The Red Bracelet: Chapter Three

The Red Bracelet will be a short story published here on LSO. Please stay tuned for a new chapter each Monday.

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The Red Bracelet: Chapter Three

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

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“We are only as blind as we want to be.”

—Maya Angelou

 

The pungent scent of the old, tattered red barn filled Sherry’s nose the moment she stepped into it. She didn’t remember the abandoned place smelling this sweet. After a sigh of both relief and exasperation, Sherry climbed up to the loft. It was so familiar to her, a place she’d gone to since she was a small child. Up there, the God-knows-how-old flour sacks were her cushions and the hole her cousins had accidentally put in the wall acted as her window to the outside world. It was her barn.

Sherry settled into a pile of old hay, the straws piercing her skin. “God?” she whispered hoarsely. A slight breeze sent a draft through the loft. “You’re listening,” Sherry said, more to herself than to the Man Upstairs. A ray of dappled sunlight dribbled through the hole Sherry called a window. “Well, I have something to say.”

Fighting tears, Sherry lamented softly. “Why do you hate me so much? Why did you leave us?”

No answer, of course. Just the breeze wafting through the barn.

A footstep. Sherry’s breath hitched in her throat.

“Sher?”

Sherry gave a sigh of relief, then a grunt of frustrated disappointment. What in tarnation was he doing here?

“Hey there, Jacob.”

“You always liked red things,” he said, climbing up to the loft. Sherry could tell he hadn’t practiced in a while. “Red barn, red shoes, red bracelets…”

Sherry peered over the side of the loft to see Jacob clamber up the foundation, a wet red bracelet in hand. “You found it?” she gasped, snatching the sopping red strings.

“Course,” Jacob grinned. “Swimming is my thing.”

Sherry gave him a look. “Is it, though?”

Jacob pretended to sock her in the arm, amused. Sherry wrung the bracelet.

“Yes, I suppose I do take a liking to red things,” she admitted. A small smile pulled at her lips. But it vanished when she asked, “Have you seen Val yet?”

Jacob’s playful mood ebbed. “No.”

Boom. A thundercloud rumbled nearby, seemingly out of nowhere. Sherry’s “window” wasn’t so sunny anymore. Great.

“Sher, we gotta get out of here,” Jacob asserted. It was then that Sherry realized he was wearing the yellowest raincoat she’d ever seen.

“Did you know it was going to rain? The sun was out not one minute ag…” Her sentence trailed off as Jacob helped her down from the loft. Of course he’d known a storm was coming.

“Quick, wear my coat,” he commanded, shaking the huge rain jacket off his shoulders.

“No, wear it,” Sherry argued. “I’ll be fine.”

Jacob looked down at her as they exited the barn. Rain bounced on the bright yellow raincoat. He looked annoyed. “Just take it, Sherry.”

“I said I’m fine. It’s just a little rain.”

Boom. A much louder clap of thunder had Sherry grabbing Jacob’s arm impulsively. Once she realized she was clinging to him, she let go. Jacob looked hurt now. “Are we gonna get inside or what?” Sherry prompted.

Jacob looked around. “Sher, your house is too far.”

“It’s right over there. C’mon, we’ll be fine. Just hurry before the lightning comes.”

Hesitant, Jacob followed her. Their shoes pooled with mud and water as they waded through the tall, slick grass. The further away they walked from the old barn, the better. Sherry realized she’d been clutching the red bracelet in her left hand during the last few minutes. She slowed, unclamping her hand. It was just as precious and intricate as it had been before.

“Sher, hurry up!” Jacob grumbled. He ran back to her, took her by the arm, and began to run. She tried to keep up, but Jacob’s shoes weren’t as slippery as hers, and the grass was up to her knees while it barely touched Jacob’s shins. Before she knew it, the drenched ground swayed under Sherry’s feet and she lay flat on her back. Rain pummeled her face.

“For Pete’s sake, Sherry, why do you have to lay down at a time like this?” Jacob jested, pulling her up. She clenched the bracelet once more.

“Thank you,” she murmured.

Jacob averted eye contact. “You’re such a pain sometimes,” he retorted. But they both knew he didn’t mean that. In fact, Sherry was surprised when Jacob stooped and picked her up. Nobody but her father had ever picked her up before. “Now I can run faster,” he said.

And he did, all the way to Sherry’s place, where her parents were waiting.

The rain wasn’t so dreary anymore.

 

*To view all of The Red Bracelet chapters in order, click here.*

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