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VS-DS-01 The Moon Song

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  • VS-DS-01 The Moon Song

    VS-DS-01 The Moon Song
    By Darrel James Vanwinkle
    May 18th, 2014

    Chapter One

    A one dollar raffle ticket.

    As weird as it sounded, this whole strange adventure started with a seemingly harmless one dollar raffle ticket. I had been on my way home from a short trip downtown and I only had one dollar left. My brother and I weren't getting a standard allowance and dad's jobs hadn't been panning out too well. There just wasn't anyone hiring in the local area. We were about to lose our home anyway and the car dad had wasn't all that special. He had to drive it slow for fear it would conk out someplace and he couldn't afford to have it fixed.

    The girl in the farm clothes was a little pretty; better than plain looking, but not the most beautiful woman around. I had never seen her before and no one was stopping to talk to her. She appeared to be selling something from her basket. Maybe I should have ignored her but some part of me was drawn to her and I was soon standing near her. "Hey. I've never seen you around here before. What's your name?" The pretty girl slowly set her charming eyes upon me as she spoke. "I am called Amy. I am from nearby Dragon Ridge. What is your name?" The way she spoke got my attention. It wasn't authoritative like a teacher or a politician or even a preacher; her voice was simply... there. Neutral yet pleasing. "I'm Daniel. So what are you trying to sell? I er I mean... I didn't mean to be nosy but that's what it looked like you were doing."

    Then came the pitch and the serve. "There is a nice farm with plenty of good farming soil located just south of Dragon Ridge which the real estate agencies cannot seem to sell. The city council is choosing to promote the local farming advantages of our town by raffling off the entire farm to whoever wins the drawing. The tickets cost one dollar. But everyone I try to sell a ticket to... when they learn which farm it is, they immediately back away without a word and leave as fast as they can. I have to sell one ticket or the council might think I didn't even try. The drawing is open to adults over the age of eighteen and the winner will own the farm lock, stock, and barrel." I was intrigued although I should have been very suspicious. I didn't meet the age requirement but my dad did. If we won the raffle drawing we would have a house and land which we would own without fear of being evicted. But it was a drawing. What were our chances of actually winning? But... I pulled out my last dollar and hesitated. This was my last dollar. I might not get more money for weeks. But the chance for a new home. I was torn but... I handed her the dollar. "I would like a raffle ticket for my dad. I personally don't meet the age requirement but he does. His full name is Frederick Stevens and he is 35 years old. Our current phone number is" and I recited it off to her so she could record it on the raffle stub.

    She then handed me the ticket. "You will be called if you win, Daniel. I really hope you do win. I live locally and you look like you would be a good neighbor. I have to get going now." She then lightly kissed me before I could react and then she turned with a smile and walked away. Can you say 'home run'? Aside from my mom before she passed away, I had never been kissed by a pretty girl before. I watched her walk down the street and disappear around a corner. I had a one dollar raffle ticket with a potential prize of a new farm.

    When I got home, my brother Brian razzed me a little when I told him I got kissed by a pretty girl. He wasn't being mean; it was all in good fun. But when dad found out that I spent my last dollar on a raffle ticket, he wasn't exactly happy about it. We were tight for cash but what could he do? He sat me down and explained what my actual chances were of winning a raffle drawing. My dad is good with numbers and averages; sadly no job was asking for someone like that. He put the raffle ticket into his wallet and we all sat down for what was a meager meal. No fatties in this family; as I said, money was tight. I felt like crap because I had literally given away my last dollar and we needed it more than ever.

    A day passed.

    It was almost bedtime when the phone rang. The phone company had told my dad that they were going to be disconnecting the phone service the following day so this was likely to be the last phone call we would ever get. But this was not to be a normal phone call. My dad answered the phone and the conversation went something like this...

    "Hello? Stevens residence. Who is this?" The caller replied, "I am Dwight Roanscale with the Dragon Ridge council. Am I speaking to Frederick Stevens of Winter Creek?" My dad replied, "Yes, I am he. What do you want? It is late and I need to be up in the morning to look for work..." he then muttered. "...yet again." The caller then said, "A day or so ago, someone in your family purchased a raffle ticket from one of our citizens. I am happy to tell you, Mr. Stevens... you won. We had the drawing earlier this evening and your name was drawn. When can you move into the farm?" My dad was shocked. After the lecture he had given me about the odds of winning the raffle and now we had won. We owned a farm and the land that went with it. All we had to do was go to Dragon Ridge to claim it. The caller having not gotten a reply then said, "Are you okay, Mr. Stevens?" My dad was slow to reply. "I'm still here. Are you sure there wasn't a mistake? I actually won? My sons will be thrilled over this news. Um. We can drive over there tomorrow morning, although we might not arrive until sometime after lunch. Do I need to meet with the council or anything?" The caller replied, "We can meet you at the farm itself. If you have something to write on, I will give you the directions to your new farm." After the directions were recited off... "And congratulations once again, Mr. Stevens... we look forward toward having you as a neighbor."

    The phone call ended at that point. My dad couldn't believe it. Our luck had finally changed. A new town meant new employment prospects. He came and told Brian and I the good news.

