Just a collection of various stories I began with no intention to finish, or answers to writing prompts. Enjoy! Please visit my author page on FB! Also note, some of these may be removed later if I feel the urge to expand on them!


65. Jeela's Wool

         Sheep were supposed to be white. 
         Sometimes black, but usually white, and never, ever, green.
         "How many times have I told you, Arian? Keep the sheep out of the damned pond."
         It didn't matter how many times he was told, though. Arian couldn't keep the sheep out of the damned pond.
         It wasn't a deep pond. That's why the sheep seemed to like it. And Arian didn't mind that they went in there. It was hot this time of year, and even with their wool shorn, they still did get hot. Who was he to stop the from staying cool?
         "Arian, are you going to say something?"
         "Yes, Matron. I mean, I'm sorry, Matron."
         "Next time it happens, I'll have you on mucking duty at the stables instead of watching the sheep."
         "Yes, Matron," Arian replied automatically.
         As the Matron left, Arian looked back at his small herd. And right now, all but one was a bright green color.
         "And get that duck week off of them!" the Matron shouted before slamming the abbey building's side door behind her.
         "Come now, clean up," Arian said, tapping their green backs with his shepherd's staff. He lead them over to the well where he would be rinsing them off as he had to almost every day. It still confounded him why the Matron made such a big deal out of the appearance of shorn sheep. He thought they already looked silly. What was a little duckweed?
         Ah well. No matter. The sheep already knew what was coming, and they didn't mind. It just meant more cool water at the end of the day.
         As each sheep slowly became white again, Arian patted each one on the head. The last, clean one patiently waited for her herd-mates, watching Arian work.
         "Jeela, you're so prim and proper," Arian said to the clean ewe. "Never one to get anything on your wool.
         Jeela bleated in response, knowing the boy was speaking to her.
         "Now's not the time to argue. Back to the barn. It's dinner time," Arian said, pointing his staff.
         The sun set quickly as the group made their way back to the stalls. The barn smelled relativly decent as the stalls had been cleaned twice already. The stable staff was always on top of things. Arian and his fellow shephards - they each had their own small herds assigned to them - were grateful for their work. There were much more sheep than horses, but the few horses they had knew how to make a stink.
         "In you go," Arian said, prodding his heard ack into their group stall. "Jeela, you behave. Don't give Macca any trouble tonight."
         Both Jeela and Macca responded with a soft bleat and they all settled down for the evening.
         It was then that a loud crash came from the south part of the barn.
         Arian looked toward the noise expecting Petra, the barn manager, to still be here. But before he could take a second step, the ground began to shake.
         An earthquake, Arian realized. At first the realization seemed matter-of-fact, but when the truth of what was actually happening set in, he began to panic. An earthquake?
         Lanterns began to fall off the shelves, setting the scattered hay on the floor ablaze. He could hear the horses and hseep beginng to call in alarm.
         "Sorry, ladies," he said to his herd, opening the gate again. "We have to get out of here."
         At first they didn't move, but a second, larger tremor caused a support beam to crack.
         "Let's go!" he commanded, smacking Jeela on the butt. The rest of the herd decided it was best to follow her and they all filed outside in confusion.
         "Arian, is that you?"
         Petra raced outside just as the southern roof cracked and fell halfway. It seemed to be supported by just a few more beams. The gates of many stalls began to spliter apart, setting free the horses and a handful of sheep from other stalls.
         "Get to the hill," Petra told him. "I'll bring Aroll. He's the fastest steed in the barn. Keep your herd together and pick up any others on the way. Don't leave that spot until I come to get you."
         Petra, one of the few people he really trusted at the abbey, always knew what to do. Arian nodded and guided his sheep around the northern side of the abbey up the big hill him and his classmates always rolled down in the free summer days.
         "Macca, Pell, Iona, Weri, Leena, Seina, Kel, Ara...." Arian counted his sheep at the same time as he pushed them towards the hill. "Hetta, Freida...wait. Where's Jeela?"
         He turned to look toward the barn but couldn't see anything through the smoke.
         "Jeela!" he called, pausing just a moment before realzing he had to keep running. The sun was getting low and he would soon have no light at all. He set him jaw and pushed foward, knowing this was what he had to do right now.

         Petra exclaimed angrily, sorting through burning hay and histerical chickens. A few curses and oaths followed as he banged her head against a beam. Spotting Aroll, she quickly grabbed a saddle and opened the stall. 
         Aroll was in a panic. He bucked and neighed, his eyes wide in fear. Petra didn't have time for his protests, she she quickly grabbed his cheek halter strap and dragged him out. A loud bleating caught her attention as she raced past the burning stalls. 
         She heard the cries of children and a panicked matron over the blaze, but just barely. They faded quickly as the Matron lead them east toward the village, but she had to pay more attention to her current mission.
         A third tremor sent burning splinters toward the pair, landing on Aroll's hindquarters. On reflex, the horse kicked and caused another support beam to come crashing down.
         "YOu stupid horse!" Petra cried, her grip on the halter gone. She fell face first, cathcing herself just enough to roll out fot he way of a falling beam. Aroll raced out to the field, heading toward the hill, leaving Petra holding the saddle.
         Sturggling to stand, she realized she'd twisted her ankle. "Not this! Not now!" But before she could stand all the way up, a loud creak made her blood run cold.
         Arian heard the noise loud and clear. The whole roof was coming down. He heard the whinnies of Aroll racing towards the hill, closely followed by a not-so-white sheep. Jeela was covered in ash, but alive.
         But where was Petra?
         A loud crack echoed across the valley - the barn's last cries.
         "Petra!" Arian shouted. But no reply came. "Petra!"
         As the blaze spread, he continued to scream. He screamed until the moon rose. He screamed as the blaze died down and all that was left was a charred add of wood and metal hinges. He screamed until he could scream no more.
         But Petra was gone.
         He was alone. Everyone had gone and all he had was a horse and an entourage of sheep.
         "Out to the fields," he said softly, herding his ewes to pasture, his eyes wide with shock and filled with tears. "Out to pasture...out to pasture..."

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