Daisy's Last Day

Daisy Reyes Matapang has been enslaved twice in her life. Once by human traffickers who sold her as a domestic servant. She ran from them, only to be imprisoned by a life on the streets, caring for a group of teens addicted to heroin. After her last friend overdoses, Daisy is ready to change her life. Her way out arrives when she wakes up on day in another world,

Daisy is a character in my first novel, "Tenderfoot". This novella is about her life before she arrives in Enova ,and extra scenes about her early days adjusting to life in a world across the universe.
www.abbydrinenwrites.com

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4. Sun Lady and Flower Girl

Tickles trail the back of my hand, and up to my wrist. A bug? I brush the sensation away without opening my eyes. The crunches and pad of feet moving away. I open my eyes and jerk my head to the sound in time to see two sets of black braids flopping on the backs of the little girls. On my wrist is a bracelet, made from tiny purple flowers.

A toasted, yeasty smell, coupled with fat frying up spicy wafts into my nose. I haul a leg over the side of my hammock. My vision blurs as it rocks me. I wait until it settles before moving the other leg, and then pause until the swaying stops before easing myself out of the sling. The hard mud, cool beneath my bare toes, sharpens my senses. A crisp breeze, is more effective better than a shot of caffeine.

My knees wobble and my head is unsteady. I parade toward the covered porch of a log cabin with care. By the time I make it to the steps, I’m better. My stomach gurgles in response to strong breakfast smells. The metal doorknob is icy. I remove my fingers before turning it. Should I knock? I plop down on a bench to the left of the door and wait. For what? I’m not sure.

A woman, that woman whose gold eyes I woke up to, the wife of that man who sat with me in the woods, comes out the door with a plate in her hands. The scent of freshly baked bread drifts out the door with her and I wipe a drop of drool away. She starts down the steps, but stops halfway. Shading her eyes from the morning sunlight, she looks at my empty hammock and then to the trees beyond it. Turning to go back up the steps she sees me on the bench and smiles.

“Oh! There you are, sweetheart!”

“Here I am,” I say.

“I thought you might be hungry.” She presents the plate, a thick piece of bread slathered in butter sits in the middle of it. “Fresh from the oven!” She says when I hesitate to receive it.

I’m swallowing saliva like mad. But, I still don’t know what I’m doing here, who this woman and her husband are, and what they are going to want from me. What if accepting kindness from her obligates me?

“Still not hungry?” She tilts her head and examines me with a little smile.

A roar and a grumble from my middle betrays me. The woman eyes widen and a grin bursts open on her face. She forces the plate into my hands and disappears back into the cabin. She returns with another plate: poached eggs on a bed of blue and red vegetables with sausage on the side. She lays these next to me on the bench with a fork and napkin.

She steps back and folds her hands in front of her. A satisfied glint in her weird eyes. A nod of her head says, I gotcha girl, now eat!

After a big sigh, I dig in and try not to make a pig of myself. But small, ladylike bites turn into bigger ones. The woman says nothing about my sloppy manners, but hands me a tin cup full of sana to wash it down with.

I’ve finished, and stare at my fractured reflection in the metal plate, fighting the urge to lick it clean.

“The doctor says, if you keep that down for thirty minutes, I can get you more to eat,” she says and collects my dishes to take them back inside.

Doctor? I am sick. With what? My toes and fingers feel numb. I shiver, though the morning is warm. The woman returns with a quilt, as if she knew how I was feeling. After she lays the over my chilly body, the woman sits on a porch swing and tucks a long, thin leg beneath her. She straightens the blue tunic she wears at the neckline, and then looks into the woods.  

After a long pause, she speaks with her gaze on the trees, “Zissla and Gissel are at school. Meir went to cut firewood today. He sells it in town. That’s how he makes a living. And I work at the bakery a few hours a week, but they’ve given me a month off to look after you.” She turns and smiles.

So he’s like a woodcutter, and she’s a baker. Have I stepped into a storybook? Traveled back in time? Where and when in the hell am I? My head aches with this constant question.

“Daisy,” The woman says like she’s trying it on. “Does it mean something in your language?”

My heart thumps once at this question, startling me out from my own wonderings. What does she mean my language? And it suddenly occurs to me I’m speaking Tagalog to this woman and she is responding back in the same tongue. But she’s clearly not Filipino. She looks more eastern European to me. Except for the freaky metallic eyes and the green streaks in her hair.

“Um, not in my language, exactly. But in English, it’s a flower,” I say.

Her face brightens. “That’s nice. My daughters are named for flowers, too.”

“What language is that?” I ask.

The woman stops the swing and looks at me with squinted eyes. She chews on her bottom lip.

“Come on, lady. Just tell me,” I sigh.

“Lutrenian,” she exhales a big breath.

“Where are you from?”

“Lutrenia,” another huge breath out. I think she’s holding her breath between answers.

“Is that like, near Russia?”

“No.” More lip chewing and her eyes are shifting. Something is up.

I stand, and the quilt sags to my ankles. I walk over to her and put a hand on the swing to keep it from moving.

“I want to know what is going on, now!”

“Daisy, flower girl,” she smiles and tries to cup my cheek. I flinch, and step back. The porch starts to spin and I hold out my arms. She rises and catches me before I fall over the railing.

“You should sit. Would you like to come inside?”

“Nope.” I hold my head like my skull might float away. “I’ll go back to the bench.”

I let her help me back over there, but I push her hands away and sit down on my own. She lifts the quilt, but I snatch it from her hands and cover up. The delicious breakfast threatens to come speeding out my throat. I take several deep, slow breaths to calm down.

“What was your name again?” I ask. Surely, she’ll answer that question.

“Ayelet.”

“And does it mean anything in your language?” I sneer.

“Yes, it means ‘mother sun’,” she says, with a graceful hand on her heart.

“Like a child or the thing in the sky?”

Her lips tremble, wanting to smile, “The one in the sky. We believe the Sovereign, created the sun to be the mother to the world. To keep it warm, and bright. To help things grow and thrive.”

“So, your name is ‘sun’ basically?”

She inclines her head, “Yes. I’ve never thought about it that way, but yes.”

“Okay, Sun Lady, what are you going to do with me?” I pump my chin out.

“Well, for starters, I’d like to make you some clothes. Mine are a bit too large.” She nods to my hands.

The sleeves of the purple shirt I’m wearing cover my hands. I pull out a leg from under the quilt, the pants are rolled several times at the ankle. How did I not notice this before? I’m drowning in fabric.

“Sure. Okay,” I say because exhaustion has slammed into me like a car wreck.

“Good. Tomorrow we can go into town and pick out colors, if you’re feeling up to it.”

“We’ll see,” I say with my lids at half-mast.

“Daisy, you look tired. Can I help you to bed? We have your room ready upstairs.”

I shake my head and nod to the hammock.

“All right, sweetheart. Wherever you are most comfortable.”

Ayelet walks me to my sling bed, and I have no choice, but to let her help me into it. A fluff of my pillow and covers are drawn up.

“Here’s your little bell.” She wraps my fingers around the smooth metal handle.

“Sun Lady?” I ask before she slinks away.

“Yes, Flower Girl?”

“Can I leave here anytime I want?”

“Yes. But I hope you’ll stay with us.”

And the trees over my head fade to black.

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