Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fire and Forgiveness Part 1 . . . by McKenzie S. and Kara S.

Time for a fan story. This one is co-authored by McKenzie and Kara S.Enjoy! 




PART 1

On a cool November day in 1884, fourteen-year-old Andrea Carter made her way into the schoolroom.
Her friend Cory bumped into her.
“So, Andi, is your family going to have a Thanksgiving celebration at your ranch this year?”
Thomas Lawrence, the newest pupil in school, interrupted their conversation, “Who would want to go to your place for Thanksgiving? I’ve heard that you always have a lousy horse race. I can’t believe you even have horses after what happened to your father. If he would’ve known how to ride, he wouldn’t have gotten thrown off his stupid horse.”
The words stung like a thousand cacti spines. Andi blinked the hot tears away. The rest of the day she couldn’t concentrate on her lessons. When Justin came to pick her up, she told him everything. Andi choked back tears, “Why would he say something like that?”
Justin put his arm around her and said, “Give it some time. Maybe once you get to know him he’ll soften up a little. Just remember that you need to show God’s love to Thomas even when you don’t feel like it.”
Andi nodded, but she doubted his words.          
*****
Several days after the school incident, Saturday evening came and the Carters were in the library. A knock at the door interrupted the silence and Chad went to answer. In a minute, he came running, “Justin! Come quick! The Lawrence barn has caught fire! Mitch, stay here with the ladies.”
Chad and Justin grabbed their coats and were out the door.
As soon as the two men rode into the Lawrence property, they realized the situation could quickly become hopeless if something wasn’t done to put the raging fire out very soon.
Chad started to help haul water, while Justin made sure no one was inside the barn.
“Carter, anyone in the barn?” someone yelled. “Thankfully, no, but the animals are trapped in there. We need to let them go before the roof caves.” Justin yelled back above the noise of the roaring blazes.
Worry creased Joe Lawrence’s face as the intensity of the inferno raged on.
Justin ran to the barn and swung the double doors open. The animals inside were frantic, but calmed themselves enough that he was able to go from one stall to the next, freeing them from their entrapment. Once outside the barn, the horses froze, as if they were in a daze, then bolted away from the burning scene. The remaining livestock ran in all directions.
When the fire became manageable and there was no danger of it spreading to the dry hills surrounding the Lawrence property, the men gathered to discuss what needed to be done.
“Thank you, men, for helping tonight. I couldn’t have gotten that fire contained without you. I’ll be rounding up my horses tomorrow at first light. Anyone who wants to come is welcome, but I understand if you can’t make it.” Joe said.
“I’ve got a horse you can borrow,” a fellow offered.
“We can loan you Snowflake, Pal, and Taffy,” Chad pitched in.
*****
Andi’s heart sank when she heard the news. “Chad, Taffy is my horse. I should be the one who’s deciding—”
Chad cut her off, “The Lawrences need her more than you do right now. They’ll only have her until they can find their own horses and get the farm up and running again. Besides, I think Taffy will enjoy the thrill of a chase. Don’t you?” He tried to lift Andi’s spirit, but his attempts didn’t help the crushing reality that Thomas would probably be the one riding Taffy.
If only the fire would have never happened,”  Andi thought.
Early the next morning Chad prepared the animals to take to the Lawrences. Andi went to say goodbye to Taffy. She opened the door to Taffy’s stall and Taffy’s nose pushed against her face. “I’ll miss you Taffy,” She hugged Taffy’s neck. “I don’t want Thomas to hurt you. Please don’t get hurt.”
Andi fed Taffy three sugar cubes and patted her head.
Chad knocked at the door, “Hey, Andi. I got to get Taffy out to the wagon.”
Andi nodded and grabbed Taffy’s halter from the wall. “I’ll get her, Chad.” She slipped the halter over Taffy’s nose and behind her ears and led her out to the wagon where she was tied securely. “Bye Taffy. I’ll miss you.” Andi waved as the wagon rolled away.
*****
A week later after school, and five days before Thanksgiving, Mitch approached Andi with an unexpected question, “So, Andi, how would you like to go to the Lawrences today?  Chad and I are going to be helping them build a new barn, and then you could have a chance to visit Taffy again.”
Andi eagerly joined them and the trio soon arrived at the Lawrence’s home. They found Joe on the porch and he explained to Chad and Mitch some of the barn’s plans.
“Hey, Mitch, I’m going to go visit Taffy.” Andi said and started to go. “Is it okay if I ride her too?”
“Sure. Be careful,” Mitch replied.
After a minute, Andi found Taffy inside the Lawrences’ shed. The sight that greeted her wasn’t at all what she had expected Taffy to look like. The beautiful mare was caked with mud, her color hardly distinguishable.
Andi reached up to pet Taffy and Taffy jerked back.
“Don’t touch her!” Thomas called suddenly from the doorway, “She’s been actin’ wild-like lately. Now, let’s ride.”
Before Andi could say anything, Taffy was saddled and Thomas mounted first in front, while Andi climbed in the saddle behind him. They started out into one of the pastures. Thomas slapped Taffy’s rump continuously because of her slow speed, “C’mon! Faster!”
“Stop it!” Andi cried. A growing inferno threatened to explode inside Andi’s heart.
“Make me.” Thomas raised a fist.
Before he struck, Taffy jerked and everything went black.
*****
     After Chad, Mitch. and Mr. Lawrence had finished cutting some of the boards for building the barn, Mitch started to get worried about Andi.
Mitch voiced his concern, “Thomas and Andi should be back by now. I told Andi that we were going to leave one hour before sundown, and it’s practically sundown already. I’m gonna’ go look for her.”
“We’ll come with you,” Chad and Mr. Lawrence said.
They prepared their mounts and soon arrived upon Andi and Thomas laying on the ground, unconscious. Chad and Mitch went over to Andi and Mitch poured his canteen of water onto Andi’s face to revive her from her current state.
“Are you okay?” Mitch asked.
Andi wiped her face and winced, “My arm… hurts badly.”
“What were you doing?” Chad shouted angrily.
“I… we… Thomas and I were riding Taffy, and he was beating her. I stopped him and then we were suddenly thrown from Taffy,” Andi answered as Mitch gently took her arm.
Mitch’s voice was soft, “I’m glad you’re okay. Chad and I will see to Taffy. You lie still.”
A few paces away, Joe knelt next to Thomas’s side and saw a horrible gash on his forehead. Thomas’s his leg was twisted oddly. “Chad, get over here!” Joe called over his shoulder.
Chad rushed over. “What?”
“His leg and head are badly damaged,” Joe said worriedly.
“I’ll get Doctor Weaver from town!” Chad rushed over to Sky, mounted, and took off.
An hour later, Chad returned with Doctor Weaver. While Chad was gone, Joe and some other men had taken Andi and Thomas back to the ranch house. Mitch also had discovered that Taffy’s leg was broken from the major fall.
Mrs. Lawrence stepped out onto the porch of the ranch house, “Doc Weaver, hurry!”
“Don’t worry Margaret,” Dr. Weaver addressed Mrs. Lawrence, “I’ll do my best. But before I look at Thomas, how are you, Miss Andrea?”
Andi winced. “My arm hurts.”
Doctor Weaver examined and prodded Andi’s arm for a few minutes and pronounced her condition, “She has a broken arm, but I took care of that by putting it in this sling. She won’t be allowed to move it for quite a few weeks until I can check up on her.”
“Thank you doctor,” Chad said. “Much obliged.”
“Jonathan,” Mrs. Lawrence moaned impatiently by the door.
“I must go,” Doc Weaver made his way into the house, followed quickly by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence.
Joe came out a minute later as the Carters were about to leave and pulled Chad aside.
“Hey, Andi, come over here,” Chad called.
When she came closer, Chad continued, “The Lawrences will keep Taffy in their shed because we can’t transport her back to the ranch with her broken leg and all.”
Andi shook her head fiercely. “Thomas may hurt her.”
Chad looked back at her, “I’m sorry, but there’s no other way. Now, let’s go.”
Andi opened her mouth to protest, but Chad waved a finger. “No arguing, we’re leaving.”
Andi sighed but obeyed Chad. They galloped away from the farm, leaving Andi staring at the barn vanishing behind them.


Part 2 (conclusion) tomorrow . . .

6 comments:

  1. Good job, McKenzie & Kara! Can't wait for tomorrow! :)

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  2. Great story! Can't wait to see how it ends! :-)

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  3. Great job, mckenzie + kara! Cant wait 4 the conclusion!

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  4. AMAZING! Great job! can't wait to find out what happens next!

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  5. i was looking at the official writing contest rules and it says:

    First-place winners receive:
    ● $25 cash (U.S. winners only, unless PayPal is available to the foreign winner)
    ● the paperback book, Along the Western Trail, containing the 12 winning stories
    ● Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition of Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home
    ● Circle C Milestones journal (CCA winner) or a vial of real gold (Goldtown winner)

    What is the difference, or how do you know if you are a CCA winner or Goldtown? I don't really understand it....

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    1. Pretty much it means if a boy wins, I'm not seeing as they would want a girlie-looking journal. But you made a good point. I might revise that. :-) Because a boy might write a CCA story and a girl has already written a GT/CCA story and won.

      Thanks for your eagle eye!

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Let Andi know what you think!