alrescate: (Default)
This is the second section of my part of the story.

Dick Bullen made a step forward, hesitated, and glanced over his shoulder into
the deserted room. Everything was quiet. With a sudden resolution he parted
his huge mustaches with both hands and stooped over the sleeping boy. But
even as he did so a mischievous blast, lying in wait, swooped down the
chimney, rekindled the hearth, and lit up the room with a shameless glow
from which Dick fled in bashful terror.

His companions were already waiting for him at the crossing. Two of them
were struggling in the darkness with some strange misshapen bulk, which as
Dick came nearer took the semblance of a great yellow horse.

It was the mare. She was not a pretty picture. From her Roman nose to her
rising haunches, from her arched spine hidden by the stiff machillas of a
Mexican saddle, to her thick, straight, bony legs, there was not a line of
equine grace. In her half-blind but wholly vicious white eyes, in her
protruding under lip, in her monstrous color, there was nothing but
ugliness and vice.

"Now then," said Staples, "stand cl'ar of her heels, boys, and up with you.
Don't miss your first holt of her mane, and mind ye get your off stirrup
QUICK. Ready!"

There was a leap, a scrambling struggle, a bound, a wild retreat of the
crowd, a circle of flying hoofs, two springless leaps that jarred the
earth, a rapid play and jingle of spurs, a plunge, and then the voice of
Dick somewhere in the darkness, "All right!"

"Don't take the lower road back onless you're hard pushed for time! Don't
hold her in down hill! We'll be at the ford at five. G'lang! Hoopa! Mula!

A splash, a spark struck from the ledge in the road, a clatter in the rocky
cut beyond, and Dick was gone.
alrescate: (Default)
This is for the [profile] storytimeatlj community.

"How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar"

The Old Man partly opened the door and peered through. His guests were
sitting there sociably enough, and there were a few silver coins and a lean
buckskin purse on the table. "Bettin' on suthin -- some little game or
'nother. They're all right," he replied to Johnny, and recommenced his

"I'd like to take a hand and win some money," said Johnny, reflectively,
after a pause.

The Old Man glibly repeated what was evidently a familiar formula, that if
Johnny would wait until he struck it rich in the tunnel he'd have lots of
money, etc., etc.

"Yes," said Johnny, "but you don't. And whether you strike it or I win it,
it's about the same. It's all luck. But it's mighty cur'o's about Chrismiss
-- ain't it? Why do they call it Chrismiss?"

Perhaps from some instinctive deference to the overhearing of his guests,
or from some vague sense of incongruity, the Old Man's reply was so low as
to be inaudible beyond the room.

"Yes," said Johnny, with some slight abatement of interest, "I've heerd o'
HIM before. Thar, that'll do, dad. I don't ache near so bad as I did. Now
wrap me tight in this yer blanket. So. Now," he added in a muffled whisper,
"sit down yer by me till I go asleep." To assure himself of obedience, he
disengaged one hand from the blanket and, grasping his father's sleeve,
again composed himself to rest.

For some moments the Old Man waited patiently. Then the unwonted stillness
of the house excited his curiosity, and without moving from the bed, he
cautiously opened the door with his disengaged hand, and looked into the
main room. To his infinite surprise it was dark and deserted. But even then
a smouldering log on the hearth broke, and by the upspringing blaze he saw
the figure of Dick Bullen sitting by the dying embers.


Dick started, rose, and came somewhat unsteadily toward him.

"Whar's the boys?" said the Old Man.

"Gone up the canyon on a little pasear. They're coming back for me in a
minit. I'm waitin' round for 'em. What are you starin' at, Old Man?" he
added with a forced laugh; "do you think I'm drunk?"

The Old Man might have been pardoned the supposition, for Dick's eyes were
humid and his face flushed. He loitered and lounged back to the chimney,
yawned, shook himself, buttoned up his coat and laughed. "Liquor ain't so
plenty as that, Old Man. Now don't you git up," he continued, as the Old
Man made a movement to release his sleeve from Johnny's hand. "Don't you
mind manners. Sit jest whar you be; I'm goin' in a jiffy. Thar, that's them

There was a low tap at the door. Dick Bullen opened it quickly, nodded
"Good night" to his host, and disappeared. The Old Man would have followed
him but for the hand that still unconsciously grasped his sleeve. He could
have easily disengaged it: it was small, weak, and emaciated. But perhaps
because it WAS small, weak, and emaciated, he changed his mind, and,
drawing his chair closer to the bed, rested his head upon it. In this
defenceless attitude the potency of his earlier potations surprised him.
The room flickered and faded before his eyes, reappeared, faded again, went
out, and left him -- asleep.

Meantime Dick Bullen, closing the door, confronted his companions. "Are you
ready?" said Staples. "Ready," said Dick; "what's the time?" "Past twelve,"
was the reply; "can you make it? -- it's nigh on fifty miles, the round
trip hither and yon." "I reckon," returned Dick, shortly. "Whar's the
mare?" "Bill and Jack's holdin' her at the crossin'." "Let 'em hold on a
minit longer," said Dick.

He turned and re-entered the house softly. By the light of the guttering
candle and dying fire he saw that the door of the little room was open. He
stepped toward it on tiptoe and looked in. The Old Man had fallen back in
his chair, snoring, his helpless feet thrust out in a line with his
collapsed shoulders, and his hat pulled over his eyes. Beside him, on a
narrow wooden bedstead, lay Johnny, muffled tightly in a blanket that hid
all save a strip of forehead and a few curls damp with perspiration.
alrescate: (read)

This is part six of "The Lottery" a story we are reading in the [profile] storytimeatlj community. If you would like to hear the whole story check out this entry:
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You can hear the rest of the story at [profile] storytimeatlj

Sorry about the rough quality of my voice...I'm still fighting that cold.

December 2011

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