Friday, January 28, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 27

Welcome back Fabulous Friday Fiction Fans!
Can you believe it is Friday already? In some ways it feels as though I just posted, yet it others, I feel as though I must have skipped a week. I really haven't gotten a thing written since I posted last week. I was visiting one of my "heart sisters" and having a wonderful time. There was no time for writing even if I had brought NEO (which I didn't).:) I tried writing the other evening, but having smashed my pinky just a day or so before, it made it rather difficult. (I never knew how much I use that little finger.:)) I couldn't write last night since I was babysitting the kiddos.:) And tonight is "game night" at some friends', so I'll be gone again. However, I really am hoping to get back into writing in the evenings. I have a short story (which is really longer than short) that I'm half-way done with. I'd like to get that finished. Then of course there is the Western.
Did you realize that today marks that third Western to be posted in a month?! That is a record! Maybe one month I'll just post Meleah's Western. How would you like that? I'd have to see if I could get them to keep on going.:)
But I'll stop. I know you are longing to read this Western. Enjoy it! (And just for your information, no, I don't know what is going to happen next.)

Part 27

“You a stranger ‘round these parts?”
“What if I am?” Ty boldly challenged the barkeeper.
The man behind the counter shrugged. “Figured ya must be not ta know Vin.”
“What about him?” Ty was determined to keep the conversation from getting sidetracked.
“He’s a slippery sort a snake. Ain’t never sure jest what he’s up to. I heard the sheriff’s been keepin’ an eye on him now he’s back in town.”
“Where’s he been?”
“Ever hear tell of a mountain lion bigger’n ever seen ‘fore and meaner ‘an ten she bears?”
Suddenly the bartender straightened up. After aother quick glance about the room he leaned back down and spoke in a hoarse whisper. “I ain’t jest heard about it, I done see it! It’s the most awfullest bigg’st fiercest cat anywheres. I never want to see the likes of it again!”
For a moment Ty stared before him, thinking. This man claimed to have seen the mountain lion, but he was a saloon man, how could he have? It wasn’t likely that he had gone out into the mountains with this Vin. “Where’d ya see this cat?”
“At a house on the edge a town. It had come down from the mountains, and the sight was enough to turn yer legs to jelly.”
Ty nodded and stood up. “Thanks.”
It was all he said, but the way he said it caused the man to wish he hadn’t told so much and he muttered, “Vin, you fool, get out of town an’ don’t mess with him.”
Ty took no more notice of the man than if he had suddenly vanished as he stood for a few seconds glancing about the half empty room, but his quick ears had heard the muttered words, low though they were. With a quick straightening of his broad shoulders, Ty strode out of the saloon to rejoin Carson and Sally.

“What’d ya find out,” Carson queried as Ty, having glanced first up and then down the street, turned his steps to a small building not far away.
“Ain’t sure. Let’s go have us a talk with the sheriff.”
Carson nodded while Sally, who had grown warm in the sun, flung back her shawl revealing her two holstered six-shooters.
Ty noticed and chuckled. “I don’t reckon Vin would ‘ave said what he did ifn’t she’d a shown her guns.”
“Then I should have shown ‘em. I ain’t a coward.” Sally frowned. The man’s words still rankled her spirits.
Ty attempted to soothe her. “No, ya ain’t. I reckon if’n ya made the attempt ta kill that legend of a mountain lion, ya’d do it ‘fore three years was up.”

No more talking was done then for they had reached the town jail. The sheriff, along with his deputy, was leaning back against the side of the building watching the trio approach. Both men touched their hats to Sally as they reached them.
“Howdy, folks,” the sheriff greeted in a quiet, pleasant voice. “Can I help you?”
“I reckon so,” Ty spoke up. “We’re lookin’ ta find out about a man who calls himself Vin.”
The sheriff and his deputy exchanged glances before the sheriff replied, “I just might be able to help at that. I’m Sheriff Mead and this is my deputy Griffin Thompson.”
“Ty Elliot, my sister Sally and friend Bob Carson.”
“Won’t you three come in where we can talk undisturbed.” And Sheriff Mead led the way inside.
Inside was a room which, by all appearances, was the sheriff’s office and back behind that, in another room were the jail cells. No one was in them, however, and Sheriff Mead bade his visitors be seated while he perched himself on the corner of his desk. “Now,” he began, “you were askin’ about Vin.”
Carson and Ty nodded.
Crossing his arms, kicking one heel of his boots against the desk leg, glancing out the window into the street, Sheriff Mead cleared his throat. “I can tell you about him. At leas, all I know. Griff can fill in anything I miss. Where Vin came from, no one seems to know. He showed up here, oh, I’d say maybe six years ago. Doesn’t hang around the town much. Claims to be a trapper and guide. I locked him up a few times for saloon brawls but, though he seems rather suspicious, we’ve never been able to pin anything on him. Last year he offered to lead a couple of men to Fort Laramie through the shorter trail. They went with him and we never heard of them again. Vin won’t talk about it, which has several of us here in town mighty alert for dirty work.”
“So there is another trail?” Ty cut in.
“Oh, yes. Been over it myself a time or two. It is a shorter way, but so downright narrow in places that only stout hearts should venture.”
“What about the mountain lion that’s bigger ‘an any ever seen ‘fore and meaner ‘an ten she bears?”
A hearty chuckle from Mead and Thompson confirmed Ty’s suspicions.
“There’s a mountain cat all right, but each tale I hear it grows bigger and meaner.”
Carson turned to Griff who had just spoken and asked, “Then why’s Vin sayin’ he’s been after this here cat three years an’ ain’t got it yet?”
Deputy Thompson shook his head and shifted his position in the doorway. “That’s one of the questionable things ‘bout him.”
“We’d round up a posse to find out if we had something to go on. As it is, we sit here and wonder.”
“I’d like ta help ya out, Sheriff, since this man seems so unusual, but I got my sister an’ wouldn’t want ta put her in no danger.”
“I can defend myself if’n I have to, Ty Elliot. Don’t forget I can match ya at a draw any day an’ shoot jest as straight.”
The sheriff nodded at her guns, “If you carry those around, I reckon you know how to use them.”


Friday, January 21, 2011

Meleah's Western - part 26

Good Morning FFFs,
There is still snow on the ground here from yesterday's snowfall, but not much on the sledding hill. Some friends and I decided to go sledding yesterday, but the hill is a south/west facing hill and most of the snow was already gone. Probably partly from the wind. So much for sledding. Anyone have a great big hill with lots of snow I can go sledding on? I love sledding even if I did break my arm doing it once. But that is another story which isn't very exciting.:)
A friend mentioned this week that she couldn't imagine just sitting down and writing a story. She said all she would be able to write is conversation. I'm not sure how I write all the details and everything, but it sure is fun!
I've gotten some writing in these evenings. Sometimes it is difficult to decide what to write. If you have given me instructions for a story, I will get to it. I promise. I'm just not sure when.:)

But, since Hannah did request that for two weeks I post Meleah's Western, I'll delay no longer. Enjoy! And part 27 will be up next week so come back.

Part 26

Carson drew a long breath before he continued. “Sally, that picture ya got in that there locket is jest like yer sister’s goin’ ta be lookin’ right ‘bout now. I’d bet my last bullet on it.”
Drawing the locket out of her dress, Sally gazed at the face inside. It was a sweet face that seemed to look back at her, one that wore an expression of gentleness. Kind eyes with just the hint of a smile about them, under a perky little hat with feathers, seemed to match the bright smile of the full lips.
No one spoke as Ty also looked long at their mother’s face as it hung around Sally’s neck. “Well,” Ty spoke at last. “I reckon perhaps we can find her after all.”

Two days later, Carson, Ty and Sally found themselves at a crossroads in their journey. They had passed the night in the only hotel of Rock Valley which stood at the foot of the pass leading to the other side of the mountain range and Fort Laramie. A tall, rough looking, dark bearded man, having heard them mention where they were headed, now offered his services as guide for a shorter, though less traveled, trail.
“I know the trail. It’ll take two days off yer travels.”
“How traveled is it?” Carson questioned shrewdly, wondering if the guide was being honest.
“Well, not many travel it at all. Fact is, not many know of it.”
“And why should we follow it ‘stead of the traveled one?”
“It’s lots quicker. But,” the man put in, glancing over at Sally. “You are planin’ on comin’ back through here ain’t ya?”
Ty spoke up suspiciously, “Why?”
“The trail is a might dangerous, especially fer a lady. It’d be best if’n ya left her,” and he nodded in Sally’s direction, “here till ya returned.”
Ty’s eyes narrowed. “Why?” was all he asked, but he was roused. What was this man trying to hide? Did he really know a trail or was it just a trick? And why did he want Sally to stay behind?
Having heard what the man said, Sally moved up beside her brother, her eyes flashing at the very idea of being left behind.
“Well,” the man began and then hesitated, evidently a little embarrassed by Sally joining the group. “Like I said, it’s rather dangerous. An’ well, no offense ma’am, it ain’t safe fer one who can’t hold his own to defend himself should we be needin’ it.”
“I’ll have ya know, mister, that I can shoot jest as well as you can.” Sally fairly bristled with indignation.
“Well, that ain’t all exactly, ma’am,” he began, somewhat flustered.
The man’s evident hesitation was causing both Ty and Carson doubts about the man’s honesty and purpose. “Then get on with the rest,” ordered Carson. “We’re wastin’ time.”
“Well, like I said, it’s dangerous an’ ain’t well used. But it’s quicker. Oh yes, two whole days quicker, but there’s a few places that the trail goes right along the cliff an’ ain’t much more space than a horse with a full load. An’ . . .” The man paused and his eyes became hard. “There’s a mountain lion roamin’ the trail. Larger ‘an any ever seen ‘fore an’ meaner ‘an ten she bears. I been tryin’ ta kill ‘im fer nigh upon three years. An’ I aim ta get ‘im, if’n it’s the last thing I do.”
Sally turned slightly pale at the mention of a mountain lion. Gladly would she have pleaded then and there to go the other way even if it took a week longer, had not the man been looking at her with his cold, dark eyes. Was he trying to scare her into remaining in town?
Ty wondered the same thing, for his keen eyes and ears thought they detected a cunningly devised tall tale. There might be some truth to it, however, and Ty made a promise to himself that he would find out. Now he only remarked, “Seems like a mighty rash offer ta lead us over this trail with a wild cat so dangerous ‘bout.”
“Well, I figured on goin’ myself,” protested the man indignantly, “but when I knew you were headin’ that way, I thinks ta myself, ‘Vin, three guns is better’n one an’ ya might get ‘im that a way.’ An’ so I jest offered.”
“Much obliged,” Carson grunted. “Give us time ta sleep on it.”
“Oh sure,” the man became suddenly very polite. “Ya jest talk it over. I reckon ya’ll figure out I was right ‘bout leavin’ her here till ya return.” With that, the man bowed to Sally and strode off down the street with a swagger in his steps.

“Ty, ya ain’t goin’ ta do it, are ya? I ain’t goin’ ta stay here! I’d rather--” Sally didn’t finish for Ty silenced her.”
“Hush! This ain’t the place for that. Let’s go, Carson. I reckon I know a skunk when I smell him.”
Silenced, but still ruffled, Sally followed her brother down the street towards the hotel. She noticed his easy stride and thought of how at home Ty was in the saddle as well as out of it. It was Carson who appeared slightly out of place.
“Never did like these here fancy towns,” he grumbled.

Before the trio reached the hotel, Ty paused and crossing the street, entered a saloon. Sally gasped inwardly but then realized that Ty was only trying to find some things out. With a fast beating heart, she waited with Carson on the porch wondering what Ty would discover.

Striding up to the counter, Ty leaned his elbow on it and eyed the bartender.
“What can I get ya?” the ba tender asked looking casually at him.
“Some information,” Ty replied coolly without moving.
The man glanced around before leaning down to Ty’s level. “What kind of information?” The man had lowered his voice.
“What do ya know about a man who calls himself ‘Vin’?”

Any ideas for me?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Books and Total

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
Last Friday I was hoping for snow. We got some on Monday. It snowed almost all day though we only ended up with about 2 inches at the most. It has been so cold that we still have some on the ground, however, I heard it is supposed to warm up, so it will all melt.

I have written this week and enjoyed it. It is nice to get back into writing. And, this coming Wednesday starts Writing Classes again! I can't wait.
Also this week, Mom and I counted books. That is always fun and interesting. We had counted them in July and were shocked at the number. That is when Mom began going through and getting rid of some. Mostly the ones we got rid of were ones I skimmed and told her weren't worth saving, or ones she looked at and decided she would probably never read and I wasn't interested in. It seemed as though we were getting rid of books all the time. At one point, I remember saying, "Mom, if we keep getting rid of books, we will have the same number as last January when we count them." :)
Well, as I said, we counted them.
And the grand total, not counting cookbooks, hymn books or song books, was . . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
*I didn't know it would be THIS many*
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
I'm in shock! If you weren't counting, that is nearly 1,000 more books than last year! In July, when we counted, we had 5,000. That was 800 books in six months! After we counted them this time, Mom said to Dad, "I'm sorry, I tried. But it is really fun.":) And I agree. I love books. It's a good thing since I added about 90 book to my shelves.
Here are a few breakdowns for your enjoyment.
World History - 375
American History - 513
Christian Biographies - 206
Children's books - 548
And don't forget, these are not counting the 113 books that were checked out at the time.
No, we are not banning more books. In fact, we have three coming from PaperBack Swap.:)

Hannah, you are the closest, though you were about 400 off, so what should I post the next two weeks? Let me know soon so I can get it written.

Now for a poem I wrote last night just for you to enjoy today.


Books aplenty, books galore,
My favorite place is a used book store.

Books of world history,
Books of missions or mystery,

Books of travel, books of prose,
Books smell better than a fresh picked rose.

Books of ancient tales of yore,
Books more modern by the score.

Books in blue and books in red,
Books of animals long since dead.

Books for children, books for teens,
Books for old or the in-betweens.

Books in that room, books in this,
Books on those shelves belong to Sis.

Mom has her books here and there,
In fact, Mom's books are everywhere!

My shelves are crowded with most of my books,
The rest I squeeze in many odd nooks.

As I said before, there are books galore,
But still I love a used book store.

Stop by to read some time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Excitement, Quiz and Part 25

What a wonderful morning, Friday Fiction Fans!
There are clouds in the east blocking the sunrise. There are also clouds scattered across the sky. Don't think we'll get any weather though.

I started off this week feeling like doing something, anything really crazy, big or extreme. You know, something like getting my hair styled (which I've never done and don't want to) or spending all my money. Well, yesterday I did it. It was extremely exciting! I'll admit, I squealed several times in the process.:) I'm nearly giddy with excitement. To find out about my delight in the oh, so thrilling thing I did, go here and see for yourself.

And the January Quiz! How many books do we have?
In 2009 we had 4,011
And in 2010 we had 4,262
We got a lot of books in the first few months and then have been getting rid of books. So, I this point, I have no idea how many we have. Take a guess and the winner can pick what they would like posted for two weeks!

And now, I know you who are enjoying Meleah's Western would like to read the next part. I got it written and it didn't happen quite as I thought it would, but it is written none the less.

Part 25

Daylight found the three united travelers stirring, and it wasn’t long before they once again set off for Fort Laramie in the bright sunshine. As they traveled along, Ty, with help from his sister, told Carson all that had happened to them since they were parted at the river.

It was a long journey that lay before them, over rough countr, in much of which no white man dwelt. Each day brought its own challenges. The spring rains and melting snow caused flooded streams which had to be forded. Winter avalanches of snow and rock had blocked many trails, and Carson and Ty spent time trying to find the best way around them.

