Mid-September Update

Pink Roses against the September sky by Randy Cockrell

Pink Roses against the September sky by Randy Cockrell

Oh my gosh! Totally forgot to do a blog post last Monday. I was exhausted after the fair ended last Sunday and didn’t have any brain power left to do a post. I apologize for that. The fair went pretty well. Like military plans, fair plans rarely survive first contact but we got most things done and fair-goers had fun. That’s all that counts. I’ve been posting pictures of livestock 4H and FFA winners on the fair Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Gila-County-Fair/136645043024179. These kids work really hard raising their animals and learning how to show them. It seemed fitting to post their accomplishments.
First Encounter, the first book in my new Brown Rain series is up on Amazon’s new Pre-Order feature. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8AYOK If you use another ereader, it’s also up on Kobo for pre-order at http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/first-encounter-6. Release date is scheduled for September 18th.
The garden is in fall mode. The green and yellow beans have withered, so no more of them. The peppers, both sweet and hot, are ripening. I may be able to roast and freeze the hot peppers soon. I have poblano and Fresno chilis. They’ll be very good this winter in my chili. I had to cut my mint down. The bees love the flowers but the flowers were going to seed. I can’t have mint seed spreading everywhere. I’d never get rid of the stuff. The bees can still visit the oregano flowers so they’ll have flowers until they go into hibernation. My butternut squash is also ripening. The very first ones to grow this spring are ready to pick. I’ll store them in my garage and the last ones will keep all winter. Tomatoes are sprawling all over. I still am picking more cherry tomatoes than we can eat. The regular tomatoes I par-boil, skin, chop and freeze. They’ll make great spaghetti sauce this winter. Do you garden? What’s still going strong for you?
The picture accompanying my blog today was taken by my husband of some of the roses I have blooming right now. I love the way they look against this mid-September sky.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know if you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.
Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Challenge: First Half of a Story

This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/09/05/flash-fiction-challenge-the-first-half-of-a-story-only/ is to write the first 500 words of a 1000 word story and post it on our page. Hopefully someone else will read the 1st half, be prompted and write the 2nd half of the story. So this week, I’ll post my 1st half and see if anyone gets an idea of how to finish it. I called it Mystery at the Fair.

I read some of the posts from people who had already answered the challenge and found one that someone else created and finished it for him. You can see it below my story start. I’m calling it Close Call.

If no one picks up on my story, I’ll finish it for next week. If someone does finish it, I’ll post it here with a link to their blog.

Mystery at the Fair

Sweat rolled down the side of Jean Hays’ face, her short graying brown hair stuck to her forehead. The sun beat down out of a cornflower blue sky while end of the monsoon season thunderheads built up into towering blinding white and ominous portents of future rain. Rain every year for the fair, she thought as she trudged to the storage container where the plastic tubs of left over ribbons, banners and other fair paraphernalia resided the rest of the year. She wiped her face and hoped the units were unlocked. The Fair Board President, Arris Van Horn wasn’t answering his phone. He should have them open by now.

She wiped the sweat from her face and lightly touched the metal handles of the shipping container. The front of the unit had been in the sun all day but while it was hot to the touch, she could grab the lever and pull it up. Must be ninety degrees out here. She swung the door open with relief that she wouldn’t have to trudge all over the fairgrounds looking for Arris and stepped inside. It was dark just a few feet inside the metal box and at least a hundred and twenty degrees. Sweat began dripping in earnest. Smells like mice in here, hope they haven’t gotten into the tubs, she thought.

Winding her way past safety cones, stacked tables, buckets of rope, steel cable and broken metal chairs, she stepped over a pile of rebar to reach her stack of tubs. One, two, three, four, she counted, where’s the fifth tub? The heat was giving her a headache. Maybe it’s farther to the back. A pile of cardboard boxes labeled, Mud Run, blocked her way. The storage container held material for several events that occurred on the fairgrounds during the year. Jean moved the three boxes behind her and stepped over a pile of rusting chain. Wish I’d brought a flashlight, she thought. It’s dark back here.

