The Story Of Katherine Barlow

7 Mar

This is a fan fiction story from Louis Sachar’s novel “Holes.”
Once upon a time there was a village called Green Lake it was named after what used to be the biggest lake in Texas. Green Lake was a very beautiful, heaven-like town; the lake looked like a thousand shimmering crystals when the sun shone on it and the whole town was filled with peach trees whose fruits were the juiciest ever known to exist. Its people were also very social and kind. All in all, everything about Green Lake was perfect, everything except for its school. It was an old, ruined, one-room schoolhouse and everything in it was broken and needed repair. The only good thing about going to school was the fact that Miss Katherine Barlow was the schoolteacher; an intelligent, beautiful woman who made the most delicious dried peaches using her secret recipe. Most of the villages’ young men only went to school because of her one of these men was Trout Walker, his real name was Charles but because of an incurable foot fungus, his feet smelled like dead fish giving him the nickname: Trout. Everyone–including Trout Walker—thought that Miss Katherine Barlow and Trout Walker were meant for each other because Trout’s father was the richest man in the county and owned most of the peach trees while Miss Katherine used to make her delicious dried peaches.
One evening after Miss Katherine had finished her classes and was preparing to leave the school Trout walked to her desk and said: “How’d you like to take a ride on my new boat this Saturday?”
“No, thank you,” she said.
“We’ve got a brand-new boat. You don’t even have to row it.” He said a smug smile spreading across his face.
She walked out of the school; she was not interested in dense, obnoxious people like Trout Walker. The fact that Miss Katherine was walking away from him, made Trout ferocious.
A few days later she noticed that the rainy season was on its way, this would be bad thing because the school’s roof leaked. Luckily, she made a compromise with Sam—the onion picker—that she’d give him dried peaches if he fixed the school roof. He was only allowed to fix the school in the afternoons when school was over because black people weren’t allowed to attend classes. This made him take longer to fix the roof and every afternoon as Miss Katherine graded papers and Sam fixed the roof they’d talk about a lot of things. They enjoyed having each other’s company and the days past fast, soon, the roof was finished. Katherine missed talking to Sam after that so to keep his company she kept making complaints about things that needed to be repaired and he always replied: “I can fix that.” Katherine and Sam grew close and soon she fell unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him. The school was repaired and became as perfect as the rest of the town. All of the towns’ citizens were proud and happy about their new renovated school. All but Katherine, sadly she’d ran out of things that needed to be fixed and she could no longer converse with Sam or read poems to him. She ran out in the rain to Sam who was still walking down the street with his donkey, Mary Lou, calling: “Onions! Sweet, fresh onions!”
Tears welled down her cheeks. “Oh, Sam. My heart is breaking!”
“I can fix that,” He said and brought his lips to hers. Since it was raining, Katherine thought there was no one in the streets to see them. She was well aware that black people weren’t supposed to kiss white people but she didn’t care; this was her happy ending. At least she thought. Little did she know that Hattie Parker had spotted the two and the news spread in the small town like fire. The whole town knew about Sam and Miss Katherine’s kiss the same day. Katherine hadn’t noticed a thing, not even the fact that no one came to school anymore, she just sat at the teachers’ desk and blissfully thought of the kiss over and over again, the next day.
Meanwhile Trout Walker was filled with jealousy when he heard the rumors of Sam kissing Katherine so he got a group of friends and the burnt the school down. Katherine ran to the sheriff to report what was happening but he didn’t care. He was busy drinking as a way to prepare himself for the next day. The day he had planned to hang Sam for breaking the law; for kissing a white person. Katherine pleaded with the sheriff to spare Sam’s life but the only way he would do that was if Katherine kissed him too. Katherine was so disgusted she slapped the sheriff. How could a sheriff be so obnoxious and cruel-hearted? She thought to herself. After failing to come to an agreement with the sheriff she bitterly hissed: “The law will punish Sam. And the Lord will punish you.”
She hurried out of the sheriff’s office. Time was running out, she’d decided she’d run away with Sam. She ran to the lakefront where she found Sam with Mary Lou.
“Someone must have seen us kissing yesterday,” she said.
“They set fire to the schoolhouse. The sheriff said he’s going to hang you!”
Sam hesitated, not able to believe it. “C’mon, Mary Lou.”
“We have to leave Mary Lou behind,” Katherine told him.
Sam’s tear-filled eyes stared at Mary Lou one last time before him and Katherine climbed in his boat. His strong arms and the adrenaline pumping through his body made him row fast but the gang of men Trout Walker had summoned where right behind them. Trout Walker had an unfair advantage of having a motor boat and when Sam and Katherine had reached halfway, Trout’s boat had already caught up and it smashed into Sam’s boat. Katherine Barlow was forcefully dragged into Trout Walker’s boat, an unbearable pain pierced her heart as she watched as her soul mate, her other half get shot and killed. Back at shore, Sam’s beloved donkey had also been shot dead.
And as Katherine Barlow had said Green Lake was indeed punished by God. Not a single drop of rain fell on Green Lake after that and the lake withered away along with the peach trees, the people and the towns’ beauty.
Katherine Barlow couldn’t take it, she was so hurt by what Trout Walker and the sheriff had done to Sam, repeating the scene in her head over and over again as she became more and more delirious. Three days after Sam’s death she shot the sheriff and kissed him like he’d asked. That’s how the innocent and intelligent Katherine Barlow became Kissin’ Kate Barlow; a cruel feared outlaw in the West. Known for kissing people after killing them and stealing their fortune.
After twenty years of robbing great banks and kissing her victims, Kissin’ Kate Barlow returned to Green Lake which had transformed to a wasteland. There was no longer a lake, just a pool of dirty water and it had become terribly hot. She lived in a cabin with two small oak trees growing in front of it and she often hallucinated hearing Sam shout: “Onions! Sweet, fresh onions!”
If only we’d gotten away on time, she thought, he’d still be here. We’d probably be married, a happily ever after…
She went out to the lake—or to be more precise, where the lake had once been—and hid the treasures she’s stolen during the past two decades. She might had been crazy but she was still clever enough to know someone would come look for her and try to take what she’d stolen away.
Indeed she was right, three months later she was awakened by the smell of Trout Walker’s feet. A gun was pointed at her face. Trout Walker wanted the treasure; with him was his wife—Kissin’ Kate’s former student—Linda Miller. She’s married Trout Walker because he’d belonged to a rich family but due to the curse put on Green Lake, the peaches had died along with the Walker Family’s wealth.
Trout and Linda sent Kissin’ Kate out to the lake threatening to kill her if she didn’t dig out the treasure. These threats didn’t affect Kissin’ Kate, she wanted to die and was in fact very happy when a yellow-spotted lizard leaped towards her and bit her ankle. The last twenty years of her life had been miserable and painful and they were thankfully about to end.
“Start digging,” She told Trout and Linda before dropping to the ground and letting out a feeble laugh. She shut her eyes and her the expression on her face was peaceful, as if she’d fallen into a deep, deep sleep. Miss Katherine Barlow was dead.
And who knows? Maybe she did join Sam and Mary Lou, maybe she did get her happy ending…


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