Fetching the Doctor

Avatar Author: Cally Beck I am a twenty-three year old third-year law student at the University of Baltimore. I am also one of the lead developers for Lithmeria, a MUD currently in beta-testing. In college, I majored in philosophy and minored in r... Read Bio

“You must go,” ordered Farmer Geonnes.

“But Father! The forest…” The boy’s voice was fearful.

The farmer snorted as derivisvely as he could, trying to dismiss his son’s fears. “You’re a man now, Alviso, and your sister has no time for your childhood fears. Now fetch the doctor.”

His shoulders slumped. There was no one else on whom the task could fall. “Yes, sir.”

Alviso retrieved his coat, hat, and much-mended gloves before braving the cold wind outside the family’s sturdy front door. He stretched his normal pace into a jog, though the path was as dark as a witch’s heart and he had only memory to guide him through the fence posts.

In the forest, he had not even that.

The branches stretched toward him like the spindly hands of wraiths, and twice—twice—he would have sworn he saw the ghost of Marjorie Cook, the sweet young girl he would have married. Should have married, and perhaps she wouldn’t have gone missing, gotten lost…

Alviso shook his head to clear it.

He had to fetch the doctor.

View this story's details


Oh no! This story doesn't have a prequel. Want to fill in the blanks and write one?

Comments (6 so far!)

Average Reader Rating

  1. Avatar Robert Quick

    I like it! It hadn’t occurred to me that the Farmer would send his son, though I suppose it is more likely than hired help. My only criticism is the last two sentences both begin with ‘He’ so they stick out. It doesn’t break the story or anything but it is noticeable.

  2. Avatar Cally Beck

    You’re right about the repetition of the “He.” I removed that and the adverb to make room for his name, so hopefully that fixes things.

    And yeah, I figured most small-town farmers either have a big staff or use their families, and something about the tone of your story made me feel like it was more of a small family farm, on the edge of starvation kind of thing, since it’s horror.

  3. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    nice! i thought it was the farmer himself.. but this is a great intro!

  4. Avatar Cally Beck

    Thanks! I would have though that too, but I figured the language of “messenger” was intended to be telling, in the parent piece.

  5. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    it was a change he made! i can see it now.

  6. Avatar Jae

    Good simile use!

Inspired by

Cold wind, bitter as black coffee and sharp enough to draw blood, swept through the midnight forest that lay betwixt Farmer Geonnes’ an...

A Doctor's Duties by Robert Quick

This story's tags are