Picnic

Rosa bounced around in the baby carrier on Stan’s back, who strode down the country path. She spotted a low hanging branch up ahead and reached out for one of the leaves. Stan swatted away a fly from his face, thus turning the carrier and diverting Rosa at the last minute. As the leaf passed within inches of her grasp she burst into tears.

Stan stopped walking and shouted over to Alice, who was just up ahead, ‘She’s crying again’. Stan sighed then lowered himself onto one knee and waited for Alice to come and decipher her cries.

Alice reached them mid-wail and knelt down to see what the matter was, ‘I think she’s hungry, we’re nearly back at the car now though, so let’s just carry on.’

Stan nodded and Alice helped him back up to his feet. They carried on down the path. Rosa spotted another target and managed to touch the leaf, immediately stopping her crying. ‘Go figure’ Stan said.

Up ahead the overgrown path opened up into a field. Stan was looking down at the path and nearly walked into the back of Alice, who’d stopped dead. ‘Over there’ Alice said, pointing into the middle of the field. Stan held his hand up to his eyes, to shield his eyes from the sun and looked to where she was pointing.

In the middle of the field, two bulging bags sat, black flies buzzed around them. Besides the bags a picnic blanket had been laid out on the ground, four plates and cups, sat on the blanket.

Alice looked up at Stan, who just shrugged. They could see the whole field, nobody was in sight. Stan began to say something, but Alice put her finger to her lips and whispered, ‘Let’s see if we can hear anyone’.

They stood there and listened to the breeze rustling in the trees, they watched the tree line, and looked up and down the path.

Alice began to walk over to the scene. Stan reached out and touched her shoulder, she shrugged him off and carried on.

Stan stood waiting as Alice reached the bags and waved away the flies. She leaned down and opened one of the bags wide before recoiling and covering her mouth and nose with her hand.

She left without checking the second bag and started back to rejoin Stan and Rosa. She briefly stopped and looked back at the bags then carried on towards them, ‘Everything’s rotten’ she shouted out to Stan.

When she reached them, she took Stan’s hand and led them back down the path. ‘Well?’ Stan asked as they walked. Alice shrugged and carried on walking, when Rosa began to cry again.

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