Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

Like Old Mother Hubbard, I had nothing in my cupboard. It was bare – and our barnyard was empty too.

I had a hankering for some fresh eggs and at the price of eggs today, well; it felt more frugal to get some chickens than drive to the store and buy a carton of eggs.

I missed having chickens.  There are so many things a person can do with eggs.  They were a staple in any kitchen.  It was a pity I was out.

If only I could get my hands on three or four layer chickens and perhaps a rooster… 

Hens lay eggs daily and if the rooster did his job perhaps one of the hens would go broody and hatch a few chicks. I smiled. It was a project worthy of dreaming about. Then again, why dream when one can make it a reality, it never costs anything to ask a question.  

(more…)

Read Full Post »

The camera lay around the photographer’s neck at the ready as he traversed the paved path through the cities park.  His sharp eyes had spotted nothing of interest thus far.  Once or twice he’d put the camera to his eye and snapped a picture just see if anything came to light once developed.  But, today, the subject matter along this path fell short of what he deemed worthy to capture along his daily hike.

He gazed up at the sky and wondered if rain would fall from roils of brooding grey clouds above him. Dismal, that is what the day was.  This park was dismal and empty as well – no subject matter or maybe; he was just bored of the same ol’, same ol’.

His mood was beginning to match the atmosphere – dark and foreboding, such a waste of his efforts thus far with his camera.  This path, a tried and true one, was a bust.  Perhaps if he were to deviate from this path and take the detour ahead toward the water’s edge, it would scare up something interesting to photograph.

He stepped on the narrow dirt trail and followed it as it wound downward toward the river’s edge ducking wayward branches and stepping over deadfall as hiked toward the water.  Not far in the distance, he could see an opening in the trail that opened to the river.  Not a great photo but he knelt and snapped a picture which depicted how opposites can sometimes enhance one another. It was a serene entrance guarded by what appeared to be atmospheric turbulence in the distance. It should have a sign posted that reads, “Enter at your own risk,” he thought crassly.

The disturbing and depressing inner revelation of his own mind surprised him. No matter, he shrugged.  Darkness can be corrected. Lightness and color could be added via filters which would enhance beauty where nature lacked it.  

He continued forward with renewed purpose, that is when he spotted a target worthy enough to freeze in time. 

If only he could capture the moment!

Quietly, he slid into position.  First kneeling and then adjusting himself into the prone position.

He reached for the camera and removed the lens cap while he stalked the target with his eyes. 

She belied beauty as she sat unaware of his presence on a felled tree, mesmerized by the lapping, flowing water at the river’s edge.

The frailty of the target in a moment of serene strength had him awe struck.  Her beauty glowed against the angry, brooding clouds in the back-ground and portrayed the mood which this picture would encapsulate.  It was perfect. She was beautiful.

He’d call this potential award winner, “Moody Blue.”  He could see this infamous picture framed in gold.

Slowly, deliberately, he moved the camera to his eye, first playing with the focus then readying his finger to snap the shot.  He could feel the excitement build; his heart pounded and his breath quickened as he fought to steady it in this moment where perfection lingered at his finger-tip.  It wouldn’t do to ruin this picture with a shaky hand. A photographer, like any good hunter, needs a steady hand to shoot its target – breath control is everything.  His breath eased slowly from his lips as his index finger hovered ready for action.

“Steady,” he breathed as a clap of thunder erupted above him and a wisp of wind drove a raindrop into his eye. Jerking in surprise, he snapped the shot.

When he opened his eyes again, his target had vanished as had the perfect moment in time.

Years later, the photographer admits to pulling out the discarded, wayward snap shot.  He says it still makes him feel moody and blue. Yet, he continues to wonder what would have happened if he’d had the courage to talk to the beauty on the river’s edge that day instead of trying to freeze her – unaware – in a moment of time.  

His only award from that day is in a still memory.  What might have been a picture perfect moment gilded in gold is now only something locked away in his personal memory bank for no other but him to admire.

And, ‘Moody Blue,’ that’s the depression he feels on days with roiling grey clouds devoid of a picturesque beauty. They remind him of the gloomy rain day when he missed a moment meant to be frozen in time only to re-live a harsh lesson from time to time – when you live your life through a lens, don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

 

Thank-you for following, reading, sharing and commentingThe Trefoil Muse

Read Full Post »

The horse and rider paused at the crest of the hill.

“Should we take the wagon trail home or cut through the coulee, Mari-bell?” Sarah asked unsure of her own mind.  If they took the wagon trail, it would take her another 5 miles to reach the ranch, an easy ride in good weather like it had been that morning but potentially deadly in the inclement weather which had suddenly appeared.  She wasn’t prepared for this.

