The Orchard

I am walking through the apple orchard with my mother and my brother. The sun is shining brightly, shadows dappling the dry ground. The colors are brilliant, the bees are buzzing and the soft breeze is scented with fresh hay.

I am afraid.

We are walking fast, and I know he is going to find us, the red faced man with the too-yellow hair. I can picture the barn at the top of the hill, the sharp tools lining the walls, the chains hanging from the rafters. We can’t hide in that barn. He wants us in that barn. Red paint peeling, iron rusting, dirt floor heavy with death.

I can sense him high in the trees, slithering like a snake. Scenting the air, he knows where we are. He is watching, waiting. I know he is there.

I can’t stop walking forward, up that hill. There is nowhere else to go. My mother grips my hand tightly, without looking at me. My brother’s eyes never leave the ground.

We can’t outrun him. We can’t hide.

We are destined to end up in that barn, and there is nothing I can do.

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