The Secret Pond – Chapter 6 – Abigail

Here is the last installment of The Secret Pond. I hope you have enjoyed this writing journey with me. I feel good about completing the story. I learned a lot along the way about myself and my writing style. Writing this story in installments every week as a “pantster” has been challenging for me. I found out that I could do it, but it isn’t where my writing strengths are. It adds an element of pressure for me to not only create it within a timeline but also have it well edited and ready to publish. I envy those writers that write with deadlines like these every week.

Chapter 6 – Abigail

Continue reading “The Secret Pond – Chapter 6 – Abigail”

The Secret Pond – Chapter 5 – Sally

Chapter 5 – Sally

Sally was anxious to find out what Abigail thought of her special place. She took a big leap of faith to share her stories in the first place. It took even more to actually bring her here. 

When they arrived at the pond, Abigail stopped on the path next to Sally, turned around in a complete circle to take it all in. After a couple of minutes, she took a deep breath and gave Sally a great big smile. Sally felt a great sense of relief. She had finally shared the location of her special place with someone other than Lila.

“What do you think?” Sally asked.

“It is just like you described it in your stories. Very beautiful.”

“Let me show you where I do a lot of my writing,” she said and started walking on a narrow path through the trees that stayed pretty close to the pond.

They continued walking and arrived at a spot on the opposite side of the pond from where they started. There was a big red colored rock that sat about six feet back from the water. Sally climbed up on it, sat down, and put her backpack on her lap.

“This rock is made of red granite, the state rock of Wisconsin. I know, because I looked it up. Please come and sit with me Abigail,” Sally pleaded, “there’s enough room for both of us up here.”

Abigail walked towards the rock and climbed up next to Sally. The vantage point from there allowed her to see the entire pond. As they both sat there taking in the view, she saw the mama deer and her fawns across the pond walk up to the edge and take a drink of water.

“It is one of the best things about being here. The view is beautiful and it is so peaceful,” Sally replied as she took her notebook out of her backpack.

“The house is a very busy place,” Abigail said, “it has to be nice to have a place like this to come to.”

“It is. My mom likes the hustle and bustle and to show off what she has. She’s always inviting people over.”

“I thought they were friends of your parents’,” Abigail said.

“No. Typically they are either influential people in the area, members of the higher society, or they are just trying to meet my parents to say that they know them.”

“Do your parents have any friends that come to visit them?”

“Not really. Although, when the family comes to the house it is more of a visit than a party.”

“Were they the ones who stayed here over Christmas?” Abigail asked.

“Yes, those were my father’s relatives. My mother’s relatives will come and stay with us in the fall. After I leave for school.”

“Are you looking forward to going away to school?”

“In a lot of ways, yes. I don’t like living here. But I’ll miss the pond. And you.”

Sally reached over to give Abigail a hug. She felt Abigail’s body jerk away from her when she touched her. She pulled her arms back right away and put her hands in her lap.

“I’m sorry Abigail,” Sally said, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“No Sally, I’m sorry. You just startled me. I’m not used to receiving affection. My mom wasn’t the hugging type, so I haven’t been exposed to it. Let’s try again.”

Sally nodded and reached around Abigail and gave her a hug. Sally felt her hang on a little longer than what she was used to with hugs from her own family. After Abigail let go, they both got resettled on the rock.

“Like you, I wasn’t very close to my mom. She was so busy trying to get me out of the house.”

“Why?” Sally asked.

“She thought I should be working on my future and not just sitting around. I think she didn’t want me to rely on her for support.”

“I know my parents financially support me. But I don’t even know who they are.”

“That’s really sad.”

“I’m afraid that when I move away they won’t even contact me. They will be too busy. The only contact I will have back at home will be Lila. And she was someone I created to keep me company.”

“The stories that you have written about her show your strength in creative writing. That skill will take you far at school.”

“What will you do when I leave Abigail?”

“I’m not sure. I have to talk to your Mom and see if she still needs me. Otherwise, I don’t know. Do you know where Claire went when she left here?”

“She went back to live with her mom and dad. Her mom was pretty mad at mother after Claire left.”

“Why?” Abigail asked.

“Since her mom was friends with my mother in college, she assumed that my parents would have been more generous with their money. Claire’s family is not very well off. Instead of sending her to school, they had her come work for my parents. The idea was for Claire being my nanny, that my parents were going to give her money for to get her education.”

“What gave them that idea?”

“I think they agreed to it before Claire came to live here. Then mother decided not to do it.”

Sally hoped that things would go better with her parents and Abigail. But she didn’t have good feelings about it.

“I don’t know where I will go. I don’t know where my mom is. And, I don’t think I want to go back to Superior.”