Squinting, she saw the medium blue tub four feet away on top of another stack of bins. There you are. She wiped her face again and held her breath. The smell of dead things was over whelming. I hope nothing crawled into my bin. The ribbons will be ruined. She picked her way past boxes, rusting metal things she couldn’t identify and a broken ladder. She pulled the tilted bin toward her and the pile of bins it was on fell over. Her bin slid to the floor, taking part of her thumbnail with it. “Owww,” she cried as she jerked her hand away. In front of her, the two doors of a metal cabinet creaked open and a desiccated human body fell out on top of her bin. She shrieked and scrambled outside.

She stared, panting, at the open door of the container then dialed 911. “This is Jean Hays. I’m the VP of Exhibits for the fair. I just found a dead body in the storage container on the fairgrounds.”

The End

500 Words


Close Call

(Note: 1st half of the story is separated from my final half by a line.)

First half is by Caitlin McColl, Under A Star Lit Sky, http://underastarlitsky.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/the-first-500/ No Title: Part of Chuck Wendig 500 Word Story Start Challenge

Do you know what it feels like when you are about to die? Everything slows down and then stops. All the life, all the colours drain out of everything. It’s like you’re trying to conserve every last bit of energy into just keeping yourself alive, to keep your heart pumping and your mind thinking. You go into survival mode: sounds disappear until all you hear is your heart and your breath as loud as a hurricane in your ears.

Trust me, I know. I’ve been almost dead more times than I have fingers and toes.  And I don’t recommend it. It’s not as if I try to get into situations that get me almost dead, it’s just… I guess you could say it’s my hobb-.

I hear a familiar click right next to my left ear; the small sound that has such a huge meaning – the sound of a gun’s safety being pulled back. Slowly, calmly, I put down my pen. Without turning my head, I begin to stand from the Adirondack chair where I’d been enjoying a rare peaceful morning on my deck devoid of any life – I do not have a green thumb – above the Pacific.

“Don’t move,” the voice says quiet but firm. At first I’m surprised. It’s not any voice I was expecting, going through my mental Rolodex of the long list of people who want me dead.

I try not to sound like I’m on the verge of a laugh. I swallow once, hoping to quash the offending sound, and try to sound serious and even as I stop in a squat, half sitting, half standing.

“What do you want me to do?” I ask, plainly, removing all traces of amusement from my voice.

The voice behind me makes an exasperated noise. “Okay, you can move, but only do what I say.”

I try to suppress a smile, grateful my face is turned away from my captor. She sounds unsure, nervous. I don’t recognize her voice – I’m usually good with recognizing who it is that wants to hurt me.

“Okay,” I say agreeably. “Can I at least stand up?”

There is a pause. I can almost sense eyes being rolled. “Yes.”

I straighten slowly. “Now what?”

Another pause, longer this time. “Take us to the library.”

Us? A shiver races down my spine. I mentally shake my head. I hadn’t been on alert. I’d been too busy writing.

“The library?” I repeat, confused.

Your library,” the woman says, irritation and impatience tingeing her words.


“That’s not important. All you need to know is you have a gun to your head.”

I laugh, short and sharp. “That’s nothing new to me.”

I hear the another small click that causes the hair on my arms to rise involuntarily and I raise my hands defensively. “Okay, okay,” I say, leading the way into the kitchen and down the hall.

The double doors to the library already stand open. I stop and gesture inside. “Ladies first.”


“Don’t be stupid,” she snarled.

I shrugged and stepped through the door to the middle of the room.

“Turn around.”

Hands still in the air, I did. She was about five foot six, green-eyed and I didn’t recognize her. I certainly would have remembered that shoulder-length auburn hair and creamy complexion. “I’m afraid we haven’t been properly introduced. I’m Al Teiness.” I started to lower my hands.