It had been unusually mild weather for January, like a spring day – they called these warm winds Chinooks she’d been told. They were “snow eaters,” that lasted from hours to days.  Water had been dripping from the barn roof forming streamlets and pockets of water on her path to the barn.  She side-stepped numerous puddles on the way to retrieve her little golden mare with creamy mane and tail.  Mari-bell had nickered her usual soft greeting when Sarah opened the barn door.

She had loved Mari-bell from the first moment she’d laid eyes on her.   Her father had threatened to sell her at first.  “Too small for any of the ranch hands,” he’d said but Sarah rallied for the little palomino.  “The horse has a huge heart,” he’d admitted after seeing the girl and horse work cattle.  “She won’t quit until the job’s done and did everything and more that you asked of her Sarah!”  The girl and horse had an unnatural bond he figured after seeing how the two responded to one another. In the end, he relented and gave the mare to his daughter. It was a rarity not to see the horse and girl together now-a-days.

Mari-bell perked her ears forward and arched her neck over the edge of the stall as Sarah approached.  “Too warm for this thick woolen sweater Mother knit for me at Christmas that’s for sure Mari-bell,” Sarah crooned to the horse as she shed her jacket then removed the heavy sweater and hung it on the peg by the stall.  “A long sleeved shirt and jacket are all I’ll need today.”  She grinned as she pat the horse on the side of the neck, led her to the door of the barn, mounted and trotted away from the ranch toward the school.

How she wished she still had that sweater now! (more…)

Read Full Post »

Blue

She was giving and kind. They worshipped her like a Saint.  She was of the earth and moved about the land like a breath of fresh air.

They said he was the Devil.  His was a craggy, worn exterior.  People avoided him.  He was hard they observed – probably cruel.  He was fire and ice.  He’d burn you if he could.

No one knew for certain how they’d come upon one another but they were concerned for she epitomized all that was good – but he was evil.

It was pure magnetism that pulled them together.  Opposites attract or so it is said.

It so happened that she’d heard a sorrowful sound and followed it until she happened upon him.  When she’d found him, he was like a pool of iced over water cracking, groaning and crying for help.  He craved warmth, she could see it.  The magic happened when she looked beyond his icy blue depths and into his soul.

To him, she was like a downy white quilt that wrapped his hardened exterior in warmth.  When he looked into the darkness beyond her eyes – that is when he melted.

She held out her hand and he readily took it.  Holding her tightly in his arms, he waltzed with her over the tapestry of the earth to music of the Universe.

With their spirits entwined, they balanced and danced, bringing the world alive with beauty.

And, the people worried over the change in him.  It seemed unnatural.

Now, consensus is that she’s a Sorceress – wicked.

While he…, he is merely a man who has fallen under her spell.

‘But not all opinions are equal,’ she reasoned. And, she did not hold the opinions of others.

She had awareness; an awareness that the others did not; for she knew what had happened when the eyes of fire and ice met the eyes of earth and air – two souls collided and became one.

‘Eyes are the windows to the soul,’ she knew and she knew the power of ‘love.’

She held the opinion, ‘When souls unite in balance and beauty, love is neither wicked nor evil.  Love is a gift found within the eyes for any who dare look into their depths.’

Read Full Post »

Man Eater – Chapter 3

By: J.V. Andrus

 

It was summer now and all was calm.  I was outside playing one evening when I spotted my run away pony, Judy.  With her head down, she stood quietly in the corral by the barn, stamping her small hooves and flicking her thick white tail back and forth in an attempt to fight off the hoards of black flies that bit at her small golden body.  Slowly, I walked towards the barn and nonchalantly swung the gate closed to trap Judy.  I turned to find myself cornered.

I was frozen to the spot.  Man Eater dove at me, white rimmed eyes full of hate and black ears flattened to the back of his head.  Grabbing me with his teeth, he flung me into the air.  The world exploded as I hit the ground and in half a daze, I crawled under the corral to safety.

Luckily for me, the jacket I had been wearing was my brother’s and being four sizes too big, I had slipped out the bottom.  I sat and watched in mute silence as Man Eater tore the jacket to shreds, then turned heel and headed for the hills.  I was soon to learn that this would only be the first of many attacks by the insane stallion. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Man Eater – Chapter 2

By: J.V. Andrus

I was only a small girl but I’ll never forget the first time I saw that wild horse.  He was crazy-mad and full of hate.

We stood still as Daddy and Frank brought him through the yard, fighting and screaming.  His nostrils were flared wide and red and his white rimmed eyes were full of hate.  His head and short mane were caked with blood and lather covered his huge black body.

