The blades of grass came up along her legs, tickling her as she sat in the open field behind their house. Picking a dandelion, she twirled the stem between her fingers, watching the vibrant flower spin.
Lying back, she tucked her hands behind her head and looked up at the clear blue sky. Fluffy white clouds slowly made their way across like ships on the sea.
Viola had been out here since breakfast. Her mother had given her very direct orders. She was to stay outside and not bother her or her father today. The doctor would be around after lunch to see her dad and she had enough to deal with. Her mother thought whatever had been ailing Viola’s father was also what seemed to be making baby Edward seem ‘not himself’. She didn’t want Viola in the house where she could catch whatever it was.
So she was here, lying in the grass wishing she had been aboard one of those fluffy white ships in the sky. Anywhere would be better than here, she told herself.
Anywhere Neville wasn’t,
Her head was still sore from yesterday. After passing out, she had awoken this morning in her bed. Her clothes had been changed and she had been carefully tucked in. She wondered what her mother must have thought, finding her there on the floor.
Sleeping to an unsuspecting mother.
Relief had poured over her when she had awoken this morning. She had missed the night. She hadn’t had to lay awake, wondering what Neville was doing in the shadows, or if he was even there at all. Instead, she had greeted the morning.
Letting out a sigh, she rolled onto her stomach and parted the grass. Peering into the dirt below, she watched as the ants scurried quickly past the strip of sunlight she was allowing them.
Boredom was beginning to set in, she realized. Pushing herself up, she decided to go for a walk. Stretch out her legs before she went in for lunch.
Walking into the woods behind her house, she instantly felt the cool breeze that lived in the shade. Kicking at small rocks, she bent down and scooped up a stick and swung it carelessly through the air.
Outside, her troubles seemed to ebb away. Away from her room and in the light of the day, Neville seemed like a bad thought and nothing more. She was free of him here.
Doubling over, she kept her face level with the ground as she walked. She wasn’t sure yet what she was looking for, only that she was looking. Skinny branches brushed against her as she walked, no one tended to the paths out here, not really. Her father had had attempted it years ago, but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.
Viola was the only one who played out here, and she preferred it grown out. She felt like an explorer walking through the Amazon… or somewhere else she would decide that day.
Pushing a branch absentmindedly from her face, she continued with her nose practically to the ground.
Something heavy pressed against her forehead and she shoved it. It swung back and hit her with force in the same spot it had pressed before.
Groaning, she straightened to look at what was blocking her path.
Eyes wide, she stumbled, falling back to the ground. Scurrying away she screamed.
Her scream was like a siren.
The screen door could be heard swinging open on the porch, feet hurrying towards her as she sat there, screaming. She was unable to stop.
Her mom was beside her, looking down at her. Her hands ran frantically over Viola, trying to feel any breaks or wounds. “Viola!” She shook her, trying to stop the screaming. “What? What is it?”
When she didn’t answer, her mother followed her terrified eyes.
Clasping her hand over Viola’s eyes, she scooped her up and hurried her back to the house.
Lifting the phone, her mom foaled a number before covered Viola’s ears with her hands and talking, frantically to whomever she had called. Despite her soft smile as she looked at Viola, her eyes were filling with tears.
They sat together waiting when her mother hung up. Huddled together on the couch, her mother spoke softly to her but she couldn’t hear anything.
All she could hear was a slow creaking.
The slow creaking of a taunt rope swinging slightly as it held the weight of her father, dangling lifelessly from the tree above. His eyes were wide and bloodshot as they stared down at her.
On his face, the most bloodcurdling smile.