Short Story – A Smoky Lesson

Hello everyone! Today I’m back with another short story, this time an older one that I wrote last summer. Now, I need to give some background to this story before I post it…

The Circle C Adventures series by Susan K. Marlow have been one of those series that is just an integral part of my childhood. Though actually, I didn’t get into them until I was about 10, so perhaps they’re more part of my adolescence. 😀 I read the ‘Adventures‘ series first, then read the ‘Beginnings‘ (even though I was much above the target age range for them :D) In the recent years I’ve really enjoyed the ‘Milestones‘ series, buying them as soon as they’ve been published. The series chronicle the adventures of a girl named Andi Carter, who grows up on a Californian ranch in the late 1800s. They tell her story from the age of six up until she get’s married. I’d totally recommend checking them out, they’re wonderful books!

My love for historical fiction was deepened through reading these books, and my love for writing was partly sparked by them. Yes, I wrote some before I encountered them, but the fan-fiction contests that Mrs M held for her readers pushed me to start writing more. I actually won honourable mention in 2015/16 yearly writing contest. (I might post that story on here one day! ;))

So anyways, now that I’ve got all that explained, you’ll better understand where this story is coming from. It was written for a small writing contest Mrs Marlow held last summer. Though it didn’t place, I thoroughly enjoyed writing it! Perhaps because it’s based on a true life story. 😀 So without further ado, here’s the story! I hope you enjoy! 🙂

~

A Smoky Lesson

Six year old Andi breathed a deep shuddering sob that turned into a cough as she breathed in the acrid smoke. Mitch and Peter were frantically rushing around the kitchen, opening windows and trying to fan the choking smoke out. But Andi just stood there, staring at the charred and smouldering pot on the stove, sobbing.

My surprise for Mother is ruined! How could this have all gone so wrong? She took another shuddering breath, and let her mind go back over the events of the afternoon….

*

As Mother had left the house just before noon that day, she’d lined up Mitch, his best friend Peter, and Andi on the front porch.

“Mitch, I expect you to take good care of Andi. And Andi, listen to your brother. He’s in charge.”

“Yes Mother, don’t worry we’ll be fine.” Mitch had airily assured Mother.

“We’ll take care of Andi, don’t worry.” Peter had added.

“Good. Now have fun and be safe! I’ll be back in time for dinner.” Mother had smiled and then climbed into the buggy. As it headed away, she’d called back. “And don’t burn the house down!” Mitch looked at Peter and laughed.

“Come on, let’s go down to the corral where all the mustangs are!”

“Can I come?” Andi asked.

“No, they’re too wild now. Too dangerous for a little girl like you.”

“Please?” Andi begged.

“No, go in the house and play, we’ll be back in a few minutes.” The two boys had headed off, leaving Andi standing disconsolately on the porch. If Mother hadn’t cautioned her to obey Mitch, she would have ignored him and followed along.

But I’d better listen to him this time, I guess. She wandered aimlessly into the house, searching for something to do. It was the servants’ day off, and there was no one around in the house or yard. None of her toys looked inviting, compared to the lure of forbidden mustangs.

Maybe I’ll get a snack. Andi eventually thought, heading for the kitchen. A few minutes later, mouth full of cookie, she slumped on a chair. Mitch is no fair! He should have stayed with me instead of going off with Peter and leaving me all alone. As she slowly munched her cookie, Andi’s eyes lighted upon a large crate of rosy apples in the corner of the kitchen. Those must be the apples Mother asked Luisa to make into applesauce. Andi mused. Hmmmmm… A light bulb clicked on in her brain. I know! I’ll make applesauce to surprise Mother!

*

A little while later, the apples were peeled, cut, put into a large pot, and already sending up warm, sweet smells above the hot kitchen stove. Since she knew Mother’s warnings about using knives, Andi had enlisted the boys’ help for the surprise she had concocted, and amazingly they had gone along with it with nary a murmur. Andi’s mouth and hands were sticky with all the apple peelings she had eaten while picking up after the boys, who had raced to see how many apples they each could peel and cut.

“Well, what do we do now?” Peter questioned to nobody in particular. “This applesauce won’t be done for a while, and there’s no use just sitting here watching it.”

“Let’s go for a ride.” Mitch suggested.

“Oh yes! Can I come?” Andi exclaimed.

“Sure.” Said Peter generously. “Let’s go!” As the three headed out for the barn, all thoughts of applesauce were swept from their minds.

*

An hour and a bit later, the three ambled slowly back towards the ranch on their horses. The two boys were farther back, letting their mounts cool off after a heated race. Andi on Cocoa was in front, considering a particularly interesting dispute Peter and Mitch had had over who’d won the race. As they neared the house, she looked up, and to her immediate horror, saw black smoke billowing out of a window in the house!

“Mitch, Peter!” She screamed. “The house is on fire!!!”

*

Now as Andi stood surveying the charred pot that was still belching out putrid smoke, and the blackened stove underneath it, she wasn’t sure what to do or think. The boys had immediately jumped into action, opening all the windows in the kitchen, and throwing a bucket of water on the stove, where it had hissed fiercely. Andi had taken one look at her ruined surprise, and started to sob.

My wonderful surprise has turned into a horrible mess! As the smoke slowly disappeared, leaving the stench of charred apples, Mitch left the kitchen to open all the windows around the house, hoping to dispel just some of the smell that had permeated the whole house. Peter seeing Andi’s distress, kneeled down and gave her a gentle hug.

“Hey, it’s ok now.” He comforted, awkwardly trying to wipe away her tears. “There’s no fire, and everything will be jim-dandy once we clean up.” Peter assured her.

Mitch came back into the kitchen, and said “We’d better try and scrub out that pot. Mother will have a fit if she sees that mess in it.” He hauled the pot to the table and began to scrub it. Peter began to wipe off the blackened stove, and Andi slowly began to pick up stray apple peels off the floor.

“I guess… I guess we shouldn’t have left it.” She tentatively said.

“Yeah, it was my fault for suggesting to go for a ride.” Mitch answered.

“And it was my fault for agreeing!” Peter added.

“And it was my fault for…”

Andi was cut off by Mitch. “It wasn’t your fault at all! Don’t you worry over it, I’ll explain everything to Mother.” He flashed her a cheery grin.

*

As it turned out, Mother was so grateful that nothing worse had happened, that she really didn’t mind about the awful smoky smell or the scorched pot.

“Thank God that you came back when you did! It could have been so much worse!”

“Yeah, I’m sorry Mother, I should have thought.” Mitch apologized.

“I’m sorry my surprise for you was ruined Mother.” Andi said, hugging her Mother tightly.

“Oh darling, it was the thought that counted.” Andi grinned up at her Mother, and then straightened up.

“You know what?” Andi looked around at everyone. “I’ve learned a very important lesson: Don’t ever leave the house when you are cooking!” Everyone erupted into laughter.

“You got that right, Andi!” Peter chortled. “You sure got that right!”

*Dedicated to my dear, long-suffering Mother, who recently did come home to find her best pot ruined by my surprise that had literally gone up in smoke. Thanks for forgiving me again, Mum! 😀

~

As you can see from the dedication, this story was really based on a true life story. Like Andi, I decided to make applesauce for a surprise for my Mum, and also like Andi, I totally forgot about it and ruined it and the pot it was in. I wasn’t able to laugh about it as quickly as Andi did, but looking back now I can! 😀

That’s all for today! But before you go, I want to let you know about a new blog that has just been launched. I am part of a course called the Young Writer’s Workshop that was launched by Brett Harris and Jaquelle Crowe early this year. It has been an invaluable tool to help me grow in my writing, and is part of the reason why I started this blog! As a part of this course, there is a community where we can interact with all the other young writers on the course. I’ve met so many wonderful writers, it’s been amazing! And one of my fellow writers, Bethany, is launching her blog today! You can find her at Behind the Pen, where she’ll be posting behind the scenes of her writing, story snippets, writing tips, book reviews and the occasional fun/off-topic post. I know she’d love it if you could check her out! 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful week (celebrating Thanksgiving if you’re in America, enjoying the lovely, rainy weather if you’re in England, and just plain enjoying life if you’re somewhere else :D) and I’ll see you back here next Saturday!

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4 thoughts on “Short Story – A Smoky Lesson

  1. So glad you have enjoyed the Circle C Adventures, Beginnings and Milestones, highlighting the adventures of Andrea Carter and found them to be an inspiration. I certainly recall the event that inspired this story. Sorry your surprise didn’t happen, but thankful it wasn’t worse and you have a forgiving and understanding mum!!

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    • Yes, those CCA books have been wonderful! Thanks for introducing them to me! 😉 And yes, I figured you’d remember that event – it’s not one I think we’ll ever forget! 😀

      Like

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