Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Treachery: Day 15

Word Total: 90,003

Year to Date: 870,113

Summary of Events:
Edward got up early and got ready to go, but had to wake Adeline up so they could get on their way. Adeline fretted about being found out by Edward as they travelled and ended up sighting Dallas — which only fed the fire of fear. Arriving in Dallas, Edward offered to take her to the doctor's house, but when she refused, confronted her for lying to him. Adeline was taken by Edward to a back alley where he demanded answers from her before knocking on a door and — with much struggling and fighting — handing her over to a madam he knew. Once Adeline was safely away Edward talked with the madam, who desperately wanted him to stay the night . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""I've got to go," Edward replied, against his inner urgings.
"Can I do nothing to make you stay?" Rosalie asked, looking as if tears were going to overwhelm her.
"No," Edward replied, even though, really, she could just get him through the door and up the stairs into her room and he'd probably stay quite easily.
Rosalie dropped her hands away from his chest and looked away, looking more disappointed than Edward had ever seen her. The temptation to stay surged anew in him. He had to comfort her. But he had to get on toward Lubbock.
Stepping forward, Edward grabbed her head in a firm, but gentle hold and pressed his lips passionately against hers. After a moment of surprise, she returned the kiss with equal passion, pressing her hands against his chest, then sliding them up over his shoulders and digging her fingers in.
He could feel the hunger in her grip, he could taste it in her kiss, and he hoped that she could tell he was returning it. He was just as hungry as she was, but he couldn't stay, he had to get on to Lubbock.
They stayed in the passionate hold for a long time, but finally Edward loosened his hold on her face and started to pull away, yet she clutched at him ever more desperately, even catching his lips again after he'd pulled them away, several times.
Finally, though, Edward got his head out of her reach and resisted the urge to lower it again. He then gently pried her hands from his shoulders and held them gently, stroking his thumbs over the backs of them.
"I'll come back as soon as I can," he said quietly. "But I can't stay now."
Rosalie nodded. "I'll be waiting for you."
Releasing her hands, Edward turned toward his mare and swung up into the saddle, taking hold of the reins. His mare backed up two steps on cue and he went to turn her, but Rosalie hurried over.
She held up an effeminate handkerchief. Somewhat reluctantly, Edward took it in his hand.
"So you don't forget," she whispered.
Edward nodded, pocketing the kerchief so it was well out of sight. She stepped back and he turned his mare southward until the nearest westward street. Pausing at the turn, he returned her wave before continuing on.
As much as he longed for her, he couldn't stay, not with having left behind whom he had. Edward shook his head at the thought of her, so innocent and naïve on the outside, but inside a cunning, calculating liar.
Anew, rage flowed through him and he started his mare trotting to get away faster. It infuriated him to think he'd had the wool pulled over his eyes — or that he'd let that carry him all the way to Dallas.
That she would do such a thing, such terrible treachery; it infuriated him, and he was glad to forever leave her behind."

Next post on October 1.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Treachery: Day 14

Word Count: 84,012

Summary of Events:
Adeline watched first Richard Jr., then Edward, and then Mr. Leonard ride the colt, before Richard rode again and ended up falling off and hurting his ankle. Edward was summoned to Mr. Leonard to be paid, and they got into a bit of a discrepancy over the price until Edward forced Mr. Leonard to do what he wanted before leaving. Adeline thought about what she'd do once she got to Dallas as they travelled. Edward, thinking over what Adeline had told him, decided to question her about her story, and found her defensive, which made him suspicious. Adeline lay awake, bothered by Edward's questioning . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"It still unsettled her that he'd challenged her, though. That he would be suspicious of her suggested that he'd been able to see through her tale as soon as she'd told it. She had a feeling he was more than certain that she'd lied to him, but was waiting patiently, biding his time. Waiting for some sort of opportunity.
Adeline looked over at him, sound asleep, his face barely illuminated by the glowing embers of the fire. His lashes laced together, sealing his eyes for slumber, his entire face relaxed and peaceful.
Admittedly, he had a handsome face, in a rugged sort of way. There was nothing in the least refined or dainty about him. He was a man of the land whose forebears had lived and died on the land, and he was one of their breed unquestionably. He was not a man who would live on the labour of others.
He was smart, cunning, resourceful, and rather indefatigable, but there was a dark streak of suspicion throughout him. Adeline couldn't say she ever felt — other than seeing him now in slumber — that he'd looked completely relaxed, not even with the horses.
There was something hidden there, and she felt like it'd been most strong every time he'd gazed at her. She always felt like he'd been fighting with her, or defending himself against her, in some form or another.
He was trying to hide or protect something from her as much as she was trying to do the same from him. She couldn't imagine what, but she felt like he'd been the most wary of her, and that he may've only agreed to take her along because then he could keep an eye on her.
She shuddered as a sudden thought struck her: what if, if it were that he found out she'd lied to him, he would take her captive or something? What if he had plans to do some sort of horrible harm to her so as to get revenge?
The urge to get up and run seized her, but Adeline didn't know that she dared to run, he seemed like the type to notice — especially if he'd roused and caught her trying to steal his mare.
Besides, if she were to try and leave, she'd want to get away fast, and she'd probably get along a lot faster on his mare than to go on foot, and being a man of the land like he was, she had a feeling he would be able to track her, and it would be easier for him to catch up to her in the saddle.
To remain was dangerous, but to leave was no more safe. Why hadn't she left when he'd gone to the Leonards? Why had she remained with him? She could be almost, if not completely, in West Virginia by now, but instead she was here, in some sort of situation she wasn't sure she wanted to be in."

