Stagecoach

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about a run-away family of two with a stagecoach.

Submitted: May 04, 2016

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Submitted: May 04, 2016

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Stagecoach

The force of my Mother’s hand against my skin turned her knuckles white. She grabbed me by my arm and ran toward the stagecoach by the old church. I looked up at her, lost in a state of disbelief and panic.

“Momma! What’s happening!” I screamed at her. It was hard to hear, or to even speak with all the yelling coming from behind us.

“Pick up your legs, Lew!” She practically threw me inside the small stagecoach. She hopped in herself, chasing after her breath and yelling at the driver.

“Go!! Now!” She was in such a hurry that she hadn’t noticed the rip in her dress yet, or that her necklace was missing.

“Where are we going’, mamm?” Asked the conductor. Mother was looking out the window, focusing on everything. Her eyes were studying every little detail and her hands shook with great worry.

“Anywhere. Take us anywhere!” She exclaimed with great fear.

“Momma! Why are we-”

“Lewis! Not, now. Stop asking questions.” She said this so oddly while grabbing my shoulders and lightly shaking me. She looked so fragile, so old and worn. Like the old leather chair that had sat in the barber shop for years, she had conveniently been there for others while they took advantage of her. Her eyes held so much hurt that I thought she might break out into tears right there. I nodded my head and took her hand into mine, understanding her.

A small piece of paper had fallen out of her dress pocket and I suddenly understood why we were running. We hadn’t paid any taxes or dues since my Father had died. My chest tightens and my eyes quickly grow tears. I let my head fall and caress my Mother’s hand in mine.

“Thank you, Lew.” She smiles warmly at me and sits back in her seat, confuzed and greatly dazed. The topic of my Father had always caused some disturbance in our relationship. Just thinking of him and his warm smile can make me want to hold my Mother. I bet she misses the twinkle in his eye when he laughed. I bet she misses the slight wrinkles he got at the corner of his mouth when he smiled. I completely understood her,and I was in the midst of asking a question before I heard a small cough.

There were two other men inside the stagecoach with us. I suppose we had been in such a horrific rush that we hadn’t noticed them. I stop abruptly and tug on my Mother’s dress. She looks at me, then in the direction I am looking in.

“Name’s Parsley, Ben Parley,” the first man sitting close to me states while pulling out a cigarette.

“And that’s Jerry. Just Jerry.” Jerry, the man sitting close to my Mother smiles politely while taking off his Cowboy hat. My Mother sticks out her hand while giving her finest smile.

“Hello, my name’s Mary, Mary Lew. And this is my boy, Lewis.” She gestures to me and I give the men a slight smile while wiping away the memories that are falling down my cheeks. Jerry quickly shakes my Mother’s hand and asks her where were headed to.

“Just, away. I’m not sure where we’ll move to quite yet.” My Mother says.

“Moving?!?! You had never mentioned moving, Mother! All my friends are in Swoon! Jessie, John, Isaac,-”

“Lew, stop. You’ll make plenty friends in whatever place we start over in.”

“But that’s where Father grew up.”

Silence. The wagon was silent, but my mind wasn’t. I could see the tears swelling up in my Mother’s eyes and I immediately felt guilty. It felt as if my entire chest had swollen up, that I couldn’t grasp onto another breath. I couldn’t be feeling like this at age ten, but I was. We spent the rest of the evening sinking off into the night, carrying on on the open plain of deserted land.

//

The next day I woke up slumped over in my Mother’s lap. I could hear the horses feet clomping on the dry land. I coughed and looked to my left to see one of the men smoking a cigarette.

“Don’t you know to never smoke in front of a lady?” I ask while picking myself up and waving my hand around the air to get rid of the smoke. Ben smiles slyly and throws the cigarette out the window.

“You’re a wise kid, ya know?” I nod at him and turn my attention to my Mother. She’s drinking something out of a silver bottle. Her eyes are droopy and her curls have lost their bounce. She looks helpless.

“Mom? I’m hungry.” I exclaim this loud enough for everyone to hear. The driver yells out,”There’s a bed and breakfast up ahead, maybe we can grab a bite there.” My Mother nods her head to me and I tell the man sure.

The sun had rose over the mountains and they sneak their way into the stagecoach. Their light hits us all and we all look out onto the beauty. The streams of light falls into patterns according to the curtains over the windows. The yellow sunlight is magnificent and feels fantastic on my legs.

