Morissa swept the dried leaves off of her small hut’s porch, her raven black hair glistening in the chilly morning’s sunlight. She didn’t like how it fell into her face every time she leaned forward. Her mother walked through the hut’s entrance, holding both Morissa’s three-year-old baby brother and 7 month pregnant belly.
“Mother, how are you feeling this morn?” Morissa asked. The poor fifteen-year-old girl was worried about her mother’s health, as it has recently been deteriorating.
“Oh, Morissa. Thank you for caring for your poor mother. I am fine this morn, dear,” her mother replied.
“I’m relieved to hear you say that, mother.”
“Ah, Morissa. Emilia. Little Hans.” The chief of the tribe approached Morissa and her mother as he gawked at the small three year old child.
“Opa!” Both Morissa and Hans exclaimed.
“Morissa! You will use proper formality towards your Elders!” Morissa’s mother, Emilia, said sternly.
“Sorry, mother,” Morissa apologized. Her shoulders slumped in embarrassment. Little Hans, however, had extended his arms towards his grandfather in happiness.
The chief laughed, taking the child from his mother and booping him on the nose. Little Hans laughed at the affection he’s receiving. “It’s alright, Emilia. Morissa can call me her grandfather if she so wishes.”
“She needs to learn better manners, father,” Emilia argued.
“She can practice those manners for the council, then,” the chief responded. Emilia sighed, obviously implying that she disagreed.
“Why did you come to our hut, Opa?” Morissa questioned, pulling her raven black hair behind her pale ear.
“What, can I not see my wonderful Enkelkinder?” The chief said as he ruffled the fifteen-year-old’s hair. The raven haired girl giggles at her grandfather. “I was thinking,” he turned to Emilia, “That it’s time to have an addition to the Berry Pickers.”
“Really?” Morissa interjected in excitement.
“Well, she is over the age requirement,” Emilia said. “I think that is a good decision.”
“You are saying what I think you’re saying, are you?” Morissa asks in increasing excitement. Emilia and the chief glanced at her and back. The chief nodded and her mother smiled.
“Welcome to the Berry Picker Team, Morissa,” he said happily.
Morissa jumped and yelped in happiness, causing the wooden porch to shift in sudden weight changes. Her grandfather laughed at her reaction while her mother sighed, worried about the many idiotic things she might do in the future.
Morissa ran through the village’s center, greeting everyone she passed. It was late in the morning, and Morissa had overslept. She was so excited the night prior that she couldn’t fall asleep.
“Good morn, Großeltern!” Morissa said as she passed one of the grand elders. The old man smiled and tipped his head as she passed.
“You’re late!” Said a tall brunette, angrily.
“Sorry, Esther.” Morissa apologized, “I overslept!”
“Let me guess; the ‘I was too excited to sleep’ story,” Esther said.
“Well, it’s true!”
“Esther, come on! We’re going to be even more late if you both keep bickering!” said a petit blonde. Esther looked at her then sighed.
“Okay. It looks like I’m going to be teaching you on the job.” Esther rubbed her eyes with one hand, “Come on, new girl.” Morissa followed Esther as she turned to follow the rest of the group. They soon caught up with them, but everyone else has already put own their baskets and started picking berries.
“Today, we’re picking Golden Beeren,” Esther said, pulling a golden berry off of its bush and plopping it into her mouth. “Only pick these berries for today, and don’t eat too much of them. You’ll end up with both a stomach ache and not enough food for the village.” Morissa nodded quickly in understanding and nervousness. Esther shoved a wooden basket in Morissa’s arms, the thin wood crackling under the pressure. “Here is your official basket. At high sonne we’ll be heading back to the village.” Esther walked off with her own basket, stopping at a nearby Golden Beeren bush and starting to pick the berries.
Morissa was very nervous about messing up. She didn’t want to feel the wrath of the dreaded stomach ache ever again. She knelt down and started picking the berries.
Morissa looked up suddenly, as well as all of the other girls, when a large rumble came out of the sky. It grew louder and louder. Many of the girls began to panic as the rumble grew closer.
“Everyone, back to the village!” Esther yelled. Every one of the girls fled in terror. Morissa, though, was curious as to what is happening to the sky. The sound kept getting louder and louder; it didn’t sound like a rumble anymore. The sky was still as blue as ever. Morissa’s curiosity was soon replaced by fear. Her ears had started to ring, she had to cover them and squish her eyes shut, a headache starting to form. She fell to the ground and continued to try to make the ringing stop.
The sound wooshed by her head and she suddenly felt heat lapping at her back. Moments later, a loud boom shook the ground violently. Morissa’s ears continue to ring, but they weren’t as bad as before, and her headache was still there. She looked up and saw the trees on fire and missing their tops.