Jenny: Pigeon in the Apple Tree

The Guttersnipe flung open the storeroom door and descended the stairs, candle aloft. With no window, the room was drenched in a sleepy darkness, smelling of garlic and ginger and the mellow scent of flour. The boy tumbled in after her, and they fetched out the woven baskets from the corner. A rat had got in and died in one - the Guttersnipe dumped it out and kicked it away with a hoe. From they others they shook out the dried leaves of last year's apples, and with them stacked inside each other again, they put out the candle and went back through the kitchen to the garden.

Domitia was waiting for them. Arms full, the Guttersnipe joined her, boy and dogs in tow. "It is going to be hot!" she said. "You've got the cake. I will send the boy in for milk later, when we're ready. It will curdle in this heat."

They went up through the garden then, casting longing looks toward the pool, through the wicket gate and up the slope into the shade of the trees. Their boughs were nearly touching the ground, so heavily laden were they; their gnarled arms were crossed and folded over each other, a tangled mass of spicy trees.

The Guttersnipe tossed the baskets on the grass and pulled a handkerchief over her head, tying it up at the nape of her neck. "It will not take us an hour to fill those baskets," she said, eying the trees. Then, having hitched up her skirt, she turned to the boy and planted a kiss among his bushy locks. "That's for good luck. Now don't climb the trees."

"You're mad," he told her, pushing her away with his shoulder. And he went a distance away with the dogs so she might miss the scarlet in his cheeks.

Laughing at him, the Guttersnipe gestures to Domitia. "Up we go. Hand me up a basket." And she ran to one of the trees and began to climb the twisted branches, bare feet digging into the ragged bark. Off flew a robin at her approach, a whirling child's marble tumbling through the air across the green. "Euge!" she cried, having got up as high as she liked.

1 comment:

Lilly said...

A dead rat in the basket....(that they're using?) O.o Ewww.

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