Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Seven

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm

                                                            Beginnings

 

            Scrubbing pots was all he ever knew.  It was safe.  It was tedious.  Most of all it was boring.  Dreadfully boring, there was nothing Saul wanted more than adventure.  Growing up in the kitchen, Saul was an orphan.  With no one to call family, he was unceremoniously adopted by the head cook.  A large round woman, Miss Tott, stern with graying hair was never far.  When Saul was tall enough to reach the top of the counter in the scullery, he was put to work, though he didn’t know why.  Oh sure some of the others had to work in the kitchens, sometimes, Saul was there every day.

            At the crossroads, what the traders called the “backlands”, a large inn had popped up. Those who wanted to get away from the cities and castles; it was the perfect place for it.  The Inn itself was a sprawling place.  Made of pine that had to be imported onto the plains it had a ramshackle appearance.   Pappa’s was the place where no one knew about your past and more importantly no one cared. 

Over the years a small village grew up around Pappa’s.  The buildings on the other side of the main road were made of mud brick with thatch roofs of grass.  Being the only other material in the middle of the plains, that did not have to be carried for twenty leagues.  Some coming to live, others working then moving on.  Pappa’s had the only well in twenty leagues.  A large well, caravans would stop to fill casks and barrels with water. The men at Pappa’s, to fill bellies and flasks with ale and wine.

            Women would sometimes come with the caravans hired to cook, guard, or as company.  They would also come into Pappa’s.  A few, seeking a new life, would pick up a trade and set up shop in one of the abandoned houses.  Travelers would often stop for them as well as water on there way to the North or East.

            Saul liked to think that his mother was one of the few women guards, someone rare and special, who could and would often stand up to anyone.  Often daydreaming, during his mindless hours of scrubbing, Lou would sneak right up behind him.  Inches away, she would whisper softly into his ear, “wake’em up sleepy”.  At a moment when something breakable was in his soapy hands, he would jump almost out of his skin, throwing his hands and dishes into the air, getting him into no end of trouble. 

            Lou was a girl about the same age as Saul.  Of the dozens of other children, Lou was his best friend.  He’d known her all his life; he even knew that her real name was Louise Anne and that if he wanted a black eye again he could say it out loud.  Long chestnut hair was in a tangle on her head this morning.  Sitting cross-leg on the dusty ground in front of the washbasin it was her day for laundry, Saul knew she hated every minute of it.