Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #66

The Undertakers
by Sandra Seamans
 

Smitty Jones spotted the vultures just outside of Silver City. Black shadows circling high in the sky, with a multitude of feathered undertakers waiting their turn in the branches of a gnarled oak tree. Others perched on the shoulders of a cowboy dangling at the end of a rope, his body swaying with every savage peck.

“Petey Sway,” he muttered. “You never did know how to keep your neck tucked in when trouble was sniffing round your back trail. I’m gonna miss you, old friend.”

Jabbing his heels into the horse’s flanks he nudged the pinto away from the tree.

“He a friend of yours, Mister?”

Smitty froze in the saddle, then slowly turned his horse. A green kid with a deputy’s badge was holding a shotgun on him. “Used to be.”

“You just gonna leave him hanging there?”

“Ain’t much else I can do, is there? The law seen fit to let him swing, I expect he’s meant to be a warning.”

The kid nodded. “Sheriff figures to collect the reward on both of you, but he’s in town drinking and I can’t stand them birds no longer. Don’t matter none to me what you done, Mister, just help me bury him, then get back on your horse and ride on outta here. Please, I can’t stand seeing them scavengers pecking at his eyeballs no longer.”

“I know what you mean, kid,” said Smitty as he swung out of the saddle. Hell, Petey would’ve taken the risk for him.

35 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Very different entry. The old west puts in an appearance.

Well done.

onipar... said...

I like this. There seems to be a lot more story to this story. :-)

Nevine said...

Nice, with a very cool western touch. I enjoyed that!

Nevine

pjd said...

I like the description, the language you use. I like the old friend angle, the sage old-timer versus the young kid.

Bernita said...

Sandra, as always, you introduce something unique into your narratives.
I like this very much.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Excellent piece!

wrath999 said...

I enjoyed this story.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Splendid take on a different angle.

Lena said...

I truly enjoyed reading this one. Good take on the picture.

Aniket said...

Reminds me so much of one of my fav. movies - The Quick and The Dead.

Taking one for a friend, is always noble though. :)

Anton Gully said...

"Smitty Jones spotted the vultures just outside of Silver City"

Just curious, was Smitty a legit old west name? It's REALLY common here now for anyone named Smith. I imagine Smithy would be a common name though.

"Black shadows circling high in the sky, with a multitude of feathered undertakers waiting their turn in the branches of a gnarled oak tree. Others perched "

I think you should combine this into a single sentence. It's a bit da-de-da. Some did THIS, some did THAT.

"sniffing round your back trail"

If I EVER say that about a friend they can haunt me, indefinitely.

"Smitty froze in the saddle, then slowly turned his horse."

Or he could just turn in the saddle... nobody would turn their horse to see who was talking to them in a situation like this.

Good idea, I liked this. It's a solid story with a simple message. I'm being ultra picky with my crits. Just ignore me, I'm deluded.

Aimee Laine said...

Old friends at the end. :) Good job!

Anonymous said...

very nice, sandra!!! makes me really miss westerns!

anne frasier

Craig said...

Smitty really comes off as a tired old cowboy who has seen it all. I love it.

David Cranmer said...

Me gusta!

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Nicely done, Sandra! I enjoyed your story.

Kartik said...

I'm not well versed with the happenings of the old west, but the language was good

laughingwolf said...

love me good cowpoke tales, this is one :)

Alan Griffiths said...

Very well done Sandra - I enjoyed that a lot! A great flash piece.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

When I started the story I thought it would go in an entirely different direction.

Really enjoyable.

kashers said...

A very different perspective. I heard a banjo being plucked as I read this. Yee-ha!

Laurel said...

What fun! I loved the language and dialogue here. I also like the wet behind the ears lawman who's squeamish at the vulture's delicacies.

I definitely want to know what's going to happen once they get Petey down and buried.

SzélsőFa said...

I liked the dialogue, the main character's description and the twist as well.

illyriataylor said...

the mark of true friendship. I enjoyed this

Four Dinners said...

Well I'm only about 5 shy of reading every entry and you're the first 'Wild West'.

That makes you somewhat unique and, a cracking piece of writing to boot.

It left me wanting more.

Nice one.

Meghan said...

I also like the Old West slant. Very original. Great job!

Sharon Poppen said...

So good to read about your 'characters'. You use actions to give me a real feel for the men and their situation. Well done.

Chris Eldin said...

LOVED your writing and really appreciated you chose a Western setting. I also want to know more. Very nicely done...

Deb Smythe said...

A fresh approach. Nice job.

Rabid Fox said...

think this is the first western I've read in this contest. Not too shabby.

sandra seamans said...

Thanks so much everyone! This was a flash I've been playing with for a while but could never make work until I saw Jason's picture, then it simply fell into place. Thanks for all your kind comments.

Terri said...

Very John Wayne :) I love the dialogue - well done.

james r tomlinson said...

This reminds me of Elmore "Dutch" Leonard's old western novels. This is definitely an original entry. Very creative. Another one to put on my short list.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like Sarah Palin's hair or the enigmatic career of Justin Timberlake.

Kathleen said...

Congrats on achieving "The Forties Club" status in Jason's scoring system. "The Undertakers" was at the top of my list!