by Dan Sackett
Sometimes Nora pretended that the corn husks were monsters and the only way to escape their grasp was to crawl across the dirt since, as everyone knew, they couldn’t reach that far down. Only six years old, her parents were well aware of her imagination and found no problem in allowing her to explore the mystical universes she somehow created. Nevertheless, it was supper time and upon hearing her name in the wind, Nora knew that she would have to be careful in answering. She’d decided that her adversaries had impeccable hearing, mostly due to their proximity to the air above, and answering her father would surely give away her position.
“Which way,” she whispered.
The wind whipped and Nora nodded as if receiving instructions. Her movements were precise extending from her lowered head all the way down to her rhythmic march. Each advance showed a practiced touch and in time, she began to pick up pace.
“Slow down some,” she said. “I can’t keep up,” she then added.
Her pace didn’t slow though and before she knew it, she could see the setting sun through a hole in the crops. The sky was orange in shade, her favorite color if she had to choose, and as she emerged from the line of corn husks she turned in a mocking fashion.
“Here I am,” she exclaimed.
“Nora,” shouted her father for the second time.
The young girl didn’t pay attention however and peered back at the hole in the husks. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Aiden. Don’t get caught tonight.”
She stared vacantly and after a moment of silence and a gentle nod, she skipped toward the house and the open door in which her father was standing. “You’ve got dirt all over your new dress, sweetie,” he noted.
She looked over the mud stains which now eclipsed the white sequins on the fringe of her dress. “I couldn’t risk being taken, daddy.”
“I’m sure, Nora. Wash up please. Your mother is just putting dinner on the table now.”
She smiled and smelled the air in their home. “What did she make?”
“One of your favorites. Sweet potatoes, corn, and chicken.”
“Poor Aiden,” she said sullenly.
Her father looked down at her through his glasses and raised his eyebrows in a sudden perplexity. “Aiden?”
“He said that he was very hungry. I’m sure he misses mother’s cooking.”
“You talked to Aiden,” he questioned.
“We were playing, daddy. He helped me escape the corn monsters today.”
“Are you sure, sweetie?”
She nodded happily, “I am. He’s been so lonely out there, daddy.”
Nora’s mother’s voice echoed through the hall and out the door beckoning for the two of them. Nora was the first to respond and skipped into the kitchen. Her father remained at the door and turned his sight to the field of crops. The orange sky highlighted the smallest of movements and he watched as the husks swayed in the wind. He puckered his lips and stated, “I’m sorry, Aiden.”
Dan Sackett is a student at Penn State University studying Information Systems and Technology. He finds peace of mind through writing and maintains a 365 day writing blog.
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