Pickles were not her favorite. Sharon had been hiding them around the house all day. She was pretty sure she could fit a few behind the mystery jug on the top shelf. She tucked two jars under her arm and climbed up but the shelf tittered. She hopped down and reached over with her foot to drag her little brother’s stool over to the shelf. By resting her right foot on one of the shelves she was able to shift the heavy jug forward enough to tuck a pickle jar behind it. She wobbled a moment on one foot as she lifted the next jar to the high shelf. Sharon grabbed for the shelf to steady herself, but over shot and sent the mystery jug crashing to the ground. It broke into three large pieces. Sharon cringed at the curse she uttered hoping no one heard her. She’d receive a heavier punishment if someone heard her swear. She looked around but didn’t see anyone running to investigate. Sharon set the other jar of pickles onto the shelf and pulled a book over to cover the pickle jars. She hopped down as cannonball of dread dropped into her stomach.
This mystery jug had been a family treasure of sorts. While it was a common brown jug, it was all her mother had of her family. Her family used to make apple cider, before they had lost everything. Her mother did not talk about her past much. She had lost everyone and everything to a series of accidents and illnesses. Mother always said that father was her good luck charm, because after she met him everything changed for her.
Sharon crouched over the sharp shards trying to imagine how she could possibly put the pieces back together and onto the shelf without her mother finding out. The jug had never been moved by anyone, except Sharon who hid things there regularly. It was the best hiding place in the house. She hid all her sugared treats there so her hulking older brother Todd wouldn’t eat them.
Sharon might be able to balance the pieces together until she was able to get her hands on some glue. She picked up the largest piece that still held the handle and the narrow opening. Underneath it was the nearly furless remains of two dead mice. Sharon shoved down the gag that rose up her throat and averted her eyes. She had the most sensitive gag reflex in the whole village. She was famous for it. It would take a herculean effort to keep her breakfast down. She swallowed another gag and then looked out the window as she picked up the three pieces. As she stood up she heard a thump hit the ground. She felt around with her shoe, hoping to shove the dead mice under the bookshelf, but crunched them instead. Sharon lost her breakfast.
Once she stopped heaving, Sharon sighed. “Great. Two messes to clean up.” And that’s when she saw it. A glittering gem the color of the roses in her mother’s garden and the size of an apple, winking at her. Sharon retched once more for good measure then tucked the very precious stone into the pocket of her apron before looking for something to hold the mystery jug together before her mother got home and killed her. The vomit could wait.
Writing prompt: Jug.
Photo Credit: Timothy Valentine.