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Author Topic: A Story of Clay  (Read 1046 times)

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Offline DreamcoilTopic starter

A Story of Clay
« on: May 17, 2013, 12:23:50 PM »
The sun is as hot as a candle held under your eye when the Texas summer is beating you down. I've seen my share of cracked and broken earth through the years, but this here is different. It looks like the earth quaked the way the hard dirt is split out there, and old Aedin seems like his hooves can't take much more of it. A damn good horse, but his time for being turned out to pasture has done gone and passed and I'm soon going to have to find a hole in the wall somewhere to sack up and find a new ride. Find a nice family with a growing boy in need of a sturdy back to carry him on through town. Yep, I think that would suit old Aedin just fine.

I lean forward and pat his neck like the back of an old friend whose company can never be worn out before lifting my eyes up underneath the old ragged wide-brim that sits atop my head. It keeps a shade that seems to do naught against the heat of the sun but cast a mean shadow.

The horizon is a good long ways out there on these Texas dry plans and with old mighty one-eye near half-lidded at my back, her hot rays stretching out like long lashes that are fading from the land with the closing of the horizon's lid somewhere way out behind me, I scan the land for any sign of what my ears have been telling me is out there.

I put the horn to my ear again and plug up the other as I focus on the sounds of the plains. Nothing. Then, after a small handful of time filters through the fingers of my mind, I hear him cry out again somewhere out there, all alone, his voice cracked and dying, and I'm thankful for hearing it. Thankful because I had not heard him in nearly an hour and was beginning to think he was either dead or an old soldier lost somwhere in the even drier, more cracked plains of my own mind. I switch the horn to my other ear and get a good idea of whereabouts he's laid out before carrying on.

It doesn't take much to get old Aedin moving again, and I quicken his pace a little because I know we're not too far off our mark now, but I make damn sure to steer clear of those fissures in the ground. I have to slow Aedin, I know he's as tired as i am of voices crying out like wind howling through a tight canyon for mercy from the Good Lord, but we've gone and got and got ourselves more tired by a good sight from tracking this fella out here on the hard range, and if Aedin breaks an ankle, well hell.

The man's screaming for help, God, mercy, anything at all, drags on. These things come in waves. He will go on maybe ten or fifteen minutes more, with a few small pauses, then he'll take some time to get his breath and energy back. My aim is to find him before he finishes off for that break.

I pull Aedin up after a minute and scan the land ahead of me again and I find what I've been looking for, what I had lost this morning and had been kicking myself in the ass for ever since. The tracks are damn near gone already and I feel lucky that the wind aint been so strong this eve, they were there that's what counted. Aedin senses a change in me and when we get to riding after them tracks I can sense his energy coming into him. He may be getting to be an old boy, but he has himself a strong heart and stronger legs.

As we close in I can hear his voice getting louder and louder; he wants his momma now. I knew it wasn't far from that earlier when I had my horn up, but it is still a sad sound to hear. Soon I'm calling out in return in my hoarse gravel. Aint none much left to it after the war, the drinking, and the tobacco, but I what I got I bellow out to him.

Offline DreamcoilTopic starter

Re: A Story of Clay
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 10:32:04 AM »
The pain in my leg is shooting up through me like a lightning bolt I once saw hit a friend’s home and my mind is the ground at the end of the rod attached to the roof of the house. I stop trying to move it.  I can hardly breathe anymore, and my mouth is drier than the ground I’m laying on.  I’m at least partly delirious and only say the first of those two words because I know I’m the second.  I’m scared.  I scream out again for my mother, my father, anyone.  I wish I was with them, back east, at home where I truly belonged.  Why do I think that they could hear me, could react in some way?
God doesn't seem to be listening and I’m nearly about to start calling out for the other one any minute now. It’s helpless though.  I’m going to die out here, and I…No!  I can't die here!!  I scream and holler and twist my head around scanning the distance for any kind of movement that is not cactus, weed, or scrub brush waving in the wind.  I glance down at my leg for the hundredth time and try to move it again only to be arrested by a crying sob.
I think I have about one more good round of hollering left in me and that will be it, I will be dead and the coyotes will have me for their evening snack.  No! no, no, no, god no, please help me, someone!  I draw one big breath and just let it all go, every bit of it, tired of the pain and the fear and the longing.
“HEEELLLLLLPPP!”  I feel like a ship’s horn with that bellow, and when it is done I simply collapse back and loll my head against the rock I’ve been leaning it against.  I’m ready to die now.  How long will I have to wait?  My eyes are sliding closed, I’m finis…wait!  What is that?  I hear it before I see where it is coming from.  Is it the first of the wolves?  The coyotes?  Whichever the hell is out here?
No, no, that was a man!  I can see him now, all of a sudden, like his tiny outlined shape just popped right out of the center of the sun that lingered behind him.  I can hear the hooves of his horse now, rattling against the hard ground. I gasp, I smile, I laugh!  My head lolls from side to side like some kind of maniac and I call out to the lord “Oh dear Jesus in heaven thank you!” Though it is but a whisper I know he can hear me.  Why did I think screaming and yelling were better before?

I’m not thinking straight.  I turn back to the sight of the man and remember myself, lifting my arm up and waving as vigorously as I can manage while yelling “Here! Here! I’m over here!”  Funny that I thought I had used every last drop of what was left in me on that final bellow for help, but there was more.  Is more.  Is there always more?

“I’M COMING!” I can hear his guttural, raspy voice and the familiarity of it sinks in like an anchor to my soul.  Is that Clay Merril I hear? Could it be? It had to be, I have never heard a voice like it in all of my life.

Deep and rough, there was never a great deal of volume to it, but it seemed it could fill up and drown out a room full of drunken cowboys without much more than a whisper.  Full of subtle power, that voice was as confident as they come and yet held the humility of a monk.  His drawl was like a form of art, and though some back east had little respect for that type, the way he used it you would have to be an idiot to think the man stupid.  No, I’ll never forget that voice.

“I’M COMING!”  I can hear Clay bellowing again, and though his voice is deep and low and fighting against the wind, it feels as cool and soothing to the ears as the touch of the breeze is becoming, and soon to become more so as the evening settles in fully.  By the midnight hour it will be entirely chilly out on these dry plains, with the spindly fingers of the wind gripping me and shaking shivers out from the core of my body if I am not properly clothed or blanketed.