The angry stallion fought the ropes that circled his neck and held him between the two other horses.  He dived at Daddy’s horse only to be brought up tight by Frank’s rope.  He turned and charged at Frank but was thrown backwards when Daddy’s rope pulled tight.  He was a mass of flying feet and catching one of the ropes in his teeth bit down on it with such fury that the rope snapped but, Frank was too fast and another rope whistled through the air and landed over his head.

I was sick.  I thought the poor horse would kill himself before he would stop fighting.  It took the men an hour to corral the crazy, mad fighting horse. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Gone But Not Forgotten

I have always been fascinated by the power of words to convey a message.  When I was young, my mother used to read us stories some of which were her own.  I loved those stories.

J.V. Andrus
Dec. 2, 1934 – Oct. 10, 1989

Sometimes, however, an artist’s work isn’t fully recognized or appreciated until after they are gone – the following story has never been published but, it needs to be. It is a story I have never been able to get out of my mind.

Written by my mother, J.V. Andrus, Man Eater is about a wild mustang captured in the Alberta Foothills before the majority of wild horses disappeared from the range.

Many people like to romanticize the good old days – truth is, times were hard back then and the bitter reality of that truth can be harsh. The story of this wild mustang is raw.  It’s real. It is a battle between a wild animal fighting for a territory being encroached upon by man. So, let’s take a step back into our not so distant history and enjoy my mother’s story of a wild stallion who roamed free in the foothills of Alberta in the 1939’s or 1940’s.

Proudly, I present:  Man Eater by J.V. Andrus.

The following is Chapter 1 of 3.

Man Eater

By: J.V. Andrus

When I was a little girl, my family lived on the CC Ranch southwest of Nanton.  The Ranch, situated on Willow Creek was silhouetted by the wild and beautiful Rocky Mountains.

The land was filled with bush and farther in towards the mountain was thick timber.  I remember that it was not uncommon to see bear, moose and deer on this land.  We knew that many wild horses made their home in the mountains although they were rarely seen.

My story is about a black stallion who gained the band of wild horses and who was snared in the mountains by my Dad and his best friend Frank.

I had only seen the wild horses a few times.  My Dad, who was foreman of the CC Ranch, said the wild horses were inbred.  They had large over-sized heads, crooked legs and big pie feet.  Some were very small.  The wild horses usually had long unshed hair and the older mares had matted manes and tails that hung to the ground.

They stayed high up in the mountains most of the year and grazed on the tender grass that grew along the timber line.  Their bands were very small.  The cold harsh winters and deep snow found the colts and weaker mares starving.  Some were pulled down by Timber wolves, some by another hungry predator. During these times, wild horses usually descended from the mountains into the foothills.

The ranchers hated the wild horses. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Circles

 

The moon was still high when Vesta emerged from the lean-to.  She knelt by the fire and added kindling to the embers coaxing it to flame then added larger pieces of wood.  She could hear steady rhythmic breathing and snores.  The babe still slept soundly as well.  Vesta was certain her daughter was in good hands.  She needed to go and quietly sit away from camp in order to decipher the dreams that so disturbed her rest.

A movement to her right caught her eye, a red fox. It had stolen a meaty bone and was scampering away from camp.  Sly little fox, they were never to be trusted Vesta had learned.  They’re too smart for their own good she remembered as she thought back to the time she’d watched one get over confident when trying to steal from a wolf.  Its greed had been its undoing.  But, that was nature’s way. The strongest and more intelligent species survived.

She wrapped a fur blanket around her shoulders and started walking through the foothills toward the flat land.  From the edge of a grove of trees, yellow eyes followed her.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Spark of Life

“I’ll not be left here.”

“She speaks and, with stern words at that, Chin!”

Xheng’s eyes widened.  It was the first sentence Amarelle had spoken. The Captain relieved Amarelle of her abusive captor, the Preacher, almost a fortnight ago but she’d fallen into a mute silence after being rescued. He noticed a spark of life in her eyes.  Stiffness in her stance fore told a stubborn determination to have her way in this discussion.

“You are still too weak for a voyage over the ocean to the Canada’s, Amarelle,” Chin spoke his words softly and carefully so as not to cause the girl duress.

“I’ll not stay!” Amarelle stated with forceful intent.

“Well, she’s correct in thinking she can’t stay Chin!  The moment we are gone the Preacher will be claiming her once again and we can’t have that.  Gather up what tinctures you can for her and all the cheese, fat meats and bread makings you can to get her weight up while we journey.  Then procure some proper foot wear and clothing for the girl. She will be relegated to the Captain quarters while we sail.”

Smith gave Amarelle a quick once over.  The girl, although healing, was frail.  Outward bruising had disappeared but she had not overcome the trauma she’d endured at the Preacher’s hands.

“Deny her nothing Chin. Take her with you to gather her needs.  I suggest you hurray we leave on the tide come morning light.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

You’re being watched…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: