Prologue (Anna, Farmer)
I am planning to begin a serialized children’s tale based on a game my sisters and I played as young children. The following is the Prologue, modified and reprinted from an earlier iteration on this blog.
There once was a sizable farm nestled in the hills of Northeast Maine, just East of the once- bustling town of Weary Winds. Although McDermott Acres, better known to locals as the Acres, had once been rather charming, the appeal had long since peeled away. Indeed, much of the Acres had begun to chip away, perhaps most notably, the farmhouse’s distinctive green paint.
At the edge of the property lay the collapsing barn and a small pig sty, on a ridge over by the sea. The farm had once produced beef, chicken, eggs, and even duck once but as the years wore by, Thomas McDermott had made the cost-cutting decision to focus on corn and oats, while gradually phasing out pork. Nobody argued with Thomas McDermott… mostly because there was no one left to argue with him. No one except his young daughter, Anna.
Despite the peeling paint, the quiet air and the nostalgic pigs, Anna was a very special child. Though she was a small girl, even for her age, Anna insisted on helping out the two young farmhands with the few chores still covered by the decaying farmstead, with one exception. Ever since she had reached a certain age, and finally begun to comprehend the darker tasks undertaken by the farm, Anna had refused to allow her father or the farmhands to butcher any of the pigs.
Any who are familiar with the operations and, frankly, the purpose of farms can see why this edict might prove troublesome for Thomas McDermott at the Acres. Lucky for Anna (and her friends the pigs) Thomas resolved to acquiesce to his daughter’s strange demand for the time being, certain that the young girl would grow out of such foolishness soon enough.
Anna frequently played in the old barn by the sea. At the crack of dawn she would tip-toe down the stairs, run through the disused fields (long in need of weeding) and, finally, arrive at her very special place to watch the sun.
What of her mother, you may ask? That is a very sad story. Suffice to say, her father was somewhat negligent after her departure, and spent most of his time cataloging his extensive collection of bills and profits. Tedious work, but remember, Thomas McDermott was a very tedious person. For him the most important thing was always keeping the farm afloat and food in his daughter’s mouth, and so he hardly paid any attention to Anna. Please understand that Thomas McDermott wasn’t a bad person. Simply a stubborn, big headed person who never stopped grieving.
So Anna went on, waking up duly every day, heading to school five days a week, and making a pot of oatmeal every night. She worked diligently on her classwork, earnestly sought the friendship of her peers, and helped around the farm whenever she could. Unfortunately, many of her classmates and their parents judged her to be simple and coarse due to the blue collar work she enjoyed so much. There was no place for people like her in the rapidly industrializing Weary Winds.
It was lucky, then, that Anna didn’t much care if there was a place for her in the world. She had already decided that her existence was not contingent on the opinions of others, and was happy to live a simple life for her father and her home.
To be continued…