And remember despite the fact that I'm stunningly handsome, charming and generally wonderful...inculding amazing powers of humility ;) Don't just vote for the Xangan. Vote for the story, read it, savour it, and find the one story that truly speaks of the Wild West and the hard bitten men and women who carved out new lives out on the range!...or the brave Indians who tried to hold onto their old lives as the newworld dawned around them.
For this contest I thought i'd take inspiration from a song, so please enjoy the tale of Texas Red, first told by Marty Robbins:
Ben stood breathing hard in a still desert while a blood red sun fell to the cool blue desert, as the huge red orb deformed on the horizon it set the desert ablaze the shrub and grasses catching fire in quick succession. As the blaze spread its speed increase finally reaching out horizon to horizon, then the fire engulfed him.
Ben woke with a start, his pistol in hand. The barn was still, the only movement the trails of dust caught in golden beams of light. Ben ran his thumb over the line of notches carved into the pistols handle, rubbing his face with his left hand he let out a long sigh and returned his gun its holster.
As he dressed he peered out through the cracks in the dilapidated barn, it was still, another hot day he thought. Outside there was nothing but the sounds of crickets and the calling of hawks, the sound reminded him of his childhood, reminded him of that day, the day everything changed the last day he’d spent sleeping in a bed he owned. He felt old as he looked at his reflection in his shiniest cook tin. 20 years seemed too long to have been on the run.
This town hadn’t been too bad for him though the folks were friendly they didn’t ask too many questions, but he knew this day would come they always caught back up each one just as determined to ‘bring him to justice’ as the last but he’d been surviving since he was 4 ever since the riders had found his village, during that day he’d been confused, scared. He didn’t know why these men hated him and his people but now he knew, he knew to most he was just a savage someone to be moved on, beaten or killed without a second thought.
It had been a hard learned lesson that had cost many men their lives and now a Ranger was after him. The Ranger had ridden into town not long ago it didn’t take long before someone let slip that Ben was in town, it didn’t matter, this ranger must have been tracking him for weeks, there was only one way out now.
Ben looked at his reflection once more, in his mind he was still Ben Blackrock but before him stood Texas Red the hard faced killer of 20 men, the man who was feared and respected across the west. He smiled at himself and walked out into the sunshine.
As he walked towards town he saw little Wally racing running down the path a cloud of dust following him. “Mr.Red! Mr.Red!” He was breathless and his face was marked with worry.
“Hey Wally, he waiting for me?” Bens voice was calm, he didn’t want this poor kid to worry for him, he’d been here many times before.
“He’s out in the street….just waitin’…what are ya gonna do Mr.Red?”
Ben stopped and looked away into the distance for a moment, then he turned knelt down and looking right into Wallys eyes said “What I have to kid…what I have to”
Ben walked to the town, but Texas stepped out into the main street and approached the figure standing in the middle of the dusty road. The Ranger said nothing as he approached, moving slowly he tipped his hat as Texas squared up infront of him.
He looked like a good man, probably thought he was doing a service to the decent folk hunting down this ‘dangerous’ killer, but Texas had long ago accepted what he ‘had’ to do to survive.
The two men uncovered their guns and waited. The Rangers BigIron looked to be a Colt, Texas carried his Smith and Wesson that he’d taken from the first man he ever killed, it’s handle pitted with 20 marks…soon he thought there’d be one more.
At 11:25AM Texas made his move, and at 11:26AM Ben Blackrock died a bullet through his heart, the Ranger left with his body and Aqua Fria was left with a legend.
@xXxlovelylollipop - Thanks! I really appreciate that, i'm neither a writer or reader (not since I joined Xanga anyway) so it's really nice to hear that someone with experiance of 'proper' writing likes it :D
@BFB1131 - Well, you are TOO kind! Thank you. I love your story! I think men are better at writing about the West. I have never written a western anything before...don't read them either...but I like western movies. I wanted so badly to support the contest, so last night I sat down and wrote my story. Posted it. And guess what? A few minutes later I almost took it down.
@AdamsWomanFell - Haha DON'T take it down :) it's really good! I'm not much of a wildwest buff myself, other than films and a few games. But be it grizzled men facing the harsh desert or strong women carving out a life in the wilderness there's plenty to play around with ;) no matter who you are.
@BFB1131 - ha! I knew you wouldn't be surprised to hear that I almost took it down! The first story I wrote for the contest was about a "saloon lady" in Tombstone and her adventures with cowboys and gunslingers...but, I thought that might be too "racy" for the contest, so I wrote the seconds story! Ha!
@AdamsWomanFell - Lol so from a gritty tale of sloon harlets...to one of the more innocent and heart warming stories likely to appear from this compo, It sounds like you over compensated...just how racy was this other sotry :P hehe
whoa...very nice read...i enjoyed and started with the first word and read to the end. interesting way to end it and i commend you for being able to fit a story in the short format. it's not easy b.c it's so tempting to write a novel!
@wyrdkismet - Lol I know, it's so hard to try and write something thats neat and compact while still being able to share a world, I think i was a bit too short here but usually I enjoy having to be brief and not waffle on for ages hehe ;) It really means a lot that you liked it though, thanks!