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  1. Past hour
  2. Poor boone. Nightmares like that suck
  3. chris191070

    XD Ch 4

    Awesome chapter. Hopefully Kyle,e and family will be out of danger. An awesome trip for the family. More property development by Xander.
  4. Wow, it's really something to lean how much wanking there is in the bible! Who knew
  5. CLJobe

    Chapter 26

  6. As David drove south on I-91 toward Hartford, his only thought was of Craig. There was so much he wanted to say to his new friend. How does a man tell another man that he has strong, emotional feelings for him? That evening he wanted to call Craig and just say, ‘How you doing? I had a great visit. Hope to see you soon.’ Instead, he just thought of his friend. He wanted to hug him, but guys don’t do that. Or do they? As Craig drove the tow truck and worked in the garage, his only thought was of David: He too had the same thoughts: There was so much he wanted to say to his new friend. How does a man tell another man that he has strong, emotional feelings for him? That evening he wanted to call David at his dorm room and just say, ‘How you doing? Enjoyed your visit. Hope to see you soon.’ Instead, he just thought of his friend. He wanted to hug him, but guys don’t do that. Or do they? During the next four weeks each constantly thought of the other. Craig had not put clean sheets on his bed after David slept in it. He wanted to touch the material that had touched his friend. He rumpled up a set of clean sheets and put them in the dirty clothes hamper so his mother would not know that he was not changing sheets. Almost a month later David called Craig’s home. Mrs. Miller answered the phone. “Hello Charlotte. This is David, your snowbound guest of a few weeks ago. Is Craig there?” She replied, “Oh, hi David. It is so nice to hear your voice. Have you finished Updike’s Rabbit Run? I would like to get your impressions of Harry’s struggles after he abandoned his family.” “I’m driving through Brattleboro Friday. There is a dinner honoring my father Saturday evening that I plan to attend. I would like to stop by and say ‘Hi’. “I hope you do more than say ‘Hi’. Please stay for dinner. I need your help with the dishes as we discuss the book. Also, there were some books on the reading list for your class that I had not read. I’ve read two of them. More for us to discuss. I’ll put Craig on the line.” David left campus early Friday afternoon immediately after his last class. As he pulled into the gas station / auto repair garage, Craig bounded out to greet him. He had been watching for the old blue chevy all afternoon. They greeted with firm handshakes and happy smiles. When he left the Miller home at 8:00 pm, his stomach was full, mind in good spirits from the conversation with Craig and Charlotte and his heartbeat with lust for his friend. Craig had suggested they go cross-country skiing Sunday. David gladly accepted the offer. David arrived back at the Miller house about 10:00 Sunday morning. Craig had skipped church and was ready for their adventure. Four hours with his friend in the snow-covered Vermont forests was delightful. They laughed as each drew designs in yellow as they stood shoulder to shoulder pissing, while each forced himself to not look in the direction of the other’s dick. Following the vigorous skiing, they rested in Craig’s room with the door open. Craig read laying on his bed while David sat in a chair. Following supper and conversation with Charlotte and Craig, while helping with the dishes, David departed for Hartford at 9:00. The skis that he had brought from his home in Hanover were left at Craig’s. They planned a day of skiing in two weeks. During their ski outing two weeks later, David suggested that Craig visit him in Hartford. Plans were made for Craig to take the Vermonter Amtrak train from Brattleboro to Hartford the following Friday and return by Greyhound bus Monday morning. Since he would be sleeping on the floor of David’s dorm room, they packed a camping air mattress, set of sheets and an old blanket in David’s car to be ready for Craig’s visit. By coincidence, David’s roommate, Jason, was going home to New York City for the weekend on the same train that Craig was arriving on. David gave his roommate a ride to the station and waited for Craig’s arrival. When his friend stepped off the train, the two greeted with hearty handshakes and smiles. David had a full schedule planned for his friend: Friday afternoon / evening – tour of the campus, including the Trinity College Chapel (a gothic structure designed by the same firm that designed the National Cathedral in Washington, DC), the library (which totally enchanted the book lover) and the film De Sade (a German film about the life of the Marquis de Sade) at Cinestudio, Hartford’s art cinema which was (and still is) on Trinity’s campus. The highlight of Saturday was their visit to Hartford Public Library. Craig was in awe of both this and the Trinity College Library. David had the feeling his friend would have enjoyed wandering through the stacks of both for hours. They walked to every place they visited Saturday, including the historic Mark Twain House (where the author and his family lived during his most productive years, including writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They concluded the day attending a performance of the Hartford Symphony at the Bushnell Center of Performing Arts. This was Craig’s first attendance at a performance of a professional symphony orchestra. Back home, he watched performances by the Boston Symphony and Pops concert on public TV. Watching and listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was a memorable treat (that was repeated frequently in future years as David and Craig became supporters and subscribers of the symphony). Sunday’s adventures included museums, walks in parks and along the bank of the Connecticut River. Back in the dorm room Craig raved about the places they had visited. What impressed him the most were the libraries. While the boys totally enjoyed each other’s company, they kept their modesty. Neither had ever seen the other naked. There just seemed to be an unspoken agreement between them to not let the other see all of the other. When David’s roommate returned late Sunday evening, he had no problem undressing in front of David and Craig. While David likewise did not hide his body from his roommate, he did during Craig’s visit. Neither David nor the roommate flaunted their nudity, but they also did not hide it. There being together constantly only increased David’s affection for his friend. After listening to Craig ramble on and on enthusiastically about the libraries, David asked. “Craig, have you ever considered a career as a librarian?” From Craig’s face and body language, David thought he had asked Craig if he had considered being an astronaut. This was evidentially something he had never contemplated. “That is impossible. I just have a high school degree and the only job I know is working in an auto repair garage.” As David looked into his friend’s eyes a plan developed. “Craig, you could move to Hartford and we would share an apartment. You could get a job, maybe in a bookstore, maybe in a factory or garage to support yourself while you took classes at Greater Hartford Community College part-time. Then you could transfer to a college like Central Connecticut State College (now University) and get a bachelor’s degree. After that you could continue your studies and receive a master’s in library science. Next year is my last year here at Trinity. I’m planning a career in finance, probably insurance or banking related. Some students live in apartments near the campus. I would move out of the dorm and we could live together. Think about it.” With a sad look on his face Craig replied, “That sounds like a fairy tale. In real life, stuff like that does not happen. In reality, I will spend the rest of my life in Brattleboro, take over operation of the garage and marry someone like Mary Lou. That’s life.” David was sitting on his bed and Craig on the roommate’s. David stood, walked over to his friend, took his hand and pulled him up. David then wrapped his arms around Craig. As Craig returned the hug, David softly poke into his ear, “Everything is possible. Sharing an apartment with you would make me the happiest guy in Hartford. Please, think about it.” As they untangled from each other, the door opened and Jason returned from New York. Following brief introductions, David and Jason sat at their desks working on class projects while Craig laid on David’s bed reading. At midnight all got ready for bed. The air mattress was pulled out from under David’s bed for Craig. The boy from Brattleboro was awake long into the night. The restlessness was not caused by the uncomfortable air mattress but the dreamlike suggestion that he go back to school and pursue a career as a librarian. As David drove Craig to the bus station prior to his first class, they both were quiet. Just as they arrived at the station, Craig thanked David for a wonderful weekend. Then, with tears in his eyes, he said, “I thought about your suggestion most of the night. With your support, maybe I can do it. Let me think it through. If you can, come up to Brattleboro next weekend and we will discuss it.” As they gazed into each other’s eyes, the two resisted leaning forward and kissing. Craig gave a quick goodbye and David stated that he hoped he could come up for a day. On the bus ride home and as he worked at the garage in the afternoon, Craig could think of nothing except David’s proposal. Finally, he convinced himself to do it. He would tell his parents at dinner. While he was not positive it would work out, he knew that he could always come home to his previous life in Brattleboro. The reactions of his mother and father were very different than he expected. His father said, “Craig, you’re twenty-five years old. You have the right to make your own decisions. When I was your age, your mother and I had been married seven years and you were already in first grade at school. I certainly was not asking my parents for permission to do anything.” His mother was almost in tears. “I’m so happy that you are going to college. Maybe when you were fresh out of high school, you were not ready. I know you are now.” Later, as he helped his mother with the dishes, she confided in him, “I think your father was relieved that you are taking a different path. When you were younger, he had visualized you taking over the garage. But he realizes now that being a mechanic is not in your blood. He’s proud that you are a hard worker, good with customers and do the paperwork. But he also realizes that working on cars and trucks is not you passion. I remember the day he sort of proposed twenty-six years ago. He arrived on the afternoon train from Army basic training with a three-day pass prior to shipping out to the European battlefields of World War II. As we walked along the bank of the Connecticut River he told me his dreams: to take over his father’s gas station / garage, to marry me and to raise children. That was how he proposed. The next day we were married and nine months later you arrived. He realized all three of those wishes. Starting tomorrow, you are going to have to teach me to do that damn paperwork. Your father might be the best auto mechanic in Brattleboro, but his record keeping skills are zero.” As soon as the dishes were done, Craig called David. They talked for an hour. Luckily, long-distance calling rates had gone down to just ten cents a minute so the call only cost about $6.00 (Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $40 today – even at ten cents a minute, long-distance calls were usually infrequent and short.) The days between March and June 1970 were an exciting time for the boys: David completed his junior (3rd year) of college and had obtained a paid internship with an insurance company in Hartford starting June 1. He found a two room apartment (a large room with a tiny kitchen area in the corner and a small bedroom with space for two twin (single) beds and not much else) within walking distance of the college that was available June 1. Craig’s sister, Melisa, and her boyfriend, Mike, who worked at the garage, had planned a hiking adventure in mid-July. They would travel the Long Trail from Central Vermont north to the Canadian border, about 175 miles (280 km). When Craig realized Melissa and Mike would not be able to do the hike if he moved, he suggested that he not go to Hartford until the beginning of July. Melissa and Mike rescheduled their hike for June. Craig also needed time to teach his mother the bookkeeping and record keeping for the business. However, he did want to begin his job search. With the help of his English high school teacher and town librarian, he prepared a resume and cover letter to send to Hartford area bookstores in hopes of finding employment. If he was unable to obtain a position in a bookstore, he would accept the best paying job in any field. Craig’s Cover Letter: You most likely assume it is strange that an auto mechanic with a high school degree would apply for a position in a bookstore. Please read on. You will discover that this small town boy is highly qualified. Books are my passion. I read every issue of the Book Review Digest and New York Times Book Review. In the past ten years I have read a majority of the books included on the New York Times best seller lists. My volunteer work at the town library has included a range of activities from giving written recommendations to the book selection committee to cleaning and painting. Since a teenager, I have worked at the family business, a gas station / repair garage. In addition to mechanical duties, I meet with customers, sometimes calming very unhappy customers, and keep the business’s accounting records. With my passion for and knowledge of books, ability to work with customers and record keeping abilities, I believe I am qualified to work in your establishment. References are listed below (his high school English teacher and town librarian) and my high school transcript is attached. If needed, I will have an official transcript sent directly to you. (The transcript listed A’s in all English, history, language and social science; mostly A’s and a few B’s in science, math and physical education.) You may contact me at 860 – 000-000. Please leave a message. My apartment mate will forward your message. I will move to Hartford July 1. Sincerely, Craig Miller Four days after David had moved into the apartment on June 1, Craig visited for three days and two nights. While he did not own a car himself, the business owned two cars, a pickup truck and the tow truck. Craig drove the pickup truck loaded with furniture and household supplies he and David had accumulated from each of their families. Until Craig’s arrival with two twin (single) beds, David had been sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. They set up the two beds with a small table between them. There was also room for one dresser in the small bedroom. Keeping their self-imposed modesty both slept in underwear (David in boxer shorts and Craig in white, Fruit-of-the-Loom briefs). Neither was ever naked in front of the other. Craig made a list of bookstores from the yellow pages of the Hartford phone book. The second day, he borrowed David’s car and visited ten of the stores. At each one he just did a quick walk through to determine if this was a place where he would want to work. He decided to follow-up with six of the stores. When Craig returned to Vermont, he prepared a folder with the cover letter, resume and transcript for each of the six larger stores. The following week he would return for two days and drop off the folders and hopefully talk to a manager at each store. A week later, at the first two stores, he was able to talk to a manager. Both took his folder while stating there were no openings anticipated. At the third store there appeared to be no manager available and the clerk begrudgingly took the folder. Craig had the feeling no one would ever look at it. He approached the fourth store on his list, Reader’s Emporium, with youthful hope. The store’s manager, Frank Coleman, was having a miserable day. That morning, he and his partner, Daren, had prepared a list of items to take on their vacation. They would be driving to Provincetown, Massachusetts, Friday afternoon. When Frank arrived at the store, he received a most unwelcome telephone call from his business partner in New Haven. The Hartford location was one of two owned by Masie and Jack Cunningham with Frank being a partner and co-owner of the Hartford store. The Cunninghams operated the larger New Haven store, while Frank managed the Hartford store. The plan was to have Masie manage the Hartford store while Frank was on vacation. When Frank answered the call, he received the bad news: Masie’s mother in Rochester, New York, had suffered a stroke. She already had other medical issues. Masie was departing for Rochester that morning and would be gone for at least a week. Frank would have to postpone his vacation. He called Daren, his partner of twenty-four years, to discuss delaying the trip. An hour later, Daren called back with bad news: First, it was too late to cancel their expensive hotel reservation and receive a refund; Secondly, where Daren worked, the vacation schedule had been set up at the beginning of the year. There were no openings until October. Since the hotel could not be cancelled and the vacation rescheduled that summer, Daren would go by himself. Frank’s partner was going to Provincetown, the gay vacation playground of New England, alone. Nothing could change Frank’s foul mood. Nothing until the door to the store opened and in walked a tall handsome young man with a delightful smile radiating youthful innocence. As the man entered, he spoke to the clerk who was arranging books on a display table. Following a brief conversation, the clerk pointed in the direction of Frank. The smile, the penetrating brown eyes and the muscular body hidden under a jacket and tie helped get Frank out of his foul mood. “Hello, I’m Craig Miller. The clerk told me you are the manager. I am seeking employment at your store. This folder contains a letter, a resume and other information about me. Could I make an appointment to discuss this further?” Frank was smitten by Craig. While he did not need any additional employees at the present, he did want to get to know this cute guy better. “I have about ten minutes of work to finish and then I would be happy to talk to you. Browse around the store until I am free.” Frank went to his office and read the material in the folder. A handsome, muscular auto mechanic who was into books, what a delicious individual. With the office door closed, he called Ms. Fairchild, the librarian who Craig had listed as a reference. She raved about the young man. Frank called Craig into his office. “I reviewed the information you gave me. Tell me about yourself. Why are you leaving your home in Brattleboro?” Craig talked for fifteen minutes. He told about his love of books and discussed some of his recent reads. He explained that he planned to start college, attending part-time. When he mentioned that he was sharing an apartment near the Trinity campus with a friend who was a senior, Frank innocently asked. “Is the girl you are sharing the apartment from Brattleboro?” Craig laughed. “The guy with whom I am sharing the apartment is a friend from New Hampshire.” That reply made Frank happy, as he had carnal thoughts about this young man who was not married, had not mentioned any girlfriends and was living with another guy. While Frank did not need an additional employee, he had become infatuated with Craig. “Summer is our slow season. I could offer you a half-time position now that would very likely become full-time in the fall. The work would not be sophisticated. You would be cleaning the store, washing windows, sweeping the sidewalk, packing and unpacking books. More sweat than intellectual at the beginning. We would be using your body, later your brain.” “I’ve done a lot of sweating working as a mechanic. To do it in a store full of books would be a lot more enjoyable than in an auto repair shop.” Frank happily visualized sweat dripping from the young man. They agreed that Craig would begin working the Monday after the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The boys went out to dinner that evening to celebrate Craig’s new position. They walked to Timothy’s, a small local restaurant known for its interesting menu and home cooked meals. That night, they discussed their plans for the future, sitting on their beds until midnight. They had stripped to their underwear briefs (Craig) and boxers (David) and faced each other as their knees were almost touching in the tiny bedroom. It was an unusually warm evening for June in Connecticut. They agreed that their next purchase would be a window fan as the two dripped perspiration. Craig drove back to Vermont in the morning. They would not see each other until the Fourth of July weekend when they would do a three-day canoe adventure on the upper Connecticut River.
  7. Happy Monday, all. Still feeling rough, but got the latest chapter posted...
  8. *** River of Dreams Both men moved with new purpose, and Boone enjoyed Coy’s excited energy as they broke camp. His friend looked even more like his normal self despite Boone’s recurring nightmare waking him in the middle of the night. This dream was bad, worse than all the others, and Boone had found it necessary to walk it off for a spell before he could return to his bedroll. Coy had stayed by his side until his upset simmered down. He’d asked him questions, but Boone told him he’d forgotten what it was about, and only remembered the feeling of not being able to breathe. He wasn’t telling the truth, though. He recalled pretty much all of it, especially the fact Coy was in the water with him, and after he’d kissed Boone goodbye—same as what happened in his other dreams—everything changed. This time it wasn’t Boone who’d been wrapped in vines and struggling to move—it was Coy—and he was the one being dragged away by the current, deeper and deeper until he disappeared from sight. He searched frantically for his friend, his lungs burning like fire until he gave up and breathed in the cold, dark water. Coy was gone, swallowed up by the river, and Boone didn’t want to find the surface without him. Certain he was dead, he continued to swim downward, reaching out in darkness but unable to find the bottom. Something found him, though, its snake-like body wrapping around his arm before moving up to his throat. A coyote called mournfully through the water as he was pulled further down into the black, endless depths… and then he woke, gasping for air, his chest heaving painfully and his body coated in sweat. Boone experienced pure