Friday, April 29, 2011

Ranch - Part 2

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,

It is a beautiful morning! The sun is coming up and I can't see a
single cloud in the blue sky! After more than a week of clouds and
rain, the sunshine yesterday was wonderful and I'm looking forward to
enjoying it today. Of course all that rain made our grass grow (at
least the weeds) and now I need to mow.

Important: All Western Readers Should Read This
After thinking about doing
another Western Week, I suddenly was struck with a new idea. Since I
have been writing quite a few parts to Meleah's Western as well as
working on my Ranch story (by the way, I still need a a name for this
ranch, so if ANYONE has ANY ideas, PLEASE let me know!!!), and that
doesn't count the short stories that I have yet to post on here, I
decided that I needed to do something. Therefore, starting this coming
week, I will be posting a Western on Wednesday. That makes it Western
Wednesdays.:) And then you can come back for your Fiction on Fridays.
That way I can still post different things without making my readers
wait too long for more Westerns. If there isn't a western posted some
Wednesday, that means I don't have one written. (Unless I just forgot
to post.:))

But that is the Western. I have been doing some other writing. And a
lot of thinking about stories. Here is some trivia for you to guess.

~How many long stories I have started?
~How many other long stories have I thought about and are longing to start?
~How many short stories have I written?
~About how many words do I write at one "sitting"?

Okay, I'll quit talking and let you read.:) I hope you enjoy Part 2 of
the Ranch story. (Doesn't anyone have any ideas for the name of this

Part 2

“Ah, Mr. Mavrich, I’m glad you have
arrived safely.” Mr. Athey stood up and held out his hand as Norman
entered the library. “Although I regret that the necessity for your
coming had to be these circumstances,” he added. Norman smiled. “I wish
I could have come more often, however, ranch life doesn’t exactly lend
itself to absences very often.” “I understand.” The two gentlemen sat
down in the great leather armchairs by the desk. Rows of shelves lined
with books of every sort nearly filled two of the walls from floor to
ceiling of the room while three large windows in heavy draperies served
to lighten the room when the drapes were opened as they were now. “What
are the facts, Mr. Athey? Give me the basic thoughts and then we’ll go
on to fill in the details.” “Very well. It is really quite simple. Your
grandmother left this house for your sister when she reaches twenty-one
years of age. She also willed her a large sum of money to be held by
you until she reaches that age. She had purchased years ago, a piece of
land on which a mine was opened and has been in operation for some time
now. That land, with all the profit of the mining outfit has been left
to you. You, as I mentioned in my letter, I believe, are Orlena’s only
natural and therefore her only legal guardian until she reaches the age
of twenty-one. This leaves you with the sole responsibility of deciding
where she will live, what schools she shall attend and so forth. That
is Mrs. Mavrich’s entire last will and testament in a nutshell. Oh,” he
said, reaching for a folder lying on the desk. “I almost forgot.”
Thumbing through the papers with which the folder was crammed, he at
last pulled out a sealed envelope and holding it out to Norman remarked
quietly, “This was to be given to you in person.” Norman took the
envelope and looked at the handwriting on the front. There was no doubt
it was from his grandmother. The fancy curves and flourishes adorning
his full name on the front was proof enough of that. Slowly he turned
the thing over in his hand wondering what she had written. Mr. Athey
pulled out his watch and looked at the time; then he arose. “I’m afraid
I will have to depart. I have another meeting which requires my
presence, and I’m sure you must be tired after your trip. When would
you like to meet again and finish this business?” “Would this evening
be convenient for you, Mr. Athey? I don’t like to be away from the
ranch longer than I have to, and--” “I completely understand, Mr.
Mavrich. This evening will be completely satisfactory for me. Until
this evening then,” and with another handshake, the lawyer quietly
departed leaving Norman alone in the library. For several minutes he
sat lost in thought, fingering the envelope in his hands, pondering
what he had heard. Then, as though he had been suddenly awakened, he
stood, walked to a window and looked out, then turning, he too left the
room. It was an easy task for him to find Mrs. O’Connor and learn that
Orlena was still in her room and that his own room was ready for him.
Mounting the stairs, he passed down the hall, the thickly carpeted
floors giving back no sound of his footsteps. For a brief moment he
paused beside his sister’s room and listened. On hearing no sound
within, he continued to his room, entered, and shut the door behind
him. Everything about him brought back memories. “Nothing has changed
since I was here last,” he murmured softly, running his hand over the
ornately carved desk and fingering the rich fabric of the bedspread. He
sighed. “How I dreaded coming here. Everything was so stiff and proper,
Orleana was a--” he cleared his throat rather ruefully and left his
sentence unfinished as he sat down by the open window watching the sun
play across the floor and the cover of the bed. A little, warm puff of
air blew in stirring his brown hair and causing the envelope still in
his hand to sway. “I almost forgot about this. I wonder what she has to
say this time, “ Norman mused, his brow a thoughtful frown while he
broke the seal and
pulled out the single sheet of delicate paper. “To My Grandson Norman
Mavrich,” he read. “When you read this, I will be in my grave and
beyond the capability of trying to undo what I have done. I see now
what I wouldn’t see before, namely that I have, with my own hands and
thoughtlessness spoiled your sister, Orlena. And now that I see what I
have done, I am leaving her in your care. You tried to tell me, to show
me the future, but I refused to listen. I have given Orlena everything
she wanted if at all possible and always sided with her, often against
you, in years past. I regret it deeply now and trust that you can
forgive an old lady for her pride. I was so sure I knew how to raise a
girl, though as you know, I never had but one son, your father. Well, I
failed, miserably. Can you find it in your heart to try to undo the
harm I have caused? Perhaps it is too late, but would you, for my sake,
try? Your uncle raised you well after your parents’ death. Hiram was
never like me, and I wanted nothing to do with him after he bought that
ranch. He was poor except what he earned by hard work while I was rich.
Yet my riches didn’t bring happiness, not true happiness, to me or
Orlena. Do what you can, Norman. For my sake, for the sake of your
parents, for the sake of your sister, I beg you, do your best to rescue
Orlena from herself.”

