Round-Robin: It was a Dark and Still Night I

The following is one of the prompts created by members of Writers in the Grove in response to Prompt: Round-Robin Writing in a Group.

ML: It was a dark and still night. The noise outside didn’t sound like the wind. I was sure someone was outside. They were probably hiding my ducks. Where would I find them tomorrow morning. They would need to be fed. Sure enough when I awoke in the morning, they were gone. There were none on the flag pole. I looked all over the flower beds. Maybe I’m the one who is lost. I think this mother duck needs to watch her babies better.

DK: It took about an hour to find the mother duck and all five ducklings. They had traveled much further than I would have thought, and were swimming happily in my neighbor’s pond. I gathered up the brood and brought them back to my house under protest o the mother duck. She had been happy in the pond. Much more so than my neighbor, but when I went into the penned area where I usually housed them, I realized the lock on the gate had been forced open. That was the noise I kept hearing during the night. The sound of someone breaking into the duck pen. Since I lived all alone, frightening thoughts started filling my head.

Lorelle: A duck thief? In this neighborhood? Who would-of-thunk? It would not make sense to rob me of the ducks, my precious little flock, so necessary to me for their eggs, food, and company. Mostly for the company. It was quiet here in the wooded foothills of the Coastal Mountain Range of Oregon. Deer were free to range here as were the elk. Why would anyone let the ducks out? What did they want?

On closer observation, it was clear that my lock had been cut clean through.

My great grandfather had built this farm. He had lived to be 99 years old and died only four years ago. What would he have to say about someone breaking into the old duck pen? I looked at the old wood shed, its ramp up for the ducks to waddle up was disturbed. Footprints, muddy boot tracks, stepped up inside the duck house. What could they possibly want inside? The eggs? Wrong time of the year. What was going on here?

Cheri: I decided to explore the footprints a little closer in the hopes that the thief had left behind a clue for me to follow. The prints were small, almost childlike. Was the thief from one of the neighbors? I followed the footprints into the woods, thinking about potential suspects the whole time. “Why would a child want a duck?” I wondered out loud, my voice breaking the silence of the woods.

Suddenly it dawned on me why a child would be after my ducks. And I knew where I was going next.

DSO: Yes, the sweet faces of the people in town. I remember seeing the whole new family at the General Store. I had been amazed at the quiet, gentle spirit of the mother and the strong peaceful presence of the father. I was surprised that six children, rowdy children, belonged to the tall, smiling adults. Even though they minded well, they never stayed long at mother’s side, two seconds and they were off again exploring, touching, and smelling. It made me smile and I missed the wonder of my youth. Well enough of that – back to my missing ducks.

Bev: I asked Minnie at the post office about the new family and learned they had inherited the old Stewart place down the road. I pondered how that big beautiful family would manage in that broken down place. It had been vacant for years, had no indoor plumbing or electricity, and half the windows had broken panes. Maybe that old fireplace might keep them warm, along with that big wood cook stove.

Susan: But my ducks, why?

As I stepped up the ramp following the muddy footprints, I heard a noise inside the duck house. Giggling erupted from the back of the duck house. As I stepped on a loosened floor board, I fell right through to the ground below.

“Thieves and vandals!” I screamed. “That is what has moved in. Nothing more than thieves and vandals!”

The twelve year old hooligan smiled at me through the hole in the floor. He was just standing there with that smile and a pair of bolt cutters in his hand.


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