The Cornfield- Part 1Mr. Scroe gave me a silver fife for my tenth birthday. He told me that once I could play it well, I would be able to talk to birds.
He handed it to me a week after my birthday when my uncle and I had visited for our usual talk about hunting and drink beer visit that I never really participated in. I thought he had forgotten until he leaned forward with his typical crooked grin, scratched the ragged stubble on his chin, and addressed me. Youre ten now, arent you, Penelope?
I looked at him from my seat on the rickety stool by the smoke-stained window and nodded.
He pulled the fife from the trunk beside him and tossed it to me. I almost dropped it; it was so smooth and slippery, like a sardine. I set my fingers along the thin row of holes and pushed my lips to the cool mouthpiece. A breathy, airy note forced itself into the dusty room.
My uncle and Mr. Scroe laughed and took sips of their beers. Ill help you learn, Penelope. Once you learn t
Without BreakfastLike a tent released from its frame, Corrins empty stomach collapsed. He grimaced and folded his hands over his internal earthquake, trying to steady the loud rumbling. His roaring, disgruntled appetite did not go unnoticed, much to his displeasure.
Dont you eat breakfast? asked Cliff. Another stupid question.
No. What does it matter? Im gonna have lunch soon anyway.
Breakfast is important though! Cliff exclaimed and adjusted the position of a large textbook in his arms. It breaks the fast of sleep!
Sleep isnt fast, Corrin snapped.
It means you werent eating. Cliff paused. Didnt you know that?
Why would I know that? Corrin quickened his pace. If only this kid didnt talk so much.
Hey! Slow down!
We have to move faster if you wanna get to school on time, Corrin grumbled.
Wait! Shouldnt we go t
Internal MonologueWhat if I was the one leaving you behind?
You dont mind, do you? he says as he jogs backwards toward the gate of the school.
Well, I guess not, I say, but hes already sprinting. He cant be that eager to get to class. Not Corrin, who answers all my simple questions with I dunno, or who cares about that? or Ask someone else. At this point Im just trying to get at least one answer out of him. He doesnt seem to know much of anything, but he has to know something.
Its ridiculous. If I could go out there, I would soak in as much as I can. Corrin seems surprisingly uneducated. I bet I know more facts about the world than he does!
I heard him once from my yard. He was on the street, telling the other kids about the time he spent on his uncles fishing boat over the weekend. He drawled in a bored tone about how useless it all was. He whined about how boring it was to just sit on a sma
The Boy on the BenchHim? No, Im not his friend, Corrin scoffed and wrinkled his nose. My mom just makes me walk to school with him. Im not even in the same grade as him.
The boy on the bench had slipped his feet out of his brown, leather sandals, letting his bare feet dangle above the blistering blacktop.
His mom is really protective of him, you know? She doesnt even think he can make it to school on his own!
The boy pulled his left foot up and curled it under his body to cradle a thick book in the angle of his knee. His baggy, green cargo shorts billowed like royal robes about his knees.
She doesnt let him play, either, he said. At least, Ive never seen him outside. Well, Ive seen him outside, but not playing. He was just watching.
The boy flicked to the next page in his book. His cardinal red sweatshirt was zipped up to his chin, the silver zipper glinting like chainmail. He had tucked his sleeves