Finny climbed out without prompting and slammed the truck door. In front of him a big white, two-story farm house dwarfed almost everything around it. The outline of an equally big barn blocked trees and other buildings on the far side of a wide open yard. It was a little bothersome that everything here felt so big. The long low moo of a cow called greeting and distracted him from the smallness inside. Wind rustled through the boughs that wove together overhead, chasing away the last fingers of sunlight. One final flash made Finny blink.
Mama Jack took his hand and pull him into the kitchen. “I have fresh bread and sliced tomatoes,” she said. “You’re way too thin. Or would you like my special sandwich?”
Even though he knew she was wrong about his weight, he didn’t feel like arguing. “Tomatoes?” He wrinkled his nose.
“Your daddy prefers the other kind better too. When she placed it in front of him Finny couldn’t resist. He really was hungry. Strange as it sounded he found that the sweet and gooey peanut butter tasted really good with a sour dill pickle. It was definitely something he’d have again, maybe with dad.
“Now Honey, hold still.” Mama Jack turned from the sink and carried a rag dripping warm water, to wipe his face.
He wanted to tell her he wasn’t a baby, but it was easier to let her treat him like one.
She scrubbed hard but finally it seemed that she was satisfied she’d gotten the last of the peanut butter from his cheeks. “Now come with me,.” She motioned for him to follow her up steep narrow stairs. At the top, she opened a door.
“Thanks, gr…uh… Mama Jack.” he stepped around her to find his bag leaning against the wall. How had that happened?
She kissed him on the forehead. “Get your pajamas on and I’ll read you a story.” She looked around. “Now what did I do with that book?” She seemed confused. “Oh well maybe tomorrow night. You look tired enough to go right to sleep. Good night sweetie.”
When she left, Finny lay in the quiet, listening. In the distance frogs called out with throaty croaks. Somehow he knew they meant to comfort him, and they did.
The neigh of a horse that sounded from the corner of his room made him sit up, but he didn’t get out of bed. Mama Jack might come back and catch him. He’d rather have some time for Raskee and him to get used to being so far away from home first. He waited until he heard the door at the end of the hall close. Only then did he crawl from beneath the covers. The bag, with all his books, stood alone against the wall. On top, the bright red one tipped, ready to crash to the floor. He felt a tickle in his mind.
The cover flew open, and Misty made her presence known with another whinny. What are you waiting for? Stomping hoofs and a soft snort added urgency. Come on, pick me up. You have things to learn.