The Squirrel’s Stash (By Questfan)

Summary: I’ve been playing in the Pinecone Challenge for a while and decided to post the collection here. Each chapter has a lyric prompt and had to be no more than 500 words.

Word Count: 5205  Rating: T

Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

 

Pinecone Challenges – The Squirrel’s Stash

 

Thinking is the best way to travel

The Best Way To Travel by Mike Pinder (Moody Blues)

Adam leaned on his elbows and watched as Joe traced across the atlas. His eyes widened as he realised that Boston was all the way at the edge of the map. His finger paused at the spot that Adam had pointed out and tears welled in his eyes. Adam had explained the scale of the map, but he wasn’t sure his explanation had really sunk in.

Joe sucked in a breath and tried to control his bottom lip. “But that’s … that’s like … forever away! It’s almost as far as …” The words dropped to a whisper.

“It’s almost as far as what, Joe?”

“Nothin’!” The sulky tone to the word wasn’t lost on his brother. Ben had been watching proceedings, but had said nothing. They all knew that explaining things to Little Joe was going to be the hardest part of Adam’s decision to head for college once the snows had cleared. Ben stared into the fire as he considered the long trek he and his tiny young son had embarked on all those years ago.

The sound of a chair scraping on the floor shook him back to the present. Joe was running towards the stairs as tears streaked down his cheeks. Adam hesitated for a moment as he watched his brother’s retreating back. As he glanced at his father, he pushed out from the table and began climbing the stairs in pursuit of his brother. By the time he reached Joe’s room, he could hear the sound of deep sobbing.

“Joe?” Adam pushed the door open and quickly made his way across the room. Joe had buried his face in the pillow and was trying in vain to stifle the tears. As Adam reached to rub his back, Joe shifted away from him. He refused to give up and pulled Joe upright and onto his lap. “Joe … what did you say downstairs?” He thought he knew, but wanted his brother to confirm it.

Finally the sobs slowed and Adam held out a handkerchief for him to wipe his face. As the last of the tears dribbled down his cheeks, Joe frowned at his brother.

“I ain’t never gonna see you again!”

“Of course you will. It will just be a long time before I can come back.”

“Mama didn’t.”

Adam wrapped his arm around Joe and tried to answer.

“Your mama went to Heaven, Joe.”

“You said Heaven was too far to come back.”

“It is, but Boston isn’t anywhere near as far away as Heaven. Besides, you can travel there with me.”

“Huh?” Joe stared at him and Adam hurried on.

“My teacher once said that thinking is the best way to travel. You can imagine everything from right here in the comfort of your own bed. You can keep track on the atlas with Pa and it’ll be like you are right there with me. Until I come back home again.”

Joe slowly smiled as he imagined travelling in the stagecoach with Adam.

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9 thoughts on “The Squirrel’s Stash (By Questfan)”

  1. I enjoyed each one of these. For so few words each one packed a powerful story. Not sure if I could pick a favorite but Hoss’ death and Adam at sea stand out. I also liked Joe’s reflections about Carrie.

  2. I’m so glad you posted these, I loved reading through them. Such good responses for all of the prompts. Looking forward to reading more of them from you in the future! 🙂

  3. Thank you for prompting me to post this and thank you for the lovely comments. I had a mental picture with those lines that made me ache for Adam.

  4. Questfan, I love all of these, each one compact with stirring imagery. Hard to pick a favorite, but the one about heroes (Hoss) tugs at me, especially this part: “The words began slowly. A trickle of his heart as it leaked out its pain onto the paper. Soon it began to flow and he feared he may drown under its weight.” Don’t I wish I’d written that! Thanks for posting them here for library readers to relish. 🙂

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