Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pete’s Moon

Well, he’s doing it again. Jason of Clarity of Night is holding another short fiction contest. The object of the game is to write a short story no longer than 250 words in length based on the photograph above. So start your pencils!

Here is my submission:

The campfire burned low and the ponies were hobbled for the night. The two cowboys lay back on their bedrolls looking up at the unsettled sky, idly watching a fierce, bright moon strain hard against a cover of tight, curdled clouds.

“This night puts me to mind of when old Pete died,” said the older man.

“He shot hisself, didn’t he, Reb?” asked the other.

“It was his gun what done it, with his finger on the trigger.”

“Why do you suppose he done that for?”

“I reckon that old moon told him to,” replied Reb.

“Shucks,” chuckled the younger man, but then he noticed Reb no longer lay there. He sat up straight as a plank and looked all around him. “Reb!” he called out. “Where you gone off to, Reb?”

The night wore on and the moon traveled high, its brilliance barely contained by the imprisoning clouds. Buck grew more and more skittish not finding Reb anywhere, his frantic halloaing answered only by the insolent bark of coyotes.

Finally, past midnight, the moon broke through the clouds and bore right down on poor Buck. Durn thing is brighter than the sun! he thought. And bigger, too.

Two days later Reb rode into town with Buck, stiff as a new boot, draped over his pony’s back. Reb had tied Buck’s hat to one of the panniers. Buck’s spurs gleamed dully as his feet bounced in rhythm to the pony’s sway. In his right hand, Buck held his pistol tight.


Blogger Flood said...

I learned a new word today! I had to look up "halloaing."


Great story, Schprock. I love speaking your dialogue aloud.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Nice one, Schprockie, but where was Reb?

6:17 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Great western voice Mr. Schprock. You really capture the time and place of your stories with dialog. Another great testament to your skill!

6:28 AM  
Blogger tiff said...

kathleen - methinks reb did it.

6:37 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Halloo to you too, Flood!

"Nice one, Schprockie, but where was Reb?"

(in Rod Serling voice) Ah, yes — where indeed was Reb?

Thanks for the nice words, Scott. I'm looking forward to reading yours.

"kathleen - methinks reb did it."

Hmmm . . . interesting theory...

6:47 AM  
Blogger magnetbabe said...

Were Reb and Buck lovers? Sorry, Brokeback Mounatin put all cowboy stories in a new light for me.
Good job!

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible. You never cease to amaze.

11:00 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Were Reb and Buck lovers?"

I hadn't thought of that, Magnetbabe, but who knows? Maybe they got tired of cooking beans and playing the harmonica and needed something else to do.

Thanks for the compliment, Wordnerd!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Funny about the Brokeback Mountain comment. Someone else had the same idea when commenting on Schprock's story on Jason's site!

9:24 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I thought about Brokeback Mountain, but was too caught up in what happened to Reb...

10:08 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Kathleen could just write my posts after reading short stories for me. Am I missing something? I always enjoy reading you though and you do have a talent for tough dialogues ... old west, british, hauty, what have you ... they're always great.

10:54 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Hey, I was in a Twilight Zone meets Lonesome Dove mood! I wanted to write something creepy. Isn't there something strange about that moon and Reb being around for both Pete's and Buck's exit from this earth? I'd say Reb is Death doing his thing when the moon is right.

6:29 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Either that or it's just a darn good yarn...

Well done yet again, Mr. S.

8:13 PM  
Blogger SzélsőFa said...

I also thought it was Reb, but in a subtle way... Creepy, indeed. And well done. As usually.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous fringes said...

Thanks for clearing up the mystery in comments on the contest site. Also, I laughed when you confused me with Flood. She and I are twins, you know, but you're the first one to be unable to tell us apart. Cool...

3:00 PM  
Anonymous dreadmouse said...

Nice one, Herr Schprock. I like the creepy western feel. You don't see western horror done very often!

You inspired me to submit one of my own to the pool. Thanks for that... I haven't written anything in years. 250 words is about my speed!

11:01 AM  

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