My sister and I were close and loved to hang out together. Even though Cassie was a few years older, we liked most of the same things. We rarely felt alone because we knew that we had each other and of course our Papa. He was a hard worker and took care of us, especially after our mama had left with someone that she fancied. None of us really understand why she left, but Papa says, “Well, it is what it is, and we will just have to go on.” So, the day comes that Papa put us in the truck and then closed the front door to our little city apartment, never to open it again.
“Where are we going, Papa?” Cassie asked while staring out the truck window.
“Somewhere that I think you girls will like. There is plenty of room to play and separate rooms of your own,” Papa said with a small smile. This must have been a big deal for Papa, I guess he meant a change of scenery. I saw Papa smile just a little in the rear-view mirror, it has been a long time since Cassie and I have seen Papa smile, even just the slightest. So, seeing him show a small smile made me feel happy and content inside.
I sat quietly as we drove out of town a few miles. While staring out of my window, crop fields passed us by then trees. Trees line the sides of the road for as far as you could see. “We’re almost their girls,” Papa said. The truck slowed down and turned onto a driveway made of dusty dirt. It seemed to go on for a long way, even with some of the curves that we went around. As we went passed some trees, we saw a house as we rounded the curve of the driveway. The house was a two-story painted light blue with white trim. There were two huge oak trees in the front yard, and one had a tire swing hanging from it. We all got out of the truck and stood side by side. One giggle was heard, then a second giggle followed by a deep manly chuckle. Both me and Cassie looked up at Papa and laughed. Our new home is a farm, complete with a barn and plenty of land to plow for crops.
A month had passed, and we were all settled into our own rooms. Summertime was nice because when Cassie and I had all our chores done, we were ready…playtime. A new tractor with plowing tools was being delivered out to the farm, so while Papa was busy dealing with that, I went hunting down Cassie.
“Cassie!” I yelled out.
“What?” Cassie yelled back. As I turned, I saw her out by the barn petting on a rabbit she had found.
“A bunny, how cute,” I said as I walked over and sat down in front of Cassie. “Where did it come from?”
“I don’t know. I saw it out here by the barn and it let me pet it. Isn’t it pretty?” Cassie said.
“Yes, it is,” I said as I ran my fingers through its soft fur that had a greyish blue color to it.
“You like Papa’s new tractor, Cassie?” I asked.
“Yeah it is nice, think he is going to plow the fields or something so we can have crops to sell and eat,” Cassie replied as we both watched Papa fiddle with parts on the tractor. Cassie and I ran up to Papa to see if we could keep the bunny.
“Papa, papa, can we keep the bunny we found?” Cassie said as she held the bunny in her arms.
“Yeah, yeah…please,” I said while slightly bouncing up and down.
“I guess, as long as it stays outside,” Papa said with a smile. A joyous laugh and squeal could be heard as Cassie and I ran back toward the barn carrying the bunny rabbit like it was precious dolls.
The days had become hot and the nights were bearable but still warm. Papa let us sleep with a window open in our bedrooms and the breeze that flowed through lifted the curtain from the place of stillness. They gently danced in the air before settling back down. I went from a solid deep sleep to wide awake due to something waking me up. I sat up in bed and listened, as I saw the curtains lightly blowing up and down in the breeze. There was a noise that broke through the silence. I pulled the covers up to my neck and fell back onto my pillow and stared at the ceiling trying to put my mind on other things.
“Ahh-ahh,” The noise went, sounding like a lady’s voice. I jumped up and ran into Cassie’s room diving underneath her covers on her bed.
“Cassie…” I said with a scared tone in my voice.
“What is wrong Maria?” Cassie said as she sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes.
“Did you hear it? Did you hear the lady?” I asked as I covered up with Cassie’s blanket.
“Hear what? What lady, you’re freaking me out Maria,” Cassie said.
“The lady’s voice sounded like she was moaning or something. It was scary sounding,” I said.
