Milo and His Compass
Heirlooming Threat: Chapter 1
“I know this is a lot to put on you,” said Charlotte, running her hands through her son’s hair as a crisp autumn breeze dances through as well.
“Ma’, I said I wanted to help,” pressed Milo shrugging off her hand, feeling much too old for that.
“You did. I just feel like we put so much on you. I wish you could be here to help and seek a solution at the same time.”
“Me too, but I’m 14 now, Ma’. I need to do something. I’m not sure what, but I know if I head into town, there’s gotta’ be opportunity somewhere. I’m old enough to get a job.”
“That’s true.” She smiled at him. “Your father and I will hold down the fort with your brothers and sisters. I’ll have to start teaching them how to do more around the house and the barn.”
“Right,” scoffed Milo. “Pa’ will do his part.” Milo was looking beyond his mother, through the open window in the kitchen and onto the porch. He could see his father, Herman, was rocking back and forth in his favorite chair, holding his favorite bottle of vodka, or what he called breakfast.
Charlotte lets the comment slide and presses onward. “Maybe you can sell a baby chick. Come on, let me get you ready so you can be off.” She begins rushing him on, first towards his shared bedroom (with his siblings) to get a wool sweater and an old canteen that they needed to wash out. Then, they headed over to the old barn where the animals are kept to retrieve an egg.
“Are there no baby chicks right now?” asked Milo, concerned about being handed an egg.
“Not at the moment,” replied Charlotte. “But, I’m certain that this one is about to hatch. Just keep it warm. Go ahead, stick it in your armpit or something. Mama hen is out on the dewy grass. Don’t let her see you with that.” Milo gently stuck the egg into a cupped hand and pressed it into his hot woolen sweater armpit. “Also, don’t let your father see you with this.” Charlotte put into Milo’s only available hand a small compass.
“What’s this about?” he asked quizzically.
“It’s just something I’ve been holding onto for years. It was given to me a long time ago.”
“Who gave it to you?”
“Who gave it to you?” pressed Milo.
“I can’t even remember. You should be off now. Take advantage of the daylight.”
“You’re right,” he responds, shaking off any frustration. “I’m outta’ here. Next time you see me, I’ll be haulin’ some big bucks!”
“I know you’ll do great,” she nodded at Milo. “You better say goodbye to your brothers and sisters too. You know they’ll worry.” Milo walked out from the aged barn with an egg tucked under one armpit, a clean canteen full of water slung over his shoulder, and his free hand tucking the compass into a pocket of his long shorts. It was one of those strange weather days that made it hard to decide on what to wear, cool in the morning but likely to get warm in the afternoon, making it a wool sweater and long shorts kind of day. Milo gave proper goodbyes to his siblings and simply waved to his father as he walked up the driveway and onto the dirt road.
Milo’s family had no horse. They had no car. Milo had nothing more than his own two feet to begin traveling away from his home and toward the unknown. Looking back at the house in the woods, complete with the old red barn, farmlands, and the hill where the sheep like to graze, he promised himself, not just his family, that he would not come back without money. It was hard for him to hear that they might lose their home due to foreclosure, but he believed that there must be a way for him to make serious money.
About the Creator
Jesse Terrance Daniels
Jesse is the founder of Pied Raven Games, and his first card game, Hibernation, won Best Family Game in 2018. He currently has a book in the process about game design. The book, titled Make Your Own Board Game, will be available 08/2022.
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