The Orchard of Hope | Teen Ink

The Orchard of Hope

November 18, 2008
By Ian_S. GOLD, Chappaqua, New York
Ian_S. GOLD, Chappaqua, New York
12 articles 9 photos 8 comments

The moon was shining upon the figure, shadows flickering back and forth, as a hand reached up high for the desired object. The apple was swiftly thrown into the worn out basket. She ran through the orchard full of fruit, her dress slowing her down. She looked ahead, wondering if she should take the chance. She didn’t; the garden of vegetables were too close to the farmer’s house.

She heard a noise and slightly turned her head. The lights of the house flickered on. Silently, she ran out of the orchard, all the way home, not stopping until she reached the door.
She grabbed a small lantern from the lop-sided wooden stool by the side of the door. James, her five year-old brother, sat huddled up in a corner with many blankets wrapped around him.

“James? Are you awake?” she asked in a small whisper but received no answer. She looked at the clock with the broken glass front that had once belonged to her parents; she pondered for a moment. Her older brother, Michael was late as usual. He was three years older than she was, 15. In his effort to support his family, he worked long and hard hours in the town, several miles away.

She put an apple beside James but as soon as she turned around, he coughed.

“You are awake. Hope your not getting sick,” she whispered.

“Jacquie…I’m hungry,” James said weakly.

“Have the apple…I brought it for you,” Jacquie replied softly. He grabbed the apple from her hands. Her hands met with his. Suddenly, warmth flowed through her body for a moment until he let go. Only then, did she realize how cold she was.

An hour later, her brother walked in.

“How’d it go?” was the first thing he asked. She pointed to the basket full of apples. “How’s Jamsie?”

“He’s okay. He might be getting sick though,” Jacquie told Michael. Michael eagerly took a bite out of one of the apples. “Will you help me carry him into the bed?”

“Sure.” He picked James up and placed him on the small, rickety, bed, the only one they had. “Here you get in too.”
“No, you should,” Jacquie protested.
“No, I’ll be fine,” Michael replied. She obeyed him sliding in, next to sleeping James, her eyes already beginning to close. Next thing she knew, the sun was blinding her.

When she awoke, Michael was gone and James was up playing with some stick figures he had made. She looked at the clock and realized it was 11:00 in the morning. Sliding out of bed, her feet touched the cold floor, making her wish they had a rug but instead, all they had in their small shack was one bed, blankets, and a broken stove. Outside was a rope tied to the trees, which dried the few clothes they had. A small rock circle was below, where the occasional fish were cooked. Rarely, did she get lucky to catch a fish with the crude fishing pole, which kept snapping. But, Jacquie was always very handy and made another one quickly.

“James? We’re going to go fishing today,” she announced. He cheered at the thought of having something to do. Jacquie went outside, James following her. She shivered as the wind blew her brown hair into her face; it was a cold morning. After successfully lighting a fire, she tried to cook a tasty meal with the few ingredients she had. Instead, she ended up with a bland corn bread like cake that made James frown.

“Sorry. We’ll get some fish today,” she said meekly. Later that day they did just that.

Jacquie grabbed her fishing pole with one hand, James holding the other tightly. They both wore small jackets that needed to be replaced. The river wasn’t far from their small shack. They silently walked on the dirt path towards the river. Once they arrived, James helped Jacque set up. She sat and waited. After only a few minutes James became impatient.

“Why are you so bad at catching fishies?” James asked in irritation.

“It takes time,” she replied, trying to suppress a giggle.

“Let me try,” he replied. “I’m a big kid!”

“Maybe next time, Jamsie,” Jacquie told him solemnly.

“Why can’t I?” he whined.

“Michael will show you how to fish next time…I promise,” she replied. Her arms jerked forward a bit. She started reeling the fish in; it was small but it would do. The fishing rod snapped and the fish fell on the grass, flopping back towards the river. “Don’t let it get away!” James proudly scooped it up.

“I got it! I got it!” he exclaimed in joy. She gave him a hug and they began walking back. Their short trip ended with a small success. She cooked up the fish and they ate it for lunch, feeling a pang of guiltiness, knowing she hadn’t shared with her older brother. Afterwards, she lied down on the bed and dreamed of being rich and not having to worry. She dreamed that she had a different life, but awoke from this care-free dream with the smell of smoke in her nostrils and James sobbing.

“James! Are you alright?” she exclaimed flying out of bed, trying to find out what had happened.

“I burnt the apples,” James replied.

“How’d you do that?” she asked, relieved he wasn’t hurt. She pushed the crooked door opened, to see James hovering over the fire.

“I wanted to make apple pie, like Daddy!” James exclaimed, upset. She laughed.

“That’s not how you make apple pie…Michael can show you sometime,” Jacquie looked in the basket to discover that Max had used all the apples. It would be another night trip to the orchard.

Once it became dark, Jacquie ran off to steal more fruit. She followed the twisted dirt path until she arrived at her final destination. She had been down the same path so many times that she could have gotten there with her eyes closed.

She turned her head from both sides to makes sure no one was around. It began to drizzle so she quickened up her pace, swiftly grabbing apples from the trees. Thunder roared. Jacquie ran under the tree for shelter, sliding her back down the trunk until she reached the ground. She was sick of this life and was sobbing loudly. Why did everything have to be so hard? A light shined on her. Was this death? Had she been struck by lightning? Of course not, she was in an orchard, sheltered by a tree. Still, that didn’t keep her thoughts from running wild.