“I didn’t hear anything Maria. Go to bed and go to sleep. I’m sure the noise is gone now,” Cassie said.
“No, I want to sleep in here,” I said. “Please...”
“Oh ok, just go to sleep,” Cassie said as she laid down and rolled over. I laid there as well, and I was listening for that voice and all was silent except for the breeze blowing through the open window. No voice was heard so I fell fast asleep. For the next few weeks or so, the same voice was heard in the middle of the night and Cassie finally told me to get out of her bed and go to my own.
The smell of bacon and eggs filled the air in my room, and the sound of happy chirping birds came through the window.
“Maria, Cassie, breakfast,” Papa yelled upstairs to us.
“Coming Papa,” Cassie replied as she came out of her room and banged on my door.
“I’m coming too,” I yelled as I got up out of bed and grabbed some clothes to change into that way, I could use them for playing in.
“Come on Maria, Papa called us for breakfast,” Cassie said as she from in front of my bedroom door.
“I said I’m coming,” I replied. We sat down for breakfast and said our morning prayer. Once finished we did the dishes and our chores, then we were free to play as we choose. Cassie sat on the tire swing and I sat beside it. We talked about different things, never speaking much of Mama knowing of all the hurt that would come back from where she left and us not understanding why.
“Have you still been hearing the lady’s voice at night?” Cassie asked as she twirled around and around on the tire swing.
“Every night,” I said as I laid back in a grassy area next to the swing as I looked up at the clouds and picked out shapes of animals.
“Why don’t you tell Papa?” Cassie asked as she stopped the tire and got off. She walked over to the small apple tree and stared at it as if inspecting which apple may taste better.
“I don’t want to worry him,” I said.
“I know but still,” Cassie said as she plucked two red apples from the tree and handed me one. I watched Cassie bit into the apple and walk toward the edge of the grass. She pulled one finger out from behind her like she was a gunslinger from the wild West, pointed it at a deer that was over in the field and “Bang! Ha-ha,” She said as she shot it. She bit into her apple once more and ran to help Papa with the garden that he started, I got up and went exploring the area.
I went in behind the barn and into the wooded area. Trees were everywhere and so at about every other tree I broke a branch, kind of like a bread crumb trail. I kept walking and saw a few squirrels and some deer. In the distance, there was something made of a greyish colored rock. As I got closer, I could tell it was an old water well that was made out of rocks. There was a green mosh that was growing around the top.
“Now why would a well be way out here?” I thought to myself as I walked over and looked down inside. It was dark, and you could feel the coolness of the air, along with a dead smell to it. “Eeeww, that stinks,” I said as I turned to leave. When I turned around and started to walk away, there was the lady’s voice that I have been hearing at night. Chills ran all over my body as I stopped quickly. My breaths became short and quick and I started to sweat and tremble.
“Ooooh,” The voice said softly. “Ahhh.” Then the lady’s voice began to cry. It scared me so bad that I ran all the way home and didn’t stop until I ended up on the other side of the front door.
“Maria honey, what is wrong?” Papa asked with a concerned tone in his voice as he hurried over to me and placed both of his hands on each side of my face. I couldn’t say anything, I guess because I was breathing so hard.
“Are you ok? You look like you have seen a ghost,” A man’s voice said. I looked at him not recognizing him. Papa took me into the kitchen and sat me down in a chair. I looked up at the strange man, “Who are you?” I asked as my breathing slowed down to normal.
“Oh hi, I’m Samuel but you can call me Sam,” The man said as he smiled while looking at me. I looked at Papa as he smiled at us too. Papa seemed a little nervous, introducing some strange person to us. I guess he was not sure how we would take it, as far as a stranger being in our house.
“Well, this here is Samuel or Sam as he said, and he is here to help me out here on the farm with the crop and mechanic equipment and such,” Papa said as he introduced the man. Cassie walked up beside me and shook Sam’s hand as I did out of politeness.
