Thursday Doors is the invention of Norm Frampton, photographer extraordinaire. On Thursday, dooristas from all over the world post pictures (or, in my case during May, stories) with doors in. Visit Norm’s blog for wonderful pictures, click on the blue froggy link at the end of his post, and see who else has been on a doorscursion.
Final Order for a Mail-Order Bride
by Marian Allen
Isabella had misrepresented herself in her own Lonely Hearts letter, so she didn’t fault Aaron for doing the same.
She (Izzy, to her friends) had said she was a widow of great domestic accomplishment. She was actually the spoiled younger daughter of a nouveau riche merchant who had defied her family by running away with a cad who had seduced and abandoned her. She was left facing either life on the streets or lying her way into a second chance.
Aaron had said he was a planter with a thousand acres and a mansion. He may have had the thousand acres, but only an acre was cleared, and only part of that was planted – and, by “planted,” he meant he had a kitchen garden big enough for eating and canning. His “mansion” was a two-room cabin with no windows.
There were holes in the walls, though. There were holes just the height for Aaron to see out of with other holes just the height for him to stick his rifle through and shoot, when the Indians whose land Aaron claimed attacked the “mansion.”
Izzy had to stand on a stool to fire the second-best rifle. Aaron said she might as well do something to earn her keep, since she sure didn’t know how to cook or clean. Her other accomplishment, taught her by the cad while he was promising to marry her, disgusted her husband; he felt that a good woman should endure domestic bliss. If he wanted a woman who enjoyed his intimacies, he went to town.
He spent so much time in town at Miss Farthingale’s Boarding House for Young Ladies and Good-Time Saloon, Izzy fantasized about shooting him when he came home and claiming she didn’t recognize him. Or that she had mistaken him for a marauding Indian come to take her scalp if not her actual person.
Aaron was currently out hunting. Izzy tossed an onion into the soup pot. She had a vague notion that she should have taken off the flaky outside, or cut away those little roots on one end and the brown stalky thing at the other, but she had washed it, which was an improvement over the last time she’d made soup.
A vociferous altercation between the chickens and Aaron’s dog alerted her that her lord and master had returned.
Did she dare not let him in? Did she dare try her marksmanship?
He pounded on the thick door made from a single plank of one of the massive oaks he’d cleared for his homestead. The stump, the cabin built around it, rose from the dirt floor and served them as a table.
Aaron kicked the door, no doubt spraying mud and dead leaves all over the porch, which he’d expect her to sweep away.
“Lemme in, dammit! Now, woman!”
She scooped the debris from her food preparations into her apron and cast it into the fire. A carrot peel plopped into the stew pot, but she couldn’t worry about that.
She lifted the bar and opened the door.
Aaron stomped in, propped his rifle against the wall, and tossed a brace of rabbits onto the “table.”
“Clean those up. I want ’em on the table when I wake up. Then I’m goin’ into town. Understand?”
She had stopped protesting that she wasn’t stupid, since he never heard anything she said.
From the cabin’s second room, Izzy heard the creak of the leather webbing as he sat on the loveless marriage bed, the double clunk of his boots, and his gusty sigh as he stretched out to rest before his night of pleasure.
As she closed the outside door, she paused to contemplate the open sky, the fresh leaves of the surrounding woods, the path to town, the barn that the cabin seemed an outgrowth of, where their cow and horse sheltered from possible attack while The Master was away.
When Aaron woke, he found the rabbits cleaned and on the table: Izzy had washed them in the warm stew water, toweled them dry with Aaron’s Sunday shirt, and laid them out on their backs with their paws crossed over their chests and holding daisies.
She was gone, and so was the horse. Aaron would find them both at Miss Farthingale’s, where Izzy was destined to become a favorite and, eventually, be Miss Farthingale, herself.
The frontier was, as she had hoped, the place to pursue a second chance. Or a third.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: scalp relief