WHERE THE WILD ROSES GROW
Children’s laughter filled the tall Victorian. The family of eight had recently moved to Spokane from living in a tent on the Elwauh River. Life in a house was much different and the children were still in a euphoric state of excitement. Instead of the wet cold weather of the Washington coast and the bitter winds that sometimes came with the drizzling oftentimes driving rain, they were surrounded by the tall sturdy walls of the Victorian, and could sleep soundly in a real bedroom safely tucked away from the harsh outdoor elements of nature.
They’d only lived there not yet a month and already it felt like a home, a place they never wanted to leave. Even their mother they could tell was glad to be there. The relief and happiness of having a house was evident in her soft blue eyes, and the way they’d light up whenever she watched them busy at play. And even though they had very little what they lacked materially was made up for in the love they felt from their mother.
The cupboards and icebox were bare and all of their stomachs were just as empty. Ignoring the hunger pangs that by now were like a familiar unwanted companion that never left their sides, the children kept themselves preoccupied by thinking up imaginary games. Toys were a luxury that couldn’t be afforded and their imagination was all they were left with. Dandelions that grew in the front and back took the place of dolls and often were picked by the children, and in their carefully structured world of make-believe, transformed from an ordinary weed into a great lady. Sticks and rocks became animals and oftentimes were also used to construct towns and mansions that housed the dandelion ladies.Their father William had left days ago and still hadn’t returned, but their mother assured them that he would be back soon.
THE BEAST OF ROGUE
Notes of a fiddle floated through the air. The little girl of around four wandered away from the crowd of townsfolk, whose laughter faded off into the distance the further she went. But the little girl was aware of none of this, nor was she aware of the danger that was about to befall them all.
A field of wildflowers growing from lush green meadows rolled out in front of her. An expanse of blue daisies went on for as far as she could see. The sun sat high above in the cloudless sky, casting a warm glow on the idyllic scene below.
A butterfly landed at the little girl’s feet but when she tried to grab it, the colorful insect took flight and flitted away. The beauty of the day, warmth from the sun, and even the butterfly that always remained just out of reach, all beckoned her onward. Further she ran, through the field of daisies, laughing as the tall flowers hit against her face, the air redolent of their scent.
From somewhere behind, arms reached out to unexpectedly scoop her up off the ground. She was frightened at first, until the person who had her, spun her around and she immediately saw the smiling face of her mother, who laughed and said, “I found you, Busy Bee!”