Monday, May 7, 2012

Cyotta Falls FGC (2012) #13

Imagining intimate caress of spring’s breath on his cheeks were the sweet lips of a Silver City’s showgirl, J.W leant against the gatehouse of the town’s churchyard and smiled.  The warmth of the morning sun on his face chased away the last threads of bloodshed and screams which haunted his dreams and chased him across the country.  
“Mr Hardin? I fixed you some fresh brewed coffee.” 
J.W touched his hat and nodded as he stretched his arm up to receive the mug. ”Thank you, Mrs James. Thats mighty kind of you.”
Rebecca brushed a cobweb from her skirt and shyly smiled at him through  frame of golden wisps surrounding her head. “My husband enjoyed your company last night. Men who can debate over scripture the way you can are far and few between.”
“For my sins, I won’t forget my Methodist Preacher as a fathers upbringing.”  He brought the mug close to his face and breathed in the earthy aroma, delighting again in the hot moist breathe it emitted. Rebecca’s lips continued to move but the sound muffled as he imagined the showgirl once again. Another two days ride and he would be in her sweet embrace. As Rebecca continued to talk, he concentrated on her low cut blouse as it puckered and strained across her chest. J.W imagined that the buttons threatened to explode off her chest at any moment.  He shook his head and forced his eyes toward her face.
Her hands fluttered around her face as she pushed her hair back into place, acknowledging his straying eyes. “Well, I best go and tidy up the church. For the service this morning.”
“Your husband?”
“Left early this morning. Said he had to help out with something down at the docks. But rest assured, even on Gods day of rest, he will be preaching the word as he lends a hand to what is needed.”
“Not your usual preacher then?”
“I give thanks to the Lord every day for that.” She twirled a tiny ringlets above her ear. “Well, when he’s not preachin’ the Lord’s word or blessin’ someone’s smelly cattle.” She pushed the errant lock behind her ear.  “He’s keeps Elijah or Amos from drinkin’, so as they don’t get in trouble.” 
Sounds like quite a town you have here.”
Her eyes glanced up the street as a nervous smile played on her lips. “You’ve no idea.” She cleared her throat and stumbled before shaking her head.  “You’ll be staying tonight, of course?”
J.W took a long sip from the steaming cup. “‘‘fraid not Ma’am. I’ve got business to look in on at Silver City.”
“Of course. Well, I’ll see you at the service then.”
Nodding, J.W drank again and watched her disappear up the pathway and into the modest home set to the other side of the church. 
He allowed his shoulders to relax as he shuffled into a more comfortable position to enjoy the peace. He stretched his legs across the gateway and  brought his arms up above his head, allowing the battered felt hat perched on his head to flop over his forehead. He adjusted it so that if need be, he could open an eye and still see what was around, but that it was far enough to shade his face from the morning sun. Too relaxed now to move under the promise of the shade of the nearby apple tree, even the incessant buzzing of a fly, desperate to explore his nostrils and ear cavities; could not break the tranquility of the moment. Cyotta Falls was as far from Texas Rangers and their threats as he could imagine. A pity he needed to find Delia Bell Donnally in such a rush. A pity, he mused, for her. No-one stole from him and lived much longer. 
The fly buzzed across his mouth. He blew it away between rounded lips. There were secrets this town was withholding from him, just itching to be revealed. He shuffled down the post a little more and set the near empty coffee mug beside him. Rebecca’s painted red lips transposed over Delia’s perfect face. His eye twitched, suddenly curious at the choice of borderline immodest clothing the preachers wife wore. Something about this sleepy town didn’t sit right and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to find out what it was.

Panicked feet broke the silence as they stumbled up the dusty street. J.W’s left eye opened a slit to regard his intruder. A thin figure, barely past boyhood tore round the corner, his cotton shirt ripped exposing a mottled chest.  The boy’s dark eyes were wide with fright, streaked with tears and desperation.

“Please Mister. Let me through to the preacher.” Even in his panic, the boy was polite, respectfully awaiting an answer.
J.W yawned theatrically and stared at the lad, realising that the shade had nothing to do withe the speckles of colour on the boys face. J.W’s poker experience schooled his emotions, refusing to allow his shock to register as he also realised the young man’s dark eyes had no pupils.
“They’re going to hurt me.” He twisted fearfully around searching for a pursuer. “Please, move aside.” The boys neck was a patchwork of speckled skin, stretching, it seemed, all over his body. J.W realised where he’d seen the boy before. Felix the Leopard Boy was an acrobat and spectacle within Soame’s Travelling Circus. He’d arrived in town just as they were setting up for the next show and had shaken his head at the collection of unusual individuals Mr Soames had managed to employ to entertain the bored masses on the frontier. 