    It didn't take us long to pack what little we owned into the car the next morning. With the trickling flow of cash, we had been selling off luxuries just so we could have a meal on the table. We couldn't sell the furniture since it belonged to the landlord. I had parted ways with my comic book collection and my trading cards long ago. My brother even had to sell a trophy he had won at a state fair for a science project in school. My dad contacted the landlord and handed over the keys to him. The phone company were already on site to turn off the service. The electricity was next to be shut down. Then the three of us piled into the car and began the slow departure from Winter Creek. Although it had been called Winter Creek, the town had never received a single flake of snow as far as my dad could remember. But now we were on our way to our new home in Dragon Ridge. Living on a farm could possibly mean meeting new friends and maybe... seeing Amy again. The drive out of town along the highway was to be quiet but thanks to a one dollar raffle ticket, our luck had changed.

    End of Chapter One

  • #2
    Chapter Two

    Dragon Ridge didn't seem like it was any different from Winter Creek except it was built on higher ground near the only river in the county. This meant that if the river ever crested its banks, it would flood the opposite meadows and woods before it could ever be a threat to the town and farm lands. Despite the name, there wasn't any dragon theme named businesses in the town and certainly no dragon art work nor sculptures. There was only one obvious teen hangout right on the main street and it was directly across from the sheriff's office. Then dad turned the car onto an unpaved county road leading South out of town. In fact, it was the only road leading to the farms. The farms we did pass had rich soil, green grassy yards, and well kept wooden fences. A few had large grain fields while the others had well managed crop fields.

    When we arrived at the farm itself, we saw several out buildings like barns, stables, a chicken coop, a kennel, and even a cow and goat building. Since we didn't have any animals ourselves, we had nothing to house within those buildings. The front yard was small while the back yard was large and a rich soil covered crop field was properly prepared and plowed for our use. There was even a funky looking scarecrow out there. It didn't look scary to me, but to a crow... beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Awaiting us at the property was the Dragon Ridge council along with a lot of the nearby neighbors who wanted to see who was moving in.

    The house seemed normal even though my brother and I both felt something seemed off about it. I had recalled that the city couldn't get anyone to buy the property; we had won it in a one dollar raffle. That meant that something HAD to be wrong with this farm. But upon first glance, we couldn't figure out just what it was.

    While dad met with the council and the other adult neighbors, my brother was greeted by a teenage boy with shoulder length sandy blond hair named Whispering-Sky, and I was greeted by a boy my age with dark brown short hair and pale yellow eyes. His name was Rolf and with his smile, he was all too happy to tell me all about the area and all the fun things there was to do. All in all, however, it just seemed that the locals were going a little overboard in their efforts to be our friends. I would be having words with dad tonight during dinner.

    And then I saw Amy standing nearby. I started to approach her but she moved at about the same moment that I started toward her and I lost sight of where she had gone. At least I knew she was in the area. Maybe Rolf could tell me more about her later.

    A little later inside the stables, Brian and Whispering-Sky were both casually walking through the fresh stalls having a small discussion of their own. "...and you say that you and your friends are all part of a unique original club called the Unicorn Club?" asked Brian as they both sat within one of the back stalls where their private conversation wouldn't bother anyone else around the farm. "In truth, it sounds a bit girly to me. No offense, I hope. It just reminds me of My Little Pony."

    "I can assure you that the bucks in the club are as far from that as you could hope," he replied with a smile. "The only reason I mentioned this club to you is because one of our oldest members recently went to college and now we have an opening in the roster. We do all manner of activities including swimming, horseback riding, and we even do camp outs during the warm months. Normally everyone in the club has their own mount but I can convince the High Buck to admit you into the club whenever you were ready to join us. I have two horses over at my place so I could always lend you one for our outings. I don't need an answer right away since I still have to bring the idea up to the High Buck. But I really think he would let you in if I were to ask him and tell him about your interest. And just so you know... there are no girls in the club. For some reason they are more interested in bird watching."

    Brian thought about it for a moment. Then with a smile he reached over and shook Whispering-sky's hand. "If you can convince the... High Buck? to let me in, I would be glad to join."

    "That's great," he said as he returned the hand shake with a smile. "I can let you know how it went by this Friday when the next activity is to be held. I can invite you to join me as my guest and then you can meet the other bucks in the club. When you join, you will gain the club title of junior buck; then after you pass your initiation rite, you will earn the club title of lone buck. To become a buck like the rest of us, you simply have to stay in the club for a year and participate in at least twelve activities of your choice. Once you do that, you will be a buck like the rest of us and... you will earn a club nickname you can use locally. Like mine; Whispering-Sky."

    "So what is your real name?" Brian asked out of curiosity.

    "Ryce Winfield; first name rhymes with 'nice'. Think about it... with a name like that, you can see why I prefer my club name." He winked with a smile.

    Over on the other side of our farm near Rolf's homestead, I and my new friend were leaning against the wooden fence looking toward his property. "You sure do have a lot of kennels on your farm. Are the dogs that profitable?"

    With a sly grin at the thought of dogs, Rolf replied, "Good hunters are hard to come by. Did you notice that large meat freezer inside your kitchen's pantry? It is currently empty, but we are planning a hunt tomorrow night which we will donate the meat we catch to your family so you guys can have meals during the next few weeks. We can't let our new neighbors go hungry. You know, Daniel... I am really glad you are going to be my neighbor. Any time you want to see the dogs close up, let me know and I can arrange it for you."

    Then I asked, "By the way... do you happen to know that farm girl named Amy? She is the one who sold me the raffle ticket that helped us to win this farm."

    Rolf turned to look at me as he patted my on the shoulder. "You best not be thinking about seeing her privately; her dad is a cranky guy. But Amy is nice enough."

    End of Chapter Two