Friday, October 28, 2011

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 13

Good Morning FFFs!

I sure hope you are enjoying this wonderful chilly autumn weather. I certainly am even if I am trying to get over a cold. :) I love wearing long sleeves, sweaters, long socks and curling up with a blanket to read a good book.

We had the trap set out again this week trying to catch the skunks. On Tuesday night we caught a cat. We didn't know where this one came from (it was black and white) and it didn't have any collar so we let the animal control take it. Then Wednesday night we caught a skunk! Finally! It was a little one, but at least this time the trap actually shut. Now, this morning something is in the trap, but it is still rather dark to tell just what it is. Dad thinks it might be a cat or a coon. I guess we'll see when it gets a little lighter.

Last night S and I were over babysitting and J & M finally left Doodle Bug with us! That was so fun. Of course he slept the first part until J & M came back and M fed him. Then he was awake and talked and played in his bouncy play seat. He seems to love being with his siblings and he didn't fuss at all. Funny Boy (who just turned two) told me he was four. :} We are going over this evening to celebrate his birthday.

As you can tell, I didn't get to write last night and tonight won't be good for writing either. But don't worry. I have been writing. I'm working on a story for someone, and my word count instructions were 2,000+ Well, I'm doing to +. :) The story is already 4,000 words or so and I'm not done. Since it is a Thanksgiving story, I'll be starting it next week. It will take that long to post it all.  This story has been rather fun to write and I hope you enjoy Danny and Wellington. That is all I'm going to tell you about it. You'll just have to come back next week. :)

Since I didn't have time to post a two part story (since I'll be starting the other story next week) I had to post another Triple Creek Ranch. I hope you aren't too disappointed. :)

Part 13

    Norman interrupted. “Then go to your room. Now!” he thundered, as he saw her open her mouth to speak.
    For one brief second, Orlena looked at her brother then turned and ran from the room, up the stairs to her bedroom, the door of which she slammed shut behind her.

    In the dining room, Norman gave a sigh that was almost like a groan and leaned back limply in his chair. What had he done? How could he have lost his temper so quickly? Now what should he do?
    “It’s no use, Jenelle,” he frowned. “She can’t stay here. I’ll have to send her some where else.” Leaning his arm on the table and his head in his hand, Norman grew silent.
    The ticking of the clock was the only sound to be heard for several minutes. Then in a voice that was soft and gentle, Jenelle spoke, placing a hand on her husband’s arm. “Of course you aren’t going to send Orlena away, Norman. This is only the first day. She had a trying time with that skunk and isn’t used to things around here. I expected an outburst from her of some sort today. She--”
    Sitting up, Norman interrupted, “It isn’t just Orlena I was thinking of. You saw how it was, I can’t keep my temper when she starts talking to you in that manner.”
    With a little laugh, Jenelle squeezed his arm. “Darling, don’t get upset for me, it isn’t worth it. Her words aren’t going to hurt me.”
    “Still,” Norman put in, “I won’t have her speaking to you in that tone of voice or in that manner!”
    Seeing that Norman was growing excited again, Jenelle wisely refrained from saying anything further on the subject but started eating as though nothing had happened. She knew her husband well enough to know when he needed time to think.
    Slowly, after sitting in silence for some time, Norman too began to eat. There was no light talk at the table that meal, as the Mavrich house was accustomed to, for both were busy with their own thoughts.
    It wasn’t until the meal was concluded and Jenelle had cleared away the dishes that Norman, following her into the kitchen, spoke.
    “You are right. We can’t send her away, Sweet. Though she shouldn’t speak to you in that manner.”
    “Of course she shouldn’t,” Jenelle agreed, looking up into her husband’s face. “The problem is, she doesn’t know better, so we will have to teach her.”
    Norman made a rueful face. “I’m not much help I’m afraid when I lose my temper. I shouldn’t, I know, but when she starts going on like she did . . .”
    “You can leave the room if you have to,” Jenelle suggested softly.
    “And leave you to put up with her? Hardly!”
    Jenelle smiled. “Only until you have time to cool off. I don’t think it would hurt any of us.”
    Norman sighed and then spoke, his voice subdued. “I’ll have to try it, Sweetheart. But now,” he gave another sigh, “I must go talk to Orlena. I have to apologize for losing my temper, but she has to understand she is not in charge of anything here! I won’t let her terrorize the entire place as she did at Grandmother’s.”
    “I’ll be praying for you,” Jenelle whispered softly with a kiss.

    Up in her room, Orlena fumed and fussed, muttering to herself and pacing the floor. Why did she have to live here? Norman didn’t care for her at all. If he did he would sell this stupid ranch and move to the city! And that sister-in-law was even worse. She didn’t even pay any attention to her directions. “She thinks she is better than me. I’ll soon put her in her place. And that hired hand,” Orlena scowled darkly. “He’ll wish he’d never crossed me!”
    And so this spoiled, pampered child who had been given every desire and had every wish granted, who had never been made to do what she disliked unless it was her lessons, and had been issuing orders to servants since before she could talk plainly, sulked in her room and vowed to make things go her own way. She was interrupted by a knock on her door.
    “Yes,” the word was spoken coldly and she wondered if it would be her brother or sister-in-law.
    Quietly Norman opened the door and stepped in. His sister gave him no greeting but sat eyeing him with an expression of extreme distaste. This did not make things easier, but with a silent prayer for help, he began to speak.

