The Wishing Tree - Earthquakes. | Penana

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The Wishing Tree
Writer KatieKaty
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
107 Reads

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The Wishing Tree
A - A - A
Aug 12, 2018
15 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!wla9DFFQUi1b2F98VBImposted on PENANA

THREEcopyright protection5PENANAt1wV5VM9DI

“Ok.”copyright protection5PENANAca3mkH1ZyV

()()()copyright protection5PENANAhz6kffsaQb

Candy hobbled into the kitchen. Steam was hovering hazily above the table and sitting in the chairs. Everything smelled of spices and fish. She could hear it sizzling on the fire, and there was Jordan, with fingers in the flames. She was poking the fish with a spoon and whispering to it. “Almost done,” she whispered, to the fish. copyright protection5PENANAxjc3fhY2rC

“Hi.” Candy said. Her voice sounded strange.copyright protection5PENANAKDNOZ7v173

Jordan turned. “Oh… Candy,” she breathed. She ran across the kitchen and wrapped her arms tightly around her. She felt her forehead and laughed at the bulky little curtain rod crutch and kissed her a million times on the cheek and nose and face. copyright protection5PENANAWoD3JSjb3a

She helped her walk over to the Chairman, who was rocking back and forth, looking at a book but not reading the words. He laughed and smiled when he saw her. The wrinkles in his face were so deep now, Candy realized. His eyes were failing, too. copyright protection5PENANAmAuyDJQCMh

He put his old soft hands around Candy’s face and whispered, “Rebecca,” like he always did. Apparently Candy looked like her. copyright protection5PENANAfxV2lVaRWh

Jordan whispered to him, “Candy broke her leg, but she’s feeling better now.”copyright protection5PENANAVTGyWprgBu

The Chairman nodded, but there was no understanding in his eyes. There never was.copyright protection5PENANAqY4UwIEnlr

Candy pulled his hands away. “Bye… Sean,” she muttered. Saying his name seemed to make him happy. copyright protection5PENANAFAYADjvNbs

He smiled at her and looked back down at his book. copyright protection5PENANA56lMFib6yN

Jordan touched Candy’s shoulder. “The Su’s will be here in an hour, or so. Go rest. Or go outside, with Davey. Oh, that reminds me.” Jordan opened the window and stuck her head out. “DAVEY!” She shouted. A bird screamed and flew out of a bush. “Davey! Come get the list!” copyright protection5PENANAAZLFUinyFI

Davey’s head appeared on the other side of the window. “Can Candy come with me?”copyright protection5PENANAZkjXUWhqKs

“Sure,” Jordan said. “And don’t spend too much.” She pressed the list into his hand, turned away, and started rooting talking to the fish again.copyright protection5PENANASQzeCexOk6

“I never do. Come on Candy,” Davey smiled at her. His eyes snapped down to her leg and back up again. “You made a crutch out of a curtain rod?” he asked, grinning at the same time.copyright protection5PENANABV5mAZEYyj

Candy grinned back and hobbled outside to join him. He had Elephant with a rope around his neck, trotting after them, oinking furiously at a butterfly.copyright protection5PENANAHyE0vzXNZI

()()()copyright protection5PENANAgSyP7a4EYp

“The pig seems cute,” Arista said. She took a sip of water.copyright protection5PENANAKzkQVVPATo

“He is,” Caroline said, smiling. “Very cute.”copyright protection5PENANATBWyCs7zf6

“Is?” Arista asked. “You still have him?”copyright protection5PENANAhwZQl71qLZ

Caroline kept smiling. “He’s at my apartment.”copyright protection5PENANAPwz9mv5c5Z

Julie started laughing. Arista’s eyes were still wide. “You have a pet… pig? At your apartment?” She leaned forward, chin resting on her hands. “You mean, he survived the earthquake?”copyright protection5PENANABZAxxcZEMf

“I think so. It might be a different one, but it could be him. I guess. It doesn’t really matter.” Caroline shrugged.copyright protection5PENANAL4LLU7SVxE

