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     I grew up in a small town just a few dozen miles from the closest water source—a slowly shrinking aquifer that squatted underneath the seat of Thompson County, our neighborly border. Fortunately, we hadn't yet been quite as devastated by our annual droughts as those in Oklahoma and Texas. Rumors would occasionally drift in with a tumbleweed traveler about how bad the deep South had dried up into nothing but an old dusty lake bed, but these flashes of news were too few and too far between to be counted on as up to date or even true.
     Once, I heard one of my distant cousins, a boy by the name of Harold, was said to have been caught up in a barn somewhere in Oklahoma during a storm where only the dirt blows—the dust and dirt block out the sun and the air until you get blown away with it. Apparently, poor old Harold had been caught up in that barn for so long (five days according to old Miss Harris) he eventually just smothered with the horses. Now, my mama always said that was just grapevine gossip. She told me that she had heard his father became so heartbroken afterwards he turned prone to wearing heels and calling himself Shirley, so it was doubtful any of it happened at all. She said she wasn't even sure I had a cousin named Harold to begin with. If I had, she never met him.
     Anytime I'm reminded of the small town gossip that thrived in our dry conditions, I think of two different stories that I grew up around. The first one was of a black cat that ate Mr. Cartwright whole because he refused to set out a milk dish for it. Again, Mama out right killed the tall tale by telling me Mr. Cartwright just ran off with half his wife's family's money after learning she'd been expecting for at least three months, and Mrs. Cartwright had put about those rumors to keep her reputation unharmed by a yellow husband. It was easier to be a widow then to have driven away your husband at the time. My mama would always just shake her head whenever passing Mrs. Cartwright in town—mainly for the woman's lack of imagination she'd say.
     The second story that is usually brought up would be about Mollie Hart, a highly unusual woman who had sired many long and eventful tales about her existence due to her habit of avoiding any sign of life. Mollie lived right out of the town limits in a house her husband had built, enough to get away from the town's talk, yet she always failed in that pursuit because she was Miss Harris's favorite subject up until the day she died. Even her daughter Stephanie Harris claimed that while on her death bed, Miss Harris murmured in her last breath, "You won't believe what I was just told about Mollie," right before she passed on, though I don't think you can put much credit to the Harris name in this town.
     Finding out more about Mollie had become a usual summer past time when I wasn't having to help my father with the farm work. From what I'd been able to gather from the chatter that swarmed her name, Mollie had suffered many tragedies in her life, or at least, that was what the townsfolk claimed. The first was of her mother during childbirth. During delivery, after severing the umbilical cord, it had become infected—leading to Mollie's mother's death a few days after, and her father took up whiskey as a daily habit. Growing up as an only child, Mollie didn't have many friends to spare, and her only friend, a girl that walked with her occasionally to school, died of typhus. Somehow, Mollie met a young man named Henry that was looking to make a fortune on oil, but it turned out our town was bone dry of the stuff. They soon became married.
     Mollie had always wanted a large family. She tried everything to become pregnant, but after years of miscarriages, the town doctor, Mr. Brown, told the couple her womb just wasn't fit for holding children. She tried not to give up hope for a child some day, yet she was forced to stop by her husband after the tenth miscarriage nearly killed her. Mama said it was actually just three miscarriages, and the doctor was really the one who banned her from pregnancy, but Mollie didn't stop either way. Eventually, she got what she wanted in the form of a little girl that she named Emily.
     During the fall, an odd storm came that flooded the entire town with washes of muddy water. The entire Hart family was on a trip into town when the floods hit; the horses then became spooked by the rising waters. Trying to ensure the horses kept moving, Henry got out of the wagon to force them into turning back home but was washed away by a powerful surge of water that surprised him from off the path. Mollie became panicked with a nearly five-years-old Emily in her arms. More and more waves of water berated the side of their wagon until it was eventually carried off in the flood. Mollie woke up the morning after. She had been washed up on the door step of an old farm house a few miles from the dirt path. Emily's blue stitched blanket, wrapped around her to keep her warm, was found entangled in the branches of a tree nearby, but nobody saw Henry or Emily again. Mollie would never comment on the flood. She once said, only once, of their trip into town that they were picking up a hand-made doll and a small box of silk ribbons—a surprise for Emily's near birthday.
     It has been at least some years, but she hasn't quite forgotten her daughter. Mollie, every morning at the end of dawn, sits next to a small stone with five letters engraved into it. She sits there with her back against the stone, a wooden box next to her, and a doll in her hands. As the morning wastes away, Mollie hums a quiet tune while taking a thin sheet of dull ribbon from the box, a different aged color each time. She slowly braids the ribbon into the doll's hair, and then once she has finished this step, she peacefully unbraids it and puts the ribbon back into the box for tomorrow. Mollie Hart, at the end of her daily ritual, places her finger on the stone and traces the large letters on it several times before going home. "EMILY."
If I were to ever write a novel, this is what it would be about.