A figure came closer. A man taller than she was, walked toward her, shining a light at her face. He had a frown and opened his mouth. She was ready to sprint; her face could not be revealed. He got closer and closer until finally he was close enough that she could see his face. Gray hair covered his forehead with shining blue eyes, keeping her attention from all the wrinkles. She froze in fear; she’d done this millions of times but never had she been caught.

“Now, who are you?” the man asked loudly. He shined the light directly in her face, studying her. “Oh, you’re that girl who takes food from me every night.” Her cheeks turned pink with embarrassment. He started to raise his other hand. She flinched but was surprised when he brought his hand closer to show a basket full of meats, vegetables, and fruit.

“Take this home. And this.” He handed her an over-sized coat. She did something she had not done in a long time; she smiled. This smile was brought to her face because she knew there was hope.

The author's comments:
Inspired by the "Olive Orchard" by Vincent van Gogh

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This article has 53 comments.

NeVassa GOLD said...
on Jun. 8 2011 at 9:39 am
NeVassa GOLD, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia
18 articles 0 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
Oh god I was a stupid twelve year old

very nice and well written ... love it! :)

on Oct. 31 2010 at 11:56 am
MythicWeaver BRONZE, Hampton Bays, New York
2 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is no such thing as coincidence, there is only the inevitable

nice!!!!! and did james' name use to be max? after james tried to make the pie, it said Max used all the apples...

coly33 BRONZE said...
on Aug. 4 2010 at 11:55 am
coly33 BRONZE, Lyndhurst, New Jersey
4 articles 0 photos 76 comments

i really liked that it made me feel grateful for the stuff i have and i now feel that there r good ppl out there somwhere i really liked it


a.m.f BRONZE said...
on Jun. 21 2010 at 9:45 pm
a.m.f BRONZE, Gainesville, Florida
3 articles 12 photos 97 comments

Favorite Quote:
"God never shuts a door unless he opens another."

you really are talented..i hope you're thinking about pursuing a career related to creative writing because this is amazing!!

and if anyone has time, my short story 'scratching stones' needs ratings. thanks :)


on Apr. 16 2010 at 8:29 pm
SerraAngel GOLD, Buchanan, Michigan
12 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"we have nothing to fear but fear itself".

PLZ check out Eternal Night: Chapter 1 and COMMENT!!!!!

on Apr. 16 2010 at 1:24 pm
I loved htis story. you have true talent and keep writting stuff like this!

on Mar. 25 2010 at 3:02 pm
magic-esi PLATINUM, Hyde Park, New York
27 articles 0 photos 231 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light."

This was a great story. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it without sounding fake, but it was really very good. I like your descriptions- good but not too long. While this does not merit a novel, exactly, I like the ending and I really enjoyed reading it. Keep writing! I'm going to check out your other work.

Blakford said...
on Mar. 25 2010 at 7:39 am
good boring keep writing!!!!!

on Mar. 3 2010 at 6:28 am
potentialgurl BRONZE, Quincy, Illinois
3 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Pretty good but try working on your transitions. predictable, yes, but sometimes those stories are the best. keep writing!

on Mar. 3 2010 at 4:55 am
xAllegria BRONZE, Singapore, Other
1 article 2 photos 112 comments

Favorite Quote:
Ça fait tellement du bien d’aimer les gens qu’on aime, que ça finit par faire mal. Je sais pas comment on survit a ça. Non franchement, je sais pas. LOL (laughing out loud) ®, Lola.

Nice story, I really liked the title, but it isn't very original and kind of predictable... there doesn't really seem to be a story.

ShermTheWorm said...
on Feb. 8 2010 at 2:53 pm
Hey - Ian! I know you've had this writing piece up for a while but I just got around to reading it. It's really good!

Jordan said...
on Feb. 8 2010 at 2:47 pm
Great story! Do you get inspiration from art in any of your other writing?

on Feb. 8 2010 at 2:46 pm
I think this is a very good writing piece but is for a younger audience

on Jan. 18 2010 at 1:34 pm
TheUnknownIsBliss GOLD, East Patchogue, New York
12 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
I would like to stay out of the box we call "normal".

Lovely. Ever has the tale of being without a home touched me. Please check out some of my work.

(J)enius said...
on Dec. 5 2009 at 6:25 am
this is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!! I absolutely love it. Your truly talented. Good luck to you and your writing. I hope to read more and hey, you never know, this might even be published in the magazine. I mean, its really that good. Have you thought of writing a sequel? That could be cool.

IMS1213 said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 4:37 pm
Thanks! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my story and comment!

Just wondering...What do you mean when next to your name it says: Mag.?

In a few months I'll have more up, so if you want, keep looking!

IMS1213 said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 4:34 pm
I appreciate the comment. Two things though,

1. You can't mix up Jacquie and her brother because they are different genders.

2. The story was not meant to cut right to the plot. If it did, it might feel too short and fast paced. The added scenes could make it seem more real and the relationship between the two of them is also important. Unfortunately I disagree with your comments, I am glad you took the time to read my piece and comment.

Ims1213 said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 1:26 pm
No, but good question!

zebra girl said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 1:23 pm
is this base on a true story

zebra girl said...
on Nov. 13 2009 at 1:22 pm
is this a fichion