Vagabond

A place to enjoy the interactive sport of Roleplay exercises, post your prose, short stories, story poems, prose poems and epics. This forum does not autoprune

Moderators: LadySaturn, Spazway, moonflower

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Vagabond

Post by heinzs » Fri May 03, 2002 9:47 pm

Vagabond
part 1: Autumn

Sunlight glistens off cornstalks moist with early morning dew. A spider's web shines like a lace curtain festooned with pearls. The road stretches invitingly before me, and I savor the cool autumn air. As I walk I brush the last of the pine needles from my clothing - a consequence of sleeping under the shelter of the trees. Albuquerque was a long time ago, and I almost have to strain to see her face in the mirror of my mind. The memories linger, and I smile. Bluejays cackle at me from the field, and I playfully chuck a stone in their general direction just to see them start and fly away.

Past the cornfield is an enormous patch of ripening pumpkins - bright orange against green vines. Visions of myriad Jack-o-Lanterns glowing gleefully on All-Hallows Eve make me smile yet again. Next to spring, harvest time appeals to my sensibilities. The transitioning seasons bring me the greatest pleasure, and I can well do without summer's dry heat and winter's scornful chilly dampness.

An approaching dust cloud warns me of a vehicle of some sort heading in my direction. I gingerly step off the track as the high-laden hay truck careens precariously by. The farmers are always in a hurry to get their goods to market. Down the road a bit I see a house - at one time painted white, the cracking tint now almost like spatters of milk or eggshells on a grey wooden backdrop. There is a well, and I eagerly crank the pump handle to draw up some water to quench my burgeoning thirst.

A face appears momentarily at the window.

"Excuse me, ma'am. Is it alright if I take a little water - I'm mighty thirsty?"

The lady stands at the screen door, aproned over gingham, barefoot, blonde hair tousled as if by the wind.

"Sure now. You kin use that thar bucket so's you don't make too much mud by the pump." I thanked her and drank deeply. The water was cool and refreshing - like the glint in her blue eyes.

"Is there any work a feller can do around these parts to earn a meal?" I asked, as I hadn't eaten in a day or two.

"Got a barn and a stable need cleanin' over thar. I reckon I kin feed ya if'n you git in an hour or two work."

part 2: Labors of Hercules

I am no stranger to the pitchfork. There is something rewarding in the repetitive action of scooping up heaping forkfuls of dung-laden straw, then heaving them onto the growing manure pile. There was plenty of fresh straw to put down as bedding for the horse and the two cows to cushion their hooves. I disturbed a hen with a clutch of 3 eggs which I set aside for later. After about an hour in the sweltering heat of the barn I removed my shirt and hanged it on a nail by the door. The barnyard cat came over to me once to rub against my legs in acknowledgment of my presence in her unquestioned territory. I reflected, while I worked, on the past year's events.

Madeline and I had established a comfortable business in New Mexico, or so I had thought. I was so blithely unaware of the undercurrents and the affair she was having with my partner. I don't know what pernicious whim of fate left her journal open to that damning page. The talk of steamy sex and the plans to kill me for the insurance money - an "accident" it would seem - was like a solid kick to the gut. Going home and finding them together was the clincher and confirmation that it was true.

Harvey had come at me with a knife - and in the struggle I took a gash on my left arm, leaving a scar. I managed to fend him off, but as we tumbled to the ground the knife turned and cleanly pierced his chest with fatal results. Madeline seemed unconcerned and said she would send me to jail for murder now, and she would still collect insurance and inherit the business. I chose to leave then, to become a fugitive and start a new life wherever my feet would take me.

...She was standing in the barn door, quiet and cool, I don't know for how long.

"You work fine for a city feller." she said, "C'mon in now, lunch is ready." I put on my shirt and collected up the eggs I had found and followed her.

Biscuits and gravy, hash browns, pork belly bacon, and coffee - thick as molasses - I dug in.

"Thank you, ma'am." I said. "I'll finish in the barn and then be on my way. I 'preciate your hospitality."

"No need to hurry off," she said. "I could use a hand 'round here for a few days. Cain't pay much, but there's plenty of food, and I've got some clean clothes might fit you. They're left from when my husband died. 'Pears you might clean up real fine."

part 3: Farmhand

I stayed after the barn was done. Libby laid out some clothes for me to choose from - they fit me quite adequately. It was a pleasant change to have something clean to wear. I made my bed in the handyman's loft over the stable. Clean sheets on a tick mattress - like heaven after pine needles and assorted small rocks. I decided to bathe in the barn using a bucket of well water and soap given to me for the purpose. It was a bit brisk and I rinsed quickly, then dried myself and dressed for warmth against the evening chill. I slept peacefully for the first time in many long weeks.