    “How did it go?” Jenelle looked up as Norman entered the kitchen a quarter of an hour later.
    Sitting down heavily in a chair, the owner and master of the Triple Creek Ranch sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. I apologized for losing my temper, but Orlena seemed to think that meant I was giving in to her demands of getting rid of Lloyd and buying her a new absurd dress.”
    Jenelle finished ringing out her dishcloth and hung it up to dry. Untying her apron, she placed it on the hook behind the door before going over to sit next to her husband. “Did you get her to understand neither of those things was going to happen?”
    “I don’t know. She listened, but I don’t think she really believed me.”
    Sympathetically, Jenelle leaned her head on his shoulder and squeezed his hand.
    “I don’t know what we are going to do about her, Darling, I really don’t.”
    “We can pray for her and love her,” Jenelle answered softly.
    “Pray, yes. Love her? I hate to admit it, but right now, I don’t know if I do.”
    “You do,” assured his wife positively. “If you didn’t, you never would be trying to help her but would send her off tomorrow to some place else.”
    Giving a shamefaced smile, Norman replied, “You’re right. But it’s going to be a lot of work.”

To be continued another time. After I write more.
Oh, and just so you aren't wondering, it is a raccoon that we caught. :}

Friday, October 21, 2011

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 12

Good Morning Favorite Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
How's that for an alliteration to wake you up with? :)

It was so nice to not have to think about posting on Wednesday! Perhaps someday I'll post twice a week again, but for now it is delightful to only post once. This week has been slow and busy at the same time. I went over to a friend's house on Tuesday and she and I spent 2 1/2 hours trying to get my book in the right format to upload for Kindle. If it wasn't for her brother-in-law we'd either still be sitting at the computer or we'd have given up. The brother-in-law is going to fix the last little part that wasn't working quite right and then send it back to me. Now I know who to send any other books to. :)
We had the animal control come a put a trap out so we can hopefully catch the skunks that have moved into the neighborhood. The first night we caught a cat. Don't know where this one lives (we have strays and neighbor cats and none of them are supposed to be in our yard) so we let it out. Then later that morning, we caught a squirrel. Poor thing. I let it out and it sure scolded me! :D Last night one of the skunks got in the trap, but it didn't close. Phooey! But, at least we know he'll probably be back and not scared of it. 

I've been busy getting ready for Family Round-Up. That is a day some friends of ours put on at their place. As you may have guessed, it is all western theme and there are games to play and things to do and a pie judging and door prizes. I'm running the Possum Hunt. :) It's hard to believe Round-Up is tomorrow! Looking forward to it!

Most of the evenings this week have been great for writing. I really get in the mood to write when it starts to grow chilly. Especially when I'm writing a fall story. :) I'm not sure how long this story will be. My instructions were 2,000 + words. I've almost reached the 2,000 words and then we'll see what happens.

I believe I promised you a Triple Creek Ranch today. So, here it is. I hope you enjoy it. I know, Orlena is so awful that it is hard to really "enjoy" it.

Part 12

    Norman had finished brushing his horse when Jenelle came into the barn. He looked up and greeted her with a kiss.
    “How was your day?” he asked.
    “Quiet,” Jenelle replied stooping to pick of a small kitten that was attempting to climb her skirt. “Orlena has been out since she ate breakfast. She--”
    But she got no farther for at that moment a sudden, terrified scream filled the air!
    In a flash, Norman was out of the barn glancing about. The scream came again and he rushed towards the hill followed by his wife while the foreman and the hired hands poured from the bunkhouse. At the top of the hill Norman halted suddenly and ordered firmly, “Orlena, stop right there.”
    “A skunk,” Jenelle half moaned before calling a few of the hands to go fetch some jars of tomatoes. “Norman, you take her out to the pump behind the barn. I’ll fetch some clean clothes and more tomatoes and then I’ll take over.”
    Norman nodded, turning his head away as he beckoned his sister. The smell was almost nauseating.

