Under the Tree, by the Brook.

Submitted for Contest #40 in response to: Write a story about two people who meet and become instant friends.... view prompt


A girl, too young to be called an adult, too old to be called a child, sat down under the tree by the brook.

 Distant echoes of laughter floated down to her from the picnic.

 She was not down here by some cruel, petty, exclusion. The other girls were kind, and one might come by, and gesture to her, to come and talk with them.

 She hoped one would not.

 It wasn't that she, by any means, disliked them. 

It wasn't that she didn't find pleasure in talking, necessarily. 

It was that she didn't like the hassle of waiting for a pause to say something.

 And it was that she often got excited on a topic, and talked so that other people grew weary. 

It was that sometimes everyone laughed until their sides ached, and she half heartedly smiled wondering what was so funny.

So she sat down under the tree by the brook.

She watched the green, oak tree leaves sway, and the reeds, meadowsweet, hemlock, and comfrey dance on the breeze.

It wasn't unpleasant there. 

She watched the brook flowing, and imagined what tales the water could tell. 

She looked at the brook flowing and saw herself reflected in the water. She knew it was her reflection, as it was her own not particularly homely, not particularly comely face in the water.

She looked up from the brook, and saw, on the other side of the tree, her reflection reading a book.

Sitting on a cushion of heather and moss.

Behind her, leading up to the part of the park, that was not near the brook, was what looked like a much used trail.

The girl had not seen the path from above. She supposed you must know it was there to find it. 

At the time she didn't know the reflection sitting on the cushion of moss, and heather was her reflection, as it didn't have her face.

It was not a perfect replication of her.

It would not always mirror her. 

However it was her reflection, atleast to an extent, as they were both at the river for much the same reason. 

Except the reflection had a book. 

The girl wished she had a book.

She wanted to know what book her reflection had.

She opened her mouth to ask, but the words caught in her throat, and she made an awkward sound.

The reflection looked up from her book.

The girl stammered,

 "What book is that?"

"Little Women"

" Which page are you on ?"

"The first page of Amy's booth"

"Is this your first time?"

"I read it every year."

"I hate that none of the adaptions ever feature this scene."

" Agreed, they all see her as an immature, pert child. Or a sassy diva. They rarely see her good side. "

" Do you want a remake of the Harry Potter movies? "

" Don't ask, if you don't want an essay on character development, inner thoughts, foreshadowing, vs. movie glam up. "

" I wouldn't mind. But I think we are of the same mind on that point. Have you read the Anne series? "

"Yes. Have you watched any of the Netflix show? "


"The director only read the Wikipedia summary, and then butchered it, right?"


 The girl looked at the water, and saw her physical reflection smiling at her. 

She twirled a blade of grass, and the reflection on the other side of the tree asked,

" Do you believe in the moon? I mean the landing was obviously fake, but do you believe there's such a thing to land on? Or do you believe it's a government hoax? "

The girl stared for 3 seconds at what seemed to not be her reflection anymore.

Then the reflection twitched and the girl noticed her reflection's merry eyes. The reflection's mouth turned traitor, and broke out into a grin.

" I had you, for a moment there. "

" You certainly did. " 

" What are your favorite flowers or, plants in flower, pick 5 ? "

" Queen Anne's Lace , chrysanthemums, lilies of the valley, camelia, lilacs. Yours ?" 

 " Sunflowers, black-eyed susans, daisies, clover and dandelions " 

The girl looked at the brook, and asked

"Don't you think that is very poetic that we can eat some flowers? Violets and roses are quite edible. However Oleander, hydrangea, and the beautiful lilies of the valley are poisonous? 

" Lilies of the valley are poisonous? They look quite pure, and innocent. "


After that, the girl, facing the brook, fell into her own reverie.

Her reflection fell into her book.

Near the time the girls whose laughter was floating down the brook, decided the picnic was over, the girl fell out of her reverie.

She knew the picnic was being packed up, and turned to go.

She then turned to look at her not quite, but to an extent reflection, but realized she was not sitting on the other side of the tree then. She had left sometime before.

So, the girl quietly went up again, and helped with finishing up the packing of the picnic. She talked with the other children, and said the picnic was delightful, and complimented the location, and food { spicy chips, and chocolate ( which she loved ) especially .} She genuinely thanked the people who had hosted it. The implication may be forming that in past times, she wouldn't be genuinely feeling the sentiments behind her words.

 That was not true. 

It was not bad listening to other girls talk, and occasionally adding in an awkward word. 

It was definitely not unpleasant playing games with them.

Chips, and chocolate were always nice.

And under trees by brooks, or in gardens, or near windows overlooking the city, were pleasant.

However sometimes it was nice to voice your thoughts aloud as you think them. 

A few weeks later, a girl,

not a child, but not an adult walked into a park.

She walked past girls laughing, and giggling and discussing and clamouring all at the same time, happily.

She carried a book in her hands. 

She walked to a tree near a brook.

She sat down under the tree.

She looked at the water, and her reflection for a moment.

She smiled.

And then from beside the tree, she heard a clearing of the throat, 

" What book is that ? "


I counted the words of this story, several times on a Google document, before copy pasting everything onto the submit form here. Whereas on the doc, I had more than enough words, over here, I have less. This has happened before, so I am pretty sure this is a malfunction.

I have written this note, in hopes to make the word count pass through anyway. Thank you for reading, I hoped you enjoyed!

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Vrishni Maharaj
00:16 May 27, 2020

Lovely story!


Khadija S.
01:02 May 27, 2020

Thank you! :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
16:53 May 13, 2020

This is lovely story all introverts who love reading can relate to! I loved the way you began and ended the story. A story that has books and brooks, trees and reveries, chips and daisies is totally my favorite kind!! :)


Khadija S.
16:59 May 13, 2020

Thankyou! I'm glad you could relate, and found the story nice. Your comment was very kind, and sounded like a poem. I'm eager to see what you'll write on here!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Lara Macgregor
20:47 May 10, 2020

This is a great story that touches upon a universal theme.


Khadija S.
23:38 May 13, 2020

Thank you! :) Your comment means alot!


Lara Macgregor
00:06 May 14, 2020

You're welcome. :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Neha Dubhashi
22:30 May 07, 2020

Excellent hook! "A girl, too young to be called an adult, too old to be called a child, sat down under the tree by the brook." Wow. I needed to read something unique like that for a long time now.


Khadija S.
23:10 May 07, 2020

Thankyou! That's the line I am most proud of, too. I feel the exact same way whenever I read your stories, so I really appreciate it!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Chloe Alistar
19:04 May 03, 2020

What a cute short story. The opening line was very catchy. Great job!


Khadija S.
20:49 May 03, 2020

Thankyou! It means alot. :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Riddhi S.
18:58 May 02, 2020

I loved this story! It was sweet and heartfelt. Check out mine if you have time (It's called "The Four of Them") :D


Khadija S.
20:42 May 02, 2020

Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! I will enjoy reading yours. :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
01:29 May 10, 2020

The beginning line was great! At first I didn't completely understand the story, but after reading through it again more slowly, it was amazing!


Khadija S.
01:37 May 10, 2020

Thankyou so much! ( Love your name by the way ;) )


02:32 May 10, 2020

Thanks! I love yours, too!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
C.j Catluva
02:22 May 05, 2020

wow what a great story i love it!


Khadija S.
07:54 May 05, 2020

Thank you so much! :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Maggie Deese
01:39 May 04, 2020

This was a fantastic story! Incredibly simplistic and beautiful. Wonderful job!


Khadija S.
02:32 May 04, 2020

Thank you! You brought a smile to my face! :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply