Posts : 8715
Join date : 2013-08-24
|Subject: Glow Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:36 am|| |
It's the last month of the year, and it's time to pick a suitably seasonal and warming topic to warm your hearts and spark your imaginations.
Your topic for December is
So have at it, and let's see how creative you can be in between 4,000 and 150 words.
Don't forget to comment on November's stories before moving in to December as comments are the only thanks our writers get.
Posts : 195
Join date : 2014-01-02
|Subject: Re: Glow Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:26 pm|| |
Challenge: Glow...okay let's write a story for the prompt...BAM...the story takes on a life of its own 4,757 words. So, I am only posting a portion here. The rest can be found under Wichita Red at Archive of our Own or FanFic net. Now on to the glowing challenge.
Out of this Business Feeling a bullet whip past him, Curry shouted, “One thing we got to get, Heyes.” “What’s that?” “Out of this business.” Slapping reins across their horse’s rumps, the Devil’s Hole leaders urged their mounts to faster speeds, even as the animals ran belly to the ground along a curving trace that switched back and forth through a dense tree growth. Without warning, Heyes yanked his horse between a pair of massive Douglas firs, plunging uphill with Curry right behind him. When, from below, they heard the posse’s approach, hauling their puffing horses in, they listened to the hoofbeats sharing a quick look of relief as they faded away. “Figured they were moving too fast to not stick to the trace,” Heyes said, his eyes sliding toward the sound of the departing posse. “That won’t hold them long.” “Nope,” Heyes answered, hopping off and tightening his cinch, with Curry doing the same. “But, they will have to double back to discover where we departed their company.” Climbing on their horses, they steadily wound upward on a narrow trail that occasionally widened for small plots of grassland dotted with blue, yellow, and red wildflowers that neither of them noticed as they were focused on keeping ahead of the posse they could, again, hear on their tail. As they raced down a humped bluff, a smile spread across Curry’s face, “hear that?” “Yep,” Heyes replied, angling his sorrel toward the chuckling sound of water, pleased when it turned out to be a rushing river. After about fifteen minutes of ducking wet branches that raked at them as they kept close to the shore, to avoid deep swells and rushing rapids, Curry muttered, “Damn, this water’s cold.” “Looking for a spot to exit.” “Look harder, my left boots full!” Heyes squinted back with an expression that clearly said, ‘why’d you let that happen?’ “Just find an exit point.” Pushing through a canopy of trees that trailed in the water, Heyes aimed his sorrel for a slab of granite spilling into the river like the leftover runoff of a lava flow. The horses leapt onto the rock, water streaming from their fur, and catching the reins Curry flung his direction, Heyes urged his sorrel toward a spread of Ponderous pines. Before going any further, balancing on his right foot, Curry dumped water from his boot. “Hurry up.” Stomping the boot on, Curry scurried to the backside of a cedar tree, where he tore a branch free, to feverishly sweep debris across the granite outcropping. Once done, he exchanged the battered limb with Heyes for his reins, and they were off again, with Heyes dropping the limb some distance from their escape route. As they strived to stay ahead of the men who had no problems firing on them, the sun slowly tracked its path across the sky until its glowing rays were blinding them, and with a muttered curse, Heyes turned to ride across the mountain’s face. Their passing became muffled as the horses trod steadily on, across fallen reddish-brown pine needles, their route placing them under a jutting outcrop that became a solid bulging face which blocked the fiery, setting sun, but also did not offer any chance to continue traveling upwards. Their entire focus narrowed to the treacherous trail that shone like a bleached longhorn spine in the fading light as it skirted the mountain’s sheer face. Behind them, all that could be heard was the wind whistling through the pines, a perfect natural accompiant to the sharp, throaty song of the Mountain bluebirds they had seen flitting from towering pine to pine. Realizing this, Curry asked, “You think we lost them?” “You always ask me that, Kid, like I’m supposed to know.” “Sure, would be nice if you did.” Having given Clay his head, Heyes eyed the ground falling away, the rock face to their right and the unreachable heights above, his back tightening uncomfortably as it settled in him there were no alternatives but to keep going forward. They had been moving along at a steady pace, their seasoned horses carefully placing one foot in front of the other when Heyes reined in so suddenly Curry’s bay bumped into his trail mate.