“Hey, you can call me Sam if you want,” Samuel said seemingly nervous or something.
“You have said that already…Sam,” I said as I turned around in my seat to face the kitchen table.
“Maria, I won’t have any sassy talk to our guests,” Papa said to me in a stern voice as he grabbed my shoulders with a firm grip and shook me a little.
“Sorry, Papa,” I replied.
“Well, supper is ready so let’s all sit and eat,” Papa said as he pulled the baked chicken and vegetables from the oven.
“It is ok sir and dinner looks quite yummy,” Sam said as he passed the potatoes and the salad to his left while staring at the girls as he recognized them from somewhere.
Once supper was done and dishes washed, Cassie and I both took turns taking our baths. We both went into Cassie’s room, mainly because she had posters and different pictures on her wall.
“So, what happened to you today? Why did you look so scared?” Cassie asked as she flopped down on her bed and laid on her stomach.
“While you were helping Papa in the garden, I went exploring and I found an old well,” I explained to Cassie as I sat beside her on the bed. She rolled over on her left side with her head propped up with her hand and looked at me.
“A well? Where is it at?” Cassie asked kind of loudly.
“Shhh, don’t talk out loud,” I said in a whispering tone.
“Gee ok. Well where is it at,” Cassie whispered.
“It is out in the woods, you have to go out behind the barn and across the pasture. There is a trail that goes way back into the woods,” I said to Cassie as I situated myself beside her, so we could talk quieter. Just then there was a creaking noise outside the bedroom door. Cassie and I both stopped talking and got quiet while looking at the door. The door opened slowly, and Samuel poked his head around the bedroom door and smiled a big smile, which was awkward.
“Hey, what you girls chatting about?” Samuel said with a smile.
“Uh…girl stuff,” I said, shocked that he would even open the door as he did.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t like it very much anyway. Make-up, hair, shoes, clothes…,” Cassie said while sitting straight up on her bed.
“Oh well, ok. Well, goodnight. Your dad put me in the spare room, so I’ll see you tomorrow,” Samuel said with a smile as the door slowly closed.
“Papa,” Cassie said out loud. “Close the door please.”
“Yeah, yeah, ok...night,” Samuel said as he closed the door all the way then walked away. We could hear his footsteps going down the hallway to a room that Papa made into a spare room.
“How weird, ok well I’m going to bed now,” I said to Cassie.
“You never finished about you know what,” Cassie said.
“Oh shoot, ok so when I found the well, I looked down inside. It was dark, cold and smelled bad,” I explained. “As I went to walk away, I heard the lady’s voice.” Cassie’s mouth dropped open as she made a small gasping noise.
“Yeah, it scared me bad, so I ran all the way home without stopping,” I told her.
“You looked really scared. I haven’t seen Papa that worried in a long while,” Cassie said as I leaned down and gave her a hug. There were a few creaking noises outside the door again. We stopped whispering and listened.
“You think it is Samuel again?” I whispered to Cassie.
“I don’t know but that was strange,” Cassie whispered back. “Better get to bed.”
“Ok,” I replied as I went toward the bedroom door. I waved at her and she cut her lamp off and laid down. I went to my room and did the same. After the crazy shock that I had earlier, I was just going to lay down and not raise the window tonight. I closed my eyes and tried not to think of all that happened during the day, except for the good things. I drifted off to sleep to dream good dreams.
The next morning, I skipped breakfast and off to the barn I went, where Papa and Samuel were working on some of the stalls and some of the small machinery that Papa stored. I stood and watched them but said nothing. I turned to go and find Cassie, I wanted to show her the well and to see if she could hear anything. I went to the tire swing and that is where I found her with the little bunny.
“Cassie come with me,” I asked.
“Come where Maria?” She said while putting the bunny down.
“To the well, I want you to see it and to see if you hear anything too,” I said to Cassie. “Please Cassie, come with me.”
