Friday, February 08, 2008


pipe-and-wagon-wheel, originally uploaded by jimlux28.

Flickr Short Story © M. Sprouse

Pa sensed it first.

"Trouble," he said matter-of-a-factly. His voice was knowing and prophetic in tone.

Neither man moved. Father and son, as if sculpted from the earth itself and rooted as pine, remained motionless save only their eyes which they had instinctively squinted into concentration towards the valley below. The dust cloud kicked up by the thunderous hoofs of the approaching horses on the sun-baked clay wafted its way up the trail like a serpentine cloud of sicknesses from an old bible story.

"Trouble indeed," uttered Eugene breaking the spell as his teeth clamped down tighter on his well-worn pipe. "Twenty minutes I reckon Pa. We'n beat 'em to the house, but we's gots to leave right now."

"Right boy. Move," said Pa with a snap of his head towards his eldest son.

Leaving their gear behind, they leapt into the wagon and began their descent. Silently, with righteous determination and gravity on their side, they sped their way down the steep hill like rain on glass into the valley below.

The valley below. Their valley. Their sweat and blood, birthing and dying valley.

"Ain't nothin' and nobody gonna take our land away from us," Eugene thought to himself, his words swarming madly about his brain like swallows from a fireplace."Least of all no goddamned Joseph Briggs with his fancy suits, lawyer-smart papers n' numbers and his big city whore of a wife. Lest of all him. I don't care how many goddamned sheriffs he brings. Bring em all on, the sons-of-bitches! Bring em all on"

He bit down hard on his pipe. So hard that he could taste blood in his mouth.

"Trouble indeed".

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