Short Story: Mud

Short Story: Mud by Jessica CauthonThis is a rougher draft than I usually post.  I have checked spelling and not much else.  Therefore, the characters are a bit goofier than they should be, and the teenage is a lot more mouthier than she should be.   It’s a work in progress.

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Mud by Jessica Cauthon

The rain disappeared as quickly as it had come. I stepped out on the screened-in porch and began to pull my hip waders over my legs. Although it had not rained recently on the farm, the ground was not absorbing the water quickly so I knew I would have to fight mud for the rest of the afternoon.

“Hey, Grandpa,” I yelled back inside the house. “Are you going to finish plowing the back three acres or do I need to do it before I leave?”

“You, young lady,” he said as he emerged through the door, “are going to get the tractor out of the field where you left it and bring it up to the barn. I can’t believe that you left the tractor in the field when it rained.” He mumbled on as he stepped off the porch and splashed through the mud puddles in the yard.

I gritted my teeth and mumbled, “You left the tractor in the field. You need to go get yourself checked for Alzheimer’s. You better hope it ain’t stuck.” I rolled up my shirtsleeves and stared at the horizon. The rain clouds were moving quickly to the west.

“Hey, Tommy,” I called into the house, “meet me in the field in about ten minutes! The tractor may be stuck!”

“All right,” my brother hollered from inside the house. “I’ll be down there as soon as I finish up this section of the log.”

I stepped off the porch and into a mud puddle. I felt my foot sink a little bit into the mud, and I walked on. I walked directly down the dirt path and avoided walking under any of the trees. The rainwater was still dripping from the leaves and branches to the ground, and I needed to avoid getting damp again. I dunked off the path to take the short cut across one of the water runs on the property without thinking that it would be full since it had just rained. I walked briskly down the well-trodden path and ran my fingers absent-mindedly across the tips of the grass that had grown on the sides of the path. My eyes wandered off the path and to the pasture where my horse was galloping across the pasture.

I continued to walk the path until I had walked about a mile before I even realized that I would not be able to just walk across the bottom of the water run. Why did you walk this way? I thought. You knew that it had just stormed. I looked over my shoulder and saw how far I had already walked. “I am not backtracking. I’ll just as soon jump it,” I decided, fussing at myself for not being observant. I sped up my pace and hastily pulled my hair up in a ponytail. It was warming up quickly and it was humid. I stepped into the trees at what looked to be the end of the path and slowly descended down the side of the embankment.

The bed of the water run was about twenty feet wide, but the water was only running in a span about six feet wide at the narrowest part. I would have to get a running jump. I looked around to find the best place to get a running start before I jumped. With the lack of space to run straight and still gain the proper momentum needed, I decided I would run caddy-cornered and jump at a diagonal.

I pulled up my hip waders that were too big for me and walked far enough away to jump across the water without having to wade through the mud. I had better things to do than to wash boots all afternoon. I turned back to the water and started to run. I reached the water’s edge and sprung into the air. I knew immediately that I was not going to make it all the way across. I felt myself descending rapidly and soon felt the impact of mud under my feet. I landed waist deep in the mud.

“Just my stinking luck!” I yelled loudly as the water began to fill my boots. I struggled to move my legs, but they were trapped in the mud. I really did not want to leave my boots behind, but I saw that I would have to. I looked about quickly trying to find something to use to pull myself out of the mud. A low, over-hanging tree branch caught my attention immediately. I reached out to grab it, but it was just beyond my reach. I slid my feet out of my boots enough that the tips of my toes were where my heels were supposed to be. I stretched again and wrapped my fingers around the branch. I carefully pulled myself up and began to walk my hands down the tree branch towards the bank.

My bare feet slid out of the boots and I looked down to see the water cover the spot where I had just stood. I swallowed deeply and stretched my foot out towards solid ground. I let go of the branch and fell a few inches to the ground. The mud squished between my toes as I bent over to roll up the cuff of my wet jeans.

“Girl, where are your waders?” asked a voice on the opposite side of the water run. I looked up to see my oldest brother, Tommy, staring down at my mud-splattered face.

“They are in there,” I said angrily as I pointed to the mud.

“Oh, no. Grandpa is going to be angry,” he teased.

“The old coot can get angry,” I retorted as Tommy began to descend the ditch bank. He stepped back as though he was going to jump.

“You may want to take off your shoes and socks and cross barefooted because you will sink,” I suggested calmly.

“And how would you know?” he asked as he winked at me. I closed my mouth and stared at him while he took off his shoes and socks. He held them in one of his huge hands as he took a large step towards the middle of the mud. I reached out my hand and pulled him the rest of the way across. He stood to his full height of six feet and three inches and stared down at my five feet and eight inch stature with a smile. He wiped a piece of mud off my cheek and laughed at me. I was beginning to get chilled in this shaded area.

“Girl, you could always attracted more dirt…”

I shook my head and grumbled. I turned to climb the embankment barefooted, but had trouble fighting the briars. Tommy slid his shoes over his feet and followed me. He scooped me up in his arms and threw me over his shoulder.

“Where are you heading?” he asked seriously.

“To the field to get the tractor, doofus,” I said as I stifled my laughter. Tommy raised his free arm like he was holding a sword and yelled, “We’ll take the tractor, General! We will succeed!” He charged up the embankment with both of us laughing at him.

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