Long Shadows

Long Shadows

A Story by emi

"Don't cry because it's over smile because it happened" -Dr. Seuss

    Along an insignificant dirt road, in a truly unimportant place, leading nowhere in particular, a stranger sat.  Perched on a wooden fence, the stranger sat gazing at the road. He was an odd sight there on the fence. He looked about twenty-with sandy blond hair and blue eyes. He wore a faded red button-down shirt, over this shirt he wore ripped blue overalls that did not clip on one side causing them to sag down on his thin frame.
    His chapped lips were puckered, whistling a merry tune that rose and fell along with the buzzing collections of bugs hiding in the tall green grass surrounding him. So there he sat, just whistling the day away. Until he looked up and saw a black car rattling down the dirt road.
    Matt Bartly was a business man. He sold cars for outrageous prices to the rich and these days only the rich could afford cars, because cars were a new invention. He also was a rich man.  He was known in all of the money circles as the go to guy if one wanted a car. Today, at an early hour of thew morning, he was driving to meet some of his best clients at their house, so he had to look sharp. In a tweed gray suit and gray bowler hat, he had his dark hair slicked back, and his moustache perfectly trimmed so it did not go any further than the length of his upper lip.
    Though Matt Bartly looked pristine, he was terribly lost he couldn't find the next turn to his clients’ house. As he was driving along looking for the street, he saw the stranger sitting on a fence. When he got closer he slowed down, and stopped in front of the stranger. Mat stuck his head out of the window, he blurted out “Do you know where this address is?” He waved the paper with the address written on it under the strangers nose.

Considering this new development in his day, the stranger first nodded to Mat in a greeting then said “Well sir I am not quite familiar with these parts anymore, I am so sorry I could not help you any further.” Then Mat cursed at himself and drove off without a farewell, leaving the stranger sitting lonely on the fence.

    This encounter did not seem to bother the stranger at all. All he did was sit back and continue to whistle, adjusting a straw hat that had not been on his head a second ago. The hat had holes in its brim and pieces of straw were sticking out the top. Looking down the road, the stranger saw a horse cart bumping along the dirt, drawn by two big gray horses.
    The Carmon family were in clothes more fit for a lunch with friends than for traveling on a dusty road. The father was driving the carriage with his wife and two daughters in the back. All four of them had blond hair and blue eyes that were looking around the countryside, wide with wonder. They were from the city and had never been in such an out of the way place before, the father had rented the carriage for the day. The younger sister looked over at her mom and asked in a high voice, “Why would any one live in such a place? There is nothing to do here!”

At which the mom looked at her and replied, “People live out here because they are unsocial, and are rejects of society, dear.” Up front the father laughed at something the mom had said,  that no one else found funny.

    Pointing up ahead, the father said, “look up there, maybe this person can tell us a good place to go!” As they got closer, they could make out the stranger sitting on the fence with a straw hat. when they reached him, the father reined in the horses and greeted him with “Hullo there stranger! How are you on this hot steamy day? You know we are out here looking at the country side for fun, any suggestions on where to go?” Right as the stranger was going to reply, he continued with,”You see, none of my daughters have ever been this far away from the city.” when the stranger opened his mouth again  the father interrupted again with, “Oooh that looks good straight ahead.  I think we will continue there.  Well goodbye and good wishes to you sir!” Then he clucked to the horses and the cart continued to rumble down the road.
    To the retreating backs of the family the stranger tilted his hat, murmuring a “G’bye sir.” With a sigh he relaxed back onto his fence now playing with a bandanna that appeared in his hand. His second finger traced the intricate designs from one side to the other. Looking up again, he watched a lone bike coming down the road.
    Terry was a young man at the age of 16. He was short for his age with black hair and suspicious eyes. He had grown up in a family of 10 children, he was the 6th, and there never seemed to be enough money. To help out and to save some money of his own, he had taken a newspaper delivery job.
    So here he was biking down this hot and dusty road, his bike saddle bags bulging with nothing but newspapers. He was exactly on time for his deliveries, so he could breath easy that his boss wouldn’t yell at him for being late again, and reduce his paycheck. With these thoughts on his mind he reached the stranger sitting on the fence. He looked at him, found him unimportant and biked right pass without any sign at acknowledged the man’s presence.
    This, the stranger watched in silence, no emotion showing on his face except when he nodded slightly to the boy as he passed.  It was getting late as the sun sunk toward the horizon. The land got quieter as the day wore on, the stranger took a long pull out of a pipe that he did not have earlier, blowing out the smoke and looking at it as it curled slowly up toward the sky. He looked down to see a young, brown haired girl about eight years old looking up at him with curious eyes.
    “Hello,” said the girl in a soft light voice. She had some time on her hands because she had taken the short way home instead of the long way, that she always took, to avoid this vary spot.

The stranger looked down and responded, “Well hello there Miss.”

The girl looked at him closer and asked, “Why are you sitting on that fence?”

At this the stranger stopped to think. He finally muttered “Why I don't know really, I just am.”

The girl gave him a” you’re crazy” look, and hopped up onto the fence next to him, “There must be a reason that you are sitting on the fence.”

Again the man stopped to think, “Well maybe I am waiting for someone, I have been here a long time.”

The girl glanced at him and while looking up at the sky asked, “do you know who?”

The man replied, “Nobody in particular.... just the right person.”

“Hmm” As the girl thought, the day faded into dusk, creating long shadows of the fence they were sitting on together side by side across the grass. The stranger took another long pull on the pipe. When the girl looked at him sharply, and said “ I would prefer you stop, I hate the smell of smoke.” Then softening a bit, and looking back out across the country side began to speak slower, “did you know, my da’ died here? he was young at the time, right when my mom had gotten pregnant with me.  He was supposedly very polite and quick to smile. He was driving a horse cart when something scared the horse who spooked and flipped the cart right on top o’ him.......... I wish I had met him, he sounds like he was mighty nice the way mom tells it.” Now stretching her arms over her head, she continued a bit quicker, “Speakin’ of ma I should probably be getting home now, see ya; hope you find who ever you’re waiting for.” she hopped down from the fence, and turned to look at the stranger .A small gasp left her lips, he was gone. All that was left was a fading smile, white teeth flashing, then that was gone too, only leaving the dusky sky behind.

As the girl walked home, she felt the chill of the night brush through  her hair, thinking about the strange man she wrapped her brown farm coat around her. Then she paused and took of the coat staring it wonderingly, she had not been wearing a coat before she had met the man. It was well worn in, about 10 sizes too big for her.  She put the coat back on and sprinted home to tell her mom what had happened.

© 2011 emi

Author's Note

hmm i based it off a story my aunt once told me when i asked for a ghost story, though now its different. Tell me what you think!

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Added on September 17, 2011
Last Updated on September 17, 2011
Tags: ghost story, father, short story, fiction, flash, crash



boulder , CO

"I fallowed the road less traveled, now where the hell am I?" more..

never ending night never ending night

A Story by emi