questions or comments?
And does anyone have any idea of why the format for my posts has
suddenly become so strange? I have tried all kinds of things and it is
still putting returns where there are none and leaving out the returns
I put in. I can't figure it out.:{ But it is rather annoying.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ranch - Part 1

Happy Birthday FFFs!

Oh, wait. It's not your birthday, it is my mom's, my aunt M.'s and
mine! Yep, we three all share the same birthday. :) It is rather fun.
Most of you who read this blog know how old I am, but if you don't
know, you are welcome to guess.

Since it is my birthday, I decided I didn't want to post yet another
Western. Too many Westerns is like too many chocolate kisses. (Can you have
too many chocolate kisses? Hmm.) Or let's put it this way, variety is
the spice of life.:) And I like/am variety. So I guess that means I'm
some of the spice in your life. I can't decide if I like being called
spice or would rather be called nuts. There is another saying that fits
my family: Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts. :)

But whether I'm spice or nuts, I do like to do things differently. And
since I've given you Western after Western this year (Did you realize
that I have already given you more than half as many Westerns as I
posted for two years total?), and it's my birthday, I wanted to start you on a new story. Like the Western, it also is going to be written and posted 1000 words at a
time. However, unlike the Western, they don't talk "like they ain't got
much learin'.":)

I started this story for Scribblers, but only got 3 parts posted. I
think I have 5 written and am working on 6. Now that doesn't mean I'm
leaving Meleah's Western behind, I just didn't want to post it this
week.:) If I get another part written for it, maybe I'll do another
Western Week. At least if there is any interest in that.:) Let me know
if you would like another Western Week.

I do need some help with this new story, however. I can't figure out a
name for the Ranch. If anyone has any suggestions, ideas or anything,
please let me know! I can name people, but I guess I'm no good at
ranches.:) But here is the first part of the "Ranch Story." Let me know
what you think?

Part 1

The blazing sun was well past mid day, and the air was hot and
heavy. The fields were green with rows of fast drying hay turning
golden brown. Soon it would be time to load the hay wagons, and Jenelle
shook her head at the thought of the long, hot days before them. A
knock on the door interrupted her thoughts and opening it she found a
neighbor boy.
“Pa and I were just in town and picked up your mail for
you, Mrs. Mavrich. Pa didn’t think you’d be getting there this week.”
Jenelle smiled. “Why thank you, Ted. I’m sure we won’t. Not with Norman
trying to get the fences fixed so they can move the horses. Tell your
Pa we’re much obliged.”
Waving, Ted ran back to the wagon which was
waiting for him at the end of the lane.
Thumbing quickly through the mail, Jenelle paused and looked at the last envelope with a frown.
“This looks important,” she murmured dropping the rest of the mail on
the table and stepping out into the heat.
“Norman,” Jenelle called.
Norman looked up from the fence he was mending. Wiping the sweat from
his face with his handkerchief, he straightened his back.
“This just came.” Jenelle waved an envelope. “It looked important, so I brought it
A quick glance at the postmark and Norman was tearing the letter
open. Rapidly his eyes scanned it before he spoke. “Grandmother is
“Oh Norman,” Jenelle’s voice as well as her face was full of
sympathy. “That letter is from--?”
“Her lawyer.” His face grew
“Is it your sister?” she asked softly. “Yes.”
“Well?” Norman looked up from the hole his boot was making in the dust. “I’m her only
kin. Darling, Orlena is only eleven, yet she was such a terror the last
time I saw her, I’m almost afraid of her.”
Jenelle didn’t speak but waited in silence for her husband to continue.
“The lawyer says that she was in boarding school last year, but since I am now her legal
guardian, I have to decide what to do with her.” He sighed as though
suddenly weary.
“Why don’t we bring her here?”
“You aren’t serious.”
“I am. I’ve only met her once, but if what you say of her is true, she
needs help. Can’t we try to help her?”
“Sweetheart, you’re an angel!” And he kissed her. “You know, don’t you, Darling, that I have to go to the city for at least a few days to get Grandmother’s affairs settled.”
“And bring Orlena home,” his wife added sweetly.
Norman smiled. “And that.” He frowned thoughtfully at the fence post. “Let me finish this
here and then I’ll be in to make plans. You had best get in out of this
sun.” He gave Jenelle another kiss and returned to work.

Early the following morning found Norman and Jenelle at the station in town. The
train would be leaving in a few minutes giving the couple time for a
few last words of farewell. Turning to his wife, Norman asked for the
second time, “Are you sure you’ll be all right with me gone?”
A light, merry laugh was her answer as she turned bright, blue eyes to meet the
grey ones of her husband. “I’ll be just fine. I won’t worry about
anything on the ranch except for the house and the chickens.”
“That’s right. Let Hardrich take care of the rest. He’s the best foreman anyone
could ask for. Uncle trained him well.”
A warning whistle sounded from the train, and the conductor called, “All aboard!”
“I must go, Darling. Be careful driving home.” Norman gave her a tender embrace and grabbed
his valise. “I’ll wire when I know what train I’m returning on. But,”
he called back to her as he stepped on the train, “have Hardrich meet
me if you aren’t feeling well.”
Jenelle laughed and waved her handkerchief. Did he think she would really let the foreman drive to meet her returning husband. And sister. For a moment Jenelle paused
wondering what that sister would be like.
With a blast of steam, a shriek of the whistle and a roar of the engine, the train moved off
down the track toward that distant city, away, each second farther
away, from the young and beautiful wife standing alone at the station
waving her small white handkerchief. Turning slowly back to the light spring wagon after
the train had disappeared, Jenelle started the horses for home.

Norman stood, waiting on the steps. The train ride had given him some time to
think, but he knew he must wait to talk to the lawyer before anything
was decided. Now the door was opened and a maid stood before him.
Silently he handed her his card and after a quick glance at it,
she allowed him to enter the house.
All was quiet as he stepped into the dark hall. The housekeeper was coming down the stairway and upon catching sight of him, gave an exclamation of delight. She had long
been in the service of his grandmother, and when Norman used to come
and visit as a child, she was the one who had made him feel at home.
“Norman, you have come at last!”
“Yes, Mrs. O’Connor, I’m here. I know I should have come sooner, but it is hard to get away from the ranch.”
Mrs. O’Connor nodded. “Of course it is, but where is your wife?”
“Much to my regret, I had to leave her. You see, I only got the letter
yesterday, and I can’t stay long.”
“Well, we can talk later. Mr. Athey is in the library, and I know he is anxious to talk to you.”
Norman started toward the library door, but paused and asked, “Where’s
“I’ll see if I can’t get her to come down to supper. She has
hardly left her room since it happened. I don’t know if her grief is
real or only a show.”
Any questions, comments or observations?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 36

Good Morning Favorite Friday Fiction Fans!

I hope you are ready for more of the Western. And a special welcome to
the new fans of Meleah's Western: the N. family who are reading it as a
family read-aloud.:) I hope you enjoy it!

It is so nice to be home this week and not be writing this post in a
hotel room or while I'm trying to either keep an eye on Funny Boy or
hope I finish this before he is finished eating.:) It was fun to be
gone, but home is so nice. I really haven't done much writing at all
for quite some time. Last night and Wed. night were the first I had
written since before we left town. (That tells you something. Not sure
what, but something.:)) I have so many ideas to write, so many stories
I'd love to get down on paper, so many words to use, but my fingers
don't type fast enough. And sometimes I can't get my thoughts to agree
on how to say something.:} Now that is a problem.

Since Home Fires of the Great War
is published and I can pick the book up, I really would like to publish
some other books. Hmm, I think Meleah's Western should be next. I also
got an idea for a new sort of story from my Grandpa and Uncles. I'll
have to get their help, but they were willing. It should be fun and
interesting. But for now I'll stick with the Western and my Ranch
story. Oh, you haven't gotten to read that yet. Maybe I'll post that
next week. On my birthday.:)

But I'm just rambling. I've got all kinds of things I want to do
besides write. :) Once I have a few of them done, maybe I'll let you
see some pictures of my projects. (And no, there is no sewing involved.)

And now that I've talked to myself about not much, I'll let you read Part 36. Enjoy!

Part 36
Sally didn’t notice anything as she followed them into a room
where Ty, now unconscious, was laid tenderly on a bed. One of the young
men bent over him listening to his breathing and then began removing
the bandages with skillful fingers. Sally didn’t notice the other
fellow place a chair next to the bed until she was pushed gently into
it, someone saying softly to her, “Just sit here by him; Ma’ll bring
you some coffee.” “I need some hot water, Joe,” the fellow examining Ty
ordered quietly. “It’s coming. Ma’s got the kettle on,” replied the
other. In a daze Sally watched the young man as he worked over her
brother, washing the wound and then skillfully, expertly, extracting
the bullet from the shoulder. Someone put a cup of hot coffee in her
cold, shaking hands, but she didn’t realize it. She just sat,
shivering, her eyes never leaving Ty’s face, pleading silently that his
life be spared, oblivious to anything or anyone else around her.
Meanwhile, Carson, after seeing his young companions in the hospitable
house, led his own horse, along with their two pack horses, to the barn
where two men had taken Par and Starlight. While the three men
unsaddled, brushed and bedded down the five tired horses, Carson
introduced himself. “I’m Bob Carson an’ my two friends are Ty Elliot
an’ his sister Sally. We’ve been traveling since spring’s come an’
ain’t sure jest when our travels’ll be over.” One of the men, evidently
the father, shook hands with Carson. “I’m glad to meet you, Carson, I’m
Jim Fields. This is my youngest son, Jed. Our home is always open to
those in need whether they be friends or strangers.” The young man,
Jed, after closing the stall door behind him, held out his hand. He was
a tall, well built youth with the broad shoulders that come from hard
work. His hand, as it gripped that of Carson, was rough, yet his face
was pleasant. “Glad to meet you. So, what happened to your companion?”
As they all walked back to the house, Carson told of the shot from the
trees. “If’n Ty weren’t hurt so bad, I’d a gone ta see who did it.” “We
could ride out there tomorrow and check it out, don’t you think, Pa?”
Jim Fields nodded. “I’ll go with you and we’ll take a couple of the
hands. That ought to be enough to deal with whoever is out there. And
don’t worry about your friend,” he added turning to Carson, “Jack just
got back from medical training back east. The good Lord led you to just
the right place.” “Yep,” Jed put in, his hand on the door latch “There
isn’t another doctor for over a hundred miles. Jack sure comes in handy
in this wilderness.” Sally didn’t notice Carson come softly into the
room nor feel his hand on her shoulder, nor did she hear his low voice
urging her to come eat. All she saw was Ty and all she heard was the
slow, uneasy breathing of her brother and the moans that now and then
came from his grey lips. The coffee turned cold in her hand and was
replaced with more, yet she neither moved nor responded to anyone. So
absorbed was she in her brother that she didn’t know she was being
talked about by the group in the doorway. “I ain’t never seen her like
this ‘fore,” Carson shook his head. “Even when her pa was dyin’ she
knew what was goin’ on ‘round her. Now she jest sits an’ looks at him.”
Jack nodded, “Sometimes that happens when someone receives a shock like
this must have been. And it doesn’t help any that she was probably
already tired and worn out by the long travels.” “Think Ma can do
anything, Jack?” The young man turned and, glancing first at his
brother and then across the room to his mother, shrugged. “It’s worth a
try. She isn’t going to do him any good if she takes sick as well.” The
others knew he was referring to Sally and not his mother. A few moments
later, Mrs. Fields took one of Sally’s hands in her own kind, worn ones
and began talking softly. At first there was no response from the girl
sitting so motionless in the chair, then, as the voice continued,
something in the tone seemed to reach her brain, for slowly her eyes moved
from Ty’s still form to the kind motherly face before her. It took
several more minutes for her tired, exhausted mind to understand what
was being said. “Come, Dear, you need to eat if you are going to keep
up your strength for him. The others will stay with him. Come on. You
are worn out and need rest and food, then you can watch again. You
really must eat.” Sally looked back at Ty and slowly nodded, too weary
to argue. She was helped to her feet and gently led out of the room
while Jack moved to take his place beside the bed of the wounded man.
Anxiously Carson watched Sally listlessly begin to eat. If anything
happened to Ty, what would she do? Would the search be even possible to
continue without him? He began to think the trip was too much for her.
They should never have let her come along. No one in the room seemed
inclined to speak for several long minutes. At last, Jim picked up a
book off the mantle, remarking quietly as he did so, “Let’s have a bit
of reading from the Good Book. The Lord will give much comfort and help
through His Word.” Without waiting for a response, if one had been
expected, the book was opened, and in a voice that seemed to feel the
truth of the words, he read: “In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to
my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?”
Any thoughts?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 35

Good Morning FFFs,
It worked! I don't think I've ever had so many comments as I got last week unless it was a contest.:) I will say that it was a last minute decision to do that to you all.:) It was rather fun. I know, I know, you couldn't believe I did that, can you? I've been wanting to do that for over a year, and since April 1st just happened to be on a Friday and the story just seemed to be set for some drastic thing, . . . Well-- :)

I would have gotten this posted sooner, but I'm at my grandparents and have Pickle Puss & Funny Boy to watch.:) Goof Ball went to the conference with J & M and Dad and S. Right now PP is reading stories with Great-Grandma and FB is eating though I think he is about done since he is talking and being funny.:)

Got to go. Enjoy this next western. And don't worry, this one is all real.:)

Part 35

The sound of the shot startled Carson and Sally, and they looked up in time to see Ty nearly falling from the saddle. Sally screamed. Dashing forward through the remaining trees on Starlight, she reached her brother’s side and grasped his arm, crying out as she did
so, “Ty! What happened? Who was it? You’re hurt! Oh, Ty!”
Carson, having ridden nearly as quickly as Sally, had come up on the other side
and, grasping Par’s reins, instructed, “Keep him steady, Sally. Ty, don’t try ta get off now. We’ve got ta get away from this clearin’ an’ out in the open where we can see the shooters ‘fore they shoot us.” As he spoke, Carson had wrapped the reins around his saddle horn and, keeping one hand on Ty to help steady him, nudged his horse into a faster gait.
Ty, his face grey and dotted with drops of sweat, fought to keep in the saddle. Every move of the horse beneath him was agony, and if it hadn’t been for the firm hands on either side of him, he
surely would have fallen. The left shoulder of his shirt was crimson with blood which was rapidly staining more every second. Carson knew the flow of lifegiving blood needed staunched quickly, but he also knew that stopping while still in range from a hidden gunman in the tree could be fatal to all of them. Consequently, it was several minutes before he halted the horses, sprang off and caught the now nearly fainting Ty and laid him on the grass.
Ripping open his shirt he found the wound. The bullet was lodged deeply and would take quite some probing to get out. Knowing that the best place for Ty now was a house, not out in the open, Carson thought quickly as he tried to staunch the blood of his friend. “Sally, we need something ta help stop the bleedin’ an’ bind this here wound up.”
Sally had already slipped off one of her petticoats and was busy tearing it into strips, remarking in a half hysterical attempt at cheerfulness, for Ty’s pallor and the sight of the wound frightened her more than she would admit, “I always knew a petticoat would come in handy for somethin’ besides gettin’ in my way.”
At that, Ty opened his eyes and tried to smile reassuringly at her, but at that same instant Carson pressed the wad of petticoat against his shoulder causing the smile to turn into a groan which he
couldn’t surpress.
“Oh Ty!” Sally cried. “What are we going to do?” She looked at Carson with tear-filled eyes.
“Here, Sally,” he directed, “keep pressure on this till I come back.”
“Carson,” moaned Ty, struggling to make his voice audible, “don’t try ta find ‘em.”
“Ain’t goin’ ta.” was the short answer as he strode away leaving the brother and sister alone.

