Utah’s Round 8 Challenges (Word limit – 600):
* Incorporate a prophetic dream (given by Eros)
* Set your passage on Christmas Day (given by littlestar)
* At least half of your passage should be a flash forward to the end of your story (given by AnnasBones)
Read UTAH 7 here (see “Similar Posts” at the bottom of this post for any earlier entries)
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Canada geese migrating from the south honked overhead as they whooshed in V formations over the greening earth. Corey and Delia interrupted their seeding and straightened their backs to watch with craned necks, humbled by the majestic effort filling the skies with music and symmetrical power.
The fields, fallow for so many years, had again been plowed. The spring planting was underway. Delia’s life had always been intertwined with the health of her farm, but this spring the farm took on more significance than ever before. Since the January FBI raid on Jacob’s cabin that had rescued Corey, Delia had thrown herself into rejuvenating the abandoned acreage.
A nosy few in the community, the ones who lacked imagination, insinuated that Delia was placing her farm’s wellbeing before her daughter’s. But Delia knew that, in some unfathomable, archetypal way, the mending and resuscitation of the farm reflected Corey’s own healing process. Each seed germinating in the greenhouse represented a small victory in Delia’s heart against the morally deformed fiend who had stunted her daughter’s growth for so many years.
It was in fact Corey who wanted to pare down her rehabilitation schedule and Delia who insisted she attend the sessions the trauma counselors advised. To Delia’s great joy, Corey now embraced the farming life. Her childhood love of the dirt had strangely returned. One afternoon Delia found a notepad on the living room couch. On the front page was a short passage in Corey’s writing:
We are not the Beautiful Ones, not reared in measured soil and tended with controlled temperature and dosages of Mozart. We are of the raw and implacable earth, thrusting our way through stone and gravel only to break into shade, fighting one another for scarce sunlight, bending under hail, cursing under drought. Neglected, compressed, clobbered, thrashed, we learn by the toil of our flesh that what matters—not what matters most but what matters first—is to endure, to stand fast when the hysterical and wailing wind tries to bowl us over. By the ragged history of our blood we know to endure.
Delia burst into tears. From that day on, she knew the health of her farm and of Corey were inseparable.
One cloud still remained over Delia and Corey: Jacob had yet to be apprehended. He had been returning from grocery shopping when the FBI descended upon his cabin. When the three unmarked vehicles ahead of him turned down his road, he realized they had found him. He knew everyone who turned down that road. So he kept driving. His station wagon was found abandoned in a parking lot in Albany.
Never had the farm been as productive as in the season of Corey’s return. Just after the fall harvest, Corey and Delia were walking through the cornfield when Corey stooped down and plucked something from the ground. When she righted herself, she was holding a Narcissus. Tears were running from her eyes.
“Corey, what’s wrong?” Delia tried to go to her but her legs wouldn’t move.
Corey began to step backwards, tears dripping from her chin.
“Corey!” Delia extended her arms helplessly. The wind picked up as Corey kept slipping backwards into the cornstalks. “Corey! Corey!” The cornstalks flailed about her daughter until only her outstretched hand holding the flower was visible and soon that too was swallowed up. Crows began to caw and wheel overhead. The sky darkened and pressed down. The stalks wilted and blackened.
Delia jerked awake in a cold sweat. She was in a Super 8 Motel in Burlington, Vermont. It was Christmas morning and she was alone.