The ground was damp as he shuffled back down the trail, dropping seeds as he went.
The night seemed to last forever. No matter how many times Rose woke up or how many times she went to the bathroom, the sun did not rise. She would shut her eyes just to pop them open again. She knew if her niece, Ivy, was to live in peace, Rose had to tell her the whole story. A night where pen and paper would meet and daisy’s would bloom everywhere. Finally, she could close her eyes and Ivy would be safe.
Rose carefully climbed out from under the covers, opened her curtains and stared at the moon. She enjoyed the cool hardwood floors as she walked the hall,opening up each room,feeling the night air flow through out the upper level. She smiled at the pictures on the wall as she made her way down the old creaky stairs. In the kitchen she plunged her hand down in to the cold juice and pulled out a pickle from the jar. She sat, crunching, enjoying the intense flavor. Finally, she gathered her writing materials and faithfully wrote. She wrote of lies,secrets adults held in a strong pact to protect the family. One sneaky man that started all the evil. She let the goosebumps return,running up her arms nearly taking over. She left the table to prepare for a new day.
She had showered and was drinking her strong lemon tea as she rocked in the swing on the big rambling wrap around porch. She had placed the photographs in tissue paper and placed them in a pink envelope marked Ivy on the table just inside the front door. One photo, the most important photo was right on top of the others. She had struggled on whether to make it the first. The last. The second or third. Then, irritated, placed it on top, and walked away from it.
She had came across this particular photo when she was walking home late one night. An old family tradition was to visit family graves on Sunday right after a late lunch. To get there, you took the well worn trail on their property to the family cemetery. Once you arrived, the view was breathtaking.
The farm house itself, was set back off the road, surrounded by fields on both sides. Then, a small patch of woods and the clearing behind held quite a few old tombstones and just a few new one’s sprinkled throughout. The old bridge used to help them all cross over a stream when it would swell from a heavy downpour.
When you came out of the trees, you saw tombs climbing right up a small mountain. Rose’s, Aunt Rose used to say they looked like stepping stones going right up in to the sky.
Rose missed her husband and was always thankful to have long talks with him each Sunday. Sometimes she would be laughing and talking and lose all track of time. When he was alive he had always hurried home from work, he said, just to see her smile and watch her lips start to move before he was even able to kiss her. Even though he was gone, did not mean she would ever stop talking to him.
Last Sunday she had not lost track of time. She hadn’t wanted to leave him. When she was walking back, lightening bugs were out and she had to look down so not to trip over tree roots, when she glimpsed something white sticking up from the ground. It was a corner of a family picture taken a long time ago. The picture that now sat on top of the others in that pink envelope.
Beautiful, strong, intelligent, Ivy would figure out who the man was in the cemetery photo. Surely she would . Believing that he had committed terrible crimes and gotten away with it. Rose firmly believed the photos in the envelope would pique her interest. So much so, that the story would begin to unfold and the love triangle and the crimes would be revealed.
She herself, her two mothers,her father, and her aunt, were cursed if they had ever spoken a word. But enough was finally enough. She wouldn’t be around forever to plant protection. The little girl in the picture was Ivy and the dim figure of a man who was standing behind a full bloom of daisies, was pure poison, himself. The Fox.