Chapter 5.4- A Smart Slap On The Rump

13 Sep

Hello everyone. Last we left off, Briony was going through a gate. Now, she’s through that gate. Let’s see what happens next, shall we.


Briony takes immediate notice of the rows upon rows of apple trees with ripe fruit hanging heavily from the branches.

Janessa: Well, you can say goodbye to any other plans you had for today Michael. The trees demand your attention.

Michael: This’ll take the better part of tomorrow too, I’m thinking.


Janessa: Well don’t think you’ll be getting any help from me, I’ve got the entire vegetable garden to worry about. And we’ve still got the animals to deal with as well.

Briony follows, hardly hearing their conversation. She looks up in a daze at all the delicious food hanging within her reach, and the sunny peaceful yard stretching before her.


Lost in her thoughts, she nearly walks right into the huge wet nose now snuffling at her. She takes a step back and holds out a hand. She’s heard of these, but never seen one for herself. Her mother had once told her of all the animals that couldn’t survive in the open. Cows didn’t do well against zombies.

That’s about all she knows about cows. On second thought, she withdraws her hand. What if cows eat hands?

Llamas do, soooo.


Briony turns to see Janessa calling her into the house, and steps slowly away from the cow. It watches her lazily and then returns to sniffing at the grass. The cow doesn’t seem to be a threat and Briony follows Janessa across the yard when an excited bark causes her to again jump back, startled.


Janessa: Michael, if you let him do that with you he’ll think it’s alright to jump around like that with everyone!

Briony relaxes, realizing that the excited barks aren’t aimed at her. She sees Janessa disappear into the cottage and follows her in.


The inside of the cottage proves homier than Briony had expected, with a pleasant coolness coming off the stone walls and floor of beaten earth.

Janessa: Now come here, dear. First thing is to get you cleaned up.


Janessa: You’ll need to go down to the water and give yourself a good scrub. I’ll keep Michael busy up here so noone will bother you, but please don’t try any foolish running away nonsense. Here, this is my granddaughter’s dress. Or was. She won’t mind you keeping it, lord knows it doesn’t fit her after three kids.

Briony is handed a dress of soft blue fabric and ushered back out the front door. Feeling a bit more at ease, she tries to orient herself to her surroundings.


To her right a spotted horse cranes its neck, trying to reach into a fenced vegetable garden. It looks up sheepishly as if expecting a scolding from Janessa, and then returns to its endeavors.


To her left is the orchard through which she first came in, as well as the cows and some sheep she hadn’t noticed, all picking at the pasture and generally lounging in the afternoon sun.


It’s strange to be seeing the water’s edge from this angle now. She can imagine what a wreck she looked like all those years ago, floating hopelessly along. Slowly the rags are peeled off her skin, protesting as though they had actually become a part of her. Feeling sun on parts of her body that haven’t seen sun in years, Briony slips into the water.


She feels the tickle of the water plants against her legs, and swishes her arms around. She’s sure she’s imagining the cloud of dirt that seems to be radiating off her skin, but all the same it gets her motivated to really scrub herself. Soon she feels slippery and clean, although her hair seems to be a lost cause. She washes it out as best she can, but the tangles have a mind of their own.


Briony surprises herself at her own delight in putting on the dress. The knitted wool ripples around her legs as she moves, and she spends some time walking around the small beach and just watching her own movements. She hasn’t worn something that feels so soft and unrestricting in years, and even does a few twirls before realizing how silly she looks.


On the way up to the house she smiles to a passing cat, and lets out a small giggle at the horse who seems to have given up his quest for the forbidden vegetable garden.


As she steps into the cottage Janessa puts down the potatoes she is peeling and looks Briony over. Suddenly shy, Briony looks down at her feet now clad in spotless cowhide moccasins.


Janessa: Well that’s better, isn’t it! Now come sit, it’s time we tackled that trampled muskrat on your head.


Obediently Briony sits, submitting to whatever Janessa deems necessary. An orange cat hops up onto the table beside her, and yawns at them.

Janessa: Well the wash loosened it up nicely. It’s much longer than it looks, just such a mess! But we’ll save it.


The scissors come out and Briony lets her head be pulled right and left. At some point during the procedure Michael makes an appearance. Briony’s grateful he doesn’t say anything, as just then she has to squeeze her eyes shut against the pain of Janessa trying to run a comb through her hair. She breathes through it, and when she opens her eyes again Michael is gone.

Janessa: Well, I think we’ve done it. Most of it’s gone, but what’s left is healthy. It will do.


Tentatively Briony reaches up and is shocked to feel her own hair, soft, clean, and silky. While it’s hardly chin-length, she’s able to run her fingers through all of it. Her shoulders start to shake and a tear falls into her lap. Janessa takes Briony’s hand and holds it tenderly.

Janessa: I can’t imagine how good that feels. There now, under all that dirt there was such a lovely girl all along.

For a moment Briony allows her head to lean against Janessa’s wiry old hand. The tears slow, and she lets her hand drop out of Janessa’s.


Janessa: Now let’s see if we can get our garden looking as lovely as you. Four days we were away, and the vegetables have suffered for it.


Outside Briony finds herself entirely in her element, and relaxes into the task of pulling weeds and plucking tomatoes to the chorus of Janessa’s occasional “Dreadful! What a shame!”. Briony guesses she’s found the patch the horse was able to sneak.