“You should go somewhere and teach. You are a good teacher. I hope that you do something that you like with people who love you, like a family. You deserve that.”

“So do you Sally.”

“I’m going to a place where I’ll meet some new friends and find some new things to do. You won’t have that unless you leave here.”

“When I took the job, I saw it as a great opportunity to grow and do something I love, to teach. And that working for a rich family would give me a great place and connections to grow successful from.”

“I’m afraid that my parents may not support you the way you want them to, Abigail.”

“You are right Sally,” Abigail replied, “my true future may not be found by staying here.”

The Secret Pond – Chapter 4 – Abigail

I love the moments when you find writing inspiration in random places. When I logged onto my WordPress account yesterday, there was a post on my reader called A Rare Moment in the Woods from a blog called Sunny District. The next thing I saw was a beautiful photo of a deer in the woods. Here’s the link to it A Rare Moment in the Woods I was struggling a little bit with what to add to this week’s segment and the photo from Sunny Disrict gave me just the inspiration that I needed. Thanks Bipasha, a lover of all things pretty.

Chapter 4 – Abigail

Abigail watched as Sally left the library and headed up to her room. They decided to meet in the garden at 2:00 PM to give them each a chance to eat lunch and change clothes. She gathered up her things, including the copy of Great Expectations, and headed towards the carriage house. She was excited to finally see the place that Sally always talked about. Even though Mrs. Baxter had a large household staff, she seemed to keep Abigail busy with many other tasks when she wasn’t tutoring Sally. So she never got a chance to just walk around and explore the grounds.

Another thing she was wondering about was how Sally and Lila would interact with her around. Abigail knew when she had her own imaginary friend, Alice, she didn’t share her with anyone. She wrote about her and their adventures in the leather bound diary that she kept hidden under her mattress. She would only talk to her when she was alone in her room. Sally was a lot more open with Lila. Abigail felt honored to have Sally share their experiences with her.

Abigail grabbed a light jacket from her closet, not sure if she would need it or not, left the carriage house, and walked out to the garden. She saw Sally dressed in her yellow rain coat carrying the light green backpack walking towards her. They met each other at the elephant shaped topiary in the middle.

“Ready?” Sally asked.

“Let’s go,” Abigail replied.

They walked together to the back wall of the garden.

“It’s good that you brought a jacket,” Sally said, “it can get pretty chilly in the woods.”

“Is Lila with us?” Abigail asked.

“No silly, she is already in the woods. She didn’t want to wait inside for me to finish with school.”

“Will she meet us there?”

“Maybe, but she might be exploring. She does that a lot.”

“Without you?”

“Yeah, I can be too busy in my own world for her sometimes.”

As they walked behind the back wall of the garden, they arrived at the beginning of the forest. Ahead of them was a opening in the trees about three feet wide. A worn dirt path is what met them there. It wasn’t a fancy one put there by the Baxters.

“I’ve always seen the woods from the house but never knew there was a path back here.”

“I found it while I was playing back here one day. The day that I met Lila. She showed me all of the cool places.”

“How did the path get here?” Abigail asked.

“I don’t know for sure. One of the maids said that my grandfather spent a lot of time in these woods. Maybe he made the path. I don’t dare ask my mother and father about it. They will probably make me stop coming back here if I do.”

They started down the path and were swallowed up by the trees. Abigail could feel an immediate chill from the shade created by the trees and was glad that she brought her jacket. After walking in the woods for a few minutes, they came upon a clearing on the left side of the path. Sally and Abigail suddenly stopped when they saw a doe, just standing there looking at them. Next to her were two little fawns.  

“The mama always watches us when we are here,” Sally whispered.

“She is making sure that we aren’t going to hurt her or her babies,” Abigail added.

“My family owns all of this property. I think Lila and I are the only ones who come back here now. The animals should feel safe here because we won’t hurt them.”

“Is this what it is like back here all of the time?”

“Like what?”

“Quiet and peaceful.”

“For us humans yes. For the animals and insects, it is busy. We don’t always hear all of the things that they do day to day.”

They continued down the path. The property seemed to go on for miles. Abigail couldn’t believe that all of this was back behind the tree line that she saw from the carriage house window every day. The sounds of their footsteps on the path broke the silence of the woods. After a few minutes, Sally stopped and pointed to a spot ahead of them.

“We need to watch where we are walking now. Gloria just had her babies over there and they may be out of their nest.”

Abigail followed Sally as she walked carefully down the path. They came up to an area with a bunch of trees surrounding a pond. Sally turned to look at Abigail with a smile.

“Welcome to the Secret Pond,” Sally said proudly.