“Well, you should bring him sometime. I’d like to meet him.”copyright protection5PENANAVmavwx0BK6

“Maybe I will,” Caroline said. But she knew she wouldn’t. “Anyway.”copyright protection5PENANAAl5bTDoSia

()()()copyright protection5PENANA84fUPa1H6z

Candy read the list aloud as they walked down the road. “Eggs,” she said. copyright protection5PENANAl2Wwxt4x5O

Davey was pulling the wheelbarrow with one hand and holding her hand with the other. He had a warm, strong, big-brother hand. copyright protection5PENANAEG9KR2nfVG

“Pig feet?” Candy rubbed her eyes. “Hmm. Okay.”copyright protection5PENANAq4KGYzQ0hW

Elephant oinked from the wheelbarrow. He was sitting with his hooves on the edge and his ears flapping in the wind, like a dog with its tongue lolling out of the car window. copyright protection5PENANAADZwawZe45

“Three spoonfuls of dried asparagus.”copyright protection5PENANA2ILcsCfQSb

“Sounds gross,” Davey said with a laugh. copyright protection5PENANAwjfhZeQPe8

The wheels of the wheelbarrow crunched on the leaves. They must have fallen last night. Candy kicked a stone away with her crutch. Two people appeared on the road ahead of them, joking loudly and laughing louder. copyright protection5PENANAMOLLlVil9m

One of them shouted, “is that a pig?” Laughing and clapping their hands. The one who had spoken was small with short black hair and ebony skin. She had a crooked, mischievous smile and was chewing on a piece of gum. The other was awkwardly tall, silvery-blonde, with a smattering of freckles and big blue eyes. She had a large nose.copyright protection5PENANAqc5boyOEoG

Davey mumbled, “Yeah....” But stopped when the short girl jumped up and hugged him, feet dangling in the air. He hugged her back. Then he hugged the tall girl. Then he asked, “Where’s Daniel?”copyright protection5PENANAPVZ4dYi3Ox

The short one blew a bubble. It popped, and sounded ridiculously loud. She said, “He’s working,” and shrugged. “Who’s this?” she asked, turning to Candy. “Your sister?” copyright protection5PENANAcBlYnHUF24

“I’m Caroline,” Candy said, fiddling with her skirt. “But everyone calls me Candy.” Elephant oinked.copyright protection5PENANA2tg7EFFsj4

“Hello, Candy,” the short girl said, in a husky, deep voice. “I’m Victoria, but everyone calls me Vicky. And that’s Flora,” she pointed to the tall girl. “Nice to meet you.” She popped another pink bubble. “What happened to your leg?”copyright protection5PENANA9808dd7vhW

Candy had almost forgotten about her leg. “I fell in the woods.”copyright protection5PENANA3txorV6lA8

“That’s too bad,” Flora said. Her voice was small and dreamy, like a whisper or a breath of wind. copyright protection5PENANApCBGKglpJE

“Where are you going?” Vicky asked. “We were just heading home, but we could come with you. Or… well, my dad just fixed his truck. Twenty miles? It can take us twenty miles. Tonight, tomorrow, doesn’t matter.” There was hunger in her eyes.  “Please? We can’t go without you.”copyright protection5PENANAuSNu00H8wY

Twenty miles? To where? The only thing that was twenty miles away was Cherrytown, if you followed the little dirt road. And beyond that, the big city, where her mom was… Did Vicky want to go there?copyright protection5PENANA4zrCYTx4e8

Davey looked at the ground. “After Thanksgiving.”copyright protection5PENANAdELPlv6GVP

Vicky crossed her arms. “You told us you would come once summer started. And then you said you would come when summer was over. What’s next? Christmas? Do you even want to come?” She took his hand. “I won’t leave without you. Not without Flora, and Daniel, and you. Never. Never.”copyright protection5PENANAlpH9TI9AQG

“I’m coming,” Flora whispered. “And Daniel said he hates this place. He doesn’t have anything here to miss, besides you.”copyright protection5PENANAzVf0xeT5i8

