Author Topic: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts  (Read 3150 times)

Offline ablelaz

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Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« on: December 06, 2009, 07:39:46 PM »
Frontier Justice  -PART 1

Pete Shaw was on the last leg of his trip home, after delivering a herd of ten cattle to a buyer, near the small community of Millers Flats. He had driven the herd across the mountain, using Spicer Pass. It was a small, rugged pass, rarely used, that lay just behind his spread. Pete’s biggest consideration in opting for the rougher rout was the eighteen mile it saved him.

Topping a ridge, Pete saw the column of black, smoke rising into a cloudless, sky. There as absolutely no doubt in his mind, this had to be coming from his ranch, there was nothing else close enough, that would create this amount of smoke.

He kicked his horse into a shambling run. The roan was a big rawboned mare, she looked more like a plow horse than a saddler. Pete hadn’t picked her for speed; she was a mountain horse and a good one. Her stamina, meant she could keep up a relatively fast pace of three or four miles an hour, on rugged terrain for a very long time without rest, providing she had ample food and water at night. Running was not something she was asked to do very often and certainly not her idea of a good time. Still she made what Pete estimated, a three mile run in about fourteen minutes, although that wouldn’t win many races, it was very good effort for her.

One glance told Pete the need for speed was long past due, the destruction of his ranch house was complete. The out buildings were untouched, the barn and a utility shed, both stark and unpainted, stood much like he had left them, except the barn door was ajar.

Random thoughts crowded his mind as he mechanical unsaddled and tended the mare. How could Katy, have been so careless, to have allowed a tragedy of this magnitude to happen? Had it been winter it would have been understandable, with the need to heat the house, but no heat would have been required last night. Having finished his chores with the horse, Pete turned, thoughtlessly toward the remains of the house. He paused as if confused, glanced at the barn, then changed direction, heading toward the barn instead. If asked to explain his action, it would have been rather difficult—it was a reaction to the door being open, as much as anything.

When Pete entered the barn it was the first indication, that what happened was not an accident. The three horses that should have been here were gone, a mule the only other animal belonging here, was laying dead in it stall, shot in the head. The mind set, that would allow someone to shoot an animal simply because it was of no use to him and little value on the open market was noted.

Pete mechanically collected the things he would need on the trail. From a locked cupboard in the far end of the barn he took a Sharps buffalo gun, a box of ammo, two boxes for the Winchester and one for his colt. From a hook on the side of the cupboard he took a sheathed knife, which he strung on his belt, to the left side of his waist. Placing his supplies on top of a pile of blankets, Pete measured a four day ration of oats into a gunny sack. With the gunny sack in one hand and the rest of his supplies wrapped in a bundle of blankets in the other Pete headed for what had been his home, a short time ago.

The investigation of the wreckage of the house was systematic, room by room, relying largely on his remembered layout of the house. He had found two broken oil lamps, judging from their location he was pretty sure this was what started the fire. As he poked around in what had been Katy and his bed room, he lifted a portion of roof that had fallen, but for some reason hadn’t burned totally. Under this piece of charred wood, Pete found what he had been dreading. On the bed was the charred body of what Pete knew could only have been his wife. It was apparent that she had been on the bed, before the house was torched. Of course there was no way for him to know what had happened, before the fire was set. The slow fire burning in his gut was intensified by any speculation he applied to the scenario, so he put it from his mind.  He did not need his judgment clouded by emotion, the task he had already assigned himself, would take all his skill. Methodically he searched the rest of the site, but found nothing else of a significant nature.

The failure to find any other human remains led Pete to believe his eight year old daughter; Peggy was a prisoner of the raiders. She certainly is alive he reasoned. They wouldn’t have bothered taking a body and if she is alive its because they see a profit in keeping her that way.

Pete brought a blanket in and was transferring all the body part that he could identify as such on to it. He carried the blanket and its content to a site fifteen feet north of where the houses rear door had been. Three cotton wood trees Katy had planted in a sort of a triangle, was where Pete decided the grave would be.

He resented the time it would take to put Kate’s remains into the earth, but he could not let even the remaining scraps of her, fall prey to wild animals. He had only marked the outline of the grave, when he notices a wagon coming over the brink of a hill to the west. There wasn’t any mystery as to who his visitors would be. The Johannes, were neighbors to the Shaw’s and neighbors were a rare and valuable commodity on the frontier. The Johannes lived a little less than twelve miles to the west and were the closest neighbors, the Shaw’s had.

Pete had just finished taking the first layer of dirt out of the grave when the Johannes’s wagon pulled up beside him.

“Good lord! Pete what in the world happened here?” Orloff Johannes spook in a thick Swedish dialect, which Pete had more than a little problem understanding.

“I just got home from a cattle drive this morning and this is what I found. It looks like four men raided my ranch last night or early this morning. They have killed my wife burned my home down and kidnapped my daughter, they have a lot to answer for and they will.” The Johannes’s were struck by the absolute lack of warmth in Pete’s face. The smile that generally shaped his mouth into a greeting was gone, replace by a cruel harsh line.

Oscar the oldest of the Johannes boys stepped forward, when he started to speak Pete listened intently to what he had to say. The boy spoke much better English, than either of his parents and if there was anything to learn this was his best chance.

“Sir; me and my brother were in Crystal Wells three days ago, all the talk was about three men who were arisen hell there about. They seemed to be lead by a man called himself Slick Slade. Another called Whitey, he was said to be an albino Indian. The other was name of Tom—something it was said he didn’t seem too bright, but was as strong as a bull. Anyway they killed a man in a bar room brawl. Sheriff said there was nothing he could do, because as far as he could see the fight was fair. He did strongly suggest they leave town and they seemed to take that advice to heart. When we were told they left town heading east, we headed for home, didn’t want to leave the place undefended with animals like them about.”

“Well it’s possible it was the same ones, but they must have picked up a companion, all the signs around here suggest four horses.”

“Oh yea I forgot to tell you, they were travailing with a half-breed squaw.”

Orloff stepped forward. “Me and my boys will look after the grave, we will lay the pieces of her in there gentle and when you and Peggy get back we can have a proper ceremony.”

“I’m not much for religion, but I expect Katy would have liked that.”

Pete handed the shovel to young Oscar and without another word, began saddling the mare. 

“The quicker I get started, the less time Peggy has to put up with those animals. I appreciate the help, it won’t be forgotten.”

Pete urged the mare, carefully balancing his need for speed with the horse’s ability to perform. The trail was leading almost due south, but Pete knew south, or east the trail would eventually enter the mountains.

Fifteen minutes later he noticed were the trail he was following, veered sharply to the east. The tell tale line of crushed and bent over vegetation marked the trail the outlaws had taken. He set a course that would intersect the outlaws trail at about the base of the foot hills. The mare had settled into a fast, but reluctant walk, still sulking about being pressed into extra duty. Pete relaxed in the saddle on the trip to the foot hills, realizing for the first time since this ordeal had begin, just how tired he was. Pushing on last night in favor of getting home sooner, was now testing his endurance—still he would rather this ended to-night if possible.

The trail was good, but there was a slight upward tilt to it, which got more acute with each passing mile. By the time Pete reached the outlaws trail, he reckoned he had about an hour of fast diminishing daylight left. He hadn’t followed the trail more than fifty feet, when he noticed one of the seven horses was missing.

An odd, shiver crept across his chest. He couldn’t for the life of himself understand why he wasn’t already dead. By not paying close enough attention to the trail he had walked into a trap, but for some unknown reason it wasn’t being sprung. Turning he retraced his steps back down the trail he had just came up, each step taken with expectation that it could be his last.

At last he reached the point, where the back trail guard had eased off to the north. Pete knew he would be searching for a good ambush location, one that offered a view of the trail. He traveled slowly now trying to keep the trail in sight, as darkness slowly, but surly closed in.
Pete dismounted; standing silent he was sure he could hear the sound of chopping, not with an axe, but perhaps with a heavy knife. He tied the big mare to a tree and moved slowly and silently toward the sound.

In a hollow, formed within a clump of vegetation a man crouched, hacking at a small tree. Pete silently, went about locating his horse and a Sharps buffalo gun, which was lying beside the trail. The man’s leg was caught in a bear trap and he was silently hacking away the small tree the trap was anchored to.

“What are you doing, Tom?”

“Hu! Oh you scared me. How do you know my name?”

“Ha, ha—I always like to get to know the men, I’m going to kill.”

“Why would you want to kill me? Hell I don’t even know you.”

“Well you should get to know the men you’re robbing. You raided my ranch house, stole my horses, killed my wife, kidnapped my daughter and burned down my ranch house.” While Pete talked he bound the captive’s hands together, using a wrap method that was used by hunters to hoist their larger kills, for gutting and skinning.

“We didn’t kill your wife. We didn’t kill anybody.”

“Did you really think I wouldn’t find her remain, in the ashes of the house.” Suddenly understanding swept over the big mans face.

“Hell, man that was Crazy Betty—she dogged us for nearly three years. That squaw finally lost her grip on reality and attacked Slick with an oil lamp. He shot her in self defense. We throw her body on the bed before we torched the house, but she was already dead.”

Pete struggled with his emotion for some time. The news that his wife might be alive was welcome, but it did nothing to cure the cold hatred he had for these men.

“That’s good news, but it doesn’t change a thing. You are alive because I think I may be able to use you, if I find I can’t, you will no longer have a reason for living.”

Even though the big man had a very serious injury to his right leg Pete tied him securely to a tree.
Methodically he gathered the big man’s pistol and knife. Stuffing them into the saddle bag, he made himself a promise to tidy them later.

Pete glanced at his prisoner as he passed.

“Behave yourself; you just might live until to-morrow.” A faint trail led east into the briers, directly toward a cliff face, twenty feet further and it ended abruptly. The trial disappeared into a thicket which seemed to be growing right at the base of the cliff.

Pete crawled forward thought the dangerous thorn bushes, noting as he progressed that many of the thorns had generous tuffs of a brown fur snagged on them.  The cave at the end of the trail was pungent with the odor of bear. The cave extended into the cliff face about eight feet and was about five feet wide. A great place for a nap, but the odor of bear, drove Pete to find a place in the open. Further along the cliff he found a shelf, jutting out from the face of the cliff.  A few arm loads of dry pine needles, covered with a bear skin, hide side down, a blanket and bedroll made up the rest of what was needed for his bed.

Pete had the unique ability of most frontiers man, that knack of prescribing how long he would sleep, or he thought, he use to have it and time would tell if it still worked.

Sleep came almost instantly.

Pete’s eyes flashed open, but he didn’t move a muscle, just laid there letting his senses soak up what information was available. Hearing nothing he slid silently from the shelf that was his bed. Reaching down he deliberately picked up each boot held it upside down and shook it vigorously, before inserting his foot. Winchester in hand he started the slow and dangerous trip back up the trail. The sky sported a thick blanket of clouds which effectively blocked even the slimmest ray of light. Pete operated almost entirely on his memory of the trail, gained from traveling it once. When he was about half way up the trail he stopped. Just ahead and to his right he heard the sounds of muffled conversation.
Crawling on his stomach, Pete managed to close the distance, so he could distinguish shapes. Aiming the rifle at the shadowy figure he said.

“Lay the rifle down and let’s talk.” Pete was already changing positions as the three shot rang out. He could hear them impacting the ground to his left, where he had been laying seconds ago. He snapped the rifle up aimed and pulled it to the left just as he squeezed the trigger. 

“That was a warning shot the next will be right in your gizzard. Lay the rifle down, and I won’t have to kill you.”         

The big shadowy figure was silent, and motionless almost as if he was deep in thought.

“Pete?—is that you Pete?”

“Bear Jennings—as I live and breath. I thought a grizz, would have eaten you long ago.” 

“Well I heard you took up with a female woman, decided to grow cows and kids. I mourned you for near six months. I couldn’t imagine a guy surviving longer then that, so I went back to work. Come on in here and tell me what this is all about.”

Pete brought the grizzled old mountain man up to date with as much detail as he could. There was an awkward silence that followed.

“Let me get this straight in my head, three guys kidnapped your wemen folk, and this specimen is one of them. He was setup to guard the back trail, but you captured him. Now you’re saving him for what? Some little fat man in a black rode, to say guilty—hell man you know he’s guilty, slice his throat and lets get after the other two.”


Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2009, 07:58:41 PM »

Pete Shaw was on the last leg of his trip home, after delivering a herd of ten cattle to a buyer, near the small community of Millers Flats. He had driven the herd across the mountain, using Spicer Pass. It was a small, rugged pass, rarely used, that lay just behind his spread. Pete’s biggest consideration in opting for the rougher rout was the eighteen mile it saved him.

Topping a ridge, Pete saw the column of black, smoke rising into a cloudless, sky. - why have you got commas between the adjective and the noun?
There as absolutely no doubt in his mind, this had to be coming from his ranch, there was nothing else close enough, (another unneeded comma) that would create this amount of smoke. - you spend too much time telling us it must be coming from his ranch. Do it in one short sentence.

He kicked his horse into a shambling run. The roan was a big rawboned mare, she looked more like a plow horse than a saddler. - telling. Show us what she looked like. Pete hadn’t picked her for speed; she was a mountain horse and a good one. Her stamina, (don't need this comma) meant she could keep up a relatively fast pace of three or four miles an hour, on rugged terrain for a very long time without rest, providing she had ample food and water at night. Running was not something she was asked to do very often and certainly not her idea of a good time. Still she made what Pete estimated, a three mile run in about fourteen minutes, (full stop) although that wouldn’t win many races, it was very good effort for her.

One glance told Pete the need for speed was long past due, the destruction of his ranch house was complete. The out buildings were untouched, the barn and a utility shed, both stark and unpainted, stood much like he had left them, except the barn door was ajar.

Random thoughts crowded his mind as he mechanical unsaddled and tended the mare. How could Katy, have been so careless, to have allowed a tragedy of this magnitude to happen? Had it been winter it would have been understandable, with the need to heat the house, but no heat would have been required last night. Having finished his chores with the horse, Pete turned, thoughtlessly toward the remains of the house. He paused as if confused, glanced at the barn, then changed direction, heading toward the barn instead. If asked to explain his action, it would have been rather difficult—it was a reaction to the door being open, as much as anything.

When Pete entered the barn it was the first indication, that what happened was not an accident. The three horses that should have been here were gone, a mule the only other animal belonging here, was laying dead in it stall, shot in the head. The mind set,(what does this mean?) that would allow someone to shoot an animal simply because it was of no use to him and little value on the open market was noted.

Pete mechanically (you used this word not long ago) collected the things he would need on the trail. From a locked cupboard in the far end of the barn he took a Sharps buffalo gun, a box of ammo, two boxes for the Winchester and one for his colt. From a hook on the side of the cupboard he took a sheathed knife, which he strung on his belt, to the left side of his waist. Placing his supplies on top of a pile of blankets, Pete measured a four day ration of oats into a gunny sack. With the gunny sack in one hand and the rest of his supplies wrapped in a bundle of blankets in the other Pete headed for what had been his home, a short time ago. - this happens to quickly. There was nothing showing us what's going through his head and why he made this decision.