“Keep them in the air.” She waved the revolver at me.

“Of course.” I raised them again.

“I know who you are. You’re the one that killed my sister.”

I’ve been known to tie one on but I don’t remember ever blacking out. Certainly don’t remember killing anyone. “You must have me confused with someone else.”

“Two years ago,” she spat out, tears forming in those lovely green eyes. “At the MyCon for mystery writers, in Phoenix. She was so excited, finally getting to meet her favorite author.” She studied my face. “You don’t remember, do you?” She pointed the gun at me in sharp jabs. “Unbelievable.”

“Miss, really, I didn’t kill your sister. I’m so sorry for your loss. What was her name?” I had to convince this woman not to kill me.

She dashed away the tears in her eyes. “Amanda, my height, blonde, blue-eyes. She had met you at the book-signing and you invited her for drinks afterward. She texted me. You were going to meet at the hotel bar.”

I thought furiously. So many people come to the book-signing sessions. I was sick that day, head-ache and fever but the fans come a long way and spend a lot of money so I sat through the whole signing session, smiling and greeting my readers. “Miss, I invite a lot of my fans for drinks at the bar. Usually I go and spend some time with them but I was sick that day. I didn’t go to the bar; I was in my room, puking my guts out with the flu.”

The gun wavered as she stared at me. Her face twisted in anger. “You’re a liar. You’re just trying to get away with it.”

“No, Miss,” I stepped toward her to explain.

She took two steps back, “Stop!”

I stuck my hands back in the air. “I had to call the hotel to send a doctor. I’m not sure how you’d check that but it’s the truth. I missed the rest of the conference.” I could see the look of doubt cross her face. She swallowed.

“It’s taken me two years to track you down. You didn’t go to the bar?”

I shook my head.

The gun wavered. “You were really sick?”

I nodded.

The gun sank toward the floor. “I’m so sorry.” She whirled around and fled out through the kitchen to the deck and was gone.

I dropped my hands and staggered to the ottoman where I collapsed, heart pounding. I resolved never to invite fans for drinks again.

The End

991 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Flash Fiction Friday: The Farmer and the Superhero

So Let the Flames Begin by tearsintotime via www.deviantart.com

So Let the Flames Begin by tearsintotime via http://www.deviantart.com

Art looked around the barn. There wasn’t much here to fight with. The outlaws were closing in and they had revolvers and shotguns. Thank the heavens, Wanda and the kids were at her parent’s ranch, twenty miles away. That’s something, he thought as the back and front barn doors were kicked open at the same time.
“We know you have a cash box hidden in here, Sodbuster.” The leader of the gang called out from his horse in the barn door. The rest of the gang were on foot, nearing the center of the barn floor. Art was in the hay loft, pitchfork in hand.
They’d come riding in hard, dust blowing across the valley in the hot spring afternoon. Sure he had cash. He was saving it to buy seed and plant once the monsoons began.
The outlaws gathered at the base of the ladder leading to the loft. “Come on down. Don’t make us come up there,” a big brute with a scar across his left cheek yelled out.
Art considered throwing the pitchfork like a spear. He’d get at least one that way.
“Jimmy,” Scarface said to one of the men next to him. “Go up there and throw that sodbuster down.”
“You snoozer, I ain’t goin’ up there. He’ll kill me.” Jimmy backed up a step.
Scarface reached out a long arm, grabbed the young man by the scruff of his neck and shoved him to the ladder. He pointed his revolver at the boy. “Get up there or I’ll shoot you myself.”
Jimmy was none too happy but he began to climb the ladder. Scarface called up to the loft. “You come down nice and quiet. We won’t hurt ya.”
“You already burned down my house. You’ll kill me all right.”
Scarface waved his gun at Jimmy to get a move on. The boss, leaning on the pommel of his saddle snorted. “Sodbuster, we just want the money. Toss it down.”

