Online Resources for Writers
The Summer Writer's Club Excerpts
The English Border – 1970
Robert gazed out the classroom window, his view obscured by the tears that had been welling up inside him for over twenty-five years. He had always managed to keep them at bay before, though he had never really forgotten their cause, never truly lost his desire to return to the home of his youth. A deep sigh broke the silence as he rubbed the satin finish of the stone Edward had handed him, as if wearing it away could somehow help him make sense out of the whole affair.
"An this stone is the reason I cudna go home afore?" he asked, a look of disbelief softening his rugged features. He turned slowly, facing Edward once more, and a solitary tear escaped down his ruddy cheek as he spoke. "How cud ye na hae known about it, Eddie?"
Edward bowed his head, unable to meet his friend’s gaze, for it was because of him that Robert had been torn away from his friends and family to be stranded in a time and place so far from his own. Worse yet, he had the answer all along, but was just too dim witted to see it, and it was Robert who had suffered.
"I’m so sorry, Rob,” Edward muttered. “Until I came across it the other day, it never even entered my mind. It was just an amulet, no different than a million others I’d seen. I hardly even knew the girl who gave it to me. We spent the summer together, and then went our separate ways. After she left, I never thought about the bloody thing again.”
“Ye must hae thought about it at least once,” Robert snapped. “Ye were wearin it the day we met!”
“Yes, but not because I thought it held any power. It was just an interesting piece. Nothing more than that.”
“And this girl ye were wi, she told ye noucht about it?” Robert asked in exasperation. “Not where it came from. What powers it held. Nothing!”
Edward could only shake his head, shrugging his shoulders helplessly. How could he possibly justify his actions to Robert, when he could barely understand them himself. “I don’t think she knew, not really. She found it in her gran’s attic one morning and asked if we could have it. The old woman did warn us to be careful with it, said it held a powerful kind of magic, but we just laughed it off. It wasn’t very scientific after all. I don’t even know why I wore it that day.”
“But ye did, Eddie, and yet, ye ne’er once considered that there might be somethin ta what her old gran had said. Did ye na wonder why, after so many failures, yer theories finally all came together? For godsake, Eddie, ye didna e’en try puttin it around me neck to see if anythin happened.”
Edward felt a large lump forming in his throat, as if any explanation he might offer was too inadequate to free itself from his withered vocal chords. Finally, a few feeble words managed to escape and croak forth from his lips.
“I don’t know what to say, Rob.”
"Ach! That’s it then. Ye dinna know what to say! Tell me, Eddie, do ye know what it's like ta be swiped away fra ye faimlie wi'out e'en so much as a goodbye?"
Edward could feel the tears filling his slate blue eyes. How could he have ever been such a thoughtless creature? "No, I can’t imagine,” he managed to croak. “I'm so sorry, Rob. I had no right. I know that now, but I was young and ambitious and didn't take the time to think. The only thing on my mind was capturing a piece of history for myself."
"An I was that piece o history,” Robert snarled, “so no need worryin about how it all came ta be."
Edward’s heart filled with pain, as if a knife had suddenly been plunged into his back. "Maybe then,” he muttered, his friend’s words cutting him to the quick, “but not now. You know that, Rob."
Miles took a swig of his ale. “So I ain’t alone grousing
about these soldiers?”
Annemie tensed up, unsure where Miles was going with this
line of thought. She watched him, ready to intervene. Don’t say anything stupid. Please.
One of the unnamed famers was suspicious, Annemie could
tell by the way he frowned and how his eyes narrowed when his focus shifted to
Miles. “What do you mean by that, son?” he asked, voice gruffer.
“I was happy to see them soldiers arrive, finally got
those damned Whigs off our backs, right?” He clenched his teeth as he said the
last part and Annemie prayed the men thought it was hatred at the Whigs rather
than distaste at having to disparage his brothers. “But they’ve been nothing
but rude to me and my neighbors. And I can’t prove anything, but I think one of
them stole a pig. If they were hungry, we would’ve made ‘em supper. Least we
could do is feed them, right?”
The men nodded and Annemie was impressed at Miles’ acting
skills. She almost believed him and she knew every word was a lie. He continued
on. “Of course, I could forgive them stealing a pig but some of them have been
bothering my sister. Trying to get her to do things proper ladies oughtn’t, if
you get my meaning.”
Harry nodded harder than the others this time. “I know
what you mean. One pulled one of my daughters into some bushes the other week.
If my brother hadn’t been passing by at the same moment, I don’t know what
would’ve happened to her.”
“See!” Miles gestured
wildly, arms wide. “But when I try to complain to my neighbors, they act like I’m
committing treason. All I want is for the soldiers to act proper, you know?”
--edited by Alexandria Brim on 8/11/2013, 1:35 AM--