Warren was seated in the old rocker, smoking his pipe. Jill was at the table, eating what looked like black coal. Her eyes watered with every bite she took. Warren glanced up at Sadie, not even noticing the damage he had done.
"You slept far too late this morning." He said with annoyance. "Get over there and make your sister something decent to eat."Sadie slowly walked over to the stove, not saying a word. She shifted her eyes over to Jill, who quickly looked away. Sadie knew this hurt her sister just as much as it did herself, but as long as Jill was to stay unharmed, this would continue.
"I'm heading into town again today." Warren continued. "We're getting a little low on cornmeal and feed for the horse. I'll only be gone for an hour..."Sadie proceeded to make breakfast, not making a sound. Before she could even flinch, Warren leapt from his chair and swung her around to face him, his giant hands clasping her arms.
"I said just an hour, understand?"His smoke-filled breath burned her eyes, but Sadie stood firm. One hand slowly moved behind her neck and latched on to her hair. He pulled with such force that Sadie stumbled to the floor. Jill let out a small gasp.
"You answer me when I'm talking to you!" He yelled. He turned and muttered under his breath, "It should have been you."That was it. Sadie had had enough. She sprang to her feet and bolted out the door. Nothing was going to stop her now. She could faintly hear her sister crying out to her, but she couldn't go back. She ran to her forest. She struggled through the foliage, her face being cut and torn. Her bare feet tripped over sharp rocks and twigs. Sadie just continued. All she wanted was to sink deeper and deeper into the woods until she herself vanished.
Suddenly, a blast of light caused Sadie to stop. Once her eyes adjusted, she couldn't believe what she was seeing. Out in the open, a vast green valley blanketed the land. The long grass swayed in the gentle breeze. Wildflowers were speckled all over the ground. To her left, Sadie saw a beautiful lake, flocked with ducks. She could hear tiny croaks of frogs near the water. Sadie couldn't believe it. She had never run all the way to the other side of the woods before. She then turned to right, and there, a few yards away, sat a boy.
She cautiously began to walk toward the stranger. As she got closer, She could him out better. He was young, about 18 or so. He sat on a large boulder, with his back to her and head hung low. He wore a stained gray shirt with ripped muddy pants. His shaggy brown hair was the color of rich tree bark.
"Umm... excuse me?"His head shot up, and as he turned to face her, Sadie couldn't help but stare. His eyes were the brightest and clearest blue she had ever seen. They seemed to be bluer than the sky itself. But that's not all she saw. On the boy's neck was the most horrific scar. The jagged line went all across his throat. It had been poorly stitched up and was still stained with blood.
The boy turned back, without a second glance. Sadie saw that he had a large pile of old sheets of paper sitting next to him. In his hand was a long piece of what looked like coal. He turned to her again and held up one of the sheets.
Can I help you? it read.
"Well, no not really." She replied. "Would... would it be ok if I sat with you?"He gave Sadie a long look up and down before finally giving a nod of approval. Sadie slowly eased up on the rock next to him. The boy proceeded to sketch on a paper in his lap. They both sat in silence, the wind gently whistling through the grass. Sadie began to fidget, not knowing what to do or say.
"Thanks for letting me sit with you." She said.He offered no response.
"My name is Sadie, by the way."He gave another nod.
He pulled out another paper from his stack."And you are?.."
My name is Ephraim.
"Ephraim.... isn't that Biblical?"Another nod.
"You don't talk much, do you?"
He turned his head and met her eyes. They both stared for what seemed like hours before he went back to his paper. Sadie peeked over his shoulder to see what he was so involved in. On the page he was holding was the most beautiful drawing she had ever witnessed. Using the coal, he had sketched out the whole lake and all the surrounding horizon to perfection. Sadie let out a small gasp of awe, which cause Ephraim to jump and scribble on his masterpiece. He let out a long sigh and looked at Sadie, who had buried her face into her hands.
"I'm so sorry," she mumbled through her fingers. "I didn't mean to disturb you. I've just never seen anything like that. You have a great talent."Ephraim crumpled the drawing into a ball and threw it over his shoulder. He quickly ripped out another blank sheet of paper and began to scribble violently. Sadie scooted away to the other side of the rock, waiting for a long paragraph of some awful insult. All of a sudden, he dropped his dull piece of coal, swiped the paper away, and gathered his pile of other sheets and took of running.
"Hey wait!" Sadie cried. "I said I was sorry! Please wait!"It was no use. Ephraim had disappeared into the darkness of the forest. She slumped back onto the boulder, feeling more rejected than ever. She then remembered the paper. Just as she was about to reach for it, a small wind picked up the sheet and carried it across the grass. She was swift to get up and follow the note. With one small dive, she nabbed it and stumbled the ground. After dusting herself off, she turned the paper over to examine the damage.
What she found wasn't a word of insult of disgust, but another sketch. It wasn't very clear, but she thought she could make out an outline of a face. The only real definition given to the picture was long flowing black hair. Sadie soon put in together that it was her. Immediately realizing this, her heart sank into her stomach. She needed to find him. With all the strength she had left, she ran back into the forest.