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Category Archives: Short Stories

Short Stories Written by PG

The Little Diode Christmas Tree.

Hey everyone with this being the Christmas season I wrote this little tale for a contest I entered. It was loosely based on the true story of a favorite Christmas Decoration in our family.  I hope you enjoy.

New out of the box

New out of the box

It sat on the shelf, one of fifty of the newest Christmas decorations a multi-colored diode Christmas Tree. It was perfect. It looked like a Christmas tree, and its diodes burned cool and flashed between Red, Yellow and Green. Everyone who saw them thought they were cool, and they were flying off the shelves. This particular decoration wanted to go home to a loving family whom it could help enjoy the Season of the Birth of Christ.

The little diode tree watched as its brothers and sister flew out the door. Finally, it was the only one left, and it began to worry that it wasn’t going to find a home for Christmas. Then HE walked in. Bald and leaning on a cane the man looked all around the store. He seemed to be looking for something in particular. He picked up several prelit trees and put them back then he approached the Little Diode Tree. He picked it up and turned it around and round. The little Diode Tree began to wish this person would take him home. Subsequently just when the tree was convinced that he was once again not going to be chosen the man whispered “Perfect” He looked for one in a box and couldn’t find any. Then he picked up the Little Diode Tree and the empty box it was displayed on and went to the Cash register. “Is this the only one of these you have left?”

“Yes sir those were quite popular this year we’ve sold over a hundred of them.”

“Well I really want this one will you sell it even though it was your display model.”

Certainly sir, I’ll even give you a discount since we’ve been using it.”

With that the clerk rang up the Little Diode Tree and placed it in the box. The Tree thanked God for giving him a home for Christmas. Soon enough the tree was being pulled out of the box and plugged in. The little tree looked around at his new home and his new family. There was the man who had purchased him and sitting on his lap clapping and squealing was an excited toddler.

“Nathan this is your Christmas tree. You can’t touch the big tree the things on it will break, but this tree is Nathan’s tree.”

The little toddler reached out and gave the tree a hug. The tree was crushed and didn’t look like the perfect Christmas tree anymore, but he was loved and sharing in the family’s Christmas celebration, and he was happy. That night and every night after that Nathan would play with him and set and watch him flash his diodes and every night at bedtime Nathan’s mommy or papa would unplug him and carry him to the top of Nathan’s bed and plug him in again. The Little Diode Tree would blink all night long and help keep little Nathan from being afraid of the dark.

The Christmas season ended, and all the decorations were put away except for the little Christmas tree. He stayed out until Nathan’s second birthday. When Nathan’s mommy got him a star generator for a night-light, and the Little Diode Tree went into the box of Christmas decorations.

The next year out came the decorations, and almost three-year-old Nathan was happy to see his Little Diode Christmas tree. Yes, the Little Diode Tree was a bit misshaped by the love of the last year and the time in his box but papa straightened him as best he could and then surprise, surprise they showed the Little Diode tree to Nathan and his new baby brother. Now the Little Diode Tree wouldn’t stand watch over one precious child but two. Papa reminded Nathan. “Now you can’t touch the big tree Nathan, and you can’t let your brother touch it, but both of you can play with this little Tree all you want. It is Nathan and Alexander’s Christmas tree.”

So for another season the Little Diode Tree was part of the family’s Christmas celebration, and the boys did touch him the hugged him and played with him, and the Little Diode Tree looked less and less like a Christmas tree. Once the holiday season was gone the Little Diode Tree looked very pitiful. It wasn’t shaped like a Christmas Tree anymore. It really looked more like a sad and twisted Mountain Pine. Some of it’s diodes didn’t light any more and there was some talk about how much use they had gotten out of the cheap little decoration. Once again, the tree was boxed up and put away with all the decorations to await the next year,

Before Christmas could come around again the Little Diode Tree caught a conversation that papa was having about them having to move, and that they weren’t going to take anything they didn’t absolutely have to have. They were moving to a small apartment and Nathan, and his brother and mommy were moving into their own little apartment. The little Diode Tree wondered if it would be considered something they had to have. He knew he wasn’t as pretty as some of the other decorations. He knew he had some of his diodes that didn’t work anymore, and he knew he had been crushed and straightened so many times that his family might think he wasn’t worth the limited space they had in their new apartments.

The day of the move came, and everything was being loaded into the truck but none of the Christmas decorations had been loaded. It looked like the family was going to get brand new decorations for their new houses. The Little Diode Tree felt sad, but he understood all decorations knew they would only be around until they were replaced. He understood but he really wished he could spend only one more Christmas with Nathan and little brother Alexander. Then just before the family left for the last time the box of decorations were picked up and placed outside with a free to good home sign placed on them. However, at the last possible second papa stopped the truck and came back to the box of Christmas stuff. He opened the box, and the Little Diode Tree heard him say. “I know it was in one of these boxes… come on where are you. Then after rustling in the box the Diode tree heard. “Ah there you are!” Papa’s hands scooped him up from inside the box. The little Diode Tree was worried it’s time in the box hadn’t been kind, and it was mostly just a ball of twisted wires and a very few diodes. But papa didn’t seem to care, he placed it in a box in the back of the truck, and away they went.

Today was Thanksgiving and papa and grandma had Nathan’s family over to eat turkey and help decorate their brand new Christmas tree. They brought out all the brand new decorations and put them up on the tree. As they were getting done Nathan and Alexander’s mom pulled out the Little Diode Tree and looked over it’s sad little condition. “Dad why did you bring this of all things? It looks worse than Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. “

diode tree 2

after 4 years of “Love”

Papa took the crumpled Little Diode Tree and sat in his chair carefully untangling and straightening its wires and diodes. When he was done the Little Diode Tree was worried. He didn’t much resemble a tree at all instead he looked more like a loose collection of wires and diodes. He was ugly and he knew it. He wouldn’t hold it against papa if they did throw him away. Nevertheless, his little electronic heart did a huge leap as papa plugged him in and Nathan and Alexander clapped and gathered around him. “Oh no,” Papa said. “I would get rid of the big fancy tree before I got rid of this Little Diode Christmas Tree. He’s part of our family Tradition and as long as a single diode lights, he will always have a place in our Christmas decorations. He reminds me that Christmas is not just about Jesus but a time for children. This little tree isn’t perfect and pretty, but it is full of love and understanding.”