Art could hear Jimmy nearing the top of the ladder. “I think not.”

The boss said, “We’ll burn the barn with you in it.”
“Then you won’t get the money, will ya?”
Jimmy stepped up to the loft. He had his revolver in hand, scanning the heaps of hay in the loft. “Come out, Mister. Give me the cash box and we’ll be on our way.”
Art flung the pitchfork at the boy. Jimmy dodged the fork but stumbled and fell off the loft. He screamed after he hit the dirt barn floor. “My leg! My leg is broke!” Art’s stomach rolled. He’d never hurt anyone in his life.
Over Jimmy’s screams, the boss yelled, “Shut the kid up. Get him on his horse. Mister, you made a mistake. Scarface, burn the barn.”
Art could hear the sound of the boss leaving. Through the open loft door he could see the gang forcing Jimmy onto his horse. The men rode away from the barn, Scarface’s horse with them. Below, he could hear Scarface lighting match after match, the sulfur smell rising in the air to his hiding place. He could see the boss send two of his men to the other side of the barn. There would be no getting out that way.
The smell of smoke filled the air and he could hear crackling. The chickens began to squawk and run from the building. He pulled the cash box out of the rafters and tucked it under his arm. Was there anywhere to put it so Wanda could recover it? A peek over the edge of the loft showed the flames licking the wooden support posts. At least the cow and her calf were in the field. Wanda would have that much.
The heat began to rise, sweat formed on his face. He grabbed a sack of corn, stuffed the box inside and put the sack in between two others. Maybe the corn wouldn’t burn. He peeked out of the loft door. The outlaws were having a smoke, waiting. Art wiped his forehead with his sleeve. If he jumped he’d be defenseless, the pitchfork was on the barn floor.
The flames crept up the support poles. Art paced back and forth between loft doors, desperate to think of some way out. He coughed from the smoke. When the flames licked at the front edge of the loft, he thought it was the end. Tears of anger, frustration and the smoke streaked down his face. He whispered a good-bye to his wife and children.

Kneeling in the center of the floor, he prepared to die when something crashed through the roof of the barn. Art’s arms went up to shield himself from falling shingles and splintered wood.
A man, dressed in sky blue with a red cape settled to the loft floor. He held out his hand. “I’m The Guardian, let’s get you out of here,” he said. Art took the man’s hand. He scooped Art up under his arms and flew through the hole he just made. The outlaws pointed and shouted. The man put Art down in the pasture next to the cow and flew back to the outlaws. They fired their guns at the man who swooped low over them, spooking their horses. The horses ran in every direction but the man followed, one by one, bringing each outlaw back and tying them up in the middle of the barn yard.
After the last outlaw was caught, The Guardian came back to the pasture. “I’m sorry about the barn,” he said. The barn was in full flame behind him. “But the bounty on those outlaws should be enough to pay for a new house and barn.”
With that, the man rose into the air until Art lost sight of him in the sun. Art walked the outlaws into town keeping them in line with their own dropped revolvers. The Sheriff looked confused at the outlaw’s tales. When he asked Art how he captured them all, he said, “I just surprised them.”
The End
1000 Words
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Happy Labor Day

BBQ by Amanada Supak via www.deviantart.com

BBQ by Amanada Supak via http://www.deviantart.com

Here’s hoping you have a good Labor Day and a safe and fun weekend. We made no special efforts this year. No travel or special barbeques. It’s been nice to just stay home and take care of things around the house.

The Northern Gila County fair is in five days. The set up work starts today when the tents are set up. Then Tuesday we put up exhibit stands and the livestock people set up corrals, pens and show rings Wednesday people can bring their exhibits. It’s always fun to see what everyone has been working on all year.  Thursday is the exhibit judging. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the Fair. We have a lot of fun things planned for the weekend: Hotdog eating and watermelon eating contests, a Battle of the Bands, a lip sync contest and a lot more. Check out the Attractions and the Entertainment tabs at www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com. We’re also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Gila-County-Fair/136645043024179.