Monday, September 19, 2016

Treachery: Day 13

Word Count: 78,025

Summary of Events:
Edward was working with the colt while on his back when Richard Jr.'s dog came in and spooked the colt into galloping all the way to Austin — despite Edward's shooting the dog before they were halfway there — and refusing to leave the city, so he sent for help. Adeline received the message and got the ranch foreman, Harvey, who went with her; they found the dog, still alive, on their way there. Edward was surprised to see Adeline, but grateful for the help as they finally coaxed the colt outside of the city limits and homeward. Upon arriving back at the ranch, with the dog — who was still alive — the Leonards weren't happy, but ended up dissolving into infighting. Edward was tacking up the colt for another day of work when Richard came in and demanded to ride the colt . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Horses are smarter than y'all give them credit for bein'," Edward said. "Besides, y'all really think they're goin' to forget they have some two hundred pounds'a extra weight on their back?"
"You never know," Richard replied.
Edward rolled his eyes. "Look, Richard, if y'all were to have worked with the colt he'd know you, and he'd know what y'all expect of him, not to mention he'd trust you, and that's important. If a horse trusts their rider they'll do whatever the rider asks — unless it's somethin' stupid like jumpin' the Grand Canyon, because no horse could possibly do that."
Richard glared down at Edward.
"I didn't want y'all to work with the colt to make y'all look like a failure," Edward said. "I wanted y'all to work with the colt so that y'all would know the colt and the colt would know you."
"We do know each other," Richard replied curtly. "I am the master, he is the beast."
Edward sighed, getting the distinct feeling that all of his efforts were going to waste, which was what he'd feared going into this whole enterprise.
But what could he do? Nothing, it appeared.
Richard slammed his heels into the colt's sides and the colt surged forward into a gallop that was painful to watch, especially being as Richard was hauling on the bit while digging his spurs into the colt's sides.
Edward felt moisture in his eyes at the sight of the colt being so tortured. If the Leonards would just listen to him and let him show them the right way to go about doing things they wouldn't have these problems.
"Let's go you stupid horse!" Richard bellowed.
Edward swore. "Let up on the reins! You're tellin' him to stop with your hands and seat and tellin' him to go with your legs! He's confused!"
"I know how to ride a horse!" Richard screamed.
Edward swore again. Richard was afraid of the colt getting out of control, and yet wanted to ride him fast at the same time. It was ridiculous. Edward was almost tempted to unseat Richard from the saddle and show him how a gallop was really done, but even that would be a wasted effort.
Sighing and shaking his head, Edward left the pasture. There was no point in even bothering. He might as well let the colt get used to the torture that was, unfortunately, rather likely to be the remainder of his life, unless a good horseman bought him once Richard was frustrated and fed up with him. 
Quietly Edward crawled over the fence into the pasture where his horses were grazing. Both of them looked at him, but didn't come to him. They knew when he wanted them to come, and when he was willing to go to them.
Resting his hand on his mare's withers, Edward got her to raise her head, wrapped his arms around her neck, and rested his head there, mourning the ruination of another horse.""

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Treachery: Day 12

Word Count: 72,029

Summary of Events:
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard were having a party and Edward decided to back the colt for the first time in front of the crowd of guests. Adeline was a little leery about the idea, but they got it done and the colt didn't even fuss. Edward then gave a demonstration with his horses before going to play poker with the ranch hands. Adeline watched them play and hoped they wouldn't get too drunk on all the liquor they were consuming. Edward was the first one to wake up the next morning, and so hitched the Leonards' carriage for them to go to church; Mrs. Leonard accused him of drinking, but he lied that it was just sweat because he hadn't washed for a long time, so she insisted he have a bath . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The sound of water roused Adeline quickly. She felt alarmed by the sound of it, not that she was sure why. Sitting up and looking around, Adeline nearly screamed at the sight of a figure in the washbasin, everything underwater except for the legs.
No head was in sight, and being as the legs were bare Adeline didn't dare scramble down and offer aid — besides, she wasn't wearing her hat.
Quickly she looked down and saw that Edward wasn't in his bed.
Horror shot through her and before she could stop herself she was down the ladder and over at the basin. The water — thankfully — was clouded by bubbles from the bar of soap that was sitting in a small puddle of water beside the basin.
The water was moving slightly. Adeline reached in and grabbed at the slippery flesh, dug her fingernails in, and pulled as hard as she could.
Edward surged out of the water, spluttering and coughing. At the sound of the ruckus other heads shot up from their beds and Adeline scrambled back up to her bed to hide.
She saw Harvey hurry over just in his underclothes and start beating Edward's back firmly. Roy — similarly attired to Harvey — raced over with a pail and Adeline buried her face in her pillow at the sound of retching.
"What happened?" Harvey asked after the retching and coughing had died down.
"Where is that blasted kid?" Edward asked, sounding furious.
"In his bed, I think," Roy replied.
"Put some clothes on Thorne!" Harvey exclaimed.
Adeline could hear footsteps and the jingling of a belt buckle, then suddenly hands seized her arms and pulled her back. She went to scream, but a strong hand clamped over her mouth and she was hauled out of the bunkhouse and around behind the barn.
She was set down, spun around, and assaulted by Edward's demand: "What were you doing!?"
Adeline stared at him, his upper body still running with water — most of which was running down from the dark hair plastered to his head — his dark eyes blazing, his sides heaving.
she trembled on her legs and licked her lips as tears blurred her vision.
"I'm sorry," she whimpered. "I thought you were drowning."
Edward swore. "Can't a man wash his hair in peace?"
"I'm sorry," she sobbed.
Edward swore again. "Why do you women have to cry at everything?"
"I didn't mean to!" Adeline cried.
She sobbed, curling herself up tightly. After awhile she felt Edward's hands working to unfold her.
His expression was soberly serious, not angry.
"Y'all gave me a fright that near drowned me," Edward said. "But, I guess I can understand how y'all would be scared I'd drowned. But next time, just kick me in the leg or some other exposed body part or somethin'."
Adeline nodded, wiping tears from her eyes. She hadn't meant to nearly drown him."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Treachery: Day 11

