Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Journey Home—Love and the Texas Ranger—A Short Story

This is a short story I wrote for a Texas Mountain Trail Writer's Retreat. It was included in the clubs Chaos  Book that is put out yearly after the retreat. Recently a group of authors at Champagne Books put together an Anthology with stories from 16 authors. This story was included.

Shared Whispers is a collection of short stories created by an eclectic group of sixteen award-winning writers from across the globe who create novels in such diverse genres as romance, suspense, mystery, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction. What’s the common theme to the anthology you’re about to read? Each story reflects the allure and importance of amore in our lives.

Why the title, Shared Whispers? Every writer has a unique voice in which they reflect the fictional Story Behind the Story, the seed from which the idea evolved. You’ll also find a brief bio of their writing career and other titles that might be of interest.
world carried in their mind’s eye. It can be the flow of their words or the rhythm or pulse to their scenes. The elegance of some voices pull you into the story, envelop you with their characters and offer momentary release from the drudgery and the complexity of modern life. In essence, these stories reveal the thoughts, the murmurs, the whispers shared with the Muse, our individual guide that holds our hand from the first to the last word. At the end of each creation, each author offers the

Life is hard and dangerous on the Texas plain for a couple separated by time, distance, and duty. Love brings them together—forever.

Romance and the Texas Ranger
The Journey Home

Texas Ranger Caleb Johnson slumped atop his horse, swaying to the pace of his sorrel mare. His head bobbed with the gait as he struggled to stay in the saddle and catch a few winks of sleep. It was a ritual he and Red were accustomed to. He’d ridden many miles while asleep and his horse hadn’t tossed him once. Some weeks it was the only sleep he got. Now wasn’t a good time not to be aware of his surroundings. He was alone, wounded, and weak. The pain from his shoulder injury screamed with each movement.
The captain ordered him to stay in camp until he could send him home with an escort. But, Caleb wouldn’t have it. Hell, he was shot, not dead. He’d stolen away in the middle of the night. All he wanted was to get home to Amy. It’d been five years since he’d seen her. Maybe he no longer had a wife. Rangers weren’t good marriage material and she’d not wanted him to join up. They’d had a terrible row. Her blue eyes flashed fire as she screamed, “I won’t be here when you decide to come home.”
Contrite over her scalding words, Amy wrote him faithfully at least once a month. It’d been a year now since he’d heard from her. Every time he thought he’d get home, his division was dispatched to another area and he couldn’t go. He shuddered. Was the tremor from his wound or fear? Something was wrong at home. He could feel it in his bones.
He struggled to stay awake, but fatigue, blood loss, and now with a raging fever, illness won out. His chin hit his chest and darkness clouded his consciousness. Dreams whirled through his mind—Amy on their wedding day, her shiny brown hair piled high on her head, ringlets curling around her face. Eyes spitting fire the day he left, her face red, almost as dark as the freckles that covered her pert nose. Oh, she was a corker. He loved her spit and vinegar.
            Red kicked up her heels, sending him forward, jolting him awake. Like a drunk woken by the nudge of a boot, blurry eyed, he glanced around and noticed three Indian braves on the mesa top to the west, a half a mile away.
            He wrapped the reins around the saddle horn, pulled his Winchester from its scabbard, and propped the butt on his thigh. He’d show them he was armed. Hell, he was so weak he couldn’t shoot a rabbit.  Hopefully they hadn’t seen him swaying in the saddle like a drunk. His knees tightened around Red. She sprinted forward but didn’t break into a full gallop. Don’t let them think you’re afraid and running. They’ll be on you like ants.
            War whoops echoed behind him. He raised the rifle with one arm, propping the butt at the juncture of his shoulder, turned and shot wild. A bullet slammed into his chest. He hit the packed earth. Red broke her stride and returned to him, nudging him with her nose and whinnying for him to get up.
            Shouts of victory surrounded him. Red’s reins were grabbed by a young brave. She fought against the restriction but the Indian coaxed her forward, gently stroked her muzzle and whispered in her ear. Soon, she quieted and stopped struggling though she snorted and stamped her hooves in agitation at the smell of blood.
            Vision fuzzy, Caleb spotted his valued star adorning the shirt of an older brave. Several men poked him with their rifles. He didn’t feel pain, only a roaring in his ears, and a calming sense of peace. The war party rode away in a flurry of triumphant shouts.
Bright light enclosed him. A form stepped out and knelt at his side. Pink lips, accompanied by a pert freckled nose and blue eyes, smiled. She leaned down and kissed him sweetly on the mouth. Her lilac scent filled his nostrils and joy filled his heart.
            “It’s time, Caleb. Time for you to come home.” Amy helped him rise and took his hand. “Come, my love.” Together they walked into the light.
                                                                        The End
If you'd like to purchase a copy of Shared Whispers, click on the link. It is also available at

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  1. Thanks for your post, Linda. Love Texas Rangers.

  2. Sorry it's late, Caroline. I thought Tanya's day started tomorrow!

    I love Texas Rangers too. I'm thinking about doing one on the Ranger that tamed Kilgore during the oil boom. Of course that's in the 1930s, but very interesting.

  3. What a lovely story, Linda! Really touched my heart. Sigh. Western details were awesome, too. Good job.

    Oil is a great and timely topic any time, Linda. Go with it! xoxox

  4. Linda--this is a great short story--and it's a wonderful idea. I have three shorts--1500 words each--that I wrote for TWRP long ago. I have those back, now, and keep wondering--what to do with these very short stories? Well, now I know.
    So, you wrote this and then the full story? Or vice versa.

    A story about the Ranger who tamed Kilgore would be great. I'm writing a novel now set in 1915, and I don't like it as well as writing in the nineteenth century. I have to worry about electricity, phones, roads, railroad...all kinds of things to be realistic.
    This one also gets into the oil boom in Texas, so my hero can become an oil baron eventually.
    Oil towns back then were wild, and creating a Ranger who keeps the peace sounds very interesting.
    Much luck!

  5. Thank you, Tanya! After reading this copy, I realized it wasn't the most updated copy. Oh well, not much left out.

    I'm glad you like the idea of oil country.

  6. Thank you, Celia. Your stories would make an excellent anthology. Go for it!

    I love the 19th century, but I also enjoy the early 20th. So much new things being developed and going on.

    Yes, those boom towns were rough!


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