    Thirty minutes later, Jenelle and Orlena made their way to the dining room where supper was waiting. The smell of the skunk was nearly gone, though a faint aroma from the striped animal was still present, lingering unperceived for several minutes only to torment those nearby by coming forth unexpectedly. Orlena had on a different dress, one more suited to daily life though still far too fine for a ranch.
    Seated at the table together for the first time, Norman drew a deep breath, frowned slightly at the smell of skunk and tried to prepare himself for anything. He had never seen his wife and sister together other than briefly at the station and on the way home. He could tell by a glance at his wife that she wasn’t worried, in fact, she looked slightly amused while his sister looked ready to explode.
    Hardly waiting until Norman said “Amen,” Orlena burst forth, “Norman! You must fire that man!”
    Pausing with his glass half way to his lips he asked, “What man?” In the excitement of the skunk he had forgotten about Lloyd’s meeting with Orlena.
    “Lloyd Something-or-other. He dared to try ordering me about and refused to do as I directed!”
    Instead of growing angry or stern as Jenelle had expected, she was amazed to hear his calm reply. “I already did.”
    Orlena gave a satisfied sigh. She knew Norman would do as she told him to.
    “Norman,” Jenelle gasped, “you didn’t really, did you? He is one of the best hands we have!”
    “Oh, I fired him all right,” Norman told her. Then, with a grin he added, “But I hired him back not ten seconds later. Of course I wouldn’t lose a hand like Hearter.”
    Before Jenelle could do more than sigh with relief that her husband hadn’t dismissed Lloyd, Orlena burst forth in fury.
    “You’re making fun of me!” she raged, slamming her fork on the table. “You can’t keep that impertinent man on this ranch! I won’t stand for it. And further more,” she stormed, “this place is a disgrace! You have filthy animals, all of whom are ill-tempered and you don’t even care enough about your own sister to order the hired hand,” and Orlena spit the words out as though they tasted bad, “to follow my directions! My dress is ruined and you will have to pay for a train ticket for me to go back to the city to have a new one fitted and made and you will pay for the new one too.” She sat glaring at her brother as though he was personally responsible for what happened to her dress.
    As the angry girl paused for breath, Norman spoke tersely, holding himself sternly in check. “Are you quite through?” he asked. “Because if you are not, perhaps you had better finish all your complaints now before your dinner grows cold.”
    “Dinner,” snorted Orlena. “Grandmother wouldn’t have served this to the servants!”
    Watching the faces of the angry brother and sister, Jenelle wondered what she could do or say. Should she try to make peace now or would it be better both for Orlena as well as Norman to have it out all at once. Before she could decide, Norman spoke again.
    This time his voice was low and stern. “Now it is my turn to talk. In the first place, no one on this ranch is, nor will be, under your orders. At least not until such a time as you can prove yourself worthy of such responsibility. In the second, you will obey any directions given you by anyone working or living here. Third,” unintentionally Norman was slowly raising his voice. “Third, the ruined dress was the fault of no one but yourself, and I will not send you nor it to the city. And fourth, if you don’t wish to eat your dinner, you may leave and go to your room.”
    Half a moment of silence followed while the brother and sister locked eyes in a power struggle and the tension in the room mounted higher and higher with each passing second. Then suddenly, Orlena exploded.
    “How dare you talk to me like that!” she screamed. “I won’t follow anyone’s orders like a common slave! And you will pay for a new dress just like that other one!”
    “And,” the spoiled brat pushed back her chair in fury and turned on Jenelle, ignoring her brother, “you are nothing but an ignorant country nobody and you WILL do as I tell you!”
    “Orlena!” Norman brought his hand down on the table with a thud, causing the dishes to rattle. “That is enough!” He commanded hotly. “No one speaks to my wife in that manner. Now either apologize this instant or go to your room.” His eyes flashed for his temper was roused.
    “I won’t apologize!” Orlena snapped. “And I--”
Oh that girl! Do you feel the same way?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Storm - The End

Good Morning Favorite Friday Fiction Fans!

I can just catch a glimpse of the sunrise this morning and it looks really pretty: pale rose, powder blue and lavender. Where the sun is, I'm sure it is golden. Yesterday was breezy and cooler than it has been. Still not "cold" but nice. Today is supposed to be the same way. Ah, delightful fall.

I've been trying to work on a longer short story for a friend, but it is slow going. I can only get a couple hundred words written at one time. I'm thinking I started in the middle of the story. I'll see what I can do tonight. I really haven't written many short stories in the last couple months, so I need to get back into it. And don't worry, I'm not forgetting Triple Creek Ranch. Perhaps next week I can post part 12 of that.

I hope you all are enjoying my page of short stories. :) It seems pretty popular. And for those of you who have already gotten your book, I'd love to hear what you think of the end of it.

Here is the last part of The Storm. Hope you enjoy it!

Last week . . .
“When tir’d with vain rotations of the day, sleep winds us up for the succeeding dawn.”
    I think he’s read too much.