Word Count: 66,015

Summary of Events:
Edward worked on getting the colt used to having his cinch tightened quicker while Adeline watched him work. He then received word from a former employer who needed his help with a new horse he'd bought once he was done with the colt. Adeline watched Edward as he worked to get the colt to tolerate him just put a foot into the stirrup; once he'd finished that Adeline saw Richard Jr. smoking in the barn and he got upset at her, prompting his father to come out and Adeline showed Mr. Leonard.
Mr. Leonard looked like he was going to reprimand Richard, but Richard overwhelmed him and Adeline got so mad she punched Richard, then started crying, which led Edward to take her aside and talk with her, afterwards returning outside to try and give Mr. Leonard a touch of parenting advice — even though he was childless and hadn't seen his family in almost a decade . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""See, you have no place to give me advice," Mr. Leonard snapped.
"So you like how this all's goin' for y'all then?" Edward challenged.
"I have one of my sons convalescing in bed because either I or his brother shot him, my heir just about burnt my barn down for the second time in five years because for some reason he sees the need to smoke, much less in there, and I have a temporary employee being an incorrigible embarrassment to me and my reputation and not doing what I'm paying him to do," Mr. Leonard said. "Do you think I'm happy?"
"No," Edward replied. "But bein's y'all ain't of the mind to take my advice then obviously you think you've got it all figured out."
"Would you just shut up!" Mr. Leonard shouted, surging to his feet. "I've got enough problems to deal with and it's bad enough you happen to be one of them!"
"And y'all's too proud to let people help you with them," Edward said.
"I don't want to hear a word from your mouth for the remainder of your stay!" Mr. Leonard snapped. "And I also have no intent of seeing you darken the door of my home again, as much as you'll remain here until the colt is trained. Bring Richard up to the house as soon as you can Harvey."
Mr. Leonard turned and stalked away briskly.
Edward sighed as he watched, but said nothing. 
His eyes slid over to her. She was watching him as well, although the difference was the fact that tears were streaming down her cheeks.
"He can ruin his own life then," Edward muttered. "It ain't like he's not halfway there already."
"More than halfway," Harvey muttered.
Edward looked down at Richard, whose dark eyes were gazing up at him groggily.
"I don't want you to finish my colt," Richard said slowly. "I want you to leave."
"I've come this far, and I ain't leavin' until I'm finished," Edward replied. "The colt deserves that much, even if the rest of y'all don't."
Richard glared at him viciously.
"If y'all don't want me to finish the colt then I'm takin' the colt with me," Edward said. "And I ain't payin' no two grand for him either."
"He's my horse," Richard growled.
Edward shook his head. "Then why don't y'all want to do anything with him?"
"Because that's what you're being paid for," Richard growled.
Edward sighed and shook his head. "It's not what I'd like to be paid for, but bein's the two of you are about as easy to convince to change your ways as tornadoes I can't really do nothin' else, and I don't want to leave the colt hangin' and gettin' a poor start. The only reasons I ain't left yet is because my colt got injured and I feel your horse deserves to get some good treatment in his life. I ain't doin' this for you, or for the stinkin' money.""

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Treachery: Day 10

Word Count: 60,026

Summary of Events:
Adeline couldn't sleep because of the images of the Leonard boy's injuries and her sister's death kept her awake. Edward had a meeting with Mr. Leonard that wasn't terribly cordial. Adeline watched as Edward got the saddle onto the colt's back for the first time. A caller came to the Leonard's and Edward had to get the dog to leave the horse alone, he then worked with the horse for fun, making good acquaintance of the owner. Adeline watched as Edward worked to get the colt to wear the saddle with the cinch fastened . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Adeline watched as Edward went around to the colt's other side, reached down, and rubbed the colt's belly gently before grabbing the cinch slowly and bringing it up the colt's belly.
The colt, however, wasn't liking that idea, and stepped away. Edward dropped the cinch and stepped back. Every time Edward made an attempt the colt started away from him, eventually moving around so that Adeline could see the side Edward was working at.
Edward got the colt to stand still for him to rub his belly, then went to work with the portion of leather looped up on the side of the saddle he was on until it was unrolled to a significantly longer length than the cinch on the other side.
Wary, the colt looked around at the length before sniffing, nosing, and nipping at the strap. Adeline wondered what the strap was called why it was so long. She watched as Edward dropped the strap and then rubbed the colt's belly again before feeding the end of the long leather strap through the ring on the end of the cinch.
Slowly Edward pulled on the end, which eventually started raising the cinch off of the ground. The colt startled, Edward stopped pulling. Adeline wondered if she ought to go in and take hold of the colt for Edward, but, being as he hadn't said anything, she didn't think she ought to — lest she upset him.
The colt finally lowered his head and yawned. Edward then resumed pulling the cinch until the colt showed signs of panic again. After getting the colt to relax one more time Edward ended up getting the cinch fully against the colt's belly.
Adeline watched silently as the colt shifted his weight around before bending his head down between his legs and trying to take a bite out of the cinch.
Edward uttered a sharp reprimand before going into his murmur. The colt eventually relaxed, yawning and tossing his head.
"Get him oats," Edward said.
Adeline climbed over the fence and brought a handful of oats out of her pocket, which she fed to the colt while stroking his neck. Edward spoke the words of affirmation as the colt snacked.
Once her hand was as empty as it would get she brushed the remaining slobbered oats onto the ground and dried her hand on her pant leg, then she went back to the fence to let Edward keep working.
Carefully he fed the leather strap around back through the ring it was attached to on the saddle and tightened it. Instantly the colt startled and pulled away. It took some time for Edward to get the colt caught again.
It was slow progress, not that Adeline was entirely surprised, it was probably strange to the colt to have something tied around his middle, but eventually Edward got the cinch totally secured around the colt."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Treachery: Day 9

Word Count: 54,013

Summary of Events:
Richard Jr.'s colt had recovered from his sone bruise, so Edward worked with him, primarily accustomising the colt to the sight of the saddle and its blanket, as well as putting the blanket on the colt's back while Adeline watched. Richard Jr. came out while Edward was working and professed to be the better horseman, so Edward challenged him to prove it; Richard got frustrated quickly and went to the house to get a gun and shoot the colt. Mr. Leonard refused to see the colt shot and he and Richard got into a struggle over the loaded gun that went off through the ceiling of the room they were in and ended up catching one of the younger Leonard boys in the shoulder, whom Edward carried down to the kitchen to tend to . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Exactly the sort of thing Edward had feared would happen had. In their struggle the gun had come to be aimed in a direction where it could harm someone and had accidentally been discharged.
He removed the boy's shirt and used it to dab at the wound. From the looks of things the bullet had actually gone straight through the boy's body. How, Edward wasn't sure, but he knew it'd come out of the upper right shoulder.
As she came back with the box of supplies Edward held up the shirt to examine where the other point of entry was. It appeared to be hardly below the exit one. The boy must've been almost laying down when the shot hit him.
"Go get one of the hands to get a doctor," Edward said as he unrolled some bandage and wadded it into the centre of the wound.
She took off at once. There was so much blood and damage Edward didn't know if he'd have enough thread to sew it all up, or even if he would be able to save the boy, but he desperately wanted to.
In a few moments Edward noticed the flash of a horse and rider flying down the driveway. He then rolled the boy over and stuffed a wad of bandaging in the other hole. He then wadded the shirt against the back and rolled the boy so he was face up again.
Not wanting to ruin any of Mrs. Leonard's cloths, Edward took off his own shirt and wadded it against the boy's chest, holding it there with pressure to stop the bleeding. He then used his free hand to hold onto the boy's wrist and ensure that there was still a pulse.
It took a long time before she returned.
"Can I do anything?" she asked quietly.
"I don't know," Edward replied.
"I don't remember where to tie it to stop the bleeding," she said. "Papa showed us once, when he cut his arm, but I don't remember them all."
Edward didn't know if he'd ever heard that, although it would be helpful to know. He might have to hunt himself down a medical book with that information if he could.
It took a long time for anyone to come downstairs, and it was the oldest daughter first. She put on a pot of water to boil and kept her back to them the entire time. Edward didn't blame her, it was probably frightening to see her little brother limp and bleeding on the floor.
Soon the doctor arrived and started working without a word. The water was boiling shortly and the daughter — Edward felt like her name was Mildred, but he didn't think that was right either — filled a bowl with it, which she set beside the doctor before sitting down, her hands trembling and tears flowing down her cheeks."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Treachery: Day 8

