The Farm (weekend freewrite)
"It is crazy to start a porcupine farm in your backyard!" Uncle Thomas was shouting towards the window. "Everybody knows that you do it in the front yard, where folk can see it. Really now, what's the sense in having something nice if no one gets to see it, you know?"
He didn't seem to be in a particularly bad mood, and yet, I realized, with a sinking feeling, that no one was going out to speak to him, so I gathered myself from where I'd been lazying around, melting in the easy chair in the bright, July heat, and I dragged my feet all the way to the back of the house.
"Who're you talking to, Uncle Tom?" I asked, sulking into the backyard, but he couldn't be bothered to speak to me, it seemed, for he spared me little more than a passing glance and mumbled something into his coat.
Uncle Thomas always wore this thick trench-coat, looked like something from the Great War, though no one knew how it had made its' way into our family. For years, as a child, I'd thought it was some sort of souvenir, one of the few things we had left from Grandpa Stanley, but then one day, not realizing she was dispelling some childish dream Mom told me it wasn't, that she'd found it as a second-hand sale, when she was a young girl, and bought it for Uncle Tom, since they didn't have all that much back in the day. As easy as anything, when I'd assigned this entire world, this Universe to Uncle Tom's boring old coat. Mom never had much patience for day-dreams.
"I said, who you talking to, Uncle?" I asked, more pointedly this time, doing my best to imitate the faux-British accent that Uncle Thomas sometimes affected, for nothing irritated him as much as being mocked.
"To your father, of course, you silly girl," he shot, glaring back at me, and despite myself, I must admit I was a little hurt. When I was small, Uncle Thomas was my world, even though I sometimes made fun of him.
"But Dad's not starting a porcupine farm," I mumbled, by way of apology, though it didn't seem to appease him much.
"He is not, indeed," Uncle Thomas shot back, outraged. "And this is why we'll be the laughing stock of town. Really, having such bad taste should be illegal."
Too late, I realized what he was planning on doing and following him into the house, found him standing by the telephone table. He dialed the number of the police substation from memory. Officer Claire was on vacation, I knew, or at least, I knew that's what he'd come away with. That was what they always said down at the station when Uncle Thomas called.
On vacation. In fact, Officer Claire was probably there, having her lunch right about that time, but she'd come to the house a great many times and I think she'd grown tired of coming. If I'd called, then it would have been different. Officer Claire, kindly though she was, worried about me. Living up here all alone with crazy old Uncle Thomas... the poor little girl.
None in town could see I was not poor, nor was I sad or lonely. There was no one in the whole world I would've rather been with at that time, not even Mom and Dad, had they suddenly taken it into their heads to come back for me, though I had no way of telling Officer Claire that. And even if I had told her, she wouldn't have listened. She'd made up her mind about me, about us and the way we lived here, so I made sure to never call the substation myself, certain they'd blame it all on Uncle Thomas.
Uncle Thomas was erratic, that was for sure. He was imaginative, but not crazy.
"We could start our own porcupine farm, you know," I tried, watching the mish-mash of emotions on his face. Slowly, as if struck by lightning, his features lit up one by one and he grinned, nodding at me.
"And we won't tell your father," he replied. We were conspiring now, he was at ease again. "Let him come out here and see how well we're doing - how all the neighborhood's admiring our farm."
Hurrying into the front yard like two excitable children, we found ourselves standing in the scorching sun, with no real idea where to find porcupines.
Just then, a ball crashed through the window. Loud, breaking our concentration and scuttling all the porcupines away. We turned and ran back inside the house, and although we found the glass scattered on the front room old rug, we could see no ball and indeed, no intruder.
"Sabotage," Uncle Thomas muttered, but I could see he was smiling.
"Indeed, he must've heard our plans," Uncle Thomas said, nodding towards the back of the house. Empty, as it had been these past ten months, but I wasn't going to correct him. To be honest, I think part of me had come to believe in Uncle Thomas' pretense. Done for my benefit, naturally. I knew deep down, Uncle worried that I missed my parents and so, did his best, in his own peculiar way.
And I wouldn't have thought anything of the incident, but standing there, watching him watching the house, a strange notion sidled into my mind and for the first time since coming to live with Uncle Thomas, I found myself wondering if, by chance, Uncle Thomas wasn't imagining me as well...
Based on @mariannewest's 3 weekend prompts.