The Village

Daniel Villaroman, Writer


A sound came from outside. It sounded like metal buckets falling off a high platform onto the street. Dwight was startled by this early morning commotion. He was unsure of the reason but he felt a sudden wave of uneasiness as he woke up. He knew that it wasn’t because of what was happening outside. He felt a burning sensation in his stomach and didn’t know why.

“Oh, sorry!” someone shouted from outside. That voice sounded oddly familiar. He looked outside the window and saw a young man, just a little older than him, picking up the bucket he had dropped. He was wearing an orange striped shirt and white pants. Dwight did not  know how he knew that voice and was desperately trying to remember who it was. It was really annoying him that he couldn’t remember this man. 

“Oh, good morning! I didn’t expect you to wake up so early. I’m just painting my roof because I just moved in.”

Dwight got out of bed and walked to the window to talk to him. “Hi! Nice to meet you. What’s your name?” he asked. 

“I’m Hobbes. You must be her son. Nice to meet you, too,” the man replied. 

This feeling of deja vu got much stronger. He felt like he had this conversation many times before. He stood there in awkward silence for a few seconds. He didn’t know what to say as he was so confused. “Oh, sorry. I was deep in thought about something. I’ll see you later.”

“Sure, no problem,” Hobbes said, confused, with a small smile.

Dwight smiled back and closed the window. He saw Hobbes walk back into his house, probably to get more paint. He turned around to start his day and was about to go to the kitchen but he forgot how messy his room was. Two of his cabinets were wide open and his closet was just barely closed. Ah, he remembered what happened last night. He was up late helping his brother in cleaning the kitchen. They bought themselves groceries and made dinner while their mom was busy helping Hobbes move in. Dwight had heard about him moving in but had never met him up until now. He was so exhausted last night that he didn’t have time to clean his room.

Dwight looked at the time and realized it was still quite early. He walked out into the kitchen and saw his mom making breakfast. He was very relieved that they were able to clean the kitchen before their mom came home. They managed to make a mess during their attempt to clean the kitchen so it had taken them a bit longer.

“Good morning Dwight. Breakfast is almost ready. Owit is outside tending to the garden. You can go help him plant the tomatoes,” his mom said, smiling. 

“Sure, that sounds fun!” Dwight replied. 

He headed for the door and was about to step out but realized that they hadn’t fixed the door yet. A recent snowstorm left the door almost torn out and one of the hinges was quite loose. At the side of their house was a garden. Owit was there planting the tomato seeds.

“Good morning! Do you need any help?” Dwight asked. 

“Oh, you’re awake. I woke up when Mom had just started to make breakfast. I’m glad she didn’t notice what happened in the kitchen,” Owit replied. 

“Yeah,” said Dwight, laughing softly, “if Mom wasn’t out helping Hobbes for so long, she would’ve come back and seen how much of a mess we made,” he paused. “Well, at least the burritos we made didn’t turn out that bad.”

“It was actually pretty good for our first time making homemade burritos,” said Owit. 

“Anything is better than the celery that Mom makes us eat,” Dwight replied. 

Dwight and Owit both laughed as they continued planting the seeds. They were both in a good mood and the town was pretty quiet for a morning like this. People in their town liked walking around instead of driving. Their neighborhood was small and everyone knew each other. You could walk around the area in a little over an hour. However, if you waved at somebody, which was very likely, you would find yourself talking for quite a while. Their mom had a tendency to do that when she went out to get groceries. 

They finished planting the last of the seeds and stood up to look at the area where their tomatoes would be growing. They enjoyed spending time in the garden when they were bored. There wasn’t much to do anyways. In their freetime, they often went out to play with friends in the neighborhood. Otherwise, they would be inside the house.

“Anyways, what do you want to do now?” Dwight asked. “After breakfast, of course.”

“I was going to help Franklyn and Periwinkle decorate their new rooms. You can come with me if you want. I assumed you would find it boring.”

“Oh yeah, I probably wouldn’t be much help,” Dwight said, laughing nervously.

“It’s okay, don’t worry. Maybe you should explore the new part of town. Construction on it just finished. I heard they added a new fountain and even a donut shop. Unfortunately, they also opened a new grocery store. Mom might have you check if they have celery. If there’s any extra money you should get donuts for the both of us. They better have the ‘best’ donuts there,” Dwight and Owit chuckled. 

“That sounds really fun! I’ll head over once we finish eating.”

The pair headed inside where they saw their mom setting the table.

“Oh, you’re just in time. I made your favorite, blueberry waffles and eggs!”

Dwight and Owit looked at each other, full of excitement. They ran to the kitchen table and quickly sat down. They thanked their mom and started eating almost immediately.

“Looks like you two were hungry. Long day of planting tomato seeds?” she said as she started to laugh. “Has the celery grown yet? I think it should be ready.”

“Oh yeah, I checked the celery when I went out earlier. I think it might take a few more days,” Owit said nervously as he continued to eat. Owit knew that the celery was done growing and ready but he and Dwight agreed on keeping this a secret as they did not want to eat it. 

“Really? That’s a shame. I was looking forward to having fresh celery.” Their mom let out a sigh as she sat down next to them. Owit and Dwight knew that she had already lost her appetite. Owit felt especially bad but still did not want to eat any celery.

He looked at Dwight, pointing his head towards their mom. Dwight knew what he had to do. “You know, I could always go to that new grocery store they built and check if they have any celery.”

Their mom looked at them surprised and seemingly less sad than before. “Really? You can do that? We were running out of celery. That is why I was so concerned about the ones in the garden.” She left the kitchen for a brief moment and returned holding her purse. “Here’s some money to buy the celery. You can head out once you’re done eating.”

