• I jumped the fence, snagging my jeans on the barbs. I pulled and pulled, but the barbs held fast. I flailed in desperation. Of course. OF COURSE. I decided to try to be as smart as possible.
    I put my hand on the top of the fence, and pulled both my legs against the fence. The pain seared through my hand, some blood dripping onto the gate. It didn’t matter, I was GOING to get out of this stupid fence.
    I pushed both of my feet against the fence, and my pants ripped all the way around the knee, leaving me to fall to the ground. “Dang it!” I mumbled, still trying to get the fabric off of the barbs.
    When it finally unhooked I could hear popa’s cart pulling in. I decided to hide in the barn.
    I took off running, the bottom of my jeans where it had ripped flinging around, making it difficult to focus on just GOING. I darted into the chicken coop, the closest thing to the fence.
    I grabbed the side and twirled myself into the doorway, only to smack the stupid door. “Dang it.” I said rubbing my head. I pulled open the door and stepped inside.
    Only to see my brother, looking rather amused, standing there. He folded his arms over his chest. “Ummm…. Hello Matti, did you have a nice day at school?” I said sweetly, hiding my hand behind my back.
    “Good. How was your day stealin’ and thievin’ like a lowdown straggler?” He said, his face stone.
    “Great. But I was in school, you were there when I -” Mat reached behind me, grabbing my wrist and holding out my bloodied palm. “Yes weeeeeeeell….”
    Mat interrupted, “How could you?”
    “I didn’t!” I said defiantly, trying to free my wrist of his grasp. He held firm.
    “Then where were you?”
    I looked down at my shoes, “In the forest.” I mumbled.
    “You were in the forest?” He growled, seeming taller. His face was dark, he was uber angry.
    “Don’t tell poppa! He’ll kill me!” I pleaded. “I’ma have too May, you know better.”
    I was positive all the color drained out of my face right then, I was dead, I was deader then dead. Poppa would strangle me, bury me, and dance on my grave! “Please Mat.” I whimpered, making myself cry to be as pitiful as possible, “Don’t tell him. You’re my big brother, your spos’d to take cara me. You know I wasn’t doin’ nothin’ bad in the forest Mat. I would rather die then hurt a animal!” His eyes narrowed, he seemed to be taking me all in, the bloodied palm, the sad face, the torn jeans.
    His eyes met back up with mine and he let go of my wrist, “Alright, but you’ll be askin’ fer trouble if you get caught again I’ll have to tell poppa then. You’ll have extra chores too – ya got me May?”
    I nodded all to eagerly, “OK Matti, I’ll do anything, ANYTHING and I promise I won’t do it ever again.”
    “Ya’ won’t do it, or won’t get caught?” He shook his head, “I recon it’s not get caught.”
    With that he pushed past me and headed out of the coop. I let out my breath and slumped against the wire netting, one or two of the chickens picking at my hair and overalls.

    Bang, Bang, Bang! I groaned and rolled over onto my stomach Bang, Bang, Bang! “Allright I’m up now ya’ happy?” Bang, Bang, Bang!
    I threw my feet off the side of the bed and let out a yawn. I heard popa’s big boots clomp down the stairs like every morning. The windows rattled and shook as he slammed the door, his last warning for lazy bums like me. I fixed the bandage on my hand and changed into my overalls and a white T-shirt. I grabbed a hair-tie and pulled my long black hair into a ponytail.
    I headed down the stairs and grabbed a biscuit and some jelly for a quick breakfast. Momma stood there at the stove with Bell, my 7 year-old sister, at her side. “May Mason, I really would wish you would eat more then a biscuit for breakfast. Ya know this is all that’ll keep ya’ goin’ ‘till supper.”
    “Yes momma.” I said obediently.
    Momma shook her head while Bell shook her finger at me in pretend mockery. “I don’t know what I’ma do ‘bout ya May. Ya know the rules yet ya deliberately disobey, like you get a joy ride out of it.”
    “Sorry momma, I have to head out fer school, or I’ll be late.” “Again.” Bell giggled.
    I shot her a dirty look. Momma gave me a look telling me I was in for deep scolding afterwards, probably for respect towards your sister, you’re her roll model. Belch. “I want ya to take Bell to school today, I recon I can handle the chores myself today so she should get in the habit of goin’ with ya.”

    “Better keep up.” I growled at Bell as she grabbed my hand, “We have no time for shenanigans and I’m in no mood for your happy peppy attitude.” We ran along the path to the schoolhouse.
    “May!” Bell whined, “I’m tired, slow down!”
    “We’re almost there, come on now, or we’ll be late.”
    “No.” Bell complained, stopping completely.
    “Fine. Get on my back, I’ll have to carry you to the school.” I sighed.
    “May?” Bell asked as she climbed on my back and I started back down the path.
    “How acome your talkin’ funny?”
    I cringed. “Stop talkin’ nonsense.” I growled at her, making sure to keep dropping g’s and talking just like momma