In a shameless attempt to whore out my writing talents and sell more books, I will be starting some side stories and posting them for free, one chapter at a time, every Friday. Eventually, they will be collected to post on my website and in print when they are all completed and pretty like.
I will start this with a story I’ve been kicking around for years now called “Winter Boot.” Believe it or not, it’s a children’s story. This is shocking for those who know how much erotica and other completely unsuitable for general audiences material I tend to work on.
On that note, here’s chapter one. 😉
Winter Boot: A Fanciful Fable – Chapter One
It was warm the day my father died. It’s been winter ever since.
I knew Daddy had magic. He chased away the monsters under my bed, flipped pancakes, and reached high shelves to get treats for me. But I didn’t think he held back the snow.
“Boot!” That’s not the name Mama gave me. Auntie just calls me that. I don’t remember my real name anymore, the one Mama gave me when she gave me her life. “Have you finished your chores?”
I haven’t done anything amazing with the life she gave me. I shovel snow, feed the dogs, fetch wood for the stove (so we can save on gas, you see). So I don’t blame Auntie for being mad all the time. If my sister died for something, I’d want it to be amazing. I should be as amazing as the stories I hear about people going outside with sun dresses instead of snow shoes, bonnets instead of heavy fur hoods, and even swimming! The lake is frozen now. And ice fishing is not amazing.
“Yes, Auntie. The dogs are fed, the porch is clear, and the woodpile is covered for the next storm.” She works hard at the local bank, making all the money for the house. She’s not as strong as I am, she tells me all the time. “Your back is only 8 years old! You can take some of the work from my 56 year old legs!” She said. I don’t mind. House chores keep me warm and the dogs are so big, they walk me.
“Good. Now go get yourself fed and bathed. No time for me to help you since I’ve been on my feet all day.” She says on her way up to her bed. All I see is a flash of nightgown as I get up from the floor, close my book, and head into the kitchen.
There are dishes in the sink. Auntie already ate while I was out with the dogs, I guess. I reach the cabinets I can, finding some crackers and bread. I make a nice sandwich with some of the turkey in the fridge with cheese and crackers. It’s not so bad, eating with nothing but the wind outside. I think I used to eat with Daddy, helping him stir his famous sauce and watching his hands as he chopped vegetables. The scraps always went outside for the rabbits. Auntie hates the rabbits. I sneak them anything I can.
After I clean the kitchen, I take all the food scraps to the pile in the back yard. It’s not easy for the animals ever since the sun went away. At school, they tell us we should share so they survive. But it’s more so we can eat them. I just like to see the flashes of color against the white and gray of the snow and cold. The dogs sneak some, dancing around me when I head out the door, but I shoo them inside. They are spoiled to pieces, warm and cozy and fed scraps from the meal before it’s even done. The wild ones get the rest. It’s only fair.
I see a brown shape bounding through the leafless bushes against the back fence once I’m sure the dogs will stay inside. Little dark eyes watch me step off the back steps and walk to the back of the yard.
I only watch it out of the corner of my eye, because rabbits run if they can tell you’re looking. I’d run, too, especially since we make stew out of so many. It looks at me like I’m a hunter as I plod in my winter boots across the frost covered grass to leave the scraps as far from the door as I can. When I turn to leave, I make sure my back is to the rabbit so it sees there’s nothing to fear.
“Many thanks, lady.” A voice calls out to me and I can’t help but spin so fast, I land right on my tush. Auntie smacked me a good one for saying “butt” just once before I learned my lesson.
“Be careful there!” Another little voice yells. “You’ll crack your head right open like that, kid.”
I blink snow out of my eyes and sure enough, a brown and white hare is staring at me. On his back is the tiniest frog I’ve ever seen, clinging to the rabbit’s fur with strong, webbed fingers. “How can you… I mean you’re not supposed to-”
“Talk? It’s not supposed to snow year round, either.” Frog says to me. He’s right. And I’ve pretended tons of other things before so this isn’t so bad.
“Most don’t listen.” Rabbit says. “But I didn’t expect my thanks to knock you on your keister.”
“You’re welcome.” I whisper, getting up on my feet again. “It must be hard to find food now.”
“Well, Rabbit here keeps my feet warm and lets me eat whatever bugs manage to get in his fur.” Frog leans over to inspect the scraps. “And he gives me shelter since the lake froze up. Lotsa us water folk ran off after that.”
“And you always leave the best stuff. And I can see why now that I look at you. You’re thin as the branches on the ground. All coat and mittens.”
“I don’t need much. Auntie gives the dogs so much of her food, they’re spoiled. I can share with you guys.” A nasty wind cuts right through me and I shiver hard, almost biting my tongue as I try to talk.
“Go on inside, skinny. You’ll freeze.” Frog scolds me, leaning in close to Rabbit’s fur. Her voice shivers like mine but she’s got no teeth to chatter.
Nodding, I race into the house, waving to my figments as I go. “I’ll leave more tomorrow!” I call to them as I push back the dogs and go back inside. It’s fun to have friends, even if they aren’t real. I’m usually too busy with chores for Auntie to let me go play. I giggle to myself at the thought Frog on Rabbit’s back bounding though the snow. What a pair they make!