The Secret Pond – Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Abigail

Abigail Watson grew up in Superior, Wisconsin. Her Dad drove one of the big oar boats on Lake Superior for many years. One day, while loading the boat in Sioux Ste Marie, he had gotten into a fight with a man over a card game. He came home on his ship in bad shape. He died in the hospital a few days later. Ever since then, it has been Abigail and her Mom, Marie.

Marie decided that Abigail wasn’t going to sit around and watch the world go by, so she started looking for things for her to do. She had her work as a waitress at the Superior Diner for a while and help Mrs. Dennison down the street with household chores and tasks. But all this seemed to do was keep her busy and not help her find success, or make moves to get her out of the house and on her own.

Smart in school she was and she finished all of her high school classes when she turned 16. So, Marie decided to find her a tutoring job. That’s when she decided to visit the Baxters that lived outside of town. They were a rich family and Marie knew they had a young daughter who they would be sending off to boarding school soon. They would be in need of someone to get her ready for it, and Abigail could be the person to do just that. She also knew if Abigail could get in with the Baxters, that they may be able to help her daughter become successful too.

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Abigail understood Sally more than she knew. She was also an only child, but didn’t have all of the things that Sally had. She was going to turn seventeen next month and knew how lonely it was to not have any friends, and hoped that Sally was going to have a chance to get on a different road with her life. Abigail was determined to help her escape the loneliness that she had felt for so long.

The stories that Sally was writing about showed she had a lot of imagination. The adventures that she came up with for her and Lila were the same kinds of things that wanted to do with a friend, but couldn’t find one. It was hard for her to make and keep friends because she didn’t have a lot of time with all of the jobs her Mom was having her do. And now living with the Baxters, she still didn’t have a lot of free time and she was so far out in the country, she would probably never find that friend to do things with.

Abigail looked out the window towards the garden and saw Sally wearing her rain slicker, carrying that light green backpack, walking towards the woods at the back of the property. She always wondered where Sally was sneaking off to. Maybe one day, she would have to follow her and find out.

The Secret Pond

Inspired by the A to Z blogging challenge and the Morning Walk blog entry from June 9th. This is the first installment of The Secret Pond story.

Prologue

Abigail lived in the garage apartment at their country estate just outside of Superior, Wisconsin. She not only helped Sally with her studies, she also helped Sally’s Mom with planning for the events she hosted at the house. From teas, to lunches, and dinner time parties, the house was always a bustle of activity.

The school day was from 8:00 AM to noon Monday through Friday. They covered four subjects, English, History, Science and Math. English was fun and her favorite. Sally got to read stories and write about them. History was fun, she learned a lot about how things happened and there were lots of stories to explain it. Science was o.k. She loved the earth science part and when they went outside to find insects and animals, but didn’t like having to learn about continental plates, weather patterns and theories. Math was the worst. Abigail just started teaching Sally about multiplication and division. Memorizing those math tables was just not working for her.

Her parents could give her any material thing she wanted. But what she really wanted was a friend. Abigail was nice, but she seemed to be there more for her Mom than for her. After their school sessions, Sally would ask Abigail to come and explore the grounds with her. She would always say that she had too much to do. Just like her parents would say when she asked them.

The one thing that Abigail would do is let her tell the stories that she had created in her yellow notebook. Sally was happy to have an audience. At the end of her school session, they would take time to let Sally read what she had written.

She seemed to get the best inspiration for her writing from the secret pond, probably because it got her away from the craziness of her house. The pond was at the back of the property the opposite way from the garden. Sally loved to go there with her Dora the Explorer light green backpack and she would always bring her stuffed bear, Clyde, her little yellow notebook and her Hello Kitty pink pen that wrote with pink ink. She loved to write stories about fairies and gardens. And she also loved the imaginary friend she was creating through her writing.

They would go on adventures together in her stories. One time Sally had seen a movie with her Aunt Judy about a unicorn that lived in the woods and wound up saving the entire forest. Then Sally was inspired to write a story about how her and Lila would meet up with a unicorn. As she shared her adventures with Lila to Abigail, Sally longed to have a friend just like Lila.

One day, Sally decided that she would create a friend for herself. Sally needed a companion since she was an only child in a big house put out in the country, away from town. Her great-grandfather had done well in the shipping business. And the family continued to live in his house and off of the money made by his hard work. So, she changed Lila from a fairy in her stories into a girl, just like Triton did with Ariel in the movie The Little Mermaid.

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She brought her books back to her bedroom after class. Looking out of her bedroom window, she saw the clouds building and the wind picking up. She grabbed her yellow rain slicker to keep warm and dry.

“Make sure you grab your yellow jacket, Lila,” Sally said, “we don’t want to get wet.”

And they headed out together to the pond.