For several minutes Sally knelt in silence, one hand stopping the flow of crimson and the other gently wiping the sweat from Ty’s brow. All was quiet. The five horses with reins dropped stood
calmly nearby eating a mouthful of grass now and then, looking with seeming curiosity at Sally and the motionless Ty. There was no sound from the woods they had so rapidly left. Ty lay still on the grass, the only movement from him was the rise and fall of his chest with each
breath he took. Even this was somewhat painful, and Ty lay with clenched hands and tightly compressed lips. How long this silence and inaction lasted neither Ty nor Sally ever could tell. It might have been hours or days even before Carson came back.
“I can make out some smoke jest a couple miles away. Where there’s smoke, there’s most
likely a fire, an’ a fire this time a day speaks of a house. Can ya ride a bit, Ty?”
In answer Ty opened his eyes and tried to sit up.
Carson, using the rest of Sally’s petticoat, bound up the shoulder as best he could. Then together with Sally, he helped Ty to his feet, and after a bit of difficulty, into the saddle. There Carson steadied him until Sally was mounted and could hold on to Ty. And so, with Carson and Sally on either side of their wounded companion, the trio set off slowly towards the whisp of smoke Carson had observed in the distance.
It was the longest trip any of them had ever taken before. Each step of the horses sent jarring pain through Ty’s wounded shoulder. The bleeding, never fully stopped, continued to slowly seep through the rough bandages. It was with great anxiety that Sally watched her brother. She fought back the tears which filled her eyes and breathed a prayer as they rode. Carson, too, was alarmed at this sudden turn of events in their journey. Eagerly he watched the smoke that seemed never to be any closer. Would they ever reach that fire? Would it not be better to leave Ty and Sally and ride there himself? But what if something happened while he was gone? They had to stay together. At last, as evening was rapidly approaching, he observed a trail heading towards the smoke. Here it was easier going, for no longer did they have to travel up and down hills. Then, just when it seemed as though they would never reach it, the lights of a small, but in their eyes, wonderful house shone in the gathering darkness.
“Hello!” called out Carson.
The door flew open and someone stepped out calling, “Who is it and what’s wanted?”
“We’ve got a wounded man here and need help.”
Instantly several more persons stepped out as the tired trio rode into the yard. The horses’ bridles were grasped and Ty was lifted off his horse. Sally, too, was helped down, and in a daze, she followed the two fellows as they carried their living burden between them into the light of the house.

I would have gotten this up earlier, but FB got finished eating before I finished here. But I'm done now. FB has has been playing with me and his balls.:)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meleah's Western - Part 34

Good Morning My Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
I hope it is a beautiful morning where you are. I can't tell if it is a beautiful morning here or not. You see, I'm writing this from our hotel room on Thursday evening. Dad, S and I are heading over to the conference in the morning, so I thought I should get this ready and set to publish in the morning.:)
This week was rather busy with getting reading to go, not just to Lincoln, NE for the conference, but then Mom, S and I will be staying at my grandparents' in KC all of next week as well. That is where M is right now. Next weekend is the KC conference and, we will be helping with that as well.
I hope you don't mind a Western this week. I decided that it would be easier to just do that. :)

Part 34

They were thankful also that even if it was slight, they still found news of Eleanor which meant they hadn’t lost the trail. Sally would have followed her brother and friend into Canada or back east to the big, crowded cities and towns which her mother had known, if they had chosen to so lead her. As it was, the thought of vast expanses, with no human being close by except her companions, held an intriguing thrill as well as dread of the unknown to this girl who had known
loneliness and few friends all her life; however, she longed even more to reach the end of this journey and find the sister she never knew she had, to settle once again in a cabin, to sleep with a roof over her head every night, to sweep the floor, eat at a table every day; above all, she wanted a home where Ty felt safe from unwanted visitors. Perhaps this trip would lead them to a new place of safety where they could live in peace. Only, how could she leave their father’s grave,
away, oh so far away, in the mountains? Would she ever get to return there? Never would she abandon her brother on his search. Unknowingly, her eyes had brimmed with tears over these thoughts and now began to trickle down her cheeks.
“Sally? What’s wrong?”
Glancing up at her brother, she felt a tear drop on her hand. “I reckon I were jest thinkin’.”
“Home?” Sally nodded. “I’m jest gettin’ tired, Ty. Ain’t nothin’ happened since we left South Pass last week.”
Ty grinned. “Ya jest wantin’ ta use that six-gun a Pa’s,” he teased. This brought forth a merry retort and Sally’s tears were forgotten in lighthearted banter.

