at first, i was a little worried about writing a story with almost pure conversation. but i actually greatly enjoyed this assignment, which was prompted by the picture below.
“Marsha, please tell me we’re almost there!” Jake moaned, exhausted by the long hike away from the cabin.
Having no sympathy, and simply telling her brother to hurry up, Marsha burst through the trees into the clearing.
“Look, there it is!” she exclaimed.
“Whoa, this is awesome!” Jake gasped, looking around in surprise. “I had no idea there were train tracks way out here.”
Marsha shrugged, “Yeah, I think it’s pretty legit. I came across it yesterday when I took one of the horses from the ranch on a trail ride.”
Inspecting the ancient tracks, Jake said, “Well, I guess you were right about one thing: this vacation isn’t as boring as I thought it would be!”
“Right about one thing?” she laughed teasingly. “Oh, my dear brother, I am right about everything.”
Glancing at the tracks she continued, “All the same, I don’t know everything… for example, I have no clue what these tracks are for.”
Jake rolled his eyes, “Gee, maybe a train?”
Mockingly throwing her hands up in defense, she responded, “Hey, we can’t be sure! For all I know, aliens put this here.”
The pair sat down on either side of the railroad as Jake continued the banter.
“Ok,” he conceded, “but even if aliens did put it here, what would they be using it for other than a train? Did they put it here just to confuse us poor humanoids?”
“You never know with aliens,” she replied mysteriously. “Their motives are always enigmatic. Their actions are always unexpected.”
A long pause ensued while Jake stared at his sister as if he thought she belonged in a mental institute, and she stared back with a grin. The silence was interrupted as the two broke out in mutual laughter.
“Anyway,” Jake began, “when you said you had something to show me, you also mentioned that you wanted to talk. So, what’s up?”
“Ok, well,” Marsha cleared her throat. “I kinda found out that… well, Mom and Dad taking us on this vacation isn’t just a vacation.”
“What do you mean?” Jake looked worried by her nervous tone.
“Jake, I overheard them talking— they’re taking this trip to sort of scout things out. You see, they want to move here.”
“What?! They want to move? Here? Permanently?” he looked as if he’d gone into shock.
“But, but—it’s practically the middle of nowhere! This town only has like, what? Three gas stations? Two grocery stores? And the only movie theatre is in the next town!”
She tried to calm him down, “Hey now, it’s not that bad. If you think about it, it’s got pretty much everything that we’ve got back home.”
“It hasn’t got all our friends! Our hangouts! Our home! We can’t leave!” He began fuming but suddenly stopped and lowered his voice as he asked, “Are you absolutely sure about this? You’re certain you didn’t misunderstand?”
“Yes, I’m certain! They were talking about buying a house, and finding a school for us, and whether we would go to the church on Main Street or the one across town. It was clear they were serious—too clear.”
Jake put his head in his hands. “I’m so confused. Why do they want to move? And why won’t they at least talk to us about it?!”
Marsha sighed, “I’m not really sure. It could be that they just feel we need a change. And I think that they wanted us to get used to the area first and start liking it before they shocked us with anything.”
“It doesn’t matter how much I like this place—it doesn’t change the fact that all of our friends are back home! I can’t believe this is happening.”
Trying to remain positive, Marsha replied, “We’d make new friends, I’m sure. And we’d keep up with the gang back home by email and telephone.” She bit her lip and added quietly, “But gosh, it’ll be hard.”
His anger dissipating into passive depression, Jake mumbled, “Hard doesn’t begin to describe it.”
They sat for a few moments in silence, both mulling over their own thoughts. Wanting to return to a light, playful tone, Marsha spoke up with a grin.
“Seriously, could moving here really be that bad? I mean, there’s that pretty girl who works at the ranch—I’m half certain that I saw her almost smile at you the other day.”
“Oh… shut up,” he said, trying to sound grumpy. But his body started to shake. He couldn’t help it; he was laughing.
She took his hand into hers. “We’ll be alright, y’know? Whatever Mom and Dad decide in the end, we’ll all be together. That’s what matters. And we’ll be alright.”
Jake sighed and then smiled gratefully into his sister’s eyes, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
She laughed as she leaned forward to hug him, “Oh, my dear brother, I am always right!”