Posted by: Phil Anderson | June 21, 2015

Family Breakfast

In honor of Fathers Day I’m sharing a sample from my work-in-progress, Conquest of Theran – Overthrow. This is the beginning of chapter two, introducing Sirah (one of the main characters) and her family. Let me know what you think with your comments below. Enjoy!

16foodporridge.original

“Good morning.” Sirah kissed her father’s warm, whiskery cheek and set a piping bowl of porridge on the wooden table in front of him. He inhaled the maple-flavored steam that danced and twisted in the air, and smiled back at her.

Sirah’s two younger brothers stampeded in, squabbling and jostling one another. She sighed as they sidled themselves up to the table and called out, “Hey, where’s our breakfast?”

“Kendy’s bringing it.” Sirah frowned at their grubby fingers, already soiled by morning’s first chores, twiddling with their spoon handles. “Did you wash your hands?”

“Ah, they’re clean enough,” said Rine. He and Mikon wiped them on their shirts, leaving striped streaks of grime on the front and sides of their already wrinkled tunics.

“They’re filthy,” she said. “You can’t eat with those.”

“I’ll use a spoon,” Mikon replied.

Sirah glared at his impertinence, then turned to her father in appeal.

“Get cleaned up, boys,” he said. They rose reluctantly and scurried outside to the water pump. Snatches of bickering filtered back and intensified with the sound of splashing water.

When they returned, their hands were clean but their shirts were wet and disheveled, the sleeves dripping water on the floor. Little Kendy had brought the rest of the wooden porridge bowls and Mother was pouring cups of fresh, sweet milk.

As the family ate, Sirah could sense gloomy, gray clouds of worry between her parents. She wondered if they would dissipate with the winds of the day’s activity, or materialize into the summer storm they were threatening. Her younger brothers and sister chatted and laughed, oblivious, but Sirah was alert.

She watched her father looking intently at her mother as he absently poked and folded his porridge with his spoon. The gray patches in his otherwise dark hair and beard aged him. The creases on his forehead and at the corners of his eyes showed the wear of worry and care.

Sirah glanced at her mother. Her brown hair was also sprinkled with gray, and her skin was not as smooth as it once had been, but she was still very pretty. She scolded the younger children for their lack of table manners with a smile,  but something weighed heavily on her as well.

Then Sirah saw her father wink at her mother, and she smiled back at the ray of sunshine piercing the invisbile cloud.

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