I know this is coming out late today (but at least it is still Wednesday) but in truth, I was having a difficult time finding anything I wanted to write about. I spent the day trying to find inspiration online and only found stress and aggravation. It seems like almost every social media platform is a mine field of bad news, conspiracy theorists, and just folks who are angry about everything under the sun.
I called my mom looking for ideas and she suggested giving you all part of one of the side stories that is available for a free download on the Members Only page on this site. I had never thought about that as I figured people already knew from the newsletters that there are free side stories available but apparently that is not well known. So that is what we are going to do.
For those who have read the books, you know some of the key characters have left the main storyline, Margret MacBride and Sonya Busby to be specific. Have you wondered what happen to them after the left the main story? Well, I actually wrote them their own short stories to explain more.
I'm going to share part of Sonya's side story with you here today. It is too long to put the whole thing in this blog but I will post a link to the rest of the story. You may have to join the Members Only page to read the rest, I am not sure yet how this will work as I haven't tried to link to that page before. But it is free to join and you can quit at any time, no strings attached. You control your membership.
I hope you enjoy Sonya's Home.
Ms. Walters woke early. It was the day before they were to leave for Sharon Springs and she was been feeling uneasy. She had been watching Sonya closely since she took over the girl’s care from Mrs. Kelly.
While she had not seen the girl doing anything truly disturbing, it was obvious something was just not right. In the past few days, Ms. Walters had noticed a change in her other charge, Barbara Master. She had always been a shy girl because of her pronounced limp, but she had always been cheerful until Sonya came to stay with them.
Barbara’s demeanor began to change after the girls’ first night together. Since then, Barbara had become more and more withdrawn and sullen. Whenever Sonya was near, Barbara seemed to try to become invisible. Ms. Walters had asked Barbara several times if there was anything going on between the girls she should know about but Barbara would not open up to her. She was obviously afraid of something . . . or more likely, someone.
Since she was up so early, Ms. Walters decided to go to the sitting room and check on the girls before finding her way to the outhouse. When the group had left St. Mark’s Foundling Hospital in New York City, there had been 57 children in their group who needed homes, now there were just the two girls left in her charge.
Ms. Walters lit the candle on her bedside table then bundled up in her heavy wool shawl; it was a very chilly morning. As she walked down the hall from her room, she decided to head to the kitchen first, a cup of tea would help her warm up before she braved the chilly morning air. She stoked the fire in the cast-iron stove and put a pot of water on to heat.
Ms. Walters looked out the window but it was still before dawn and she couldn’t see much of anything. If she was going to find the outhouse she would need an oil lamp, there was no way her candle would stay lit in the wind outside.
Ms. Walters had seen an oil lamp in the kitchen last night; looking around the room she did not see it here now. Maybe Mrs. Hewitt had taken it to bed with her. Ms. Walters remembered there was another one on the mantle over the fireplace in the sitting room where the girls were bedded down. She would go check on the girls and retrieve the other lamp.
Sonya’s Home, a companion short to the Into the West Saga Serial 2017 Members Only Free PDF Short Story - Property of StephenBurckhardt.com 3 Ms. Walters walked down the hall toward the sitting room. The door was slightly ajar and Ms. Walters could see a little light flickering from the fireplace inside. As she pushed the door open she was startled to see Sonya standing in the middle of the room.
As she took in the scene before her, Ms. Walters was shocked and felt the fear begin to rise in her chest. Sonya was standing in the center of the room staring down at Barbara while she slept. She was wearing her white night dress and was standing perfectly still just staring down at the other girl. In her hand, Sonya was holding a small log from the woodpile by the fireplace.
Ms. Walters was frozen in , she was afraid if she startled Sonya, she might do something unpredictable. Sonya began to swing slightly back and forth. She never looked up from Barbara as she spoke to Ms. Walters.
Sonya’s voice was calm as she said, “Have you ever wondered if how someone looks when they are asleep is how they will look when they are dead?”
Ms. Walters jumped. She wasn’t sure what startled her more, Sonya speaking so calmly as she asked such a disturbing question or the fact that it was coming from a young girl and asked in such a sweet sing-song voice. Both were chilling.
“I have never thought about that,” replied Ms. Walters. As she took a few more steps into the room, Sonya stopped swinging and gripped the log a little tighter. Ms. Walters stopped moving. She was afraid Sonya might do something to harm Barbara if she didn’t handle this situation correctly.
“Have you ever seen someone die?” asked Sonya. She didn’t wait for an answer before she continued. “I have. I watched my parents die. It took quite a long time. When they finally stopped moving, they didn’t look like they were sleeping. Their eyes were open and so red. Their mouths were open too and their tongues looked funny. There was blood all over their faces and coming out of their ears. They looked frozen …,” Sonya paused for a moment while she was lost in the memory. After a while, she seemed to stir from her thoughts and continued. “. . . and frightened. The way their mouths were open it was like they died trying to scream.”
Ms. Walters stood silently as Sonya painted a horrific picture of her last memories with her parents. It was no wonder this child was so disturbed.
Try this link (<--- click here) to read the rest of Sonya's Home. If it does not work, just go to the menu bar at the top of the page and click on the Exclusives dropdown menu and select Members Only. Sign in or sign up and go to companion shorts in the menu on that page. Click on Sonya's Home to read the rest of the story. While you are there, check out Margret MacBride's short story Margret's Redemption.
I hope to have more companion shorts in the future.