Aaaand, here's my fourth installment for Anne-girl's Plot Bunny Challenge.
My brain is starting to feel the strain of being terribly clever for a sustained amount of time. I'm starting to worry that my plots might feel watered down towards the end. That would be a tragedy.
Oh, and speaking of tragedies, I've never written one before. NOT that I'm planning to start now, mind you.
Today's plot bunny is set in Michigan, because Michigan is amazing. No debate there. Also, this is the first true children's book plot that I've put forth for this challenge, which makes it doubly exciting. I'm calling it The Cousins, and I shall try not to burst into tears of homesick longing as I write this.
Evie Delmeyer has been lonely for her whole life. The oldest of five siblings, she's never connected with the younger members of her family, maybe because the second child was born six years after her. Evie finds her friends to be books and writing, but that doesn't help her social life very much.
Then a family moves into the farmhouse down the road, and it's not just any family. It's her dad's older brother, and he's got children that are just perfect for Evie. The two groups of children get to go on all sorts of adventures, and life seems perfect.
But a secret lies within the old farmhouse, and stories of an old curse seem to be true. The cousins bind together in a new way in order to discover the secret of a "haunted" farmhouse, but they have plenty of lessons of their own to learn on the way.
"Duke, what's this?"
His real name, of course, wasn't Duke, but that's what everyone called him for some unknown reason. He looked up at his older sister with squinted eyes and tried to grab his Lego invention out of her hands.
"It's a starship!" he said. His short, dark waves of hair stood up messily. Evie frowned.
"Don't you need to comb your hair?" she said. "It's so messy." Her own hair was not exactly a paragon of spectacular neatness, when you came around to it. She was always forgetting to do something with it, which led Martin, the boy directly under her in age, to call her Medusa on every possible occasion.
"Yes, Mother," said Duke. "Gimme my starship!"
"What was it doing on my bed?" asked Evie.
"I don't know. Maybe Benji put it there," said Duke. Benji was the youngest. At four, he made every possible attempt to get himself noticed.
"Well, here it is," said Evie. "Get it out of here."
"I'm going, Mother," said Duke, taking the Lego contraption, whatever it might have been, out of Evie's room. It certainly didn't look like a starship. For that matter, it didn't look like much of anything except for a pile of Legos put together.
Evie stretched herself out on her Lego-free bed and pulled a book out from under her pillow. It was a glorious early afternoon in mid-April, and the sun streamed through her windows in warming slants. Carol, the sister, must have opened the windows, because sweet air, weighty with the musk of apple blossoms, swished into the room on light, easy gusts of air. To anyone else the spring day would have been terribly inviting, but Evie never willingly chose to go outside.
Her dark blonde Medusa-hair fell into her face, but she pushed it away as she opened the book to the dog-eared page. Dog-earing a page, she knew, was damaging and a serious offense to most people, but when she read late into the night she hated to get out of bed and find a bookmark.
She had only been reading for five minutes when Mama called out, "Evie, come fold the laundry!"
Evie reluctantly left the book on her bed and ran downstairs, thinking more about the story than the load of clean clothes that she had to switch. She banged her shin into the stair railing on the way and nearly tripped over Benji, who was playing with the squishy basketball that Papa and Grandma had given him.
"Whoops! Careful, Benji," she murmured absently as she made her way to the dryer.
Mama was in the kitchen, getting ready to mop the floor. She had to do it so often now that her three middle children spent so much of their time outside.
"Daddy got a call today from Uncle Verne, by the way," Mama called out to Evie as she passed.
"Oh? Are we going to see them soon?" asked Evie.
"Better than that," said Mama. "They're coming to live! I guess they've had enough of the thick southern air and need some fresh Michigan farmland. Something like that. Anyway, they'll be out here, and of course they'll help with the orchards."
Evie grinned to herself as she tumbled the clothes from the dryer into the laundry basket. Uncle Verne and Auntie and the cousins, coming here? That was amazing news for sure. Six cousins, six wonderful cousins, with three of them actually close to her in age!
She brought the laundry into the living room and began folding it in her quick, almost slapdash manner. She never did manage to make the clothing look as crisp and neat as Mama did when she folded the laundry.
She heard the kitchen door burst open and her three middle siblings ran into the house.
"Mama, Mama!" shouted Martin. "We found a mole in the backyard. I'm making him a house . . ."
"And we found some worms to feed him!" chimed in Carol.
"He's so cute, Mama," added Duke. "His fur is . . ."
"He's named Pudge after . . ."
"I thought of a new . . ."
"Maybe we could . . ."
"Where is he?" asked Mama. "I'd like to go see him."
"He has a habitat," said Martin. "I'm making a house for him out of an old plastic bin I found in the garage."
"Which bin?" Mama's voice was sharp with suspicion. "I hope it's not one of those gray bins that Daddy just picked up from Lowes."
"No, it's an old black one with handles that have cracked through." Martin's voice faded as they almost dragged Mama out of the house to see their new pet. Benji lost interest in his basketball and ran after the others to find out what was going on.
Evie was left alone.
Thanks for reading, and God bless,