Disclaimer: I do not own the characters mentioned here, except maybe for a few. I don't even own some of the ones I took the liberty of naming, like the dog, as it is really part of the 'characters' in Harvest Moon. This probably isn't really necessary though.
The door unlocked. Claire twisted her key and pulled it out off the keyhole. She turned the doorknob and entered her room. She had a very spacious studio-type apartment unit. She didn't buy too many trinkets to adorn her unit with. She only had a few picture frames hanging here and there. She had only what she thought were necessary: a bed, a refrigerator, a stove, a small TV, a table, a chair and other small accessories.
The room was dark. It was already half past 7 in the evening. Automatically, Claire reached out for the light switch a few inches away from the door frame. The fluorescent light bulb at the center of her room turned on. Immediately, the room brightened, making the faded, pink wallpaper appear new again, as though it wasn't supposed to be pink. She walked to the small counter perpendicular to the door. It had three hooks protruding from its side. She hanged the small backpack she was carrying on the first hook. She suddenly remembered that she was still holding onto her keys. She had two keys. One was for her apartment unit, and the other was for her personal locker in the company she was working in.
Claire was currently working as grocery store clerk. It had just been a month from when she had graduated from one of the state universities in her area. It was never in her plan to live her dream job right away. She wanted the typical job experience first. She was from a relatively wealthy family. She didn't need to worry about her finances.
The everyday hustle and bustle of life was beginning to wear her out. She had been a grocery store clerk for over 4 months already and she thought it was starting to get boring. She was eager to finally be able to work in the field that interested her most. From when she was still a small child, she always enjoyed being around crops. Her grandmother loved planting all sorts of things: fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Herbs and spices weren't rare but they only appeared in the garden ten years before her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Claire also loved animals. It was something her grandfather had instilled in her. She especially enjoyed the company of dogs because she believed they were friendlier than cats.
Claire studied agriculture. After her grandmother died, she decided that she was going to carry on what her grandmother loved second: working with crops. She was who her grandmother loved most. Remembering her grandmother's final moments always brought her to tears. Her grandmother had been bedridden for at least a month with no knowledge of who the people around her were. Not her husband, not her son, not her daughters, but she remembered her granddaughter. She remembered her beloved granddaughter—the only child of her dead, eldest son.
Claire was raised by her paternal grandparents. Her maternal grandparents disassociated themselves from her mother, who did not marry the man they arranged her to. Her parents were victims of drunk driving. They were driving home when a car suddenly collided with them. Claire was staying at her aunt's place that night and received the news early the next morning. It was the first thing she heard.
Claire had also worked as a veterinarian's assistant but had to leave when the veterinarian was assigned to another city. Other than she earned money, got a bit of job experience and availed of free services, she also learned a lot about animals from him.
Claire hung her keys on a hook at the back of her door. She sighed and walked sluggishly to the fridge. She grabbed a small plate of pizza and heated it in her microwave. She grabbed the newspaper lying on the counter and read it. She skimmed through the news and opinions and looked directly at the classified ads. Then, she saw it, an advertisement for a farm lot somewhere north. She quickly called the number listed and asked her questions with excitement. All the answers, she believed, were just what she wanted to hear. But, she decided to hold back from buying it first. If someone buys it ahead of her within the next two days, it was not meant for her. She needed a sign that this was it. This is where she'll be living for the rest of her life.
The microwave suddenly made a noise, startling Claire. She laid the newspaper back onto the counter and grabbed her dinner. She hastily ate it, then, took a quick bath. She yawned as she shut off the lights and walked to her bed. She laid herself quickly on the bed and shut her eyes. She fantasized about owning the farm. She fantasized of watering and harvesting crops, of taking care of cattle, of tilling soil and of meeting the man she would marry. She giggled at all the thoughts that bombarded her mind. She was getting excited.
As quickly as new fantasies entered her head, Claire fell asleep. Thud. Baldy. The Harvest Goddess. Budum. Claire opened her eyes. Her room was dark and empty. She wondered what it was she thought she heard. All the monsters, ghosts and murderers that appeared in the different horror movies she watched surfaced in her mind. She remembered all the tales her uncle told her to scare her during Halloween and when she was being particularly stubborn. She was already in her 20's but hearing something in the middle of the night was something that let every scary thing enter your head.
Claire wanted to turn on the lights but was too busy trying to drown away all the scary thoughts. She shut her eyes tight and pulled her blanket over her head. 'There's nothing in your room, Claire. You're not a kid anymore. Monsters don't exist. There isn't a boogeyman. Calm down.' Claire wasn't someone who would easily get frightened, but she was one hundred percent sure that something spoke inside her room. It wasn't beside her, but it was in her room a few minutes ago. At some point, Claire was able to fall back asleep. She didn't necessarily leave early for work. Her shift started at 10am.
At exactly 7:30 in the morning, Claire found herself on the verge of waking up. Briefly, Claire had opened her eyes and she saw the time. She decided she could still sleep for a minute or two. Then, she realized that she was actually running late. She quickly sat up and scrambled to her feet, nearly tripping on her blanket. She ran into her bathroom and took a quick bath. She wiped herself dry and applied whatever creams, lotions and whatnots she needed to put which were part of her morning routine. She ran out of her bathroom and darted for the wardrobe standing just a few meters away. She grabbed her underwear and one of the uniforms hanging inside and put them with as much speed she could produce. She wore her shoes and made a mad dash for her bag and keys. She locked her door and ran down the stairway not too far from her unit. She rushed down the steps as fast as she could and ran through the streets, bumping nearly into a few others.
