This was my first short story, written as a school assignment (after I post all three parts, I'll share my original "Afterword" which explains a little more). It was fun to read again after all of these years. I can detect some immaturity of my thought-process at fourteen but the story was fun to read nonetheless.
Our annual family picnic had come once more, and we were all excited to get on the go. It seemed the ideal day, and we were all eager to find out where it was going to be this year. But as much as we prodded, Dad kept silent. Even my cousin, Carla, who was staying the summer at our house, was curious. Finally, the car stopped and Dad told us to start walking. He led the way.
We walked for what seemed hours then Dad finally stopped at a ravine in the woods. “This is it.” He stated as we all quietly overlooked the land that dipped in front of us.
Seventeen year-old Joseph looked up at Dad. “Isn’t there a–”
“Yes, I guess we’ll go there.” Dad interrupted quickly. “All right, just a little further.”
In a few moments, we were staring at an almost crystal-clear stream that gently rushed past an old, abandoned mill.
“Oh…” I couldn’t seem to take in all the beauty at once. Everything was so calm…so serene.
“Let’s unload.” Mom directed softly, handing Carla and I the yellow-checked blanket to spread on the ground.
“May we eat there?” Carla asked, pointing to a shady spot underneath a grove of oak trees.
“Yes, that is the perfect place. I don’t think I could’ve chosen a better place because, well, there is no better place than this one.” I stated as I scanned the area.
We shook out the blanket and cautiously spread it on the ground, being careful not to put it on any stumps or roots. Then, we helped Mom set the food out on the blanket.
“It looks so cheery.” Carla stated, staring at the plates of food on the yellow blanket.
“Yes,” I mused. “And out here, it is so…quiet and peaceful. There is no one to bother us.”
Out of the blue, Joel came whooping up to the picnic spot, very much like any eight year-old boy would do.
“Except for my brothers.” I added with a grin.
Soon, we were all seated on the ground and Dad said the blessing. Everyone got their food and began to quietly eat.
I took a small bite of my cheese sandwich and slowly began to chew. I looked out at the stream again and listened carefully. Yes, there it was. Somewhere close, water was rushing over high rocks. My mind flew to the words of Psalm 23:2 and 45:10. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters…Be still, and know that I am God: …” I quoted to myself. It seemed that God’s presence was surely near.
I looked down at my dress thoughtfully. Not many girls today wear dresses. Mostly pants. Then my thoughts drifted once more to our picnic spot. I wonder if anyone else once sat here. Maybe the family from that mill ate here once—or maybe a family that was waiting for their meal to be ground, I wonder… I shivered. That would be interesting if I sat in the exact same spot as one of them. Maybe it was a girl my age…or maybe the baby. I smiled, satisfied with my thoughts, and, since I was finished eating, I got up and wandered across the stream.
“Don’t go far.” Mom advised.
“Yes ma’am.” I called as I went a little closer to the mill where I could think better. I wonder if one of the workers of the mill ever sat here to rest during their break. Or maybe to eat their lunch, or dinner, as they called it… I felt someone behind me and turned around. Carla stood there silently looking at the mill.
“I hope you don’t mind me here.” Carla said softly.
“Not at all. I was just thinking of how nice it is out here and—Carla!” I gasped and grabbed her arm suddenly. “Look!” I pointed towards the mill.
Suddenly, a girl in a long, flowing dress disappeared into the mill. Without a word, I slowly pressed closer to the mill.
Can she be someone from the olden days? No, I quickly dismissed the thought. I didn’t believe that someone could come back to life. But so few girls now wear dresses…especially like that. Who is she? How did she find her way to the mill? Could she have thought that the miller is still here, and is looking for him?
I bit my lip nervously as I swung the old mill’s creaky door open.
. . . Come back next week for part two! :)