    The storm still raged the next morning and no one except Dad ventured outside and that was just to refill the generator. Mrs. Turner seemed to enjoy rocking and knitting while others talked. All were enjoying the enforced morning of rest except Robert. And thereby hangs a tale, as Howard would say. Being only four, he soon grew restless and it wasn’t long before he, finding a small plastic fish, decided to roast it in the fire.
    “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” so remarked Howard as the room became filled with the smell of melting plastic. Alex and I jumped to open windows. Dad had a talk with Robert and when the smell was nearly gone, the windows were shut and the rain which had come in was wiped up.
    “Howard,” Dad asked when all was quiet again save for the storm outside, “That was Shakespeare you quoted, was it not?”
    “For ever and a day, Sir, it was.”
    Immediately, Dad was interested and Mr. Turner turned from the paper to remark, “I am in a holiday humor, shall we have some more?”
    That is how the day began. It became a game among the scholars in the room. The rest looked on and listened. One person would quote a line, and the others would either guess who said it, or respond with another line. I was soon lost, for I will confess I haven’t read Shakespeare. Alex has and enjoyed it all. Even quiet Mrs. Turner would now and then toss out a line.
    How long this went on, I can’t say for I soon wandered across the room and played a game of Chinese checkers with the twins and Robert. Robert is becoming quite good at the game, and I found it hard to keep from getting stuck too often.
    We played five rounds before Mom called the girls to help with lunch. I wandered the room nearly as restlessly as Robert who followed me like a little puppy. The rain still came down though not as hard as the evening before, and the wind had died down to only occasional strong gusts which shook the house. The roar of the waves down on the shore kept drawing me to the window. How I longed to go out and see them.
    Just as the clock struck noon, Mom called from the kitchen door, “Or o’er cold coffee trifle with the spoon, court the slow clock, and dine exact at noon.”
    “Ah, a perfect rendering from King George I. If that is the call to partake of the substance which has been teasing my senses for some time, I will obey with the greatest of pleasure.” Howard rose from his seat and bowed low to Mom.
    The lunch was tasty and the conversation lively with Howard quoting almost as often as he opened his mouth. Mr. Turner knew most of the quotes from Shakespeare. I don’t know what people see in the guy, I never could figure out what the fuss was about. Dad and even Alex enjoy Shakespeare. Me, I prefer someone who talks plain English.
    However, after the meal was finished, I received permission to go outside. The girls begged to go too and when Dad looked questioningly at me, I nodded. It would be more fun with others. Besides, I knew they longed to get out. Robert had to take a nap, so he was spared the disappointment of not being alowed to go.
    Donning our rain gear, we stepped out the back door into the wind and rain. Everything wore a gray mantle of wetness. The shoreline was shrouded in heavy mist giving the whole outdoors a ghostly appearance. Heavy pounding waves were heard, thudding, crashing, booming against a nearby cliff, shrieking winds whistled through tree tops causing them to bend with moaning groans. The rain dashed us in the face as we moved away from the shelter of the cabin. It was difficult to walk. Jessie hung on to one of my hands as we staggered along the shore. We didn’t go far. Stopping, out of breath, we turned our backs to the wind and rain.
    “Let’s go home,” Jainie shouted. We had to shout to be heard above the storm.
    Not bothering to answer, I started for home. Returning was easier since we had the rain and wind at our back. Still, we all stumbled several times and were thankful to reach our porch. I opened the door for the girls but before I could enter, something struck me from behind and I fell to the floor. It must have stunned me momentarily for when I opened my eyes, the door was shut and Mom was drying my face off. Alex was on the floor beside me checking my pulse.
    “Wow! What was it?” I asked.
    Dad held up a large size tree branch. I whistled.
    “It’s an ill wind that blows no good,” Howard remarked.
    For once a reply came to me and I said it. “Least said, sooner mended,” and I sat up in spite of Alex’s protests.
    Dad laughed. “Think you can make it to your room?”
    I nodded, and with help, got to my feet. Alex and Dad went with me. There I was helped out of my rain gear and put on dry socks. Alex checked me over carefully, but besides a large bruise on my back and a small lump on my head, I was fine. I guess it does pay to have a brother in pre-med. At least it comes in handy at times. Dad asked if I wanted to lie down and rest of a while, but I shook my head. I smelled gingerbread.
    Comfortably situated in a recliner with a blanket over my legs and plate with a large piece of gingerbread in my hand, I grinned. “Isn’t there some quote about happiness or bliss?”
    Right away Howard began, “Happiness consists in being perfectly satisfied with what we have got and with what we haven’t got.”
    “Or how about this,” Mrs. Turner added, “All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.”
    The girls found that much to their liking and tried to get a piece of my gingerbread. But I simply laughed and told them they had their own.

    And thus the day wore on. Robert awoke eager to do something, and Mr. Turner set himself to carving a dog for him out of part of the branch that hit me. By evening the storm had all but stopped. Only a light rain fell as night shut down on us once again. Supper over as well as Bible time, our guests departed to their own cabins with lanterns and candles. Dad thought he could get the power back on in the morning.
    Standing at our bedroom window before getting into bed, I saw the moon trying to shine through the thin film of clouds. The storm was finally over. I winced a little as I turned, my back was still very sore, but I would survive. The storm had lasted about twenty-four hours. I gave a sigh and crawled into bed. The rain had  stopped, the wind had ceased to blow, only the pounding of the waves could be heard as I drifted off to sleep.

Did you like it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Unexpected Request - Part 61

Good Morning Western Wednesday Readers,

There's a chance of rain today, I have to mail two of my books out this morning and ask a few questions before I mail out two more (this time to the Library of Congress!) and I teach two writing classes this afternoon and I'll be selling at least two more copies of my book. Should be plenty busy. :)

If you are reading this post because you are a fan of The Unexpected Request, you should know that this is the last week I'll be posting this story! If you want to read the rest you can purchase the book. (You would get to read the rest of the story much quicker because if I continued to post it would be the 2nd week in March before it would be finished!) Also, if you read this part you will be on page 225 in the book.:) 

I will be going back to my regular posting schedule of only posting on Fridays. At least until either December (I might post randomly as I did last year) or until I have a lot of Triple Creek Ranch written and not posted.