South the trio rode day after day. The challenge of cutting their own trails once they left the great basin added some excitement to their travels which soon turned into weeks. No more news of the Westlin family or of the missing sister. “We could a passed their cabin days ago an’ never know it,” Carson sighed one evening as camp was being made.
“Don’t think I weren’t jest thinkin’ that same thing,” agreed Ty, carefully adding small sticks to the bit of flame he had just started.
No one spoke again until the fire was a bright blaze and Sally was making coffee and preparing their evening meal. “Carson, I don’t know ‘bout you, but jest travelin’ like this with nothin’ but ‘south’ ta follow, is ‘bout ta get ta me. It ain’t as though we knew where we were goin’.”
“I feel the same way, Ty. Somethin’s got ta happen or--” the sentence was left unfinished. Each knew in his heart that they would continue the search until they found either Eleanor or her grave, no matter how difficult it was. Right now all three felt discouraged and low spirited. The constant travel with no fixed destination had begun to wear them down. Perhaps not physically but emotionally all were on edge. Though none would admit it, the sudden and exciting news received at Fort Laramie had kindled a bright flame of hope in each heart; hope for more clues and yes, secretly, hope for a rapid conclusion to their search. Now, however, that hope was dying, bit by bit with each week, each day, and at times, each mile that passed by empty.
One by one the stars came out over the campsite of the weary travelers and the moon cast a pale light which sifted through the leaves of the trees. The evening chirps of the birds ceased and all was hushed. The fire died to a glow and no one made a move to replenish it. In silence they sat,
motionless, each one lost in his own thoughts while now and then a whisper of air faintly stirred the leaves overhead and the grasses beside them. The air was still warm, for summer was upon them at last.
Into the stillness of the night came the far off cry of some nocturnal animal. At last, Sally, who had been falling asleep where she sat, wrapped her blanket around her and, lying down near the fire, drifted into sleep, too tired to think anymore. Carson soon followed her example. Ty, however, remained where he was, his body tired, but his mind giving him no rest. Was this trip a waste of time? Right then it felt so. It was an impossible task his father had given him. Why not forget it all? Ty knew why. He never could forget this unknown sister. This quest which
had been given to his trust would find an end. He had given his word to his dying father and he would fulfill it if it took the rest of his life. Once given, Ty never went back on his word. His father never had and he never would. All the same, he wondered what this would cost him.
“I’ll do anything to find her,” he promised himself as he, too, at last, stretched out near the fire. Had he known what lay in store just ahead, he might not have slept so well. It is better that he didn’t know, and he rose the next morning with renewed determination and hope.

It was early in the afternoon when Ty, who was in the lead, reached a wooded area. A quick glance showed a slight trail through the trees and Ty urged Par on. This way and that the trail wound among the woods. Ty kept his eyes and ears alert for signs of man or beast, but none were
found. At last he reached the open ground once more and as Par shook his head, making his bridle jingle, Ty let him have his head. With a snort, Par dashed forward tossing his head. Suddenly, Ty felt his horse stumble; a rifle cracked, and a searing pain shot through his left
shoulder nearly knocking him from the saddle!

Sally screamed and dashing forward on Starlight, reached Ty's side just as he fell from his horse. Carson, too, had raced up and sprang from off his horse!
"Ty!" Sally gasped, sliding off Starlight and dropping down beside her brother. "Who was it? Are you all right?"
"Sally," the words came out in agonized gasps from white lips, "go on . . . find her!"
Carson looked at Sally as she cradled her brother's head in her arms while tears rained down her cheeks. Just then, with a final gasp and an attempt at a smile, Ty closed his eyes for the last time and lay still. The search would have to continue without him.
April Fools!:)
Any questions?