Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
Part of the April Writing Challenge. CLICK HERE to read the challenge (Sean chose picture D.)
By Sean M. Kozma
Sarah pumped at the well tap in the middle of their one-room clapboard house to prime it.
“Time to get ready for school,” she said to her siblings, who were curled up sleeping in the northeast corner of the house. It was the corner that remained the darkest the longest each morning. They each groaned a mumbled protest.
“Come on, Billy. Janice. Time to get up.”
The well was taking an especially long time to prime this morning. Sarah kept waiting for the resistance to her pump strokes that meant water was flowing up the pipe, but this morning it would not come. The spigot only belched dry air.
Billy finally sat up, his eyes still half closed. Janice remained curled up beneath a threadbare square of cloth she used as a blanket. He reached over and poked his younger sister in the ribs with a finger.
She grumbled and kicked out blindly, missing him, like she always did. He reached over and poked her again. She grumbled and kicked out again, this time hitting him solidly in the thigh, like she always did.
“That’s enough of that, you two,” said Sarah, as Janice finally sat up herself.
Janice reached over and slapped her brother across the back of the head.
“Ow,” he said, complaining, but doing no more to retaliate. As always.
“Did you finish your reading,” Sarah asked.
“No,” said Janice.
“Yes,” said Billy, simultaneously.
“No he didn’t,” said Janice.
“No,” confessed Billy.
Sarah gave up on the pump for now. She hoped if she gave it a few pumps again before they left, it might finally give up its precious issue. It was a thin hope.
“Finish your reading while I finish mine,” she said. She walked over to the southwest corner of the house, where she slept. It was the first corner every morning to get light.Being the eldest, she felt she should always be the first one awake.
“Come sit by me, in the light,” she said, and her brother and sister picked up their books and came to sit beside her on the dusty wooden floor, in the hazy light of the morning.
Sarah was reading a book about a young boy on an adventure down a great, mythical river. It was massive, slow moving, and wide. And long. Very long this river seemed to Sarah, for the boy to have such a grand, thrilling adventure upon it.
She loved the story, but her mind reeled to think of such a large quantity of water flowing freely across the surface of the Earth. Once she’d read several more pages, enough that she could share the wonders of this fantastic story with the others at school, she closed her book and stood up.
“Come now. Time to dress for school,” she said, and pulled her shoes on. Her siblings closed their books and did likewise. Sarah pulled on her only sweater, wrapped her scarf around her face, and put on her goggles.
Billy and Janice did likewise with their own shoes, scarves and goggles, with Billy pulling on a leather cap when he was done. He didn’t like getting the wind-blown dust in his hair. Once they were dressed, Sarah gave a few more pumps to the well, hoping to be able to fill their kettles before they headed out on their trek, but still nothing came.
Billy and Janice looked at her, but said nothing. Sarah looked back at them and said nothing in return. What was there to say?
“Maybe the well at school will have some,” she said, and headed for the door. “Come on, let’s go. Bring your kettles.”
Sean M. Kozma is a writer, sound designer, and audio technician living in Los Angeles, and working in professional theatre. He also works behind the camera on independent films as production manager, assistant director, and line producer. Originally hailing from southeast Michigan, he has worked as a dishwasher, a fry cook, a delivery driver, a taxicab driver, a dispatcher, an engraver, and an office drone. He is currently writing a novel, among other projects.