These bruises on my wrists are from the effort
Monumental, like what I made for you
Or of you, which may be more accurate
To move and lift, just me alone
It was really hard, you know
And fairly awkward in more ways than one
To haul such a thing into my living room
After taking so much time to assemble
A piece so bright and intricate
Freshly bleached and smooth to touch
Finally, somewhere to rest my feet
While I remember you, of course
Although, it is rather uncomfortable…
Perhaps I should have saved some flesh
With which I could cushion my poor ankles
Which are now propped up and aching,
On the unforgiving surface of my new coffee table.
The truth about love...
Things are often the opposite of what we believe them to be—
Take color... the Physics of it... little photons absorbed and reflected,
in effect objects "being" every color except the ones that we "see."
Just so we tend to believe Love to be something that radiates
...out from us... or towards us (preferably)...
Perhaps in Truth, Love is a Vacuum; the very naught that we are so oft
in dread of ...the lack ...the block ...the total unknown.
But if we accommodate it, we allow ourselves to fill and be filled
with the essence of who we are... offering the best of what we've got.
We find ourselves made whole in this painful tumult of body and soul—
Giving our everything up to Nothing we find something more
...like empathy... interdependency...
And we begin to command a vacuum of our own, an empty space
...a sacred shelter... for other lost Souls...
<font face="Helvetica" size="3" color="silver">02.04.2018</font>
You left my heart pounding and
chained inside its ivory chambered cage.
Raging in a storm so black as the love
we once shared.
I held your sorrows and
tasted your demon filled hate.
In the shadows of two lovers scorned...
I tried to exhale you. Chest expanded.
But, I couldn't let you go. Choking on
all the lies of love you told. Leaving a
longing ache in knowing you will always be my secret mistake.
Wrap that red string like a tourniquet
around my beating chest to ease it down to a
so it doesn't jump out of my throat
when you slide your hand into mine.
The fickle fingers of fate have
a very weak handshake, limp and indecisive,
not ready to write things in stone,
fingernails bloody from bad habits and nail polish in negligence.
I sat down with Fate once, in a coffee shop in New Orleans. They ordered an oversized beignet, predictably getting powdered sugar all over the table. I watched as they dusted their hands off on a muted shirt worth more than my entire existence.
I asked them why we're just puppets in their game, and they just laughed, saying how misery loves company and the show must go on.
Then they got up to purchase another beignet.
The next time I caught up with Fate was in a record store in Toronto. They carelessly flipped through the vinyl, shaking their head at the fading prints. The CDs were noticeably ignored. I asked them why they were here, and they just smiled. I would be hard-pressed to find someone else, anyone else, who would wear sunglasses, indoors -
during a blizzard.
The final time I chatted with Fate was somewhere in the Bahamas. They were lounging on the beach, soaking up the sunlight if only to make sure no one else on the entire island had any left. I sat underneath an umbrella next to them, watching them listlessly flip pages in their novel. I couldn't make out the title, but I didn't really have the courage to ask. If I brought attention to myself, all of that spotlight might trickle over onto me.
Wrap that red string like a flag of surrender
tie it to the ground so you don't get carried away
Having your head in the clouds
might just lead to a stuffy nose.
The fastidious fingers of fate have
a very strong handshake, firm and just,
ready to write things in stone,
fingernails bloodied from another day of work.
(Prologue for “Mining Deep – The Birth of the Red Planet” and a prequel to the short story "Home Soil" https://theprose.com/post/137277/home-soil)
Anika Markelson had only been to Mars twice before. Dreadful place, she thought to herself as she sat in the shuttle. Filled with trashy people, slummy accents, and, of course, the ever-present dust. She was proud of her pink skin and brown hair, which was pulled up in a bun for convenience. She was an Earther and looked it. Why are some people so devoted to this ball of rock? she wondered. It had domes instead of blue skies, rocks instead of oceans, and thousands of subsurface tunnels and compartments to house workers, ore miners, and their families. Well, the last piece she understood. There were countless valuable minerals stored beneath the Red Planet's surface that could be removed and put to good use, so a large workforce was necessary. She had studied the underground schematics thoroughly, and the tunnels' structure and access to all parts of the planet’s interior was quite impressive - one good thing she could say about this place.
Now Anika was making her third trip, this time in the capacity of Salvina Corp.'s Chief of Labor Relations. The miners were threatening to strike over their pay and working conditions, and it was her duty to investigate their claims and do whatever was necessary to get production back up to maximum capacity. Her shuttle's skids made contact with the red, dusty landing platform on the planet’s surface, and the engine's whine stopped. Once the clamps secured the craft, the platform began to descend to the underground deck of metal and rock. As they moved downward, she unstrapped from her seat and carefully gathered her things. Although Mars' light gravity made movement easier, she was the product of a 1 g environment. She found it a bit unnerving when she overcompensated by moving too quickly.
"Touchdown, Ms. Markelson," the pilot informed her.
"Yes. I figured that part out," she snapped, then drew in a deep breath. It would not do her well going into this confrontation with a chip on her shoulder. "Thank you," she amended.
"One minute until pressure equalization," he added, his tone unfazed. Clearly this was not his first diplomatic run.
Anika stood by the shuttle's door, waiting for it to hiss open. When it did, she walked down the short ramp into the hanger bay. She was dressed in the ubiquitous orange-and-tan jumpsuit of Salvina Corp., complete with the same logo emblazoned on the shuttle's hull and on her briefcase. Her boots made even tones on the metal deck plating, and her eyes swept over every person and object in the bay. She was quick to note the line of guards in riot gear that lined the hanger's outer ring, holding off a mid-sized group of workers yelling insults as they pushed into the guards. They wore the same orange-and-tan, though most suits were not as neatly pressed as her own and bore traces of silvery ore or engine grease. A bottle thrown in the shuttle’s direction shattered near her feet, but she barely flinched, and watched as the guards tackled the perpetrator.
"Control your rats, Sergeant," her voice carried above the noise of the crowd, "or we'll control them for you."
"Sorry, ma'am," a uniformed man answered. "It won't happen again."
"No, it won't, or I'll hold you responsible."
She walked the 50 meters to the hanger doors where two jump-suited Martians were waiting for her. She nodded curtly to them and they escorted her without a word into the mining colony proper. Good. She disliked having to make small talk.
The 23 levels of tunnels were bustling with activity - miners, electricians, mechanics, and porters, all busy with their daily routines – and Anika wondered what the mines proper must be like, filled with workers day and night. Despite the activity, her escorts managed to clear a path for the group as they descended and even headed down lesser-used tunnels when necessary. Briefly she wondered how they were able to navigate at all – to her, it seemed like a giant maze of same-looking passageways.
As they traveled deeper into the planet, Anika got a good view of the tunnels' structure. Solid rock reinforced with metal bands every meter or so and lit by simple photocells placed at intervals along the top and bottom of the walls. They were no doubt powered by solar collectors on the planet's surface, but the light was dim compared to what she was used to. Another difference: Martians were used to a fainter sun than Earth, so their eyes would be comfortable in the dimness of the interior. It made her feel claustrophobic.
At last they came to a stop in front of a door mid-way down one of the twisting tunnels. One of her escorts knocked lightly, and then stepped aside to let Anika enter.
The room was small and functional, hewed out of the same rock and metal of the tunnels. The larger of the two people at a rectangular table stood up and extended his left hand, fingers curled. Anika had learned the Martian handshake before her first trip here, and she curled her fingers briefly around his, not staying in contact more than was absolutely necessary for politeness and protocol.
"Ms. Markleson, I be Hevor, the administrator," said the tall, dark-skinned man of about 30 sols. "We been expecting you. Not gonna go for any chit-chat. We need sort this out and soon. Sit and we get started."
Anika wasn't sure if she was surprised more by the man's dark skin or by his own brusqueness. Most of the Martians were pale, the result of living underground in dim light. She could tell, though, that he was a born-and-bred Duster; his thick accent gave that away, so his ancestors must have been even darker. Unusual for this environment. As for the brusqueness, she was glad for the chance to dive in and get this over with. She strode toward the table and sat down facing the two men.
"This be Nayan. He in charge of the diggers and equipment," Hevor added. Anika gave him a curt nod.
“You no need associates? Paper-pushers?”
"I’m fine by myself, thank you, and since you want to get started, let's get right down to business. Salvina Corp. has been in control of mining on this planet for 150 years. We have built a solid reputation in that time - good workers, good product. And now you're threatening to bring that all down for ... what exactly?"
Hevor scoffed. "You sit back and watch credits come in. We ones minin’ the ore, makin’ you comfortable. And what we get? Less pay than before, less food, bigger tax. You charge high for air and water so we no make living enough for our kids grow up good. And you surprise we not grateful this?"
"You are employees of Salvina Mining Corporation, and you will fulfill your obligations to that company and to Earth if you want to stay employed."
"And what you do if we no get out ore for you?” Nayan chimed in. “You come get it ’selves? No. You shrivel and die, Earther," He looked to be slightly younger than Hevor, with the light hair and skin typical of native Martians, but equally vehement.
"Piece of equipment break?" he continued. "We got replacement on next shuttle from Luna. Bad equipment hurt miner? They lucky if doctor patch up good before they cut off benefits. Sick, can't work? No work, no pay. Kids go hungry. Company do nothin’ for them. Company all in it for what it get. We the ones makin’ your lives good under your blue sky."
"You knew the nature and risks of this job when you took it," Anika shot back. She pulled a data pad out of her case, looked at it briefly, and pushed it across the table toward Nayan.
"See, there's your signature saying you understood what you were doing when you signed on. How is that Salvina - or even Earth's - fault?"
Hevor held up a hand to stop Nayan before he let loose with another angry outburst, though his own rage rumbled beneath the surface of his words. "If you Martian, what other choice you got? Only job supposed to pay well diggin’ ore - no job, no food. Want job, gotta sign."
"Well, I'm afraid that's the way it is, gentlemen," Anika said. "No one forced your ancestors to come to Mars. They came because we offered them jobs with more pay than they'd get on Earth for the same thing. And no one told you that you had to be miners while you were here; you could have gotten another job or left at any time. You chose, gentlemen, it was your choice, not ours."
“Another job that pay nothing. And we go where? With what money and no other trainin?”
“That was entirely up to you.”
"No, it were Earth’s decision. After we settle and ore start flowin’, you pull out help," Hevor said, his voice now hushed but still full of anger. "Slowly you take away what you once promise, and we Martian. Nowhere else we can go now. Earth no have us, and we not go back if could."
"Then what, exactly, do you want from me?" Anika asked, leaning back in her chair. “I’m very curious to hear what you think I can do for you.”
"We want right pay for work that do. We want food enough to feed families. Less charge on air and water. We profit, you profit. Seem simple put that way."
"And if Salvina agrees to your terms, you'll call off the strike you're planning?"
"We just want what fair, like Earthers do," Nayan answered.
“Well, I’m just a representative of the company. I’ll have to take your concerns up with the board and see what they have to say.”
“And how long that take?” Nayan spat out. “We wait long enough for you come here and this best you can do?”
“I’m just a cog in the machine, much like you are,” she stated, a faint smile playing at the corners of her mouth. “I have to answer to others.”
“You answer to us!” Nayan was on his feet now, his pale face splotched with angry red blotches. “You labor relations, you relate!”
Anika stared at the two men, her eyes seeming to bore holes right through them. "Or what? You know we could just as easily gas the tunnels and send in replacements to do your jobs."
The threat hung in the air for a moment before Hevor responded, quiet and controlled.
"You not gonna do that.”
"What makes you so sure, Martian?"
"Cause skippies no good. You have to find and train. Spend lot of time no producing and you lose money while that goin’ on. That what you really want? No, you gonna give us what ask cause you lose more than us if don't. Better to settle and go forward."
"You don’t scare me. You have nothing to bargain with."
"We got everythin’. This be our world, Earther. The dust be in our blood. We not gonna lay down and let you take it from us. We fight with everythin’ we got, even if mean dyin’ in the attempt. You wait and see."
As it turned out, Anika - and Earth - would not have long to wait.
#MarsLives #SF #prose #amwriting #prologue
Where to Begin
With a title such as "origin story" my first thought is of a super hero. And while I would gladly snag the title of Batman, Ironman, Superman, Spiderman, Dr. Strange, or Black Panther, I somehow feel that the normal, perhaps boring me, would be a better fit all around in my current place and time. The simple answer is, I don't want the responsibility of a world shoved on my shoulders. So, with this little intro snippet out of the way, I shall begin.
Since you want an origin story, I shall start at the very beginning and give you a condensed version of my life. Way back, (not so many years ago), I was born in a small humble home to two lovely parents (who are still around, and are still lovely, although they have their quirks). My birth seemingly was an intense struggle between life and death because apparently I was born with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, and I was turning blue. Thanks to a wonderful coincidence, the midwife did not get on the plane she had intended to take and had instead accompanied the midwife in training out to our house, and to my birth. Had she not been there, I would not be here. Or so I have been told. After all, I was there but I don't remember a thing about it.
Skip forward a few years and you will find me a spoiled rotten child who, for some unknown reason, hated smiling in pictures. There are very few pictures of me between the age of 3 and 6 (I am guessing a little on the actual ages) where I am smiling. I do believe the reason I was such a rotten child was because I was the youngest in the family for about three years and my oldest sister, bless her, spoiled her baby brother. Until of course my little sister, the youngest member of the family, was born. Then I became the terrible child. Why? Because someone else was getting the attention that I had so greedily absorbed. Thankfully, these are years that I have very little recollection of.
Let us jump another few years to the point where I started piano lessons, but we shan't spend much time here. Suffice it to say, my mother, in her wisdom, required that, if her children wanted to learn a musical instrument, would have to take two years of piano lessons before moving onto said other musical instrument. I had my heart set on playing the drums (what little boy doesn't have this fantasy at some point or other), but instead I took piano. And I am so very glad that I did.
Several years later, I did in fact get a drum set. I had taken piano lessons for about five years or so, and I had thoroughly fallen in love with it. And after just a few short years the drum set started to gather dust, but the piano has not had a break since I started lessons way back when. (The piano I first started playing on was a lovely upright grand, but it was an old piano and it started to die. We ended up replacing it with a slightly less old piano that was equally beautiful, and that is the one we still have to this day.)
Jump ahead again, and you find a teenager, awkward and home schooled. (I should note that I was actually home schooled from the beginning and also that I wasn't awkward because of it. I would have been awkward in public school as well.) For me, high school went by in a blur. I can't pick out many details about this or that, let alone tell you from specifically what year they were. In the summer of my Junior year, I started working full time at an IT company, and I really enjoyed it. I worked part time throughout my senior year, and that was perhaps a mistake. I liked the job, but working and trying to study school was not really conducive, and school work started to fail. However, during my high school years, I fell in love with writing, and creating my own world. This, and music, has become my easy escape from reality. I wish to continue to write, and I wish to continue to play the piano.
What's that? You want to try to jump ahead another year or so.... Well I'm sorry, we can't. We've caught up to where I am. I am enrolled to enter college in the fall and I will see what life brings me. I intend to follow a career in the computer world, and hopefully a side career in writing. This last thing has been encouraged by the wonderful group of Prosers that I would gladly call friends. Yes, that means you... the reader.
I am a slightly private person, and rather shy; but I can hid behind the title Charlton_Ghosh, and I can still let the world know the story of how I got here.
...Or at least the rather condensed version...
P.S. Vacation is great, but I couldn't let this challenge go by un-entered. :)
Letter From Family
April 30, 1823
My brother recently answered your advertisement for employ. I wish to reach him with some important news. Could you please forward the enclosed letter to Isaac Gibson, or let me know how he can be reached?
* * *
Five riders came full tilt across the rolling meadow, the lead man bursting through the break in the trees on the edge of the outer rim of the encampment, about five rods ahead of the others. Zeb rose, lifting his rifle, as Willie came on the run, barefoot, still struggling with the top of his one-piece-wool underwear.
Zeb spun at the sound of a war cry that pierced the air and a shower of arrows rained down on the camp.
Willie shrieked out in pain as an arrow struck his left side, passing through his rather abundant love handle, and another lodged itself in his right thigh, just above the knee. The man stumbled, caught his balance with the butt of his rifle and staggered to the nearby cover of a group of trees.
The lead horseman, with rifle in hand, reined his horse at the sound of the enemy. The animal began a slide, going down on its front legs. While still in the slide, the man threw his left leg over the front of the saddle, leaving his mount and continued at a run to try and reach his friend and ward off the attackers.
Zeb turned to his right, catching sight of a brave hurling insults in front of a large smattering of pine trees. The warrior spun, bending over, and exposed the fleshy side of his seat, still screaming insults.
Zeb raised his rifle and fired in one quick motion, hitting the brave in the backside. The bullet shattered the tailbone and snapped the backbone, throwing the brave forward into the branches of a small pine tree. Zeb heard Clay’s rifle discharge a short distance behind, at which both men made a break for the nearby cover of a large fallen tree.
Two other riders came to a halt at the break of the camp, but too close to come off unscathed. The foremost horseman, on an Appaloosa, turned his ride as an arrow lodged itself in his calf, while two others struck his horse in the neck and rump, causing the animal to falter then rear up; but weakened and off balance the Appaloosa fell over backwards.
A brave, charging from the cover of nearby brush, launched himself at the other rider on a white Indian pony. With both legs straddling the rider, the Indian drove the man from the saddle simultaneously grabbing the man by his long beard and driving his blade into the right shoulder, missing the intended spinal cord at the base of the neck.
Zeb pulled his German horse pistol from his belt and set it in easy reach then began to reload his rifle. Before he could finish, an Indian charged him from his left. Grabbing his horse pistol he shot the brave cold, then dropped both his pistol and rifle. With a defiant cry, Zeb pulled his tomahawk from his belt to meet the charge of a second hostile emerging from the nearby cover of trees.
Zeb deflected the swing of the enemy’s war-axe with his tomahawk, while bending slightly to retrieve his long, Green River butcher’s knife from his boot. In one seemingly continual motion he plunged the blade deep in the abdomen of his would be assailant. With the forward motion of the brave and the disemboweling upward cut, Zeb threw the Indian over his head, clearing the fallen tree now at his left side.
A third enemy pounced with a horrid scream. Zebulon spun, deflecting two stabbing cuts with his hunting knife, then caught the attacker in the crotch with an upward swing of his tomahawk. His enemy staggered as Zebulon tried to plunge his blade into the assailant, but the stroke was deflected by the opponent’s knife. With one fatal swing of the battle-axe Zeb cleaved the top of the warrior’s ear and buried his weapon an inch into the skull of the Indian. The enemy fell back lifeless, wrenching the axe from Zeb’s grip.
A pistol shot grabbed Zeb’s attention. Turning he noticed two of his fallen comrades at the break in the camp. One was down with an Indian pulling his blade through the dead man’s scalp, removing the top patch of hair. Behind him another brave was leading off, as spoils of war, Zeb, Clay, Willie’s and the now scalped man’s horse.
In the field beyond a spooked Appaloosa charged through the meadow dragging a man whose right leg was caught in the stirrup.
The brave on the back of Zeb’s dead friend stood, lifting the scalp high and looking right at Zebulon yelling out a defiant challenge as he waved his bloody prize in the air.
Zeb was distracted by a sound behind and spun in time to meet the attack of an Indian coming over the top of the fallen tree. The enemy jumped, as Zeb ducked under the assailant’s right side, bringing his blade up into the abdomen of his foe. Using the forward momentum of the assassin, Zeb pulled himself around and behind the bleeding warrior, grabbing him by the hair. As the victim fell to his knees, Zebulon freed his knife from the man’s stomach and carved his blade through the scalp of his would-be assailant. He then lifted the bloody black locks of hair and hide in full view of the defiant warrior he was again facing: the one who had taken his friend’s scalp. “You yellow squaw, let’s see how you fair with me.”
The Indian began his charge with a fierce war cry; but not moving far, flew backward spinning at the report of a rifle sounding about two rods distance from Zeb’s and Clay’s location. Zeb watched as the warrior hit the ground still clutching the scalp, a large hole through his chest.
Zebulon looked in the direction of the discharge, seeing Claude who had veered his horse from the meadow to the east of the camp.
“Whatcha do that for?” barked Zeb, looking over at Claude.
Clay fired his rifle pitching a warrior into the crotch of a tree.
“Dun’t have time fer nun of dat,” spat Claude, yelling back at Zebulon.
Zeb ducked as a torrent of arrows perforated the earth around his position, one hitting him in the leg.
Another hit Clay in the hip. “I tink it ta be time ta be going,” Clay grimaced.
Zeb nodded pulling the shaft from his thigh. “I’m right behind you,“ and gathered up his rifle and pistol looked over the fallen tree at Claude, “Meet at Big Yellow.” Then waving his arm, “Git yer topknot outta here before you lose it fer sure.”
Claude, reloading his rifle yelled back, “I’ll git the otter packers.” Then ran to where he left his horse.
While retrieving his tomahawk, Zeb glanced at Clay busy reloading his muzzleloader. “Where’s Willie?” Zeb asked.
Clay stayed low and close to the trunk of the fallen tree. “He’d blew,” was the response, as he removed the rod from its barrel and slipping upward against the tree for support, Clay grabbed the shaft of the arrow and pulled it from his hip without even a grunt. Taking a breath, he grimaced. “Broke the ridge yonder,” nodding to the Northeast.
Claude reached his horse, then threw the opposite rein around the animal’s neck and looped it through a notch in the saddle. Reaching up with his left hand, he grabbed the hair of the mane just in front of the pad. The animal, somewhat spooked by the noise of the war party, began to spin its back end away from the rider, making almost a full circle around the trapper. Claude managed to get one foot in the stirrup, spinning some on his right foot, when the animal broke into a dead run out into the meadow. With rifle in right hand, and one foot in the stirrup, Claude pulled himself forward with his left hand then dropped back and hopped with his right foot and swung into the saddle already some distance from where he had started his journey.
The whoops and hollers of the war party, reveling in the victory and spoil of the conflict, prepared for another assault. It was a customary behavior that signaled a short break. Clay reloaded his pistol and began to crawl toward Zeb. For a time the war party had seemed to lose interest in their game, but the break wouldn’t last long.
Zeb nodded as he turned and worked his way down the length of the fallen pine. He then paused to finish reloading his rifle, then the pistol. Looking up, he saw Claude with a good lead on a small band of eight Indians in pursuit. Zeb leveled his rifle on the lead rider of the war party. It was a long shot, but Zeb felt the need to even up the odds some for Claude. Taking in consideration of the distance and the speed of the riders, Zeb led his target and fired. About the time the smoke cleared from the discharge the lead Indian dropped from his buffalo-pad saddle. The two companions then slipped into the dense underbrush and foliage of their surroundings.
Claude, looking over his shoulder was assessing his options, when the lead Indian fell from the saddle. He then heard the report of the rifle. He knew Zeb had dropped the enemy; it was the shot of a marksman that few men could have made. He thanked Zeb under his breath, then reined his horse to face the oncoming enemy.
Two of the Indians fired rifles at Claude as he heard the fusee balls whistle by. With horse stopped and now facing the assault Claude took aim and fired, hitting an assailant. The party split apart with some still continuing their charge. Another fusee whistled by.
Claude now knew he had misjudged the time he had. Without removing the rod or lifting the rifle from his side he pointed the barrel at the two Indians approaching from the right and fired from the hip at the brave furthest back of the two, knocking him from the saddle.
In a fortunate chain of events his ramrod had shattered upon the discharge of the weapon and a large section of the rod lodged itself in the left shoulder of the foremost rider, almost dropping him from his mount.
He then drew his pistol from his belt and fired at his attackers from the left as a war lance grazed his right shoulder. The ball hit its mark and Claude spurred his horse forward when another rider drove his mount at full speed into Claude's animal, turning his ride and knocking his mount to its knees. The force of the impact caused Claude to drop his pistol and lose his balance as the attacker with battle-axe held high plunged forward over the top of his pony at the impact, hitting Claude in the chest, driving him from the saddle. Both hit the ground, but Claude was able to break free of his assailant, rolling to the side and away from his enemy at the same time pulling his knife.
Jumping to their feet, facing each other, they then lunged in an all-out charge, both yelling a war cry. Claude collided with his foe blocking the downward swing of the tomahawk with his left forearm while driving his knife into the abdomen of his enemy lifting him off the ground with the force of his right shoulder’s impact. He then ripped the battle-axe from the dying man’s hand and turned to face two more riders charging in at full speed with bows ready.
Both riders had held back some from the others of their party. Seeing Claude as a formidable enemy and not sure of his weaponry they rode the side of their mounts: one leg over the back of the horse, with bow at full draw under the animal’s neck.
The Trapper had seen this type of attack before when in the company of eight others: trapped on a small wooded delta three years back. Half the enemy of about forty strong would ride using their horses as a shield to draw fire and get closer into bow range against a force of rifles while others approached the delta by stealth. It was a desperate battle that lasted several days, in one hundred-degree temperature. The white men’s horses had been killed early on and by the third day the smell of the rotting animals, gunpowder, human waste and dead comrades, was almost unbearable. Weak from feeding on raw rancid horse flesh, and an inability to get to the river during the day, Claude was selected on the third night to escape and get help before they were all too weak to travel. He had successfully evaded the enemy, but upon returning four days later with a party of twenty white trappers, found the mangled remains of the small group of hostages.
Today Claude's chances of escape looked less probable. The horsemanship of Claude’s enemies was unmatched. The guerilla fighters were armed with horse and bow and he with only hand-to-hand weapons. Claude made a break for his horse as the two riders rode by at full gallop passing within a rod’s distance unloading their bows. Both missed as Claude reached his animal, grabbing the front of the saddle with both hands. The horse broke into a gallop as Claude jumped forward of the animal, with both his legs together, still hanging onto the front bridge of the saddle while being carried by the horse away from his enemy. The forward motion of the horse pivoted Claude's feet to the animal’s side as the man repeated his maneuver, jumping forward then swinging into the saddle.
The enemy, upon missing their target swung upright into their saddles almost in unison. Reining their horses to a sliding stop with sod flying and back ends low the horses spun on their hind legs turning a full 180 degrees and broke out into pursuit of the quarry.
Claude looked back over his left shoulder to see his short lead when his eye caught sight of a gray Appaloosa lifting its head up from the meadow’s grass. It was Jed’s horse. Claude had seen Jed being dragged. The animal must have gotten tripped up and gone down. Jed carried two pistols on his saddle and perhaps Jed’s rifle was still in its boot. He hoped they were still there.
Claude slid his left hand down his animal’s neck taking the rein and turned his mount to the left. His enemy was gaining with bows drawn. Time was short. Claude slipped his left stirrup and swung to the right side of his...
when I said I was tired..
I can't imagine doing this again tomorrow.
There just isn't enough fight left.
No Return To Innocence
So after getting some tough juice from gorgeous @Soulheart I've decided to share my piece with you. I hope it will give you something.
No Return To Innocence
You tore me up bit by bit,
had a taste of me,
not to seem too greedy
You licked my face, and removed layers of tiny clothes,
caressing my cheeks with trembling hands
I hid in the corner and slept away long days,
But you needed my flesh.
So you pushed me out in the cold
so that my bare wounds would burn with guilt and shame
before you with too warm fingers
ripped off frozen pieces of my skin
You laughed at my infirmities.
You smiled while you shredded my tear ducts to fragments of dust,
sowing together bleeding wounds with empty words,
so that I would not rot.
Nearly picked to death,
Did I hold tiny hands over my gender
- Not my innocence, do not eat me there.
But people blinded by magnificence will always want more,
so you greedily stuck your quivering fingers towards the forbidden
and filled my mouth with your manhood
so that I would not speak
That's when you stole the light
from my eyes
and replaced them