“After Thanksgiving,” Davey said again. Vicky dropped his hand. copyright protection5PENANAdwNYm8usPp

“Fine,” she said. “Well, where are you going? We’re coming with you.” copyright protection5PENANAhbPZkIHtjy

Davey pulled the list out of his pocket. “Jordan sent me to get… eggs, pig feet, asparagus, stinky cheese…”copyright protection5PENANAaSupT1DN7W

“What?” Vicky laughed. “Give me that!” She snatched the list out of his hand. “Pig feet? Is she going to use those to make the fish look more appealing?” copyright protection5PENANAWktJjPSNhH

Davey snorted. He pulled her close to him and plucked the paper back out of her hand. “I don’t think anything could do that. How did you know we had fish?”copyright protection5PENANAdzT2ydLgH4

“Everyone has fish,” Flora said. “Have you been to Mrs. Apple’s place? It’s all gone. We’ll starve if we stay here until Christmas, Davey.” copyright protection5PENANAORXigQkUEs

Was that true? Could that be true? No, Jordan would have told them, surely, and they would have left by now, if that was true. She wouldn’t let them starve.copyright protection5PENANARANkk6acUs

The cotton candy clouds had turned into dark, misshapen shadows eating up the horizon. Vicky saw a dinosaur, a dog, and a donut.. Davey saw a tiny dragon. Flora saw a turtle. Candy saw a butterfly. Elephant oinked happily. Vicky and Flora and Davey were holding hands.copyright protection5PENANAU81NaA0WQI

When they got to the little row of shops, Hunchback Paul waved at them and Crazy Samantha giggled. Vicky smiled at them, and Candy decided that she liked her. No one else ever smiled at Crazy Samantha except for Davey. Samantha grinned at them, exposing her black teeth.copyright protection5PENANA0FzYYQPjKt

The fountain in the middle of the street had run out of water, and now was just a useless stone fish. Candy ran her fingers along its teeth. “Sorry, Rosie,” she said, and ran to catch up with the others. copyright protection5PENANALC3yWnF7zA

Mrs. Apple was an old woman with gray hair and a wrinkled little face, like a raisin. She was wearing a pink hat with little paper flowers on it, and the smile was as bright as the flowers. Her eyes had never aged, Grandfather said, they were the same as the day he had kissed her, fifty-seven years ago, and she had slapped him. copyright protection5PENANAzuIBhTbiP2

“Hi!”copyright protection5PENANA0QIAOHqD0b

“Hello.”copyright protection5PENANA6MNalKx0R7

“Hey!”copyright protection5PENANABqCj2Tddc2

They said.copyright protection5PENANAgdTZNIGelH

“Sam, go help them!” Mrs. Apple yelled across the room. She was sorting through little necklaces that were all laid out on a table. The walls all around the place were stuffed full of little trinkets and clothes and mugs and books and paintings, all coated in a thin layer of dust, probably because not many people were buying.copyright protection5PENANApstdDOXaPP

A boy who must be Sam ran across the shop with his arms full of boxes. “Coming, mom!” he shouted, putting the boxes down and suddenly looking at Candy. His eyes were bright and blue, just like his mothers, and full of mischief and laughter. He smiled crookedly. His hair was as crooked as his smile, and he was standing crookedly, too. But that wasn’t a bad thing. Candy smiled back.copyright protection5PENANAirgULiOYw1

()()()copyright protection5PENANA1MeUL2DsgZ

“Oooh, romance!” Arista said, gleefully, clapping her hands.copyright protection5PENANA9GrCT5rRgh

Caroline rolled her eyes. “I wouldn’t call it that.”copyright protection5PENANAHyJXtughsM

“Why are you always so negative?” Arista muttered. She glanced at her nails. copyright protection5PENANAjuzyplA2NR

Caroline crossed her arms. “Take a guess.”copyright protection5PENANA1Wxtzry1jO

“Girls!” Julie stood and yelled, “We’d like to finish this segment before lunch. Concentrate!” Then she went back to her salad.copyright protection5PENANAj0n2YQwe8Z

