Under the Apple Tree

Submitted for Contest #63 in response to: Write about two characters going apple picking.... view prompt

61 comments

Oct 16, 2020

Inspirational Speculative Teens & Young Adult

My old, fraying wicker basket swung freely from the crook of my elbow as I wandered down the rocky path, searching for the perfect apple tree. My pale brown dog, Bonnie, trotted faithfully by my side, attempting to keep up, despite her petite legs. The lush orchard tree branches hung heavily with the ripening red fruit. As I passed under them, I picked several apples and added them to my basket, which was beginning to grow heavy. As I neared the end of yet another row of trees, I saw it, the perfect apple tree. Its long, reaching branches were covered with leaves the color of jade. The rough bark was a dark ochre color, mixed with lighter hues. The apples that hung from its branches were a riveting red, mixed with golds and greens. The branches were spread wide, providing the perfect amount of shade beneath it. I spread out a blanket beneath me and set out a bowl for Bonnie, filling it with cold, clear water from my water bottle. Bonnie gratefully lapped it up with her agile pink tongue. I leaned against the trunk of the tree and closed my eyes. This newly discovered darkness opened up whole new worlds of possibility to my other senses. My ears took in the birds singing their sweet melodies to the rising sun, who was just beginning to peek shyly over the crest of a far off hill. The squirrels bickered and chattered to each other as they leaped about, in search of food. The soft autumn breeze playfully whispered secrets to the trees, causing their leaves to tremble in excitement. The crisp air smelled of tart apples and ripening pumpkins from a nearby field. The sharp scent of cinnamon drifted in and around the other smells. My fingers gently brushed Bonnie’s soft, shaggy coat, feeling each strand of fur as they passed over, not wanting to linger too long. My other hand rested on the worn leather cover of my notebook. I could practically taste the change in the air.

I opened my eyes and set the leather-bound notebook in my lap. The cover was slightly worn at the edges, where I had fingered it many times. The pages were dog-eared and some had slight tears on the edges. I opened it up to a blank page, about halfway in. I stared at the blank page. So many beautiful possibilities were hidden in that single blank piece of paper. Whole worlds of creation, of magic, and sadness and love. People whom I have never had the pleasure of meeting, who have had fantastical adventures. They have slain dragons, conquered antagonists, and overcome their fears. They have faced many sorrows, and come out of them better than they were before. There were long-lost princesses, finding their way home. There were forbidden loves, flourishing in secret. There were brave men, women, and children who faced their seemingly insurmountable obstacles with brave hearts and minds. 

I closed my eyes and imagined what it would be like to really be as brave as a lion, unafraid to face my battles. What is it like to love and be loved so much that you are willing to take your own life over the death of your beloved? I can imagine how incredible it would be to make something phenomenal happen with the wave of a magical branch. I can imagine all the incredible adventures I would have, the monsters I would defeat, the people I would grow to know and love. What would it be like to live in a world of my creation? Where I could be safe from the judgment and unkind words of others.

I opened my eyes once again, gazing out at the landscape, wondering. Wondering at the beauty of my surroundings. Wondering how they contrast so very much from me. Autumn is expressive, showing off its bright golds, pastel oranges, and fiery reds. It buzzes with life, overtaking one's senses. It contributes to the vast magnificence of Earth. 

I, on the other hand, bottle everything up inside of myself, hesitant to show my colors. I blend into the background, like a blade of grass among thousands. I keep my ideas, my dreams, my aspirations to myself, too afraid that if I share them, I will be mercilessly ridiculed and shunned by others. The only place I truly feel comfortable is alone or with my trusty companion, Bonnie. Bonnie does not ridicule me or make me feel as if I am only a fallen leaf, fit only to be stepped on for the fun of hearing me cry out as I am crushed. Bonnie is someone who makes me feel as if my ideas are something to be valued and used to make the world a better place. She listens carefully to each dream and treats them like they are something precious, storing them in glass cases, and tucking them away where they cannot be damaged by others. She understands my need for quiet and the peace that it brings. She knows that sometimes, there are things in life that no words, no matter how big, can express. Bonnie is my confidant, the one who makes me feel as if I am whole. As if I am worthy of life. 

I reach into my wicker basket and pull out an apple. I run my fingers over the smooth, waxy skin. The apple has bruises and a couple of cuts. The skin is not all the same color either. In some spots, it is ruby-red, in others a deep gold, and in other places still, a pale, bright green. I raise the apple to my lips and take a bite. Despite its flaws, it still tastes delicious. Maybe, despite my flaws, I can still succeed. Maybe my ideas and dreams can still be valued by others. Maybe I can leave my mark on the world, for the better. Sitting under the apple tree, I have realized that maybe, just maybe, I can learn to live again.

