A pair of identical children huddled together, crouching, ankle deep in mud, their attention focused on the task at hand and ignoring the other child completely as she sat on a rock, silent, her eyes vacant staring into the middle distance.
“It’s here!” yelped Rodney victorious, startling Maureen out of her reverie. He stood up holding his hands close to his chest cupped around a filthy tin box. He walked away from the muddy patch, cradling the revered object in both palms. Maureen and Cora followed, their feet making sucking noises at each step.
Rodney stopped on dryer land next to an oak bent with age, its roots like spider legs came out of the earth in places. He turned and faced his sisters. “Okay, we did it your way last time, now we’ll try it mine.”
“Time capsules are never hidden in trees. The squirrels will get them!” argued Cora shrilly, her hands planted on her hips like her mother’s used to be while giving a talking to.
“Better squirrels than the floods! Trees are strong, the next time the rains fall the capsule will be safe.”
Cora let her arms fall to her sides. Maureen looked from the tree to the tin box, her eyes narrowed, her thoughts unvoiced.
When neither of his sisters raised further objection, Rodney continued, “Are you sure you don’t want to change anything from inside?”
The two girls nodded. Rodney puffed out his chest and turned to the tree. He slowly placed the old tea container inside a hole in the thick bark, and the children stood in solemn silence for a moment.
“Hold pinkies out,” Rodney said.
“Didn’t we do that last time!”
“Cora, we moved the box, the pact is broken. Pinkies!”
His sisters held out their right hands, the smaller finger pointed outwards.
“Together now…We, Rodney, Cora and Maureen, solemnly swear that in twenty years we will come back to the tree and open the time capsule. If one of us is dead, the others will open it anyway.”
They again stood silently after that, their pinkies entwined together in a knot.
“Ok good.” But then Rodney looked at Cora, a doubt clouding his face. “Do you think it will still be here?”
“The hole is high enough. If the squirrels don’t get it, it will be fine.”
Satisfied the three children left. Cora was right, in twenty years the tin box was still there with all its contents intact. It remained intact for another fifty years in fact through the great flood that carried away the village; the old roots hung on tight as houses floated by knocking other trees about. It stayed there until the city crawled out and reached the woods and uprooted all the remaining trees, unopened tin box and all.
This week’s Three Word Wednesday challenge gave us : Pair, Vacant and Focused. I hope you enjoy my version. Happy Weekend!