I see that my Short Stories page is growing in popularity. :) I hope my readers are enjoying the stories. As you read you might want to keep in mind what stories you like and think should be in my first book of short stories. I'll be posting more about that another day.

Here is the very last western to be posted. Enjoy!

Part 61

    All night Ty remained on the cliff. As the first grey of dawn appeared, Ty looked up and whispered, “Pa, I ain’t givin’ up. I’ll find her.” He stood with bared head, and a look of firm conviction on his face. “God helpin’ me, I’ll do it!”

    When Sally awoke, she found Ty sitting beside the fire while their breakfast was cooking. For a moment she just lay there and watched him. There was a new look on his face. In some respects he seemed older, more sure, while in others . . . Sally couldn’t quite figure out the difference.
    Just then Ty noticed she was awake. “I was beginin’ ta wonder if’n ya were goin’ ta sleep all mornin’.”
    Sally sat up. “Ty, what . . .” she paused unsure of what to say.
    With a smile, Ty reached out and gently squeezed her arm. “Everything’s all right now. I reckon we’ll jest keep on goin’ from town ta town ‘till the Good Lord tells us different. An’ Sally,” he added softly, “yer right, it does help ta pray.”
    “Oh, Ty!” Nothing else needed to be said.
    That morning, for the first time since they had left their own cabin months before, Sally unwrapped the family Bible from it’s place on one of the pack horses and read aloud a few verses marked by their mother’s hand so many years before.
    In silence, Carson listened, recalling those days of long ago when Jake’s Ellen would read from the Bible.

    After that, everyone was more cheerful, more hopeful. They continued asking at each town, each village and each lonely farmhouse or shack, but it was always with the same unsatisfying answer: “Never heard a them.” The days followed days turning into weeks which in turn turned into months. They had left the mountains and were now in the lower desert lands heading more west than south. The year was rapidly drawing towards a close. Up in the mountains the snows of winter already held the small towns prisoner; however, down in the desert, the weather, though cooler during the night, was pleasant and the traveling was comfortable for the most part. They would have made better time if they hadn’t stopped so often, but no one seemed to mind the stops.
    “Ya know,” Carson remarked one day after three days of only coming to one small shack at which no one was home, “I reckon we ought ta’ve reached the Nevada border by now.”
    “’Crossed it some days back,” retorted Ty.
    Carson snorted. “How’d ya know?”
    “Jest did,” Ty answered. Then, seeing his older friend’s look of disbelief, he added, “Asked the last man we saw how far it were. I reckon you were already on yer horse.”
    “Well, I don’t care if we are in Nevada or not,” Sally sighed. “I just wish we’d find a town. I’m growing tired of riding day after day and not getting anywhere.”
    “Sure seems that way!” Ty agreed with his sister. There was not a lot of variety in the semi arid lands they were now riding through. Plains and hills dotted with scrub trees and bushes. It was nothing like the rugged, towering mountains they had just come through nor yet like the vast expanse of prairie they had glimpsed on their ride to Fort Laramie on the eastern side of the mountain ranges.
    Mile after mile the trio rode onward. Suddenly Sally screamed.
    “What is it?” Ty exclaimed, half drawing his gun while Carson began scanning the nearby landscape to see what had caused Sally’s fright. “Sally! What’s wrong?”
    Sally’s lower lip was trembling and she clutched her locket. Looking up into her brother’s concerned face she wailed, “Ty, tomorrow is Christmas! I don’t want to spend Christmas out here in the middle of no where!”
    Releasing his breath in a long sigh, Ty pushed his gun back in its holster. “Ya sure had me thinkin’ somethin’ was wrong, Sis.”
    “There is,” persisted Sally. “Don’t you think we can reach some town tonight?”
    Ty looked over at Carson.
    “I ain’t sure jest how far we are from Sagebrush, but I reckon it won’t hurt ta try. If’n we can get these here horses ta move faster’n a turtle.” So saying, Carson nudged Flint, and the horse, not objecting to a faster gait, obliged willingly.

    “There’s Sagebrush,” Carson called back to his companions as he reached the top of a hill and saw the few building lying before him.
    “It’s ‘bout time,” Ty called back. “I were startin’ ta think the sun were goin’ ta set ‘fore we got there.”
    Already the sun was fast slipping down towards the western horizon. They were all tired, having ridden for ten days, and the last hours they had pushed their mounts on faster than usual, for the thought of spending Christmas Eve alone under the stars was not appealing.
    Riding into the town, Carson and Ty kept a lookout for a hotel, but to their amazement, there wasn’t one. “What’s this?” Ty grumbled. “Ain’t they even got a hotel or some such place for travelers?”
    Carson shrugged. “I reckon maybe they don’t get travelers enough ta build one. Shall we spend the night at the liv’ry?”
    “Ty,” Sally rode up beside her brother and touched his arm. “There’s a church over there. Listen! Ty, it’s a Christmas Eve service. Oh, do let’s go!” Sally had pointed to a small, wooden structure which was obviously a church and before which several horses stood tied to the hitching posts and multiple wagons waited in the growing dusk.
    Ty looked at Carson who nodded. “All right. Perhaps we can find a place ta stay too, else we’re goin’ ta be sleepin’ outside ‘gain even if’n it is Christmas Eve.”
    The service had already started when the trio of friends slipped in the door. The room was quite full with men standing in the back, and seemingly every seat full. But, somehow one was found for Sally.

Does it make you want to read the book to find out what happens?

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Storm - Part 1

Good Morning FFFs,
I'm hoping for some slightly cooler weather soon. It has been getting into the upper 80s all week and I wish it would at least stay in the lower 80s. I'd like the 70s all day, but I may have to wait a little while. 

If you haven't requested you copy of The Unexpected Request, be sure you do so. I gave the okay after looking at my proof copy and now my order of books is on its way. And, wow! The book looks so neat. It is hard to realize that I actually wrote that story. How did I do it? I'm not sure myself.

I worked on writing last night and got some written. I still have all kinds of short stories and longer stories as well as other things just waiting in my brain to come out. Sometimes, however, I think there are so many that I can't write because they are crowding each other.:} Such is the life of an author, I suppose.

Today I'll be doing a little cleaning and then working out in the yard for a while. We have a fence that is about to fall down into the ally. The posts are really old and all the honeysuckle that is on the fence is pulling it down and holding it up at the same time.:} We are going to cut the honeysuckle off so that the fence can have new posts to hold it up tomorrow. Then we can let the honeysuckle grow back. The birds love it. For the last several springs we've had nests in it.:) And they love hiding in there in the winter when a hawk comes to the "bird restaurant." :}

This story was written as a Scribbler assignment last year or so. We all wrote a story about the Jones family and started with the same first 100 words or so. (I forgot how many it was exactly.) It was such fun to read the different versions. I really enjoyed writing mine. I hope you enjoy reading it now.

The Storm
Rebekah M.

    I paused as I came up the sandy beach. To my right the restless ocean extended out as far as my eyes could see in the gathering gloom of the approaching storm clouds. The water was grey with plenty of white caps topping each wave as it washed up the shore. Suddenly the wind began to blow. It was a cold nor’easter, and I turned up the collar of my jacket and bent my head. I only had a few moments to walk before I reached our family cabin, but I began to wonder if I would make it before the storm hit. Quickening my pace, I bent my head into the wind. Try as hard as I could, however, the storm was on me before I reached the porch, and the fifteen seconds I was out left me drenched from head to toe.
    I stepped inside trying to find a dry spot of clothing to wipe my streaming face. Someone thrust a towel into my hands and gratefully I used it. When I could see again, I saw the entire family gathered around me staring. Four-year-old Robert was the first to speak.
    “You got wet.”
    I know it wasn’t the most astute observation, but I managed to laugh though I shivered too.
    Mom noticed and sent me to get a hot shower and dry clothes on. I was happy to obey. Alex followed me just to make sure I was all right. I told him I’d be fine when I was dry and warm. Alex is almost nineteen and is doing his pre-med studies. I’m next and just turned fifteen. Dad calls me the family historian. Maybe I’ll write a book someday. Next are the twins, Jainie and Jessie. They are twelve and identical. No one can tell them apart, and I mean no one. When they were little Mom used to keep one of those friendship bracelets on them just in case they got mixed. Robert is the youngest, and he came as a surprise. Except for Mom and Dad, that is the entire Jones family in a nutshell.

    When I returned to the living room, which also serves as dining room, feeling much better, the rain was still coming down and the wind still blew. Mom and the twins were setting the table with frequent stops to look out the windows at the storm or listen to the pounding of the waves. Dad and Alex were sitting before the fire reading; one had the paper and the other a medical book. Robert was playing with the cat. Everything was so cozy and pleasant that I couldn’t help smiling. Stepping over to one of the west windows, I peered through the fogged glass and could just catch glimpses of lights in the two occupied cabins. My parents have five cabins they rent almost like a hotel. Not many people come this time of year, however.

    “Nate,” Mom’s voice broke into my thoughts. “Could you carry the pot of soup out for me? Your dad and brother would have a fit if I tried.”
    I hurried to the kitchen. Mom had strained her back a few days before, and we were all careful not to let her do too much.
    Before long we were all sitting around the table enjoying hot soup and fresh rolls while the fire in the fireplace crackled and snapped, hissing occasionally when a drop or two of rain found its way down the chimney. Outside the storm could rage all it wanted, none of us cared. Robert and the twins kept us merry with their talk. When we couldn’t eat anymore, Dad got out the Bible and we had our evening devotions.
    Hardly had we finished when a sudden sharp crack of thunder seemed to shake the entire house! The lights flickered, blinked and then went out, leaving us to the glow of the fire.
    “Wow,” Alex managed to say. “That was something.”
    “Turn the lights back on,” Robert demanded.
    “The power is knocked out, Son.” Dad had gotten up and looked out the windows. “It looks like everything is out. Alex, Nate, let’s go get the generator going and check on the guests.”
    The girls begged to go too, but Dad wouldn’t let them. It was too stormy.
    Within moments, Dad, Alex and I, all clad in waterproof pants, jackets and boots, set forth with flashlights to take stock of the damages. I was sent to the cabins.

