The cornstalks reached high into the sky above the little girl's head. From where Angela stood she could see the small, white washed farm house and the chicken coop. The shouting in the house grew louder forcing her further into the cornfield. The stalks tangled her hair and brushed her bare legs and arms as she went deeper into the field. In her hand she grasped an old brown teddy bear.
"Where are you guys?" She whispered searching between stalks.
"Psst! Angela, we're right here. We didn't think you would be coming until after dinner." A deep voice calmly said.
"Mommy and Daddy are fighting again. I don't think we will have dinner, unless Katie comes home early from her boyfriends and fixes me a sandwich." Angela said playing with a strand of brown hair.
"We're sorry we don't have anything to give you to eat."
"That's O.K. How come you guys can't come over to my house? Mommy and Daddy don't think I have friends. You can stay in my room." Angela asked almost pleading. Her large, brown eyes shot a glance back in the direction of the house.
"We can't leave the field. But you must remember we are here for you. And you will need us. Possibly soon."
Angela heard her name being called by her sister, Katie, from the house. She walked to the edge of the cornfield and turned around. "Are you sure you can't come to the house?"
"No, we can't. We can wait here until you can visit again."
"O.K. I'll see you later." Angela waved and ran through the yard to her sister. Katie stood on the porch, arms crossed shaking her head covered in long brown waves of hair.
"Who are you always talking to in that field?" Katie asked pushing her toward the door.
"My friends. Can't you see them?"
"No. You're as crazy as Mom and Dad. They fight and I end up chasing you around a cornfield. Do you want something to eat or not?" Katie snarled down at her sister.
"I don't want anything from you. Don't call me crazy. You can see my friends. You're just being mean." Katie smacked her on the back of the head as she stomped through the door. Katie glanced back over her shoulder toward the corn field. She caught a quick glimpse of something moving in the corn field, but then it was gone.
"I got to get out of this place or I'll end up as crazy as the rest of this family." She mumbled, dismissing what she had seen, and walking into the house.
"Angela, have you eaten yet? Katie, fix her something to eat. I'm not here on this earth to do everything. Between work and keeping this house in order it's a wonder I can still function. The rest of you could help me out from time to time, maybe I would get more work done. But I guess I am the only one concerned about money around here." Their mother yelled from the living room. "And Angela, how many times have I told you to stay out of the fields? I don't appreciate the fact I have to search you out every time I need you. Besides you could get lost for days in there and that's the last thing I need. I swear if I catch you out there again I'll lock you in your room."
Angela's eyes grew wide at her mom's threat, "Mommy, my friends stay there. I'm just playing, not doing anything bad."
"You heard what I said. Don't make me repeat myself. Now, get something to eat."
"I'm not hungry." She stomped her small foot defiantly.
"Go to your room and I don't want to see you until tomorrow." Angela's mom screamed.
Angela turned and walked past Katie, who smacked her on the back of the head again. Angela's eyes filled with tears as she closed the door to her room. She crawled up on her window ledge. Her parents angry voices grew louder as they argued the issue of money and their lack of it. Katie's door slammed down the hall. Angela peered out the window at the cornstalks swaying back and forth. She hugged her teddy bear, it was beginning to get dark and the shadows grew larger. A glass suddenly broke and Angela's mom yelled, and her father's voice rumbled. The constant fighting in the house did not compare to her friends in the field. The offered Angela comfort and they said they would be in the field. They said they'd always be out there, Angela thought. She jumped up and began tugging at her window, trying to open it as quietly as she could. Angela slipped out the window and lowered herself to the ground. Crouching beside the house waiting to get caught, Angela let tears roll down her face.
"Angela, we are here for you. Come to us, we are waiting." A low, soothing voice filled Angela's head. She dashed across the yard and into the cornfield.
"Where are you guys? I'm scared, it's really dark. I can't find you guys." Angela began to panic, frantically pushing her way through the stalks holding her teddy bear out in front of her letting him go first.
"Angela, stop. We are here." A voice gently commanded. "Would you like to come with us now? We have been waiting for you to need us, for you to come to us. We can take you away from here."
"No fighting?" She asked sniffling.
"No fighting. We are your friends, Angela. Friends don't fight, they laugh together."
The voice filled Angela's head, her thoughts swimming. She could not see the house from where she stood, but the fighting grew louder in her head. The yelling seemed to be trapped in her ears. She shook her head trying to escape the noise.
"I will go if my bear, Teddy, can go too. I like to laugh. How long will we be gone?" Angela asked looking over her shoulder toward the house.
The voice gently soothed Angela, "We will be gone awhile. And, yes, Teddy can come too. Now, let us go."
"Should I go to the bathroom before we leave?" Angela asked wiping her nose on the back of her hand.
"It's not a long trip. Now, look into my eyes, Angela."
She concentrated on the clear blue eyes of her friend. They were full of warmth and comfort. A calm fell over her and the fighting in her ears vanished. Angela became hypnotized and her eyes fell shut. When she opened them again, her brown eyes were replaced by the same clear blue as her friends'. She entered a large light and a tingling sensation began to make her laugh.
Her parents suddenly stopped arguing in the house as they heard Angela's laughter fill the sky, there was a sudden burst of blinding light. Angela's laughter was joined by other laughing voices, and then the laughter slowly disappeared into the night.
These people gave me important advice and suggestions for improving this story:
Pat Miller Pam Mann Joi Bergman Joe A. White
A. Michael Peters Terry Heller Jenn Temps
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