The Potato Farm

If you entered the gates to the city, turned right, took a left, then another left and walked two hundred feet down that road, you would come to a small cottage made of stone. It wasn't much of a house, though. It was lopsided, with a crumbling chimney above and the fence made of wood was decaying more and more each day.

However, it was home to a young girl of sixteen. She was nothing special either, born into a family with little gold. She had never laid eyes on a piece of silver before.

She earned a living by selling potatoes in the marketplace, grown in the small vegetable patch at the side of her cottage. Two years ago, when the potato crop had failed, she was forced to sell her body to travelling men to put food on her family's table.

This year, though, was a good year for potatoes and she travelled to the marketplace every morning and brought home at least five gold pieces every evening. It wasn't much, but that was life in the city.

Early one morning, the girl woke to a strange creaking coming from the cupboard. It was still dark when she looked out the window and her family remained sound asleep on the floor. It was curious that she had been the only one to hear something that was so out of place in that part of the city.

She tip toed over to the single cupboard. It was definitely coming from inside. She wasn't afraid to open it. She was a poor girl from the city; she had seen many things in her life.

Of course, the last thing she had expected to find when she opened it was a skeleton hanging by a piece of wire. Its jaw hung open in what appeared to be a scream and its empty eyes stared back at her in fear.

She, herself, screamed.

Her elder brother, who had been snoring loudly, startled awake and jumped to his feet.

"Who's there?" he called through the dark.

"Me, Brother," the girl replied softly. "I have found something."

Her brother stumbled over to her and peered into the cupboard. He stifled a gasp. "Who could that be?" he hissed.

"That is not the question we should be asking, Brother," the girl told him. "We should be asking 'who put it there?' and 'why is it in our home?'."

"And 'what to do with it now?'," her brother added.

"Should we wake Mother and Father up?" she asked.

"They do not need to know of this, Sister, dear," her brother said. "We will deal with this on our own. Help me lift the poor person out of here."

The girl heaved as they lifted the skeleton from the piece of wire. She wondered how long it had been in there. She had only opened the cupboard that morning to put on her coat for market. Where had Mother and Father been when it had happened?

They crept quietly across the room and outside into the quiet street. The lanterns had been extinguished for the night, as no one dared roam the streets until the sun rose.

"Where shall we take it?" the girl asked.

"Somewhere far away from here, Sister," her brother answered.

They continued along the road, unable to see and the skeleton's bones rattling as they moved. They turned corner after corner until the girl's brother decided they were far enough from their cottage.

He stopped in front of a padlocked door. It was the home of an unfriendly barman and his ugly wife.

"We will leave the body here, Sister," her brother whispered.

"And of the barman?" the girl questioned.

"It will be their problem after this."

They set the skeleton in front of the door, propped up like one of the drunkards the girl saw on her way to market.

"Let's go," her brother breathed into her ear. "I hear the Reaper is back in the city."

The girl ran, fear finally taking over.

They never discovered who the skeleton had belonged to, or why it had ended up in their cottage. They had never spoken of it again. If you follow the road the girl and her brother had taken that night and stop in front of the barman's home, you would discover that all that remained of the body was a single bone – a toe.

So, I have the third story for this collection. I was inspired by the prompt 'There's a skeleton in your closet - literally' from Writer's Digest. I'd really appreciate some reviews :)