Briony: I saw your horse eating those.

Janessa: Oh he’s such a bad boy! Won’t do it while we’re here but since we’ve been gone he thinks he needs to test the limits again. If you see Roland doing that again you give him a smart slap on the rump and tell him to be off.


A puff of warm air on Briony’s ankle startles her and she jumps up to her feet. The dog jumps back too, and then carefully resumes sniffing the hem of her dress.

Janessa: Tom smells Miranda’s dress, he can’t figure out why it’s not her in it. Dopey dog.


Briony bends down and offers a hand like she did with the cow. Tom accepts it eagerly, and once he seems to have become acquainted with the new person in the old dress gives her hand a friendly lick. Briony decides she’s probably made a new friend.

Sidenote: If you have a dog, trade pants with another member of the family. I put on my mom’s sweatpants that she’d been wearing once and my dog was SO. CONFUSED. It was great.


The day wanes and Briony is hugely satisfied with the improvements made to the cabbage and pumpkin vines. Her and Janessa agree that the peppers might need more help than can be provided in a day, and that they might be a lost cause.

Janessa: If you would dear, Michael needs help in the orchard. Dinner should be ready around sunset.


Apprehensively Briony joins Michael in the orchard. It’s the first time she’s been alone with him since the cave, and she’s unsure how to address the total weirdness of the past few days. She’s suddenly very grateful for the presence of Tom, who has taken to following her around the yard.


It turns out that her anxiety is entirely unnecessary, as the only thing Michael says to her during the entire time is, “Careful you don’t step in the dog poop there.”

Briony finds a nice rhythm of picking apples, and carries on the work until sunset when she is interrupted by Janessa calling them in for dinner.


The light reflecting off the water catches Briony’s attention. Michael has long gone in search of food with Tom trailing behind him, and Briony listens to the golden orange waves in solitary peace.


It brings back a flood of memories of other sunsets in other places. The ones she would see perched in her mother’s tower with her mother sitting next to her, the ones in those quiet evenings with her dad, or the brilliant tangerine  one that swept her into the cave.


Michael: Gran says come in now or go hungry!

Briony almost believes it, and turns towards the cottage. She feels the last heat of the day against the back of her neck now unburdened from the dense curtain of matted hair.


Dinner turns out to be incredible. Fresh fish and vegetables all doused in a river of flavourful cream sauce, courtesy of the milk from the cows. Briony’s never had anything like it, and finds herself holding back tears for the first few bites.

It’s so delicious Briony forgets to be bothered by the fact that Michael is oddly quiet and sullen tonight. Janessa seems to notice this, and keeps peering suspiciously at him, but true to her nature seems to decide that she has absolutely no time to deal with sulking and carries on chattering as usual.


After dinner, Michael hurries to get things cleaned up and Janessa waves Briony over into the little room at the side of the house.

Janessa: Come, dear! This one’s for you.


Janessa: You’ll find more clothes in the chest there, you can have anything you find. Oh, and check for cats before you go to sleep. They leave such a mess if they get locked in overnight.


Janessa leaves her, and Briony looks around her new bedroom. It’s sparsely furnished, but the furs on the floor and on the bed look soft and warm. Overall the effect is very inviting, as if to say the little room has been waiting for someone to fill it with life.

Finally alone, Briony lets out a long sigh and feels a huge sense of relief that this overwhelming day is finally over. She can’t even begin to process her new surroundings, her new clothes, her new hair. Part of her wants to vault out the window and disappear. Instead, she removes her shoes and lets her toes nestle into the fur rug.


Before climbing into bed she follows Janessa’s advice. Once it realizes it’s been spotted the cat seems to know the game is up, and bolts for the door. Briony lets it out, and then falls into the impossible softness of her new bed.


9 Responses to “Chapter 5.4- A Smart Slap On The Rump”

  1. AtlasSims September 13, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    It’s so nice to see Briony all cleaned up and out of her Gollum stage. Now let’s hope for the sake of the legacy that eating all that gross pond junk hasn’t messed with her reproductive system.


    • thronepie September 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      I like to think that her super strong immune system will get passed on to any kids.

      • AtlasSims September 14, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

        Fancy! That makes me feel much better lol.

  2. daynahsreverie September 14, 2015 at 3:13 am #

    Janessa reminds me of another old woman who appeared earlier on in this legacy. Crazy to think that was 4 generations ago.

    • thronepie September 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

      Yeah, I can’t believe I’ve actually made it this far without quitting haha

  3. Niura September 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Oh, a cow, nice… Hope Briony is not lactose intolerant! 😀

    Love the kitty under the bed. Reminds me of my own kitty – he always has a plot going on to sleep in my bed. When i try to banish him he pretends to sleep even more and goes totally limp so i have to struggle to pick him up.

    Also, that sunset is absolutely stunning! On which map are you playing them?

    • thronepie September 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      Haha you have a clever cat! Mine only sleeps with my brother 😦

      I am playing on Roseward, which is specifically designed as an apocalypse world. I modify a lot but it’s nice to have everything partially set up for me already. It is located here

      • Niura September 15, 2015 at 12:32 am #

        Ooo, very nice map! While map hunting, i came across Lost Cove. Similar style. I guess you already know this, but just in case:

      • thronepie September 16, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

        Wow, I wish I had known about this earlier! So cool 🙂

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