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Thread: Moving West - Chapter 29 - The Fire

  1. #1
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    Moving West - Chapter 29 - The Fire

    With each passing day, Sean lengthened his exercise sessions as his endurance began to return. One afternoon he and Mariska walked all the way to a lake located about a mile from the house. Tired of the burden of wondering whether or not to tell Sean about what she perceived to be a vision, Mariska took this opportunity to tell him the story, just as it had happened. She stopped from watching a squirrel scampering from limb to limb, turned, and without hesitation, told Sean the entire story.
    Well my dear Sean, tell me what you think... have you married a crazy Indian, or do you believe what I saw was real?”
    Reaching out, and running his fingers through her long black hair, Sean answered, “Wife of mine, if you are crazy, then the rest of us are totally insane. I cannot tell whether what you saw was a dream or a vision. What I can tell you my dear, is that
    I believe in you. Your last vision certainly proved to be real. Why should this one not be the same? Regardless, we both really want to see those mountains anyway, so, let's go there. If it doesn't work out, we can always go somewhere else.”
    Wrapping her arms around Sean, Mariska replied with a twinkle in her eyes, “ It's a good answer you gave my husband... Being a savage Mohegan, I might have scalped you, had you said otherwise.” Sean laughed, and they continued up the trail back to the house, as they discussed what might lie ahead for them in those towering mountains to the west.
    Three days later, after their morning walk, Sean pronounced himself ready to work, and was preparing to join Dan in the fields, when Dan burst through the door. “Sean, I need your help! The woods to the east of us are ablaze and headed this way. If we cannot clear out a break to stop it, the fire will destroy not only my crops, but this house also.”
    I'm with you, answered Sean. I'll grab the shovels, axes and other tools we will need out of the shed”, as he headed for the barn.
    Dan turned to his wife, “Anna, take the wagon, and warn our neighbors on the south road, and tell them we need all the help we can get. The Preacher and his wife live at the end of that road. When you get there, just stay. Don't try and come back here until I come for you. If we can't stop the fire, this will not be a good place to be.”
    go down the south trail and stay with Anna and the preacher's wife until we come back.”Of course,” Mariska answered.
    There was no time to waste on talk, so Anna and Mariska headed for the barn to get the wagon hitched, and Mariska's horse saddled, while the men headed for the fire.
    As they worked feverishly, Sean could easily see that if they didn't get help soon, that they had no chance to stop this fire. In fact, they might be lucky to escape being destroyed themselves if the winds picked up. Still, they worked without stopping, desperate to try and save Dan's farm. Sean was thankful that this had not happened a week earlier, for he would not have been able to help for very long at all. He would have worked until he collapsed, for Sean was not a man to use excuses, or to let his friends down. Still, without that last week's exercise, he knew that he would have passed out in a couple of hours.
    Meanwhile, after Anna drove the team down the south road, Mariska continued riding down the main road, then turned north a half mile later. That the fire was moving closer was evident. The smell of smoke was in the air, and occasionally she caught sight of burning embers carried along by the wind. At each farm she stopped at, save one, someone agreed to get the men from the fields, and send them to help. There was nobody at home at the other farm, and she had no idea of where to search for them. Mariska left a hasty note on their door, and quickly climbed back into the saddle, continuing on her mission.
    Finally, the lake came in sight, signaling both the end of the road, and time for her to turn back and join Anna. No more than a mile on her return down the road, Mariska pulled her horse to a sudden stop as her heart began to pound. Clearly, the wind had shifted, for the road back was totally blocked by a towering wall of flame that was rushing toward her at an alarming rate. The heat from the flames was almost painful even tho she was probably 500 feet away. There were no options to consider. Simply a matter of a desperate race to the lake and hoping to get to the other side before the fire overtook her and her horse.
    Tired from the frantic ride down the north trail, her horse was badly in need of rest, but she pushed him for all he had left. Whether he understood or not, he gallantly responded with the last of his energy as they dashed down the road.
    They hit the lake without any let up in speed, sending a huge splash into the air as they crashed into the water. With the heat from the onrushing flames searing her neck and back, Mariska could only hope that her mount had enough left to get them to the other side of the lake. Fighting back her fear, she wondered aloud, “Sean, I..”, then she felt her horse's loyal heart burst, as he collapsed, sending her into the water.
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    Last edited by barnburner; 02-01-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Barney, your story is coming along so well, if I was a publisher you would have it sold, this takes a lot of patience and not to many people could do what you have accomplished, great reflection on the water

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra View Post
    Well, I'm on the edge of my seat again Mike!!!!!!
    Well, Sandra, I'm hoping that you have your seat belt buckled.... I'd hate for you to get hurt sliding off the edge....
    Thanks so much for continuing to follow my little story.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pat1940 View Post
    Barney, your story is coming along so well, if I was a publisher you would have it sold, this takes a lot of patience and not to many people could do what you have accomplished, great reflection on the water
    Pat, I'm truly appreciative of your very kind comments.
    Tell you the truth, I'm pretty much amazed that I haven't run dry on ideas by now...
    Thank you very much.
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  6. #6
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    I just hope that Mariska gets safely to the other shore and all men return to their saved homes.... ... what a hard life it is to be totally free... but they were.. i envy them a bit... but not this fire... lovely pictures, Barney... totally enjoyed the whole chapter....so keep writing...

  7. #7
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    The horse is dead. Noooooo. You have to save the horse. Please.
    Loving the great art as well Mike.

  8. #8
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    .... this time You cannot state that no animal was either armed and killed i this movie ...
    Dear Barnburner, the story goes on restlessly for the protagonists and with great interest and pleasure for me (who can also improve my English as a value added element), but the illustrations improved their quality dramatically showing a mastery of both figures and landscapes coming from Your increased confidence of Your natural talent and sailing away from the docks of technically devised composition.
    The last image, with Mariska and the horse escaping in the waters is possibly one of Your best painting ever.
    Congrats!
    As for the faces, if I may suggest some experiment, there are few specific parts where a really dark outline would make features pop out (eyebrows, around the eyes, nose nostrils and thereabout, lip separation and especially the extremes) ... but not a complete outline usually. The face oval is mostly outlined by hair.
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AT-TA View Post
    I just hope that Mariska gets safely to the other shore and all men return to their saved homes.... ... what a hard life it is to be totally free... but they were.. i envy them a bit... but not this fire... lovely pictures, Barney... totally enjoyed the whole chapter....so keep writing...
    At, your very kind comments fall on very appreciative ears... Thank you very much, and I shall.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzairborne View Post
    The horse is dead. Noooooo. You have to save the horse. Please.
    Loving the great art as well Mike.
    It was a difficult choice to sacrifice the horse, but in doing so, his valiant loyalty rose him above all those horses whose lifetimes are spent in anonymity.
    Thank you very much. I truly appreciate it.
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