My novella, First Encounter is with the editing service, SilverJayMedia.com. It should be back soon. Hot! I tried out Amazon’s new Pre-Order feature. It was very easy for me to use and I put First Encounter up on it for pre-order. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8AYOK Release date is scheduled for September 18th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know if you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here.  Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday: Copertino Crisis

Spaceship Concepts 3 by peterprime-d53ysxe

Spaceship Concepts 3 by peterprime-d53ysxe via http://www.deviantart.com

Clarissa Monroe left the hospital where her friend, Bectie Weiss, was recovering from a gunshot wound received when they, and their old high school friend, Ariel Holbrook, were meeting for drinks. She followed Ariel at a trot.
Ariel tapped her temple where an implanted communication device was located. “Boss, where’s my ride?” She listened and stopped at the curb.
Clarissa was panting when she stopped beside her friend. “What now?”
“They’re bringing me a car.” She scanned the sky. “What do you see concerning the aliens?”
A vision of massive machines on the Pacific sea bottom flashed through her mind. Light from each machine made the bottom light as day. She blinked at the headache. “The machines have lit up the sea bottom. I don’t see anything about Copertino now.” She looked up as an air car descended in front of them in a whirl of dirt and street debris.
When it landed, a guy in black jumped out of the driver’s seat. Ariel ran around the front of the vehicle. “Get in,” she called to Clarissa. She spoke briefly to the driver as Clarissa climbed into the passenger seat. Ariel jumped in and fastened her harness. She tapped dash buttons and grabbed the yoke. “Hang on.”
The engines screamed as they shot into the air. Clarissa’s stomach felt as though it were still on the street, certain every traffic law in the city had been broken as Ariel banked hard left. The Pacific filled the front windshield. “How did you become an operator for, what was it? The International Protectorate of Earth?
Ariel tapped her temple. “Status?” She listened. “How many? I’m on my way.” She sighed. “This car is armed with the best weapons on Earth. Every country on the planet contributes. I was recruited my senior year of college.” She tapped a button and Clarissa heard a whine from under the floor of the car.
Outside Clarissa’s window she could see small doors on the upper surface of the wing retract and some sort of gun popped up. Her eyebrows rose. “What’s that?”
“Photon ray guns.”
“There’s such a thing?”
“Sure.” Ariel grinned. “They’ve been operational for the last five years.” She pointed. “Look.”
The seaside village of Copertino was in flames. Surface roads were clogged with cars. Overhead, black, crab-shaped aircraft blasted short bursts of rays at the town.
Ariel banked right. “Let’s see what they’re doing offshore.”
Clarissa’s head slammed into the headrest. “How fast does this thing go?” she forced through her teeth.
“Faster,” Ariel replied. She circled a spot three miles off shore.
Clarissa winced as a new vision shot through her brain. Supports were being driven into the sea floor as huge square platforms were maneuvered into place over them. “They’re building something. There’s a line of underwater ships heading for this location.”
“I’ve got to see.” More whining came from under the floor. Ariel tapped her communicator. “Going into aqua mode. Be advised massive underwater construction underway. Request backup.” She frowned. “I know I don’t usually call for help.” She disconnected. “Prepare for dive.”
Clarissa braced her feet against the sloping floor and gripped the arm rests. The ocean’s surface sped up at them, waves twinkling. She held her breath as the car approached the surface, then they were underwater, bubbles flowing over the canopy. She exhaled.
“I know,” Ariel grinned. “It’s some sort of anti-grav. Cracks me up.”
Clarissa didn’t think it was funny but she was glad there was no hard impact. “Where’s the construction?”
“Straight ahead.” Soon they could see light through currents of stirred up mud and sea plants. “I’m going in,” she said to her communicator. “There are hundreds of ships down here. Hurry the backup.” She punched a button. The plain, flat dash in front of Clarissa opened and a second yoke rose up.
“What’s this?”
“You’re going to help. That yoke controls a second set of guns, under the car.” As she spoke a heads-up display appeared on the windshield in front of Clarissa. “Use the yoke to center the crosshairs over a target. The red button on the right side of the yoke is the firing button.”
“Me?” Clarissa was embarrassed that it came out as a squeak.
“You can do it. Practice now.”
Clarissa wiped sweaty hands on her skirt and gripped the yoke. She moved it up and down, left and right watching the crosshairs in front of her. “I think I have it.”
“Good. Here we go.” Ariel accelerated past the slow moving column of crab ships. “Shoot big ships first, then smaller ships unless they look like attack ships — then shoot them first.”
Clarissa gulped. “Got it.”
Ariel swung the car around and began firing beams of light from the wing guns. “Shoot, Clarissa.”
Swallowing, Clarissa focused on the crosshairs. A large ship with a load hanging from it crept into the circle. She re-gripped the yoke, put her thumb on the red button and when the ship was centered, pushed the button. A thump came from under the car and a missile or torpedo; she wasn’t sure what to call it, streaked toward her target. She held her breath. It hit the ship. “Yes!” she screamed as it exploded and the cargo slid sideways through the water to the bottom. “I hit it.”
Ariel gave her a high five. “Good. Now hit some more.”
Soon other ships and cars swarmed the site and shot down the aliens. They surveyed the wreckage.
“They didn’t fight back,” Clarissa said. “Not a single defensive move.”
“I know. Weird. I’m sure that little detail is being discussed at higher levels.”
“Why’d they blast Copertino then?”
“Also don’t know.” Ariel turned to Clarissa. “You did good today.”
“Yeah, I guess I did.” Surprise was in her voice.
Ariel tapped two dash buttons. “Let’s go see Bectie.”


