[Writing] For Better or Worse

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Theme: Sadness
Word Count: 1,428
Part 2 of 3

I couldn't tell this story in two parts, so I made it three. I've been over and over it, but I'm sure there are still errors lol  I hope you guys like it >_< 

WARNING: The following material is intended for mature readers due to descriptions of violence and injury, and frightening imagery. Reader discretion is advised. Not recommended for those under 13 years of age.



Spoiler for:

The screen door slammed, and Polly finished setting dinner on the table. The smell of chicken frying filled the house. On the table sat a bowl of mashed potatoes, one of her famous collard greens, and a large platter of butter biscuits.

“That smells real good, Peach.  You out did yourself again.” Ed grabbed Polly from behind, hugging her softly, and rubbing her swollen belly. “You need to take it easy.”

“Oh you,” Polly said, smacking his hands with a towel, “quit actin' like this is my first pregnancy.”

“Daddy, how come you call mama Peach?” William, their precocious three-year-old,  sat at the table picking little pieces of biscuit, trying to look innocent.

“Well, you see son, your mama has always been perty as a peach to me. So that name just sorta fit.  Kinda like calling you trouble.” Ed smiled at the irritated look on his sons face. 

“Here comes the herd,” Polly said as she put the chicken on the table and took her place beside Ed. 

Their four girls came bounding into the kitchen, all talking at the same time. Joan was their oldest, at eight years old, and was a carbon copy of Polly. Her blue eyes shone as she tried to explain what all of the excitement was about. Maeve, seven, and Helen, four, took after their father. Their midnight colored hair was sprinkled with red dirt and their brown eyes shone with mischief.  Cora, the baby at twenty months, was tugging on her mothers shirt trying to get her attention.  In her arms she held a baby kitten.

“ENOUGH!”

The room fell silent as the family all looked at Ed. It was rare that he raised his voice, but when he did you had better pay attention. 

“Daddy, Catty Cat had kittens. Can we keep them?” Joan wasn't afraid of his bluster. She looked at her father with pleading eyes and Polly smiled. Joan had always been able to wrap her father around her little finger. Maybe because she was the first born, and maybe just because of those blue eyes.  Ed was a sucker for blue eyes. 

Ed sighed, resigned to his decision. “One, girls, you can keep one.”  Immediately the house erupted again as the girls all started talking about which kitten they should keep. “GIRLS!” Four sets of eyes turned to Ed again, “Take Cora and that kitten back to the barn. Get back in here and wash up, pronto!”

As the girls rushed out of the house Polly rubbed Ed's hand and smiled.  “You big softie.”

“Can I eat now?” William chimed in from the end of the table. 


On a balmy summer day a couple of months later Polly went into labor.  Joan was sent for her grandparents, while the rest of the children were told to go to their rooms and be quiet.  Edith and Hal soon arrived, and Edith took over. Polly had given birth to most of their children in her and Ed's bedroom.  But since she was having twins, or one very large child, and since they were coming early, the decision was made to head to the hospital. She was soon bundled into the car with Ed and Edith, and they were on their way.
Hal spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the next day entertaining the children, and answering the constant question of “When will mama be home?” He was in the middle of a game of “ride-a-horsey, ride-a-horsey” with William and Cora each bouncing on one of his knees when they heard the sound of gravel crunching under tires. 

“Mama!” Helen exclaimed and ran out the front door.   

Edith opened the back door of the car and reached in, taking a baby from Polly. 

“Children, meet your sister, Emma,” she said, holding the baby low so that all of the children could see.

“And your brother Edward,” said Polly, who was sitting on the edge of the seat, preparing to exit the car.


Maeve and Helen inspected the blackberries closely.  You had to make sure they were good and ripe, because underripe blackberries did not make a good blackberry pie.  The sound of the tractors in the field droned around them as they discussed each one, filling their buckets.

“Where's Emma?” Helen said, suddenly realizing that her little sister wasn't beside her.

Maeve looked up, “Emma?”

“Emma!” Helen called, turning in a circle trying to figure out where her little sister had gone. She'd been playing nearby just a minute ago. In the distance they heard the rattle of a dump truck. The county had recently begun paving the road they lived on and all of the children loved watching the big trucks rattle and clank by the house. 

“Oh God,” Maeve said running towards road, “EMMA!”

At that moment Helen saw her sister toddling into the road. She also noticed the large dump truck that was weaving back and forth across the road, barreling towards her.  “EMMA!” She screamed as she ran toward the road. Polly and Ed, both alerted by the girls screaming, had seen Emma and were running towards her as fast as they could.

Hal, sitting on his front porch, heard a distant thud and then a wailing that chilled him to the bone. He jumped off of his porch and rushed to his truck racing toward the sound.

Ed saw the driver jolt as if he had been asleep. Running to his daughter he lifted her gently from the road. The driver jumped down from the truck, a look of horror on his face.  “Oh God,” he gasped, “Oh God, NO!”

Ed ran towards Polly, tears streaming down his face, Emma in his arms, “Get the car!” 

They passed Hal, dirt flying up behind the car as if the gates of Hell had opened and smoke was pouring out of them.


