Young Woman on the Grass
The young woman in lavender pants and top outfit walked along the gravel road toward an old red barn. Her steps were slow and her head was down, walking without sense of purpose, her face forlorn, lost in the prison of her mind with an undeniable sadness that softly crunched the gravel on each short step she took. She was a pretty girl with long brown hair, and her soft blue eyes only embellished the anguish she conveyed in these few moments.
Ross and Penny Goodwin sat reading in their ‘sun room’ near the gravel road. The road was on their property, but that was of no concern to them. “There’s a girl walking up the road toward the barn,” he announced.
The wife put her book down and looked out the window. “Does it bother you that she’s on our property?”
“No, that doesn’t bother me…but look at her, the slow steps with her head down. The girl is in misery about something…broke up with a boyfriend, going through a divorce, death in the family…”
The man and wife spent a few moments watching the girl’s slow walk up the rise to the barn. Then, she was out of sight. The couple spent several minutes conjuring up the possible reasons for the girl’s dismay, then went back to their reading.
In a few minutes, the girl reappeared and was sitting on the grass near the couple’s lily pond. The man thought he saw her crying…”I’m going down and see if I can help”, the man said. “This is depressing me!”
As the girl watched the man approach she began to rise. “This your property?” she asked.
“Yes, but you don’t have to leave. Is there anything my wife and I can do to help you? Obviously, you’re in some kind of pain.”
“You’re a kind man… No there is nothing you can do,” the girl muttered.
“I’m sorry, I don’t hear so well. What did you say?”
“Thank you for your concern, sir…”
Then, she was gone, back on the gravel road slow-walking back the way she came.
Back inside the sunroom, the wife asked: “What did she have to say?”
“Nothing, except, ‘Thanks for your concern’. She may not be telling us but that girl is going through something really bad…”
Ross Goodwin could not get the young woman out of his mind, and his wife began feeling annoyance with his constant observations. “My goodness, Ross, you sound like a man possessed. Was she so pretty that you felt some youthful stirrings? Should I be jealous? It sounds like you fell in love with the girl.”
“Don’t be silly, Penny! There was just something eerie about that girl that sticks in my craw. Eat your dinner… I’ll be quiet about it.”
A few weeks passed, and Ross Goodwin spoke no more to Penny about the strange encounter with the young woman. The girl, however, never left his mind…there was an itch he could not scratch and each time he looked at the gravel road and the pond, she came alive in his mind.
One evening while visiting close neighbors for dinner the men sat in the den enjoying cocktails while the women were kitchen-bound with meal preparations. At a lull in the men’s conversation Ross told his neighbor about the young woman and how she had haunted his mind since that day. Ross spent a lengthy time describing the girl and how sad and pitiful she looked, how she was dressed, and how she so soon wandered away.
“Darn, Ross, sounds like you’re describing to a tee Adalee McPhail, right down to her clothes. Her parents were our good friends and lived in the area for years before going to Arizona. Adalee stayed behind, married a man much older, and Adalee gave birth to a premature Mongoloid baby boy. You will never find a more devoted mother than Adalee…she doted on the kid and truly loved the boy. The husband, Eugene, was on the road a lot – insurance sales – and Adalee carried the whole load. The barn road and pond was her favorite spot in the whole area…”
“Was? Sounds like we’re talking about different people. The girl I saw and talked to at the pond was just a month ago.”
The neighbor snapped his fingers… “Wait just a minute. I’ve got an album I want you to see.”
The neighbor placed the album on Ross’ lap and flipped to a few pages near the back of the album. “This is the McPhail family,” and, pointing to a couple, “and this is Adalee and the man she married. This is not the girl you saw, correct?”
Ross Goodwin was stunned. His face suddenly paled. Then, stumbling with his words, he spoke: “Yes, that is the girl I saw… When were these pictures taken?” Ross asked.
“Fifteen, twenty years ago.”
“My God! I’m going crazy! I saw her, Whitley, up close, even talked to her! Penny saw her. This young woman could not have been more than twenty-two, twenty-three years old. But that picture is her!” The men exchanged puzzled stares, and Ross spoke again, “Do you know where Adalee is today?”
“Yes, I’m sorry, Ross, but she’s dead! The awful stress was ultimately too much for the poor woman. She committed suicide…jumped from a bridge into the river below.”
A palpable silence fell over the room, and, for a moment, both men shivered as a cool breeze passed by them.
The two men looked at each other, their faces blanched. When warmth returned to the room, Whitley carefully replaced the album, then sat next to his neighbor. Each man drank in silence, emptying their highball glasses.
“Damn, Ross, that’s just plain creepy!”
Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – May 8, 2015
If you like mystery, suspense, crime, romance, thrillers, you would like one of my books – my twelve books are really ‘fun’ reads…some are inspired by true crimes and events…hope you will give them a try, maybe leave a review on Amazon. It is a fact that reviews are an author’s life blood…I’m just saying! You can find my books on http://www.amazon.com/author/billyraychitwood, or, on my personal website – http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com – just scan down the ‘home’ page after a short bio sketch.
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