The investigation of the wreckage of the house was systematic, room by room, relying largely on his remembered layout of the house. He had found two broken oil lamps, judging from their location he was pretty sure this was what started the fire. As he poked around in what had been Katy and his bed room, he lifted a portion of roof that had fallen, but for some reason hadn’t burned totally. Under this piece of charred wood, Pete found what he had been dreading. On the bed was the charred body of what Pete knew could only have been his wife. It was apparent that she had been on the bed, before the house was torched. Of course there was no way for him to know what had happened, before the fire was set. The slow fire burning in his gut was intensified by any speculation he applied to the scenario, so he put it from his mind.  He did not need his judgment clouded by emotion, the task he had already assigned himself, would take all his skill. Methodically he searched the rest of the site, but found nothing else of a significant nature.

The failure to find any other human remains led Pete to believe his eight year old daughter; Peggy was a prisoner of the raiders. She certainly is alive he reasoned. They wouldn’t have bothered taking a body and if she is alive its because they see a profit in keeping her that way.


Commas you don't need are in bold.


I'll stop there, because the same problems with punctuation and sentence structure continue.
I do like the story and where it's leading, the questions that are emerging. The only other thing I'll comment on is over-describing certain things, such as the horse, and using too many words to say some things.
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Offline ablelaz

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 12:30:52 PM »
Hi PretzelGirl---I thank you for the time and effort you went to, preparing your comment. I do acknowledge that the over use of any words is not considered good in a literary sense. The thing is it seems rather impractical to simply high light all the word [was] that appear in a story.

As far as the punctuation goes you are right on the mark. I acknowledge that punctuation is by far my greatest weakness.

Quote: --- “You spend too much time telling us it must be coming from his ranch. Do it in one short sentence.

The infringing into word or phraseology choice is generally done when there is credibility or confusion issue.

In short I’m saying your remarks may well have some merit, but they are presented as fact. Let me suggest that if I simple said, Pete knew it was coming from his ranch and started racing him home. I believe there would have been those that would ask how he could be so sure.

Quote: ---“ telling. Show us what she looked like.”

In all due respect, I suggest the way I have describe this horse is the most cost effective in a word sense. The descriptive words necessary to describe a plow horse from a saddler would be awesome, especially if those reading are not familiar with horses. It seems to me your suggestion would make my story a little more understandable to those that aren’t likely to read it anyway. At the same time it would make it a little boring to those that are apt to read it.  

The mind set; refers to the way a given person thinks.

Quote: --- “this happens to quickly. There was nothing showing us what's going through his head and why he made this decision.”

I think the events stated, go a long way to describing his thoughts. He sees his horses are missing, his mule is dead. This tells him what has taken place and his actions tell pretty much what he intends to do about it. Of course there is the possibility someone will not understand.

Anyway your suggestions in regard to word or phrase choice are little more than a point of view. Expressed in that manner they are fair game, but expressed as a fact, they infringe on the writers style and artistic license.

Thanks once again for your impute I will consider all your suggestion with care.

Talk to you soon---ablelaz.   P S You seems to be telling me different thing, depending on where you say it. Show me the difference between the horses and then, your using too many words to describe the horse.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 12:34:16 PM by ablelaz »

Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 06:14:38 PM »
Are you critiquing my critique?

I might be back when I have more time to say something constructive, just passing through at the moment.
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 06:38:11 PM »
I can't imagine him preparing his stores.weapons/ etc for the revenge trail before checking the house for his wife and child.  Revenge is an amazingly powerful motive, but it needs a real cause, not mere supposition.  Sorry, but that bit lacked any credibility.

I understand cold and methodical at times of great stress. but show us the stress and the bitter realisation first, and then the urgency as he realises his daughter is probably still alive.

In fairness the way he leaves his neighbours to finish the burial does do a fair job of the latter.

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Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 06:40:21 PM »
I was thinking against replying, but in the hopes of making things clearer for you, here it is.

Quote
I do acknowledge that the over use of any words is not considered good in a literary sense. The thing is it seems rather impractical to simply high light all the word [was] that appear in a story.

I highlight the repeated words to let you have a visual impression. It becomes a lot more obvious that you’ve repeated a word without me having to say it.
I’ll be the one to decide what’s impractical for me.

Quote
  Quote: --- “You spend too much time telling us it must be coming from his ranch. Do it in one short sentence.