Caroline glared at Arista and Arista quickly glared back. “You’re ridiculous,” she muttered, as if it was the worst thing she could think of to say.copyright protection5PENANA1rtBZTWAVK

()()()copyright protection5PENANAsWHZpgrYiL

“A dozen eggs, four pig feet, asparagus, gorgonzola, milk, and a pack of pencils,” Mrs. Apple said to the cash register. “That’s that. Oh, and ‘help wanted,’ by the way.” She pointed at a sign dangling from the window, and raised her eyebrows at Sam. “He’s a bit useless,” she whispered to Davey.copyright protection5PENANAMCLaEK1bZ9

“I’m sure he’s not that bad…” Davey said, trailing off when Mrs. Apple started sorting necklaces again. He muttered something to Vicky, under his breath. Whatever it was, it began with a “B.” copyright protection5PENANAb0BFBByyct

()()()copyright protection5PENANAiEqZEQg5Oz

Arista snorted.copyright protection5PENANARBbDLQnM2m

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“Come on, let’s go,” Davey said. Candy cast one last look at Sam, and he smiled again, that crooked smile. She could feel her heart flutter. copyright protection5PENANAUP0kPEa6KY

“I want an ice cream!” Vicky said. “I have a dollar.”copyright protection5PENANAFBARelIC8K

So they headed to the grocery story. Uriah was there, of course. Candy hated Uriah. He was Crazy Samantha’s father, and was just as crazy. He would say things, horrible things, predictions. He would scream that the town was going to set on fire, or that a hurricane would come and tear it apart. And the scary thing was, after he said that, a house went up  in flames, and a tornado went by only a few miles away.copyright protection5PENANAY4XmCQlMhS

Coincidences, Jordan said, and Jordan was always right. They put out the fire, and no one was hurt, so it didn’t matter anyway.copyright protection5PENANA8bI9wyNGEy

He greeted them with a, “howdy,” and watched them with his one good eye as they wandered around. Vicky picked out her ice cream, strawberry. copyright protection5PENANAFkafcpBU1J

“Strawberry,” he whispered, hoarsely, like his throat was full of sandpaper. “You sure? You want strawberry for yer final ice cream?” He studied it for a few seconds, then pushed it into her hand. His hands were cracked, and the veins crisscrossed just under the skin, which was thin and filmy.  copyright protection5PENANAE0OCmrsHdJ

Vicky rolled her eyes. “Let’s go.” She grabbed Davey’s hand.copyright protection5PENANAAmVivrQj8v

“Better enjoy it!” He called after them as his throat was clawed apart by raspy hands. “Earthquake’s comin’! That’s the last ice cream you’ll ever taste. Hope you like it.”copyright protection5PENANAROQ132qFXs

Vicky yelled something back at him. He laughed, horribly. copyright protection5PENANApBsdePFGxS

The air smelled of metal, all of a sudden. Candy grabbed Davey’s hand without even thinking. He smiled at her. “Ignore him,” he said, so easily. Davey, her brother Davey, who would never tell a lie.copyright protection5PENANAq7elqKNh3V

But the town was still empty. People were leaving, or were they running away? Perhaps they had seen that it was true on their big, flat televisions. The Orchards didn’t have a television. They had sold it two months ago. They didn’t get the news. So if it was true, how would they ever know? copyright protection5PENANANUJDWNGntD

“Candy?” Davey said. “Are you coming?”copyright protection5PENANAPSei6t8L9F

She realized that she had stopped in the middle of the road, and that Elephant was oinking impatiently and she hadn’t even heard him. “I… I’ll be right back,” she said, dropping the wagon’s rope and leaving them all there, watching her walk away, back to Uriah’s store.copyright protection5PENANAEANTWdDJuH

“Back again so soon?” he said, baring his gold tooth in some sort of smile. copyright protection5PENANAFhBoVycBWG