I know I should have taken more time to read this over, but I really would like to know your opinion on this piece. I kind of like it, but I'm wary because I don't know if I should like it or not.

Anyway, feedback is really always welcome! Is it understandable? Does it flow well? Too wordy? Too boring?


:heart: Wow, I just wanted to thank everyone for their favorites, comments, and support on my first DD. This was seriously out of the blue for me. Thank you!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-05-23
Life and tragedy in a small town: Mollie's Ribbons is by ~a-dehn. ( Suggested by Dr-Vergissmeinnicht and Featured by neurotype )
tommyboywood Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Nice home spun tale. Good prose and grammar
xlntwtch Featured By Owner May 23, 2013   Writer
:iconcongratsddplz: ... You wrote a tale of tragedy that somehow fits many deep South families. I know, because though my parents (R.I.P.) left the South for a second chance (and got it, even the South stayed in their speech) they had many stories to tell about their home town. I also lived in Oklahoma for years, on a rez (I married a U.S. Indian) and know a few details about the conditions there. I also wrote about them here, especially in the three-part Grandma Rose stories. This is timely piece. Thank you. :+fav:
Alkraas Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Congratulations on the Daily Deviation!
Much deserved :love:
Absolute-JLSA Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Hey, podrías regalarnos un like o compartir a esta imagen porfavor :D
Would you kindly give us a "like" or "share" to this picture please :D

Karinta Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student General Artist
spdrenalen Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
rosuto-kia Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A really good story, but it reminds me alot of 'To kill a mockingbird' for few if any reasons.
I guess it's the double storylineceptionism thingy, as well as older form of writing, but I'm not sure. There's quality, definitely, just not my tastes though.
Well done, either or way.
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
TruthisTruth Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student Writer

I loved this. A very well deserved DD.
76twinky67 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aww, really touching! I love the way you described the events though, giving it a more personal feel. Great job!
TheDarknessKitten Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I write mostly poems and long chapters, so I'm no pro on short stories just to warn you. XD But I actually really liked this. It was sad, but somehow the ending struck me as strangely beautiful and peaceful.
Patrikia-Bear Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is an extremely interesting concept. I love the flow, it sounds very much like someone from a small town wrote it-- I could hear the character's voice in my head. He sounded about 17 or so, although sometimes it would switch to a 13 year old girl.

RA-Meenan Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a really interesting and tragic story... Though it seems very finished. I'm not sure what you'd add to make it into a novel.
BookUnread379 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student General Artist
your narrator sort of disappears halfway through, when you get to the actual story of Mollie. it seems unrealistic that the narrator would have such detailed knowledge of her story too, there should be more of a transition from the gossip into the real story.
chuupi Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student Digital Artist
that was amazing! :D you should continue it since the character in the beginning didnt come back
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner May 23, 2013   General Artist
Congratulations on the DD, darling soul! :huggle:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This was beautiful to read - Don't know why I read it in an Alabama accent though :D
but all the same, absolutely incredible writing :)
Ari-Heart-Matsuri Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really love it! I wish I could write as well as you! and not too wordy, and not boring at all! I love it all! It describes the rich tapestry of life in simple, not too long words, and it's just lovely! LOVE IT!
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
This has an almost Faulknerian air to it--dying, dwindling, but at the same time utterly human. If the focus had been more on the gossip (the tidbit about the dying words of the town gossip was blackly hilarious) it would be Flannery O'Connor-esque.

Solid piece of prose. Well done.
Felt-Tip-Fairys Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Sorry, should have put this in the previous comment, too; What about the person who's seeing and saying all the stories? Would there be a bit more about them as well?
Felt-Tip-Fairys Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
I like it. I think you should continue with it into a novel. It does flow rather well. Very realistic, interesting and heart-pulling. x
PhoenixDestruction Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
A great feature for a DD :huggle: Well done!
RainbowDaughter Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awww... so sweet and sad. Congratulations on the DD!
XanthiaB Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
THat was beautiful. :heart: I love it.
Lintu47 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
    Have a nice day! :heart:
vanmall Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congrats on a Daily Deviation! :happybounce:
LibbyKeppen Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You are talented, my friend. :D I could imagine this perfectly. Kudos on the DD!
neurotype Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Like it. :P

I love the mood that's set here, and that done through the characters more so than just straight out description.
watchmycoloursburn Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2011   Writer
I like it.
a-dehn Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2011  Student Writer
Thanks :)
Compass-Wave Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2011
Too wordy? Too boring? I think not!

Auuugh, it's so sad! But it's so good! I like stories like this, even though they are tragic. It tells you a lot about a human being, showing the essence of their spirit when it is strong or broken. It flows very well, and I like how you did the beginning, what with the ridiculous rumors and all. XD A little humor helped balance out the later, heavier stuff.

So, basically, this was a job VERY well done. Love it. ;D
a-dehn Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you :) I really appreciate the comment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for the favorite as well.
Compass-Wave Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2011
Your welcome! ^U^
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Submitted on
February 7, 2011
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