"I resigned." Claire played with the telephone cord as she spoke. The voice on the other end asked her why. "I've found a good enough land where I could live and work with crops and livestock. I'd be able to make use of everything I learned from you, from grandmother and from the university." Her grandfather asked her if this was the life she really wanted. She would be away from the city, and, technically, away from her family, friends and her boyfriend.
Claire had a lot of friends in the city. A lot of them were college friends, a few were from the jobs she had and a few more were from around her neighborhood. When she transferred there, she had to part from her grandfather. Her grandfather moved to another area and decided to ask one of his daughters, who ended up as a widowed mother of three, to live with him instead when her husband died. Claire was also very attached to her family. She often played with her younger cousins as she was the oldest from them. Her parents married young and the gap between her father and his siblings was at least 5 years. Claire also had a boyfriend. He was the son of a business man who was a family friend. She honestly loved her boyfriend, but she had caught him locking lips with another woman recently. She hadn't told her grandfather about breaking up with him yet. She was never sure how she was going to tell him.
"I broke up with him already. We have quite a lot of differences." Claire sighed as her grandfather argued with her about being his 'perfect match'. "I promise I'll call everyday." Claire started twirling her hair as her grandfather asked her where she this land was located. "It's in Mineral Town. It's really not quite far from there." Her grandfather asked her why she couldn't just stay with him instead and why she preferred to call rather than visit him everyday. He was familiar with Mineral Town. "You're living with Aunt Betty right now and I wouldn't be able to tend to my crops and livestock if I kept leaving. Before you argue with me, I don't think Aunt Betty would be too happy with her kids running around with farm animals."
"I'm already going to start packing my things. I called the realtor and told him my plans of moving. I've also spoken to my landlord and pretty much everyone else. I told you last because I wouldn't want you to worry about me until I was a hundred percent sure. My things and I are going to get picked up tomorrow. What's that? Have I checked the land? Yes, I have. I would be very busy with it." Claire looked at the clock. It was already past 9. "I have to go now, grandfather. I love you. Stay safe. Good night." She ended the call and looked at the stuff she wasn't finished packing yet. She left early from work after her boss had told her to take the rest of the day as a paid time off. It was his parting gift to her. She quickly left and headed to Mineral Town to check the land. Mineral Town was at least two hours away. Her boss had allowed her to leave at lunch time, so she didn't have too much trouble with time.
When she got to Mineral Town, she spoke with the realtor, who guided her to the land. The town mayor was waiting by the entrance to the farm. Claire looked at the land. It was in horrible condition. There were weeds everywhere, the fences were in terrible condition, tree stubs were all around the field and the grasses were very tall. She looked at the realtor. Her eyebrows were furrowed and it was obvious she was going to shout at the man. "Don't blame me!" He said. "You were talking to the mayor!" Claire glared at the mayor. "You told me the land was lush. Is this what farming-ready looks like?" She thought up of horrible ways to torture this man. She saw a rake nearby. She thought of stabbing him with it, watching the blood drip from the rusted tool. She noticed other tools and thought up of other brutal ways to kill him with it. She was cheated. She had high hopes for this place. She quit her job for nothing.
The mayor grabbed his handkerchief. He was getting nervous. He wiped away the sweat that was building up on his forehead. He apologized to Claire. "I had to make it sound appealing. No one would buy it if they knew it looked like this. I was hoping someone like you would appear. There will always be those people who make rash decisions on things they don't think through." He saw her clench her fists. "I wasn't trying to offend you. I promise! Let me make you a deal. I will sell this to you for half the price, just don't beat me up."
Claire sighed. There was nothing else she could do. She had to agree. "Fine, I'll buy it." She was going to make this land into a beautiful farm. Suddenly, a whimper echoed throughout the field.
"Oh," the mayor began. "Before I forget, there's a puppy in the shed. I don't like dogs so I'll have to ask you to get him yourself. Another gift, I suppose."
Claire walked towards the shed. She opened the door and a puppy dashed out and jumped on her. It wagged its tail excitedly and barked. Claire picked it up and looked at it. "Oh! You're a boy!" She smelled the puppy. "You smell relatively good. Wait, are you hungry?" The puppy's stomach grumbled and Claire giggled. Claire grabbed half a sandwich that was stored in her backpack. At that moment, she was happy she hadn't finished the sandwich earlier. She sat on the soil and put the puppy on her lap. She pinched a small piece from the sandwich and gave it to the puppy. Seeing the puppy made her forget about her anger. After feeding the puppy, she picked him up and approached the realtor. "I want to see the house."
The realtor led her into the small house near one of the corners of the farm. He opened the door for her and switched the light on. The small house was the size of her apartment unit. She went to the bathroom. It looked decent. She'd just clean it up some more and disinfect it when she moves in. This house was going to do. "Please arrange something for me and my stuff. I'll move in tomorrow." She handed him the down-payment. She set the puppy on the field and waited for him to do its business. He peed and pooped, then, ran back to her. She picked him up and got ready to return to her apartment.
This is actually the first fanfic I've written in the past year, and hopefully, I'll be able to take this seriously, unlike the last fanfic I've written (a crossover fic). I've written other fics but they weren't really fanfics, more of original fics. So, I hope I'm actually back for good. Wish me luck! Oh, and thanks for reading! :)
Other than that, I really took liberties creating background characters (and more will come) and naming others (you've only met the Mineral Town dog, wait until you meet the others). If you have any comments, suggestions, recommendations, or anything really, feel free to tell me.
Oh, and to those familiar with my other HM fanfic, I'm not continuing that anymore. Whatever was going to happen with that, is going here. I'm not removing it because it's still slightly different but...you probably get the deal. My main guy there was Cliff and well, it's Skye, now.