Friday, January 22, 2010

Neglected and Forsaken

Here it is yet another Friday. I sure was glad I already had this story written because I didn't write another one this week. I was working on my book. Is anyone as anxious to read my book as I am to get it out to you? I got all the corrections put in and got my revisions added. Now the "background" is on Mom's desk again waiting for her to read it. Just after I had finished the revisions for the end of the book, Mom told me she had thought of an idea for the end. But she decided to wait until she had read my end before she told me. :) I'm still looking into publishing, well I guess they are really printing houses. We'll see what happens.

I'll just post the new story now. Tell me what you think of it as it is a totally new type of story. I've never tried this kind before. And by the way, though the characters are fictitious, the events that happened are real. And since this story is more than twice the length of a Western, I'm going to give it to you in two parts.

Characters: any number
Pages: 5+ (On NEO it was 6.3 pages)
Special Instructions: Sad ending but not because of a death.
Time Given to Complete Story: 4 weeks (maybe 2 weeks)

Neglected and Forsaken

A warm breath of air blew down the mountainside stirring the grasses and causing the branches of the pine and fir trees to quiver and sway. Summer was here again. The old weathered sides of the Frisco Mine creaked while a loose shingle slid down through a hole in the roof to the floor below.

An aged man, somewhat stooped, with grey hair and whiskers and leaning heavily on a stout stick, paused before the decaying building. His breath was short and panting as though he had just made an arduous climb up the side of a steep mountain. With a trembling hand he wiped the perspiration off his face with his worn handkerchief.

“The air’s thin up here,” he muttered to himself. “Always was an’ always will be I reckon.” He looked up at the old silent building before him. “We know what it’s like, don’t we?”
A creaking board was the only answer, but that seemed to satisfy the old timer, for with a tired smile he made his way over to a rock and sank wearily down on it.

The sun shone brightly down from a pale blue sky. A few lazy clouds seemed to cling still to the mountain tops nearby as though reluctant to leave them in spite of the wind’s promise of future mountain tops. All around was quiet and still. No human voices were heard. No wagons rumbled by, No trains whistled. Everything was peaceful and serene.

Slowly, with a sigh of contentment, the old man lifted his head and looked about. A faint smile crossed his face as he gazed at the mine before him. “We’ve seen a lot, you an’ I. Haven’t we, Old Girl?” His eyes took on a far away look, and it seemed as though he could see it all again, just as it was then.

A sharp pull at the string and the whistle blew announcing noon. Men seemed to appear out of no where into the open air. A steady stream headed for the nearby boarding house. In the town, voices floated back and forth as the people headed home or to the hotel or saloon, whichever suited their fancy for their mid day meal.

William Croften leaned against the side of the mine near the whistle string he had just pulled. “It’s hard ta believe, ain’t it Frisco,” here he looked around at the sturdy walls of the mine with its gleaming glass windows and dark roof. He went on. “Hard to believe that only three years ago there was only one log cabin here abouts. An’ now in ‘76, would ya jest look at that town. I counted thirty cabins now an’ that don’t count the hotel, saloon, general store nor the post office. I reckon this is an up an’ comin’ place. But ya know, Frisco, it’s odd when ya come to think of it, jest how much the folks around here depend on your whistle.” William gave a grin, glanced at his watch and then strode off for his own cabin not far away.

A small stone rolling down the mountain brought the old man back to the present with a start. Reaching down he picked up a handful of rocks and stared at them. “I reckon you recall, old girl, the day . . .”

“Hey, Will!”
“Did ya hear the news?”
“What news?” Will glanced up from his desk.
“We’ve got the highest court in the land.”
Will snorted. “Ah, you expect me to believe that, Joe? Go along with yer foolin’.”
Joe chuckled at something vastly pleasing as he dropped into an empty chair in the office of the Frisco Mine. “I ain’t foolin’ this time. That’s the sure ‘nough truth. It has ta be true, the judge jest said it.”
At his companion’s incredulous look, Joe chuckled again. “Ya should ‘ave been there at the trial, Will.”
“I know it, but the mine won’t run itself,” he glanced out the window and down towards the town. “So, what happened?”

Joe was all eager to tell. Since this was the county seat, there were many trials held there, and Joe liked nothing better than to attend them. “Some day,” he liked to tell his friend Will, “I’m going ta be a lawyer, then you be sure an’ come an’ listen to the verdict.” Since he wasn’t yet a lawyer, he had to be content with sitting in the court sessions.

“And so,” he wound up the story of the trial, “the judge fined him ten dollars and court costs. ‘Course Tom didn’t like it a bit and said he, ‘I’ll take this case to a higher court.’ He was right mad, but the judge jest looks him square in the eye an’ says cool as snow, ‘Man, there isn’t a higher court. You’ve jest been tried and found guilty in the highest court in all the United States.’ Now I call that something.” Joe paused out of breath.
Will scratched his head and frowned in puzzlement. “How’s that, Joe? I must be gettin’ slow from all this book work.”
Joe grinned. “Will, this town of Animas Forks is 11,300 feet or so above sea level. Now, do you know of any other court that is that high?”

The stooped shoulders shook with laughter, and the faded eyes grew bright with mirth. “Now that was a good one, wasn’t it, Frisco? Us, the highest court in the United States. It does beat all what folks’ll say. Of course at that time we did have, oh I reckon ‘bout four hundred-fifty people livin’ here. Speaking of the highest,” with stiff fingers the old man pulled out a yellowed paper from his jacket pocket. “You remember this here advertisement ‘bout Animas Forks, don’t ya?” After clearing his throat a few times he held the paper up and read:

“Animas Forks, the most populated town in the world.” The old man grinned and held the paper closer squinting to read the fine print under the headlines. “At this altitude.” The grin turned into a chuckle which in turn grew to a full and hearty laugh. The rocky mountain slopes tossed the laughter back and forth until it seemed that they too had joined in the joke. The old mine creaked more loudly as a stronger gust of wind swept down the mountainside.

For several minutes the old man, the mine and the mountains enjoyed their merriment.
“Well,” the man said at last, wiping his eyes, “I won’t read it all to ya as the rest of it ain’t that interesting. It’s just about the town an’ the mining of galena and that silver-bearing grey copper. But we know all about that, don’t we, old girl? Of course this is jest an advertisement for the town. I kind a wonder if anyone took any heed of it. Ya know what I mean, Frisco? Well, all I’s got to say is ‘The Animas Forks Pioneer’ was a heap more interesting to read.” Saying which he folded up the paper and stuffed it back in his pocket. “I’ve been hankerin’ for that old newspaper, but since the press closed down I’ve had to do with Silverton’s paper. But it jest isn’t the same, is it?”

The slamming of a loose board somewhere in the mine was the answer. And then followed a long silence.

Please come back next week and read the rest.

Do you like this new look? I can't decide if I do. I haven't found one that I really like.


Anna said...

....looking forward to next Friday! :)

Oh--and I can hardly wait to read your book. When do we get to?

Pomegranate said...

Hey! That old mine looks familiar!!! That Silverton, CO?

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the first half of the story! - can't wait to read the rest next week. Definately a different perspective. Don't know about the new look - it is different. -hank

Alayne Studio said...

So Bekah,
This is a really unrelated question but, I was wondering if you are big on journaling? I have been reading a book on keeping a spiritual journal. They say that a journal is the training ground for a good writer. I thought of you when I read that and wondered if you have always kept journals. If so, what kind of journals do you keep and how many do you have? Thanks, ♥Ange