***500-word “One Word Prompt” Microfiction Series***

Miracles were the order of the day for 16-year-old Lola as she glanced out the window into the distant pastures from her parent’s farmhouse.

“What if this was grandpa?” she pondered.

She has just come from the barn where the horses were stationed as the farrier was replacing their horseshoes.

There was a moment of unrest as a black raven flew through the barn, spooking the horses. The farrier was knocked backwards by the startled horse and hit his head on the side of a wooden plank, causing a laceration to the forehead.

“Go to your room Lola, and get your mother to bring out a bandage,” said her dad as he attempted to tame the horses and tend to the farrier.

But Lola knew there was more to it. She could feel a cold presence in that barn. She always could, but was never scared of it. Weirdly, it comforted her. As an only child living in rural Australia, she didn’t have many friends, especially because she was homeschooled. She found solace in animals and her ‘imaginary beings’ and considered them her best friends.

Her parents were always too busy to spend quality time with her. She felt invisible most of the time like she was someone they ‘had’ because it was social convention.

Being in the barn with this presence made her feel welcome. As if she wasn’t alone. And she often wondered if it was real, or just a draught from a missing piece of tin on the roof.

The farm wasn’t always theirs, it was inherited by her dad when his father died before she was born. She often wondered what he’d be like, as they seemed to share many similarities.

Grandpa seemed to be a Sharman of the earth. He was more interested in tending to his vegetable garden and a small flock of sheep he called ‘pets’ than building an enterprise through industrial farming, as her parents have now done.

He was never supported in his endeavours and love of nature, seen as a quirky and wasteful of his land. But Lola knew better. She could see the joy in his eyes in every photo she ever saw and the pride he must have had to create such vibrancy and abundance in his world that everyone else seemed to have missed.

She saw how unhappy the 24/7 cycle of farm living made her parents, especially when they could never afford to hire fulltime support.

“Grandpa” she whispered out loud, ”Please show my parents a better way.”

In that moment, a black raven landed on the window sill before her.

“Lola” she could her father shout from the lounge room. She got up and made her way there.

“Look,” he said with a glint of excitement, “I just found this war coin grandpa gave to me when I was a kid underneath some dirt in the barn.

Lola smiled, looked up and nodded approvingly.