“Maria, I don’t want to go into the woods. Seriously it sounds scary,” Cassie said as she sat on top of the tire. I got behind her and pushed her, so she would swing back and forth. We saw Papa and Samuel come out of the barn and walk toward the house.
“Think I’m going to go back into the house,” Cassie said as she got off the tire. “Are you coming?”
“Yeah, wonder if Papa will let us watch TV?” I said as we both walked together to the house. Cassie shrugged her shoulders as we entered the house. She found Papa as he was heading out toward the tractor and asked if we could watch tv for a little while, and he agreed but only if our chores were done. Samuel roamed around the house doing this and that which I guess did help Papa, but he was still a bit strange.
“Hey, what’s up man?” Samuel said while chatting with someone on the phone. He walked outside on the porch and leaned up against the porch railing staring out toward the crop field.
“Na, just hanging out at the farm down here on Hwy 209. Ha, ha, no I haven’t been looking yet. I was going to wait until everyone was asleep then make my move and jet out of here.” I went toward the front door and heard Samuel talking to someone. I looked out the screen door and saw Samuel on the phone. Now not that I really cared about what he was talking about, but I did want to listen a bit more when I heard him say something about money and the farm. Cassie came through the hallway and I motioned for her to come over to the front door.
“Samuel is on the phone with someone Cassie,” I said quietly as I could while I watched him move back and forth from one leg to the other, almost like someone who had to pee really bad.
“So, he can talk to people if he wants to,” Cassie said while peeking out the screen door. Samuel stopped pacing and stood still. We both moved away from the door for a minute until we heard him talking again. My heart started racing for fear of getting caught.
“He was saying something about money and the farm,” I told Cassie as she just stared at me like what I was saying was taking its own sweet time in sinking into her head. I just stared right back.
“Ok so,” Cassie said as she sighed. “I’m going to my room.”
“Don’t leave me, Cassie,” I said.
“Well then come on with me,” She replied.
“Hang on, I think I have some ears listening in. Yeah, I’ll chat later,” Samuel said to whoever he was talking to. Just then footsteps could be heard coming across the porch toward the screen door. We turned and hurried up the stairs toward our rooms. The screen door opened and slammed shut. Footsteps walked quickly throughout the house. Cassie and I hid in her room under her bed as we could hear Samuel go from room to room.
“Hey girls, where are you hiding?” Samuel said as his footsteps stopped in front of Cassie’s door. She put her hand over my mouth to keep me from making any noises. The door swung open and we could see his boots.
“I’m not up for playing HIDE AND SEEK!” Samuel said as he yelled then sighed. “Come out, come out, where ever you are.” He walked around the room and stopped beside the bed. One leg bent and a knee touched the floor, then the other. Oh no he found us, what do we do now. The edge of the bed covers flipped up and there he was, looking under the bed with a big smile on his face.
“Hey, girls there you are. I have been looking everywhere for you,” Samuel said as he grabbed Cassie and pulled her out from under the bed. He held her and demanded that I come out too or he will hurt my sister. I was scared for Cassie, so I came out from under the bed.
Samuel took us both downstairs and out the front door of the house. We stood on the porch and he picked up Cassie and put her over his shoulder, then grabbed my arm as he started down the front steps. As he walked toward the barn he started talking and the more he did, the madder he seemed to get. I started to cry as well as Cassie because we just wanted our Papa who was out plowing one of the fields trying to get it ready for the upcoming planting season.
“Nothing worse than two nosy little BRATS,” Samuel said as we went through the barn toward the woods. “Why…why, do you have to make me do something that I don’t want TO DO…. AGAIN!” By then Cassie and I were crying and trying to fight him, but he was too strong.
“Let us go,” Cassie cried out.
“Shut up!” Samuel said harshly.
“You’re hurting me, let go please,” I cried out to Samuel. He just jerked my arm a little harder as we went deeper into the woods. I knew then where he was going and now, I was really scared.
“PAPA!” I yelled as loud as I could while trying to pull away from the tight grip that Samuel had on me. “PAPA!”