The End
974 Words
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

August is a long Month

Cover for First Encounter by Connie Cockrell

Cover for First Encounter by Connie Cockrell

We’ve had a lovely rain a few days ago, an inch and a half’s worth. Everything plant perked right up. Two of the apples fell from the tree Saturday morning. They aren’t very large but they tasted good. Husband saw them on the ground from the office window and told me they “self-harvested.”
The Northern Gila County fair is in two weeks. The fair book is out, posters have been hung around the area and we’ve kicked off a contest. Take a selfie with one of the posters and after Liking our Facebook page, post the picture. Drawings will be made for prizes. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Gila-County-Fair/136645043024179. I try to post something new on there at least once per day. I continue to update the website, http://www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com, to add information concerning all of the activities, attractions and entertainment.
My novella, The Beginning, has had a title change to First Encounter. I am also trying out a new editing service, SilverJayMedia.com. I sent them a sample and they returned it quickly and with a lot of corrections. Ack! I thought I had edited it better than that. Anyway, I’m going to have them edit the whole thing. They have a very cool estimating tool on their site so you can see how much their different editing services will cost. I really like that feature. With it you can see how much each service costs individually or added all up. You can pick the service or set of services that best meets your needs and wallet. Give it a try you writers out there.
Hot! I tried out Amazon’s new Pre-Order feature. It was very easy for me to use and I put First Encounter up on it for pre-order. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8AYOK Release date is scheduled for September 18th.

My author friend Selena Laurence is getting ready to release several books over the next two or three months. In celebration of that, she’s promoting two of her previous books, A Lush Betrayal and Camouflaged. She’s an author of Edgy Contemporary Romance, and knows how to make those stories hot and sassy. Both books have been discounted for this promotion. Hurry to take advantage of it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know if you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.
I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here. Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.
Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. Apple (iTunes) and Barnes and Noble now have it up on their sites. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday: Shotgun Curse

Winchester Shotgun by Dionicio via www.DeviantArt.com

Winchester Shotgun by Dionicio via http://www.DeviantArt.com

This is a Chuck Wendig challenge from May 30th for June 6th. The challenge is to randomly choose one word each from 2 lists of 20. I rolled #6 and #14 which came out to be Shotgun Curse. Here is the story I’ve written to fit that title.

