Write the first chapter of a story. . .
The little rustic shack on the edge of the lake was perfect. Long since abandoned and in bad need of repair, no one would ever give it a second thought. They had to move quickly before dawn kissed the velvet sky. Already, the stars were fading.
"Watch your step," the oldest hissed while trying not to drop the heavy bread box she carried. Her sister, two years younger than she, stumbled but caught herself. Quickly, she picked up the sacred book lovingly wrapped with a special oiled hide her father had tanned himself. A chill racked her frail frame at the thought of Father.
Betsy set the bread box down by the door and gave the rotted door a shove. It gave no resistance and she snatched up the bread box and stepped into the darkness. She paused only a few moments for her sister to join her and let their eyes adjust to the darkness.
"Do you have the candle?" Betsy asked. She heard her sister fumble a bit as she withdrew the stub of a candle their mother had provided for them and the three matches. With trembling hands, the seven-year-old struck one of the matches and held it to what was left of the wick. It ignited with a flair and the sudden brightness blinded the girls temporarily.
"Mum said to wiggle the stone near the back of the fireplace," Besty said as she slowly made her way to the crumbling hole that once was a fireplace. They each set their bundles down and worked together to move the large, heavy stones from the rear. Their mother had risked father's wrath and slipped down here to prepare the place so their tasks would be easier.
"I know, so am I," Besty admitted. "We need to dig now Lizzy." Betsy looked around and spotted the stick Mum had said she'd left for them. Mum had said it was important to dig a hole deep enough for the bread box and book to fit properly without bulging out. The girls dug for what seemed like forever. Their breath, thin vapers before them.
"Push the bread box to me," Betsy told her sister from where she crouched behind the fireplace. "I think the hole is big enough now." She heard the box scrape against the hard-packed dirt floor and poked her head out from behind the stones. Her fingers were icy cold and trembled as she grabbed the box and pulled it towards her.
Baby Willy landed with a soft thud inside his breadbox tomb as his sisters dropped him into the hole they had dug. On the top of his tomb, they laid the sacred book. Betsy reached up and unlocked the silver locket she'd worn for most of her life. Inside the locket was a sketch of her mother and a small locket of her baby hair. She carefully laid it on top of the book.
"Now, Baby Willy will always have a picture of Mum and know his sister's loved him," Betsy explained to her sister. Her sister nodded solemnly. Quickly, knowing they had to get back before father returned, they pushed the soil back into the hole covering the treasured items now protected for eternity.
"One day," Betsy whispered "I'll come back and get you Baby Brother. You will never be forgotten."
3rd place winner ▼