"In Hollow Fields"
Rolling fields of golden wheat and green pasture swallowed a silver Honda as it sped along a stretch of snaking asphalt. The driver leaned forward and shrugged his shoulders, trying to stay awake after three hours in the car. He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand and tightened his grip on the wheel with the other. His passenger, eyes flitting from the asphalt ahead to the side mirror as if measuring the length of road, shifted in her seat.
“How far will we be from a hospital?”
Zach leaned back. “Don’t worry, Court. I think there’s a hospital in Springdale—about fifteen miles away.”
Courtney’s shoulders dropped. She rested both hands on the top of her bulging belly. “I’m just not really comfortable, you know.” She tilted her brown eyes out the window, watching acres of Kansas prairie melt in an amber blur. “I’m seven months along, Zach. Seven months. I don’t really want some redneck doctor delivering our baby.”
“Everything will be fine. If all goes well, we’ll be out of this little shit-hole in a couple of days. A week at most.” He smiled and patted her leg. “This could be it, Court. The goldmine. The old bastard had his fortune wrapped up in the farm. The land has to be worth thousands. Hundreds of thousands.”
The car crested another hill and sped into the valley below. The town of Broughton’s Hollow lay in front of them, a loose arrangement of graying houses and broken streets, a dying carcass of a village, left to fester in remembrance of an era when family farms, railroads, and general stores ruled the American Midwest. No fewer than four church steeples rose from valley.
Courtney shivered. “Well, at least we won’t be short on Jesus.”
Zach offered a meek chuckle, but neither spoke again as Zach steered the Civic through the dilapidated main street and out the other side, toward his grandfather’s farm.
And on that farm...
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