Tired and hungry, Curry snarled, “what are you stopping for?!?” Standing in his right stirrup, Heyes shifted his weight to lean against the rock face allowing his partner to see what lay before and had the short-lived satisfaction of hearing Curry gasp. Throwing an apprehensive look over his shoulder, Curry asked, “Do we go back?” With a wicked, pointed smile, Heyes asked, “Do you think we lost them?” Then heaving out a sigh that sounded like it originated below his stirrups, he slid from his saddle to the slanting ground. Waving excitedly at the embankment of scree that ended at a drop off ridge, Curry yelped in an octave higher than usual, “we can’t cross that!” “You have another idea?” Half-turning, Curry listened with all he had trying to decide if he could hear the posse, and on hearing the crunch of rock, he spun back, his mouth dropping open in horror, “Heyes!” His partner did not hesitate at his name, just kept leading his horse across the ever-shifting field of fist-sized rocks that threatened to become a cascading avalanche with every step. Searching desperately for another alternative, even though Curry knew deep down inside, Heyes had already taken the only conceivable, not logical, but conceivable escape route. Rubbing of his mouth with his gloved hand, he called, “Heyes, stop, just stop…there has to be something else.” Laying a hand on Clay’s blowing muzzle, Heyes turned ever so slowly, a sheen of sweat glistening on his face despite the lofty mountain’s chilly temperatures. “You let me get all the way across before you and Buck start.” A flat smile fleetingly appeared, “no reason for us to ride an avalanche over the lip together.” Standing on the edge of the debris rockslide, Curry’s blue eyes remained riveted on his partner, the only sound he now heard being his own harsh breathing and the cracking, crunch of the scree field as it moved, rolling away from Heyes and the big sorrel’s combined weights. Then the rocks shifted, throwing Heyes to his knees, and Clay was sliding, with a fear-filled squeal, the horse leapt forward nearly landing on Heyes. However, they were also still careening down the slope, and beyond them, rocks were bouncing and flipping over the ridge’s lip where two scraggly pines clung, growing tall and thin above the empty nothingness. “HEYES!” As Curry’s strained call echoed out, Clay planted his haunches coming to a grinding halt, slamming against the horse’s sweat flecked neck Heyes wrapped his arms about the sorrel, struggling to his feet, he hissed, “Stop yelling, I’m easier to shoot then a fox in a hen house out here.” Swallowing hard, Curry nodded briskly, his eyes burning with fear as he watched his partner coax the big sorrel into moving again. After strained, overly long minutes, the pair stepped into the open basin of grass on the far side. Removing his hat, Heyes shoved his wet bangs from his face, while waving Curry to cross. Climbing from his saddle, Curry held onto its skirt for a drawn-out moment, before muttering, “come on, Buck.” The rocks sank above his ankles on his first step, and planting his heels, he aimed for Heyes. As they edged across, Curry could feel Buck’s huffed nervous breaths, even as sweat dripped from his own face staining his sheepskin coat. Still, he kept on, watching his feet, as step by step, he waded across the scree field. The moment Curry’s boots planted on the grass, Heyes pushed out a meager smile, saying, “See, that wasn’t so bad.” Curry’s eyes opened wider, a rush of emotions flickering across their clear blue surface. “Well…” Putting his hat back on that he had been gripping so tight, Heyes peeked over, “bet that posse won’t chance crossing this spill.” Curry twisted, studying again the gouge Heyes and Clay had left in the scree on their quick descent toward death. “Might be because they have more sense than some people.” Heyes’ mouth opened to speak, yet recalling how it felt heading toward what he had been sure was his demise, his mouth clamped shut, and he clambered back up on his horse. Deep, black darkness found them camped atop a stony ridge surrounded by ragged peaks of bare rock, except here and there, where shade lay during the day, there were still patches of dirty snow crusting the ground. After a fitful night of sleep, they were in their saddles with the moon still hanging pale in the sky. Taking out across a shelving ledge, they knew their horse’s iron shoes might leave some scars behind, but the hard rock would force trackers to ride slow to decipher where they turned off. With the setting of the sun, Curry sat atop a boulder methodically chewing down a strip of jerky, just beyond him Buck and Clay were snatching mouthfuls of grass. Heyes came over to sit beside him, and slanting an eye over Curry said, “still can’t believe they crossed that scree.” “Most likely found another way around,” Heyes replied with a snort, “hope they were up all night doing it. Anyway, we’ve shaken them for good this time.” In the closing darkness, Curry glared at his partner, and before popping the last bit of jerky in his mouth to grumble, “lost them so good, we can’t have a fire, again, tonight.” Come morning’s pale light, they were stretching their aching bodies and cricking his neck one direction, and then the next, Curry said, “About now, I’d be grateful for even a cup of your coffee.” “Thanks, Kid.” “That wasn’t a compliment.” Hefting his saddle, he’d used for a pillow, Heyes replied, “know that, but I’m too tired to quarrel with you. How about we just get on our horses and make tracks.” “Tracks? Tracks left by dragging a safe…isn’t that what brought this posse straight to us, in the first place.” Throwing a hard look at his partner, Heyes stomped over to Clay, tossing his saddle on the horse’s back, so abruptly, the sorrel skittered sideways. By midday, the horse’s coats were striped from streams of sweat, and the men riding them did not look much better. From the lofty peak of a ragged, gray mountain, they looked off to the west, and Heyes quipped, “well, it worked.” “What worked?” “Taking to the peaks,” tilting his head back, he studied the clouds which almost appeared to be in reach. “High mountains always seem to discourage posses who’ve been wrangled together with promises of prestige and wealth by ambitious lawman.” “Might be because there isn’t nothing up here, but goats and cold wind. Hell, it discourages me, Heyes.” “Either way, you been watching our backtrail over an hour.” Heyes kicked a rock that tumbled down the incline to bounce out of sight. “You seen anything.” “Nope.” “Then let’s find us a place to camp.” Serpentining down a trail that Curry repeatedly voiced, he felt was made by goats, they arrived in a hanging valley walled in on three sides. Its floor carpeted with tall seed grass, sedge, a long line of silvery, shimmering aspens, and in the center, a small grouping of buffalo stood, their wooly backs highlighted by the golden glow of the gloaming. I am only posting a portion here. The rest can be found under Wichita Red at Archive of our Own or FanFic net.
