Scorched Earth by Jill Waters

We looked at the devastation before us. Scorched earth, dried roots - the Serengeti before rainfall. I grasped my brother’s arm, hoping he’d have an idea, a notion of exactly how we were going to extricate ourselves from the inevitable world of pain that awaited us.

‘What the hell are we going to do?’ he asked. No salvation there then. ‘He’s going to kill us.’

‘I’m sure it won’t be that bad. He might surprise us. It was an honest mistake.’

‘Honest or otherwise, don’t think it’ll make much difference. Shit, Sis, this is bad.’

‘I know, I know, but let’s not panic yet. We’ve got three days. We’ll think of something. He shouldn’t have asked us. Too much responsibility. We’re only teenagers.’

‘I seem to remember you volunteering. “We’ll do it Dad. A fiver each.” God he’s going to kill us.’

‘Do you think he’ll still pay us?’

‘Of course not, idiot, we’ve killed his potentially prize-winning crops. This is really, really bad.’

‘Stop saying that, Harry. Come on, think. There must be something we can do. Maybe if we get the hose on, they’ll recover.’

‘You’ve sprayed weedkiller over the whole allotment. Nothing will recover.’

‘I told you, I thought it was fertiliser. I was trying to help. Oh God, you’re right. This is really bad.’

‘Okay, okay, desperate times, desperate measures. I need to make a phone call. You figure out where we can put the chickens.’

‘What? Why?’

‘Trust me. I’m going to save your bacon...’

We stood waiting. ‘Hi you two! Everything okay? We’ve had a lovely break. You should’ve come with us. What’s wrong? You look upset.’

‘Sorry, Dad, bad news.’ said Harry, handing him the local paper. I couldn’t meet my dad’s eye.


Published in Issue #25

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