Candy could have screamed at him, but she was too out of breath. She got tired from just walking, now. “Tell… me,” she managed to say. copyright protection5PENANAeLyt4FWcr6

“Water?” he offered her a glass. “Tell yeh what?”copyright protection5PENANAS5GFZCTCmo

Candy gulped the water down. “About the earthquake,” she said.copyright protection5PENANAj1GVqBuDdq

“Ah, good, yeh listened. Well, it’s all there, on the TV. People are freakin’ out about it, ‘parently. Sposed to be the ‘craziest thing in a millennia’ or something like that,” he took a swig out of a glass bottle that looked like it had been sitting there for several days. copyright protection5PENANAjrcSVhxRuZ

“But is it real?” Candy asked.copyright protection5PENANAYm4E24hVHD

“Yeh can bet your…. Eh, nevermind. Anyway, it’s real all right. Don’t you smell the iron in the air? You should hear the things they say about it, too. It’ll destroy this whole place. Everything’ll be gone by, oh, December.”copyright protection5PENANAk1F0W6CrJP

“December? But it’s almost Thanksgiving.” That seemed too soon.copyright protection5PENANAS2h4Ucls4Q

“Look around you. Yeh’ll see the signs. Birds’ll fly south too early, the air’ll smell sick, the ground might even shake. Can’t yeh feel it? She’s angry. She’s gonna kill us all.”copyright protection5PENANAr2cwHfAYbh

Candy shuddered and hugged herself tight with her arms. copyright protection5PENANACviivfo7H7

“Yeh want an ice cream?” he asked, flashing his gold tooth at her. “A dollar a cone. That’s cheap, anywhere but in this godforsaken place. Probably anyone who stays here will die of starvation before the earthquake even begins. Yeh know what? Save yer dollar.” He handed her a half melted ice cream cone. “That’s on the house. Enjoy.” He laughed a terrible laugh and pushed her out the door.copyright protection5PENANAXzaeE5q0xv

Candy walked, alone. Her footsteps were hollow and solemn, like she was the only one left in the world. When she got back home she would be greeted by emptiness, and the quiet would eat her alive. She looked up and the sky was clouded over, grey as the road beneath her feet. She felt a raindrop on her nose. copyright protection5PENANAQZx3wei7du

She tried to run, but she was so slow. copyright protection5PENANApQZI8vXwDF

And everywhere she went she was alone. Crazy Samantha didn’t giggle at her. Paul didn’t wave. Davey, Vicky and Flora were just a memory. Now they had disappeared. There wasn’t even the sun to light her way, or any butterflies to guide her back home. If the earthquake came now, she would have nowhere to go. She would be swallowed up by the earth, lonely and afraid, and no one would know what had happened to her.copyright protection5PENANAEAfOOTTfUq

She should never have gone back. She was getting paranoid. And crazy, crazy, crazy. copyright protection5PENANAKKqiOWx73K

Her crutch hit a rock. She fell. The ground swung up to meet her knees and her hands and left them raw and bleeding, and she started to cry. Why did everything have to hurt? copyright protection5PENANABsBAaJ58gJ

The clouds laughed at her, and it started to rain.copyright protection5PENANAOUj3I8XBoR

Her crutch lay on the ground beside her, but she couldn’t reach it. She was too sick, and too tired, and too hurt. And she was scared, and didn’t want to keep walking, all alone. copyright protection5PENANA28BtrpqYxt

But… Candy.copyright protection5PENANAI8WjI73Ogj

Candy.copyright protection5PENANAx5dR8WZ5yo

Get up.copyright protection5PENANAXBwy4YYuWv

It’s cold. It’ll get colder tonight. You can’t die here. I won’t let you. copyright protection5PENANAYFDVZm32bk

Oh, she was going crazy. Ever since that day she stood out in the sun, she wasn’t the same. Her mind had turned to mush. Stupid, crazy mush. She was just a mushy human now, and nothing made sense.copyright protection5PENANAlJpzAywAE4

“Leave me alone,” she muttered. To the ground? The air? Herself? She was so crazy, she didn’t even know who she was talking to.copyright protection5PENANAYBFvaKt9fp

No. I won’t leave you alone. Get up, Candy.copyright protection5PENANAEd4i93Fd6R

“Why should I?”copyright protection5PENANAxsAX2avyLa

Because I said so. And for Davey, Candy, for Jordan, for Poppy and your grandfather and for everyone else that loves you. Now, get your crutch.copyright protection5PENANACJLifW3I5i

Candy got her crutch.copyright protection5PENANA8Kwd3FhITn

Stand up.copyright protection5PENANAzqQaoSkTq6

Candy stood up. copyright protection5PENANA43QQm5MpOR

Walk.copyright protection5PENANAHWBdaETrnM

Candy could hardly see for the tears and rain in her eyes, but she walked. copyright protection5PENANAPXdF7BxsvY

Not to the house, that’s too far. Go to Mrs. Apple’s store. Go!copyright protection5PENANAyz1opntbMi

Candy went.copyright protection5PENANA2ueEIpiBRG

()()()copyright protection5PENANAoGDBmKdUcI

“A spirit? Ghost? Whatever it is, it surely isn’t your conscience. That makes no sense.”copyright protection5PENANASKiT9HhDT4

“I’m glad you’ve realized that consciences can’t talk. I’m proud of you.”copyright protection5PENANAVWyaAgzTSq

“Oh shut up. At least I have one. Why are you so awful? Ever since you walked in the door, you’ve just been mean to me. Like you’d rather be anywhere else.”copyright protection5PENANAzg7cStX5o9

“You’re not the best company.”copyright protection5PENANAOgU6a3OrGH

“In what way?” And now she raised her voice. “Ever since you got here I’ve been nothing but courteous. But you just had to make a show of pulling out your hairbrush and taking your damn time too. This was supposed to be over by five, you know. I don’t… I…” she cleared her throat. “This is important to me. You don’t understand.”copyright protection5PENANAwBE4Mfkl8c

“Then tell me.”copyright protection5PENANAMItTVlnTrM

“Why should I? You will never listen.” She stood. “I need some water.” And left. The sound of her high-heels clicking on the floor lingered, and finally drained away.copyright protection5PENANA2f2Wld09FH

“Well. How about that?” Julie said, poking at her salad, which seemed to be unending. “She’s young, you should remember that. And what the hell, you’re young too. I told her she wasn’t cut out for the job. Anthony would be better, he knows how to act in front of a camera. But no, she insisted. Only God knows why,” she said, between bites of cucumber.copyright protection5PENANARbjvf5KAqT

“Should I apologize?” Caroline asked, staring at Arista’s empty chair.copyright protection5PENANANdCg7yBvr3

“I reckon so,” Julie muttered. copyright protection5PENANAhtikqDxrNc

Caroline didn’t move. Her phone rang. “I’m sorry,” she said, and walked out. The big door slammed shut behind her. copyright protection5PENANA8EoraDwVeX

“Princess!” she cried. She must be smiling from ear to ear. “How are you?”copyright protection5PENANAO1brhiZTNq

“So good. It’s Lizzie’s fifth birthday today. She had all her friends over and they went bowling, and Peter was just showering her with kisses the whole time.” copyright protection5PENANAW4UeolSWMG

Candy could hear the smile in Princess’s voice.copyright protection5PENANA9VlxmvbTrp

“But that’s not what I called about. You see, Peter and I, we are planning a little trip. We want you to come.”copyright protection5PENANARfq2HHkGA8

“What is it?” Candy asked, with a lump rising in her throat. copyright protection5PENANA7xc2MBnFya

“We want to go back.”copyright protection5PENANAlH5HesdplE

Candy didn’t need to ask where.copyright protection5PENANAOdUefBWAix

“No.” she said, ending the call.copyright protection5PENANAIq4VsQxPw5

()()()copyright protection5PENANA0SM5z1yNrT

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