This is another Finish The Story prompt from Teresa (aka, The Haunted Wordsmith). Teresa started the story. Then she passed it to Michael, who tagged Di, who tagged Fandango. So let’s start at the beginning (my entry follows):
Winter had been hard. Harder than anyone in Goosedown had expected. It was six weeks into spring and Emily never felt better. She was finally able to get out into her garden. The spring flowers had fully said hello and color was everywhere, but the one thing she was most happy about was the Goosedown Spring Festival that was taking place today.
With one last check in the mirror, she adjusted her bright pink hat and set out for the park. While walking there she met up with …
Mary from the Dairy trudging along carrying two pails of fresh milk. The milk was for Miss Turnout’s café and scone emporium.
It was clear Mary was not happy, as everyone in Goosedown knew of the animosity between the two women. Mary had been in love with the handsome Sir Michael, and it was Miss Turnout who spread vile and vicious rumours about Mary such that Sir Michael turned his back on Mary and went off and married the less than gorgeous Phillipa the Needle maiden.
Mary had long held the grudge against Mis Turnout and every now and then she would clear her throat and deposit the said clearance into one of the buckets. Emily, being the sweet and innocent young lady she was and at that moment filled with the expectation of the coming spring, smiled serenely at Mary as she went by.
“There’d be nothing to smile about young Emily,” said the sour Mary as she passed and deposited another into the left bucket, “the rotten old cow destroyed my life, I’m gonna make her rue the day she spread rumors about me, no matter how true they might be. Sorry I should not have said that.”
Emily had no answer to Mary’s statement and was not a girl given easily to gossip so she …
nodded and continued to smile sweetly as she watched Mary trudge away.
With every step, Mary moaned and bitched about Miss Turnout under her breath. Her deposits in the milk seemed to do little to improve her mood and now she had a nagging toothache.
Maybe a filling had fallen out and was ratting around in the bottom of the bucket. Better still, maybe the old trout would swallow it and choke. That made her laugh, which in turn made her cough and there followed another satisfying splash in the bucket.
More bitching and moaning in rhythm to her footfalls, gradually fading into the distance and out of Emily’s earshot.
Emily was enjoying her walk to the park, taking in the riot of color on the way, the lovely sunshine, and the anticipation of the Spring Festival, especially as it meant passing through …
… the field red with poppies. Every time Emily walked through the beautiful poppy field, she would feel a strange sense of euphoria. Everything she was feeling became more intense, the colors of spring brighter, and her mood even happier. She put Mary and her feud with Miss Turnout out of her mind and concentrated on what she would do when she got to the festival grounds.
But Emily was feeling herself growing very, very tired. She was struggling to keep walking through the lovely field of red flowers, which seemed to be glowing and vibrating. Suddenly Emily had to stop. She yawned, stretched out her arms, and slowly fell to her knees. “Why am I so tired?” she wondered. “I have to lie down,” she said aloud.
It was already dark when Emily finally woke up. Had she missed the Spring Festival that she was so looking forward to? She wondered what had happened to her. But then she saw …
Now my entry:
…Mary standing over her. Her face a ghastly white colour. As Emily’s eyes focused she saw that the white was liquid, it was milk, dripping off Mary’s face, reflected in the pale moonlight. There was something else too. Not just white. there were streaks of red too. Red like the blood red of the poppies that surrounded them. Like a mask of Raspberry Ripple ice-cream. She was naked, the liquid mixture dripping down over her pale skin. She held the two metal buckets Emily had seen earlier in the day, but they were battered and bent and covered in smears of red.
‘Mary, are you okay? Is that blood?’
Mary sneered, ‘It is, Emily. Not mine though.’ Her voice was deranged, like a cackle. ‘Bit of a dramatic end to the Spring Festival. Miss Turnout accused me of selling her tainted produce. Said my milk was lumpy and had gone off. Said it had ruined her baking and left a horrible aftertaste. Well, I couldn’t stand for that.’
Emily drew back as the ghastly apparition gave a loud shriek. ‘What have you done, Mary?’
‘She had it coming, that harridan whore.’
‘Mary, you’re not yourself!’ exclaimed Emily.
‘On the contrary, precious innocent Emily, I’ve never been more myself!’
With that she ran off through the fields. Emily got to her feet as the other villagers from Goosedown appeared. Sir Michael led the way with a shotgun in hand. ‘Where did she go, Emily?’
Emily pointed to the path of crushed poppies left by the madwoman. The crowd charged after her. Emily decided to walk back to Goosedown, still puzzled that she had fallen asleep all day (had she been drugged?) and shaken by what she had seen.
When she got there she found…
Here are the rules:
- Copy the story as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please).
- Add to the story in whichever style and length you choose.
- Tag only 1 person to continue the story.
- Have fun!