Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
I’m using: no ~ matter ~ indecisive ~ rose ~ abuse
They were submitted by my friend Jenn over at https://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/
This story has gone on for a while, but the adventure continues! Here are the links to the other 9 parts if you want to catch up.
They had arrived in Independence yesterday and had made camp on the outside edges of town. Independence was called the “Gateway To The West” as every wagoneer stopped here before heading off for the second half of their long journey.
This was the last place to stop for much-needed supplies, tips, and stories of the ones who hadn’t made it but had successfully found their way back to town. The scariest stories were the ones of the people who hadn’t made it to either Oregon or back to town.
Matthew and a few of the other men had gone into town, but the women had stayed back. The sickness had made its way through the wagon train and had struck down half of their fellow travelers. Luckily, Emma, Grace and little Patty had stayed away and had kept healthy.
Grace had wanted to help the other travelers and Matthew and she had had their first big fight over it, but Matthew’s calm common-sense had won out. He was only trying to make sure that Patty stayed happy and healthy so how could she fault him for that.
Grace knew that if Patty got sick on the trail she likely wouldn’t make it and she couldn’t even stand to think about that. Patty was her last link to Patrick, the husband she had buried before leaving their beautiful farm. She would do everything in her power to make sure her baby stayed safe and healthy.
The town doctor was making his way through the wagons checking each patient and having the worst of the worst brought into a makeshift hospital in the local church. Five had died and the men had buried them in the little town cemetery where more than half of the headstones were from people heading west.
“I’d like to go into town tomorrow if possible,” Grace said. “We need supplies and if we don’t get them now we may not be able to get them at all.”
“Me too Matthew,” Emma added, “I need a new pencil and some writing paper. I haven’t been able to write in two days!”
“Okay, okay tomorrow we’ll go into town BUT we don’t go near anyone else or even talk to anyone that isn’t necessary. Nobody touches Patty and I’m going with you. Still sounding indecisive about his decision.”
“Yes, father!” They both said at the same time.
“You worry too much Matthew,” Emmy said, “we’ll be fine.”
“Emmy, you & Grace and little Patty are my whole world. You’re my family and I just want to keep you safe from everything. We’ve all lost big in the past and we came together to form this family and it’s my job to protect you all and I take that very seriously.”
“We love you to Matthew and we know that you’ll protect us, but you have to know that we would protect you too if need be. We are a family and we’ll make it to Oregon as a family. Now, let’s get some sleep because tomorrow we shop!”
“Yay!” added Emmy.
Grace had made a sling out of a strip of material to carry little Patty. This way she could keep people away from her. Emmy had brushed her hair and changed her dress and Matthew had beat the dust out of his hat. They were as ready to head to town as they were going to get.
They walked into the little town of Independence shocked at the number of people wandering the streets. Even though it was early afternoon the saloon was going strong and you could hear the music along with hootin’ and hollerin’ from the other end of the street.
They went to the General store and ordered their supplies, but they didn’t have the paper that Emmy needed. The lady behind the counter told her about a little store down the street that had just what she was looking for.
“The store is right next to the saloon,” she told them.
“How about I run down there real quick grab the paper and you guys go on over to the cafe and I’ll meet you there in a few minutes,” Emmy told Matthew and Grace.
“No, Emmy I think we should stay together,” Matthew said uncertainly.
“Matthew I’ll be fine. Grace needs to eat and so does little Patty. It won’t take 15 minutes,” she said already walking away.
Matthew watch after for a few minutes and then turned to take Grace’s elbow.
“I guess it will be okay,” Matthew said as they turned to walk to the cafe which was in the opposite direction from they way Emmy had gone.
Emmy ran down the boardwalk towards the little book store the woman had mentioned. She’d get her paper and race back to the others. She made it to the store in record time and didn’t dally because she knew that Matthew would worry.
She chose a beautiful journal and was thinking about all of those pages she would fill with the story of their migration. She had been writing every single day since they had left and this would be her third journal and she hoped it would be enough to make it to Oregon. At the last moment, she changed her mind purchased two.
She walked out of the book store and turned to head toward the cafe when she was suddenly surrounded by several men who seemed to have had a few too many drinks in the saloon.
“Hello,” she said as she tried to get past them. Keeping her head down and moving forward. The shortest of the three strangers grabbed her arm and slung her around roughly.
“What do we have here?” he said leering at her in a way that made her very nervous.
“Leave me alone I just wanted to visit the book store,” as she held up her package.
The second of the third grabbed her package out of her hand and ripped the paper open to see what she had. “It’s just a couple of books and they don’t even have words in them, Butch!” He said to the man holding on to Emmy’s arm.
“Let me go!” Emmy screamed at Butch trying to jerk away but he had a grip that just wouldn’t let go. He pushed her up against the building. He got so close that she could smell his rank breath and body odor.
“What’s wrong little lady? You don’t want to hang out with us?” The third one said.
He pulled the ribbon that had been holding her hair. “She don’t want to play with us, Hank.”
“That’s just rude,” Hank snickered.
Butch compounded the abuse by grabbing at her dress and her sleeve let loose and broke away from her dress. Emmy screamed as they started pushing her back forth between the three. Each one pulling at her hair, grabbing her breast as she cried and screamed for help.
They heard the click of the gun as the gentleman laid it next to Hank’s head. “I think you better let the woman go,” the stranger said in a deep voice sounding dangerous and mean.
Butch let go of Emmy’s arm as she ran to gather her journals and hair bow. She rose up from the ground with her dirty journals and said, “thank you sir,”.
“Who the hell are you,” Hank said when the gun was lowered from his temple.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. What matters is if I ever see you put your hands on another woman there won’t be a warning,” The man said as he turned Emmy around and walked away. They made it halfway to the cafe when Matthew came barreling down the sidewalk.
He saw Emmy with her ripped dress and mangled hair then looked at the stranger. In an instant he had the stranger pushed against the wall with his gun under his chin. “Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill you right now!”
Stay turned for part 11
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