Shotgun Curse

Wilson was at the bar in the Oxbow Saloon. It was mid-afternoon and there were four guys at a scarred round wood table at the end of the bar playing five card stud. Two of the ladies that worked upstairs were standing around the table, hoping for a drink or a tip. The bartender wiped glasses as he watched the game.
It had been a bad week for Wilson. His mule had died four days ago leaving him to haul his winter’s catch of furs on a sledge behind his horse. The horse hadn’t appreciated pulling the sledge and had kicked him in the knee which was still swollen and painful to walk on. The mercantile had given him less than he expected for his furs so he couldn’t get the new shotgun he’d hoped to buy. The shotgun he inherited from his father when he died six years ago hadn’t been much but over the winter it had fallen in the half frozen East Verde River and was lost. Wilson had to go the rest of the winter without any protection or way to hunt for food. He needed a new shotgun and now there wasn’t enough money to buy one, not and buy his supplies and a new mule.
He sipped his beer and tried to think of a way to get the extra thirteen dollars he needed to buy the gun. The saloon doors swung open, letting in a blast of sunlight. Wilson turned to see who had come in.
An old man stood there, silhouetted by the light from the street. The bartender walked to Wilson’s end of the bar. “Howdy, Amos. Beer?”
The man walked to the bar and laid a shotgun on it. He looked like he’d been dragged down Main Street, filthy, torn clothes and a hat that had seen better days. “That’d be just the thing, Sam.”
Amos nodded to Wilson. “Afternoon.”
“Afternoon.” Wilson eyed the shotgun. It looked good. Stock was clean and oiled, as was the barrel. The trigger looked well-kept, there was no sign of rust or corrosion anywhere on it.
Amos drank half of his beer down. “The shotgun is for sale, young man.”
“You don’t say.”
“I don’t need it. I’m sellin’ it cheap. Twenty dollars.”
Wilson nodded. He had twenty dollars but he didn’t want to seem too eager. That would leave him with enough money to buy a new mule and his supplies for the summer, too.

The bartender wandered over after Amos stepped out back to the outhouse. “You don’t want that shotgun, son. It’s cursed.” He pulled Wilson another beer.
“How so?”
“Amos bought that gun off of a trapper last summer. The trapper said the gun was bad luck and wanted to get rid of it. Amos didn’t believe it but he’s had nothing but trouble since he got the gun. His woman ran off. His crops got infested with some sorta blight. The Apaches burnt his barn to the ground over the winter and stole all the chickens.” He shook his head. “You don’t want that gun.”
Wilson nodded but he didn’t believe in curses, he’d just had a run of bad luck all on his own. When Amos came back they made a deal and Wilson picked up the gun. Amos left the saloon with half a glass of beer still on the bar.
The next spring, on a fine clear day, Wilson came into the Oxbow. His clothes were in rags, rope was wrapped around his boots to hold them together. His hair was matted and dirty as was his beard. The bartender pulled him a beer. “Looks as though you’ve had a rough winter, son.”
Wilson gulped the beer down in one breath and signaled for another. “Worst year of my life. Wolverines got into my traps and took every animal I caught. The mule took off half way through the winter and not long after that, my horse just keeled over in the stable, dead as a doornail. Mice ate my supplies. I fell in the East Verde, nearly drowned and half froze when a band of Apache chased me half way to Fort Verde and back again.”
The bartender raised an eyebrow. “That does sound like a spell of bad luck. What happened to the shotgun?”
Wilson took another long drink of his beer, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and put the beer on the bar top. “I smashed that shotgun into pieces with a rock and threw it in the river.”

The End
760 Words
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