At last their trail led them down into the foothills where spring had arrived with a blaze of color. The riding was easier then, and they made good time. There were also settlers here and there. These welcomed the travelers gladly and shared their store of provisions, meager though they might be, with them. Sally, especially, was thankful to sleep under a roof now and again. And at each place they asked about the younger sister, hoping against hope for just a hint, some clue that would show them they were on the right track, but always it was the same.
“We’re right sorry, but we ain’t heard nor seen a any sech folk.” The man scratched his scraggly beard. “Ya heared a any, Ma?”
Thus questioned, the woman shook her head. “Land sakes, we ain’t never had no strangers round these here parts ‘cept trappers, here Billy, climb down off that table ‘fore I take this spoon ta ya, and traders till ya’ll came a ridin’ in. And, land sakes, Clara Jane, how many times must I tell ya don’t climb in that there cradle with the baby! Its down right nice ta see a lady.” Continuing to chatter volubly as she bustled here and there, the woman served up a fine stew and fresh bread.

Days passed into weeks and still Ty, Sally and Carson traveled north. Sally was beginning to grow dark from the sun. No longer did a long day’s ride wear her out, for she had grown nearly as accustomed to the saddle as her brother and friend. When they rested for their noon meal, Ty began to teach his sister the fine art of knife throwing. Sally was a quick learner and though she never could match her brother’s skill, she was a credit to her teacher. Carson now and then would join in and then Ty had hard work to hold his own, for the older man had many more years of experience with the best of instructors: Indians.

Although Sally couldn’t always hit the center of a target with a knife, she was a crack shot with her father’s pistols. Even a rifle made little difference in her shooting though she preferred the former firearm. Even if she didn’t talk much about him, Sally often thought of her father as she rode along feeling the weight of his guns in the holsters by her sides.

“Ty,” she asked once, late in the afternoon, “Ya reckon, if’n Pa were still alive, he’d a come with us ta find her?”
For a moment Ty was silent, watching the clouds race across the sky as though they were chasing one another. “Hard ta tell, Sally. It ain’t likely he’d a even told us ‘bout -- her.” Pausing, Ty sighed. “I jest can’t help wonderin’ why he wouldn’t never tell us till he was dyin’. It seems, well, sort a un-right somehow.”
“Ya got a right ta wonder ‘bout that,” Carson put in, leaning down over his horse’s neck to avoid a low tree branch. “But I reckon it ain’t as unnatural as it ‘pears. Never have I seen a man so in love, as yer pa was with yer ma. Why he fairly worshiped the ground she walked on. I reckon his love was so deep an’ the baby sech a part a her, that when she died, half his heart died too.” He squinted over at Ty and Sally from under his hat. “Nope, neither one a ya’s got the look a yer ma. Sally has a might a it when she’s arguin’ with Ty, but it’s jest her chin and maybe the tip a her head.”
Ty glanced at Sally and began to laugh, for her cheeks had grown quite rosy under Carson’s scrutinizing gaze.
Grinning, Carson continued. “Now, Ty, ya ain’t a particle like yer ma. Ya ain’t headstrong now ‘cept when ya’ve thought it all through, but, by thunder, when ya was a young whipper-snapper--” Carson shook his head, and Sally chuckled. “I recall a time when ya was set an’ determined that ya weren’t goin’ ta wash yer hands for supper. Yer ma said ya would. Yer pa were out back or I reckon he would a took care a ya right quick.”
By now Ty was beginning to grin rather self consciously.
“Well, yer ma gave ya a lickin’ an’ ya still weren’t goin’ ta wash. Seem’s like it took ‘bout two more lickin’s ta get ya ta mind, but ya did. An’ right ‘for yer pa come in, too. I always wondered if’n ya knew yer pa was comin’ an’ gave in ta save yer hide.”
A hearty burst of laughter came from the three riders as Carson finished his tale, and all dismounted to walk up a hill and stretch their legs. “I don’t recall that time, but I ain’t never goin’ ta forget Pa’s lickins. Why he could tan a fella’s hide till it felt like fire,” and Ty rubbed his seat as though he could still feel the sting.
“But Carson,” Sally questioned, “Did our sister look like Ma?”
“Look like her?” Carson repeated, “Why, she was the spittin’ image a her! I seen babies that folks say look like their ma or pa an’ I couldn’t see it, but Sunshine-- Well!”

Don't forget to leave your guess!