Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sarah's Journey - The Red Dress Club

The prompt for The Red Dress Club this week is gluttony, and so I continue Sarah's story.  The closest thing you'll find to where Sarah is right now is from the first piece I wrote on her story, which you can find HERE.  There are plenty of happenings between now and then, but you'll have to use your own imagination until I get around to writing them down!  Critique is welcomed.

It was four days since Sarah had torched the cabin with Granny Rose’s carefully washed body eternally resting inside. On the move since then, she’d spent the days walking, avoiding the little towns in the hollows and staying up on the ridges of the Appalachian mountains. Her feet, already well-calloused, were toughening up even more, and soon they would no longer feel the brutal wear of twelve hour walking days. Oh, Sarah had a pair of shoes. But when she’d tried them on, they were too small and pinched, and she liked her toes to breathe anyhow. She could’ve taken Granny Rose’s boots, but somehow she couldn’t bring herself to do so.


Spring was in the mountains, and the trees provided canopies of green protection from the sun. A few thunderstorms had rolled through, but Sarah didn’t mind getting wet. She had Granny Rose’s good shawl, which was thick and warm. The biggest challenge had been food. Sarah was no stranger to foraging for food in the woods, but there were no nuts to be found this time of year, and it was a bit early for berries, but already past the morels. She’d found some tubers and some ramps, but she was hungry most of the time. She forced herself to embrace the hunger like an old friend.

And so it was on the fourth day that she found herself getting shaky. She knew she was going to have to descend a bit to try to find a better food source, and she needed water too. The last stream she’d passed was yesterday morning. She began making her way down, figuring she’d covered at least 40 miles since leaving the cabin. Soon, she’d be out of the territory of Preacher Robbins and she’d be able to breathe a little easier.

The ground was rocky, and several times she started to slide downward, catching her fall with her wrists, which were now covered in a hatching of bloody scrape marks. Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes, and she hated feeling so alone, here in the woods so far from home, with no living relatives. She knew she had to keep pushing, though, so she fought those feelings, pushed them down, and continued walking. It was then that she sniffed the air and smelled something sweeter. Just a touch of sweet and sour hit her nose. Pausing, she looked around, and spotted the raspberry bushes to the right.

They weren’t ripe yet. Sarah knew that. But her stomach grumbled angrily, and she figured there wasn’t any other choice. The first one was so tart that she felt a cramped burn across her jaw and up to her ears as she chewed and swallowed. After so many hours without food, the tartness felt good, and she greedily began picking berry after berry. A few she didn’t even bother to chew, just swallowed whole, in a pathetic attempt to fill up her shriveled stomach. She picked the bush raw, leaving it naked and exposed. Then she wiped her mouth with the back of her arm, stood, and started walking down again. She needed water.

It wasn’t 30 minutes later when she started feeling the cramps. Her stomach gurgled. Soon, she couldn’t even walk. She laid on the moist dirt, curled up as pains raked across her midsection. Moaning, turning, she couldn’t find an escape from her boiling intestines. Her head swam with it, and sweat ran down her face as she rocked on her heels over and over, letting forth a fury from her bowels that left her weak and shaking. By nightfall, she’d collapsed in her own filth, passed out in her soiled, ragged dress, the moon caressing her forehead in the only comfort to come that night.

18 comments:

Nancy said...

I can totally see this as a reality back in the day. Great writing, Lisa. :)

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I hope Sarah felt better after her stomach was so upset. Very well written story. I love the mountains but rain and barefoot??

texwisgirl said...

oh, this poor child. i just want to find her, clean her up and give her a warm bed to sleep in...

'a hatching of bloody scrape marks' - GREAT line.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I so want to clean her up and help her find a safe place to be with warm meal.

Valerie said...

Lisa,
Great writing!
It doesn't seem like it can get any worse for this poor girl! I love your writing-it's so descriptive! I felt like I was there, but thank goodness I was only reading...

I can't wait to read more of this story-and by the way, I put some pie in my post-just for you:)

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

You're such a talented writer! Love the story:)

Cheryl said...

I like this girl. She has moxie. You just know she's going to make it. But first, let's get her cleaned up and in a nice warm bath!

blueviolet said...

Relief sure didn't come easy. That was wonderful!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I loved this, Lisa. This was one of your best fiction posts yet, I think. Honest! I want to push her past this horror and have her found, passed out, by some kind and gentle man, able to help her get cleaned up, fed and so much more on their way to happily ever after!

The only line I had a question about was this one, "but already past the morels. She’d found some tubers and some ramps, but she was hungry most of the time."

I don't know what morels are, or tubers and ramps, so I was close to skimming and could have done OK with just going on to the She was hungry part. Just my 10c as a non-earthy girl. ;) But I <3 Sarah!

Ginny said...

I knew it would come to no good if she swallowed all those berries whole! I hope she finds a prince in the woods and lives happily ever after, how about arranging a meeting with a frog?

Galit Breen said...

Poor Sarah! I could so feel her hunger, her desperation, her pain. You captured it all lady!

My favorite line: "Just a touch of sweet and sour hit her nose." It's gentle, poetic, I could smell it, too!

Home In The Hollow said...

That was so well written, I felt her hunger and anguish!!!...:)JP

{Stephanie}The Drama Mama said...

Why is she running? Did she do something wrong? Why is she trying to escape away from the pastor? These are probably things you are working on still, but those are the questions that came to mind between this piece and the last piece. It's unclear to me if the winter has passed and the snow has melted away or not as well.

I like what you are writing here though, and I want MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE! I got stomach cramps!

Jennifer said...

Every single time I read this story line I love it. The narrative voice really works for me.

I thought her eating the bush bare was such a great act of desperation, especially since given as much as she knows about her wilderness, she must have known what the consequences would have been.

Carrie said...

Oh the pain from eating those unripe berries and so many of them must have been excruciating!

You have some great imagery with this.

le Chef said...

You have chickens on your blog.
The writing is excellent ... but CHICKENS ... oh my. And the first sentence, I LOVED it.

I'm thinking I'll be back often.

Mad said...

Oh yeah. I'm so glad you've written another Sarah story. I LOVE the setting, the voice.
Her gorging on the raspberries is so well written. Love the effect of the tartness across her jaw.

And now I need to know more.

Erin said...

Oh wow---when she cleaned that raspberry bush, I knew bad things were in store, especially after not having eaten anything in so long. Poor Sarah!

This was full of such wonderful imagery and description!