10 Pages in 10 Days – Waltz in the Wilderness – Day 3

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Chapter 1 – page 5

You trying to drive us out by starvation?”

     Eli peeked around Pa. Morgan snapped to at Pa’s suggestion that he and his pa were trying to steal their claim. Men had been killed over such suspicions.

     Pa was thinner than Job’s turkey now, but he still loomed over most men. His presence never failed to intimidate. He patted the ever-present Colt Walker at his waist.

     “No! No, sir, Big Jim! I swear!” Morgan backed away, hands raised. “I was just funnin’. I didn’t mean to make ya lose your fixin’s, I swear it. Please, you gotta believe me. I’m sorry, sir.”

     “Oh yeah?” Pa scratched his bearded chin, making a show of considering Morgan’s words. “And how am I supposed to know you’re telling the truth?”

     “I-I…” Morgan’s eyes drifted downward and then shot back up again. “I’ll bring ya my own fixin’s to make up for it!”

     Eli opened her mouth to protest, but it was no use.

     The boy was already racing away. “Back in a jiffy!”

     “Pa!” She swatted at his back, and he turned to face her. “We can’t take his food!”

     “We can and we will, Son. He’s done us wrong, and it’s only right that he should make amends.”


     “And we needed to distract him from what he saw.” He lifted an eyebrow, and she blushed. “Now get in that tent and out of sight before he gets back.”

     Snapping her mouth shut, Eli ducked into their tent, grateful for the one luxury they’d managed to keep since coming to the fields. She’d sold off everything else they owned, piece-by-piece, animal after animal, as the months turned into a year and all the gold those blowhard trappers and hornswoggling newspapers promised Pa had failed to appear.

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