Skip to main content
PBS logo


By: Roy B. (mountdewboy)   + 20 more  
Date Submitted: 12/2/2007
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 1,832

  It had been one of the darkest nights that the old cowboy had ever seen. Having been traveling so long, the fatigue that had crept into his muscles and joints made them cry out for relief. He could not wait until he put his head upon his saddle for a peaceful night sleep. Taking his boots off and climbing in between his blankets, he was asleep before his mind realized it.
Nick Colby had been asleep for a few hours, making it just a little after midnight. When the sky opened up with an unexpected downpour, Nick's eyes popped open right as a raindrop hit him in his left eye. Wiping the water out, he jumped up quickly and shaking out his boots, not wanting any surprises of scorpion, then slipping his feet into the worn out boots. With his sleep interrupted, his duster on to help keep out the chill and rain, he gathered his wet and gear to moved, on down the trail.
A few more miles under his belt and chilled through to the bones, his duster no longer doing its duty, his unsettled mind goes over and over the irritating things that kept going wrong. The hungers he counts never seem to satisfy, the pains his body never went without anymore and the stupid Kentucky weather. He mainly wondered if the rain would ever let up. Exhausted, all he wanted to do was to yell, to relieve the tension that had been building from the past few days and find a place to dry out.
The rain was still coming down, he had travels for miles and there weren't any signs that it would stop anytime soon. Then the old cowboy's keen eyes spotted a hole in the wall. Not knowing the size of it and wondering if it could be big enough for his horse and himself, he makes his way up the gentle slope. With all the rain that has been coming down, it made the trail a danger place with sure footing for him and companion. He can't help think about the dry cave and a warm fire that would feel nice to his worn body. As he guides his horse with words of encouragement, he accessed the horse with pulling on the reins until she made it to the top. He knew she would make it. She always came through, give her a task. That is why he cares for her so much. Nick knew that it would have gone faster if she were a pack mule but he would not trade his loyal companion for pack animal just because she had stumbled a couple of times. Finally reaching the top, he ties his horse to a root sticking out of the rocks around the opening. Nick pulls out his blue steel Colt 45. It put a smile on his face to see it glisten in the rain and moonlight. Now with peace of mind, in his hand he slowly and quietly enters the cave. Very aware he has been holding his breath, he blows it out with a big sigh and his stomach unknots. With a quarter moon little light could reach into the opening, but he notices an old campfire site.
Feeling satisfied that he was alone; he turned to go back out side to gather what dry wood he could find. With not much luck but enough to make some coffee, he uses the light from the fire to get a better look around the cave. His eyes fall upon a nice stack of wood that is off to one side. Nick made a mental note, come morning, he would replenish the stuff he has used. It would only seem right, because to help the next person like her was helped. When he was satisfied of the flames, he gathered himself to go back out into the cold pelting rain to retrieve his companion of many years. He has always taken care of her needs before his own.
With the rain coming down harder now, he takes a deep breath and steps hit with another unwelcome surprise. It is hail the size if a buffalo nickels and not feeling good upon hitting the body surface. When he got her into the cave for a nice rub down and to help calm her nerves. When she was finally relaxed, he walked over to the fire to get him some of the coffee to help warm him up too. Sipping on the coffee, he wishes he had some companion for himself but knowing that isn't going to happen being out here in the middle of nowhere. Giving up the idea, he resigned to catching up on the sleep that the sudden storms had taken way from him. Before he went down for the night he laid all his wet belongings out by the fire. He turned in, as his eyes shut for the final time before exhaustion kicked in, his last thought was one that reflected his life. "Thanking God for losing him chill."
He hears, “Hey, you in the cave! You in the cave!" Again woken up with the sky still black and a bit of light here and there from lighting, he hears sound of someone yelling, thinking is it a dream, he hears if again. He is on his
feet with gun in hand in a blink of an eye.
"Can, I come up and share your fire?” When Nick didn't recognize the voice he kept his guard up... “Would like to get out of this rain to dry out and fix something to feel this void in my stomach."
Yelling back to the stranger, Nick is feeling a bit uncomfortable, “Sure but keep your hands, where I can see them.” Standing with his back to the cave wall and trained on the opening in the front of him.
Knowing that eyes were watching him. The stranger followed the instruction and came into the opening of the cave. Finally out of the rain, he moved his duster, Nick's eyes lit up when he saw what was around the strangers neck. The white preacher's collar.
“Good morning, I’m really thankful. Been riding all night and this has been the only dry place that I have seen for miles. Hope you do not mind, the company. I just could not pass it up, especially after seeing your smoke."
"Well preacher, "I will share this cave with you because of what the collar makes you” he said in a rugged voice gesturing to pointing the man's collar. Still feeling uneasy about the unwanted visitor he continued, "There are two things you must mind if you don't want to end up back out there. If you cross me, I will not shoot you because you're a preacher, but I will not do you any favors either. "First you don't preach to me. I know it and don't want to hear it. Second, I do not want your life story and do not ask me about mine either."
"Oh well, what's done is done. If the preacher couldn't keep his mouth shut, then I guess I'll have to deal with it. If Nick Colby was anything was true to his word. He'd never cheated, lied or dishonored himself, and wasn't about to start now.
Now that was all done, "The old cowboy takes a few sticks and stirs up the embers. Now that the flames start dancing again, he gets last nights coffee warming up.
With the preachers blankets still very wet, Nick had given him one of his damp ones to sleep; the preacher smiled and nodded his thanks. They tucked themselves away to catch what little rest they could get before the light started appearing outside.
The next morning, sitting there in silence and they began to get what little fixings the had together to eat. The rabbit that Nick had shot earlier and hard biscuits. He was amazed that the preacher had kept himself quiet.
While feeding their faces, Nick asked, "What's your given name?" He wanted to know to be more at ease if he knew what to call him besides preacher.
The reply was, "Chad." With that knowledge something started to bother the old cowboy.
For some reason he had seen Chad’s face before. It was older, more worn now with the eyes more weary, but it was the same face.
Trying to recall them from his memory, he came out and inquired about Chad. With further chatting back and forth, it hit both of them, like a ton of bricks. They were looking right into the face of the man that started them on the lonely journey that they were both living today.
"Wondering if, we had met somewhere before," he asked the stranger. "Could it was over a woman, that you look quite familiar?"
They found out that they were in LOVE with the same girl. She had been a whore is a small rundown town. She was good at her job and loved it as well. The kind of girl that all men can fall for. She had a savvy business mind and used it often.
But when she had told them both the she would take a man to her bed but not to her heart, they had blamed each other for their loss. Both gentlemen fuming they wanted to settle things as men and in those days that was to meet in the street for a gun fight. The whole town knew what was coming and cleared the street but watching from behind windows, curtains or whatever but they wanted to see who was faster at the draw. Now in the street with distance between them, they are begging staring at each other trying to figure out who will make the first move. It seemed like hours that they didn't move. Just standing there with the whole town waiting, finally both drawing, their eyes fall upon the barrel of the guns, neither fired their weapons. When something struck them, right then both lowered their guns and holstered. Then turning away from each other they both just walked off in different direction hoping they would never have to meet each other again.
Further chatting, revealed that, in the middle of Main Street wasn't the first time, they had met. They had met in a corn field, so close, that they were looking right into each other's gun barrel. Not being more then in their middle teen’s one wearing the uniform of the blue, while the other wearing the uniform of the grey. That's right, the War Between the States. Chad and Nick were so young and scared at the time, they could not follow through with their threats. Each ended up going own direction, a little broke and a lot humiliated.
Now, years later, here they are sitting and sharing the same fire. It would seem, as if God had a destiny for them to become FRIENDS.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Roy B. (mountdewboy)

Member Comments

Leave a comment about this story...

Comments 1 to 7 of 7
Elizabeth B. (meowysmiles) - - 12/3/2007 12:47 AM ET
That was a good write,I almost feel like I know you from somewhere after reading that,it was really good.I knew someone who used to write just like that : ) meowysmiles
IONE L. (zaneygraylady) - 12/5/2007 10:37 PM ET
good writing and good story
Lena S. (SquirrelNutkin) - 6/20/2008 7:04 PM ET
I thought this was a really good story I especially like the twists towards the end. One of those stories that you find yourself saying,'wow I didn't see that coming'. I like that.
Kelli C. (kelli40) - 7/7/2008 5:10 PM ET
Nice story.
Shan C. (Shan-Bita) - - 10/21/2008 10:12 PM ET
This was amazingly written ! I love it
Kimberly Z. (chiKaD27) - , - 3/2/2009 2:43 AM ET
I like it.
Michal W. (Princess101) - 5/10/2010 7:52 PM ET
that was really good!
Comments 1 to 7 of 7