Word Count: 48,016

Summary of Events:
Adeline watched Edward work with Richard Jr.'s colt what little he could due to the stone bruise before Richard Jr. came out and tried to ride Edward's mare, but failed and was shown up by Edward. Mr. Leonard had some men come over to go hunting and one of them had a mare in heat that got Mr. Leonard's stallion excited; Edward managed to keep the stallion under control until Mr. Leonard and the mare's owner agreed to let the horses have at it. Adeline and Edward were whiling away time waiting for Richard Jr.'s colt's stone bruise to heal when they were called to help with one of the hand's horses . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Adeline turned her attention back to Edward as Leroy and George pulled their horses alongside Harvey's to watch.
Edward sat still on Roy's horse. Fred's horse trotted around for a bit before taking an interest in the still horse away from all of the action. She walked toward Edward, looking curious, yet somewhat apprehensive.
Slowly Edward turned his head in her direction and whistled softly. She seemed to relax a bit and continued toward him. She nosed the other horse. Adeline then noticed that Edward had slid his feet out of the stirrups.
With more slow and deliberate motion he reached over and started stroking the mare. She tensed for a moment, but remained where she was. Edward kept her settled down and Adeline watched as both of his hands got onto the saddle.
Suddenly, in a swift, but not hard motion Edward was in Fred's mare's saddle and suddenly she'd turned into something of a tornado. She bucked, spun, reared, and ran — anything and everything to unseat Edward.
Adeline felt her heart pounding, she hardly noticed Roy's horse hurry away to his companions lined up at the fence as she watched Edward ride the twisting, spinning horse as she put her head between her legs and fought to unseat him for all she was worth.
Leroy and George started out from their positions, but Edward shouted at them to get back and so they did. The mare bucked until finally she was tired and stopped, her sides heaving.
Edward reached down and rubbed her neck gently. Adeline was barely holding onto the fence, her hands trembled as she gazed at Edward, still aboard the mare, not looking at all shaken by the rowdy ride she'd just given him.
He then got her to start walking slowly in big circles. Adeline watched as the mare walked slowly, her sides heaving so much that Adeline could see them moving from as far as she was away. The mare kept her head low.
Finally Edward rode her toward the other horses, where she stood fairly well. Harvey had gotten Fred to say something to him, but Fred still seemed terribly dazed and out of sorts. Adeline wondered if he hadn't suffered a hard hit to the head.
Roy and Harvey got Fred to his feet and started to haul him back to the bunkhouse on their shoulders. Leroy and George followed, leading Harvey and Roy's horses. Edward went to follow, but Fred's horse shied suddenly.
Edward told Adeline to shut the gate and she did, leaving Edward and Fred's mare inside the large pasture. Adeline had a feeling she was going to see some more impressive work, even if it wasn't with the colt."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Treachery: Day 7

Word Count: 42,011

Summary of Events:
Edward got into a physical fight with Richard Jr. before Adeline stopped him and he went out to vent his frustrations with the ranch hands. Adeline watched Edward give his colt a fresh bandage before going to see Mr. Leonard's colt, whom he found had a sprain and a stone bruise on the same leg, and went to tell Mr. Leonard, despite the fact that Mr. Leonard had company; he and Richard Jr. got into another set of fisticuffs over Edward's choice of words. Edward iced the colt's sprain and then watched as Adeline stroked the colt . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The colt lifted his head, ears pricked forward for a moment before his eyes rolled and his ears snapped back over his head. He stepped back quickly and she stepped away from the colt worriedly.
Edward put a hand on the colt's shoulder gently and started stroking it. He had a feeling the colt was hearing the dog, even though he couldn't, and he didn't want to chase the colt down again if he didn't have to.
"Go see if you can see that dog," Edward said.
She started forward quickly and crawled out of the fence. Edward stood by the colt and stroked him gently. He didn't have the colt's halter, and being as the colt hadn't been backed before he knew that he wasn't going to be able to climb on and stop the colt. If anything, getting on to him would make it worse.
Shortly she returned. "I can see him, they're coming this way."
"Get the halter," Edward ordered.
She disappeared again and Edward continued to stroke the colt with as much confidence as possible. The more confident he was the more confident the colt would be, although he was certain that as soon as the dog saw the colt the dog would want to chase him, and that would lead to the colt jumping the fence.
Popping over the fence, she strode across the pasture briskly with the halter and Edward swiftly put it around the colt's head before continuing to stroke him.
The dog rounded the corner and quickly came forward, crawled under the fence, and then started forward, but silently. The colt flipped his ears back and stepped back quickly, raising his head, the whites of his eyes showing.
Putting his head down by Edward's boot, the dog sniffed, then whined and cowered before veritably crawling out of the pasture and back over to his master's side.
Edward smiled. It appeared the dog remembered what had happened last time he'd seen Edward, and had no intent of repeating it. Edward reached around and stroke the colt gently, affirming that the colt had done a good job of not panicking with the dog's approach.
He looked over at her and saw she was walking over to the colt with a handful of something. He saw it to be oats when she got closer. The colt eagerly ate the treat off of her hand before snorting and shaking his head.
"That dog remembers you," she said.
Edward nodded. "Unfortunately I ain't stayin' around."
She nodded as well, looking saddened. "He's such a fine horse, it's a shame to see him so frightened."
"It's a shame to see any horse mistreated," Edward said quietly.
"Anything mistreated," she whispered."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Treachery: Day 6

