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Thread: Pathways of Thorns - Chapter 4

  1. #1
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    Pathways of Thorns - Chapter 4

    For the next few years Rio worked a variety of jobs as he drifted around in search of an answer as to what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. For six months, he served as a stagecoach Shotgun Guard, foiling three holdup attempts. After that, Rio served as Trail Boss for two successful cattle drives from Texas to Abilene. Armed with the bitter lesson learned from Ethan's death, both times Rio held the herd at the Kansas border, took his best marksmen, found and attacked any outlaws in the area before they could make a try for the herd. The next two years he was employed by the Army as a tracker and scout in campaigns against the Sioux and Pawnee.


    Unhappy with the government's obvious plan to steal the tribe's lands, Rio resigned and went in search of other employment. A month later, after riding into Cedar Basin, a town that would become a ghost town just ten years later, Rio responded to a plea for help from a couple of old friends. They needed someone to take over the Marshal's job on a temporary basis. Rio had no interest in being a lawman, but took the job as a favor to his friends. A successful job in that town led to a request from another town needing a law man. Word soon spread that Marshal Rio Henry had cleaned up another town, and soon another request for help came his way. Thus his career as a Peace Officer was born.


    Now, twenty years and many towns later, Rio sat eating breakfast in this Cafe, trying to unravel the mystery of why he had never managed to divorce himself from being a Lawman. Certainly he had achieved success in his profession. Rio Henry was widely considered to be among the very best of western Law Officers. Twenty years had earned Rio the respect and friendship of many people, but the faces kept changing as he continued to move from town to town. Other than his profession, there was nothing constant or permanent around him, and Rio had increasingly come to realize that he wanted those things in his life. Over the years, Rio had been shot on three occasions and stabbed once. Another time a rattlesnake spooked his horse, and he had been thrown out of the saddle, and dumped down a deep canyon wall, breaking an arm and a leg. Had it not been for the help of a passing prospector who wandered by the next day, his bones would still be laying in the bottom of that canyon.


    Time was passing fast, and Rio Henry wanted to leave more behind than just a grave and a paragraph in a history book. He wanted a wife, a family, and children. As he stared out the window at the dusty main street of Hidden Creek, Rio realized his chances of getting those things appeared slim at best.

    Later that day, Ben Johnson took a break from the newspaper to come over and sit alongside the Marshall in front of the jail. Rio was filling Ben in on some of his early history in Texas, when they noticed a familiar woman approaching as she walked down the boardwalk.

    Good afternoon Ma'am”, Rio said as he tipped his hat.

    Young Ben's face blushed as he spoke, “Afternoon Ma'am.”

    The lady looked directly at the two men, gave them a nice smile, and replied, “Thank you Gentlemen, and a good day to you both.”

    The two men watched as she walked by, and after she had passed out of hearing distance, Rio said, “Ben, if you ever wondered what a real lady looks like, she just walked by.”


    Ben had great respect for the Marshall's opinion, but in this instance he could not help but ask, “No disrespect intended Marshall, but considering what she does for a living, I think a lot of people would be surprised to hear her referred to as “a lady”.

    A knowing smile creased Rio's face, and after a couple of seconds of silence, he answered, “No doubt you are correct about that. As a reporter, you would be well served to remember that people tend to grade others a lot more harshly than they would themselves. There is a great deal more to Connie Donovan than the townspeople want to admit to. Did you ever pay attention to how she walks down the street? She knows what many of these people think of her, but when she meets them on the street, she never drops her eyes. Instead she looks them all in the eye, smiles, and gives them a clear, “Hello, Good morning, How are you doing,etc.” Then, when, as usually happens, she is snubbed, Connie acts like she is totally unaware of their actions. She simply continues on her way, walking erect and proud like she was a member of European Royalty. To my way of thinking, she is indeed, quite a lady.”


    Connie Donovan would have been both surprised and quite pleased, if she had heard Marshall Henry's comment. Some people in town would be nice to her if they were alone, but act like they didn't know her if other people were around. She had long ago noted that it didn't seem to make any difference to Rio Henry whether anyone else was around or not when Connie was there. His eyes always met hers, he was always friendly, and he had never failed to treat her with respect. She just assumed that the Marshal was a man that gave respect to everyone until they proved undeserving. That he would ever refer to her as “ a lady” would have come as quite a shock.
    Connie, despite her occupation, considered herself a lady, but the idea that someone else might share that opinion, was something she had not really considered.
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    Last edited by barnburner; 07-27-2011 at 02:58 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    Enjoyed reading the first 4 chapters Barn, Sorry Ethan was killed but Rio sounds like he will do alright

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    Quote Originally Posted by justjean View Post
    Enjoyed reading the first 4 chapters Barn, Sorry Ethan was killed but Rio sounds like he will do alright
    Thank you very much Jean. I appreciate that very much.
    Last edited by barnburner; 07-27-2011 at 02:57 PM.
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  4. #4
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    It took a little to read all the three new chapters and here we are, in "medias res", i.e. in the middle of the story.
    I also like Your new black and white drawings which show a tonally elegant composition while faces now more expressive and personal.
    Great.
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caesar View Post
    It took a little to read all the three new chapters and here we are, in "medias res", i.e. in the middle of the story.
    I also like Your new black and white drawings which show a tonally elegant composition while faces now more expressive and personal.
    Great.
    Thank you very much Caesar.. Your kind comments are truly appreciated.
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  6. #6
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    Developing into an interesting story...possibly about a man wondering if he has missed out on something in life (as I suppose we all do)...good drawing too Mike
    Try to see as many angles of vision as possible...no single one of us has a "handle" on the whole picture.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by semd74 View Post
    Developing into an interesting story...possibly about a man wondering if he has missed out on something in life (as I suppose we all do)...good drawing too Mike
    Thanks a lot Steve. I think as it continues, this story goes a little deeper that my previous ones have, at least I think so.
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