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English 8, Lesson 101- Chapter One of My Historical Fiction (Name is a work in progress)

“And they lived happily ever after.” Fiona said quietly.  Connor was already asleep, as was their parents.  Fiona smiled.  Her little brother always fell asleep before the ending.  She got up quietly and put the book under her pillow.  She blew out the bedroom candle and climbed into her bed. 

She sighed sadly.  It was a beautiful night.  She wanted nothing more than to run around the fields.  Unlike most children, Fiona rarely slept early.  She always ended up in the doorframe of the house enjoying the night.  Fiona loved the darkness, while others were scared of what the darkness could conceal.  Fiona loved the quiet tranquility of the darkness.

Fiona longed to run through a dark forest, her red hair glowing under the moonlight, not having a care in the world.  But she could not do that, especially not tonight.  Winter was coming fast, and this year everyone on the farm had to help harvest their crop because Fiona’s parents were able to plant twice as much compared to last year.  Tomorrow was harvesting day, she needed energy.  She sighed once more and turned over in her bed.

Morning came faster than expected, but Fiona was ready.  As soon as she felt the warmth of the sun come through the window she was ready for the day. 

“Good morning Mother” Fiona said walking into the kitchen, helping Mother make breakfast. 

“Good morning.” Mother responded, “Are you ready for today?” 

“Of course!” Fiona exclaimed. “Maybe this year we’ll be able to keep more food for ourselves?”  She asked hopefully.  Last year the British came and took the majority of the Murphy’s crop.  They barely survived the harsh winter.

Mother’s happy expression darkened.  She doubted the British would have mercy, but she didn’t want to worry Fiona. 

“Good morning family!” Father said loudly as he walked into the kitchen with Connor on his shoulder.  The question Fiona asked seconds earlier was immediately “forgotten”.

“Morning!” Fiona and Mother responded. 

“Come get breakfast monkey.”  Fiona said, handing Connor a bowl of oatmeal.

“Is everyone ready for today?” Father asked as Fiona and Mother sat down with their breakfast.  Connor nodded eagerly.  Despite his quiet nature, Connor was always ready for work.  This year Mother would allow him to work until suppertime like the adults. 

Father laughed heartily at Connor’s eagerness.  “Well then, what are we waiting for?”

The family finished breakfast and went out into the fields.  Mother handed baskets to everyone and went to the far left side of the field where the wheat grew.  Father and Connor took the middle of the field where the oats grew, which left Fiona to the far right side where the barley grew.  The family would harvest the potatoes together after dinner.

Fiona got to work straight away.  She was determined to finish her side before anyone else.  But as usual, she slipped into her daydreaming state.  She couldn’t stop thinking about all of the amazing things she could do if she didn’t have to work.  Of course, she loved work, and never complained, but like most children, she longed for free days.  She imagined sitting in the lush, grassy hills next to her house, reading until sunset.  Then after dinner she would wander the woods, in the dark, with nothing but a rifle to protect herself. 

The sound of Father and Connor laughing brought her back to reality.  She looked down and realized while she was daydreaming she had picked almost all of the barley (and some weeds).  She looked over at Mother’s side and saw she was almost done.  Panicking, Fiona started to frantically run around the field, picking the barley.

Fiona wasn’t able to finish before anybody else, but she did finish the barley before Father and Connor were done with the oats and went to help them.  Mother already finished picking the wheat and was inside preparing dinner.

“Dinner’s ready!” Mother called from the house.

“Perfect timing.” Father said as he gathered the last of the oats.  Fiona and Connor carried the baskets of oats and barley into the shed.

“Look at all of the food!  We’re going to live like kings this winter!” Connor said excitedly.  The shed was almost bursting with baskets filled with their crop.

“We’re going to be rich with food!” Fiona exclaimed.

Everyone was anxious to get back to harvesting, and dinner went quickly.  Father assigned baskets to everyone and the family spread across the potato field and started digging. 

In the Murphy family, every child starts helping with potato harvesting as soon as they turn five.  Fiona had been doing this for years.  The movements were imprinted into her mind.  Fiona loved potato harvesting for two reasons, it was good training for when she starts her own farm, and she time to daydream.

As Fiona went through the motions of picking the potatoes, her mind started to wander once again.  She couldn’t stop thinking about the story she read Connor last night, specifically the “happily ever after”.  She loved the sound of that sentence.  There was a certain ring to it.  As she thought about it her mind went back to a memory.

“And they lived happily ever after…” Fiona said, closing her book and sliding it under her pillow.  Connor had stayed awake through the story for once.

“One more story?” Connor asked sleepily.

“No more stories.  Little boys like you need sleep.” Fiona stated.

“I’m not a little boy! I’m four! That means I’m a big boy.” Connor said.

“But big boys still need rest.” Fiona said. 

“Fine.” Connor huffed.

Fiona started to tuck Connor into bed, but he suddenly raised his arms and sat up.

“I have a question!” Connor exclaimed.  Fiona sighed tiredly.  She loved her brother, and always will, but she longed to leave the cramp bedroom and sit outside.

“Yes?” Fiona asked sweetly.

“What does happily ever after mean?” He asked.

“It means that everything is perfect, and everyone is happy and healthy.” Fiona said.

“Does that mean that we are happily ever after?” Connor asked.

“Yup. We’re as happily ever after as anyone one of these stories” Fiona said happily, gesturing to her big storybook. “Now, no more questions, it’s time for bed.”  She tucked Connor in and said goodnight.

