Sample – Fertile Fields

Fertile Fields

“What do you see?” Riley asked quietly behind her, but Ellen was silent.

She could see little, a swath of ground and the stirring of movement beyond. The ground was, as one would expect, littered with golden straws of hay, motes of dust drifting through shafts of light that came from windows high up on the barn’s walls. Ellen squinted to see more, and there was the sound of motion, of footsteps, but too far away to discern clearly.

“We need to go in,” Ellen said matter-of-factly and, before Riley could raise a sound of protest, Ellen pushed the door open more and slipped inside.

The air was warm, but not hot, filled with an earthy and musky aroma that was pleasant and strangely soothing. The high roof was fifty feet above her head, meeting in a peak in the center. Along the side were stalls as one would expect in a barn, with stall doors that were shoulder-high to Ellen. Support beams stretched down the length of the barn, bales of high piled in the center, hiding the rear of the barn behind them.

She could hear the sounds of movement, as well as an odd mechanical sound, machinery working somewhere behind stall walls or behind the hay, rhythmic and hollow-sounding, like the expression of a pneumatic door. She heard shuffling behind her, and Ellen found Riley creeping into the barn through the narrow opening behind her.

“You see anything?” she asked in a low voice.

Ellen shook her head and started for the left side of the barn to the nearest wall, broken by the stall doors. Riley followed close until they were pressed against the wooden wall, the texture smooth, and Ellen wondered if it were that well-sanded or simply a faux wooden facade to hide cement or steel.

They crept along the wall until they reached the stall door closest to them, the sliding door red with criss-crossing white stripes to match the front and rear of the barn’s exterior. It was quaint in its fulfillment of expectations of just how a barn should appear. A padlock secured the door in place, the steel shackle thick and heavy. Ellen leaned over the top of the stall door and peered inside, unable to contain the alarmed gasp that escaped her.

Inside, a dark-haired girl rested on the dirt floor, likewise littered with hay. She was nude, her legs curled to her stomach to hide her sex, her arms folded under distractingly large breasts. She breathed deeply, her eyes closed, sleeping soundly with a gentle smile on her face. She was not fat, but there was a soft bulge at the folds of her belly, and her thighs and hips were wide, matching the proportions of her chest.

“What is it?” Riley asked, gripping the top of the door and pulling herself to tip-toes to see inside. “Oh my god,” she whispered.

Ellen drew a breath, reminding herself that she was a journalist and was here to get proof of something she suspected in the first place. A nude woman kept in a locked stall certainly fit the bill of illegal behavior. She removed the smart phone from her pocket and angled it over the door to frame the girl on the floor. When she took the picture, the digital CLICK! sounded, loud in the expanse of the barn’s interior.

“Hello?” a voice called from the shadowy rear of the barn.

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