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A Diamond In The Dust

A Diamond In The Dust
A warm breeze blew eerily over the brown, barren Canterbury plains. Dust fluttered into little swirls around Adrienne’s bare feet as she pegged clothes on the line. Clouds framed an arch of blue sky above the hills in the north-west.

She scooped up her empty basket and hoisted it under one arm, looking like a simple washerwoman in her cotton gypsy skirt and white singlet.

She enjoyed the times when Trapper was away. This was her place then and she could imagine life without him, if only for a brief time.

Climbing the back steps, cool under her feet, Adrienne turned and gazed out over the back yard. Their house backed onto the wind farm, which was something Adrienne loved, but Trapper was not so keen on. She loved watching the huge turbines, spinning in lazy circles. About half way down the browning field she spotted Joey, out doing his morning routine check. She waved, smiled, and after a moment received a similar return gesture.

Joey was a sweet kid. He was the same age now that Adrienne had been when she came to this place. His mother, Meg, had taken her under the wing. They were like the family Adrienne still missed. Meg had taught her everything she knew about gardening, including every medicinal purpose she knew for the vast variety of herbs they tended. Now Adrienne had her own huge plot. Between the two of them they were able to keep the whole community supplied with all the fresh food they required.

Adrienne smiled to herself as she remembered one of the first things Meg had told her.

Don’t let anyone push you into being a reproduction factory. You have your babies when you’re good and ready. Then she had shown Adrienne which herbs to mix into a natural contraceptive.

In the eight years that Adrienne had been on Earth Trapper continued to remain mystified as to why his young bride had not yet conceived. Now at twenty-four she was ripe, and finally ready to give in and have her own children. She knew she would be raising them largely without Trapper, but she had Meg and the others. She wouldn’t be alone.

She had stopped taking the herbs about six months ago. Trapper, however, had lost interest in their sex life long before that.

He travelled so much that Adrienne suspected he had other women to warm his bed. She was a trophy wife, a symbol of his status among the higher community. She had been brought here for a purpose, and so far that had not been served. Trapper grew more disappointed with her every day. That suited her fine, the less time he spent there the more time she could spend with the people she had grown to love. She had other uses as far as the community were concerned, and Trapper didn’t understand them. As far as he was concerned she was there only to serve him.

Adrienne ran a hand over the arc of her stomach and smiled. She remembered the night, nearly four months ago, when he had come home unexpectedly in a particularly foul mood. She had rubbed him the wrong way with a lashing comment. He had backhanded her across the room, leaving a mark on her face that would bruise for the following week. Sprawled on the floor she had expected Trapper to come to her, say how sorry he was, but instead he had grabbed her by the hair and dragged her upstairs to the bedroom. Bent over, face in the pillow she had cried, trying to block out what Trapper was doing to her. Her only thoughts were, please God, at least if I have to go through this, give me a child.

She had bled all through the night, but hadn’t bled at all since.

Wiping the sweat from her brow she walked up to the laundry dropped the basket on the orange clay tiled floor then wandered through the house to the bathroom. Peeling off her layers of clothing she stepped under the shower, a simple water nozzle that jutted out from the wall above the tilted, tiled floor. The warm water poured over her slim body, plastering her wild, honey blonde hair into submission against her neck and shoulders.

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