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.
At the end of this post, you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using: mouse ~ prairie ~ coyote ~ mountains ~ ranch
They were submitted by: https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/
I started this story more than a year ago and have added to it monthly. If you’d like to catch up just go here:
Thank you, Diane! I couldn’t have asked for better words!
The wagon train made its way slowly across the dusty prairie. The land had flattened out considerably and the open vastness left the travelers weary and anxious at the same time. Joe & Matt rode beside the wagon the Grace, Emmy, and little Patty rode in.
The fear of the unknown was wreaking havoc with everyone’s nerves and tempers had started to flare for some of the travelers. Brawls had broken out over the littlest of grievances. Matt had even taken a punch in the jaw trying to break up two men fighting over a dice game.
Even the women were shedding their proper upbringings like a coat that no longer fit. They bickered over kids and laundry. The kids feeling the stress were more cranky. You could feel the tension making its way up and down the train like an impending storm.
“The men decided to stop early today,” Emmy wrote in her journal. “They said it was to rest up, but I know the truth, they’re nervous about what is ahead and decided it was better off to avoid it for one more day as if that would make a difference.”
“They are afraid of what they call hell. It’s a part of the trail that everyone had been worried about and the quicker they made it across the better. I heard Matt & Joe discussing it when they thought we were asleep. They had heard that there was no water, no trees and nothing to do but keep going trying to make it to the other side as quickly as possible.”
“It’s not like the trail will get better after hell because then there were the mountains to cross.” Emmy signed off as she did every single night. She was on her fourth journal. The men had said this would be the last place for water for a while so we were filling up whatever containers we could to make the long, dusty ride across the red rocks.”
“I took the lid off of a barrel that we had brought along with us intending of emptying it out to use as a water container. After tugging and tugging the lid popped and out jumped a mouse. Of course, she screamed which brought the men running which just added to my humiliation.”
They had stopped close to a ranch and the owners who rarely had visitors allowed the wagoners access to their wells. They told stories of earlier travelers who were a lot less prepared than we were and that made us feel a little better.
As they sat around the fire they heard the howl of a coyote that caused shivers throughout the train. The next morning they woke up before daylight. They had decided that it would be better to travel during the cooler morning hours.
They bid their hosts goodbye and headed off into the unknown. It was supposed to take two days to cross this part of the trail. Then we would have a small reprieve before we start to climb the mountains. They kept a faster pace than they had.
The first day had been hard. The train was unusually quiet everyone too tired to argue. By nightfall, most were asleep. The men took turns staying awake watching, for what nobody knew. They were dusty and sore from the faster pace and they knew it would be even worse tomorrow. Most of the water had to be saved for the horses so it was paramount that they conserved where they could.
It was early in the morning when they were awakened by screams. It was brighter than it should have been and it took them a few minutes to figure out what was happening. There was a wagon on fire and it was endangering all of the other wagons.
People started screaming and moving their wagons as far from the burning hull of what remained of one family’s whole life. The men started pouring water trying to salvage what they could. Within an hour they had the wagon out, but with the silence came the realization to some that they had used most of their water putting the fire out, now what would they do?
Stay tuned for next month!
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado https://bakinginatornado.com/
Spatulas on Parade https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo https://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/
Follow Me Home https://followmehome.shellybean.com
My Life After https://www.mylifeafterblog.blogspot.com
Southern Belle Charm https://www.southernbellecharm.com
Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/