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61 comments

Hello Felicity!! I just read this story and let me tell you, it is absolutely amazing!! You did a great job writing the plot so nicely because the setting and the characters tied in perfectly! :)

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01:31 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Haripriya! :)

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No problem! You deserved it! :)

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15:53 Oct 17, 2020

Hello! I'd love it if you would leave some feedback about what I can do better on this short story! If not, no worries, thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

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Hibah Youssef
21:07 Nov 26, 2020

I have to say the first sentence caught my eye and as soon as I continued reading I was instantly drawn in. It is beautifully written :) You did a great job!

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20:39 Nov 28, 2020

Thank you so much, Hibah!!

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Amanda Kelly
17:37 Oct 21, 2020

The only thing I would say is that I wished there was more dialouge-even if it was with the dog (haha). Otherwise its an amazing story!

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17:39 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you so much, Amanda! I thought you might like the dog. ;)

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Abi Abi
04:57 Oct 23, 2020

I like you description. The way you deliver you thoughts. I love the line "I keep my ideas, dreams and my aspirations to myself". Well written

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13:13 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you so much!

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T. s. Burkhardh
04:09 Oct 22, 2020

So many wonderful descriptions throughout. I felt really drawn into it and the world you created out of words. Some paragraphs are quite long but that works in many stories. The language and style are very smooth. I like the part where it says that Bonnie "listens carefully to each dream and treats them like they are something precious, storing them in glass cases." Some people might argue that dogs don't really do that, but I like it and certainly think it works in this piece. If you were going to expand it you could perhaps add a specific...

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13:18 Oct 22, 2020

Thanks so much!! :)

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01:10 Oct 22, 2020

Hi Felicity,I'm parami who got paired up with you for the critique circle this week.exactly a brilliant writing.I love the metaphors you used here and actually I loved Apple picking as well but in my country no apples are found. So, All the best and happy writing. -parami

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01:18 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much, Parami! :)

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01:23 Oct 22, 2020

It was a pleasure to read a story of a hufflepuff.

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Amanda Kelly
17:20 Oct 21, 2020

Love it! Beautifully written!

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17:21 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you so much!!

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Autumn H
00:46 Oct 21, 2020

I loved the story. :) So descriptive! Thank you for the like and follow, by the way. It's greatly appreciated.

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13:21 Oct 21, 2020

Thank you! No problem. ;)

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Chris Buono
00:20 Oct 20, 2020

Another great story, I am completely in love with how you described the apple trees and the orchard. I’d love to visit that orchard myself and spend a relaxing day writing or daydreaming there. Maybe tell ghost stories with friends. I like the struggle of the narrator wanting to be brave and beautiful like their characters but also coming to peace with the fact that nothing is completely perfect. They seem like an enjoyable person to be around and have a conversation with. Lovely work.

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00:24 Oct 20, 2020

Thank you so much, Chris! The internal struggle is based on my own. Some of the thoughts that run through my character's head often run through mine. I wrote in it the hopes of resolving my own struggle. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

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Chris Buono
00:31 Oct 20, 2020

I know what you’re talking about. Characters are so often a projection of the writer’s own personality. I’ll try to read one or two more in a bit.

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Chris Buono
00:33 Oct 20, 2020

Also, something I like to remind myself is that Stephen King once kept a collection of his failures and places turning him down. It grew so large in such a short amount of time that he threw his original draft of “Carrie” into the garbage bin and his wife is the one that saved it from being lost forever. The universe has a way of making it so that we get to where we need to be.

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Philip Clayberg
19:42 Oct 19, 2020

Wonderful story. I could almost imagine you being in the Garden of Hesperides (where the tree of golden apples was; Paris was asked to give one to the goddess he thought deserved it most; he gave it to Aphrodite), or maybe the orchard outside Cair Paravel in Narnia, or the orchard at Green Gables. Are you thinking of adding a sequel to your story? If so, I'd like to read it after you've written it.

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20:47 Oct 19, 2020

Thank you so much! I actually was imagining the orchard at Green Gables! I just finished reading Anne of Green Gables for the fourth time a couple of days ago. :) I will add a sequel! Again, thank you so much for the feedback!

