Day Six Writing Challenge
Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.
When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer, Ch 12 and Ch 30
Amy inwardly groaned. When would this stupid cow ever learn that she was the boss? She picked herself up off the stall floor, righted the milking stool, and resumed her position. Nudging the cow’s side with her forehead, she squeezed on the teats.
“Come on, Sadie. Give.”
The cow flicked her tale and turned a baleful gaze on the other occupant of the stall before turning back to chewing her cud.
Amy rubbed her hands together. Maybe Sadie didn’t like cold hands. She knew she didn’t. Still nothing.
Amy stood. “Fine. I’ve got other things to do than stand around here coddling you. You’ll give when your good and ready.”
She removed the stool and the pail and went to next stall, where Midnight filled the pail in less than eight minutes. She could do this. She could prove to the banker that she had all the skills needed to run this place. She wouldn’t lose her family’s land. She couldn’t.
Three hours later, and Amy lugged the final bucket into the milking room. While Sadie had proven reluctant, the pressure on her udder had won over her desire to be cantankerous, and Amy had been able to get nearly three gallons from her.
She poured the milk into the silver canister then used the wheelbarrow to take the container to the end of the driveway where the milk company would pick up today’s milking. Seven containers. Thirty-five gallons. A whole dollar. She did a quick calculation in her head. At this rate, she’d need every cow to double its output to pay the mortgage payment on the first of the month. Fourteen days left. And that meant she couldn’t spend a single penny.
The larder was nearly empty, the smokehouse was barren, and her stomach was rumbling. She needed a miracle.
As she walked back toward the house, a flash of movement caught her eye, and she paused and stared. The waist-high corn stalks in the field shivered as something worked its way through. Her knees shook at the possibilities. Wolves. Wild dogs. One of her cows. If that Sadie had broken through the fence again…
No, this was bigger than Sadie. Heavier. Noisier, too. Snorting and pawing the ground. A wild boar? That sure would be an answer to prayer and would supply meat and a good piece of hide.
How was she going to deal with a wild boar? She had nothing with her except this beat-up old barrow, which was neither a weapon nor a sufficient barrier for her safety. She left the wheelbarrow and trotted back to the house, to the gun her father had kept over the fireplace. She checked the breech to make sure, but knew that the rifle was loaded. Her father saw no point in a weapon without ammunition.
The shiny wooden stock felt warm compared to the cold metal barrel, and she hefted the weapon in both hands as she scooted back the driveway. She scanned the field as she went. The tops of the corn stalks waved as if a wind was blowing through, but the day was calm and the trees were still. Except where this creature moved.
Amy jogged alongside the fence until she was broadside to the creature. Or perhaps a person? She didn’t want to harm anybody. “Whoever is there, come on out. I’ve got a gun.”
Movement paused but only for a moment. More snorts and grunts. Heavy steps coming toward her.
Then a massive head poked through the final row of cornstalks, and pink-red eyes stared at her. Dirty white hair clustered in tufts on the muzzle and around the ears, and the pink nose and lips slobbered spit that dripped to the ground in disgusting rivulets.
A white buffalo. The hide alone would pay the mortgage off. And the meat would keep her in food for six months.
The creature took several steps toward her, then bent its head to press against the fence. The rotten wood wouldn’t keep the animal at bay for very long. One of them would die today. And she didn’t intend to be the one.
Amy raised the gun to her shoulder and aimed, her finger on the trigger. “I realize this is difficult for you, and it gives me no pleasure to upset you, but the issue really needs to be settled.”