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The Magical, Fantastical World of Springhill Farm

{A place where the names are all kept vital, for the protection of strangers.}

By Gregga J. Johnn

Chapter 1

A pair of yellow canine eyes blinked slowly through the underbrush. He was a newcomer to Springhill farm as were the current tenants. The girls, Mercy and Gentle, were slowly moving odds and ends into the ranch home on the hilltop as LaMa, Mercy’s aging mother, tottered around inside humming to her mildly distracted self.

It was early spring and the snow was fresh off the ground. Green shooters of grass and varied wild flowers were peeking out from their sleepy coffins where winter had held them dormant. Their tiny, verdant noses tickled in the wind seeking the scent of Apollo’s heat signature.

The wind bustled under the wings of crows and hawks alike, particularly supporting another newcomer . . . in that form at least. In a silent fly-by across the hill top, an old-man hawk soared in new found peace and kept his eye on Mercy, his favorite.

Mercy plodded up the hill with arms bearing loads of detritus moved from one family farm to the next. The difference was this one was hers. But her family was severely lacking now and the bubbling spring of tears welled ever fresh behind her eyes. Her smile was gone. She had no idea if she’d ever find it again. Wedging the door open with an elbow and wiggling in through the frame so as to not dislodge something from her gathered load, she allowed the door to bang on her bum and barely pulled her foot in from the closing.

Home; what on earth did that mean?

She flustered about. The detritus was dumped here, unpacked there, and all the while she did not allow her mind to dwell on the knowledge that she was only there because of him. But, he was not there. It just wasn’t fair.

Gentle came up from the basement asking,

“Is Father what-a-waste coming today?”

Mercy grinned wryly despite herself. Father what-a-waste is what the local girls called Father Christ-bearer. A gentle soul with a goodly appearance who would have made any girl a happy wife, had he not chosen his priestly vocation.

“He’ll be here in about an hour.” Mercy offered.

“Good,” said Gentle, “the cats have taken a disliking to something in the kitchen downstairs.” As if on cue, a cat began wailing a low hollow yowl that echoed loudly all the way through the floor to the upstairs kitchen. “I think the house could use a good blessing.”

She popped out the back door completely unconcerned that the sense behind her comments would have caused the faint hearted to quiver and the stalwart pragmatics to scoff. Gentle smiled her secret glow as the cold wind hit her full force. Mr. North wind ran his fingers through her hair and poked at her through the layers of cloth. Fully refreshed by such attentions, Gentle took a deep breath.

The young woman surveyed the glorious sight of her precious new home. The back door of the house opened onto the bare hillside. There were three apple trees to the left of the house, a pear tree above at the peak of the hill, and some other fruit tree down past the mini-orchard. Another goodly sized tree stood guard by the roadside ditch. It was equipped with landscaping bricks around the roots to keep him sturdy. Further across the left yard was the cow field where a small heard grazed quietly in the cool sunshine. Across the road, a neighbor’s great bull bellowed at them, quite unhappy that such a plethora of lovely cows and young competition should be contained out of his snorting reach.

Two dancing willows stood watch over the cow field and the yard waving at all who might care to wave back. Gentle did so. She believed they smiled to her. She believed a lot of uncommon things. She was a dreamer.

This dreamer was fully versed in fantastic stories of great talebearers like May Gibbs, Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis, and of course, the father of modern fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien. She’d had an inkling from childhood that what all these authors were telling her was true: if you just believe, magic will happen. This secret belief, shouted out at stages and movie screens in a rousing chorus of “I do, I do, I do believe in faeries” was more than just a theory, or at least it was slowly unveiling as much, much more. Here on Springhill Farm, the temperature was settling into “just right” parameters and a forecast of magic with a sprinkling of adventure was wafting through the air.

The wolf in the shadows watched all the while, keeping a close and curious eye on his target, and she was gently unaware.

(link to the book available for sale on Amazon and Kindle to come)