Wallflower Girl (Chapter 4, page 2 of 5)


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Anne stopped at the padlocked gates where she had felt the most powerful nostalgic sensation the other day. She got out of the car and approached, touching the thick chain as a warm breeze caressed her face and the scent of pine and fresh hay assailed her and carried her mind up into the tops of the trees that surrounded the old farm buildings in front of her. She ducked through the gates and walked into the grove, looking in a small timber room that had a concrete wash tub and a rusted washing machine with the rollers on top.

There was a larger building that housed a small red tractor. It had flat tires; the rubber cracked with age, and there was bird poo all over the rusted old vehicle. She touched the emblem on the front: MF. She then ran her fingers along the name plate on the side of the little old chug: Massey Ferguson. Its name was Chug. Anne inexplicably remembered that, as a tear welled and a surge of panic and absolute exhilaration overwhelmed her.

She looked around at a heavy timber workbench with a cast iron vice bolted to it. There were pegs for tools and spools of wire and metal boxes. An engine sat under the workbench along with what looked like the gearbox from a car. Through a doorway in the back of the shed, she found another building, or rather the skeleton of what must once have been a simple shelter or hayshed. A few sheets of corrugated iron hung from the top of the tall timber frame, some lay on the ground, and still others, that looked to have blown off, leaned haphazardly amongst the trees.

Anne approached the foundations of what must have been the farm house. There had been a fire. She could see the half burnt timber walls and charred floor where grass and weeds had grown up through and taken over. There were concrete steps that would have led to the back doorway of the house. She walked up them and, in a complete daze, she turned and sat down. She closed her eyes and her world disintegrated, crumbling all around her in a rush of utter ecstasy that swept her backward and thumped her into a soft, cushioned seat.

Anne opened her eyes to a brightly decorated living room. She was sitting on a boxy, dark-green sofa with large decorative pillows that matched the colour and sported big white circles. Across the room a small, fat television sat on stocky wooden legs. It was the round-screen, box type with a dial for a channel selector and levers for volume, brightness and contrast. There was a copper coiled antenna on top. Above it, a silver and brown clock that resembled a many-pointed compass showed that it was quarter past five. A zephyr of chicken and onions wafted into the room; the aroma of a baked dinner. There was a sizzling sound coming from her left. It took a moment to rationalise it as the sound of water boiling over on a stove.

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