She was now in a great mood and finally started to eat breakfast. Owit and Dwight looked at each other satisfied and continued to eat. For a few minutes, the room was silent. 

After they all finished eating, their mom took their plates and her own, headed toward the dishwasher. “Dwight, honey, you can go whenever you’re ready. Owit, you’re going to help Periwinkle and Franklyn, aren’t you? Say hi to the family for me.”

“I should probably get going. I’ll see you later for dinner,” Owit said as he got up and put on his shoes. He nodded at Dwight and stepped out the door. 

Dwight decided that he too, should head out. He wanted to make sure he had adequate time for his errands while also making it home for dinner. “Hey mom, I’m going to go now!”

“Don’t be late for dinner later!” she said as Dwight left, leaving her alone in the home. 

It was almost noon and the street Dwight was on was unusually quiet. Typically at this time, Petra would be watering and weeding her lawn. He thought maybe she had decided to do this earlier today. Dwight was also used to hearing the nearby neighbors talking to each other, sometimes including Petra in these conversations. These small abnormalities made him feel a bit uneasy but he kept strolling along. 

He made it to the new town around 12:30. It had officially been named Forest Town because of its close relations to the jungle. Many of the inhabitants there came from “the glimmering jungle”. The stores and shops were all forest themed.

Dwight saw the grocery store that Owit had mentioned. It was the only one there but it was quite large. He read the name: “The Big Treehouse”. You almost could have guessed the name as it looked exactly like one. The detail of the building was amazing. The base of the treehouse was the check-out area and there was a staircase wrapped around the trunk, leading to the top where the food was. Dwight climbed the stairs and saw dozens of people scattered around doing their shopping. 

The perimeter of the area had a very long circular shelf laden with food; labels marking the different sections. Oddly, the middle area had isles and shelves like a normal grocery store would.

He found the vegetable section of the perimeter shelf. He grabbed a plastic bag from the dispenser and took the first bunch of fresh celery that he saw. “That’s one thing done. I wish I could stay here to admire the rest of this beautiful grocery store. I need to get going though,” he thought to himself. 

After he got the celery that his mom had requested, he headed back down the staircase to make his purchase and leave. Once he got to the checkout area, he took out the money his mom had sent him with. He took his change and grabbed the plastic bag holding the celery. He left the store as the security guards watched him intently.

Now on the next leg of his outing, he stopped to take in the fresh air and counted the money he had left. He had $3.00 to spend on the donuts for him and Owit. “That should be enough, right?” he thought. 

He looked around and saw a small donut shop in the distance. His face lit up and he quickly started running towards it. When he got close enough to read the posters on the windows, he skimmed through the menu. At the end he saw exactly what both of them wanted. It was a chocolate donut with double sprinkles. He knew that Owit would be so excited when they got to eat them together.

Dwight walked into the donut shop with excitement spread across his face. The line wasn’t very long because the shop was just opened to the public a few days ago but he patiently waited for everyone in front of him to finish ordering. Once it was his turn, he walked up to the cashier and began his order. 

“Hello, can I have two chocolate donuts with double sprinkles please?” he asked. 

“Sure thing, that will be $3.40,” the cashier relied. 

Dwit was shocked but he knew, of course, two double sprinkled donuts weren’t going to be less than $3.00. He wasn’t sure what to do. Owit was out helping Periwinkle and Franklyn while he was out having fun exploring and running errands. He decided that it would be nice to see his brother happy.

“Oh okay, that’s fine. Make that one a plain chocolate donut,” said Dwight. 

“So, your order is one chocolate donut with double sprinkles and one plain chocolate donut?” the cashier asked. 

“Yes, please,” Dwight replied as he forced a light smile.

“That will be $2.90,” said the cashier. 

Dwight gave the cashier his $3.00 and grabbed his change, putting it in his pocket. “Thanks,” he said. 

“Have a great day!” the cashier called out as Dwight left the shop and started his journey home.

Dwit took a very slow walk back to his neighborhood. This felt too long but he had taken the same route he had used on his way to Forest Town. He was deep in thought when he realized he smelled the faint aroma of smoke. He looked up, he was in his own neighborhood now. “Wait, what? What happened?” he frantically questioned. 

He ran through the streets, trying to trace where the smell was coming from. In the distance, he saw smoke billowing from the roof of a house, his house. 

Dwight was terrified. He stood there motionless not knowing what to do at the moment. What could he do? Almost the entirety of his house was engulfed in flames. Thoughts raced through his head, “This has to be a dream. No, it can’t be. What’s happening? Do something!” 

He ran toward his burning house while firemen surrounded it, attempting to extinguish the fire. Dwight thought, “Maybe that means the fire must have started recently. Maybe not everything will burn. Then again, why does it matter anymore? It’s already burning.” 

The door was wide open so Dwight ran inside. The wooden floor was burning, making it impossible to get through without jumping through flames. He saw his mom in the kitchen grabbing as much celery as she possibly could. He waved and screamed at her, telling her to hurry. His mom rushed to the door, she was only a few steps away from him. The only thing separating them was the flaming floor. Dwight heard the front doorway begin to collapse.

“Mom please, come through the fire before it’s too late!” Dwight said, panicked. 

His mom looked at the walls, then to the front door, and then to Dwight. She leaped over the fire, the flames scraping her body. “You made it! Hurry, we have to find Owit and…” 

Just at that moment, the house was clearly going to collapse. Dwight’s mom pushed him out the front door and he sat there, watching as the doorway crumbled along with the entire front of the house. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He lost all control over his body and fainted, falling backwards into the grass. 

He woke up in his room and sat up instantly in a cold sweat. “Was that a dream?” he asked himself. His heart dropped, he heard the sound of buckets falling off a roof, just outside his window.