Wind Town 5.2

            Frowning thoughtfully, Matt obediently began to gather the fallen stalks. Why would Dad need a break? Following mom’s lead and wrapping a handful of wheat with twine, Matt snuck a glance back at his dad. The motion didn’t seem very difficult… Matt’s eyes widened, and his fingers fumbled. Dad’s neck was really dark. Popping upright, Matt sidestepped quickly to where he could see and couldn’t believe how red his dad’s face was already. Beads of sweat were pouring down it and soaking his shirt.
            “No lollygagging, Matt.”
            Startled, Matt jumped and turned back. Sarah and Mom had already gathered the rest of the cut wheat, bound it, stacked it, and moved up to the next section. Matt bent down immediately to grab the wheat he’d dropped and catch up. Soon, he, Sarah, and Mom had fallen into a rhythm where at any one moment, one of them was cutting twine, one was gathering the wheat, and one was tying off a bundle.
            But even as Matt bent and bundled and gathered, he kept one eye on his dad. Although all he could see was his dad’s back, that was enough to see the spreading darkness down the center of his shirt and under his arms. And as the three of them got better at their bundling, they began to catch up. By the time the three patches merged into one, they were moving fast enough that sometimes, they ran out of wheat to bundle, and as they stood waiting, the only sound was Dad’s heavy breathing. Even the wind was silent.

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