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The Valley

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Yesterday, she had arrived later in the day, and her Grandfather suggested taking it easy and just settling down for the day. Sabrina had done just that. She opened the door leading to her small room. There wasn’t much to it. Inside was a twin bed, desk, lamp, dresser, and small closet. Her laptop was set up on her desk, although she wasn’t sure how much use she would get of it, and her clothes were put away. 

Most of her day was spent exploring the farm and playing with her Grandfather’s dog, Basil. Basil was a 4 year old Rottweiler, who had plenty of energy to play. He kept Leonardo company in his long days of working on the farm.

When it came to dinner time, Leo had explained his usual routine. “Usually get up around 6, feed the animals around 7, make sure the crops are watered and my sprinklers aren’t breaking on me,” he sighed, “A few of them just broke on me the other day.”

The rest was all gibberish to Sabrina, she nearly groaned when hearing she had to get up at 6am. She wasn’t used to working the early shifts for work. Usually, she was scheduled the midday shift, varying between starting at 12 to 2.

Soon, it was 10pm, and she was laying in her new bed. It was uncomfortably small. Not to mention that she could feel every spring through the thin mattress. She had a window that looked towards the forested area behind the house. It was black back there, and she was barely able to distinguish between night sky and a tree.

Just then, a branch snapped outside somewhere. Despite being an adult, Sabrina covered her head with a blanket. It hadn’t occurred to her how scared she was. Alone in a new environment. No, not alone. She had Pops and Basil. And the bus driver… Pam, she seemed nice enough. Her head was about to come out from the blanket when another branch snapped, and a thought came to her head.

“We take care of the monsters in town,” a man had told her during her last visit. What was his name, Marvin? He couldn’t be serious right? Monsters aren’t real, are they? They’re made up to scare kids for Spirit’s Eve. ...right?



Knock, knock, knock

“‘Rina!” Leo exclaimed, “We gotta go, it’s quarter after, you’ve slept long enough!”

Sabrina groaned. This wasn’t going to go well. The mattress springs had dug into her back all night, and the monsters… No, animals, that kept breaking branches outside kept her up all night. She hadn’t even been here a full day and she was already being paranoid about make-believe monsters. Was she going to be able to handle this?

 

“I’m comin’,” she sighed. She pulled on an old gray shirt and a pair of jeans. She wasn’t entirely sure how to dress for farm life, but this was hopefully a step in the right direction. Pulling her hair back into a high ponytail, she stepped out of her bedroom. Her Grandfather stood in the kitchen, coffee in hand, smiling at her. He had on a green shirt, boots caked in mud, and overalls with what seemed to be a never ending supply of stains. Basil was at his heels, excited to be going out into the farm.

“Want a cup?” he asked her.

Yawning, she replied by shaking her head. “I don’t drink that stuff. It tastes terrible.”

“You’re gonna need the extra boost Girly,” he smiled playfully. He downed the rest of his coffee as Sabrin put on a pair of boots. Soon after, he led her out into the farm.

Leo showed her the ropes; how to tend for the early spring crops, and how to make sure they were growing properly. He had 6 sets of crops directly in the field in front of the house. There were another 2 sets at the left end of the farm, and another 3 at the bottom. There were seeds planted everywhere, and a lot less scarecrows than she had imagined. With this much seed, birds would certainly be all over the place right? Wouldn’t you need a lot of scarecrows to scare them off?

Soon, they went to the animals. They started easy, with chickens and ducks. Every day it was just placing feed down for them. Sabrina laughed as she spread seed around the coop. This was her favorite thing to do as a little girl. She placed a little extra in her hand and held it out, and before long she had a group of 3 chickens pecking at the seeds in her hand.

Next were the sheep. “They’re angry fellas,” Leo warned. The two entered the next barn, and sure enough, they were angry. And naked. Leo laughed, “Might be because I sheared them recently. I turned the heat up for them, but I think they liked their coats better.”

“How do we get in to feed them then?” Sabrina asked.

“Well.. This one I cheat with, when they’re mad at least. I just need to make sure the silos filled and it’s automatic feeding,” he smirked.

Finally on the agenda were the cows. They were still as gentle as she remembered them being all those years ago. She refilled their hay and gently petted one, named Luma. In return, Luma let out a soft “Moo,” that made Sabrina laugh. Leo demonstrated on how to milk a cow. Sabrina was instantly put off by it. It all just seemed weird to her. Didn’t they have machines for this kind of stuff?

“Animals are better than the plant part of all this,” she smiled, petting a different cow named Betsy.

“Until they bite you, sure. Plants don’t bite back,” Leo smiled.

Sabrina paused, thinking of a response. What was that one plant? It ate little flies and bugs that crawled into it. She snapped her fingers and her face lit up, “Venus fly traps!” she exclaimed.

Her response set the two of them into laughter and smiles.