Monday, February 19, 2018

Lost Stories: Andrea Carter and Trouble at the Lineshack 7

Go HERE to begin this Lost Story.

Again, I used a lot of this next scene in Trouble with Treasure. There are some differences, i.e., Cory and Jenny are not along. Andi has to face everything herself.


Lost Scene #7

“Look at this trout!” Andi gasped as the silvery fish flew up out of the water, attached to the end of her line. “It’s huge!”
Mitch whistled. “I wish I had one of those new-fangled cameras to take a picture. No one will ever believe your fish story when we get home.”
“I reckon there’s only one thing to do about it, then.” Andi unhooked the fish and threaded it through the long stringer with the two fish Mitch had caught.
“And what’s that?”
She dropped the stringer into the cool water. “We’ll just have to eat it.” 
“Good idea,” Mitch agreed. He lay back to wait for his line. “I think one more will do us for today.”
“You’re right. Andi peered out over the stillness of the small, mountain lake. “You know what? I haven’t seen a lake yet that hasn’t had good fishing. The whole family should come up here for a vacation. We could squeeze into any one of those lineshacks we visited the past three days. I’d even sleep outside. What do you think?”
“It’s a great idea.” Mitch yanked in his last fish. “There’s only one more shack to resupply. And we’re way ahead of schedule.” He looked up at the sky. “It’s only noon. What do you say we head up to the last place this afternoon instead of waiting for the morning?”
“Hmm.” Andi didn’t want to rush away from this good fishing spot.
“It’s not much farther. Two, three hours at the most. A beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada, great grazing for the horses, and a year-round creek that washes right down from the high country. We could stay a couple days and fish to our heart’s content.” He winked. “No sense getting home ahead of schedule.”
“Oh, let’s!” Andi agreed. She helped pack up Charley and Juniper with what remained of the lineshack provisions, while Mitch saddled Taffy and Chase.
            “Ouch!” Andi yelped and whacked Charley. “How dare you take a nip at me!”

The pack horse pinned his ears back.
“Put those ears back up, you ungrateful thing, or you’re gonna find yourself on the menu of some hungry Indian when we get home.” 
Charley stamped a hoof.
“Yes, I’m serious. I’ll talk Chad into selling you, yes I will, if you can’t behave. One more nip or cranky behavior from you, and you’re stew meat!”
“Come on, Andi,” Mitch ordered cheerfully. “Throw me the line and let’s get going. I’ll pull Charley into shape.”
The rest of the afternoon passed in wonder and delight as the mountains crept closer and closer. The trail finally leveled out, and the trip turned the easiest Andi had experienced all week.
“I’m mighty glad you came alone, Sis,” Mitch said. “Your cheerful chatter brightens my day and made this trip considerably less lonely.”
Andi grinned. “And you haven’t once had to yank me back from tumbling over a cliff either. I haven’t fallen off my horse or panicked at any creepy noises, not even night before last when those coyotes sounded like they were ready to invade our camp.”
“That’s true. Of course, I’ve never seen you spook at a pesky coyote.” Mitch nodded. “Yep, you’ve carried your weight better than I expected.” He scratched at his days’-old beard. “I’m not seeing what all the fuss is back home, or why Justin and Mother on their high horses about your behavior.”
“Wrong place, wrong time,” Andi said cheerfully. “Maybe we shouldn’t go home at all.” She giggled at Mitch’s astonished expression. “Not really,” she amended quickly. “I do miss my nice, soft bed.”
Mitch laughed and picked up the pace.
It wasn’t long before Andi heard the cheerful bubbling of a swiftly flowing mountain creek. “Is this the creek that runs by the cabin?”
Andi slowed down long enough to let Taffy drink her fill.
“Yep.” Mitch dismounted and dunked his head into the flow. He came up shivering.
Andi slid off her horse. She cupped her hands and took a drink of the clearest water she had seen yet. 
“Let’s go,” Mitch said, remounting Chase. “It’s not far. Just around the other side of that little hill full of boulders and scrub pine.”
“Oh, good! I’m getting hungry for those fish we caught.” Andi’s stomach rumbled. They had saved the fish for supper, not wanting to take the time to start a fire at noon. Lunch had been a quick bite of jerky, washed down with lake water. “It will feel good to drop down for a couple of days and rest.”
When Mitch didn’t answer, Andi called, “Mit—”
“Shh.” Mitch reined his horse in sharply and put up a hand.
Andi pulled Taffy to a stop and dismounted. She tied her to a branch of scrub pine, then quietly made her way up the trail. Mitch had dismounted and was putting Chase out of sight behind a rocky outcropping.
“What’s wrong?” Andi whispered, coming up behind him.
He motioned her back, a firm look on his face.
She obeyed at once, backing up until she was hidden in the brush.
Mitch joined her a minute later. “The cabin’s in the clearing, about a hundred yards past these rocks, but—”
“But what?”
“It’s not empty. Somebody’s there. I saw a couple of horses in the corral and there’s smoke coming from the chimney.”
Andi’s eyes opened wide. “Do you suppose they’re squatters?”
“I have no idea.” He shrugged. “I’ll have to find out, of course. This all might be open range, but that’s a Circle C lineshack, not public property. These cabins are for Circle C cowhands when they’re rounding up our cattle.”
“All right.” Andi took a step. “I hope it doesn’t take long to shoo them away.”
“Hold on, Sis.” Mitch put out a hand to keep her in place. “You’re not finding out anything. You’re staying right here until I get back.”
Andi huffed. “But why? You might need my help.”
“I can’t imagine why I would.” Mitch yanked his gun belt from around his saddle horn and secured it around his hips. Then he checked his Colt .44 carefully. “You’re staying here.” He replaced the pistol and reached for his rifle.
“Now, just a second, big brother. Why are packing all that metal? They’re just squatters . . . right?”
“I like to be prepare. Up here in the wilderness, you’re never sure who or what you’ll meet. A Grizzly might not need shooting, but where would I be if I approached one empty handed?” He held out the rifle. “Here, take it. Part of being prepared means having a backup.”
Andi wrapped her hands around the cold, hard metal of her brother’s rifle. “Your backup?” she asked, puzzled. “For what?”
“Let’s call it a practice run. See if you can do what I say without asking a mess of question.” He smiled to take the sting from his words, but Andi sensed that big brother was downright serious about this situation.
“All right.”
Mitch eyed her. “If something comes up, don’t be afraid to use it, sis.”
“I’m not afraid.” Andi set the butt of the rifle on the ground. “It’s just that . . . well, I’m not very good with it. You know how I shoot.”
Mitch grinned. “That’s true. Annie Oakley, you’re not.”
It was the family joke. Chad had given up trying to teach his little sister how to shoot. The lessons usually ended in arguments and tears.
“Just the same,” Mitch continued. “Knowing you’re back here with a rifle at gut-level puts my mind at ease. You don’t have to tell anybody you’re a lousy shot.”
“All right then. Where do you want me?”
Mitch frowned. “I already told you. Right here, with the horses.”
Andi scowled. Where was the fun in that?
 “But a backup man’s no good if he’s out of sight!" she protested. "And I reckon I can shoot okay—if I don’t have to shoot too far. You might need me.”

          “I need you to stay here.”
          Andi became quiet. Yep, Mitch was quickly turning into a grump. It was time to stop talking and just do what he said. The sooner she did, the sooner they’d be frying fish and eating supper. “Yes, sir.” She sighed.
           “That’s better. I don’t want you anywhere near the clearing. If something unexpected happens, I want you turn tail and get out of here as fast as you can. Do you understand me?”
“Like if what happens?”
“Do I have to spell it out for you?”
Andi shook her head. “I reckon not. But where am I supposed to go?”
“Back down to the other line camps, then home.” He gave her a little shake. “Can I count on you not to mess this up?”
“What about you?” Andi wanted to know. Mitch was acting mighty cautious about a couple of squatters.
“Don’t worry about me.” He glanced in the direction of the shack, then turned to his sister once more. “Promise me, Andi.”
“No ‘buts.’ Just promise me you’ll get out of here if anything goes wrong.”
She nodded. Andi wasn’t happy with her answer, but Mitch was so insistent.
“Good girl.” Mitch relaxed. “Didn’t mean to startle you or get you fretting about things, but you can be so dad-blasted stubborn sometimes. Just trust me and do what I tell you. I’m not really worried. If it is squatters, we’ll let them stay a few days, but they have to be told their trespassing.”
Andi clutched the rifle close to her chest. A shiver raced up her spine. “Why don’t we forget about this line camp? We could double back and—”
Mitch pulled the brim of Andi’s hat over her eyes. He chuckled. “Sorry, Sis, but it’s my job to check these line camps and make sure they’re in good order for the winter. Can’t back off just because one of them looks occupied. I’ll be right back.”
Andi pushed the hat out of her eyes and nodded. She scrambled up onto a large boulder next to the trail. She rested the rifle across her knees, cupped her chin in her hands, and watched Mitch round a curve in the trail and disappear from sight. 


  1. Ooooooooooooooh! So breathless! Thanks, Mrs. Marlow! I love it, like always ;-)!


  2. I've always loved Mitch, but I'm pretty sure he's risen to favorite Carter brother after this story. XD I love his and Andi's interactions, it's so sweet. Thanks for this fun lost story, Mrs. M!

  3. Oh no!! I wish I could read the next part now. I believe I know what's gonna happen and I wanna read it and get it over with. Mrs M, did you know that you are REALLY good at coming up with cliff hangers? Thanks for writing such AMAZING stories that after each chapter leave you wanting to learn what happens next and makes you feel like your right there with Andi.

    1. But...haven't you read trouble with Treasure? How can you not know what is going to happen next? Lol

  4. I love this version! It is soooo awesome!



Let Andi know what you think!