Morning - a soft, hazy dawn heralded by the rooster's crow. I made the morning rounds of the barnyard, feeding and watering the critters. The cows needed milking so I did that, too. I could smell the bacon and coffee being prepared in the kitchen. Libby was humming and singing a gentle song to herself as she worked - a song I did not recognize. I knocked on the kitchen door and was invited in with my two pails of milk.

She had taken time to do up her hair - her blonde tresses softly framed her chiseled features. It was a face that spoke of both joy and sadness and above all hard work.

"I need to get a load of cheese into town today," she said. "I kin trade it at the general store for more vittles - bacon and flour."

So after breakfast I hitched the horse to the buckboard and loaded it up. She trusted me to watch the farm while she drove to town with her errands.

"David," she said, "I kin see in your eyes that you're an honest and trustworthy man." Then she waved goodbye and clicked her tongue at the horse to let him know she was ready to go.

I settled in with the obvious chores - much of the farm had deteriorated from unavoidable neglect. I resolved to rectify this as much as was possible with the limited resources to hand. I have never been a moocher, but always paid my own way. I enjoy getting my back into a project and relish the sheer pleasure of the physical activity. I took my shirt off and started in on the depleted woodpile. That, alone, would take most of the day.

part 4: Voyeur

The day went quickly. There is nothing like the satisfaction of seeing a pile of timber become a neat stack of firewood. When Libby returned she sat on the buckboard for a short while watching me - until I came over to unload it and unhitch the horse. I thought I imagined a slight blush on her cheeks as she passed me on her way into the house. When I was done I came in to have dinner with her. She had splurged and bought a steak, which she grilled on the flames from the stove. We shared this largesse quietly. Every now and then our eyes would meet, and she would shyly gaze away.

Afterwards I excused myself, thanking her for the excellent meal, and headed to the barn to wash and prepare for bed. I stripped as usual and lathered off the day's sweat. As I was rinsing, I thought I heard something behind me. I turned, but saw nothing. Then the horse snorted, and I chuckled to myself and dressed for bed.

In the coming week I would learn more of how Libby survived alone on her small farm. One neighbor used her fields for hay in exchange for bales of hay and straw as fodder and bedding. Libby traded her handmade cheese and butter in town for things she could not produce herself. The chickens provided eggs and an occasional stew when there was an 'extra' rooster or a hen ceased to lay. There was also a small orchard that produced enough fruit for a winter's worth of applesauce and several delicious cherry pies.

The strange feeling of "being watched" returned several times. During the day I caught Libby staring at my shirtless form as I worked, but she always returned quickly to her own numerous tasks. It was in the evening, while bathing, that the feeling became the strongest. Once I had even stepped naked and soapy out the barn door only to find nothing there. I began to think that Madeline had me followed or the constables were after me, but I poo-pooed that thought. "Paranoia," I muttered to myself.

On Saturday Libby made steak again. She had found a bottle of wine, which we shared with dinner. She became a bit giddy and excused herself to lie down for a little while. I finished dinner, stacked the dishes, and stoked the stove. Calling out my thanks, I headed to the barn for the night. Once again, as I was washing, I heard a noise behind me. I turned, and Libby was standing in the barn doorway, staring.

"Sorry!" I blurted as I tried to cover myself. "Didn't mean to offend!" But she continued to stand there.

"Don't stop", she said, "It's been such a very long time... I just want to watch you. You look so much like my husband."

part 5: Fugitive

She paled slightly and collapsed where she stood. I checked her, and she was breathing just fine - only fainted. The wine must have affected her more than expected. I dressed and picked her up. she mumbled quietly - "Arthur... I miss you." Her eyelids fluttered. I carried her into the house and set her gently on her bed. She stirred once and slept.

Libby tried to behave normally on Sunday, but she had embarrassed herself greatly. I tried to reassure her, but she would have none of it and continued to apologize every time our paths crossed. By evening she seemed to recover a bit.

"I guess I miss Arthur more than I like to let on," she explained at dinner. "You fit in here so well - I guess I just got carried away." I told her I understood and was really quite flattered. She seemed to take heart at that and wished me a good night as I headed for the barn.

"Don't worry," she said, "I won't be a-spyin' on you no more," and she actually grinned.

Monday - cheese and butter day. There was also a bushel of lovely apples to spare as well. I hitched up 'ol Ned and loaded the buckboard. Libby waved and clucked and off they went. The day seemed to go well without any unusual events. I was working on the porch steps when Libby returned. I could tell immediately that something was wrong from the way she sat. I took care of the horse and came into the kitchen.

"David," she said, her eyes averted, "There's a poster up in the General Store - 'pears to be your picture on it. Sez you killed a feller in Albuquerque." My heart fell at this news. I explained everything to her, and she gave me a strong hug.

"I believe you, David. I'm a good judge of people."

