Friday, March 25, 2011

Mysterious Words - Part 2

Good Morning FFF,
It is cloudy and cold here. It rained during the night and looks like it might rain again. Most of you know that this has a very exciting week! On Monday afternoon my newly published book arrived! Wow! It looks great! I can't believe I'm really a published author! I mean, after spending 6 years working on something and dreaming of one day getting it published, and then to have it actually happen is surreal. I'll try to get some links up later this morning where my book can be purchased. I'll do that when S can help since she knows what she is doing.:)
I'm going to try my hand at selling some of my books next weekend in Lincoln, NE at the home school conference there. Right now Light of Faith has a few in St. Louis at the convention. I wonder what others think of them?

Okay, back to other things. I finished a Western and a Ranch story last night. Only Scribblers have read my Ranch story, but I think I'll start posting it here before too long. I haven't thought of a name to call it besides "Ranch", so after you read a few parts, I'm hoping you all can give me some ideas.

Here is the rest of Mysterious Words. I must say this is not my favorite story I've ever written. I'm not sure if my mind was just very distracted with my book, or the instructions and the picture just didn't fit, or if the instructions were confusing or if I just didn't write a good story.:) Let me know what you think of it once you read the end, please. I've not liked other stories I've written but my readers loved them.

Mysterious Words - Part 2
Rebekah M.

“Could I be of service in any way?” he questioned politely. “I have the afternoon off, if your brother doesn’t.”
Brooke looked up at him, tipping her head and pursing her lips. Then she shrugged. “If you want. Mom and I just arrived last week, and today she is gone for the whole day. She expected me to have Chad this afternoon, but I guess that won’t work.”
“What were you going to do with him?”
“Oh, wander the beaches and talk, at least until the fireworks tonight. I haven’t seen him in over six months except the brief time when he came to meet us when we arrived.”
“If you’d like,” White offered gallantly, “we could go down the beach and walk to the base. You might get to see your brother there.”
Brooke was full of delight. “Could we?” she gasped. “I’d love to!”

Soon White was strolling down the beach by the side of Chad’s lively, younger sister whom he found very entertaining. They hadn’t gone far when Brooke, who was looking everywhere with delight, exclaimed, “What is that thing in the bushes?”
White looked where she was pointing. A bit of faded yellow appeared tied around the branch of a bush. Going over to it, he carefully untied it and pulling it out, handed it to Brooke.
She squealed, “Look! There is something written on it!”
Sure enough, faded almost beyond notice were some words. After close examination by both White and his young companion they managed to make out the words ‘blood’ ‘save’ and ‘slave’ while several letters here and there were discernable.
“It’s a mystery!” breathed Brooke, very much excited.
“It looks like it,” White replied. “Do you want to take it and show Chad if he’s available?”

Before Brooke could reply, a shout startled them. Looking up they saw Chad pounding down the beach. With a cry, Brooke flew to meet him, flinging her arms about his neck as he lifted her off her feet.
“You came back! I’m so glad! Come and see what we found!” and not giving her brother a chance to explain why he had left, she pulled him back to where White was standing. “See?” she thrust the ribbon into his hands.
Chad studied the lettering on it for several minutes before looking up. “What is this supposed to mean?”
“We have no idea,” White said.
“Maybe there are other ribbons around?” Brooke was already examining a few nearby bushes. The two members of the Coast Guard glanced at each other, shrugged and then began looking too.

For nearly thirty minutes the trio searched but only discovered one more ribbon. It was much like the other one, tied to a branch, yet the words on it were different. After careful study, four words were recognized: ‘home’, ‘free’, ‘banner’ and ‘brave’.
“What does the rest of it say? And why were they tied on these bushes, and who put them there and when?”
“You’ve got me on that one, Sis. I have no clue. Any idea’s White?”
White shook his head. “Not unless it has to do with the legend of this beach.”
“What’s that?” Chad and Brooke asked simultaneously.
“Why don’t we take these back to the base and see if any of the other guys can figure any more words out, and on the way, I’ll tell you.”
The others readily agreed.

“They say,” began White in a slow, mysterious tone that made Brooke shiver with excitement, “that it was on a day in July, much like this one that a young girl was seen walking down to this very beach early one afternoon. She was dressed in yellow and wore a red hat. No one was sure who she was. Supposedly someone from a sailboat out in the bay saw her back there near the rocks, heading this way. They claim to have heard a cry of some sort, and on looking at the beach saw the girl lying unmoving on the sand. Well, there was no way for them to come ashore here, so they radioed a call for help and waited. As they watched, the girl appeared to be disappearing into the bushes. They are sure she didn’t move herself, but was somehow dragged there or something. Anyway, when help arrived, there was no sign of her. The Coast Guard that was here at the time, I’m told, searched the shoreline for days, but nothing more was discovered. No one ever saw the girl again and no one knows what really happened.”

Silence fell as White finished the tale. No one spoke until they were almost to the base. Then Chad said, “That was quite a tale. But, if they searched the whole shoreline, why didn’t they find these ribbons if they came from this girl?”
White shrugged.
“You know, Chad,” Brooke began slowly, thoughtfully, “if that happened years ago, those bushes would have been smaller and maybe if these were tied right near the ground, no one noticed them.”
“But they’re white,” her brother protested, looking again at the ribbons,
“Yeah, now. But maybe they were yellow to match her dress and they just faded.”
“Then why the words?” White questioned.
“What words?”
White and Dancroft looked up. “These Pettrot,” Chad held them out to his room mate. “Can you make anything out of them?”

Pettrot stared at the faint marks, and then calling a few more of the Coast Guard over, they all fell to work trying to uncover the mysterious message.
Brooke watched them in shy silence a minute and then, seeing how interested everyone really was, began to offer her own suggestions. The ribbons were scrutinized, held up to the sun, studied in the shade, copies of the letters were carefully traced and criticized and yet no one could come up with a meaning for the seven words. More men came and joined the group and others left. Even the Captain, puzzled by the gathering came and tried, but with no success.
It wasn’t until almost supper time that Chad Dancroft suddenly started up exclaiming, “Wait a minute! Let me see those again!” Snatching them up he began to read, “’Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution. No refuge can save the hireling and slave.’ and the other one says, ‘And the Star-spangled banner shall wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.’” He looked up, his eyes sparkling.
“That’s it!” Brooke exclaimed.
“We still haven’t a clue how they came to be tied to bushes on the beach or why they were there, but at least we found out the message.” Chad grinned at his sister and shook hands with White. “I’d say it was rather fun.”
“I think so too.” White agreed.
Brooke sighed. “Now, tomorrow I can start trying to find out the who, when, how and why.”
The others grinned and then together they headed into mess for supper.

So, what did you think of it now you finished it?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mysterious Words - Part 1

Good Morning FFFs,
It appears to be a lovely spring morning here in MO, cloudy, but no rain yet. We've had the windows open all night and it is supposed to get into the upper 70s today.:) Our flowers are blooming, the trees are beginning to show buds, the lilac has tiny green leaves all over it and the birds are singing everywhere. Tomorrow is the full Worm moon and it is supposed to be a super moon as well. That means it will be the closest to the earth it has been for 18 years. I wonder what the tides will be like? Not that we have any around here to go check on, mind you.

I have done some writing this week. On Sunday I had four friends give me instructions for four more stories to write. They sounded like fun so I thought I should get to work on some other ones. I got one story written as well as finished one more Western, got two other parts of it part way done and finished another part of another story that hasn't been posted on here at all. I've written it for Scribblers. One of these days I might let the rest of you read it.:)
This story was rather interesting to write since I couldn't figure out what was going to happen when I started. The instructions were a little difficult for this picture, But, I wrote something.

Characters: 3 main and up to 10 minor
Length: at least 4 pages (it goes to 5)
Special Instructions: Mysterious, Happens on 4th of July

(What would you have written for this picture?)

Mysterious Words
Rebekah M.

The sound of footsteps approaching down the sandy beach disturbed the peacefulness of the July afternoon. They came along quickly, not as one taking a leisurely stroll, but with purpose and intent, moving with the lightness which a child or young person would have when full of excitement, eagerly tripping along with a skip or jump now and then.

Then came a sudden squeal, a gasp and a thump followed immediately by a mysterious silence. Only the swish of the water washing up the beach and lapping against the rocks disturbed the deathlike stillness which pervaded the southern island. That was all, yet somehow something was different. The palm trees whispered about it with the vines which seemed to grow everywhere. The pebbles murmured about it to each wave which washed them back and forth. Even the clouds gathered in clusters across the sky breathing the news to additional clouds that joined them. And so, for several years they whispered, murmured and breathed about it as they waited to see what would happen.

The sky was blue; the kind of deep blue that makes you feel as though you were looking into a fathomless well trying to catch a glimpse of the bottom and yet not able to. The southern sky was full of clouds piled up on each other until at the top they lay floating about much as though they were feathers coming out of a feather bed. As the sun began its descent from the middle of the sky, the sands along the edge of the dense mass of vegetation spoke of intense heat while the waters washing up looked invitingly cool this hot Independence Day. A breeze was stirring the tops of the palm trees. It was a glorious day!

Twenty-one-year-old Chad Dancroft strode purposefully down the shore, his quick blue eyes scanning first the bay on his right, where the waters changed from aqua to deep grey, to the seemingly impenetrable foliage of green on his left; from the high tops of the palm trees where a few bright birds twittered and sang, to the rocky, pine topped ridge before him. Brooke should be coming soon. In fact, after a quick glance at his watch, he realized that he was late, and she should have been waiting for him already.

“Our watches must not be in sinc,” he murmured, thinking half aloud as he often did when alone.

Chad wheeled around sharply. A older, fellow member of the United States Coast Guard was hurrying down the sandy beach waving something white. “I thought I’d never catch you!” he sucked in a gulping mouthful of air. “Anyone trying to follow you would think you were-- well, let’s just say you sure move fast for someone on leave.” The newcomer grinned. “Weren’t going anywhere special, were you, Dancroft?”
Chad rolled his eyes, “Okay, White, why’d you chase me down?” Being one of the youngest members of the Coast Guard stationed here, Chad was often the brunt of good natured teasing.
The paper was held out, “Captain said to find you and deliver it. Don’t know what it’s about,” and White waited as the paper was snatched and read.

Sighing deeply, Chad let his stiff shoulders drop, and his face took on a look of puzzled bewilderment.
“What’s up?”
“I’m ordered back to the base at once. Captain gives no reason but the note is worded like it’s important.” When White didn’t say anything, Dancroft went on. “I’m supposed to meet Brooke on the rocks there, but she’s late.”
“My sister.”
“Oh, yeah. Can I give her a message for you?”
For a moment, Chad tapped the paper in his hand and frowned. At last he said, “Yeah, if you’ll just wait and tell her ‘Pop goes the weasel,’ I’d appreciate it.”
White looked at his companion in utter bewilderment, “Pop goes the weasel?” he asked at last.
“I think the Captain must be wanting to send you to the hospital. The sun’s gotten to you. Pop goes the weasel indeed!”
Chad shrugged, while a grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. “’I got sick from all the sun, my sonny boy got the measles, but still we had a lot of fun. Pop goes the weasel’.” And with a laugh he set off back down the beach at a dogtrot leaving his companion standing dumfounded, gazing after him.

“Chad?” A bright voice recalled White from his bewilderment and sent him hurrying up the sand to where a young girl in a red and white sailor dress was skirting the rocks. When the girl realized that the older man approaching was not her brother, she paused as he came up.
“Brooke Dancroft?”
The girl nodded, noting the emblem of the Coast Guard on his shirt, “Where’s Chad? Who are you?”
“Tyler White, Miss: I work with your brother. He got called back to the base unexpectedly, but he left a message for you.”
“A message?” Brooke’s eyes lighted up at this news. “What is it?”
White frowned, “He said to tell you, ‘Pop goes the weasel’ but I haven’t a clue what he means by it. I hope you do.”
“Oh bother, and I was planning on spending the afternoon with him. Now what am I supposed to do?”
White looked down at the girl before him. She didn’t look more than twelve, with blonde hair and eyes as blue as her brother’s. Her face and arms were tan from the sun as were her feet in white sandals. As he stood looking at her, he was reminded of his own daughter back in Texas.
“Could I be of service in any way?” he questioned politely. “I have the afternoon off, if your brother doesn’t.”
Brooke looked up at him, tipping her head and pursing her lips. Then she shrugged. “If you want. Mom and I just arrived last week, and today she is gone for the whole day. She expected me to have Chad this afternoon, but I guess that won’t work.”

To be continued next week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ruined Shoes

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

And a wonderful good morning to you, Favorite Friday Fiction Fans!
The sun is coming up in a cloudless blue sky, promising a gloriously bright day. I think it's supposed to be in the 60s today! Our daffodils are blooming, though not all of them yet. Our lilac has tiny green leafs and our forsythia is blooming. That isn't new, however, since the silly thing blooms all year round. Even in the middle of winter when it is snowing or in summer when it is covered in green leaves. I have heard that we are supposed to get another big snow storm, bigger this time that the one in Feb. near the end of this month. I wonder if it will really happen. It could.

Have you ever had a week that you felt as though you didn't get anything done? Well, that was my week. I know I got things done, I mean, my book has all been approved by me and is at press, but still. I got a little sewing of doll clothes done, taught a writing class and even wrote a little. I'm going over this morning to help some friends with school. I get the two little boys while the mom takes the three older ones. The little guys and I are going to build the trans-continental railway, drive trains, read train books, work train puzzles, and color a map with our trans-continental railway on it. Who knows, we might even visit each of the States we have to build in.:) Don't you wish you could be with us? :)

Thanks to all you Western readers who left comments this past week. I'm glad you enjoyed your Westerns.:) With my book in print, I have been thinking that I need to get this Western done and get it published too. Of course I'll have to wait until I have money to do it, but I am working on the writing.:) We'll see what happens in the rest of the Western. I know many things, but there might be the unexpected that comes along and must be written. I'm still trying to write some short stories, but my problem is I don't know what. I do have a few to write for people, I just need to write them.:)

This story was written for EMC.:) She didn't see the picture, only gave the instructions.
Characters: 11
Words: 1200
Special Instructions: Takes place in the 70s

Ruined Shoes
Rebekah M.

For several minutes Tracy Linnet sat silently in her small, blue Road Runner, slowly twisting one of her tawny curls around her finger. “Now what?” she asked of no one, for besides her cat, she was alone in the car. “Here I am, in a small mountain valley with lush green grass, a small stream, which I’m sure is icy cold, a row of tall, green trees, an old looking barn and rugged mountain peaks; not a person or house in sight.” She sighed and, looking at the seat beside her where Madalyn, her only companion, was curled up, made a wry face before adding, “I guess this just isn’t my lucky day, huh, Lyn?”
Thus addressed, the cat, a sweet tempered, long-haired, yellow tabby, opened one eye, stretched her front paws and yawned. Her tail brushed the back of the seat lightly.
“Oh, you’re no help,” Tracy scolded softly, scooping up the cat and cuddling it tenderly. “You couldn’t even get the spare tire out let alone change the flat. Now could you?”
Lyn merely blinked.

The sun shone brightly out of a clear blue sky, and Tracy, never one to give way to utter despair, opened the car door and stepped out, glad to at least stretch her legs. “No doubt Tad will be waiting for me.” She put the cat down and straightened her belt and smoothed her skirt. “Of course,” she added to Lyn with another little sigh, “he won’t really miss me until after five o’clock. Since it is almost three now, it will be at least four and a half maybe even five more hours before he finds me. So much for getting back without any mishaps!”
She thought of her three friends whose company she had left only forty minutes ago after spending a five day holiday together. Now it was back to college, and here she was, stuck.

“Lyn,” Tracy wondered, “do you see a house over there behind those trees?”
Lynn continued washing her face and didn’t even look.
After shaking her head at her companion, Tracy shaded her eyes from the afternoon sun, trying to see through the screen of trees. “I’m sure it is a house. But, how do I get there? I guess we’ll have to cross the field and climb the fence, if there is one,” she added. “How nice of the road to cross this stream before turning away from the house. Come on, Lyn.” She picked up her cat, and set off with a sigh.

The long grass swayed, tickling her legs and grasshoppers jumped on her skirt.
“Oh,” Tracy shuddered, thinking of what her new neon tiger-striped keds would look like, for the ground was soft and squishy, as though still saturated from a rain. “This isn’t exactly the right kind of outfit to venture forth across country in, Lyn. Maybe I should have worn something else.”
Lyn gave a soft mew and set up a purr.
“I know, you’re exactly right. I wouldn’t have had time to change before Tad saw me. And who knew I would have a flat tire. I’m sure you didn’t even think of such a thing.”

At last the field was crossed and Tracy approached the barbed wire fence feeling almost like a trespasser. “What if they don’t like visitors?” she whispered to Lyn. But the cat had closed her eyes and Tracy didn’t think she was listening.

Just as Tracy placed one hand on the fence, a sudden thunderous barking frightened her nearly out of her shoes! She screamed! There bounding towards her was a great, and to her mind, terrible dog! Lyn began to spit and hiss and Tracy held on to her beloved cat lest she leap from her arms into the vicious jaws of the approaching beast.
A shrill whistle from the barn halted the dog and sent it tearing off in a new direction. A door of the barn slammed shut and then out of the shadows a man approached with the stride of a cowboy.
Somehow Tracy managed a tiny, fleeting smile. “Hi.”
“Can I help you?”
“Um, oh yes, . . . I mean, . . . my car--” She could go no further for the door of the house flew open and a crowd of noisy children of all sizes came dashing out helter-skelter. Behind them, with a baby in each arm, came a woman.
Tracy could only stare. Never had she seen so many children at once except at schools. Even Lyn seemed impressed for she turned for a look and then scrambled up to Tracy’s shoulder as though added height would help figure out the situation.
The woman came over to the fence and, after handing over one of the babies to the man, held out her hand with a pleased smile. “Hi, I’m Anne. Brian’s wife. It’s not often we have guests. Can we help you?”
At last Tracy found her voice. “My car has a flat, and I can’t change it. I was wondering--”
“Of course we can help,” Brian put in.
His wife added, “You came through that field? Oh your poor shoes! They look ruined. I’m afraid there is no gate, but if you’re not afraid to climb the fence or go under it, we can give you a lift back in the truck. Tramping back through that would only make your shoes worse.”
At this, Brian handed back the baby, placed one booted foot on the lower strand of wire and pulled the top strand up, thus forming a gap large enough for Tracy and Lyn to squeeze through. Then he bellowed, “Everyone in the truck!”

A blur of movement crossed Tracy’s vision as there was a mad scramble for the truck. In a daze, Tracy soon found herself seated in the back of the pickup with Lyn in her lap surrounded by half a dozen large, middle sized and small boys all staring at her. After a brief moment she asked, “Are the babies boys too?”
“Naw, only one.”
“Nice cat.”
“Bet ya Colonel would swallow it in one bite.”
“Aw, be quiet, Jackie.”
“Where do you live?
“How come you’re riding with us?”
Tracy could neither respond to these bewildering comments nor answer the questions hurled at her. Her brain, so quick in school, was a total jumble.

It took only a short time in the truck to reach her little car and soon the tire was changed, and after declining an invitation to stay for the night, Tracy found herself once more alone with her cat.

As she settled back again behind the wheel, she said, addressing the occupant of the seat beside her, “Did this really happen, Lyn, or was I dreaming? Tad will think I dreamed it all up.” There was a brief pause. “On second thought,” she glanced ruefully down at her ruined shoes, “when he sees these shoes, he’ll know it wasn’t a dream.” Then she sighed and drove off down the road.
What did you think?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 33

Well, here is the last Western for this week. I decided to be nice to all my Western readers and not post Part 34 tomorrow. You see, it is a cliff hanger and Part 35 is not done yet. Also, on Friday I am going to post something else, so instead of leaving you clinging by your fingers to a cliff (not literally) I'll just wait.

In case you haven't looked at my Home Fires blog today, my book has gone to press.:) Thought you might like to know that. But, here is Part 33. Enjoy!

Part 33

The friends fairly held their breath. Would this be the right family? Was Sunshine with them? The pause the captain took as he recalled the family seemed to drag on for hours to that eager trio, when it was really only a few seconds.

“Yep, one little girl was different. The others were dark haired and rather large. Oh, not in an unpleasant sense, but they seemed like it next to the other one. She was small and had golden hair. Seemed almost like spun gold when the sun shone on it. She was a lovely little thing. Seemed a might peculiar seeing as how both the parents were dark haired.”
“What was her name?” The question from Ty startled the captain it was so hoarse.
Knitting his brows together, Captain Roland frowned and getting to his feet, he paced the room striving to recall the name that had been there only moments before. At last he shook his head. “It’s gone. I’m sure it’ll come to me, but I can’t think of it right now. I’m sorry.”
Long sighs of disappointment came from each one present. Ty slumped in his seat. Would he ever know her name? Carson dropped his head and neither one noticed Sally. As she sighed, she instinctively reached for her locket with its precious picture. Inspired with a sudden thought, she drew it from its hiding place and holding it out to Captain Roland, who appeared nearly as disappointed as his visitors felt, asked, “Did the little girl look anything like -- her?”
Turning the picture to the light, the captain studied the sweet face. “Yep, I’d say that sprite of a child is looking just like her right about now.”
“You’re sure? There’s no mistake? You wouldn’t be mixin’ that picture up with some other girl, now would ya?” Carson had sprung to his feet, his words quick, almost frantic.
“No, there’s no doubt in my mind, This must be her mother. You all related too?”
Thus assured, Carson sank back down in a daze murmuring, “Sunshine, . . my little sunshine, . . . here,” while Ty, with heart full of gratefulness, whispered, “Thank God! News at last!”
Both men were so overcome with emotion that it was Sally who told the story to the kind captain. He listened sympathetically.
After all was told, he handed back the locket and said, “I’ll help you all I can, but it has been eleven years and much can happen in that time. Now let’s see. I know they were going farther west, but how far I’m not certain. They could have gone all the way to California or even Oregon. I reckon if I was you, I’d take the old trail towards Oregon and check at some of the forts along the way. The trails aren’t used much now days, but they’d sure make easy riding if you have good mounts.”
Carson and Ty assured him that they were well mounted.
“Well, I wish you all the very best of success. It might be a long, hard and even dangerous journey, but . . .” and Captain Roland paused to look steadily at each one of his visitors. “I have a feeling you will find your sister. And after you do, Ty, the army could use such an experienced and determined man in the scouts.”
Ty smiled. “I’m afraid the army ‘ll have ta do without me. I jest ain’t the type.”
Captain Roland laughed, “Well, it’s the army’s loss. Good luck to you all.”
“Thank you, Sir.”

Carson, Sally and Ty were already out of the room and several steps away when suddenly the captain jerked open the door behind them and called out, “Eleanor!”
“What’s that?” Carson asked.
“Her name. I just now remembered it!”
“Eleanor,” gasped Carson, “how did she get given her mother’s name?”
No one could answer that.

The sun was coming up in a blaze of glory promising a beautiful day for travel as Ty, Sally and Carson set off from Fort Laramie. They now had five horses with them, having acquired another pack horse with the sale of Ty’s mountain lion skin, so as to carry more supplies and to ease the burdens of the other animals. All the party, the riders as well as their mounts, were in fine spirits. Though it was still somewhat chilly, the rising sun would soon warm things up.

Captain Roland had been right; the well worn trail was easy to follow, and they made good time. “Much faster’n the folks makin’ the trail in wagons,” Ty said as they cantered along.
And so, day followed day, easy riding, and mile after mile covered. It soon became rather monotonous and they began to long for a challenging hill to climb, a rushing stream to ford or even a wild animal to shoot.

At last they reached South Pass where they halted for a few days. By dint of diligent questioning, they discovered two people who thought they remembered a family named Westlin, and after considerable more thought, they reached the conclusion that they had left the trail and headed south. Where they were going, neither informant knew.
This information was received with a mixture of thankfulness and regret. Regret that no one seemed quite sure of anything and thankfulness that they could leave the well worn trail they had been on. Neither Carson nor Ty enjoyed such well worn trails. They both preferred the open, unmarked countryside where one must cut his own trail, where one could ride or wander to his heart’s content, where only the print of wild beast or his own horse were to be found. This turning south meant all that to the two men for, aside from a few settlers here and there, a few little towns scattered far and wide, the country to the south was still the untamed plains, mountains and even deserts Ty and Carson loved so dearly. They would go south.

Any thoughts about what comes next?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 32

I really was going to get this posted earlier today, but the text galley for my book was sent for my approval and so I completely forgot about posting until now.:} Sorry. At least I didn't leave you on a cliff hanger, did I? (I can't remember where the last one ended.) Here is the next part.

Part 32

All at once the gun was drawn, followed almost instantly by its sharp report and then the gun was back in its place and Sally moved away to her brother’s side. For a moment a stunned silence lay over everyone, for Sally had not only hit the knot, but had beat her opponent!
The vanquished youth grinned self-consciously as cheers for his opponent filled the air. When they had somewhat died down, he approached Sally and said, “I beg yer pardon, Miss, for doubting. Yer a better shot than I am an’ I don’t mind sayin’ so.”
Sally smiled and shook the offered hand.

“Well, let’s start back an’ hand these men over to the sheriff, now that our little party is over.” It was the deputized man who was now the unspoken leader of the group.
During the activity of gathering horses, arranging prisoners and such, Sally grasped Ty’s arm and whispered, “I ain’t goin’ back over that cliff, Ty. I jest can’t.”
“Now don’t go gettin’ excited. ‘Course we ain’t goin’ back. We’re headin’ ta Fort Laramie an’ ta Fort Laramie we’re goin’ ta go. Carson,” Ty called to his friend.
When Carson made his way over, he remarked, “I reckon we can make the rest a the trail ourselves, Ty, ‘stead a goin’ back.”
“That’s what I was aim’n ta do.”

Thus it was that when the posse with their prisoners headed back over the trail they had come, Carson, Ty and Sally waved good-bye and were soon left alone on the mountainside.
Ty, unwilling to leave his mountain lion for the beasts of prey, soon had it skinned, and the three companions set off once more for Fort Laramie.

The trail, though narrow in places and but roughly marked, was relatively easy for such woodsmen as Bob Carson and Ty Elliot to follow, and they made good time. There were no more cliffside walkways to traverse, only rocky paths and icy streams to ford. These didn’t require such stout nerves and Sally made no complaint.

On the following day they spied the fort ahead with the flag of the United States floating over it in the breeze. The very sight quickened the blood in their veins and, urging their horses on to a brisk canter, they headed forward, hearts beating with eagerness for they knew not what. Surely their travels would be rewarded somehow. None dared hope for complete success to their quest at once, for this was the first lead they had followed, yet all felt certain that in some way there would be something to guide them on, to lead them forward closer to their goal, closer to the long lost sister whom Ty and Sally had never met.

Riding into the fort, their first stop was at the hotel, for though this was a fort, it was also a stopping place on the wagon trail to Oregon and California. After caring for their animals and eating a hearty meal, Carson, Ty and Sally walked about.

For the next few days, the three travelers wandered the fort, asking “about a family named Westlake or Weston, anyway, it began with West.” Nearly always the answer was no. Now and then they came across someone who had known a family by some such name, but never did it seem to be the right ones. Each day brought fresh disappointment, and before the week was out, Ty had become so discouraged that he nearly missed out on an important clue.
Carson had gone out early in the day and hadn’t yet returned. Not seeming to care any more, Ty remained behind at the hotel with Sally. They were planning on leaving the following morning, yet Sally felt restless.
“Do come out once more, Ty,” Sally begged.
Ty stubbornly shook his head. “It ain’t any use, Sally.”
“Ya could at least come down an’ eat,” she begged.
“I ain’t hungry.”
Sally’s jaw tightened and she planted her hands on her hips. “Well, even if’n ya ain’t hungry, I am.”
With a reluctant sigh, Ty got up and followed his sister down to the dining room of the hotel. Once there, Sally continued trying to persuade Ty to search a little longer, but he shook his head.
“I said it ain’t any use. It’s been ‘bout twelve years since anyone heard a them, an’ it ain’t likely we’ll find anyone here that knows ‘em now.”
“But there might be one person we haven’t talked to yet,” she urged.
“Sally,” Ty sighed in exasperation, “we’ve been checkin’ an’ there ain’t no one left ta ask.”
Before Sally could think of another argument, the woman wiping off the nearby table turned suddenly towards them. “Ya know who you ought ta check with-- Captain Roland. He’s been here, oh I’d say fifteen years, and he doesn’t forget a name or a face. He seems to know every person who comes through this fort. Go talk ta him if ya want to find out about that family.”
Ty was on his feet in an instant, suddenly alert. “Where is this Captain Roland?”
The woman pointed out the officer’s quarters, and Ty and Sally left in great excitement. Meeting Carson just returning after another fruitless search, they eagerly imparted the news, and with quickening pulse, he joined them.

Captain Roland welcomed them cordially and when all were seated, Ty asked the question.
Frowning thoughtfully, the captain stared at the opposite wall in thought. “No,” he began slowly, “no one was here named Westlake. Twelve years ago or so you say? Hmm, there was one family, Westline, no, Westlin--”
“That’s it!” Carson nearly shouted. “Westlin! I remember it now. Were they here, did you say?”
Captain Roland hesitated before replying, “There was a family by that name who came through here, I’d say about eleven years ago.” He paused, thinking, remembering. “Let me see now . . . yep, they had four or maybe five little girls. I remember they all looked alike, except one.”

Do you want another post tomorrow or have you had enough?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 31

I told you we would be moving. Here is the next part of the Western. I had no idea all these things were going to happen. Enjoy!

Part 31

Carson, taking his rifle from the scabbard, cocked it and whispered, “Let’s go.”
Ty nodded grimly. Leaving his own gun holstered as back up, he advanced down the trail beside Carson with his father’s six-shooter gripped firmly in his right hand.
Pausing before a turn in the trail, both men listened. Rough voices could be heard. After a cautious look through the screen of bushes and pine trees, Ty nodded to Carson and, throwing all caution to the wind, they dashed out into the open.

The sharp crack of Ty’s six-shooter as he shot the gun out of one of the outlaws’ hands was the first anyone knew of their presence. Consternation was written all over Vin’s face as he realized too late that not all of his party had been present. As for the other travelers, no sooner had they caught sight of their comrades than every gun was drawn before the surprised bandits could collect their startled senses enough for flight or resistance.
It was all over in a matter of minutes. When one of the men began tying Vin’s hands, he protested.
“You can’t tie me up. I’ve got ta lead you over the rest of the trail.”
“We’ve come as far as we care to on your trail,” the man replied grimly. “Vin, you’re under arrest.”
“I tell you, you can’t arrest me. You ain’t the law.”
At that, the man pulled off his vest revealing a deputy sheriff’s badge. Vin stared wide eyed and open mouthed. “The sheriff deputized me before we even came to you. And now, I think he’ll be rather pleased with what we have to bring to him.”
“But . . . but, that mountain lion. I ain’t seen him yet, and he’ll kill you all!”
Ty, who had been assisting with the tying up of the outlaws, grinned. “How would ya be knowin’ one mountain lion from another, Vin? This one got any special mark?”
Nodding, Vin replied, “It’s left ear is torn and missing a piece where my bullet went clean through one time.”
Beckoning to Sally who had approached with the horses, Ty chuckled. “Hmm, perhaps ya’d like ta identify this here large cat I jest kilt on th’other side a the cliff. I were kind a short on time an’ didn’t get much of a chance ta look ‘im over.”
Untying the cat, Ty hauled it off his mount and dropped it down before the astonished gaze of the entire party. It was an uncommonly large mountain lion, evidently a grandfather one with huge paws and, sure enough, his left ear was torn and part of it was missing.

Several of the men, leaving their prisoners under the watch of the others, began to examine it more closely, asking how Ty had come to shoot it with such accuracy as to kill it with one shot. Therefore, Ty, to the great pleasure of the rest, related the tale and his shot from the ground.
Suddenly Carson, who had listened with great interest, broke in. “Ty, we’d best get them scratches on ya washed real good.”
“Scratches?” The very word brought two of the other men to their feet in a hurry. “Come on, Ty,” one of the men ordered. “Wild cat scratches ain’t things ya want ta mess ‘round with.”
The other adding, as Carson pulled his younger companion to his feet, “Got a younger brother who got scratched by a bobcat. He was mighty sick for a long time, I’m tellin’ you.”
Ty merely laughed. Grinning at Sally, who had looked startled when she realized Ty had been hurt, he pulled her gun out he had tucked in his belt and handed it over. “I reckon ya can put it back. An’ don’t ya worry none ‘bout me. I’ll go long with them seein’ as I ain’t got much choice.” The last was called over his shoulder as he was hurried away.

After slipping her gun back into it’s holster at her side, Sally noticed many of the men staring at her. Coloring slightly she turned to her horse, realizing that probably no one knew until now that she even had a gun.
“Can you hit anything with that?”
Sally turned around. The question was asked respectfully, yet with a note of skepticism too. The speaker was the quietest and possibly the youngest one of the men who had gone to talk with the sheriff back in town. Sally nodded.
Glances were exchanged between several of the men. Sally didn’t volunteer to show her skill, thus unknowingly casting doubt on her ability as a markswoman. However, nothing further was said until Ty returned with Carson and the two others. His shoulder was bandaged and he walked with a slight limp. The washing of his scratches hadn’t been the gentlest and he now felt the pain which he hadn’t noticed before.
“Ty,” the young man questioned, “Can yer sister really shoot with that six-shooter?”
Ty snorted. “Can she? She can match me at a draw most any day an’ can hit any target I can. Ya want ta see?”
“Ty!” Sally protested softly, turning scarlet.
A murmur of assent rippled through the men, prisoners and guards alike.
“Jest pick a target you can hit an’ let her try.” Ty was proud of his sister’s shooting and wanted to enjoy seeing the faces of those who doubted it when she proved her ability.
Accordingly the young man pointed to a tree a good distance away that had a knot about half way up.
Sally was given the opportunity to go first, but she shook her head. He had challenged her, so he shot first. Carson and Ty nodded. They had no doubts that Sally could hit it.
The young man was a good shot and hit the outer rim of the knot. Then Sally stepped up. For a moment she remained motionless, gun in its holster, arms down at her side, studying the target.

I'm trying to decide, should I post again tomorrow?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 30

And now, as promised, another part of Meleah's Western. Aren't you glad she got me going on this?:)

Part 30

“Ty! Look out!”
Sally tried to draw her gun, but she was shaking too much. Ty, lying on the ground, had also seen the face and just as the huge mountain lion, with a snarling scream, sprang down from its high perch above them, drew his Colt revolver and fired.
The shot was true and pierced the lion’s heart. Rolling quickly to one side, Ty managed to escape the full impact of the now dead animal though the hind legs with their dangerous claws raked his shoulder and thigh. With a quick move, Ty freed himself, and still clutching his pistol with one hand and the horses reins with the other, stood up.
He cut her short. “The horses, Sally. They got ta be calmed now.”
He was right. If they broke free, they could rush headlong over the cliff or disappear into the mountains never to be found again. At the very least, they would hurt themselves. Still rearing and pulling on the reins that held them, the horses, in terror at the smell of the mountain lion, struggled to get away.
“Here, Sally, take Starlight’s reins!” Ty shoved his pistol back in its holster. “Whoa, Par! Easy now,” Ty spoke soothingly to his own horse while separating the leather straps and thrusting those belonging to Starlight into Sally’s hands. “Calm her,” he ordered.
That was easier said than done. For both horses, nearly maddened by the strong scent of a hated enemy were frantically pulling away. After the first few seconds of the struggle, Ty recalled an old Indian trick. Leaning down, he rubbed one hand over the fur of the dead beast then he spread the scent over Par’s nostrils. After a shake or two of his head, the horse, perhaps perplexed by the fact that all he could smell anywhere now was mountain lion, calmed down. Ty patted him gently talking all the while. “That’s right, Par. Easy now, Ain’t nothin’ ta fear now for it’s dead.”
Sally’s cry brought Ty over to help her at once. Using the same trick he had used on his own horse, Starlight was soon under control.

In the sudden silence that reigned, Ty and Sally looked at each other. For a moment neither of them spoke. At last Ty, with a slight grin, remarked, “Well, I reckon this ain’t the place ta stop an’ rest. What say we take that there big cat along with us?”
“Will Par let ya?”
For answer, Ty hoisted the large cat, slung it over his horse’s back and stepped away. The horse didn’t move. “I reckon he’ll carry it. Least ways till we catch up with the others.” As he spoke he securely tied the animal. “That’s that. If’n we don’t get on, Carson’ll be back ta fetch us. That ain’t goin’ ta make Vin very happy.”
Slowly, with reluctant steps, Sally followed her brother; the horses followed calmly as though no danger had only moments before terrified them. At the beginning of the narrow, cliff hugging trail, Sally paused. There was no way to go back, for the horses were behind her, and yet, how could she walk along that ledge?

Ty, seeing her hesitate, took her hand and drew it through his arm. “Put yer right hand on the wall there an’ let’s go.”
“Ty, I can’t, I’m goin’ ta be sick. I feel dizzy, an’ . . .” her words trailed off as she closed her eyes and leaned against the cliffside.
“Jest look at yer feet, an’ keep yer eyes half closed,” advised Ty pulling her forward a few steps.
She tried it, but it was only with great effort that she could continue at all.
Ty tried to distract her thoughts from the dangerous path they were treading footstep by footstep. “Ya think that mountain lion’s the same one Vin’s been after all these years? Sure would be a right nice present ta give him, if’n it were.”
When no answer came, Ty fell silent.
It seemed like years to poor Sally, who was fighting to keep from showing the terror she felt. Every time she tried to open her eyes and see how much farther they had to go, a sudden wave of dizziness swept over her, leaving her strangely lightheaded. Her grip on Ty’s arm was tense and she moved mechanically forward. How wonderful it was to hear Ty say quietly that they were almost to the end. Then they were off the cliff and onto a trail carpeted with pine needles. Sally drew a deep breath and sank limply down beside the path.

Opening his mouth to say something, Ty stopped with the words on the tip of his tongue. On the trail up ahead, he had caught a glimpse of Carson standing with head cocked as though listening to something and a hand up for quiet. Bending low over his sister, he quietly placed the reins in her hands and nodded in Carson’s direction, breathing, “Wait here till I see what’s up.”

“There seems ta’ve been an ambush an’ all are held up by outlaws,” was Carson’s low reply to Ty’s questioning look. “It seems ta me ta be a set up.”
“How many?”
“Maybe half a dozen.”
“Doesn’t he know we ain’t there?”
“Reckon not.”
The wind was blowing the sounds towards them and both strained their ears to hear what was being said. After hearing a few sentences, Ty was slowly reaching for his pistol when a hand was laid on his arm. He turned. Sally, drawing her father’s gun from its holster, handed it without a word to her brother. Then, taking the reins of Carson’s mount and the pack horse, she nodded, again without a word, towards the sounds of conflict.
Ty noticed that her cheeks had color once more and her eyes again flashed sparks like some one stirred with passion. Here was a danger she could face without flinching.

Are you coming back?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 29

Hang on to yer hats everyone, the Fabulous Friday Fiction Fans have spoken!
Yep, after receiving four comments after last Friday's Western post asking if I'd post the next part or wishing for more of the story, I have decided to declare this week, "Western Week." And in case you are wondering what a "Western Week" is, it means that throughout this coming week, I'll be posting parts of Meleah's Western. They may come in the morning, the afternoon or even in the evening. Just be sure you check back often. And be sure you leave me a note to tell me what you think.:)

Did you realize that it took me two years to write the first 24 parts of Meleah's Western? At that rate it would take me years to get it finished. However, in the first two months and four days of this year I have written 10 parts of it.:) Hmm, I'm beginning to think I might get it finished this year. Would you like that? Of course I'd have to wait to publish it until I had saved enough money, but it might be nice to know all that happens.:)

Not much else to say now, so I guess I'll just let you read the first Western of the week.

Part 29

That night Ty and Carson took their turn on watch along with the other men. Sally slept fitfully, waking often to listen. All was still in the dark. No animal came near and only the snap of the fire as fresh wood was added disturbed the serene silence of the still night.

As dawn approached, Sally, wide awake, arose and began to make coffee. Ty quietly joined her to build up the fire and start breakfast. Then, one by one, the other men of the party roused themselves or were roused by the tantalizing aroma of Sally’s coffee, and the day began. Before long camp was packed up, horses once again loaded and the fire put out. Vin taking his place at the front, set off.

The day was beautiful. As the sun rose higher, the sky grew richer in its robe of deep azure with here and there fleecy puffs of white dancing along on the breeze. Shining brightly, the sun cast its warm rays over the landscape. Everywhere the pine trees, their branches loaded with green needles and cones of varying sizes, showed signs of new growth at the tips of their branches. In places where there were no trees to block the sun, flowers of different colors and shapes lifted bright heads to welcome the king of the day. Miriads of tiny insects buzzed from flower to flower. It was all so lovely that Sally let her horse lag behind.
“Sally, come on,” Ty called, noticing her distance from the group.
Urging her horse on a bit, Sally soon joined her brother at the end of the line of riders. “Oh, Ty,” she breathed in ecstasy, “ain’t it just, well--” She couldn’t seem to find the right words to describe it. But her gaze took it all in, from the distant snow covered peaks to the lush valley far down below them, from the blue of the sky above, to the green grass at her horses feet; all seemed to breathe hope and tranquillity. Surely no danger could be lurking in these mountains, no crooked dealing men, no fierce beast of prey. It was too fine a day to even think such thoughts.
Ty nodded. “Yep, it’s jest that. But if ya keep laggin’ behind, we’ll never reach Fort Laramie.”
With a lilting little laugh Sally pulled her horse in front of her brother’s and followed Carson, calling back over her shoulder to Ty, “Then I reckon ya’d better ride behind me or I may not come at all.”

Continuing to travel in relative silence, the riders pushed on over the narrow mountain trail which wound its way northwest towards Fort Laramie. After a quick halt to rest the horses and eat a bite or two, Vin urged them on again. He seemed in a hurry and ordered them all to dismount and lead their mounts when they came to the cliff.

Sally and Ty, still in the rear, were some distance behind Carson when they saw him dismount and set off on foot, his horse and their pack horse following.
“That must be the cliff up yonder, Sis.”
Sally nodded, not saying a word. How wide was the path along the precipice? Dismounting slowly, she advanced with bated breath. Then, there it was. A sheer drop of several hundred feet. The trail led right along the side of the cliff wall, turning around a sharp edge and disappearing. The sight of it was too much for Sally, stout hearted though she was. Backing way from the ledge, she grasped a pine branch nearby and held on, her knuckles turning white and her breath coming in gasps.
Also dismounting and moving forward, Ty halted beside his sister. “What’s the matter? Sally, you all right?”
“That . . . that . . .” she couldn’t go on. Her eyes were full of terror.
Ty moved out to take a look. “Whew,” he whistled softly between his teeth. “Looks like a right nice place ta not miss yer step.” Then coming back to Sally, he said, “Well, I’ve been over wors’n that, so come on.”
Sally shook her head. There was no way she would set foot on that tiny lip of a trail. She was starting to tremble and her face to lose its color at the very thought.
“We’ve got ta go on, Sally,” Ty urged gently. “Here, give me yer reins an’ I’ll lead yer horse ‘long with mine.”
From a hand that visibly shook, Sally let her brother take the reins, but still she clung to her branch.
For a moment Ty looked at her. How was he to get both horses and Sally across that narrow walkway? The horses shouldn’t present a problem, but Sally . . . “I’’ll be right beside ya, now come,” he coaxed. It was useless. Sally clung all the tighter to her branch. “Sally, ya can’t stay here,” Ty went on, laying one hand over hers on the branch. “Didn’t ya tell Carson an’ me back in the town that ya weren’t afraid?”
“I ain’t afraid, Ty,” Sally whispered, “Jest scared ta death! I ain’t goin’ on that. I’d rather face any number a bears, mountain lions an’ such than put one foot on that-- that death walk.”
Working gently but persistently, Ty had been unclasping her fingers from their grip on the branch. “Sally,” he remarked slowly, “this ain’t goin’ ta be the only place yer afraid, but ya can’t let that stop ya. Ya got ta face yer fears an’ move on.”
It was only then that Sally noticed what Ty was doing. With a cry she tried to tighten her hold once again, but Ty had her fingers in his firm grasp and was pushing her away from the sheltering arms of the tree.

Just at that moment, with sudden whinnies of alarm, both mounts began to rear and plunge in terror. Ty, unprepared, staggered and fell flat on his back.
Catching a glimpse of a face above them, Sally screamed!

Would anyone like the next part tomorrow?