A Walk Among the Stones - Young Adult Novel Submission

Dear Diary.


My name is Sally. Aunt Ginny gave me this book. She told me to write down what’s happening in town. Folks say the Rebs are marching north. We’re all afraid they’ll steal our food and livestock and rape us girls. Uncle Mur says I need to be careful. He says “boys are like bees, they always flock to the honey.” I’m not sure what he means but he always gets a big grin across his face and ruffles my hair when he says this.

Well, my name is Sally. I’m seventeen years old. I live with my sister Colleen and her husband Bo. Our parents died when I was two years old, in a fire caused by an old kerosene lamp that in the cellar. I don’t remember much but Colleen, she was six years old at the time, says she took me from our bed that we shared and climbed through the window onto the porch roof. Reverend Henn was returning from church just then, where he had been praying. Colleen says she threw me from the roof, right into Reverend Henn’s arms. She jumped right after. Reverend Henn tried going into the house to find my ma and pa but fire were too hot. Men soon came but they couldn’t help, the flames were jumping from the windows, finally breaking through the roof. When morning came, our home was but a pile of ashes.  Reverend Henn said God had put him before us girls so as to save our lives. Religious people talk that way. They see God’s face in everything, good or bad. It’s for us normals to figure out what God’s doing. I don’t know his meaning.

After the fire, Colleen and me went to live with Aunt Ginny. Her baptized name is Virginia and Uncle Mur. He was baptizedMurray. Uncle Mur is Pa’s younger brother. We lived there until Colleen married Bo. Bo owned a small farmhouse that his pa had given him onCarlisle Street, just north of town. I went to live with Colleen. Bo says I was Colleen’s dowry. I like Bo. Colleen loves him.

Colleen’s house is a half mile from Uncle Mur’s farm, walking across the neighbors’ fields and farms. If you travel the roads, then it’s all of two miles. I always go the short way across the fields which takes near twenty minutes. I make this trip everyday, including Sunday. I help Uncle Mur with his chores. I feed the pigs and chickens and milk the cows. That’s a lot of work keeping them animals fed and healthy. Uncle Mur has been farming all his life so he knows everything about farming.

Uncle Mur’s farm is ten acres, most of it planted in corn, wheat, apples, peaches and cherries. He spends most of his time tending to his crops, unless a sick animal needs help. Every harvest, he sets up a stand at the roadside and sells the extras that Aunt Ginny doesn’t turn into breads, pies and jellies. It’s my job to sit at the stand and take the people’s money. I like this job because I get to talk with everyone. I hear the town gossip, who’s sick and whose cow had a new calf.

Uncle Mur is great at caring for animals. He knows how to birth most anything, cows, pigs, even dogs. Oh, I have to tell you about Angus. Angus is Uncle Mur’s border collie and my best friend. Every morning he sits on the front porch steps, waiting for me. When he sees me walking down the road, he runs and greets me with big, sloppy kisses right on my nose. For the rest of the day, he’s by my side, no matter the chore. Angus likes most other animals; most animals except Tinker, the little black and brown terrier that Uncle Mur calls a pot licker, good for nothing but licking pots. Angus chases Tinker every time he sees her. Tinker is Miss Jane’s dog. They live past the Seminary, on the other side of town so they don’t often meet; only when Miss Jane brings Tinker along to do the shopping in town. Except for Tinker, Angus is a perfect gentleman. That’s what I think. Neighbors don’t think so, especially when Angus chases their chickens and pigs. I tell them he’s only herding their flocks. But the chicken screams and the pig squeals sound like they are all being butchered.

K.S. A Walk Among the Stones - Tuscany Prize 2015 Young Adult Novel Submission

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