WoE Writing Challenge: The Bucking Bull

The screen door slapped Katie’s butt as she carried groceries into the kitchen. She sighed. Her daddy sat in the same chair she’d left him in two hours ago. Dark shadows haunted his eyes. He’d been like this since the funeral.

“Daddy, help me put things away.” Fear made her voice sharp, but he didn’t notice.

After finishing, she sat down beside him and picked up one of his calloused hands. She held it tightly, needing the contact, but he jerked it away.

Tears burned her eyes. She refused them. Instead, she pleaded, “Let’s have dinner at the fire pit tonight. We’ll have hot dogs and tell stories, like we used to.”

He pushed himself away and gruffly said. “Child, I’m going to sleep.”

As he climbed the creaky wooden stairs, Katie’s tears fell sloppily down her cheeks.

Later, her mama’s brother, Gene joined her at the fire pit. He was helping with the farm. They roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

As stars popped out in the indigo sky, Uncle Gene told Katie funny stories about her mama when she was growing up. Their laughter echoed in the dark.

The porch light came on and the screen door banged open. Katie watched her daddy walk slowly to the fire pit. He sat by her. She smelled Ivory soap and felt a twinge of hope. He had bathed.

Gene stirred the fire and said, “Good to see you, John.”

“I heard the two of you talking about Louise. You forgot to tell her the bucking bull story.”

Raising his eyebrows, Gene chuckled, “That’s your story to tell, not mine.”

Katie encouraged him. “Yeah, tell me the story, Daddy.”

Her daddy began to talk. “It was my fault. We went to her boss’s Western party. Tom had one of those mechanical bull machines there. The guys bet on which of the ladies could stay on the longest.

“I guess I needed to impress Tom because I bet a hundred dollars on your mama, money we sorely needed for the farm. I figured if she rode horses, she’d stay on that bull machine.

“To be fair, your mama warned me. She called me a fool and said mechanical bulls were more like Tilt-A-Whirls, than horses. She reminded me why she didn’t like Tilt-A-Whirls.

“Well, Tom’s girlfriend, Caroline had the longest time of six seconds. Then, it was your mama’s turn. Without hesitating, she climbed on that bull. It started bucking and spinning. Your mama’s face turned green.” He looked at Katie and smiled.

Frustrated, Katie yelled, “What happened?”

“She got violently sick. Everyone was ducking and running, but she hung on and rode that bull for seven seconds. She wasn’t about to lose that money. Your mama was one stubborn lady.”

Katie watched as the memory made her daddy burst into thigh-slapping laughter. As she joined him, relief filled her heart.

Sometimes the past is the place you go for comfort.

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WoENewButton-e1363040457539This story is for a Write on Edge Writing Prompt: Week Two. We had a choice between a picture and the following quote:

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. ~ L. P. Hartley: The Go-Between (1953)

My story is loosely based on the quote. I want to thank everyone at Write on Edge. I haven’t been able to write fiction lately and I’ve missed it. I feel a bit rusty. This challenge called to me and even though I took some liberties with the prompt, it felt so good to put down some words and tell a story again:~)


Guest Post: A Twist of Fate

photo by Liz Lawson

Ruby sat alone sipping a glass of wine, and catching up on some reading; the cats were all snoozing in their favorite spots throughout the house.

Her empty plate from dinner still sat on the counter. “I really should load the dishwasher and put away the leftovers”, she chided herself, but her husband was out with a client, so she would let it go for a while.

Since her husband was working late, she had been going out with some girlfriends from work but, feeling a cold coming on, she had canceled her plans at the last minute.

As night fell, lightning flashed wickedly through the window. The wind howled viciously as rain beat against the glass. “I’m so glad I didn’t go out.” she sighed.

A brilliant flash of lightning revealed someone slowly working his way along the tree line; so close, yet Ruby remained unaware of his presence.

As he edged toward the garage he discovered, too late, that the gardener had replaced the old cracked cement squares, and he slipped on the rain-slick slate stones, badly wrenching his ankle.

Inside, the cats had roused, and were clamoring for their bedtime treats. Liver bites were their favorite, but Ruby was careful not to overdo the treats since liver was addictive to her brood.

All three were winding their way around her legs, tails curling one over the other. She put the treats in their dishes and went back to her comfy recliner, snuggling under her blanket…ahhh.

Suddenly there was a crackling sound, a dog barked, and Ruby got a creepy feeling. She remembered the guy with the gravelly voice who had called her a couple of times last week. She had shrugged it off as just some guy at the office playing a prank.

Now, it didn’t seem so funny as her vivid imagination took off. “Maybe he’s a stalker.” she thought, and mumbling something about ‘better safe than sorry’, she rose to go in search of the phone…“Maybe I left it in the kitchen.”

Lightning flashed again and thunder boomed, rattling the windows and scattering cats. About that time the security alarm went off.

In a panic, Ruby grabbed the phone and dialed 911. “Help, my alarm just went off – I think someone is trying to break in,” she squeaked. The dispatcher told her to stay on the line, and they would send someone out immediately.

The officers arrived within minutes, and surrounding the house with flashlights in hand, they checked each point of entry. There was no sign of break-in so they concluded that the storm was what triggered the alarm.

“Hey,” called one of the officers, “over here, I found something, or someone.”

As the senior officer approached the scene, he saw a man lying prostrate on the ground near the garage. He was soaked to the skin, bruised and bleeding, and his ankle was swelling rapidly. “It looks like we’ve got our perp. Call it in, and get EMS out here.”

When Ruby came out to speak with the officers and thank them for catching the intruder, they asked her if she recognized him.  She took a closer look at the disheveled man lying there, and said, shocked…“Yes, I know him.  That’s my priest!”

It was later discovered that he had been posing as a parish priest for the past six months, getting close to the parishioners, visiting their homes and making note of their routines. When he found out who would be away and when, he made his move.

The imposter went unnoticed because after the long-time priest passed away there had been a succession of visiting priests from other churches.

Because of Ruby’s canceled plans and the sudden storm, he was caught, thus putting an end to the string of unsolved break-ins.

They say confession is good for the soul. Bless me Father…

Constructive Feedback: Linda invites readers to offer constructive feedback about this story. Please be as specific as you can about your suggestion(s).

If there’s something you really like, explain why you like it. In addition, as my friend Ellis says, if you run into a “bump” in this story’s road, be clear about what caused the bump for you and offer suggestions for how the bump might be avoided:~)

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Linda and her wonderful husband, Jim, share their home with three cats, each of whom has their own unique personality. She loves to read, write, and travel. The beach is her favorite vacation spot. Relaxing by the water recharges her internal batteries.

Linda began writing her blog, From Roses to Rainbows, in September, 2009. It has, and continues to be, a learning experience, and through her writing she has met many people she calls friends. Her writing is eclectic; it  includes fiction, poetry, and stories about embarrassing moments, travel and, of course, cats.

Her virtual doors are always open, and you are invited to stop by any time. She posts on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.

My Friend Linda

Since I didn’t want to take away from Linda’s story, I’m putting my comments at the end of this post.

I’ve been a follower of Linda’s site, From Roses to Rainbows, for a long time. I’ve watched with delight as she’s shown her writing talents in a variety of ways. In addition, I love her wonderful sense of humor.

I recommend anyone visiting her site to check out her Magpie tales, poetry, Nursery Rhyme Redos and her other posts. The best way to do this is to head to the top of her site and click on “The Best of.”  You will enjoy what you read:~)