Word Count: 36,096

Summary of Events: 
Edward and Adeline arrived at the Leonard Ranch where they received a less-than-favourable greeting from the younger Mr. Leonard and his dog. After putting their things in the bunkhouse they went and saw the colt, whom Edward had released into pasture to relax, being as he'd been rather skittish. He watched the colt and regretted that he hadn't been present as soon as the colt had arrived at the ranch from the East. Adeline was visiting the colt when the younger Mr. Leonard and his dog came outside, the dog spooked the colt, who jumped his fence and ran away; Edward went after the colt on his mare, and Edward's colt panicked at the departure of his mother, trying to jump the fence but failing and cutting himself, which required Adeline to stitch him up; Edward was distressed when he returned . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""What did it look like?" Edward demanded.
Adeline walked over to him and the colt.
"It was torn like this," she traced the line. "I stitched it up as quickly as I could. He didn't stand up until I was done."
Edward worked his jaw slowly, looking tense and upset. Adeline had never felt worse in her life in regards to pleasing anyone than in this moment.
"Didn't even think of him," Edward muttered, staring beyond both Adeline and the colt. "I didn't even think of him!"
He turned away from the colt, swearing.
"You had to act quickly," Adeline said.
Edward glared at her, then exhaled heavily and swore again.
"It was the dog," Adeline said quickly. "The dog went into the colt's pasture and started barking. The colt jumped right over my head."
Edward swore again as he glared at the mansion with a fearsomely vicious expression.
Without looking toward Adeline he stalked toward the fence.
"Should I put the colt away?" Adeline asked.
"No," Edward replied through his teeth, stalking past the mare and the colt.
The colt raised his head and looked at Edward as he stalked past, but made no move to follow him.
Adeline wanted to follow Edward, but instead she went to the barn. The colt had to have a halter. She felt that would be safer than the rope, which had gone quite slack about the colt's shoulders.
She found a halter hanging by his stall door and went back to him. She remembered what Edward had done with the colt earlier in the day and went around to his left side. She put her hand over the colt's neck and pressed down on both sides gently.
The colt lowered his head and Adeline slid the halter over his head, buckled it in place, and then loosely looped the rope around the fence board.
Edward's colt limped over to the fence and nickered. His mother lifted her head and walked closer. Adeline quickly loped the mare's reins over the fence board as well before hurrying off after Edward.
She found the front door of the mansion ajar. A well-dressed, balding man startled at the sight of her and hurried over.
"Please, go back outside," he said. "Things aren't well."
"If my colt hadn't just gone and tore his leg open because I was forced to deprive him of his mother to chase that bloody colt down because of that dumb dog I would walk out of here this minute!" she heard Edward shout. "You'd better count yourself lucky that I'm doin' this for you, but I tell you if that dog does another thing like that I'm actually goin' to aim for the thing next time I shoot at him and I don't care who he belongs to or how much bloody money y'all have! This is the last time I am doin' anything for you!""

Friday, September 09, 2016

Treachery: Day 5

Word Count: 30,011

Summary of Events:
Edward left Adeline outside of the next town they came to, where he bought her boys' clothes. They stopped to camp for the night and Edward let his colt for a gallop, although as the colt approached Edward Adeline screamed, which spooked the colt and gave Edward a cut on his jaw. The next morning Edward and Adeline breakfasted before Edward let his colt go for a gallop again just to show Adeline he knew what he was doing, and then told her he planned on having her pose as his assistant . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""I don't know that much about horses," she protested.
"I know," Edward replied. "I can tell. But I'll learn y'all the important things."
"Like what?" she asked.
"Whatever I need you to do," Edward replied, fitting the packsaddle onto the colt's back.
"Which I should hope isn't something like standing in the path of a galloping horse," she snapped as she shoved the bedrolls into his chest.
"So long as y'all don't go screamin' when I happen to do it again I won't," Edward replied. "I know what I'm doin', and I'm certain if y'all go screamin' like a banshee'll set the cat out'a the bag and they'll know y'all's a lady. In fact, I'd prefer if y'all didn't go sayin' anything, unless y'all's talkin' to me."
"What sorts of things would you want me to do?" she asked, looking dubious.
"Pass me things or take things from me for the most part," Edward replied, pulling the cinch tight and giving his mare's belly a firm slap.
He finished tightening the cinch and made sure everything was set. Then he grabbed her around her lower ribcage and hoisted her off the ground.
"Put me down!" she snapped, swinging a foot at his legs.
"Stop it," Edward said. "Just stay still, I want to test somethin'."
She sighed and hung still in his hands.
Edward brought her a little closer to himself to put more bend in his arms and gave her a gentle toss. She shrieked shrilly, even though he managed to catch her, and clutched his shoulders tightly.
Setting her down, Edward sighed, shaking his head.
"What were you doing!?" she demanded.
"Estimatin' your weight," Edward replied. "I'd say you weigh about half as much as I do, maybe a little more."
"And you do that by tossing people?" she demanded.
"If they're light enough," Edward replied.
"If it weren't for your horse I'd walk to Dallas from here," she snapped.
Edward sighed. "Bein's y'all're so light I'd probably have y'all back the colt," he said, swinging into the saddle.
"You mean I'm going to ride this horse that you're going to train?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"Yeah," Edward replied, dallying his colt's lead and tying it in place.
"Before anyone else does?" she asked.
"Yeah," Edward replied, removing his foot from the stirrup and holding his hand out for her elbow.
"But those horses buck," she said.
"Not any I've trained," Edward replied.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"I trained this mare and she hasn't given a buck with someone on her back once," Edward replied, rubbing his mare's shoulder. "Not that she's a friskily-minded horse anyways."
She looked at him dubiously still.
"And she's the first horse I ever trained," Edward added.
"How old is she?" she asked.
"Gettin' about fifteen," Edward replied.
She finally put her foot in the stirrup and lifted her arm so he could grab it and help her aboard."

