3WW prompt: crumble, uneasy, drawn
“Hey, do you know where the Wizard’s Cauldron is?” Faith asked the driver across from us.
We had an address but couldn’t get a handle on the pick-your-own blueberry farm. I rode shot-gun and navigated.
“It’s that-a-way,” the driver shouted, pointing toward Route 158.
The light changed and Faith U-turned. “Didn’t we already drive this way?” she asked. The familiar landmarks, a liquor store, an empty shack, and a set of run-down mobile homes, made me feel uneasy. Then again, we had driven by so many streets; any one of them could have evoked a déjà vu.
“Okay, now watch for a sign,” she said.
“I’ve seen it.”
I looked at her. “In the haunted forest right before the witch’s castle. It said I’d turn back if I were you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t be silly. We’re not going back empty-handed. Carol told me to look for a small sign next to a warehouse. Is that a warehouse?” She pointed to a row of garages clumped together like bad teeth.
“Yeah, could be,” I said.
She lifted her foot off the gas without ramming the brake pedal, an improvement in her driving I could only attribute to magic. To me, this was proof of our proximity to the Wizard’s Whatever.
“Look! There it is!” she squealed, wrenching a hard right. I never noticed the sign as my head hit the roof when she ignored the curb. She stopped her new Ford Focus behind the ramshackle warehouse. Another sign propped against the wall was harder to miss. I read the primary-grade print in purple letters.
Pick your own. $1.00 a pint. Leave money in jar. Use honor system.
I twitched. A pint? How many blueberries are in a pint? Can you pick a half-pint? What if we didn’t have the exact amount of money? Who makes change? I’d never experienced self-service like this. It felt strange, but I followed Faith down a path between the wind break.
Hidden from the road, acres of blueberry shrubs dotted an open field. I could spot the blueberries from yards away. They hung like mini-ornaments in splendid clusters. They glistened with the promise of blueberry crumble and all else that is holy.
Within thirty minutes, we had drawn a gallon of berries from the Wizard’s Cauldron, stuffed two bills in the jar, and flitted..
During the drive back to town, Faith described the recipes she would use, who she would make them for, when she’d make them, and why. “I’m going to make Bobby a pie. I’m old fashioned. I think if he tastes my cooking, he’ll love me even more. Isn’t that a ridiculous sentiment?” She turned to me for what, reassurance? Too bad she didn’t see the bakery truck barreling down the wrong side of a country road.
“Faith! Look out!” I grabbed the wheel. She kicked the brake pedal and screamed.
I’m sure a scenic road becomes a kaleidoscope of pretty colors when viewed from the widows of a spinning car. I can’t say. My eyelids and cheek bones instinctively formed a seal, protecting me from all visuals, beautiful or otherwise. My ears, however, were blasted with the audio of Faith’s screams.
Like a windup toy, the car lost its energy and stopped.
“Are you okay?”
I nodded. “Are you?”
“I’m a mess. That truck! Where did it go?” Faith fumed.
“We’re lucky no one got hurt. Hell, we’re lucky to be alive!” she turned to look in the back. “Look, the blueberries didn’t spill.”
Faith thought it best if I drove the rest of the way. I looked in the rear view mirror at the peculiar black circles staining the road. I shrugged, shifted to drive, and punched it.
I was sorely in need of to-die-for blueberry crumble.
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