The infringing into word or phraseology choice is generally done when there is credibility or confusion issue.

In short I’m saying your remarks may well have some merit, but they are presented as fact. Let me suggest that if I simple said, Pete knew it was coming from his ranch and started racing him home. I believe there would have been those that would ask how he could be so sure.

(regarding: “Topping a ridge, Pete saw the column of black, smoke rising into a cloudless, sky. There as absolutely no doubt in his mind, this had to be coming from his ranch, there was nothing else close enough, that would create this amount of smoke.”)

You can convey the character’s confusion in other, more effective ways, rather than a run-on sentence. Your run on sentence is also all telling, which is also a poor way of communicating how your character feels.

Quote
Quote: ---“ telling. Show us what she looked like.”

In all due respect, I suggest the way I have describe this horse is the most cost effective in a word sense. The descriptive words necessary to describe a plow horse from a saddler would be awesome, especially if those reading are not familiar with horses. It seems to me your suggestion would make my story a little more understandable to those that aren’t likely to read it anyway. At the same time it would make it a little boring to those that are apt to read it.   

A plough horse would be more bulky, a saddle horse more agile. You do not need a list of adjectives to show.

All I am saying is that you’re telling too much, and that is more likely to make it boring.

Quote

The mind set; refers to the way a given person thinks.


It does not make sense in the sentence:

“The mind set, that would allow someone to shoot an animal simply because it was of no use to him and little value on the open market was noted.”

Quote

Quote: --- “this happens to quickly. There was nothing showing us what's going through his head and why he made this decision.”

I think the events stated, go a long way to describing his thoughts. He sees his horses are missing, his mule is dead. This tells him what has taken place and his actions tell pretty much what he intends to do about it. Of course there is the possibility someone will not understand.

You need to get the reader into the characters head, his thought processes and reasoning, even if the decision he has made seems obvious.

Quote
Anyway your suggestions in regard to word or phrase choice are little more than a point of view. Expressed in that manner they are fair game, but expressed as a fact, they infringe on the writers style and artistic license.

I’ll let you go on with your artistic license then and will never infringe on it again, I assure you.
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Offline ma100

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2009, 07:20:49 PM »

Hi ableaz

I think you have the makings of a good story but at the moment it feels a bit unbelievable. Just on a quick glance through I have made a couple of suggestions at the start, please feel free to ignore. I don't mean to be harsh, but I do feel you need to work more on this piece.

Ma :)


Pete Shaw was on the last leg of his trip home, after delivering a herd of ten cattle to a buyer, near the small community of Millers Flats. He had driven the herd across the mountain, using Spicer Pass. It was a small, rugged pass, rarely used, that lay just behind his spread. Pete’s biggest consideration in opting for the rougher rout was the eighteen mile it saved him.

Topping a ridge
, Pete saw the column of black, smoke rising into a cloudless, sky. There as absolutely no doubt in his mind, this had to be coming from his ranch, there was nothing else close enough, that would create this amount of smoke.

This ridge could be anywhere in my mind, it is not clear he is near his home. Maybe name it to make it familiar.


He kicked his horse into a shambling run. The roan was a big rawboned mare, she looked more like a plow horse than a saddler.
Pete hadn’t picked her for speed; she was a mountain horse and a good one. Her stamina, meant she could keep up a relatively fast pace of three or four miles an hour, on rugged terrain for a very long time without rest, providing she had ample food and water at night. Running was not something she was asked to do very often and certainly not her idea of a good time. Still she made what Pete estimated, a three mile run in about fourteen minutes, although that wouldn’t win many races, it was very good effort for her.

A bit wordy consider ...He kicked the rawboned mare into a shambling run. Now to me he would be thinking about getting to his family and not the appearance of the horse. Would he whip her to get her to speed up? What would be going through his mind?

One glance told Pete the need for speed was long past due, the destruction of his ranch house was complete. The out buildings were untouched, the barn and a utility shed, both stark and unpainted, stood much like he had left them, except the barn door was ajar.

Random thoughts crowded his mind as he mechanical unsaddled and tended the mare. How could Katy, have been so careless, to have allowed a tragedy of this magnitude to happen? Had it been winter it would have been understandable, with the need to heat the house, but no heat would have been required last night. Having finished his chores with the horse, Pete turned, thoughtlessly toward the remains of the house. He paused as if confused, glanced at the barn, then changed direction, heading toward the barn instead. If asked to explain his action, it would have been rather difficult—it was a reaction to the door being open, as much as anything.

This bit doesn't ring true to me. I fell he would have jumped off the horses back and been yelling and screaming his head off in hope of finding a sign of life. It's his wife and child and I feel there should be a lot of emotion and helpless/ angry actions going on. Unless he disliked his wife I also feel he wouldn't be acusatory either.

When Pete entered the barn it was the first indication, that what happened was not an accident. The three horses that should have been here were gone, a mule the only other animal belonging here, was laying dead in it stall, shot in the head. The mind set, that would allow someone to shoot an animal simply because it was of no use to him and little value on the open market was noted.

Seems he cares more for the mule.

Pete mechanically collected the things he would need on the trail. From a locked cupboard in the far end of the barn he took a Sharps buffalo gun, a box of ammo, two boxes for the Winchester and one for his colt. From a hook on the side of the cupboard he took a sheathed knife, which he strung on his belt, to the left side of his waist. Placing his supplies on top of a pile of blankets, Pete measured a four day ration of oats into a gunny sack. With the gunny sack in one hand and the rest of his supplies wrapped in a bundle of blankets in the other Pete headed for what had been his home, a short time ago.

What about his wife and child, they seem at the moment to be afterthoughts.

e]

Offline ablelaz

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 09:42:48 PM »
Hi Ma--- I’m beginning to see what’s happening on this site. I have quickly gone thought the members listed on the first page. Although there are many who don’t give there location, of those that do: three are British, one is Austrian, one is Nigerian and two are Americans. This tells me I’m writing a story, the setting of which is very obscure to most of those on this site.

My story is set in the American west, it’s a topic I know well and a life style I’m comfortable with. I feel bad that it doesn’t ring true to you, but perhaps that’s because you all ready have your mind made up.

Perhaps men in your life run around wringing their hands and banging their heads against a tree, but the men of the frontier were much more self reliant. When faced with tragedy they took the bull by the horns and tried to set it right, because if they didn’t, it just didn’t get done.

There are countless ridges in the American West and all but a hand full are unnamed. How giving this ridge would a name would help you understand where it was is beyond my understanding.

Anyway I made a mistake when I thought this site might be helpful, so I’ll say so long and be on my way.   


Offline ma100

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2009, 02:50:09 AM »
Hi Ablelaz

I am sorry you feel that way. I had no intentions of hurting your feelings. Maybe I was unclear with what I meant by the top of the ridge.

If the ridge is important to the story I would have either named it or restructured the sentence. I should have showed you what I meant instead of being clear as mud in my explaination.

Nope the men in my life don't go around wringing their hands mate. However, yes checking for life certainly comes before possessions or animals.

Maybe I am used to the books I have enjoyed about the west and the films I have seen.

You could learn a lot from this site if you gave it a chance and I hope you will reconsider.

Good luck

Ma :)

Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2009, 03:41:08 AM »
This is a site for people to throw their work out there, untie it from their apron-strings, and LISTEN to feedback.

This being set in the American West means nothing - we are offering you feedback on your WRITING. How you convey your character with your writing technique. It seems to me that your own mind is made up about your writing, because you've rebutted almost everything we have given you.

I am not a stranger to Western fiction. I am only 23, but I'm not a stranger to writing either. I am not an expert, but the quality of feedback I can give you is pretty sound, although it may not be reflected in my own work a lot of the time.

It doesn't matter that you're 72, it doesn't matter if you've lived in the American West your whole life, what matters is how you're conveying this with your writing, and it is lacking in some points, but you can't see that, you actually refuse to see that.

