Someone To Come Home To

So awhile back when  I was feeling really blue about life, and writing in particular, my wonderful Husbando took to using writing prompts as a way to cheer me up. They were very clever, and I’m pretty sure several of the story snippets they produced were entirely unlike whatever he may have expected from me. I’m going to share a couple of them in the next few posts, although  I promise the racy ones are going to stay just between he and I.

From December 14th, 2011 –

(The original prompt for the story is in italics.)

The first time I saw Betsy it was the spring of 1870. The war had taken my foot, but not my leg; and my pride but not my heart. My farm survived; the barn and house still standing save for a few bullet holes. I lived in  isolation for a long time nursing my wounded pride far more than I needed to nurse my wounded leg.

But Betsy would change everything.

It was a very mild May morning when I happened to screw up the courage to face the village folk and travel into town for some supplies. Despite the loss of my foot I still kept chickens and goats on the farm, but I’d sold my milk cows right after I’d returned from fighting. So now if I wanted milk or butter that wasn’t as gamey as that from the nanny goats I had to  get to town.

At the midday market I was standing in the farmer’s stall next to the baker’s and kitty corner the tanner’s when I saw her. Betsy. She wasn’t beautiful. Not then and not too soon after, but something about her caught and held my eye.

I left the farmers stand as quickly as I could and headed over to the tanner. At first I just stopped and took her in. Big brown eyes full of a woeful sadness, and skin much too tight on the bones. She looked to have been suffering a lean time of it lately. I couldn’t help myself, my hand halfway to her cheek before I stopped and stammered.

“Tanner, what’s your price on this heifer? I ain’t never see un like her.”

“She’s not for sale Rodney. I have her on to slaughter and prep the hide for ladies shoes.”

I gaped at him. “Surely not. Not a rare cow like dis.”

“Fraid so.  That light tan hide makes right fine shoes. Very delicate says the cobbler.”

“Now why would you use such a pretty milk cow so soon? Dem udders look like they be mighty productive once she calves!” I was looking for any excuse to keep the tanner from murdering my beloved new friend. By now not only had my one hand found its way onto her cheek, but the second was soothing up and down the soft warmth of her neck.

– Attempts at accents are always an interesting trick to me. I’m not sure I’ve gotten his right, but I love to read a character who has a distinct dialect or manner of speaking. Writing it may be tricky, but I think it can really pay off if the author gets it correct.

Published in: on March 18, 2015 at 11:04 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Those first few lines formed the most attention-grabbing opener I’ve read in a while! I literally had no choice but to read on. 🙂 Great work there! I also thought Betsy was a lady at first 🙂 Was this impression given intentionally for comic effect? It was very effective and certainly had me tricked! 🙂

  2. I believe the original prompt did expect Betsy to be a woman, which is why I did my best to take the story in a different direction. I’m nothing if not perverse. 🙂

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