To Feel, A Modern Tale (03.27.11)

Chapter Five continues with Chloe and Ecker “on a field trip” as they explore the great village of Carthage. Why are they there? What do they hope to learn? And where will all of this lead us? Join us in this continued tale, one paragraph at a time… To Feel, a Modern Tale. 

CHAPTER ONE <Click here for all of CHAPTER ONE.>

CHAPTER TWO <Click here for all of CHAPTER TWO.>

CHAPTER THREE <Click here for all of CHAPTER THREE.>

CHAPTER FOUR <Click here for all of CHAPTER FOUR.>

CHAPTER FIVE

Chloe and Ecker walked through the village. They trailed behind the others who searched for a local museum or historical archive of some kind. This town, Carthage, was an archive itself and looked like something out of the American Western films of the 1950s that the two had watched before as part of their homework to prepare for the field trip. But this was not like the other places they had visited. It was so much more quiet, peaceful and friendly. They watched the people peek their heads out of their store entrances to stay hello to neighbors walking down the street. Or even to strangers – like them.

“Hello there!” a lanky, smiling man exclaimed as they walked past a general store. The sign read “Mr. Evans Evrything Shoppe.” Chloe smiled shyly and waved. Everyone was so carefree and content, Chloe thought to herself, content enough to forget apostrophes and misspell words and not fret about it. She caught up to the leader of here group Niman and pointed out the sign, who rolled her eyes and did not appear amused.

“Well, clearly they have different priorities than grammar and spelling,” the group leader declared as they passed the store. Disheartened that her group leader wasn’t impressed by her astute observation, Chloe slowed down so her friend Ecker could catch up. He finally reached her only after running to reach the rest of the group. “You walk too fast,” he said. “Why do you go so fast? You know we’ve got to save our energy for the trip home.”

Chloe and Ecker continued walking with their group through the village and saw five or six people walk into the village tavern together, laughing and talking, arms around each other’s shoulders as they entered. The curious twosome stopped in front of it, just long enough to watch the doors swing open and gazed inside. It looked like the whole town had gathered there, they thought. This must be the place they were looking for. Ecker got the attention of his leader. “Niman, I think I found it,” he said and pointed to the tavern.

The group leader turned back and returned to the tavern entrance, inspecting the building with what appeared to be a tinge of skepticism as she walked across the deck to peer inside. “All of you, wait here. I don’t think they’ll let me bring you inside,” Niman said. And with that, she quickly tagged along with a group just entering the loud, busy establishment and the study group watched their leader get swallowed up by the tavern doors.

Now what’ll we do, Chloe wondered. But before she could even ponder this question further, her friend had already disappeared as she watched him entering another shop across the street. She quietly slinked away from the group to follow him.

Ecker was hiding behind a row of bookshelves. He looked back and saw his friend, signaled for her to be quiet and motioned her over to him. He spoke in a hush tone as she crept up behind him. “They’re talking about being mothers and their families,” he whispered to his friend and nodded toward a table near the back of the bookstore.

Chloe saw a chalkboard at the front of the shop with the words “Mommy Circle” etched on it and pointed it out to him. “How long are you going to stay here? We have to get back to our group,” she said and peered through the front window nervously.

“Chloe, this is our chance to see it for ourselves,” he said and looked seriously at his friend now. She stopped looking out of the window and turned back to her friend. “I know, I know. It’s why we came. I just don’t want us to be late getting home,” Chloe said, forgetting to lower her voice.

A woman stood up from the table and came over to investigate the two voices she heard behind the book shelves. “Hello? Can I help you?” she said in a friendly, welcoming voice.

Chloe gently shoved Eeker forward and he meekly stepped out from behind a display of the latest installment of the popular Robbie Reynolds children’s book series. “Hi,” he said sheepishly and pointed to the display. “Is this good?”

The woman laughed. “Well, a few million fans of all ages across the world seem to think so, but I guess you’d have to read it for yourself to decide about that,” she said and went behind the nearby check-out desk to grab a sweater off the stool and put it over her shoulders. “If I can help you with anything, just let me know, okay? I’m right back there with my group.” She turned to walk back to the back of the store.

Chloe stepped out of the shadows behind Ecker. “What group is that?” she asked. The woman stopped in her tracks and turned around. “Well, where did you come from?” she said with a slight chuckle. “That’s my book club back there. The Mommy Circle,” and pointed toward the back table. She stepped a little closer to the two children. “Don’t tell anybody but sometimes we run out of time to talk about the books and just talk about being a mommy the whole time,” and with that she smiled and spun around, returning to her group. The two kids looked at each other wide-eyed and knew that this was their chance to learn everything they could about motherhood and families, and how proud their group leader Niman would be when they told her about their big find.

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