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Philip Clayberg
22:28 Oct 19, 2020

You're more than welcome. I have the Anne series (except "Anne of Ingleside", because I really didn't want to read again about Christine Stuart) in hardback, as well as the "Chronicles of Avonlea" and "The Further Chronicles of Avonlea". The one about the quarantine is great, as is the one about the lady who lied about a fake beau and, guess who comes to visit Avonlea? A man who fits her fictitious description and name. There's also the one called (I think) "The Pot Calls the Kettle Black", which is about a fun and interesting courtshi...

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Kaitlyn James
03:11 Oct 19, 2020

Great job! I like the detail and the use of interesting words! Keep up the good work!

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16:11 Oct 19, 2020

Thank you!!

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Kaitlyn James
23:48 Oct 19, 2020

No problem! I like it a lot!

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15:15 Oct 18, 2020

Hey Felicity, I enjoyed your story :)) I just have a couple small comments: Near the beginning of the first paragraph, you used the wrong "its." It's (hehe) a really small mistake, I know, just bringing it to your attention :))) This piece was a bit bland/flat. There wasn't much action or dialogue, and while your descriptions were very, well, descriptive, and rich--which is a good thing--they took up basically the whole story. Also, at the beginning, you're talking about the perfect apple tree and its perfect colors and all that, but the...

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21:11 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback!! I really appreciate it!

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Artemisia Pearl
19:34 Oct 25, 2020

And another beautiful story! Thank you for putting me in your bio! I really appreciate it! Again the decriptions are amazing! Keep working your magic, girl! I love your writing!

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00:34 Oct 26, 2020

No problem! You truly are an incredible author! Thank you!!!

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Riley Jo
15:48 Oct 20, 2020

More, more, more! It was a lovely story and made me really crave to be in an apple orchard myself sometime! The way you said, "Despite its flaws, it still tastes good. Maybe, despite my flaws I can still succeed" made me really understand how she was feeling about herself and how even though she was bullied, she still is going to persevere and is going to fight through with her book characters and trusty dog Bonnie!

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15:53 Oct 20, 2020

Thank you so much, Riley!!!

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Vicky S
04:55 Oct 18, 2020

Hi Felicity, I've just finished reading your story. I thought it was really sweet, and I thought you descriptions were great.

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21:11 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you!

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Antman 🐜
17:53 Feb 23, 2021

Great story! I love the inspiration!💖 🐀 Also, would you like me to put your favorite story on my bio? Just comment your favorite! Thanks! 💖 I also just realized that I probably read your bio already 😅

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14:10 Feb 24, 2021

Hi Katelyn!! Thank you so much!! Oh, sure! Do you mean like my favorite story from other Reedsy authors or my favorite story of mine? Lol! :)

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Antman 🐜
14:25 Feb 24, 2021

Either or both! 😅😁

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22:43 Feb 28, 2021

My favorite story of mine is The Curse of the Black Rose and my favorite story of someone else's is Forest of Memories by Litlover (Luke)!

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Antman 🐜
11:55 Mar 01, 2021

Great! I'll feature both! 😁💖

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16:42 Mar 01, 2021

Aww you're so sweet Katelyn!!

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The descriptions were absolutely amazing! Your storytelling skills are truly beautiful!

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20:52 Feb 01, 2021

Aww thanks Ethan/Ethzel!! Do you have a preferred name? :)

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Ooh... so I was working it out here before I tried it... but I'm back to square one. I just couldn't stand it for long enough

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Sahitthian 🤗
04:48 Nov 24, 2020

I loved it.Wonderful.Keep writing. Would you mind reading my story “Leaf me alone “

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14:01 Nov 24, 2020

Thank you, Sahitthian! I would love to read your story! It may take me a few days though. :)

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Sahitthian 🤗
03:33 Nov 25, 2020

Welcome.ok

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Salom :)
04:00 Nov 13, 2020

This is a really good story! I like all the sensory details and stuff you added, it really put a lot into it. I saw you on Ink's page, and it is very nice to meet you. I can't wait to read more of your work! Ps. Can I call you Felice? (It's a bit of a harry potter reference too, since I saw you were a hufflepuff (me too!))

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14:16 Nov 13, 2020

Hey Salom! Thank you so much for the feedback! And sure you can! That's awesome that you're a Hufflepuff!

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Salom :)
18:14 Nov 13, 2020

Of course! Nice to meet you Felice!

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19:13 Nov 13, 2020

Nice to meet you too, Sal! :)

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Salom :)
06:34 Nov 23, 2020

If I may go on the biggest side note, I think I may have found the best Harry Potter ship if you want to hear

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14:15 Nov 23, 2020

Haha, sure! I would love to hear!

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