It was a fine sunny morning in the town of Attica. A remote town with only a couple hundred citizens living together in a peaceful harmony. The town was small and there were only few establishments that could be found there.
There are a couple of salons, a few small markets, a few diners, a school and one hospital. The town was old and there's only few children living in that country side. Usually, when the lads and lasses grow to be an adult, they would choose to leave the life they have known and live on their own in other cities where civilization is modern and technologically updated. The town was humble, the living was serene and the people were politely disciplined. Frederick thought that it was the perfect setting for his next big book.
Fred rented a small cabin to live there for the duration of his book. It was about his fourth day staying there when he thought about of going out and observe the town and the townspeople a little closer. He finished his coffee which has started to get cold and grabbed his hat and he went out.
He shut the door behind him and he tried to look up the sky. The sun was high and mighty that he felt that he will be blinded if he stayed looking at the sky for even a second longer. He adjusted the brim of his hat to cover even more of his face and proceeded to walk.
The caretaker of his current lodging was round and about sweeping the grounds trying to get rid of the scattered leaves.
"Hey, a fine morning to you gentleman." the elder greeted him.
"A pleasant morning too. Please call me Fred, Arthur. It is indeed a fine morning." Frederick answered as he folded the sleeves of his shirt to cope with the warm morning breeze.
"Are you off visit some places today? I recommend the lake. It's peaceful and quiet there. No one will disturb you as you write." the old man suggested as he continued to sweep the grounds.
"Lovely! I think I will do just that. Thank you very much." Frederick gladly agreed with the suggestion.
"Have a pleasant day Arthur." he bowed slightly as he departed and started heading east.
"Ah. ah. It's on the opposite side my good lad."
"Ah, thank you." he turned around and started his path towards west.
As he was making his way towards the lake, he was jotting down mental notes of the sceneries he was seeing and the tiny conversations he was having with the townspeople. It took him a little over 30 minutes of walking and a bottle of water to reach the lake.
There were only a couple of cars that passed by him in his walk reminding him of how desolate the place was. He took a deep breath as he wanted to take in all of what he was seeing. The water was glistening as if it was a calm bed of diamonds shimmering with their fine shine. The singing of the birds can be heard loudly and clearly as they were accompanied by the soft whistles of the dancing leaves of the huge sycamore tree. All of these together formed an orchestra playing a symphony of serenity and clarity.
His heart almost leaped for joy as he took in the breathtaking scenery that appeared in front of him. He took out his pen and paper and sat down against the aged tree trunk and he relaxed himself underneath the shade of that huge tree.
He started to write. The peaceful scene was of great help and stimulus to him for the word he wrote down, turned into paragraphs and the sentences turned to pages of incredible flow. He turned his notes, pages after pages and just as his stomach started growling, the words seemed to stop coming. He decided to take a break and brought out a can of beer and a sandwich.
He opened the can of beer and took a sip. He carefully removed the thin plastic covering the bread and carefully set the trash aside. As he was about to take a bite from his lunch he was abruptly disturbed by a piercing voice that shot on his left ear, "hey mister! What is that? What is that? What is that?"
His mouth still opened when he turned to face where the voice came from. It was from a little boy that was hugging the tree peeking into Frederick. By the looks of him, Frederick guessed that he was about 6 years of age and was about under 4 feet tall. He was in his plain clothes and was wearing a cap with what looks like a propeller on top of it.
The boy was smiling and was intently looking at the sandwich on Frederick's hand. Frederick looked at the boy, and then turned to the sandwich then to the boy and then to the sandwich. Frederick pulled the bread closer to his mouth as if ready to take a bite, and as he did the smile from the boy's mouth turned upside down. He pulled it further and the smile magically reappeared. Frederick finally gave in and yielded half of the sandwich to the boy.
The boy grabbed the piece with both hands and sat next to Frederick. Frederick shook his head in disbelief with how the boy was so innocent and how trusting he was. It somehow scared Frederick to think what could happen with this naive boy if he was in a place just like where Frederick grew up.
"You should never approach, let alone take a food from a stranger little boy." Frederick said.
"It's alright Mister, I can see that you are not a bad guy." the kid said while munching on the piece of bread and before he was done talking he hurriedly grabbed his neck and he started turning blue. The kid was choking and his eyes looked like they were going to pop out any second.
Frederick gave the boy a bottle of water. The kid chugged the liquid down to its last drop.
"Phew! I thought I was gonna die. " the boy spewed.
They have finished their humble snack and the boy went to play and ran around the lake. Frederick tried to continue writing but the ideas that were just flowing a while ago suddenly came to a drastic stop.
The boy walked towards him and with curiosity painted all over his panting face he said, "What is that? What is that? What is that? What are you doing?"
"I am writing a novel." he answered.
"A novel? Writing?"
"Don't you know what writing is?"
"Nope! Is it fun?"
"Well I guess somehow you can say it's fun."
"What's a novel?"
"Hmmm. It is like telling a story. A very long story."
"Oh! I love stories! My father used to tell me stories."
"Is that right?"
"Tell it to me. Tell it to me!"
With all reluctance and hesitance, he agreed. He thought to himself that it may be a good idea to review what he has written so far and maybe the faucet of ideas may start flowing again.
"And that's just it for now. I still have to continue it."
The kid just looked up at him. His face was dead serious and tears just started flowing. "And after that? What will happen?'
"Well, that's what I have to think about now."
"Please do. Please do."
"Alright alright. I will try. As if it were just easy."
The kid suddenly looked around, leaped up to the ground and ran away, as he was running he shouted, "I have to go. I'll be back for the story!" he was running and waving back at Frederick.
He also got up and started walking home.
It was just before dusk when he got back at his lodging. He prepared a simple meal for himself and after consuming it he was back on writing. Thinking about the boy, he was amazed how smooth the words and ideas are filling up his papers.
A sharp and cold shiver shot up from his veins into his brains like the soul was drained from his very person when a cold hand landed on his shoulders. He screamed a wild shriek as he turned to see a grim pale face looking down at him.
"Care for a night cup Fred?"
It was Arthur, the caretaker with a cup of something hot on the other hand.
"I was knocking and knocking at the door but there was no answer, I thought something was wrong because I saw the shadows from the window. My apologies."
"It's alright. I was just absorbed in writing. I guess I was just on the zone."
"Alright then. Carry on, I will leave this cup with you. Have a good night Fred."
"Good night Arthur."
Frederick thought that the priceless look on the boy's face, the utter astonishment and the bewilderment on his eyes were effective to push him to write even more effectively. His lips curled into a smile as he was reminded of how a story could impact someone in a positive and charming way.
To be continued here : Beneath the Sycamore, as short story (Final)
I had to split the article so it would not be too long and a little bit easy on the eyes.