Happy One Year #BlogBattle Anniversary!
So, “Egging You On” was my week 3 #BlogBattle story, and while I’m partial to my strange addiction to Mad Mona, I’ve decided to pull this one out of the file instead. When I wrote it I wanted more from the story, so why not revisit it a bit and see where it goes?
Genre: Contemporary Drama
Theme Word: Eggs
The sign was hand-painted in a quick scrawl; it was legible, but not pretty. Fresh Farm Eggs, Turn Here.
Sarah didn’t know what possessed her. There really was no time to stop, but the little chick painted at the corner of the sign, so much more detailed and exquisite than the haphazard words, caught her eye. At the last second, she slammed on the brakes and turned down the little, meandering dirt road, traipsing its way through the rolling fields of golden wheat.
She looked at her watch every few minutes, wondering how long the road could go on before arriving at the farm. When she’d come near to convincing herself what a stupid whim it was the whitewashed farm house with its classic full front porch came into view. Soon she could see the quintessential red barn complete with white trim.
“Cute,” she said, smiling despite the memories it evoked. Maybe it was because of them.
The sun made its lazy way over the horizon, but Sarah knew farmers were early risers. A rooster would make sure of it. And that little chick on the sign lingered in her mind.
She pulled up in front of the house, her tires crunching on the gravel driveway.
A woman, wiping her hands on her frilly apron, stepped out onto the porch. The old wooden screen door smacked against the frame behind her but it stirred something within Sarah she’d buried years before.
“Howdy, missy. What can I help you with?”
“Hello, ma’am. I saw your sign. Fresh farm eggs.”
“’Course,” she replied, nodding. “Here’s the issue: haven’t collected ’em yet today. If’n you’re up for it, you’re more’n welcome to gather a dozen, and I’ll sell ’em to you for half price. Sound fair?”
Sarah’s first thought was to refuse and leave, but she hesitated. The sturdy-looking woman on the porch must have taken her silence for consent because she bent over, picked up a wicker basket, and held it out to her visitor.
As if possessed by the past, Sarah reached out and took the basket’s handle from her.
“Sarah,” she said in a hushed voice.
“Well, Sarah, if you need anything come to the back door. I’ll be just in the kitchen. The coop’s around the house there, near the barn.”
Sarah nodded and watched the woman reenter the house without a sideways glance. It was too much. What am I doing here? Why on earth did I turn? I should leave, she thought to herself.
Moving to the big city and pursuing a career as far from the farm as possible had been all she’d ever thought about. She hadn’t seen her home in fifteen years. What possessed her to stop here?
She stared at the basket in her hands and gave up trying to figure it out. She’d said she was here for eggs and eggs she would get. Sarah stiffened her upper lip, which had started quivering for no good reason and marched around the side of the house, her Prada heels sinking into the mud.
Once her mind was made up it would take a natural disaster to throw her off course, or maybe something worse. With deft movements, she unlatched the gate to the coop and stepped into the midst of clucking ladies, their gentleman out cawing about the yard in freedom.
“Ah, while you’re in there, miss,” a older man’s voice startled her, “would you mind feeding the lasses?”
Sarah gasped and pulled the basket to her chest. “Sh-sure.”
The old farmer grinned and moseyed away toward the barn.
Despite the fact that she didn’t live here nor did she know these people, her old life seemed to overtake her with familiarity. She set the basket down and took the hanging metal bucket, full of chicken feed. Her hand dipped into the kernels and other bits. She tossed them about in a perfect horizontal arc and watched the lasses, as the farmer had called them, gobble up the bits.
Sarah set the empty bucket down, picked up her little basket, and continued on her mission. Her watch and the time were completely forgotten.
The little door to the hen house was wedged closed, but with a little wiggling and some elbow grease she pried it back to reveal three rows of nests. One lone chicken sat on a nest of hay, her head tucked down. If chickens could be sad, this one definitely looked it. Sarah set the basket down once again, bent over, and awkwardly made her way to the bereft looking mother hen.
“What’s wrong, little lass?” she asked as she stroked the lonely hen’s soft feathers.
Sarah was ten years old again, collecting eggs on her parent’s farm. The wacky chickens had always been special to her. Maybe that was why the sign had struck her fancy.
She picked up the perfectly white hen to reveal a perfectly white egg. “Oh, is this your baby? Don’t you worry about this one, little lass. I’ll take care of her for you.”
Little Lass clucked at Sarah who took the sound as a sign of agreement. Sarah nodded at the hen and held the warm egg against her heart. She patted the hen once more and left the hen-house. When she exited the fence and turned around, the sad little lass exited the coop and went about her business as if nothing had ever been wrong.
“I see Harriet has convinced you to adopt her baby.”
Sarah, startled again, looked sharply toward the voice of a man much younger than the one who’d addressed her earlier.
Before another thought crossed her mind she said, “We agreed it was for the best.”
What on earth am I saying?
“Raising a chick is a big responsibility,” the stranger responded, his light blue eyes dancing with mischief.
“I don’t know where I’ll keep her. My apartment has a strict ‘no pets’ policy.”
“You could always move to a farm,” he said, his tone inviting her to consider the possibilities.
And that’s when she knew why she’d followed that sign. Home was calling her, and that little chick had egged her on.