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Outside the Lines

Gothic Stories

By Christy MunsonPublished 28 days ago 3 min read
13
Outside the Lines
Photo by Jesse Gardner on Unsplash

They meddled with the front gate. Followed its trail the long uneven path three hectares in, along the outskirts of the farmer's ripening fields.

Somewhere near the middling acre, they snipped a human size hole in his fence. Ducked and hid when a scratch of workmen's boots neared, coughing up dust, issuing baritone voices alongside a lonesome harmonica's lament to the warmed August air. They found invisibility easily enough, squat behind tall stalks of burgeoning golden yellow corn.

The farmer and his hands were all too trusting.

When danger had passed, Michael and Genevieve looked into each other's eyes, beaming. They could see it now. A beautiful life, together, eating stolen foods, foraged foods, found sustenance. Nuts, berries, mushrooms. Drinking from the earth's generous streams and rivers. Sleeping under heavenly stars. Answering to no one.

"Here, taste this," Michael winked, holding a bright red cherry high into the air, blotting out the setting sun. The pleasure was Genevieve's. Never had she kissed a boy, let alone been fed by a man's hand. The sight of ripening fruit dripping from Michael's hand tempted, sure as original sin.

"Delicious," Genevieve smiled, licking her lips, tilting her bonnet to take a first bite, allowing fruit to slip forbidden sweetness onto her tongue. She hoped this night she'd taste more than berries.

When the coast had cleared, they sliced more fruit using Michael's father's hand forged knife. They cut from dusty old-world vines all the berries they could carry. Giggling, they fell into one another. Giggling with their whole selves, they smashed stolen fruits into mouths. Sticky fingers slipped in next. Sweet juices splashed down bare arms. Ravenous, they swallowed mouthfuls of every found fruit their fingers could fondle: cherries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes.

Come nightfall, Michael and Genevieve stopped. They drank in a breath of honeysuckle just as it closed up shop for the night. Grateful for dry weather, lying side by side they watched the moon's beautiful face find its mirror in countless distant lakes. Grinning widely, the two souls giggled more, learning to trust unfamiliar feelings, falling into more than one another's arms in the drying muddy muck.

When the farmer emerged onto his front stoop, his lit lantern facing off with the moonlight, hatchet in hand, Michael and Genevieve hid their bared selves completely beneath the overgrowth that edged the farmer's property. They'd neared his home unaware of their whereabouts, for so entirely had they become enthralled with one another.

Once the farmer's resolve had faded, he returned his attention to his crackling fire and his good book and his stalwart hound. And the lovers laughed and fell once more into each other's arms. Kisses found lips and skin. Hands found homes.

Quietly, reluctantly, before the sun could open the books on another day, the lovers redressed and stepped out of the wilds and into the long hedgerows. Solemn as ghosts, they began to make their way through the maze. In time they came to slow rolling hills that stretched out far beyond the farmer's lands.

By sunrise they had slipped the trail entirely, wandering willfully and headlong in any direction their feet could carry them.

Having taken what was wasn't theirs, they delighted in their success. Great was the thrill. Getting away with it. Taking what they wanted. Not waiting for anyone's hand-outs.

Minds made up, they wandered. Holding hands, newly thick as thieves, they wandered through the ripening world, desperate to trace the winds that curled fantasies out of the once foggy notion of a life others considered sinful. Without words they nodded, fingers interlaced, agreeing to take the path unknown. They vanished into mist. And soon, into myth.

~*~

The farmer's hand first found their trail. He figured they'd walked. No carriage trail had cut into the lush brown tumbled dirt. No horse hooves had churned up the clay. The only real evidence of the twosomes' vanishing act lie in the damage done to fences and fields.

~*~

A year passed, as these things do.

The town's folk gathered in the farmer's wide open spaces, beneath the centurion white oak. Where he'd buried his wife and three sons. The town's folk had come to follow traditions. They stood in close spaces eating small cakes. Wearing dusky thread. Speaking wise words.

Everyone thought it but none dared speak of the singular thought swirling round each person's mind. Something awful must have happened.

It had never been done before, stepping outside the lines.

____________

Copyright © 05/19/2024 by Christy Munson. All rights reserved.

____________

Author's Note: Written for and inspired by Kenny Penn's unofficial challenge, Gothic Stories.

Young AdultMicrofictionLoveFantasyFable
13

About the Creator

Christy Munson

My words expose what I find real and worth exploring.

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Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (9)

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  • Novel Allen12 days ago

    I love the tone in which this is written...wistful and mysterious...leaving one wondering.

  • Lamar Wiggins18 days ago

    I loved the frolicsome nature of this story, intertwined with mystery and intrigue.

  • angela hepworth21 days ago

    Amazing work, Christy! I thought your ending in particular was intriguing, it kind of leaves the conclusion up to the interpretation of the reader which I really enjoyed. Awesome contribution to the challenge!

  • Kenny Penn24 days ago

    Absolutely loved this story, Christy! It was told so beautifully and really sparked my imagination. It honestly felt like a modern Shakespeare tale. I have to admit though that the ending isn’t clear to me. I reread it twice (both times still enjoying it), but my critical thinking isn’t connecting the lines. I wonder, did the farmer kill his wife and sons? Is that why we see him come into the stoop with a hatchet, or am I completely off base?

  • Karen Cave26 days ago

    Beautiful, Christy :)

  • D.K. Shepard26 days ago

    Magnificent from start to finish! This was an enthralling read. The vanishing into mist and subsequently myth followed by the town unvoiced pronouncement of woe was brilliant

  • Oooo, that ending was so intriguing! Also, gosh, those lovers behave as if no one else exists in the world but them. Loved your story!

  • John Cox27 days ago

    I loved your story, especially the evocation of the lover’s discovery of the joy of freedom. I assume you left the ending open ended deliberately. And knowing that you love double meanings, the line ‘Something awful must a have happened’ could as easily mean something innocuous as something unthinkable.

  • Hannah Moore28 days ago

    While I loved the abandon of the lovers, I have to admit I'm left puzzled in the end.

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