J.W stretched, stood and pulled an apple from his coat pocket. “Thieves aughta be punished. Specially you Carnies and Freaks. It’s in your blood.”  He took a huge chunk and chewed noisily. “I hope you stole something good.”

The boy straightened and snarled. “I didn’t take anything. I was just - walking.”  
J.W placed a firm but gentle arm on the boy’s tiny shoulder. “Then why are you running now?” 
The boy swept the hand off his shoulder. “Just like you. Judging me for the way I look. They shouted at me, started to chase me. I ran.” He twisted again to look behind him. “Please let me past. Preacher James won’t let them hurt me. He’s always been kind to us folk.”
”Point taken lad.” apple juice dribbled down J.W’s chin. “Well then it all depends on who is chasing you and what you were really up to.”
“I just wanted to see a steamer up close. The men saw me and threw things at me. They - ”

Horses’ hooves clattered on the hardened dirt road. 

J.W stopped chewing, frowned and looked about the gatehouse quickly.

“Climb up into the tree till they pass. I’ll give you a boost up.”

J.W crossed his arms, slid fluidly down the trunk and closed his eyes.

A half mounted men rode steadily toward him, several extra jogged behind exploring doorways and searching the alleyways. Those on the ground carried wooden bludgeons or hooks used on the docks.

“Ehh! You. See anyone come past just now?”

A loud snore erupted from the slumped figure.  
The horses stamped and shook their heads. 
“Leave him, Terrance. Just another one of Preacher James’s drunks drying out before the sermon today.”
An empty waterskin thrown with accuracy at his head was neatly caught as J.W’s hand flashed out.

“On your way tumbleweed.” Amos Ewing leant forward on his saddle and hawked. A huge glob of tobacco laded spit rolled over in the dust as it landed beside J.W’s boot.

J.W yawned, stretched languidly, “Wassup?” and looked up at the men with one eye open. “Yer, woke me.”
“Cyotta Falls ain’t your sort of town.”

Hooves echoed in the narrow street as the men drew their horses into a semi circle. J.W pushed his hat up and stared at the ring leader.
“What sort of town might that be?”
Amos shifted in his saddle and rested his hand on his pistol. “A town that don’t need newcomers snooping round. Askin’ questions.”
J.W loosened his crossed arms, feeling his pistols press against his chest under his jacket.
“I’m just passin‘ through, friend. Ain’t after no trouble.”
Terrance wiped his mouth and sniffed. “Come on Amos. We are losing time. Gotta find that little snit. Show him a thing or two.”
“Just who are yer looking for? Might be worth my while in helping you find them.”
Amos hacked a laugh which ended in a coughing fit. Terrance pounded him on the back and yanked his horse to stop as it skittered about.
“Just what we don’t need. Another hired gun or wanna be deputy.” Amos drew a deep breath and stared evenly at the lanky figure still seated at the gateway. “Take some friendly advice, son. Get out of town while you can.  While your leaving, take them circus freak show folk with you. Us decent folk can’t get a wink of sleep just thinking of the indecent acts they might be performing.”
Amos glared down at the figure, punctuating his speech with another glob of spit. It landed on the tip of J.W’s boot.
Terrance slapped his thigh laughing, the reflection of a huge hinting knife strapped to his leg, revealed as his coat parted. ”You may get a part in the circus if’in yer wanted. Yer ugly enough to be the bearded ladies son.”
 J.W took his hat off slowly,placed it on the ground beside him and ran his fingers through his hair. “I killed a man in a huge hotel in the middle of the night because his snoring got to me. Disrespectin’ folk cause they are different just doesn't stick with me, neither.”

The lads from the docks growled as they shuffled in closer to the gatehouse. As one thrust a kick at him, J.W grasped the leg’s progression and pulled violently, using the force to flick himself upward and tip the aggressor ungraciously to the ground. J.W slipped inside an overhead slice, blocking it painfully at the joint and with an outward reap sent the man stumbling into the dust.

With a roar, another attacked J.W with a swinging haymaker. J.W unbalanced him easily with a low sweep to the legs, ducking his head beneath the next hamsized fist. Within moments, the gleeful shouts of a half dozen men about to beat one, turned into groans and gurgles of a score of the vanquished. J.W crouched in a guarded stance watching for the remaining mounted men’s next movement.

A painted horse with its tail held high cantered into the scene. The man in its saddle assessed the situation quickly and, stared hard at J.W before glaring at the two men still on horseback. Continuing to gauge J.W, he barked  “Where’s yer sense Amos?  Attacking a man in the street? In case you forgot, I’m the law in this town. You’re lucky he didn’t draw his two pistols and shot you down like the dogs you are.”

Terrance lowered his eyes. “Awhh Sheriff, we’d  have worn him down eventually. He ain’t no-one you need to worry about.”

“You and Amos aughta know better. Not today anyway.”
“Sherriff. Strange sort of town you are running here.”

They all looked down at J.W, noting despite the exertion of the last few moments, his chest rose and fell normally.

Sheriff Jenkins patted his horse as it stamped and shook its head. “I take it yer just passin’ through Mr Hardin?”

J.W picked up his hat and dusted it off. “Not surprised you know who I am.”

Terrance spat. “John Wesley Hardin. You augtha hang for what you did to  Wild Bill. That man’s a God Damned legend. And you had the gall ta - ”
Sheriff Jenkin’s horse shook its head, the halter metal jingling. “I’m hiring. This town could use someone like you.”

“Like me?” J.W lowered further. “So I can murder in the name of law and order, instead of just doing it when I please?”
“Texas Rangers don’t give up easily Mr Hardin. A deputy’s badge can give  you protection, specially out here.”
“If its all the same to you Sheriff, I got some business with a Miss Delia Donnelly.”
“Silver City’s Delia? She is long gone from there. You are chasing a ghost with that one, Mr Hardin.” The painted horse pirouetted and threw its head. “You may be better off staying here.”
“The offer is tempting but as I said, I’m passing through.”
“If that’s the case then Mr Hardin, best you be on your way.”
“Ahh, Sheriff.”  Terrance wiped his mouth and leant over the pommel of his saddle towards him. “Shipments in. We gotta get it unloaded before -”
 J.W leant against the gatehouse and crunched another apple. “Before the sermon this morning gentlemen? I hear its about loving your fellow man, acceptance of all God’s creatures. Helping those less fortunate.”
“Damned Preacher James needs to stick to his scriptures instead of telling us God-fearing folk how to live our lives. Them freaks should be moved on Sheriff. They got no place in a Christian town like this.”
“Amos Ewing, of all people; you’d be the last to be judging others on they way they live their lives. I’d best not hear you and your bully boys have harmed one hair on the heads of those decent folk camped over at the common.” He pulled his horse up close to Amos and poked him in the chest. “Not one hair.”
Amos’ top lip curled,but he kept his eyes lowered.  Ignoring his petulant behaviour, the Sheriff stared at Terrance and Amos, placed both reins into his right left hand and rested his left purposefully upon his pistol. “Now I’d suggest you get back to the docks and make sure the preacher gets to his sermon on time. Seems to me Mr Hardin’s observations are timely. We all need to be a bit more accepting of others.” 
Sheriff Jenkins pressed his heels lightly into his horses flanks and pushed it underneath the tree. He looked up at Felix clinging onto the branch above him. “Come on down lad. I’ll take you back to your caravans. You got nothing to worry about.”
The lad fluidly slithered down and accepted the sheriffs arm to swing up behind the horse.
Sheriff Jenkins tipped his hat to J.W. “Much obliged. But I’d strongly suggest you take the mountain route rather than the river path. Less - excitement that way.”
Amos regarded J.W with unguarded fury as Sherriff Jenkin’s horse cantered away and Felix’s grin widened as he waved.


This was written in response to Write Anything's Form and Genre Challenge ,  Western

Words: 2439

This was submitted for #13 of FGC. 

This  was also submitted to Friday Flash

If you'd like to read a little on the folk at Cyotta Falls and are a fan of Choose Your Own Adventures - check out Dust and Death - an online CYOA, written collaboratively by a group of emergent talented authors.   This story is set only days before the main events explored at Dust and Death.


Carolyn Wagner-Writer said...

Beautiful imagery and well written dialogue I could see and hear everything that was going. Very nice. Left me wanting more.