“I hate nosy BRATS, I’m going to put you where I put your Mama!” Samuel said as we were trying to fight.
Papa had just come out of the field and cut the tractor off. As he was walking to the house he stopped because of a soft whisper in his ear, “John, go to the girls. They need you now, in the woods. Hurry.” He listened for a few minutes not really sure of what he just heard but then he heard a scream. “Papa” is what he heard, so he took off running as fast as he could for the woods. He could see the girls on the ground with Samuel standing over them.
“Hey, you stop right there this instant!” Papa yelled at Samuel. Samuel slowly turned around to face Papa with both of his arms halfway stretched out from his body.
“What?” Samuel said with a slight smile. “They were nosy girls and I just want what is mine and that is all, but there were two little girls that couldn’t keep to THEMSELVES! So they are going to go be with their Mama, someplace where no one will find them.”
“You shut up right now. Don’t you talk about their momma and let the girls go!” Papa said in a demanding voice. Samuel walked up to Papa and punched him so hard that he fell backward and hit the ground.
“Papa, your mouth is bleeding,” Cassie screamed.
“It’s ok Cassie doll,” Papa said, “Don’t cry little one.”
“Oh geez, ok so I think you’ll be first,” Samuel said as he grabbed my arms and jerked me up so that I was eye level with him. His cold eyes bore into mine as my body started to shake from the fear of it all.
A lady’s voice cried out loudly, “AHHHH!” The sound startled us all and Samuel let go of my arm. I fell back down beside Cassie.
“See Cassie, I wasn’t making it up. I really did hear a lady’s voice,” I said in a shaky tone. Cassie couldn’t say anything, she just held my hand tight. Papa sat there on the ground in shock of what he heard.
The voice screamed out again and up from the well came a lady with long brown hair, a flowing white gown and a look that was madder than hell. She floated above the well, then turned toward Samuel and pointed straight at him. You could see the color drain right from his face as he turned pale followed by swallowing hard.
“YOU LEAVE MY GIRLS ALONE!” The floating lady spoke angrily as her hair blew up in the air and her eyes glared at Samuel.
“LILY! Oh my…you just wanted the MONEY!” Samuel yelled. “I had to DO IT!”
“ENOUGH OF THE LIES!” Lily said angrily as she jumped forward toward him.
“Lily? Is that you?” Papa said with tears in his eyes. She turned and looked at him with a loving look.
“John…take the girls and go. Don’t look back and I love you all,” Lily said as she gently touched each girl’s cheek. “I’m sorry for everything and the money is in the barn loft. Now go!” Lily turned toward Samuel once more with an angry look to her face.
“You will NEVER hurt anyone else ever again,” she told Samuel as she swooped down and grabbed him before he could run away. As Papa grabbed Cassie and me, we started running for the house. We glanced back just when Samuel went backward over the water well’s wall. We could hear him screaming, “Nooo,” as he went down into the darkness where he will remain forever. We kept running for the house and didn’t stop until we got there. Once Papa bent down and hugged us tightly, he cried too. This is the second time that I have seen our Papa cry.
The next morning, Papa came from the barn with two huge bags in his hands. When he came into the house, he put the bags down and when he finished, there were around one hundred thousand dollars, give or take a few dollars.
“We will be ok,” Papa said as he smiled and hugged us. “Thank you, Mama.”
So, fast-forwarding into the future, after Papa found the money that Mama mentioned, there was enough there to put back for both me and Cassie to go to college and be fully paid for. We have both graduated with degrees and our future is looking bright. As far as Papa, well…he passed away a few years ago and although we miss him dearly as well as Mama, we still live on the farm which Papa had left us in his will. Cassie got married and is pregnant with her second baby so the sound of running feet through the house, it is certainly not lonely. Every now and again when it is late at night, when the soft wind blows through the open windows, the comforting sound of a lady, our Mama’s humming voice can still be heard. We will indeed all be ok.