We finally arrive and step out onto the grass of a woman’s house. The house is nice and ginormous. The woman invites us in nicely, and tells us we can have anything in the kitchen. Momma and I both make pancakes, and it’s like old times. We used to make pancakes for Father when he would wake up in the mornings. Now, it was just us, and the bottles Momma drank out of.

We stayed the night there in that nice house, and I remember staying up and thinking of my home town, the one Dad and I used to go to the park in. The one where my friends and I used to hang out in our secret tree fort. The town I had my first birthday party in.

The town my Father died in.

I shake the memory out of my head and get up. I look out my window and stare out at the beautiful moon shining through the glass. I get down on my knees and pray to Jesus.

“Dear Jesus, please let my Mother be okay. Let her find her strength and happiness, and let us live with love in our hearts and clarity in our minds. God, the only way we can do this is if you give us some sort of closure. I miss Dad....so much. God, show us the way to happiness, and tell my Dad I said hi. Amen.”

I climb back in under the comforter and let myself cry. I cried and cried until I heard something out in the hallway. I froze. I threw my blanket over my head and closed my eyes. My door opened, and next thing I knew I was throwing on my shoes and running out the door with Mom.

“Momma! What about Ben and Jerry?”

“Don’t worry about them, they’re grown men. They can handle themselves.”

I frown at the thought of leaving them behind, and I had no idea why we were running away again anyways, but Momma pushed me into the back of the stagecoach, and on we went. I let the bumps of the dirt road lure me into a restless sleep.

//

I woke up to the sound of my Mother yelling at me to wake up. We were still riding and I was still tired. She had woken me up and gave me a handful of blackberries she had found.

“Hope you like berries!” She laid them down beside me in the seat Ben had sat in before we left them.

She popped a few into her mouth that looked unfamiliar to me, but I didn’t much care. My Mother grew up farming, she knew all kinds of roots and plants.

“Momma..I miss Swoon.”

Her whole demeanor changed, her eyes grew darker, her teeth chewed the berries slower, and she didn’t blink for a while.

She managed to sputter out that it’d be okay, just like she had before. I knew better though. I knew that it wouldn’t be okay, that we’d be trapped inside this stagecoach for days, possibly weeks, if I didn’t say something.

“Why did we ever leave? Was it because of the taxes? The money, Momma? I can get another job to help. I have enough time, and you know I’d be happy to help.”

“Lewis, stop. We’re not going back.”
“Mom! Why! I told you I could help, I could get some extra bucks from selling my rock collection too.”

“Lew. Stop-”

“Momma!” She had lost control of her body and landed on top of me. She was barely breathing and her eyes fluttered open and shut.

“Momma! No! Stop! I’ll get help, I’ll be back!” Pushing her off me and onto the seat across from me, I hop outside of the stagecoach and run till I see a house. The woman let me call the police, and they came to pick her up.

I stood and watched Momma get lifted up into another stagecoach that belonged to the police. One policeman walked up to me and held a piece of paper in front of me.

A drawing of Momma’s face was on it, along with the words, “WANTED-MARY LEW.”

The man asked me if I knew her, and I nodded my head, too stunned to actually talk. Soon enough I was at the police station back in Swoon, talking to the police.

//

Mother had ran because she was wanted. She broke the law and stole alcohol from the fanciest place in town. She had gotten bail, and I had gathered up all my money and even had neighbors help, and we were able to bail her out. I had even sold my best rocks. I had told the police all about the trip that seemed like we were traveling around the world. Now, we had to stay in Swoon.

God only knows what I was to do or how I was to live with the thought of a dead Father and an incriminated Mother. I hated that stagecoach, and I hated traveling.

When my Mother stepped out of the police station, she looked so lost. So, misplaced, as if she didn’t belong in such an era where Father’s die and alcohol is stolen.

. I looked at her and studied the falling sun’s stray light shine down on her. Her golden curls had finally lost all potential and gracefully laid on her shoulders. Her blue eyes twinkled with persistent wander. I ran toward her, wrapping her up in a big hug. She hugged me back, and for the first time, I felt at peace. God had answered my prayers and let me find clarity.

“Momma...I love you.” I whispered this, afraid to say it loudly.

“I love you too, Lew. Your Father loves you too.” Tears escaped my eyes and I squeezed her tighter.

With the stagecoach behind us, we walked on. Finally in our hometown, we went home.

 


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