Wichita Red..."I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time and I live life the way I want to live it."
Last edited by WichitaRed on Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 64
Join date : 2018-09-14
|Subject: Re: Glow Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:26 am|| |
It was a cold midwinter night at Devil’s Hole. Christmas eve.
The previous days had been lazy and boring and everyone was looking forward to the party they would have tonight. Two of the boys made great effort to present a festive meal, Big Jim prepared one of his devilish chilis and preacher was working on his traditional punch which wouldn’t be appropriate for any church social but guaranteed a bloody miserable hangover for the day after, even more so since it would be topped up with extra whiskey that was one of its main ingredients.
Kyle had saved the day when he was lucky enough to shoot a turkey. It made for a more traditional Christmas dinner than usual and the boys would enjoy and appreciate the diversion from beans, biscuits and jerky.
Heyes’s guitar and Hank’s fiddle were tuned and handy. There would be singing and dancing, of course. That no womenfolk were present was woeful, but the boys would celebrate with even more exuberant joy and there would be no reason to fight. ‘No girls in Devil’s Hole’ was a fixed rule and saved them a lot of trouble in the end. The gang parties were always raucous and wild and getting into the Christmas spirit meant, for most of them, warming up early with friendly challenges, gambling and drinking.
The dinner had been a great success and as soon as the dishes and tables were shuffled aside, the dancing would start. Nobody would be able to hinder Wheat from presenting his own – unintentionally funny - version of the Christmas story and inevitable as well was the jig contest when the night wore on and booze worked its uninhibited magic.
Heyes had left and retreated a few strides from the bunkhouse. He leaned against the fence of the corral now, taking in fresh air in deep drags and looked up to the sky. No moon was to be seen, but it was a clear night and the dark fabric of the sky was freckled with countless stars. Heyes’s eyes were trained on the brightest among them, glowing like a candle in the darkness. His breathing deepened and moisture gathered in the corner of his eyes, certainly due to the biting cold. He blinked it away.
There would be no candle on the window sill tonight. Dang, he had no window sill at all! There was pretty much nothing he had accomplished by now. ‘Only two years,’ he had bragged, and expected to be wealthy and well positioned by then. A somebody, not a nobody anymore. Well, in some ways he was. Word was out that he had earned himself his first warrant - 100$, not very impressive - but his name was on the slate now. It was a new mark in his lifeline, a mark indicating the path he was developing on: a life of crime, outside the law, alone.
Hell, how had he come down to that bloody topic again? It was a night to celebrate! A strong curse rose to his lips but was left unspoken as his attention returned to the star above him which sparkled too brightly to be diminished by his profanity. It almost seemed its intensity increased with every beat. But why on earth was it so blurry now? A veil of clouds? Heyes blinked several times and his sight cleared again.
Where would he be tonight? Was he warm and safe? In good company?
Despite his bleak mood, a warm feeling spread inside Heyes.
The dark-brown eyes remained fixed on the star, not knowing about the bright-blue pair they met there, their owner hundreds of miles away searching, hoping and asking the same questions about his cousin.
A heavy hand dropped on Heyes’s shoulder and dragged his thoughts back into the present.
“Miles away, huh?” a dark voice with a heavy Mexican accent asked him.
Heyes just shrugged at first, then nodded.
Big Jim turned and leaned his shoulders against the fence beside him. “Who is it? A girl?”
The young man hesitated, but eventually answered, “My cousin.”
“He still alive?”
“Don’t know,” Heyes answered barely audible.
Now it was Big Jim who nodded. He tilted his head back and looked into the sky, too – or maybe a place beyond.
Eventually Heyes broke the silence. “Who is it?”
“No.” Big Jim sighted. “No, long gone.”
He paused for minutes before he continued, “Maria, my wife, and Lucia, my daughter. Beautiful as the day. Wiped out in a blink. Guerra Estados Unidos-México.”
They stood a moment longer in silence. Then Big Jim clapped the young man’s shoulder. “Come on in, Hannibal, or you’ll freeze your butt off. It’s about time.”
“Go ahead, I’ll be right there.”
Big Jim nodded and returned to the bunkhouse. When he entered, light and laughter spilled out into the darkness.
Maybe it was time...
Heyes gathered himself, squared his shoulders and pushed the uncomfortable thought to the back of his mind.
For sure it was time: time to return, time to be happy again, cheerful. It was up to him to lead the boys in everything: gambling, drinking, reveling. No time to dwell on dark thoughts and dark moods. He turned around, pasted a smile on his face and returned to his gang – the closest thing to family he had tonight.
He wasn’t known to be moody and he wouldn’t want to change a thing about it. So, he picked up his guitar started a scurrilous song and led the boys into a cheerful mood that didn’t quite reach his heart tonight ... yet the memory of the bright, glowing star placed a twinkle in his eyes.
|Subject: Re: Glow || |