So now it's time for more flash fiction because it's Wednesday and holy cow the week is already half done! Where is the time going? As you'll recall from last week's chapter of Trapped in Time, Doll is convinced that Vittorio is waiting for him in Whistling Wind and it's only a matter of time until they are reunited. Is he right? Check out this week's episode and find out! Don't forget to see what the other flashers are doing, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Trapped in Time II: Chapter Seven
I cannot sleep for excitement. Anticipation of the joyous reunion which shall occur on the morrow courses through my veins. I tell myself I must sleep, that Vittorio will not be happy with me if I do not and he will scold me for looking like something the cat has dragged in. Even so, I cannot seem to close my eyes. I stare up into the darkness of the night sky, tracing the stars in their familiar patterns even as I draw comfort from them.
How well my father understands me. He joins me without comment or censure and sits with me beside the dying embers of our fire, while all about us slumber, and listens to me talk about Vittorio. I lean comfortably against him, my arm tucked through his, memories flowing from my tongue like vintage wine.
I must have fallen asleep, for the next thing I know morning has arrived with the first rosy fingers of dawn, and preparations are under way for the continuation of our journey. Once again, I find myself riding Frederick, but I do not mind. I am getting used to the way he rocks back and forth in a soothing motion, and this time I manage to get into the saddle without falling off even once.
Besides, I reason, if I am on horseback, it will be easier for me to look for Vittorio, as I can guide Frederick as I wish, which is not possibleif I am a passenger on one of the wagons. I cannot help but worry that I shall be burdened with the unwelcome company of the gregarious Irishman, but such is not the case. I am pleasantly surprised by his absence and do not make inquiries as to its reason. That would be akin to opening Pandora’s box, and who in their right mind would choose to do that? Other than Pandora, of course.
When will we reach Whistling Wind is the question that pounds inside my head in a constant refrain. It seems to take forever, although I know that is not the case. We follow a small stream through a narrow canyon. I am forced to follow behind the wagons, for there is no room to maneuver around them. It seems an excruciatingly long time before we emerge at last onto a grassy plain. Ahead of us lie mountains, probably the source from which the stream emanates. And nestled at the foot of the mountains is a town.
“Doll, look!” Charlie is sitting on one of the wagon seats, Myron beside him. Charlie has apparently learned to drive a team, and seems to be doing well at it. He waves at me with enthusiasm as I pull on the reins and direct Frederick to walk alongside the wagon. I cannot blame Charlie for being happy, I am beyond happy myself. “Vittorio will be there, and Doll will be happy again!”
Truer words have never been spoken, I think.
I nod my happy agreement, afraid my voice will not bear the weight of my emotions.
“We’ll help you find him.” Myron offers me a confident smile that I return.
Despite our optimism at seeing Whistling Wind just before us, its closeness is deceptive as it is late afternoon before we finally arrive. I follow the wagons as they rumble into the town, which is quite unlike any place I have ever seen before, used as I am to the comforts and modern conveniences of my home. The streets of this place are not paved, they are dirt and dust. What with the preponderance of animals that are being used as transportation, along with pedestrian traffic, there is an unavoidable residue that must be stepped around. We seem to be heading down the main thoroughfare, with an assortment of businesses on either hand, and some homes. People gawk at us, as if unaccustomed to seeing strangers, or at least not so many at one time. Perhaps that means Vittorio will stand out, and therefore be easier to find.
And now that we are here, it is time to take our leave of the actors, thank them for their hospitality, and be on our way. I gather the rest of our group from the wagons they have been riding in. Mary leaps excitedly into my arms, drawing a few stares. Luckily, Frederick is too used to her ways to be startled by her actions.
The question now is where to look first. But before I can formulate any sort of plan in my mind, a tall man in a long brown duster, a drooping moustache, and the gleam of an official in his eye strides toward us with purpose.
He addresses Vati first, probably assuming from his age that he is our leader, which is a proper assumption to make. “Afternoon.” He nods respectfully to my father.
“Good afternoon,” Vati replies. “You have come to welcome us?”
“You might say that, yes.” The man pulls back his coat far enough to reveal a star upon his chest, of the tin variety. “I’m the law here. Sheriff Armstrong. Might I ask what business you folk have here?”
I am a little surprised at the question. Is this not America, land of freedom and home of brave men? My father looks as perplexed as I feel, but he remains calm. I take a step toward Vati, and Myron and Charlie follow suit.
“The reason I ask is that we’ve had some trouble here lately and it’s my job to know who’s here.”
“What kind of trouble?” Vati asks.
“Folks being hurt or robbed, or both.”
“That is terrible!” Vati exclaims.
“Yup, which is why I’m asking what your business is.”
But before we can phrase a response, another voice can be heard.
“They’re with me, Sheriff.”
I glance up to find Shaughnessey has arrived among us.
“They’re part of my troupe.” He waves his hand to include us all. “Shaughnessey and Company, at your service.”
Words fail me.
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!