunch and ran out of the house.  That was the last time she ever forgot her lunch or her books or anything else on the way to school.

Estelle turned eight in 1929, and her parents had lost most of their wealth in the stock market crash.  Her parents quickly sold the house and they moved onto a farm about 35 miles north.  Estelle was never so happy to leave that house and move out of that room.  The night before she was to move the man in the window was screaming at her.  The noises coming from him were frightening and deafening, as if he were being tortured.  She never understood what he wanted or why he was there, but she prayed all night that God would hear her prayers over this man's screams.  She prayed that the man wouldn't follow her to the new house.

And it seemed that God had heard her prayers.

When they arrived at the new house, Estelle checked it out.  To her relief,  Estelle saw no man in the window in her new room.  This room was bigger then her old room and she would be sharing this one with a third sister.   She loved her new home, her new room and for the first time in her life, Estelle wasn't scared anymore.   She never understood exactly who or what she saw back at that other house or what she heard.  It was like some hellish nightmare that never ended for her.  Maybe it was all childhood silliness?
After all, no one else saw him.

Two weeks after Estelle and her family had moved into the farm house, her father received a letter in the mail.  The family that had bought their old house in the city tragically died in the middle of the night.  The house had exploded killing everyone inside.  A neighbor had thought he has spotted someone outside the bedroom window earlier that evening.  He alerted the family and a police report was taken. 
The neighbor wasn't exactly able to describe the man he saw, just that he was lurking outside when he shouldn't have been.  The letter had asked Estelle's father if they'd ever encountered any problems with menaces or peeping toms before, as they needed as much help as they could get with the investigation.

That night Estelle knew that the man in the window was real...maybe everyone couldn't see him...but she knew she had. 

**Images used in this piece were found on Google Images Search.  They can be viewed in their original format by original author's by clicking on the photos.**
***This story first appeared on my RedGage Account...and can be found here.***