 Fiona looked out of the bedroom window dreamily.  The night was extra quiet tonight.  Extra inviting.  She sat in the doorframe of the house looking at the stars.  They were so beautiful. 

Fiona usually had deep thoughts while star gazing.  This time, she was thinking about her life and how lucky she is to have a healthy, happy family.  She had a roof over her head and a thriving farm.  She had the special privilege to go to school, and had many friends there.  Her grades were good and she could read and write quite well.  She lived a happily ever after life, a perfect life.

Fiona was snapped back to reality when she heard the sound of horses.  She looked up and saw a beautiful white horse heading towards the farm.  She recognized the horse, it was the Sheriff’s.

“Fiona!” Mother called.  Fiona brushed off the dirt from her hands and skirt and walked over to her.  As she approached her Mother she knew something was wrong.  “Take Connor and hide under the beds.  Don’t make a sound and don’t let yourselves be found.”  She hurriedly.

Fiona didn’t understand what was happening, but she knew something was wrong and she knew better than to not listen to her Mother.

“Fiona..?  What’s going on?” Connor asked.  Fiona turned around and saw his scared face.  His lower lip was trembling slightly and his eyes were filled with tears.

“It’s ok.  We’re just playing a game of hide and seek.” She said picking him up. “We’re going to go hide under the beds, ok?”  Connor nodded.  Fiona could tell he wasn’t convinced, but he didn’t resist.

While heading to the house Fiona heard the Sheriff’s deep, dark voice from the doorway.  She changed her direction and headed to the back door of the house.  While passing she heard some of his words, “How much did you harvest this year?”

Fiona gasped slightly.  He was here to take their crop, and she doubted he would be merciful and leave them enough for winter.

“Connor, I want you to run to the bedroom and hide under your bed.” She said putting him on the ground.

“Without you?” He asked.

“Yes, I need to do something.” She saw his lip started to tremble again. “I need you to be a strong, big boy for me. Can you do that?”  Connor took a deep breath and nodded and he ran inside.  When Fiona was sure he was inside of the house she headed for the shed.

She grabbed baskets and threw them on the ground, making it seem like an animal had been there.  She then took baskets of food and hooked them onto her arms.  As she was leaving the shed she accidently kicked a bell that was left on the ground.  It was one of the shed’s safety alarms.  She heard the adult’s heavy footsteps leaving the kitchen and heading towards the shed.  She ran towards the tall grasses near the shed.

The Sheriff came out, closely followed by her parents just as Fiona ducked her head under the grass.   The Sheriff looked at the tall grass suspiciously.

“Where are your children?” He asked.  The sound of his voice sent chills down Fiona’s spine.

“In town.” Mother lied. “We sent them on some errands after dinner.”

“Very well.” The Sheriff said.  He didn’t seem to believe her, but he had no proof. “It seems an animal has stolen your food.  My men will take these.”

“But that is all the food we have!” Father exclaimed. “We won’t have enough to feed our children!”

“Pity.” The Sheriff sniffed.  He then walked towards the front of the house where his men were.  Mother looked at the grass where Fiona was hiding for a few seconds, then turned around and followed the Sheriff back inside.

Fiona exhaled deeply.  When she heard the front door of the house close she ran back to the shed and grabbed another basket of potatoes for good measure, then ran back into the house.  She went through the back door and into the bedroom.  She put the baskets up on the top racks above the beds.

As she did, she heard heavy footsteps coming towards the bedroom.  She knew it was the Sheriff.  Father didn’t walk like that.  She quickly threw blankets on top of the baskets and slid under the nearest bed.

The Sheriff walked in, his heavy, black boots hitting the floor.  She heard a slight whimper and saw Connor across from her.  His eyes were red and swollen from crying and his cheeks were stained with tears.  She gave him a reassuring smile and put her finger to her lips, signaling for him to be quiet.

The Sheriff walked around the room a couple times before leaving and closing the door.  Connor starts to get out from under the bed, but Fiona shakes her head.  She points to the shadow of boots under the door.  He was still there, waiting for them.  Connor understands and slips back under the bed.  After a few minutes the shadow leaves, but both children refuse to leave from their hiding spots.

“Children?” Mother said softly as she walked into the room.

“Mama!” Connor cried, sliding out from under the bed and running to Mother.  Fiona follows suit, but has a little challenge.  Mother laughs slightly when she spots Fiona thrashing slightly and helps her out from under the bed and wrapped Fiona and Connor into a tight hug.

Night came faster than expected.  There was very little for supper, and Connor was still hungry, but he didn’t say anything.  He knew something was wrong, especially when Fiona didn’t read him a goodnight story.

Fiona sighed as she sat in the doorframe of the house.  She loved the night, but it didn’t feel the same.  She had told her parents what she did when the Sheriff came over.  Mother scolded her, but not very harshly.  She knew that if Fiona didn’t grab those baskets the family would starve.  The Sheriff had taken the baskets Fiona didn’t take and most of the unpicked potatoes.

When Mother walked out of the kitchen she saw Fiona sitting in the doorframe, but she didn’t disturb her.  After a long and difficult conversation with Father she knew this would be one of the last times Fiona would enjoy the tranquility of the night in the countryside.


I am still deciding on a title for my book. Please leave some suggestions if you have 🙂

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

2 thoughts on “English 8, Lesson 101- Chapter One of My Historical Fiction (Name is a work in progress)”

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