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Treachery: Day 4

Word Count: 24,023

Summary of Events:
Adeline woke up to walk for another night, but was still rather tired, and so decided to go back to sleep and rest some more instead. Edward, having been pleasantly surprised to find the purportedly wild horse he was supposed to gentle appeared to have just been an abused horse acting out in fear, stopped for the night, having left the town that morning. Adeline woke up refreshed and started walking, she noticed a fire and found horses. Edward woke up at the sound of a nicker and found Adeline trying to take his mare. Adeline was interrogated as to her journey's destination by Edward before deciding to sleep by his fire if she couldn't take his horse. Edward shared breakfast with Adeline before offering her a ride to Dallas — the destination she'd pulled off the top of her head during the interrogation. Adeline, riding behind him on his mare, thought about the last time she'd ridden a horse when she was a little girl, among other things.

Excerpt of the Day:
"She looked over the man's shoulder at the rolling hills that rippled away into the horizon, then she glanced at the man's face. His chiselled jaw wasn't as set as it'd been last night, but it was shadowed with a dark stubble that added texture to his face, and matched the dark hair that curled out from underneath his hat.
After a few moments he turned and glanced at her with his dark eyes before turning back to look at the rolling hills again.
"Y'all ain't goin' to fall," he said.
"I feel like I am," she replied.
He sighed, his ribs expanding against her arms encircling his body.
Adeline said nothing for awhile, but she decided that it would be important for her to know his name, it would be better than just thinking of him as the man. She wasn't sure if she'd be willing to volunteer her name, though.
"What is your name?" she asked.
"Edward," he replied, not looking back.
She nodded to herself. She felt like Edward was a bit of an old name for him, though, if he wasn't thirty yet like he'd said. She felt like Edwards were at least over thirty, if not closer to forty.
"Do y'all have a name?" he asked, turning his head slightly in her direction.
"Yes," she replied. "Of course I do."
"You goin' to oblige me of it?" Edward asked.
Adeline opened her mouth, then exhaled. She didn't know that she wanted to tell him her real name, but she had to tell him something. The question was: did she use her middle name or Mama's name? Or maybe Anna's?
"Sarah," she said. She was certain her stepfather didn't know her middle name. He'd never used it when he'd yelled at her, after all.
Edward was silent. Adeline hoped that she'd be able to respond to her middle name as easily as her first name, and she wished Edward would say something.
He didn't say anything for a long time, which made Adeline feel quite unsettled.
"For the sake of keepin' your identity as a lady from the masses I'm callin' you Sam." he said. "Samuel when I'm mad."
Adeline nodded slowly. She wasn't really sure what she thought about that idea. She just hoped that he wouldn't go and tell her that she was going to have to cut her hair next; she had no intent of losing her hair only for his comfort."

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Treachery: Day 3

Word Count: 18,015

Summary of Events:
Edward received a visitor at his campfire and was told that someone had work for him. Adeline walked and contemplated where she should head for, leaning toward West Virginia. Edward rode toward where his work would be, intending to stop by the next town and telegraph the man to let him know he'd received the word and was on his way. Adeline was tired and the sun was rising, but she had to walk a long ways to find shelter. Edward arrived at the next town and went to the saloon after sending the telegram and joined in a pool game; one of the old-timers doubted Edward and challenged him to a bet . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""A buck fifty?" the old-timer asked, smiling.
"If I would've meant a buck fifty that's what I would've said," Edward replied. "I meant a hundred'n fifty."
The old-timer raised his eyebrows. "Confident young'un."
"You'd better be on the far side of eighty to be callin' me that," Edward said.
"Why?" the old-timer challenged.
"Because otherwise y'all ain't hardly older than my Pa," Edward replied.
"How old is your pa?" one of the other men asked incredulously.
"Old enough that he's got grandchildren older than me," Edward replied.
"How many kids does he have?" the man asked.
"Fourteen, with two wives," Edward replied.
The man turned away, looking impressed.
"Well kid," the old-timer said. "I am eighty."
Edward nodded. Five years older than his father, that was reasonable to be calling him a kid. It irritated him when men younger than his father, and especially younger than fifty, called him a kid or a young'un or anything like that. They weren't hardly old enough to be his father, they had no right to call him young.
Once again Edward was given the break, and he did well off of it. As he'd expected he did well in the round, even beating out the old-timer who'd made the bet with him, although he didn't win.
"So where's my hundred'n fifty?" Edward asked as the table was being reset for the next game.
"You didn't win," the old-timer said.
"I beat you," Edward replied. "And that's what matters."
"Naw it don't," the old-timer said.
"Why not?" Edward asked.
"Because y'all's just a young whelp," the old-timer replied.
"You ever heard of the name Edward Thorne?" Edward asked.
"Yeah, he's some hotshot horse trainer or somethin'," the old-timer replied. "Apparently he can break a wild horse to saddle in less'n a year."
"I prefer the word train," Edward said. "But that's inconsequential. The point is, you're lookin' at him."
"Who?" the old-timer asked.
"Edward Thorne," Edward replied.
"Not on yer life," the old-timer said.
"You bet your life," Edward replied.
"There ain't no way y'all know enough to train a mustang," the old-timer said.
"Believe it," Edward said.
"I have to see somethin' to believe it," the old-timer said.
"Then show me the wildest horse in town and I'll oblige you," Edward replied.
"You've got yerself in some hot water kid," the old-timer said. "The wildest horse in town is the devil himself I tell you, but I wanna see y'all get scared outta yer jeans. Y'all got yerself a deal."
Edward emptied his glass. "Take me to him."
"Hey ever'body!" The old-timer shouted. "This whelp says he's Edward Thorne, and he's goin't break Loco t'saddle!"
"Train," Edward corrected quietly.
The entire crowd startled and watched in stunned silence as the old-timer led Edward and a small crowd toward the door. The crowd grew as they kept walking. Edward couldn't wait to see the old-timer with his jaw in the dirt."

