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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 3

Eva May Saint was certainly not the daughter that Caleb Saint had thought he would have. His wife had been the gentlest flower in the county, long blond hair the color of spun straw and eyes as blue as the sky. A petite thing, many people had wondered how such a delicate thing would have survived in the harsh frontier where she was born. She may have been slight, but Caleb had known her to be as strong willed as they come. Perhaps that was the only trait Eva had kept from her mother. Her stubbornness.

Eva was her father's daughter, of that he was certain. Caleb Saint was once a towering man, nearly 6'5 with dark brown hair that curled from under his lip to the top of his head, his chin meticulously shaven. He had been huge and powerful, able to wrestle the orneriest cattle, fight the meanest ranch hand, and out shoot the deadliest gunslinger. He had given up that lifestyle though when he had met Eva's mother, and settled into life as a cattle rancher. That had been nearly 40 years ago. Now he was the biggest cattle baron in the county, though age and hard living had finally caught up with him. Stooped over he was confined to a wheelchair thanks to an errant bullet fighting off an Indian attack. His once powerful frame reduced to knotted mucle that had long whithered away. His hair had turned white and thin and he was nearly blind in one eye. The worst injury though had been suffered during a cholera outbreak. An outbreak that not only cost him 2 of his 3 children, but his beloved wife as well.

Now he sat on his porch and watched as his only surviving relative, his daughter, drove in the last of the heard. She sat tall and straight in the saddle, her brown hair pulled back underneath her brimmed hat. She wore pants that he thought far to tight and chaps that accented the curves in her legs. She also wore a loose fitting men's shirt and vest, rolled up at the sleeves, and a gleaming Colt revolver sat on her hip. She was a beautiful woman most agreed, though long towards becoming an old maid being on the other side of 30. Most men didn't want someone who could out fight or out-drink them, and Eva was certainly not the one to back down from a challenge. When she took over running the ranch, she had given up on what many would have considered a normal life. Sometimes Caleb regretted letting her get her way, but he never could say no to her.

Caleb glanced at the sky, feeling a chill in his bones that he knew wasn't right. The sun should have been well in to the sky by now, but there was still a pale overcast in the air. He watched Eva heard the last of the cattle into the pen and spur her horse towards him, a smile lighting her face. Caleb Saint allowed himself to smile back, welcoming his daughter home and pushing the strange weather from his thoughts. There was time enough to worry about that later, for now, Caleb just wanted his little girl. Little did Caleb know, that time was something he did not have on his side.

End of Line.

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