    The first cabin held an older couple who might be in their sixties. They said they had eaten, but weren’t sure they wanted to stay there in the dark by themselves. I couldn’t blame them. They didn’t even have a fireplace. I told them I’d be back and struggled against the wind to the next cabin.
    A middle-aged man was standing in the doorway when I approached.
    The first thing he said was “When two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather. This is quite a night to be out, lad.”
    I leaned against the post of the awning endeavoring to catch my breath. “Storm’s knocked the power out. Head up to the house.” I had to nearly shout to make myself heard.
    The man replied something, disappeared inside and then reappeared with a something which he carried under his rain coat. I was thankful there were only two cabins occupied.
    The older couple were ready to go when we returned, but the rain and wind were so strong they had waited in the cabin. My flashlight didn’t seem to be more than a pin prick of light in the ocean of darkness. “Come on!”
    The lady clutched at my arm with one hand while clinging tightly to the scarf about her head with the other. Her husband followed with the scholar.
    I could just make out the light of lanterns in the windows. Things were blowing about in the gale, and I tried to shield the lady beside me.
    At last we reached the house and stepped inside. Warmth and light greeted us, for Dad and Alex had just started the generator. Mom and the twins helped us all out of our drenched jackets and established our guests in comfortable chairs before the fire.
    Finding my shirt soaked once again (I had forgotten the tear in my raincoat), I stepped back to my room. Alex joined me a moment later.
    “What happened to you?” he asked.
    I looked questioningly at him.
    He pointed to the side of my head.
    I glanced in the mirror and saw blood. “Who knows.” I shrugged it off, but Alex had to examine it, wash and bandage it. It wasn’t much though. Didn’t even hurt. Alex seemed to enjoy it so I didn’t put up a fuss.

    Back in the living room Mom had turned all the lights off again. The generator will run the entire house, but we like to conserve gas since we don’t know how long we’ll be without power. It was quite cozy in the room with the fire blazing brightly, lit candles here and there and every chair and couch full of people.
    Mrs. Turner had somehow managed to bring her knitting and seemed quite content near the fire. Her husband discussed fishing with Dad in a nearby corner. Working on their quilting, the twins occupied the couch while Robert built castles with blocks. Mom was in her chair doing nothing. She smiled when she saw us and motioned us to seats near the other guest who held a large book of some sort which he looked up from to introduce himself as Howard Bartell. In conversation with him I discovered that he had graduated from Oxford and had degrees from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and several other places. It made my head spin to think of it all.

    After several hours of talk, while the storm still raged outside, everyone began to grow sleepy. The Turners were given us boys’ room, and with Howard we would sleep on the floor in the living room.
     The last thing I remember before drifting off to sleep with the storm in my ears was Howard.
    “When tir’d with vain rotations of the day, sleep winds us up for the succeeding dawn.”
    I think he’s read too much.

To be concluded next week.
Any thoughts about this first part?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Unexpected Request - Part 60

Good Morning Western Wednesday Readers,
I should give you a heads up. Western Wednesday won't be here much longer. No, the book is not about to end, I just won't be posting the last of it here. So, (I know, I know, you all think I'm terribly mean) if you want to read the end of the book, now is you chance to buy it for the lowest price you will probably ever get! Yep, if you are a blog reader fan of The Unexpected Request you can now reserve you own copy of it for only $8.50! (The cover price is $14.95.) To pre-order your copy, you can do one of two things: you can leave a comment requesting a copy (if I don't have your e-mail address, please leave that as well. I will be sure to delete it.) or you can send me an e-mail requesting your copy. You will have to pay shipping if I have to mail it to you. If you want it signed, let me know that as well. I don't have any copies right now to ship out, so I will continue posting Western Wednesday until I do.

I've been rather busy since I posted on Friday. Saturday we babysat 9 kids ages 6 and under for about four hours.:) Now that was fun. We had a 6-y-o, a just-turned-5, a 4 1/2, two 3 1/2-y-olds, three nearly 2-y-olds, and a seven month old. Talk about busy.
Yesterday we babysat my niece and two of my nephews for about 5 1/2 hours.
Last night we had some visitors. Three small, furry, black and white creatures with floofy (fluffy + poofy) tails.:) The same kind of animal that Orlena saw in the Triple Creek Ranch on Friday. Only, we didn't throw rocks at these cute, little things. :) We just watched them. I think they are all three young ones because they were rather small and all the same size. One was almost all white, another was mostly black and the third was a more balanced mixture of the two colors.

