image: KL Caley
For KL Caley’s #writephoto pumpkin, I find myself back at the Inn, looking at the world through the eyes of two of the smaller residents, Zim and Pocket. I’ve used the Saturday Mix same, same but different word list in my tale: live; green; smile; fair; see. I’ve italicized my #ssbd words.
With the sun warm, air abuzz, two heads almost touching bend over the verdant plants. They were of the same age, but despite the closeness of their thoughts, two very different small ones in appearance. Pocket was compact, flaxen with freckles spackling across his nose, quick to let a grin crease his face; Zim was longer, olive-complexed, with raven’s breath hair and hazeltine eyes which missed naught. They spoke in a strange sing-song, call and response; both voices required to complete a thought. Bytimes, they need not even speak aloud to each other. A talent they fair kept from all others.
They should be to their own plots – the Inn’s kitchen and pot herb gardens. Always weeds to pull, insects to banish though Pocket kept a menagerie of some in wooden boxes. As was the custom, room was found for younger ones within the rhythms of the Inn. Zim’s elder sister, Nim, halved her time twixt gardens and stitchery. Lem, a distant relation of Pocket’s, was currently employed at the stables. Of lander stock, horses did not come natural to either.
.The old stone cottage was home to the wizen orchard and bee keeper in the days when the apiary produced honey, and the cider press kept busy in the tween times. One of the few outbuildings not absorbed by the inn, now contained Scholar Thomas’ scriptorium and residence. As its garden was enclosed by high, untended hedges, it was the best spot for Nim’s medicinal herbs and lush exotics. Scholar Thomas oft returned from his wanderings with sketches of unknown plants and twists of seeds for Nim to nurture. Strange plants such as the bright red love apples whose leaves left a sweet scent upon fingers. The twisty night and day vine with two sets of blooms – one for the sun, the other for the moon.
With Thomas away, and Nim busy with her ornamentals, Pocket and Zim could explore the “hidden place” without being shooed back to their chores. Pocket knew a gap tween the bushes just big enough for small-sized to push through. No squeaking gate hinges to announce intentions; no tricky lock to pick open should Thomas or Nim think to set it in place.
This was Nim’s newest plant, tucked away in a corner of the garden close to the side of the cottage. Thomas had fixed the old fencing that separated its plot from the rest. It was a special planting twixt him and Nim; she rarely let anyone gaze upon it. First year of a growth, she was always like that; especially when she did not yet know all the plants property and uses.
Which made Zim and Pocket all the more curious. Course, folks at the Inn were an incurious lot when comes to who you were afore, and such. But, curiosity about plants, names of insects, how the weather-wise predict storms, or what made bees buzz and such was encouraged by Scholar Thomas, even though it meant he might be peppered with all manner of questions. “Good that I am a reasonable scholar of all things Pocket and Zim,” he would say when all gathered for table.
Beneath leaves with prickly fuzz, globed fruits were growing, some unripe whilst others turning to orange. Attached to long vines with tiny needles harsh against the hand.
they observed, thinking of how the leafy woods slipped on royal robes all shot through with goldens and orange hues afore enduring the wintering.
They could scarce ask Nim or Thomas. To do so would reveal their visitations. So, they swore a pact, as they often did, of secrecy. Pocket wondered if blood should be let to seal it. Zim was not sure this pact required it. They were back to their chores when Nim came looking for them, weighed down by her harvesting basket.
“Surprise for you,” she said, beaming, as she set her load down, and pulled back the covering cloth to reveal the very sort of fruit they’d spied and wondered on. “Come look upon what Scholar Thomas thought a good addition to the gardens and table.”
Pocket and Zim uttered the appropriate oohs of wonder at a fresh glancing upon Nim’s creation.
Nim smiled, “Tis a . . .