Title: Each Apple is First
Word Count 634
Disclaimer-- this is Bush but younger.
I made Amy up.
Each Apple is the First
It was dark beneath the trees, and he
could smell the dampness. He could hear the heavy sound of flies and
the plink of water into the rain-barrel. But most of all, for the
first time in 20 months, Will Bush could hear the sounds of being
alone. All alone. The other mids were eating breakfast, reveling in
soft tack and bacon. That was well. But he had eaten himself full
with speed. He had in mind another gluttony.
And here it was. Or he was. In the
little door-yard behind the inn. (It really did have a tower. He'd
checked.) All alone. Nobody within fathoms of him. He could feel the
sun on his back and hair. It was going to be warm. The grass was
soaked with dew. The day would be fair., therefore. He had gone to
see at 12, but he remembered the land well enough to know that.
There were little wooden steps that
crooked down into the grass. Grey lichen covered them. They were not
clean, not sturdy. Scrub them five minutes with a bible, and they
would fall apart. He smiled at them. They were perfect. Still, he
settled his bottom quietly, not to damage them. He and they would
crouch here, forgotten, together.
Will Bush took a breath so deep that
his ribs ached. He held it a moment, and let it out slow. Alone. It
He raised his eyes to the sun, he
closed his lids to feel it sparkle there. He had been sitting
sometime thus when the little door behind him creaked.
He felt the weight of a gaze on the
back of his neck. He turned, ready to growl at the intrusion. But the
harsh words dried on his tongue.
“I did not see you there, Miss.” It
was the girl Amy.
He was on his feet now. She smiled at
him, and it was a good smile. She had a spray of freckles across her
nose, and her eyes were warm.
“I did not mean to intrude,” She
“It is no intrusion at all.”
To his surprise, this was so. She was
dressed decently this time. He could look at her. She was neat and
round, and so small, compared to Will. She was not much bigger than
his middle sister, but nothing like a sister in the heat of his
“I brought you something.” She
said. “Thought you might like--”
And from the pocket of her white apron
she pulled an apple. It was perfect, blemishless, warm from the heat
of her hand. She took his astonished smile for thanks, and returned
it with one of her own.
She sat down on the step, tucking her
skirts around her feet. So then he could sit too, and he did.
His teeth cut through the skin of it,
and his mouth was already watering. The taste was bright in his
mouth, vivid as a dream.
Amy watched him eat, and gave a
contented wiggle, like a settling hen.
“Thank you, Miss.” Will said. “I
had not had an apple in a year.”
“A year, just imagine.” She said.
“No girls at sea either.” She
“No, not really, Miss.” He said.
He had finished the apple when she did
it. He was holding the core in his hand. Her hand was on his arm, and
she leaned in close, and her mouth found his, soft, soft, and the
tasting of apples. And he was 17, and he'd never, it was nothing
like a sisters kiss at all.
She was on her feet now, and he was
“I'll see you later.” She said.