Okay, okay, I must stop this rambling. You'll forget all about requesting your copy of The Unexpected Request if I fill your mind with other things. Maybe I'll ramble on Friday. (If I have anything to ramble about.)

Part 60

    Standing a few feet from the edge of the bluff with folded arms, Ty remained still as Sally approached.
    “Ty,” she ventured softly seeing that he didn’t turn to look at her, “you can’t give up now. We will find her.”
    Ty didn’t move or even seem to be listening.
    Uncertain of what to do or say next, Sally, too, remained silent and looked out across the river. Only the rushing of the waters below, the restful chirps of a lone bird and the rustle of wind through the colored leaves disturbed the stillness of the evening. As Sally glanced down into the waters far below, the sudden remembrance of that dreaded cliff over which they had passed on their way to Fort Laramie swept over her and she caught her breath, grasping Ty’s arm fiercely and backing away from the edge.
    Startled by her actions, Ty looked down at her. “Sally!” he exclaimed, “what’s happened?”
    She shuddered, still hanging on to his arm. “That cliff. It reminded me of--” A shiver ran over her before she could finish.
    Ty finished the sentence for her. “Of the cliff where that there mountain lion were?”
    She nodded.
    “Well, we ain’t going ta have ta walk ‘long this side a the cliff. Ya jest can’t be thinkin’ ‘bout that other place,” Ty added pulling his sister back towards the cliffs where he had been standing, but she hung back. “Come on,” he coaxed, “ya didn’t use ta be scared a cliffs.”
    “Can I sit down?” she ventured, timidly moving forward once again.
    For answer, Ty led her to a large rock which made a pleasant seat. There the two remained in silence, watching the river for several minutes.
    At last, Sally, glancing at her brother and noticing the grim look begin to steal across his face, asked softly, “You aren’t giving up, Ty, are you?”
    “Givin’ up?” Ty repeated almost fiercely. “No! It’s jest that I ain’t sure what ta do now. I can’t stop till I got the trail ‘gain. An’ that,” he sighed, “seems utterly hopeless.”
    “We can pray about it,”
    Ty grunted. “It ain’t helped.”
    “But it can,” Sally persisted. “Ty,” she began again after a moment, “when you were so sick at the Fields, I didn’t know what to do. I tried to pray, but it didn’t seem to work because I wanted God to make you better right away and He didn’t. Then one night, it was the night you began to grow better, I had gone outside and Joe came and talked to me. He explained everything to me and then I knew.”
    “Knew what?” Ty asked gently, for Sally’s face wore a look of such love and peace that Ty was awed.
    “Knew that sometimes God says yes right away and sometimes He says no because he has a better plan, and other times he says just to wait and trust Him.” Sally had been watching the reflection of the setting sun on the river and now turned her eyes to her brother’s face. “Ty, I don’t think God has said no to finding our sister, I think he has just said wait.”
    “Hump,” Ty frowned, “then why did we come this way anyway?”
    “Why Ty!” exclaimed Sally. “If we hadn’t come then ‘they’ would still be free to try to kill you instead of behind bars where they can do no harm. And if Starlight hadn’t thrown that shoe, we wouldn’t have stayed in Dead Horse anyway and--.”
    “Okay,” Ty cut her short. “So this here trip weren’t a complete waste a time. I jest don’t see what we’re ta do next!”
    “You could try praying. Pa always did, and it helps me. It helps Carson too. He said so.” Ty didn’t reply and so, after a few more minutes of quiet, Sally rose softly and slowly made her way back to the fire where Carson was waiting.
    Alone on the cliff, Ty sat in thought. Was Sally right? Did praying help? From a child his father had taught him from the Bible. He knew in his mind what was promised in it, but never had he tested and proved it. Why not? Honestly he didn’t know. He just never had gotten around to it he supposed. Didn’t he have time? Plenty of time, but never before did he feel the need of some help outside of his own strength and ability. “I can’t find her on my own, Pa,” he muttered to himself. “I need help.” But still Ty waited, his thoughts in turmoil. Was he wanting to come to God just because he had a problem he couldn’t solve? If that were so, would he, once help had been received, not turn his back on the One who had helped him? Such a sudden great longing for a talk with his father came over Ty that he sank down on the rock where Sally had sat and buried his face in his hands while great, silent sobs shook his strong frame. In all his life, never had he remembered feeling so alone and helpless. His father was gone! Never could he go to him in trouble, never would he tramp the woods with him, never hear his voice!
    “Oh, God of my father! God of my mother, do not forsake me!” In the darkness of the night no one saw Ty slip to his knees beside that rock, no one but the loving Father who had been tenderly seeking His lost sheep over mountains and plains, leading, drawing and now bringing him home safely on His shoulders. The wrestling was over and Ty knelt, feeling a closeness to God that he had never experienced before. The moon rose, but still Ty remained on his knees unmindful of the fog that rose up around him. At last a great longing which he had once thought was the desire to find his sister, was gone. He felt satisfied. He knew he would someday fulfill his vow to his father, but he was no longer discouraged.

Leave your comments if you have any.