Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Vines of My Own Making
By Christl Boyd
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I had awoken early last Sunday to complete my morning chores. Grabbing a pail and stool, I went to work milking the family cow. "Sassy" obliged without complaint that morning and even managed to keep quiet while I told her about Widow Tolbert.
"Poor Widow Tolbert has to sell everything," I reported to her. "I heard yesterday that she can't even afford to keep the house her husband built. Isn't that a shame?"
Sassy bellowed her commiseration when I left her side. She was making such a fuss over the "news" I'd shared, that the chickens began stirring about in their coop. The feathered little busy bodies were running about clucking to one another about the latest talk. I barely stepped foot into their home, when I was overrun with questions.
Not wanting to appear rude, I relayed Widow Tolbert's situation once again. After laying out their breakfast, clucks of "concern" could be heard as I continued my duties and made my way to the forest to search out some berries for supper that evening.
On my way to the woods, I passed by the Kendall's place. The woman of the house asked about the state of my morning. Fearing that my face revealed all, I once again relayed Widow Tolbert's situation with the greatest discretion.
Mrs. Kendall insisted that I stay for coffee. As she set my mug on the table, her husband came in from the fields for a quick meal. When he'd been seated, Mrs. Kendall poured out her concern to her dear husband over the news she'd just received. They were in such great turmoil, that the couple called in their children and shared the recent upset.
After finishing my coffee, I left my neighbors' home. I continued on my journey to the forest to gather berries. When at last I'd reached my destination, I had a great deal of trouble concentrating on the task at hand.
"There are so many people that would like to know about Widow Tolbert's situation. The Kendall's are only acquainted with the people in our village, but what about our neighbors on the outskirts of town? I suppose I'll just have to inform them all myself!"
"What in the world?"
When I looked down, I realized that a large surly vine had somehow become entangled around my foot. When I tried to free myself, its grip only tightened.
"I don't have time for this! I have to tell my neighbors about Widow Tolbert!"
Another vine immediately strapped itself to the opposite leg. As I began screaming for it to release me, more vines seemed to climb upon me. I tried to reason with the unruly foliage. To explain, that I didn't have time to play because I had urgent "news" to deliver. When I recited the names of the people I intended to visit, the large spindly vines wrapped its arms around my whole body until I was covered up to my mouth!
Over the next week, I tried reasoning with the vines, but they would not release me. In fact, any time I tried to talk, the surly foliage would only tighten its hold upon my body, particularly my mouth. So eventually, I resigned myself not to speak at all. Partly because the vines preferred me not to speak, but mostly because it hurt any time words spilled from my lips.
The quiet all around me combined with the tight grasp of the vines was soon more than I could bear. Tears of desperation began to fill my eyes as I thought about the gravity of my situation. I wondered if I would ever be found.
"I wish I had never heard about Widow Tolbert's troubles," I whispered to the vines that clutched me. "If I could live those moments again, I would go to her aid, rather than spread word of her demise."
Like leaves falling from a tree, the vines that surrounded me fell to my feet. As I ran from the forest that had been my prison, I vowed that never again would I become entangled in vines of my own making.
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