dread, like he was still that little boy waking up alone in a frightening world after his ma died... until he felt Coy’s hand on his arm. The warm breath on his face was proof his friend was alive… and he sobbed in relief. It was an embarrassment for sure, but couldn’t be helped. It took them until the third day to reach the spot where he’d fallen in, and each of those nights, he’d relived the same basic nightmare. He laughed them off to a concerned Coy, insisting they weren’t no big deal, but he was beginning to fear going to sleep. The warm days were pleasant, and for much of the time they were in shade. Coy kept things light-hearted. He talked about the different plants they were seeing, his reactions almost kid-like at the number and size of the trees they were winding through. Many of them were soaring spruce and pine, and some they figured were balsam because of the smaller needles. Pretty trees, they were. Every so often, they glimpsed far off rolling hills covered in forests, in the direction they were headed. Boone enjoyed listening to his friend’s enthusiastic talk, hoping it was a sign he’d worked through his grief and had come to accept being the only one of his family left. All in all, the days were perfect. But, when they reached the spot where he’d fallen in, it felt anything but pleasant, and Boone was bound and determined not to stick around. The fallen tree that had trapped his arm and hurt his shoulder was still there, but about half of it overhung the river now. Seeing the picket line still in place brought back things he didn’t want to think about, and he stayed back, shook up at just how much of the narrow strip had fallen away. Broken trees and large, scattered branches were everywhere, and any one of them could have killed him. He couldn’t stop the remembered fear from crawling up his backbone, and he shuddered. “That’s a good rope,” Coy said as he dallied Buttercup’s lead rope around his saddle horn and dismounted. “Didn’t think to grab it last time I was here… in too much of a hurry.” Boone’s panic rose as Coy hit the ground, and exploded at seeing his boots sink into soft earth. “Hey, be careful, dammit!” Coy spun and looked at him curiously. “Careful of what?” “The ground… it might not be safe.” “Sure it is.” He took a few steps towards the bank. “Coy!” “Boone, don’t fret… it’s safe. The water’s a lot lower and slower than when I was here before, and the bank has a good slope down to the river now. Worst that could happen is I slide down and get wet, and if’n I had to swim, I’d be fine. You all right?” He blew out a long breath, feeling scared and foolish both. “Too many bad dreams about this place, I guess.” “Get off and see for yourself. I think we might even be able to ford here. I know Mouse would go willingly.” “No! I want to start heading north. We’ll find somewhere else to cross.” Coy’s eyebrows rose as his gaze fixed on Boone. “All right… suit yourself. Bet this place looked a lot different that night,” he said in a different tone. “It was a nightmare,” Boone said softly as he turned Daisy and Blue into the tree line. It wasn’t long before he found a game trail that wound alongside the river… but not too close. He didn’t look behind for a while, but could hear Buttercup and Mouse following some distance back. Slowly, he began to relax, feeling a mite shamed at the fear he’d showed Coy back there. He was spending way too much time reliving that stormy night and his perilous plunge, but he hoped now they were past that part of the journey, his dreams would end. Coy, as if he was in his head, called out to him. “Rivers can have a lot of power beneath the surface, so you were probably wise to keep us moving. Sorry I took that kind of chance. I got the rope, though.” “A good rope is a good rope,” was Boone’s only response, but he appreciated his friend’s attempt to make him feel better. The game trail was some tough going as they entered thick woods, and Boone, lost in thought, suddenly found himself facing a wall of trees and brush that seemed almost impenetrable. Angry at himself for being stubborn back at the clearing, he forced Daisy forward. It wasn’t long before he had to dismount in order to continue, and as they got farther in, he truly regretted his earlier decision. “You want to turn around?” “Why would we do that?” Coy asked, now only a few feet away. “We’ve been climbing the whole time and it sounds like the river hasn’t.” “I meant back to where you said Mouse would cross.” “That far? No, I trust your instincts. Besides, the day’s winding down.” “That weren’t instinct. It was fear, plain and simple.” “Maybe so, but let’s keep going. Near as I can tell, we’re on a ridge, and there’s a good chance we’ll start going down afore too long.” “Or meet a cliff or a canyon and we’ll have to go back anyway.” “If that’s the way of it, I think we’ll know soon enough. If’n you want to turn around, we can… we ain’t in no rush, and I’m liking this kind of travel for a change.” “You are?” “Sure am.” Coy took a drink from his canteen. “It’s cool enough in here, out of the sun, and I’ve seen a couple of deer, and I even think I saw me a bear on that rise we passed a ways back. Never saw a bear before.” “Heard they like the woods and higher elevation. You sure it was a bear?” “Nope, didn’t see its head, but I saw the big black back end of something running away from us. Wasn’t that big so maybe it was one of those badgers or something. Don’t know nothing about what lives around here.” Boone was facing Coy, and he could see eagerness and excitement… joy he’d not seen in a long time. It did the heart good to see, and made him realize that while he might have changed since that punch, so had Coy. He knew who his brother had been, and he carried that weight as much as Boone had… likely even more, and Boone had shut down on him. His face broke out into a genuine smile, and he pushed away thoughts of the river. “I’m game if you’re game… just hope one of my eyes don’t get poked out by one of these branches.” “You’d still have another. Want me to take the lead?” Coy asked with a grin and that same eagerness. “Sure… if you can get by.” They managed to dance around enough that Coy took the lead, but not before Blue made it known he didn’t like what was happening and had to be persuaded he wasn’t going to be separated from Buttercup. Not for the first time, Boone entertained the idea of shooting him dead. Course he wouldn’t—the beast had saved his life by finding Coy’s camp—but it did his mind good to think on it some. They fought their way on foot for about another mile before the trees got farther apart. Shortly after, they were looking down into a narrow but open valley. To the right was a broad expanse of Snake River, and from their vantage point, it looked slow moving and calm. “See that trail coming out of the woods over there to the left?” Coy asked. “Yep. I’m thinking we were making our own trail when we could have been on that one.” “Looks like,” Coy said with a chuckle. “It leads right down to the water. Ain’t this a pretty sight?” “Sure is. And it looks like a good place to cross over. Can see how the land gets higher in the distance.” “I could see someone farming this valley one day. It’s big enough.” “Yep. It’s big enough, but look at the steep slope on the other side. I suspect this place floods a time or two when it rains a bunch. Only place for the water to go is to the bottom, and that would likely kill any crops on the flats.” “See… that’s why you’re smarter than me at farming. Never would have figured that out on my own.” “Maybe not, but I bet you’d have found that trail over there if’n you was leading.” Boone said. “Might a done, if I wasn’t watching for bears and such. Fact is, we made it, and now I’m taking that way down… looks easy enough. You coming?” Coy’s voice still held that same enthusiasm, and he didn’t sound at all like he was tired from their journey. “You keep leading,” Boone answered as Coy gently spurred a dozing Mouse forward. He fell in line, pleased Coy wanted to go first. In the past, Coy would often stand back until Boone took the lead. Something was different. The going was much easier than earlier. Even Blue seemed happier, making his excited half bray, half whinny sound a couple of times. Maybe it was because he had a better view of Buttercup, or maybe it was because he could smell the water and wanted a drink… or maybe he forgot he was a damn mule. It took them a good hour to reach level ground… and the river. Coy had been right. It was the perfect place to cross over—lazy water that was only belly deep in the middle, and with no high bank to climb. The man didn’t even stop to talk with Boone… just rode halfway across and stopped, letting the horses have a drink. He was grinning ear to ear as Boone approached him, sloshing through sparkling water that was catching the early evening sun. “Knew this would be a good place to cross.” “Couldn’t ask for better,” Boone agreed, matching Coy’s grin as his charges dropped their heads and quenched their thirst. “Looks like a good place to camp too.” “I’m all for that. Been a long day, and I plan on soaking in this river for a spell. Maybe wash my clothes at the same time.” “You do that, and I’ll get supper on. Lots of good grass for the horses.” “I’ll set a couple of snares in those willows near the bank. Can bet there’s rabbit trails in there.” Boone narrowed his eyes, reacting quickly after glancing where Coy was pointing. He slid his rifle from its scabbard and shot one round off. Of course Blue had to cause his little ruckus, but Boone didn’t mind at all. Daisy did though, pinning her ears and swinging her hind end in warning, like a mother scolding her kid. “No need for snares tonight. Got us a fat grouse from the looks of it.” “Good shot. I’d rather have grouse than rabbit any day.” “Me too.” Riding out of the water, he dropped his reins on the ground and walked over to retrieve their supper, seeing sign that game was plentiful around these parts. “Fried or boiled?” “I reckon rolled in flour and fried would hit the spot.” Coy was now out of the river and off his horse. “Don’t think we need the canvas strung up. Sky’s clear.” They both went about settling and hobbling the horses and Blue, and setting up camp. Once the animals were happily off munching grass, Boone built the cook fire and began plucking their meal, his mind on how much he was enjoying this time with Coy. It felt like old times, before the kiss and the following punch, but it was different too. Coy was different. He hadn’t seen him this happy in a long time… like there was a burden off his shoulders… and yet there were moments he saw something behind the man’s eyes he couldn’t get a fix on. He turned his gaze to the river, and in the fading light, he watched a naked Coy washing his clothes. That familiar ache grew in the pit of his stomach, one he tried to ignore, but never could. Coy was beautiful, and Boone could watch the play of his muscles all day. He’d never seen a better formed man, and for sure lusted after him… every part of him. Some of his blood headed south as he thought about how his skin felt, and how much he wanted to feel all of it against him. He wanted to taste it, and he wanted to feel Coy’s lips on his. “You coming in?” The question startled Boone from his thoughts, and he knew he’d been caught staring, something he tried not to do while the man was awake. “I… ah… not yet,” he stammered. “Going to start the cooking now. After I eat some grub… don’t know why I’m so hungry, but I could eat the ass end out of a skunk. Ah, how’s the water?” “About perfect once you’re in. Nice sand on the bottom too.” He swung his arm, trying to splash Boone, but it fell far short. He grinned and disappeared beneath the water long enough Boone began to stand up in worry. When Coy broke the surface, he came up gasping and laughing, pushing his shaggy mane back from his face with both arms. The sight was too much for Boone, and he forced himself to look away. Would the time ever come when he wouldn’t have these damn feelings? Coy deserved better from him… and Boone, feeling shame, set about cooking them their meal. *
  9. Mac Rountree

    Sunday Gift

    Thomas, I hadn't thought of Mark being touched by the divine but you are absolutely right that he has wisdom. Hmmm, you have given me something to ponder: being divine v. being touched by the divine. Uncle Samuel was right to pass along the ring of the head of the household to Mark. Thank you for reading. Mac
  10. Mac Rountree

    Sunday Gift

    Children in ancient cultures were often sacrificed to appease the gods. Some of those thoughts are still present in some cultures. Luckily, Ehud was an only child so that the father cannot exact punishment on other children. Mark will find a way to protect Ehud. Thank you for reading the book. Mac
  11. Threadfall morning again. D’gar hadn’t slept well. His brain had refused to switch off and he’d spent most of the hours of darkness thinking through the various tactics that might be suitable for today’s Fall, depending on weather conditions. When the grey light of dawn started to filter under the curtain, it was a relief to know that the night was finally over. His stomach was no worse than usual, thankfully. He’d have liked to just get a cup of klah served in his weyr, but R’feem had always insisted on the Wing having breakfast together prior to Threadfall and it wasn’t something he wanted to change. He dressed, noticing again the extra weight of the Wingleader’s knots on his shoulder. Later on, at some point, he’d have to surprise H’rek with the news. But first he’d need to attend all of those interminable post-Fall meetings R’feem always moaned about, so it would probably be much later than he’d normally manage to get away afterwards. Herebeth was in a cheerful mood. We lead the Wing today. I am looking forward to it. Me too. That wasn’t entirely a lie. He knew he was capable of doing a good job and that R’feem wouldn’t have handed over if he’d not had full confidence in his abilities. His main worry was about making mistakes that affected the rest of the Wing; of putting other riders and their dragons in unnecessary danger. He got to the dining hall before most of the others. Not really surprising. The sun still wasn’t above the rim of the Bowl and Fall wasn’t due to start until mid-morning. Before that, he’d need to go to the Wingleaders’ meeting to find out all the latest information, then pass it on to his Wingseconds and decide how they were going to handle this one. Drudges were just starting to bring out the breakfast dishes. The clatter of plates and the rumble of the wheels on their trollies echoed around the empty space. He waited until they’d finished before pouring a cup of klah with plenty of sweetener and filling a bowl with his usual porridge, which looked as unappetising as ever. ‘You’re up early.’ F’nor joined him, grabbing a couple of eggs and a few sweet rolls from the table. He gave a quick smile. ‘Couldn’t sleep for thinking. Thought I might as well get breakfast while it wasn’t too busy.’ ‘I heard the news. Congratulations.’ ‘I’d rather R’feem hadn’t been injured.’ ‘Of course. Still, only way a brown’s going to get a chance to lead a Wing, isn’t it?’ D’gar had almost forgotten those odd customs at Benden. ‘Not from our point of view, although I’d have probably had to wait until I was a lot older. Brown dragons can do most things as well as bronzes.’ ‘Except catch a queen.’ ‘Check your records and you’ll find they’ve even done that a few times over the Turns.’ ‘Really? Is that so?’ He looked mildly surprised. ‘Not that I’d ever want to set Canth against Mnementh, though and I’d definitely discourage him from going after Prideth.’ ‘I can see the reason for that.’ He grinned. ‘Mind if I join you to eat this.’ ‘Fine, if you don’t mind sitting with us old timers.’ D’gar led the way to the usual table. F’nor tucked in to his food. He must be one of those lucky folk whose appetite was unaffected by nerves. ‘Just thought I should warn you that some of the more hidebound traditionalists aren’t going to be too happy about your promotion, even if it is only temporary.’ ‘I suspected as much. Still, nothing they can really do about it.’ He stirred his porridge and wondered if it he could face a spoonful. Maybe not yet. ‘You might do best not to annoy them. F’lar’s on your side, but he has enough trouble keeping them all in line that he doesn’t need any more aggravation.’ ‘I understand that. I’m not planning on saying very much at any of the meetings, anyway. You can learn more by listening.’ He had a sip of klah. The warmth of it always helped settle his stomach. ‘True. By the way, how did Gr’lon get on with your lads yesterday?’ ‘Pretty well. He’d not be a liability in Fall. Someone should give him a chance to prove it.’ ‘We’ll try to find a space for him.’ ‘Well, if you can’t, we certainly will.’ F’nor smiled. ‘Are you poaching our riders?’ ‘I’d rather not see a good pair sit on the sidelines. He’s not keen on being sent south as his weyrmate’s based here.’ That reminded him of the other matter he wanted to discuss. ‘I heard some unsettling news about what’s going on in Southern that I think you should know about.’ ‘Don’t tell me it’s Kylara again.’ ‘Not her exactly, more who she’s taken up with. F’drun. Apparently he’s started pushing folk around and one of them is that young lad from your Wing, C’vash.’ F’nor raised an eyebrow. ‘How did you find this out?’ ‘One of our wingriders came back yesterday and told me. It concerns me, too, as his weyrmate’s in my Wing.’ He wondered if he should tell F’nor any of the other information he’d found out about F’drun, but then some of the wingriders began to arrive and the moment passed. F’nor, having finished his own breakfast, refilled his klah, then left as the tables began to fill up. D’gar ate his porridge mechanically, knowing that he should get some food inside his stomach; it was a good four hour Fall today and he’d need the energy. B’lin came over to sit with him. ‘How’s it going?’ ‘Not so badly, so far.’ He wondered if B’lin was feeling the same way as M’rell. ‘Listen, I hope you aren’t upset that R’feem chose me to lead while he’s out of action.’ ‘Not in the slightest. Rather you than me. Not that I don’t think I could lead a Fall, it’s all the other stuff. Meetings and politics. Not really my cup of klah.’ ‘Thanks. Think you could manage the admin for the time being?’ He didn’t really want to turn it over as he’d just got it nicely organised, but he recognised the need to delegate responsibility, if only to get some free time. ‘Sure. I’ll pick it up later, at our meeting.’ ‘I’ll have Herebeth bespeak Ondiath when we’re ready.’ Absently, he wondered if the Wingleaders’ meetings were announced the same way, or if that was another way that Benden diverged from the normal practice. Most of the Wing had already congratulated him the previous evening, so they got on with their breakfast. M’rell came down late - he’d had too much to drink the night before, which was normal for him - and took care to sit as far as possible from D’gar. B’lin evidently noticed. ‘Your friend seems upset.’ ‘He’s always wanted to be Wingsecond. He wasn’t entirely happy when I got the job rather than him and he likes it even less that I didn’t automatically promote him.’ ‘I can see his point.’ ‘Me too. But I needed someone with prior experience and V’vil is the only man who’s got that. I’ll have a word with M’rell later, try and talk it through.’ ‘I take it you’ll put him in my section.’ D’gar nodded. ‘It’ll cause less friction that way.’ He realised that while he’d been talking, he’d managed to finish up his porridge and that it wasn’t sitting too uneasily on his stomach. He’d just got himself a refill of klah when Herebeth sent a message. Mnementh asks for you to be in the council room in ten minutes. Tell him I have the message. Well, this was it. Time to face the Benden Wingleaders. As he was leaving, he passed R’feem in the doorway. ‘Just off to the meeting,’ he said. R’feem nodded. ‘Sit with W’lir and try not to let them get to you. Most of them are fine, once you get used to their ways.’ D’gar made his way to the council room. It wouldn’t do to be late for his first meeting. F’lar was already there, as would be expected of the Weyrleader and two of the other Benden Wingleaders were just getting settled. He recognised S’lel and K’net. K’net gave him a quick smile, probably understanding how he must be feeling as the newest and youngest among them and gestured to the seat next to his. D’gar sat down. ‘Thanks.’ He took a sip of klah, then studied the map that had been pinned up, showing the terrain they’d be covering today. It was almost the same area as the first Fall they’d fought after arriving at Benden. Hard to comprehend how much had happened since then. A few more arrived, W’lir among them. He took the seat on D’gar’s other side and leaned close. ‘This shouldn’t take too long,’ he said quietly. ‘Looks fairly straightforward today. You’ll do fine.’ ‘Let’s hope so.’ He didn’t want to fall into the mistake of being overconfident. Once everyone was settled, F’lar spoke. ‘I’ve just had the first weather reports. Partial cloud over most of the area, although it’s fairly high and looks as if it might clear later. Winds are light and from a westerly direction. We’ll have an update closer to Fall, but it’s looking as if we’re not going to get wet this time around.’ There were a few chuckles around the table. ‘About time we had some decent weather this season,’ W’lir commented. ‘Don’t think my wherhide’s had a chance to dry out since we got here and Araeth says he’s never felt so well-washed.’ ‘You’ll be pleased to hear that summer does get to Benden eventually,’ F’lar said lightly, evidently noting the black looks W’lir’s comments had provoked from some of his Wingleaders. ‘So, back to business. You’re on sweep duty today, S’lan. And K’net, your Wing’s on clean-up afterwards. I’m sure I don’t have to explain how vital it is not to let any burrows spread in the vineyards or I’ll have Lord Raid on my back again.’ ‘So long as the lower levels don’t miss too much we should be fine,’ K’net commented. ‘Who’s flying which positions today?’ ‘As you so rightly pointed out, the lower levels are the last line of defence, so I’m sure your Wing will do an excellent job there along with D’gar.’ R’gul gave a snort. ‘So we’re relying on an inexperienced brown rider to keep the vineyards intact.’ D’gar had intended to stay quiet at the meeting, but he couldn’t let the slight go. ‘I’ve fought Thread for five Turns. How many Falls have you ridden?’ It was an indubitable truth. Beside him, W’lir nodded and made an approving noise. ‘Thank you, R’gul. I’m glad you drew our attention to the fact we’ve a new Wingleader present today. I’m sure you’ll all give D’gar your full support and remember that although leading a Wing may be new to him, fighting Thread certainly isn’t. R’feem is fully confident in his ability and that’s good enough for me.’ R’gul subsided with a low mutter to his neighbour, S’lan. D’gar forced himself to appear unconcerned as the briefing continued. As W’lir had surmised, it didn’t go on for too long and at the end of it he had a clear picture of today’s tactics and his Wing’s role. On the way out, he called for Herebeth and returned to his weyr, asking his dragon to call for Ondiath and Bitath’s riders to join him there shortly. B’lin and V’vil soon arrived and between them, they worked out the positions of the dragons within the formation and the shift order for the blues and greens. ‘Just the Queens’ Wing below us today, so let’s not give them too much work,’ D’gar told them. ‘The Weyrleader’s rightly concerned about burrows in the vineyards and we’re all partial to a drop of Benden white, so it’s in our interest to keep as much as we can from getting through.’ ‘I’ll drink to that,’ B’lin quipped. He seemed in a good mood this morning. ‘Right then. If you want to form the Wing up and get them started chewing firestone, I’ll be with you shortly.’ B’lin left first on Ondiath. As V’vil waited for Bitath to land he said, ‘I appreciate you giving the job to me. Most folk would favour someone from their own Weyr.’ ‘R’feem’s never done that and I’m not about to start. Besides, you’ve the experience.’ It hadn’t been V’vil’s fault he was demoted, just another example of F’drun’s bad attitude. Once they’d gone, he sat for a few minutes to get his thoughts together, then set to gathering all that he needed for Fall. Only after he’d got the fighting straps on Herebeth and checked them for the second time, did he realise he’d been kept so busy this morning he’d not had time to feel sick. Well, that had to be a good thing. Are we ready? I reckon so. He mounted up and let Herebeth glide down to the Bowl, where the Wing - his Wing! - were assembling. Selecting a couple of sacks, he fed Herebeth several chunks and while he was working his way through them, took a walk round to check that all the dragons and riders were fit and ready to fight. M’rell was still glowering so D’gar took the opportunity to take him to one side. ‘Just thought we should have a talk before Fall.’ ‘What about? You obviously didn’t think I was good enough…’ ‘No, that’s not it at all. I’m sure you’d be able to do the job, given some training, but V’vil’s done it before. I’m new to this, so I wanted two fully experienced Wingseconds there to support me.’ ‘You could have said something to me beforehand.’ He sounded hurt. ‘I should have done. I’m sorry.’ There hadn’t really been time, but apologising never did any harm. ‘Don’t take it personally. I still think you and Toth are one of the best pairs in the Wing.’ M’rell didn’t say anything to that, although he looked slightly less sullen. D’gar knew him well enough to lay the praise on more thickly. ‘I’m really glad you came back when you did. Let’s get up there and show these Benden riders how to fight Thread. All right?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Fly well.’ It was the traditional pre-Fall saying. ‘You too.’ Feeling slightly more happy that M’rell understood his reasons, he gave Herebeth more firestone and secured the sacks to his straps. All around the Bowl now, dragons of all colours were forming up. Their sense of anticipation to meet their old enemy fed through, as always to the riders. He watched his wing mates go through their habitual routines; T’garrin’s walk around his dragon, V’chal leaning against Lilith’s right foreleg as he surveyed the riders around him and worked out who he would be bedding later. D’gar caught his eye and looked away quickly before he got the wrong idea. ‘All good?’ He turned to see R’feem. ‘I reckon so.’ ‘Piroth and I are on support duty today. Not much I can do to help, but at least he’ll do his bit if it’s needed.’ Herebeth crunched his way through a large piece of stone beside them. ‘J’rud said they’d got him fetching and carrying, so at least he’ll be able to lend a hand. T’sum’s a good sort, too. His dragon’s recovering from a bad wing score.’ R’feem nodded. ‘Well, I’ll see you later. Fly well. I know you’ll do us proud.’ He gave D’gar his customary pat on the shoulder and strolled off toward the infirmary. Is everyone nearly ready, he asked Herebeth. I shall find out. F’lar was helping Lessa to mount Ramoth. She looked shaky, D’gar thought, watching them for a short while. Hopefully nothing serious, although everyone was ill now and then and it had to be fairly bad for someone to miss Fall. Around her a motley assortment of recuperating dragons and riders made up a small Queens’ Wing. All of the youngsters still at Benden were on firestone duties, together with many of the riders whose dragons were unable to fight due to injury. We are ready to fly, Herebeth responded. Good. Then tell the riders to mount up and their dragons to assume take-off position. He climbed on board himself, fastening and checking the straps again before pulling on his gloves. To their left, S’lel’s Wing was preparing to fly. He signalled to S’lel, letting them go first. The downdraught from their wings stirred the air and sent tiny flurries of dust up from the landing area. Looks like the ground really is starting to dry up, he thought, as Herebeth relayed his instructions and he gave the signal for the Wing to ascend. The came out of between in almost perfect formation. Below them stretched the seemingly endless lines of grapevines, the newly emerged leaves almost the exact same colour as Rioth’s hide. A group of men on ground crew duty stood outside their stone shelter, shielding their eyes against the sun as the dragons flew overhead. As predicted, the cloud had thinned and patches of blue sky were visible. The wind was light enough not to affect even the smaller dragons. All in all, you couldn’t wish for a better day to fight Thread. Piyanth’s rider asks if we start on the southern edge of Fall. Tell him yes. It had already been sorted out at the meeting, but there was no harm in double checking. Formations as agreed, given that weather’s looking fine. Ask Ondiath and Bitath to be ready to move into fighting formation. He scanned the north-eastern sky for the first signs of leading edge, although it was probably a little early yet. They always arrived at the Fall area in good time; even with F’lar’s maps, Fall sometimes began slightly earlier - or later - than predicted. Maybe it was something to do with the weather conditions far above the height a dragon could fly, he mused. While they waited, they flew the usual pattern, ensuring they would be in the right place when Thread was sighted. As they did, he watched the dragons in the Wing, noting how each were flying. It was clear enough today that he could see everyone. At the far end of the left hand chevron, Bitath’s bronze hide gleamed in the sun. Sweep dragons report first sight of leading edge. It is patchy, they say. Another mystery; why Thread sometimes fell evenly like rain, other times as clumps or in long filaments. Patchy Thread usually meant less of it, but the irregular nature meant dragons had to move in and out of formation more frequently and they would need to keep up a dialogue with those to either side to ensure everyone knew exactly who was taking which patch. Inform Ondiath and Bitath please and ask them to pass it on to their sections. He made a final check of his straps, tightening them fully so that no matter what aerobatic moves Herebeth pulled, he wouldn’t slip. Fighting formations on my signal. He checked either side, then gave the sign at the same time Herebeth issued the command. The Wing re-formed smoothly in just a few seconds. Even the two Benden dragons kept their positions perfectly. Part of his mind hoped that R’gul had been watching. I see Thread. Herebeth’s eyes picked it out before he did. Then came Mnementh’s roar and the first flames high in the sky as another Fall began. This Fall was definitely patchy, with plenty of clear space between each tangle of silvery Threads. However, most of the tangles were so large that a blue or green alone couldn’t flame the whole lot in one breath. It soon became obvious that the dragons in the sky above them were struggling, as several partially charred yet still viable bunches began to find their way through. They cannot clear it efficiently, Herebeth said. This is not working well. What else can we do? D’gar suddenly remembered he’d seen Thread fall like this before. It had been just a Turn or so after he’d joined R’feem’s Wing and he remembered how the Wingleader had dealt with the situation. You paired a blue or green with a brown or bronze and where you ran out of pairs due to having less browns and bronzes, you put what blues or greens were left together so they didn’t have to try and attack the tangles alone. He quickly ran through the permutations in his head, while Herebeth shrivelled one of the larger bunches with his fiery breath, then had him send the relevant information to the Wingseconds. They hear us, Herebeth reported. They have both seen Fall like this before as well and know what you intend. They instruct their sections to pair up now. Can you explain it to Piyanth too? And Mnementh. The Weyrleader’s dragon could then pass it through to the other Wingleaders. I will try to explain. He suddenly had a better idea. Lessa was one of those rare Weyrwomen who could hear all dragons, he’d been told. If Herebeth spoke directly to her, the information would be passed on far more swiftly and be less open to misunderstanding. Plus, the hidebound old fools would be more likely to comply with a Weyrwoman’s instructions. Scrap that. Tell it direct to Lessa. He watched as his Wing re-formed itself. Inevitably, during the shuffle, some Thread got through. Couldn’t be helped. Some of the dragons in the Queens’ Wing were already pairing up, meaning Lessa must have got the message and they went between to intercept the falling bundles before they reached the ground. Ramoth tells me to tell you Lessa has understood and that she thanks you. From the Wingleader’s position, he had a clear picture of how well the dragons were coping. Messages were flashing to and fro, relayed by the Wingleaders’ and Wingseconds’ dragons. Within a few minutes, all of the Wings had re-structured themselves and were managing this unusual Fall far more effectively. Herebeth paired up with Zath and they fought together through the first part of Fall. By the time it came to swap out, all of the replacements knew exactly what they were meant to be doing and which dragons they would be paired with. The shift change went very smoothly, all in all. During the second half, he was with Lilith. They worked even better as a team. D’gar mentioned it to his dragon. I like Lilith, he said. She is a very nimble green. Lilith seemed almost flirtatious at times, when the dragons weren’t occupied with flaming Thread. D’gar found himself hoping fervently that Herebeth wouldn’t take it into his head to chase her the next time she rose. Time had no meaning when you were busy fighting Thread. D’gar was only aware of its passing by the change in the sun’s position and his aching muscles. Eventually, the vineyards ended and after some twenty minutes of flying above rough grazing land, they finally reached the mountains, where Thread could continue to fall unhindered until the Fall ended. Herebeth called the dragons back to their standard formation and they returned to the Weyr, grubby and tired from their exertions. Back on the ground, he made his usual checks, in case Herebeth had been scored and not felt the pain in the heat of the action. Then he went round the Wing, making sure everyone else was fine. ‘I’ve not seen a Fall like that for a couple of Turns,’ V’vil said. ‘Last time was over Pars Hold around forty-seven, I think.’ ‘Yeah, we had a couple like that as well,’ B’lin said. ‘Difficult in some ways, but did you notice, there were a lot less injuries.’ D’gar hadn’t - he’d other things on his mind - but now that B’lin mentioned it he could see there were far fewer dragons than normal waiting for treatment over by the infirmary. ‘Must be due to the big bunches. Much easier to see and avoid.’ He carried on making his way round. M’rell certainly seemed in a better mood. ‘That was well done,’ he said. ‘I don’t reckon R’feem could have changed us around any quicker.’ ‘Thanks. Are you both fine?’ ‘Tired. Think we got a bit out of shape, lounging around down south.’ He slapped Toth’s shoulder. ‘He’ll soon get into it again.’ V’chal was removing Lilith’s straps. He smiled broadly as D’gar approached. ‘Lilith thinks Herebeth’s a fine dragon, she just told me. You’re not so bad either.’ ‘You fought well,’ D’gar said, trying to keep it professional. V’chal threw one of the loops around his shoulders and pulled him in for a kiss. ‘There’s more than this for you later, if you’re interested,’ he whispered as he nuzzled D’gar’s neck. ‘I like it when you’re in charge.’ D’gar smiled back. ‘Better not, tempting though it is. H’rek wouldn’t be happy.’ He extricated himself from V’chal’s embrace just as R’feem turned up. ‘Well, I never got that sort of appreciation,’ the Wingleader commented. ‘I’m deeply hurt.’ ‘Never know,’ V’chal winked at him. ‘Your luck might be in next time.’ ‘What happened up there?’ he asked. ‘Not many injuries today, I noticed.’ ‘It was a patchy Fall. Like that one we had over Hold Gar a while back.’ He nodded. ‘So you got them to pair up?’ ‘Yes. I remembered how you’d fought it last time.’ ‘Well done.’ He patted D’gar on the shoulder, as was his way. ‘Knew I could rely on you.’
  12. Mac Rountree

    Sunday Gift

    Thank you very much. Mac
  13. I have good news and bad news. Good news is I think you’re a very good story teller, and, in the most part, I am enjoying this very much. Bad news? Well the number of typos in all the chapters frustrated me ALMOST to the point of giving up. What you REALLY should do is get an editor, and do it before you post the next chapter!
  14. Thomas Haworth

    Sunday Gift

    It seems to me that Belinda is not the only one in the family touched by the divine. Mark "is as wise as Solomon" and now is the head of the family. This will allow him to enforce the safety of Ehud.
  15. (Sorry, Albert. When you said it twice in the space of 30 minutes, I just couldn't resist. )
  16. Today
  17. You know you have "it" when as an author, you can make regular tasks like shopping a main focal point of the story and your subjects can't quit reading. You keep upping your game my friend. Another rollercoaster of emotions in this chapter! Anger, compassion, joy, and so many more.... And ending with the big one...Love! You got a few tears on this one too... Perfect ending to the perfect day! Thank you again for another great chapter .... nothing but love here for the author and the story!!! ❤️❤️
  18. Actually, turtles aren't necessarily all that slow... Source: https://turtleowner.com/how-fast-or-slow-are-turtles/
  19. The snow is all thawed now. We got freezing rain and then rain yesterday afternoon/all night. It's not too bad now. Cold, but the sun peeked out for a little bit before hiding behind the clouds again.
  20. @Comicality Hey, didn't Ruel turn 18 in October? Congrats to the dude!
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