Joan and Maeve had taken the kids to Hal and Edith's house to wait for news about Emma. Grammy Edith was rocking Edward, who was disconsolate without his twin. Maeve sat in Hal's lap crying, repeating, “I'm sorry” as he told her over and over “It wasn't your fault, Maeve.”  Helen sat in a chair staring into the distance, neither crying nor speaking. Joan sat on the floor beside her holding her hand, with William and Cora sitting beside her, both holding her other hand. When they heard the car approaching they all ran out on the porch. 

Ed got out of the car and walked around to the passenger side. He opened Polly's door and helped her out. She leaned against him as they slowly made their way to the porch.  The look of agony on their faces spoke volumes more than words ever could, and the children began to cry.  Helen ran into the house and slammed the door, Joan following close on her heels.  “I didn't know,” Helen said in her tiny voice, “I didn't know she was gone. She was right there playing with us, and then she wasn't” 

“I know”, Joan reassured her sister, “it wasn't your fault, Helen. It wasn't anyone's fault”

The next few weeks passed in a daze. Ed and Polly picked out a tiny white casket for their daughter and dressed her in her Sunday best. Family and friends came to offer their support and condolences. And the sherriff came to take a statement about what had happened. He told the Russells that the driver had been working long hours, and had fallen asleep at the wheel.  Hal and Edith hired a lawyer, and encouraged Ed and Polly to  file suit against the company as well as the man. 

A few months later Polly, Ed, Helen, and Maeve had to be in court to tell what they saw happen the day of the accident.  The retelling was trying on the family and was especially difficult for the girls. The driver pled guilty, and the trial was over quickly. The civil suit was harder fought, with the company saying it was Ed and Polly's fault they hadn't taken care of their child. “Habersham Hauling shouldn't be punished for their ineptitude”, was the claim.  The jury saw otherwise and awarded Polly and Ed a settlement of $4,000.

They used that money to purchase an acre of land several miles away and build a house. Hal and Edith were heartbroken to see them move away, but they understood. Polly just couldn't continue living there, the accident replaying in her mind.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 09:18:43 AM by boe »

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Oh, wow. o.o Your grammar is really improving. I didn't see many mistakes at all. Especially as I got farther on into the story. That, or I was just so into it that I didn't notice any, haha.

I love the charm to this series. It's realistic, quaint, and well-written. That makes it especially easy to picture everything. There wasn't all too much detail about the tragic event, but I was able to picture what happened anyways. And I kinda prefer to have my mind fill in the blanks, because that carries a different level of sadness, depending on the reader. If that makes sense?

This one, like the last one, was generally a more patient read. But in this case, I think that totally works. I'm taken to a cozy, old country house in the middle of a bunch of fields and breezy grass. I think if the story were rushed at all, it would feel awkward. It sets a more peaceful environment. Even with the horrible event, it doesn't jump out at me out of nowhere and totally change the tempo of the story. Instead, you built up to it. I read that she was missing, read about the truck, and I started to feel my stomach sink and knew what was coming.

Overall: I loved it. ;o; It captured the same level of sweetness as the last one, but also brought some sadness into the story. I can see you changing the mood of the story in a very patient transition. And I like that. B)

If I had to pick at anything (which is a long shot, because I really adore this series ;_; )...

Spoiler for:
This sentence feels just a hair odd to me:

“Oh you,” Polly said, smacking his hands with a towel, “this ain't my first pregnancy, ya know.” 

It makes perfect sense, but it's one of those hard-to-explain awkward moments. ;9 I guess the best way I can explain is that I can't really picture someone saying that, maybe? It's one of those state-the-obvious things.

Maybe something more like this would help? :D

“Oh you,” Polly said, smacking his hands with a towel, “quit actin' like this is my first pregnancy.”

It gets the same point across, but in a slightly more subtle, realistic way. I think? ;_; Or maybe I'm just being dumb. :P My brain is half-dead lately.

Other than that...nothing I can think of! I love it! ;_;
« Last Edit: April 10, 2014, 03:45:28 AM by Queen yuyubabe »
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Ok so I cheated and removed part 3 lol    I don't know why I was in such a rush to post it, other than I thought I needed to get it up NOW.  But reading it today, less tired and out-of-it, I was really ashamed of it lol  I'll keep working on it, and when I get it polished, I will repost.   Thanks for the kind comments, I'll fix that other in a bit, right now it's time for a nap lol

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I agree with that particular sentence Deanna brought up.
It would need a slight tweaking and then it's all good.


Otherwise, I really don't have to say that hasn't been said.
It's a wonderful addition to the series, so don't be ashamed of it. ^^
It was superb!

I like the flow, even with the accident.
It just seemed more...real.
As all real things do seem - there was a sort of slow motion about it, and that's JUST how it feels in reality.
Perfect. :3

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Ok so I cheated and removed part 3 lol    I don't know why I was in such a rush to post it, other than I thought I needed to get it up NOW.  But reading it today, less tired and out-of-it, I was really ashamed of it lol  I'll keep working on it, and when I get it polished, I will repost.   Thanks for the kind comments, I'll fix that other in a bit, right now it's time for a nap lol

Awww, shoot. ;_; I liked part 3, too. It was just a little bit rushed at the end, but still really, really good. I don't think it would take much editing. ;o This series is fantastic!
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