Growing (NaNoWriMo - 8)
Basil popped up in front of me.
"Should we grow our meat?"
"A splendid idea but you know you can't pick it off the trees do you?"
He giggled and snapped with his fingers and immediately Rosemary stood next to him.
"I didn't know you can do that too."
"We all can but since Rosemary loves this kind of hocus-pocus we rarely use it. You can't imagine the chaos if we don't focus and keep snapping our fingers. It's merely used in case of need or to get my dearest over here. What do you say about having some meat here Rosemary?"
"I'm surrounded by meat, it's good I am not a cannibal... yet."
She tickled him and both rolled over the ground for laughter.
"It's a serious asked matter."
I tried to make them stop joking around but once Rosemary was excited and her head started shaking... I sat on the ground and waited till the two tiny creatures stopped fooling around. They didn't look that magical to me at all, more like two little jokers. Mother Nature must have a special sense of humor to like them.
Later, as we laid on the ground next to each other, after Rosemary calmed down, she said everything is possible if we wanted it.
"This garden is bigger than you think and as long as you stay within its borders, live by the rules, you are safe. We are part of the circle of life. We live, eat, are food to others."
"Food or the enemy," Basil added to it.
"Do you eat meat, do you need it?"
My two friends looked at each other before Basil answered my question.
"We do, we need it as much as you but we are forced to stop eating it. It changed us. You won't hear me complain but it changed us and I don't know if it is in a good, healthy way."
He looked at Rosemary who's head hung down, held her hand while stroking her back.
"If there is meat left if there are birds or something else you can keep better hurry. We never thought of it. We should have made our thoughts long ago. At the moment we were still ourselves and able to. Look at us. Know if possible you can count on us. Come on, dear."
He assisted Rosemary to stand up and they vanished in a wink.
It was the first time both had shown themselves outside instead of in my room. As far as I remembered it was the first time too not Rosemary but Basil heard me. My question about them consuming meat must be memorized at a different time for both. After they gave up on it something bad happened. Carmen was worried about me not getting what I needed but after I saw Rosemary...
We had to grow our meat, find as many birds, animals we could keep to provide in what Carmen called 'the most essential minerals and vitamins the body and soul need'. It wasn't about the body only but the soul and mind needed food too, healthy food in the first place. I was still young, they told me I was. Rosemary, her community, could have my ration. I hoped it would help them.
Back home Carmen prepared our meal.
"The garden is big enough. We can keep them safe and away from us, the owls, the herbs, and vegetables."
She nodded. In the days following we made a fence out of branches and willows about 500 steps away from the vegetable garden. Trees grew in between. There was no animal to keep yet but we both had faith there would be soon.
"Without a plan and preparations nothing works out, " Carmen declared as we finished the last part of the fence. "The ranks need time to grow, we already have food and... time "
She looked satisfied with the result and so felt I. We managed to do it. The animals would not cause much extra work.
The afternoons and evenings we spent reading and thinking over the day. I hadn't spoken or seen a glimpse of my friends since the moment we spoke about providing in our meat. I hoped nothing happened to them but there was no one I could ask.
Days turned into weeks and moons passed by. Our storage room was filled with corn, spelled, garlic, onions, potatoes, and bunches of herbs dried above our heads. An extra cabinet out of Carmen's room moved to our storage room to stock the herbs we prepared. The old cabinet was for 'the special effect' reserved.
It was on a rainy morning I woke up and found the blackboard back on the kitchen table. Carmen left me a message.
'You know what to do. I took one. Check the front door every morning. Stay and take care.'
She was gone! I knocked on her door, searched the house as I did years before. The house was empty. No trace of Rosemary either. On those rare occasions my foster mother left, it was Rosemary who watched over me. She sat next to my bed and waited till I woke up. It was her my friend who had told me to wash myself, get dressed, and asked at that very first time if I could make a fire.
I grew older. This time I was alone. In silence, I made a fire and drank my tea. 'I took one' she wrote. One of what, her owl or one of the others? Daily we sent out the owls. I poured myself another cup and took a biscuit and noticed she took more than one which meant she wouldn't be back within a week from today. I counted the biscuits left and concluded I was right. It would be a long journey this time but why check the front door? I peeped through the window but noticed nothing alarming. The view was the same as always.
After washing and dressing, I carefully opened the door and looked outside. There was nothing. Hastily I closed and locked it. Tomorrow I would look again.
At the patio the owls sat in their boxes and slept, her two favorites included.
"She didn't take one of you either, I bet you can find her but how can she reach us if she needs anything, is in danger?"
I petted the owls, crawled each of one of them between the eyes, and let them rest.
NaNoWriMo2020 source photo: pixabay.com
It was time to check the garden. No matter the weather there was always something that needed attention. This morning I walked straight to the 'animals' farm' as we called it to check the fence. It was as empty as always except for the little hut placed in the middle. I couldn't remember it had been there yesterday. I opened the gate and stepped inside.
"Hello there, I didn't expect you so early. What do you think of it?"
Perplex I stared at the little guy in front of me. It was the first time I saw him.
"You must be Isa. You like the hen house? It's not finished yet but it will be soon."
He waited for my answer but I didn't know how to respond. Was the garden, our world, filled with more creatures I never knew about, even noticed?
"Since you seem to be out of words I assume you like it. You know what they say 'if you aren't against it you love it'."
"That's the oddest expression I ever heard!"
"Aaaah, you can talk, good to know I thought I was suffering from deafness already."
He rubbed and pulled at his huge ears which made me laugh out loud.
"Good girl, crawl inside you are a bit big. Your parents must have been giants. Are you a giant? I fix it later. Next time you can stand up straight I promise... unless you keep growing."
It was a nice, solid hen house with room for at least twelve chickens.
"It's lovely, solid, a fine piece of handcraft."
I caressed the wood and admired the fact he could build something out of what once was a tree, something that could live as long if not longer than some trees. I noticed the little mark on the wall.
"What is this?"
"It's my sign. The proof I made it, my brand," he replied proudly, "I am a master in woodcraft, the best there is."
I knew the mark, I saw it before, more than once. The same mark was made in both cabinets, the table, and chairs.
"There will be more, tomorrow and in the next days. Please, come back and tell me if you like it."
"You work fast."
"I have help. If you look you will find."
I looked around me. He didn't snap his fingers like Rosemary and Basil did to make 'the others' appear, visible for me.
He stroked his white beard and nodded to me. His friendly face reminded me in a way of someone else. The same looks, expression. He must be old, very old.
I crawled out of the hen house and patted the dirt off my clothes.
"She didn't tell you, did she?"
I didn't know what to answer, what she is not told me. He hesitated but decided to clear me up or at least made me a bit wiser on this first day on my own.
"These aren't the first dark days, and won't be the last. To answer your question... we are related, we all are."
Total amount of words: 2620