Young Family (Chapter 3, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 3

When Samantha had first come to Eternity, Reverend Crane had tried her in a couple of jobs. She had first tried helping Prudence in her shop, but Samantha soon found she didn't have the skill or patience for sewing. Then, since she was the only child who could read, Samantha had worked with Miss Brigham. That ended once the reverend erased Miss Brigham's memory and used water from the Fountain of Youth to make Miss Brigham a scatter-brained teenager.

After the Reverend's death, Samantha had been forced by necessity to perform a variety of tasks. With most of the children of Eternity reduced to babies or toddlers, Samantha, Prudence, and the older children who had remained had been forced to do everything, including jobs previously relegated solely to the boys.

Samantha found she enjoyed the chores of the boys far more than those of the girls. Cooking, cleaning, and sewing held little interest to her. She preferred to work with her hands out in the fields or around the barns. When she was seven she had helped one of the cows give birth by reaching inside the womb to turn the calf around. Not even the boys had wanted to do that, but when the newborn calf licked Samantha's face, she found it worthwhile.

Now that most of the children were older, Samantha had taken on more of a supervisory role. She spent most of the day making rounds from the fields to the barns to the stream and then into the village in order to make sure no one was loafing. Once she finished crying over the lesson in the meadow, she forced herself to get back to business as usual.

She started in the fields, where she found the crops growing on schedule. In another two months the corn would be taller than her-unless she had another growth spurt. The wheat was still green, but by harvest time it would be golden brown, ripe for milling into flour that would help see them through another long winter.

She made her inspection at a brisk pace, not wanting anyone to pay any attention to her. Still, she thought she heard the boys snickering in her wake. Though she couldn't be certain, she thought one of them had said, "There goes Boobies." She walked faster.

Next she inspected the livestock. She had helped deliver many of the animals herself and thus had always felt a kinship with them. She usually enjoyed spending a few minutes petting the horses and cows and even scratching the heads of the sheep. The chickens she stayed away from; they pecked at her as if they thought she were made of corn.

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