Why are you here? Really? We can get someone here who does understand the West, but I'm pretty certain they'd be telling you the same things.

Ma100's quote, with emphasis on one word:

"Maybe I am used to the books I have enjoyed about the west and the films I have seen."

Why she enjoyed them, you need to realise yourself.
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Offline Biola

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 03:53:34 AM »
Hi Ablelaz
I hope you take a look back when you walk away in anger. First, the thought uppermost in your mind when you came to this site was to interact with people, ideas, and hopefully learn something. Human beings come packaged with their thoughts, convictions and various stuff I generally call baggage. You have right to post and accepted the responsibility in doing so to listen to all shades of opinions. sift from it that which you need for yourself. Ma simply expressed a willingness to serve you by freely giving you her honest, polite take on your story. You had the oportunity to 'educate' her but not be miffed enough as to be uncivil on a personal note about men in her neck of the universe. I am proudly Nigerian, but accept that even the oracle may not have known about your ridge but I accept your story. The Sphinx is known to most people but I do not have to go to Egypt! Hope, when the first flush of your anger has calmed down, you might see why every opportunity offers us a chance to learn what we must be and sometimes too what we may not be. Ultimately, the choice is yours. We have a saying, when you make a fire and you feed it with wood, if you keep removing the woods for creating smoke, there will be no wood left to make dinner.
biola
we learn every day if we want. check my blog http://biola-ephesus-ephesus.blogspot.com, Ephesus@Wordpress.com
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 04:36:28 AM »
If you feel the need to leave, "Vaya con Dios."  May your horse never stumble and your pen never run dry.

I still stick by my opinion that Pete would have checked for life first.  I'm not suggesting he should bang his head against a tree, or run around weeping and wailing.  You seem to have a few preconceived notions there yourself my friend.  The English speaking/reading world extends well beyond the borders of the USA.

If you do decide to stick around no doubt our paths will cross again.  Our minds are far more open than you seem to think.

Best wishes,

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline ablelaz

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2009, 06:07:10 PM »
Hi Gang----Well; I feel as if I have been ridden hard and put away wet.

I suppose my reaction to the first critiques I received seemed a little defensive, but this story has been critiqued on several forums and all of a sudden problems are arising which have never be aired before.

I can deal with critiques as well as anyone and better then most, because I’m not chasing the elusive carrot called publication. I write to please myself, that’s not to say I don’t strive for perfection.

I did get a lot of good ideas from Pretzelgirl and I think I said that in my reply, but she couldn’t get over the fact that I questioned some of her points.

I don’t believe anyone is always right. Critiques come in all sizes and shapes. Some people skim though the piece and then give an overview of what they think about it, without going into detail. Others do a detailed critique pointing out what they think is wrong and even offering examples of how they may be corrected, or improved.

If the truth be known I’m not a good writer, I don’t have the higher education required, but I’m a good story teller. I have and always have had a sense of story.

Anyway I’ll hang around for a while and we shall see what happens.

Talk to you soon---ablelaz.         

Offline ma100

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2009, 06:20:23 PM »
When I first came here Ablelaz, I thought I could write. I soon found out I sucked big time. I used this site as my own little college. I poured over reviews and threads and left myself open to criticism. I too am a story teller, but I realised that I needed to learn things to get my stories in a logical order. I am still learning all the time.

Good for you for giving it another go. People around here really do help if you let them.

Ma ;)

Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Frontier justice short story --6000 words presented in two parts
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2009, 11:07:17 PM »
It's not the questioning I couldn't get over, it was the way you seemed to
toss out everything I said. You rebutted every point I made in a manner
that pretty much dismissed my judgement. I'm not saying my word is the
unobjectionable law, but it's my response as your reader. If you don't agree
with something that's fine , work around it. But dissectingy critique was rude
and ungrateful so that's why I got a bit defensive.

But you're back. Good, I hope to see you around here more.
Smoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas!
- A. J. Rimmer, Red Dwarf