The Little Diode Tree felt the current as Papa plugged him in and once again told his grandsons. “Remember you can’t touch the big tree but this is Nathan and Alexander’s Christmas tree, and you can play with it as long as you share.” As both brothers squealed and reached for the Little Diode Tree it blinked its diodes with all the love it had to give.

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Short Stories

 

Nugget Nate and Jenny’s Jackalope

Hope y’all enjoy this little tale it was written to help me get to know Nugget Nate and Penny a bit better. I’m going to add it as an extra to the print version of this years Nano Novel. Anyway let me know what you think.

Younger Nugget Nate

Younger Nugget Nate

Jenny Gentry sat in the parlor watching as her grandchildren and great grandchildren were playing their various games. God had blessed her with a full and adventurous life since the day her family had come west. She would always thank HIM for that. Now, on this her one hundredth birthday, she knew her adventure in the shadow land was almost come to an end. Her next adventure would come in the Kingdom of Heaven. If it weren’t for all the blessing of her family she would have asked God to usher her into that adventure already. She watched as the younger children gathered around her grandson Koll. She could see by what he held in his hands he had been exploring the attic. “What is it?”

“I don’t know. I found it in one of Granny’s trunks. It’s cool though, right?”

“I think itsit’s weird; it looks like a bunny with antlers.”

“Yeah, who would glue antlers on a rabbit?”

Jenny let out a cackle at that one. “Koll, bring that here if y’all want ta know about it.”

As the children followed along behind their older cousin, Jenny’s daughter-in-law came around the kitchen corner to see what had Ma’ma Gentry all stirred up. When she saw what Koll was handing her mother-in-law, she laughed. “Oh, Mother Gentry, where in the world did you find that thing?”

Jenny looked at her daughter-in-law “Why, that there’s Jack, my legendary messenger Jackalope. I’ve had him ever since I was a lil’ girl in pigtails.”

“What do you mean he’s your legendary messenger, Granny?” One of the lil ones asked before popping her thumb back in her mouth.

The daughter-in-law spoke up, “Oh, Granny’s just funnin’ with you, Cindy. Jackalopes aren’t real.”

“Well, maybe they is and maybe they ain’t. All I know is the man who gave him to me believed in ‘em. That’s good enough fer me.”

The children gathered around Jenny’s feet a scooting close to hear the story they knew she was getting set to tell. Just then the door opened and in walked Jenny’s sons from their time hunting the family land. “What’s all this then?” Her oldest son asked.

“Your mother was about to fill the children’s heads with another one of her adventure stories.”

“Which one this time, mama? I figure we’ve heard all your stories at least five or six times.”

Jenny shook her head. “Not this one, Gary. I honestly hadn’t thought about this till Koll came in here carrying ole Jack.” She held up the Jackalope.

“Mother, where in the world did you get that contraption from.”

“I’ve had Jack a long time; a true western Legend gave him to me on our trip west.”

“Ma’ma said a Jackindope ain’t real, Papa. Is dat true?” The little one asked before popping her thumb back in her mouth.

“No, honey, Jackalopes are a legend; there is no proof they exist.”

Jenny just shook her head. “Whacha call this right here, boy? You take a close look and if you can find out how this one was faked together I’ll believe ya. Jack was real, not only that, he was magical.”

“Oh, Mother, come on. That’s a bit of a tall stretch even for you.”

“Well, you listen to my story and then you tell me iffen Jack is a tall tale or not.”

Jenny sat the Jackalope on her lap and began to rock back and forth as the memories came rushing to the forefront of her brain.jackalope2

“When I was three days past my sixth birthday, ma Pa closed up the doctor’s office early and left the house. Me, Kevin and Ma’ma didn’t know what to think. Pa never closed the office early; people might need his help. But that day he did. He returned several hours later with the biggest wagon I’d ever seen in my life. It was huge and had a big round canvas cover on top of it. Two of the funniest looking cows I ever done see were pullin it. Pa told me later they was called oxen and pullin was what they did best.

Well, after dinner that night Pa told us that there was just too many doctors in Boston and he wasn’t making enough money to take care of us. He said he had sold the house and office and we would pack everything we could and head out west. He’d heard they needed doctors out west. He told us it was a great adventure and I reckoned he was probably right, Kevin musta thought so too cause he was asking if we’d see Indians and outlaws and gunfighters and such. Ma’ma I don’t think liked the idea but she never complained, not once. By Saturday we had everything packed and said goodbye to our friends and family and started out on our great western adventure.

The first few weeks were really fun, we was travelin through what Pa called the civilized country. There were towns every day, sometimes two or three a day. At night we’d stop outside some town and cook our dinner over a campfire or once or twice we even stayed in a hotel and ate at a diner. We got to take baths in rivers and creeks and it was really fun. But soon the towns got farther and farther apart and even when we found one, most of the time they didn’t have a hotel or a diner.  Then came the day when we hadn’t seen a town for about a week. We were running out of supplies and Pa and Kevin had tried their hand at hunting but didn’t have much luck. Before long we ran out of food and it had been about two days since we had had anything to eat. Even our water was starting to run out, and I heard Ma’ma and Pa talking about maybe this trip had been a mistake. The next day we started out again and everyone was hungry and cranky. That’s the day we met a real life western legend. It was just about midday when we rounded a rise in the trail and came upon a strange site. There was a man all in animal skins with some kind of animal on his head, like a hat. He was standing alongside the trail and behind him was the most elegant lady I had seen since we left Boston. She looked just like a princess out of a book. She was tending a big ole cast iron kettle over a campfire. The man stepped into the trail and raised his hand, waving with a big ole grin on his face. “Howdy,” he shouted.

Pa pulled the oxen to a halt, “Hello, there.”

“Where you folks headin?”

“We’re heading out west looking for a town that might need a doctor.”

“Well, shouldn’t take ya long, there’s a town about four days from here that could use a good doctor. All they got right now is an ole woman makes mountain cures for em.”

Well, that’s great information. Thank you, mister. I’m sorry, I don’t think we introduced ourselves. I’m Thomas Gentry and this is my wife, Virginia.”

The strange looking man walked up to our wagon and shook my pa’s hand. “Right glad to meet ya, Doctor Gentry. Everyone just calls me Nugget Nate so I reckon y’all can too.”

Kevin stuck his head between Ma and Pa. “Nugget Nate? Are you Nugget Nate Ryder, the mountain man of the west?” He held up his favorite dime store novel. The man laughed, “Well, I don’t know about that mountain man of the west stuff, young feller, but my name is Nugget Nate Ryder.”

“Wow! Pa, that’s Nugget Nate Ryder. He’s Famous!”

“So I heard, Kevin. Now settle down, you’re embarrassing Mr. Ryder.”

“Y’all go on and leave the boy alone I was about the same way first time I ever laid eyes on Ole Davy Crockett. Ain’t the boy’s fault them stories grow in the tellin. Listen though, don’t want to intrude on ya, but y’all might want to pull in here at our camp and rest a spell; them animals look like they could use a rest and a waterin. There’s a creek runs on the other side them there Cottonwoods. Might want to top yer water barrels, too. Ain’t no more water ‘tween here and that town I was tellin’ ya about.”

Ma looked at Pa. “A creek! Thomas, perhaps we could catch some fish to feed the children for lunch.”

Nate nodded and stroked his blond bushy beard, “Y’all could catch a few trout, that’s fer certain sure, but you ain’t got to do that. Why, the good Lord provided me two large jacklopes jes this morning. Normally we’d stew one and smoke the other for use later but God done tole me we’d be having company for lunch an’ dinner. So we stewed them both up. Why don’t you pull them besties off the trail and come join our camp. I’ll introduce y’all to my wife Penny and get the lil ones bellies full.”

“Oh, we wouldn’t want to impose.” Pa started to protest.

“Well, way I sees it, the Good Lord done told us you was acomin’ and I done cut up both them critters and Penny done cooked ‘em up. So unless you is saying you don’t care to eat with us and don’t mind wastin’ what’s already been prepared fer ya come on an’ get some grub.”

Nate turned his back on the wagon, walked over to the camp fire and sat himself on a log. He picked up a small bundle from beside it and proceeded to work on the furry thing in his hand. Ma mentioned to Pa how he needed to lay aside his pride and think of the children. With that Pa directed the oxen to the side of the trail and helped Mama down off the wagon. Kevin and I followed right along. The smell of that stew was heavenly to us after two days of nothing to eat. Penny smiled and dished out plates full of the rich hearty meal and we all ate ’til we were fit to bust. Along the way, Nate asked Pa about how much hunting he had done and if he’d gotten any game as of late. Pa finally admitted that he didn’t do much hunting at all when we lived in Boston and had been finding the process a little challenging since we left there.

“Ain’t nuffin’ ta be shamed of, Doc, why I’m sure I’d be as lost trying to cure a body of sickness as you are at hunting. Tell ya what, why don’t Penny and I tag along with y’all tomorrow, that way I can show you and yer boy some of the basics of huntin’ and trappin’? Nothing as detailed as a mountain man would do but enough to keep yer family in free meet and give the wife furs to be making bed covers and winter gear from.”

“That isn’t necessary, Nate, but thank you.”

“Don’t want to be arguing with you, Doc, but you’ve got it wrong. Out here in the west it is necessary. Meat ain’t as ready bought as it is back east. Iffen you don’t learn to grow veggies and hunt yer meat you ain’t gonna survive long out here, even in a town. Least let me take you and the boy out in the morning and show you how to spot a herd of buffalo and read tracks of other wildlife. Believe me when I say it’ll be important to ya this winter specially.”

Before Pa could protest again, Mama spoke up and accepted Nate’s offer. Pa finally nodded his acceptance, too. Kevin, for his part, was bouncing up and down with excitement at the thought of getting to hunt with Nugget Nate. The rest of that day we spent right there alongside that creek. Nate’s wife, Penny, help me and Mama get a bath in the creek and we filled our water barrels up and rested and ate all of that great stew. The next morning Nate took Pa and Kevin out and Mrs. Penny showed Mama the basics of smoking meet and tanning hides so that she would be able to put up what Pa and Kevin would hunt up to help us get through, not just the rest of our trip, but winter too. That evening Pa, Kevin, and Nugget Nate came back hauling two small rabbits that Kevin claimed to have shot and a large animal tied to a pole that Pa told Mama was buffalo. Nate spent the time showing Pa how to cut the different pieces and Penny cooked up some and showed Mama how to preserve the rest. After dinner Nate took out the buffalo hide from his pack and began to work on it with that big ole knife that was hanging on his side. He scraped it and scraped it til the hide was clean of any lasting meat and blood. He was still scrapping when I fell asleep beside the fire listening to the steady drag of the knife over animal skin.

The next morning we packed up and said our goodbyes to the Ryders. It was almost like leaving family. Nate surprised everyone by having gifts for each of us. Pa he gave the big knife he had been wearing. “This here is the very Knife I won off Jim Bowie hisself. It’s served me well, you take it and use it ta help keep yer family fed an’ clothed.”

Mama he gave the buffalo fur he had scraped clean the night before. “This will help keep yer yungin’s warm this winter, Ma’am. I cleaned it like the Apache do so it should last ya a long time.”

Then he turned to Kevin and pulled a wooden pistol he’d carved that looked just like one of the ones Nate had tucked in his belt. “Reckon yer still a bit young for the real thing, but here’s a wooden one to get used to carryin til ya are old enough for the real one. Keep helping yer Ma and Pa, boy, and you’ll grow up ta be a fine man indeed.”

Finally he stopped in front of me. “Well, Jenny my girl, I’m agiving you the most important gift of yer whole family. I’m giving ya a piece of Indian medicine so strong that I want ya to be careful with it.” He reached into his trapper’s bag and pulled out the thing he had been working on the first night at dinner. This here very Jack-a-lope. “This here is Jack, he’s a Jacklope. the Indians say they are spirit messengers and if killed and stuffed by someone they will carry messages to them when they are needed. So iffen you ever need Ole Nugget Nate, Jenny, you just whisper to Jack here and he’ll come find me and I’ll come arunnin’”

With last hand shakes and hugs we said goodbye to our new friends, and following the directions Nate gave to Pa, we headed to what we hoped would be our new home.

Just like Nate said, the town was pleased as punch to have a doctor and soon enough Pa built us a little house on a stretch of land near a creek and we became real western settlers. We’d been there almost a year when the day came that I needed to send Jack to find Nate. It started like any other day. Ma’ma had fixed breakfast and we were all sitting around eating when the door to our little home was kicked open and in stomped two men with bandanas over the lower part of their face, dragging a third between them. “Doc, we need you to be patchin up our brother here. You do it right fast and well leave yer family alone. Iffen you let him die or ain’t fast enough, well, let’s jes say yer family won’t survive it.”

Pa got up and directed the men to take their brother to his and Mama’s bed. “There is no need for threats, gentlemen. I’ll do what i can for your brother and then you be on your way.”

Pa went and poured some water over his hands and got his doctor bag and began to work on removing the bullet and sewing up the outlaw. The whole time his two brothers stood looking out the window like they were waiting for someone.  Sure enough, about half an hour later another fella rode up to the house and the two of them went out to talk to him. They all came back in and the new fella went up to Pa and asked, “How is he?”

Pa looked at him. “I removed the ball and cleaned the wound as best I could and I sewed him up but it don’t look good. He lost a lot of blood. If he makes it through the night I’d be more confident of his recovery.”

“Well, we will just have to stay and see how he is in the morning then.”

“I don’t think you understand,” Pa said with a look of worry on his face. “Even if he lives till morning it will be weeks before he is able to travel.”

“We ain’t got weeks, Doc. That posse will catch up to us before then.”

“I don’t know what to tell you; if you move him then he’ll die for sure.”

The three men looked at each other. Pete if we stay here he could heal and we could use these people as hostages to keep the posse from stormin us. They won’t chance killing the only doctor for miles.”

I didn’t understand then what all that meant, but I knew that Mama and Pa looked at each other in that way they do when they are upset and don’t want me and Kevin to know they are worried, and that’s when I remembered Jack, and what Nugget Nate had told me. I reached over on the table beside the fireplace where Pa had sat Jack when we moved in, and I hugged him close to me.”

Jenny pulled the Jackalope close to her chest with his long ear close to her mouth, just like she had done that day, being carried away by the memories of her story.

“I leaned my mouth down over his ear and I whispered “I hope you are magic like Nate said cause we need Nugget Nate now.” Then I sat him back where he came from. One of the men saw it and laughed. “Well, I’ll be. Lookie here, boys, someone done stuck antlers on top of this here stuffed rabbit. Ain’t that a hoot.” He held him out for the others to see. The last man to arrive shuddered, “Get rid of that thing, Bill, it gives me the creeps.”

“Oh, Jed, it’s just a bit of funny work, that’s all.”

The one called Jed walked over and grabbed it from his friend and walked over to the door and threw it outside. “It ain’t a bit of funny work, Bill. The Apache say it’s a spirit walker called a Jackalope. They give me the creeps.”

“You and yer Indian mumbo jumbo. I swear you take all the fun out of life.”

“It ain’t mumbo jumbo and if you paid any attention to the Indians you’d know that. Now you and Rusty go get our horse out of sight. Maybe if the posse don’t see our mounts they’ll think we rode on by.”

The other two nodded and headed out to do what the one called Jed had told them to do. Ten minutes went by and neither man came back inside. It was obvious that Jed was getting more and more nervous by the second. He looked at Kevin and motioned toward the door. “Boy, you go out there and tell those two I said quit fooling around and get their butts back in here.”

Kevin looked at Pa who nodded his head. Kevin stood and walked out the door. After a few more minutes and no one returning to the house, the outlaw was fit to be tied. Finally, he stalked over to the door himself and flung it open to go yell at his friends. When he did he looked straight into the barrel of a Harpers Ferry Pistol held in the steady hand of Nugget Nate Ryder. “Howdy,Doc.” Nate said, “Seems like you got unwanted company here.”

Pa shook off the look of shock on his face. “Yes, Nate, we do.”

Nate nodded once and without taking his eyes off the outlaw in front of him, pulled the man’s weapons from his belt and tossed them behind him. He called over his shoulder as he did. “Penny dear, would you bring me one of them hobbles from my saddle bag? I got another one in here.”

Penny walked up and handed a piece of rawhide to Nugget Nate. “I sent Kevin to get the posse on my horse, Nathan, he should be back soon.”

Nate made quick work of the last outlaw and soon all three were seated on the ground in front of the house.

Pa took the opportunity to ask, “Nate how in the world did you know we needed you?”

“Well it’s like this, Doc, we was heading by this way anyway. Penny wants to go to New York and visit her parents for a bit. Anyway, I was jes about to put out the campfire this morning when I hears a rustling in the sagebrush. Thinkin I might get to shoot a varmint fer us to fix fer lunch later I picked up ole Bess and sighted in on that clump of sagebrush when out popped a Jacklope. Soon as I seen him I remembered givin yer little one ole Jack and I jes knew y’all was in trouble. Put out the fire and told Penny we needed to ride fer y’all like the wind was a chasin us. Got here jes as them two owlhoots was coming out so Penny and I got the drop on em and used a few steer hobbles to bind em jes like they was calves for branding.”

“Well, whatever brought you here, we’re grateful.”

“Well, jes thank the Good Lord.”

Jenny looked at her family who were all sitting and listening to her tale. “That’s how I came to own Jack here and meet the Legendary Nugget Nate Ryder.”

Her son smiled and then stood and indicated to all the children, “Alright, gang, let’s give Granny some time to rest. Dinner will be ready soon. Outside with you all til then.”

The kids were dispersed to play and Jenny’s kids all were working on putting the finishing touches on her birthday celebration.  She sat in her rocking chair dozing and holding good ole Jack on her lap. She dreamed about the times over the years that Nugget Nate and Penny had visited. Slowly she became aware of a growing pressure in her chest that made it hard to breath. She struggled to call out to her family but didn’t have the strength. She barely managed to pull Ole Jack close to her lips and whisper into his ear. Sure enough, in seconds there he stood before her, dressed in his buckskins and coonskin cap, knife, hatchet and six guns on his belt, Ole Bess cradled in his arms. Sitting at his feet was Jack the Jackalope, returned from carrying his message. “Well, hello there, Jenny my girl! Ole Jack tole me youse was in some trouble here.”

Jenny smiled up at Nate. “Hello, you old Mountaineer. Always know when yer needed don’t cha?”

The old mountain man smiled “Reckon I do at that. Listen, the Good Lord done sent me to escort ya home, girly, is ya ready?”

One single tear slipped down Jenny’s weathered cheek. “I am Nate, but I sure hate to leave the younguns on my birthday.”

“Well, girl, I reckon they’ll grieve a bit but they know where yer heading. So I’m sure they won’t be holding yer homecoming against ya. Ya did grand, my girl, not an unbeliever in the bunch.”

Nate held out his hand and helped Jenny stand. As she laid her hand on his elbow all the years melted away and the young woman she once was stood beside the Legendary Mountain Man of the West. “Thanks for coming to my rescue once again Nate.”

“Didn’t come to yer rescue this time, Jenny, came to invite you on the greatest adventure of yer life. Ready?”

Without a single word the huge smile on her face was all the answer the Legend needed. Together the two stepped from the shadowlands into the great adventure of the Kingdom of Heaven

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Short Stories

 

That bit of fluf: She isnt what they think

reader-writers

 

 

 

 

I don’t understand why they did it. I thought I was what they wanted. I am called man’s best friend. I’m loyal and faithful but that meant nothing to them. Today they came home so proud of themselves. They called me into the room and showed me what they had brought home.

“Isn’t she cute, Buster?” My lady held a little ball of fluff that smelled suspiciously like a CAT. The demonic thing looked at me with that sparkle in its eyes all dogs are taught to recognize. Oh, no, what had they done? They had brought evil in and called it cute. I had to let them know so I growled deep in my chest, the best warning I knew.

My man grabbed a magazine, rolled it, and whacked me on the nose as if I were a naughty pup again. “No, Buster, you need to be nice to Miss Kitty.”

Oh, no, she has already started to brainwash them.

They sat her on the floor and that devious demonic agent of the darkness began to put on her innocent act. She ran up, intertwined herself between my front paws, and made that sound the Two Legs find so pleasant, called a purr. If they only knew, it really was the sound of doom heading our way.

That night at dinner, I was given my dog chow while the demon was fed tidbits of lobster from my lady’s plate. I looked and saw it giving me that sly grin but it never spoke a word. With each bite of lobster, it purred louder and louder. What the humans couldn’t see with their limited vision were the runes that glowed down the creature’s spine. For the first time since I was a pup, I felt fear. How was I supposed to do my job and protect them when they didn’t want protection?

I tried once more to protect them and lunged at the agent of darkness. If my mouth had only reached it then I could have snapped its neck and the danger to my people would have passed. Instead, my master grabbed me and took me out to the gazebo. I was banished for the night.

I watched from my prison as the furry bit of fluff wove its spell all around my territory. My people were completely enthralled. Soon they would be another set of collectables on the creature’s trophy wall. I decided to let the creature know I knew what it was doing. I moved to stand right under the hypethral and began to howl and bay my warning to anyone who would listen.

Soon after my people had gone to sleep, I saw its shadow heading my way. I had never been as afraid as I was when that little bit of fluff came my way. “Well, they don’t seem to want your protection, flea bag. We will have them all collected before long and then you and your kind will have nothing left to do.”

“Feline demon, you will never win. If I fall then HE will send another. We, like you, may take the form of animals, but you know whose messengers we really are.”

I transformed just as the demon attacked. Our battle was long and fierce but in the end HIS power helped me win the day. The bit of fluff fell into the abyss defeated again. They would be sad but think it ran away. Another disaster averted and man’s oldest enemy defeated once more, all without them being any wiser.

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Short Stories

 

The Green Man

ImageI’’m not sure how long I have left so, I thought I better tell my story before I’m gone. You’ve probably seen me on the news today. It seems my “condition” is so strange, that everyone wants to know about it. What a way to get famous because of a weird bee sting. That’s how it happened. I was outside working in my yard pulling these creeping vines, when I saw a weird looking wasp flying around. At first, I wasn’t even sure it was a wasp. I mean, it looked like a wasp or maybe a hornet but it was electric green in color.
Now, I’m as curious as they come but there was no way I was going to bother any kind of bee just to satisfy my curiosity, after all I’m highly allergic. You know Epi pen, anaphylactic shock, die of suffocation kind of allergic. So when I see this weird bee flying around the vines I’m trying to eradicate, I head for the hills. It was too nice a day to end up in the Emergency room. I almost made it too. I had just grabbed the handle on the screen door when the stupid thing landed on my wrist and stung me.
Needless to say, I raced up the stairs, grabbed an epinephrine pen from my night stand and dosed myself quick. Usually even with the pen I would swell up and feel miserable for a day or two, but not this time. All I had to show for my sting was a large reddish-brown circle on my wrist, and a slight itchy sensation. Still, I wasn’t taking any chances and decided to relax the rest of the day. I plopped down in front of the TV for a little entertainment and dozed off fairly quickly.
I woke hours later to a burning sensation on my wrist. I looked and noticed that there was something green and small sticking out of the center of the place where I had been stung. I guess that bug was more like a bee than a hornet, because it looked like it had left its stinger in my arm. I grabbed the little green piece and tried to extract it from my wrist. The pain was so severe that I must have passed out. When I came to a while later the burning sensation had moved down into my hand and up my arm as well. What really surprised me though was where the stinger had been when I passed out were two perfectly formed green leaves. It looked like someone had taken two of the leaves from the weed I had been pulling earlier and placed them over the site of my sting. I went to brush them off only to realize they were growing out of my arm. I turned on the room light to have a better look and realized not only were the leaves growing out of my skin but under the skin running down into my hand and up towards my elbow was a green line almost like a vein popped up under a tourniquet. Every couple of inches there seemed to be a new stinger sticking out of my skin. To be honest I freaked out and tried once agin to pull the leaves and stuff of my body, again it hurt like I was trying to pull my own skin off.  I didn’t know if I was hallucinating from the bee sting or if I was just going crazy, but I knew I need help, so I called 911. I wont go into the conversation but eventually paramedics were dispatched to deal with the nut-ball calling about a plant growing out of his arm.
Imagine the surprise of the EMT’S when they arrived to find I wasn’t some crazy or druggie junked up on hallucinogens. They took one look at my arm, tried to remove the leaves then after a brief discussion between the two of them  decided to take me to the Emergency Room. Seems what I was going through was beyond their experience to deal with. Listening to the paramedic try and give the ER nurse the report of the patient coming in would have been humorous, if it hadn’t been me they were talking about.  “Patient is a white male 40 years old with a history of anaphylactic reaction to bee stings. Primary complaint is a burning sensation in the right hand and arm below the elbow. Patient has a green leafy rash on same arm. No, this isn’t a joke. I’m serious, listen the guy has a freaking plant growing out of his wrist. Fine report me. Our ETA is ten minutes then you can see it for yourself. I’m not waisting your time, this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Fine, see you in ten, and then you can apologize to me!”
When we arrived at the ER there was a very angry RN standing with hands on hips just waiting to give these guys a piece of her mind. The guy riding with me threw open the back doors and helped the woman up into the ambulance. “See for yourself.”
The woman gave me a dirty look and roughly grabbed my arm lifting it to put an end to this “hoax” as she was calling it. When she saw the green vine under my skin and the now several groupings of leaves running from between my fingers to almost half way to my elbow she stopped. I watched as she realized this wasn’t some prank or hoax or even some nut gluing leaves on his body to get attention. She looked at the EMT and said. “Take him to the isolation room and I’ll get the doctor. After he’s isolated make sure you disinfect yourselves we don’t know if this is contagious or not.”
So quicker than you can say, “A bright green bee stung me and this happened.” I was being poked and prodded all by people in isolation suits. Masks covered their faces and bright yellow paper suits and stark white latex gloves covered everything else. The doctor examined me, they took blood work from both arms. Then someone got the bright idea to try and take a sample of the leaves and vine that was beginning to grow toward my shoulder. When they clipped the first leaf the pain was unbearable and I yelled bloody murder. They quickly gave me a shot of pain medicine and the doctor informed me he was going to call in a plastic surgeon for a consult. The only idea he had was to open up my arm and remove the vine growing under my skin.
By the time the Surgeon had arrived the vine had branched off and was starting up my neck and down and across my back and chest. My whole right arm was covered with leaves bursting through my skin. The surgeon was concerned with the amount of skin that would have to be opened and berated me for not coming in sooner. When he was informed that the vine had not reached my shoulder when he was called he looked startled. No one could tell me that they had ever seen anything remotely like this before.  I was becoming concerned that there was nothing they were going to be able to do.  The surgeon called and had them prep a surgical room for emergency surgery, and I was rushed in to the OR.
Several hours later, I awoke in extreme pain. The surgeon came into the recovery room to tell me that they had extracted the vine from my body. They were going to keep me for a few days and schedule some radiation treatments to make sure no spores, seed,s or whatever had caused the growth to begin with, was left behind. Also, because of the evasiveness of the foreign matter I would need to undergo some physical therapy to regain the use of my right arm and hand. But overall the doctor assured me the surgery was a complete success. You can’t imagine my relief. I still didn’t know what that green bee had been, but I decided right then I would have an exterminator come out and tent my whole property and fog it. I also decided to call a landscaper and have them spray the whole yard with weed killer. I’d rather loose my beautifully manicured yard than go through this again.
Even while I was on the phone, I began to notice that same burning sensation under my bandages. I put it down to pain associated with my surgery. Not long after I was moved to a private room, and still partly groggy from the surgery, fell fast asleep.
When I woke, I noticed that my arm didn’t burn or itch but the bandages seemed strangely shaped almost as if something were pushing against them from the inside. I was about to page a nurse to take a look at it when I noticed a burning sensation under the skin on my right cheek.I climbed out of bed and went to the mirror over the sink turning on the light as I stood there, and couldn’t believe my eyes. Running from under the bandage on my neck and up into my face was that green vine. All along my check were these small green leaf-pods, like a green five o’clock shadow. I paged the nurse as quickly as I could, when they came on the intercom to ask if they could help me I screamed “I need someone now something is very, very wrong with me.”
“Calm down sir I will get your nurse to check on you as soon as she can.”
“NO you don’t understand I need to see the doctor right now! He has to go back in again.”
“Calm down sir, I’m paging your nurse now.”
“Calm down? I can’t calm down! It’s covering my face now.”
About that time the door to my room opened and in walked the nurse assigned to me she said in a bored voice without really looking at me, “What seems to be the mat….” Then she caught sight of me and she screamed and ran out of the room. Just in the short time since I had paged them the leaves and opened up covering my cheek like the Jolly Green Giant’s beard. I opened my hospital gown to find the vine running all across my chest and weaving down towards my stomach. Those green sprouts were everywhere. The nurse came back with several others and before I knew it I was back in bed and people were franticly paging the doctor and the surgeon.
That was an hour ago. I don’t think anyone expected the News team but they showed up during the panic and got some video footage that I’m sure you’ve seen by now. Even I saw it, after all it was a special news bulletin on every channel. I don’t think the doctor is going to get here in time to help this time. I just started to feel that burning sensation inside my head. I wonder what will happen when that vine reaches my brai…..

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Short Stories

 

Death at the Fireworks Display

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This is a short story that I wrote it features the hero from my current Novel Work in Progress “A Terrorist’s Tale”. See one of the untold stories of Patrick Jefferson Campbell and his Strategic Quick Infiltration and Dispersment Team. Let me know what you think.

Patrick Jefferson Campbell knew the moment the fireworks went off, everything had gone south. The four-man, Strategic Quick Undercover Infiltration and Dispersement team, had everything under control, right up till the first rocket went off and lit up the execution zone. Now the other three  compromised and the subject knew he had been targeted for termination.

This was like a bad dream gone even worse. They couldn’t withdraw into the vapor of the night and plan to execute on another day, because the subject was now aware of their assignment. To fail now meant the assignment would be given to another team, whose first order would be to eliminate their Squid team.  So that left Patrick with the only solution. Use the noise and distraction of the fireworks to complete the job. He hoped the other three would be able to make his long distance shot look like something other than a government sanctioned hit.

Johnson’s voice came over his earpiece, “Eagle, do you have the solution?”

Patrick noted the hint of panic in his old friends’ timbre and he sighted through his night vision scope.

“Subject is on the move no clear solution at this time.”

Johnson came back on. “Eagle, keep us informed when you have solution, the weapon is free, I repeat weapon is free.”

He added, “Don’t let him get away old friend.”

“Roger Leader, weapon is free. Subject is heading down Main Street, towards civilian blockade. I am maneuvering to secondary target location.”

With those words Patrick snapped the tripod closed on his weapon, and sprinted across the rooftops towards the waterfront. If he could just get in front of the target’s vehicle there was a chance he could save this whole thing.

He arrived at the waterfront rooftop where he had a clear line of sight into the target vehicle, when something caught his attention. There, not one yard from his perch was one of the rockets for the finale of the Independence Day firework display. This sparked an ingenious plan. He keyed his throat mike.

“Eagle to all team members, rendezvous at waterfront area baker, lose all gear. Keep target under surveillance until Dispersement plan Foxfire has been completed.”

Several mikes were triple keyed, meaning that the team had questions. Johnson’s voice quickly followed, “Eagle, what are you up to?”

“Just keep him in his vehicle and all will be well.”

With a few deft moves of equipment and a couple of sightings with his scope for accuracy; Patrick’s plan was set in motion. He packed up his gear and succinctly eradicated any evidence of his existence. Then he vacated the rooftop to join his team.

He arrived just as the grand finale of the fireworks display started.

Johnson, Rodriguez and Saunders looked surprised to see him.

“Patrick, what are you doing? The mission isn’t complete.”

“Our mandate was to make these dispersements look like natural causes or accidents correct?

“Affirmative but…”tfireworks 2

Then there was a huge explosion of light and sound; the target was gone. Without a word the team slipped away into the night.

* * *

DISASTER AT FIREWORKS DISPLAY

AP: Last night at the local Independence Day fireworks display a freak accident resulted in one fatality when a rocket misfired through Amhed Osama’s windshield before exploding. Witnesses say the man never knew what happened.

The mayor says, a full investigation will be conducted to see what caused the rocket to launch in the wrong direction. However citizens need not worry; our fireworks displays are perfectly safe.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Short Stories

 

Nugget Nate and the Pole Cat incident

In honor of my first Novel being published I thought I would put a short story I wrote about Nathan’s grandfather Nugget Nate. You can get Nathan’s tale here. I hope ya’ll enjoy Nugget Nate and the Pole Cat incident.

PG.

Thirteen year old Nugget Nate sat outside in a tub of tomato juice. It wouldn’t have been so bad except it was the middle of November and the weather was already acting like winter had come and he was cold. The day had started out good enough but then his little sister Aggie had wanted to go with him on his hunting trip into the woods.

“Mom I can’t hunt if I have to take the baby with me. She will make too much noise and scare off all the game.”

Little Aggie stomped her foot, “I’s ain’t no baby I’s four year old. I is as quite as a church mouse youse the one who is noisy. You be stomping round in dem big feets.”

“Nate I can’t watch your sister today. I gots to go over to help the Widow McCullen put up her beans today. So either you take her with you or you can’t hunt today.”

Nate was furious how was he supposed to get as good as Davey Crockett wanted him to be iffen he was always having to take the baby with him? However it was better to get to hunt than being stuck here at the house all day. “Fine mama I will take care of her. I may not get any meat  but I will watch the baby.”

Aggie was fit to be tied “I ain’t a baby you cotton pickin Yankee.”

“Agatha Ryder there is no reason to be calling your brother names, now you apologize.”

“But mama, he done called mes a baby! I aint no baby.”

“Well if you want to be treated like a young lady you need to act like one and young ladies apologize for their mistakes and treat their brothers with respect.”

“Yes Mama, I’s sorry youse a cotton pickin Yankee, Nate.”

Nate looked to see if his mama had heard his sisters apology. Realizing that she was already heading out to  the Widow’s house Nate decided to let it go. He grabbed his rifle and powder horn made sure he had Davey’s Hatchet as he had taken to calling it after the bear incident. Then grabbing his sister by the arm pulled her out of the house. His mother was getting settled in the wagon. She took the reigns in her hand then looked back at her offspring. “I’ll be back in time to fix supper for you two and yer Pa. Nate, don’t leave Aggie behind. Aggie, you listen to Nate and don’t wonder away from him.”

After she received two “Yes Mama” in reply, she slapped the reigns on the mules back and off she went.

Once she was out of sight Nate turned loose of Aggie and started off heading up the mountain and into the woods. Aggie ran to keep up with her brothers longer strides. “Slow down Nate, yer legs is to fast fer me to keeps up.”

Nate let out a frustrated sigh and stopped waiting for Aggie to catch up. Then he started up again at a slower pace.  When they finally reached the spot he had been staking out for days to hunt he told Aggie to sit and be still. “What are we huntin’ Nate? Huh is we after squirrels? Rabbits? A Turkey? You want me to make gobbler sounds fer ya?”

“Aggie you got ta be quite. Iffen you keep runnin’ yer mouth the game aint ever gonna come within range.”

Aggie tried to do as her brother asked, but after a few minutes of sitting absolutely still she realized she had pressing business to attend to. Almost as soon as she became aware  she started to squirm. Still trying to behave she whispered “Nate I’s gotta go.”

Nate waved at her but kept looking down the trail watching as a big buck started moving their way. “Nate I gotta go!” Aggie said a little louder. Again Nate waved at her to go ahead. Aggie thought he was waving at her to be quite again. “NATE I GOTS TO GO NOW.”

With that the buck looked towards Aggies voice, sniffed the air, and bounded away just as Nate pulled the trigger.  Because of the deer’s running away and Nate jerking at Aggies screech he missed completely.

“Aggie I told you to be quite! That there deer would have fed us for a long time.”

“Nate, I told you I gotta go and I don’t see no outhouse.”

“Yer in the woods, go over behind the tree over there.”

Aggie got a disgusted look on her face. “I’s a lady Nate! Ladies don’t go behind a tree. I needs an outhouse.”

Nathan smiled a sly smile “Well, Lady Aggie, there ain’t no outhouses here. So either you go behind that tree, or you can go in yer knickers, like the little baby I knew youse was.”

Aggie stomped over behind the tree and did her business. As she was pulling her knickers back up she saw a cute little black and white critter a few feet away. “Hey Nate what kinda critter is that over by them bushes? It looks all cute and cuddly?”skunk

Nate looked over where Aggie was pointing. He saw a skunk and was about to warn her when he realized this was the perfect opportunity to get even with her for making him miss his shot and calling him a Yankee. “Oh that’s just a little polecat Aggie. They are harmless and love to be petted. If you can get her to trust you, she’ll make a nice pet for ya.”

“Really, Ok I knew it must be nice, it looks so cute.”

As Nate watched waiting for the inevitable stinky result, Aggie walked over slowly, talking all baby talk to the female skunk. To Nate’s surprise the skunk never even raised her tail, and before his eyes Aggie bent down and started rubbing it under its chin.

It likes me Nate do you think I can keep it?

Nate thought it must have been a tamed skunk he’d heard about such things but never seen one. He decided to go up to it too. So he put down his rifle and walked over to the skunk . When he was about a foot away it suddenly looked his way and before he could take another step raised it’s tail and sprayed all over him. “EEWW, Nate what did you do? You made my kitty stinky!”

“That’s not a kitty, Aggie, it’s a Pole Cat, you know a skunk!”

Why did you tell me to pet it then?

“So this would happen to you. It would have served you right for the way you’ve been acting.”

Nate walked over and got his gun and calling Aggie he headed for home.  Aggie started walking behind him but before long she was complaining about thespraying skunk smell. “You stink Nate. Iffen Mister Davey came on you now he wouldn’t have named you Nugget Nate, he’d a called ya Stinky Ryder.”

Before long they were off the mountain and entering their yard. When Aggie saw  their mama was back she ran into the house telling her all about what happened to Nate.  Mama came to the door and got a whiff of her son. “Don’t you be taking one more step towards this house, Nate. Get some wood and start a fire in the fire pit.”

Nate grabbed some wood and got a fire started, like Mama had told him too.

“Now strip outa them clothes and toss em in the fire.”

As Nate was strippin Mama came outside carryin the Saturday Nite Wash tub.

She went in the root celler and started carryin out jar after jar of canned tomatoes. She dumped them into the tub. “Get in the tub, start rubbin them tomatoes and the juice on ya Nate. It’s gonna burn a bit but it’s the only way to get rid of the smell. Make sure and work it into yer hair real good.”

So there Nate sat, in the setting sun as the temperature started to drop, buck naked and covered in tomatoes and  freezing. Inside he could hear Aggie giggling and telling Mama exactly what had happened. What made the whole thing worse was hearing Mama laughin right along with her and hearing them callin him Stinky Ryder.

He heard Preacher Smoot  sayin  in Sunday School “Remember boys pride goes before a fall.”

“Well” he thought, “I guess I got what I deserved, but that sister of mine has the luck of the irish for certian.”

And that is the tale of Nugget Nate and the Pole Cat.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Short Stories

 

Love at First Sight

He sat alone at a table in the corner of the restaurant facing the door. Would she show up? Was she as nervous as he was? He  almost hadn’t come himself but his friend Jeff had pushed him. “Jordon, what do you have to lose? After all if you don’t go you’ll never know. She might be ‘the One’, she might not be; but if you don’t go you’ll always wonder.”

So here he sat, nervously waiting. As he waited he wondered, would she show up for their first date? They had talked online for months and it had seemed that they’d clicked. However, face to face was different. Here, he couldn’t hide his secret. He had to put it all on the line and hope that she was as hopelessly enamored of him as he was of her.

The door opened, and in walked a woman in high heels and a loose skirt. Could this be her? They had agreed not to use their web-cams so that their relationship would be based on real feelings, not visual attraction. Which had been perfect for him, it allowed him to keep his secret just a little longer. The down side was he was pretty sure he was halfway in love with her. If his secret was too much for her to handle, his heart was going to be broke. Panic hit him, “Why didn’t I tell her? This is going to be a real shock.” Now it was too late because the woman and the hostess were approaching the table.

Jordon stood and smiled, “You must be Gloria, I’m Jordon. I’m pleased to meet you in person.”

“Jordon you’re much more handsome than I thought. Thanks for agreeing to finally meet me.”

“ After all the time spent talking with you and chatting on line I feel like I know you. Won’t you be seated?”

Both of them sat and the hostess left with the familiar “Your server will be right with you.”

“So?” Gloria asked, are you disappointed?”

“Disappointed? No, why would I be?”

“Jordon, the first thing I said was how handsome you were but you still haven’t mentioned what you think of my appearance. Do I live up to your mental image of me?”

Jordon swallowed the lump in his throat, he should have known he couldn’t keep up the charade for long. “Gloria, I wish I could tell you that you are more lovely than I had dared to hope. Honestly, I don’t know if you are or not.” He reached up and removed his sunglasses, “You see I’m blind so I still haven’t seen you. I know I should have told you before we met. I was going to, but I was afraid.”

“Why were you afraid Jordon? I don’t understand.”

Jordon struggled to keep his voice from breaking with the weight of his emotional turmoil, “Because I’m falling for you and didn’t want to lose you.”

With a smile in her voice Gloria took his hand in hers. “You’re so sweet. How could you possibly think the fact that you can’t see would drive me away?’

Jordon pulled her hand to his lips and kissed her delicate skin inhaling the scent of her perfume. “You might be surprised how often it does. You aren’t the first woman I thought might be right for me. You’re the only one who hasn’t disappeared when they learned my secret.”

“Well I’m not going anywhere I’m in love with the man who spent hours talking to me and chatting with me. If that man can see or not isn’t going to change how I feel.”

With Gloria’s words ringing in his ears Jordon dared to ask for more, “Gloria, I want to see you. Will you come around here so that I can touch your face?”

Jordon felt her rise and approach him, as she knelt down beside him the scent of her perfume, make-up and behind it all her own fragrance drifted around him tickling his sense of smell. Gloria reached down and took his hands, placing them on her face. Gently he ran them over her face, tracing from her brow to her chin and back. Then he smiled and said I think that you must be as beautiful to look at, as your spirit is.”

Slowly he cupped her face and drew her in for a kiss. As their lips met, Jordon experienced the electric feeling of desire. Love burst to life once more in his chest. Finally, he had found the one thing he had been missing: true love. , For the first time since his accident, he thanked God for his life and the blessings God had given him.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Short Stories