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Treachery: Day 2

Word Count: 12,010

Summary of Events:
Adeline had changed to walking during the night, and it was nearing sunrise when she came on a farm whose owners were already up and working; when they got called in for breakfast Adeline managed to sneak past to the safety of the thicker trees on the other side. Edward's breakfast was interrupted by a man who wanted to buy his mare; Edward refused him and left town with his horses. Adeline woke up later than she'd expected to and started walking; it didn't take long before she noticed a house in the darkness . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Almost as if cued by the sight, Adeline's stomach grumbled painfully, and she had to admit that she was quite hungry. It was rather fortuitous that the house was here. Eating early into her journey would be a good thing, she was sure.
Going slower now, Adeline approached the house and followed its perimeter until she found the outside door to the root cellar. She had a feeling a garden filled only with moist, black soil, and maybe some tender green shoots of vegetables to fill the larder in the coming autumn, stood not far away.
Feeling for the latch, Adeline found it was easy to open. She carefully lifted open the doors and felt down for the first step. Her foot hit something, then she heard a rather solid crack and then a dull, wettish thud.
Puzzled, Adeline reached in with her hand and found that the stairs into the cellar as far as she could reach were filled with jars of preserves, and that she must've knocked one of the jars onto a lower set of jars, causing it to break and fall between the stairs to the floor.
She felt bad about the waste, but quickly took two jars of the preserves and closed the cellar door. That would keep her fed for awhile. She checked and saw there was no sign of any activity from the house.
Quietly, slowly, she made her way away from the house, watching out for the grass to turn to soil, not wanting to ruin their stock of vegetables for the next year.
A board hit her abdomen and she startled. Then she looked down and saw that on her side of the fence there was grass, and on the other side not, or at least it looked like it.
Following the fenceline, she made her way around and continued walking somewhat nearby the road until she found a bridge and could hear the sound of a small creek bubbling under.
It didn't sound as full of water as the ones that had flowed by the house in West Virginia, but then again, those had been in the mountains, and it was awhile since winter had ended.
Adeline climbed down the bank and nestled herself under the bridge. She'd stop here and eat some of the preserves. Then she'd continue on her way until sunrise, whenever that happened to be.
It took some effort to open the jar, but she got it done rather quietly and then reached into the cool brine until her fingers grabbed an odd shape. Lifting it out, she put it in her mouth and recognised at once the taste of pickled beetroot.
Nervously Adeline looked down at her dress. She hoped she hadn't dripped. Beetroot brine was notorious for staining, and she didn't want to have those stains joining the dirt and grass stains that already marked her dress, they wouldn't come out like the dirt and grass stains would."

Monday, September 05, 2016

Treachery: Day 1

Word Count: 6,039

Summary of Events:
Adeline endured a final dinner with her stepfather and mother before making her escape. Edward watched his latest employer run the filly they'd worked with through her paces before being paid and leaving. Adeline lay awake and shivering in the night, trying to sleep. Edward had breakfast in town and was going to leave when he was told a boy wanted to see him . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Y-you need to come with me," the boy said quickly. "Pa sent me to fetch you."
Edward snatched his arm out of the woman's hold and opened the door. The boy fairly flew out and Edward followed him with his brisk, long stride.
The boy slowed down once they were out of sight of the house and Edward was able to shorten his stride. The boy took him to a small house on the edge of town where Edward could see already why he'd been summoned.
There was a horse in the pasture galloping madly and bucking viciously, a saddle hanging off of its side. A man stood by the fence, holding an arm and looking anxiously in their direction.
"Thank God," the man whispered as they approached. "I thought I'd seen you in town yesterday. I'd try and get him myself but he kicked my arm and I think it's broke."
Edward nodded and swung over the fence. He uttered a low whistle. He could see the horse had heard him, but the out of place saddle was still a fright. As he walked toward the barn he continued to utter low, soft whistles.
The ferocity with which the horse bucked lessened, becoming more of an odd and brisk trot. Edward heard a nicker from the barn and slipped inside, where he found a draft horse's great head looking over a stall door.
Haltering the horse, Edward then fed the rope through one of the rings by the mouth, into the mouth, through the other ring, and tossed it over the horse's back. He managed to haul himself up onto the high back with a good push.
He then leaned forward and fed the end of the rope through where it came up from under the chin and knotted it.
The draft horse was a little surprised, but responded well to Edward's light cues as he got the horse to walk out of the barn towards its panicking mate. He resumed his regular low whistling.
As they approached the panicking horse it slowed, but wouldn't stop. Edward tried to reach down from the draft to the cinch, but it was too low for him without saddle on, so he grabbed the loose reins of the panicking horse, and a handful of mane, and slid over.
For an instant the horse froze. Then, in a renewed wave of panic, started bucking viciously.
Edward hung on fast to the mane until the horse finally slowed enough that he dared let go with one hand and pull at the cinch belt. He managed to undo it singlehandedly and the saddle hit the ground.
The horse shot away from it, but soon slowed. Edward rubbed the horse's neck until the lathered, trembling creature came to a stop, sides heaving."