I knew it wouldn't be long before suspicion would find its way to Libby's farm. The talk about her "new hand" would surely send the curious sheriff out here to "check it out." I had no delusions that I could successfully defend myself here or back home. I determined it was time to move on. Libby was disappointed, but she was used to dealing with life's "little" upsets. She'd been fine before I came, she'd be fine when I left.

That night, as I lay in the loft bed, I heard the door softly open and the patter of bare feet on the plank floor. She touched my shoulder gently and when I turned towards her she placed her finger on my lips to shush me up. The full moon shone through the gable window, framing her in a golden glow. Her eyes sparkled and I knew that I wanted her as much as she obviously wanted me.

I packed and left the next morning while she still slept. A fugitive and a vagabond I may be, but I will always remember that farm, that autumn, and my Libby.

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Vagabond

Post by heinzs » Tue Jun 11, 2002 12:25 am

Hey, I like this story...

User avatar
The Ravyn
riding the cyclone
Posts: 306
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: We miss you Jen
Location: Denver, CO
Contact:

Vagabond

Post by The Ravyn » Sat Jul 12, 2003 8:20 am

:bump:

User avatar
Mary O

Vagabond

Post by Mary O » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:37 pm

Hey . . .I like this story as well. Good conflict and your pictures [supper discriptions] put me right there. Great stuff! <img border="0" alt="[ThumbsUp]" title="" src="graemlins/thumbsup.gif" />

~Mary O

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Vagabond

Post by heinzs » Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:47 am

Thanks for the bump, Jenn!

Thank you Mary!

<img border="0" alt="[Hello]" title="" src="graemlins/wave1.gif" />

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Post by heinzs » Tue Nov 11, 2003 5:48 pm

here are additional comments from a repost I have since deleted:

heinzs
Posted: 24 Aug 2003 04:37:pm Post subject: Vagabond
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ok. I edited this from poem format to text format. It's still one of my fav stories, so let me know what YOU think.


Mary O
Posted: 24 Aug 2003 10:52:pm Post subject: Vagabond
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes indeed, a very nice story, Heinzs. I enjoyed this first time I read it as well
**************************************
An' it harm none, do what ye will. Blessed Be.
Image
***************************************
My Poet's Page Archive | Topics I've started

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Post by heinzs » Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:38 am

:roll:
**************************************
An' it harm none, do what ye will. Blessed Be.
Image
***************************************
My Poet's Page Archive | Topics I've started

User avatar
Tom Watson
Forever Silent Friend
Posts: 1336
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Location: Novato, CA USA
Contact:

Post by Tom Watson » Sun Jul 24, 2005 1:21 pm

Finally read this Heinz, and it is most fascinating... leaves me curious as to what other adventures await David...
Don't let it go..

Tom
Image
"Whispers of Love" a book of poetry expressing love of the heart and spirit is released worldwide on August 11, 2009. Visit my home page at
Books From Grace for more information or Amazon.com

User avatar
negatvone
Deranged Marshmallow; Leader of The Twin
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sun Feb 29, 2004 9:53 pm
Location: Anywhere my head rests
Contact:

Post by negatvone » Sun Jul 24, 2005 1:42 pm

:book: I'm into it. Don't stop. Not yet.

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Post by heinzs » Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:39 pm

Thanks fellas!


:cool:
**************************************
An' it harm none, do what ye will. Blessed Be.
Image
***************************************
My Poet's Page Archive | Topics I've started

User avatar
Eternum 1
Black Ferret Poet
Posts: 2112
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:59 am
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Post by Eternum 1 » Sun Jul 24, 2005 6:53 pm

Enjoyable read Heinzs...has a William Faulkner feel to it and he is the best of the southern writers from that era when transients were anglos as well.

:cool:

ET
Image

***********************

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Post by heinzs » Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:28 pm

Thanks for the compliment, ET.

:cool:
**************************************
An' it harm none, do what ye will. Blessed Be.
Image
***************************************
My Poet's Page Archive | Topics I've started

User avatar
negatvone
Deranged Marshmallow; Leader of The Twin
Posts: 1170
Joined: Sun Feb 29, 2004 9:53 pm
Location: Anywhere my head rests
Contact:

Post by negatvone » Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:30 pm

I do expect you to ellaborate on this more. You started it. How about some more?



Get to typing.

User avatar
Eternum 1
Black Ferret Poet
Posts: 2112
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:59 am
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Post by Eternum 1 » Fri May 19, 2006 11:03 pm

:cool:
Image

***********************

User avatar
heinzs
The Fat Cat
Posts: 8299
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:01 am
Tag line: Do no harm
Location: Novato, CA
Contact:

Re: Vagabond

Post by heinzs » Fri May 28, 2010 8:27 pm

:bump:
**************************************
An' it harm none, do what ye will. Blessed Be.
Image
***************************************
My Poet's Page Archive | Topics I've started

Post Reply

Return to “Prose, Stories, Roleplays, Story Poems and Epics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests