Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

Second paragraph. This is just a suggestion but I think this sentence would read better... and ate it (as I) drank a cup of hot bitter coffee.

Leslie Blackwell Leslie Blackwell
Recommendations: 21

perhaps appendicitis would be more appropriate or even "I'd heard of the appendix in the hospital..."

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Don Yarber Don Yarber
Recommendations: 42

2nd Chapter "Train to the Sun"

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

2nd Chapter of "Train to The Sun"  I probably won't post all of the chapters but would like honest opinions of the first 2.

      I rode easy, following the tracks of the railroad.   I had water enough for a week, if I was careful, but I knew that the tracks would lead me to water.  Trains can’t live without water any more than man can.  Somewhere along the way they would have to take on water.  Wherever that happened to be, I’d fill up my water jugs too.  Food?  That was a different story.  Trains eat wood.  I couldn’t.

       Long after dark I decided I’d ridden Paint about as far as he was willing to go that day so I stopped and built a small fire out of mesquite brush and dried cactus.  I put on a pot and boiled water for coffee, cut a piece of jerky  and ate it and drank a cup of hot bitter coffee.  I threw Paint’s reins over his head and just for safety sake tied a rope around his right front leg  and around my waist.  He wouldn’t wonder far without waking me up.  I took off my belt and let the holstered Colt 44 slide down easy, rolled the belt around the holster and stuck it under the saddle that I used for a pillow, and laid myself down on half of the saddle blanket and pulled the other half over me.  It gets cold at night in the desert.

       I listened to the distant sound of a coyote, yipping at the moon, singing me a lullaby.  It didn’t take me long, tired as I was, to fall into that bottomless pit of sleep.  I didn’t dream.  Seems like I don’t dream much anymore.  Used to dream all the time.  Women, whiskey, poker games, dances, music, all were part of my dreams.  Two years of trying to scratch out a living on the northern edge of this damned desert had killed the dreaming.  Will and I had ventured west after the war.  Neither of us had relatives that we cared enough about to go back to.  Will was an orphan who had been raised by a one armed man.   The man had lost his arm in the war of 1812 and was still cussing the British.   1 comment

       My Momma was Chickasaw and Pa was Irish. They had died of smallpox.  Ma got it first, then Pa.  Both of them died within a week.  I don’t know why I didn’t get it.  I dug graves for them both and was throwing the dirt in on them when a bunch of rebel soldiers rode by.  One asked me what happened and I told him.  He gave me a potato and a cracker and told me I’d starve if I stayed there, might as well join up with them.
       I took to him right away.  His name was Will and he’d only been a soldier for a month.  He said the food was OK and he wasn’t getting beat by a one armed man any more so he reckoned he’d be a soldier.  Will was a year older than me, and at 15, a little taller, although I probably outweighed him by a few pounds.  We made a good team, both of us were good riders and we were assigned to a Major as messengers.

       Our company was caught off guard by a much larger force of Yankees one night and Will and I got separated.  When he found me I’d been shot through the fleshy upper right leg and he bandaged me up and helped me get on his horse.  He rode with me half the night till we caught up with the fast retreating company.  They left me at a hospital in Alabama and Will deserted to stay nearby.  After a while they discharged me and Will and I headed back towards my home in Kentucky.  A few nights into the ride we got word that the war was over.  The Yanks had won.

       I don’t remember when we decided to go west, it was probably in the summer of 1868 or 69.  I know we should have stayed in Kentucky.  The journey west was one of disappointment and difficulties.  Half of our wagon train didn’t make it as far as Oklahoma and about that time Will told me he wanted to try to go as far as California.  He said there was free land there and we could start a ranch together.

       We never made it.

       We worked for a man in Abilene long enough to buy twenty head of cattle and a bull.  Our horses were the same ones we had ridden during the war.  They were stout and capable.  It was the two of us who weren’t so stout.

       Two hundred miles north and east of Tucson is as far as we got.

       We’d built a cabin, expanded our heard to about 30 head, worked ourselves to the bone, and lived on antelope and corn pone.  The land we had decided to try to start our ranch on was free.  Hell, it should have been.  Rattlesnakes and coyotes are about all that could live there.   We were on the northern edge of the Sonoma desert.  We found a fresh water spring and dug it deep enough so we could water the stock.  We planted corn, potatoes, and tobacco.  Very little of it survived in the sandy soil.  We learned to make a flat dry bread out of cornmeal and water.  An Indian showed us how to do that.

       So we weren’t desperate, but we weren’t getting rich either.

       Then Will got sick.

       I’d heard of appendix while in the hospital  and all of his symptoms pointed to appendix poisoning.  I wanted to get him to a doctor right away but he said he’d be OK and that it was just the damned food.  But he didn’t get OK. 1 comment

       Now he was on a train headed for Tucson and I was just drifting off to sleep next to a bed of railroad tracks where the only other living things within two hundred miles were scorpions, coyotes, rattlesnakes and buzzards.

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