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Drama Historical Fiction

(Set your story in a place with extreme weather, but don’t use any weather-related words to describe it.)


Did you ever feel like you were sweating hot lava? It was running down your back between your shoulder blades and then down between your hairy butt cheeks! Damn, this is torture.


Big Blue lay tangled up in a soggy set of sheets. He kept trying to find a dry spot to sop up the salty river running off his face. Yep! It is damn uncomfortable.


Finally he passes out from the struggle or just in desperation and he dreams of eskimos and sled dogs. Gliding over the glaciers, no resistance and the dogs doing all the work.


The next morning Big Blue’s eyes are puffy slits glued together with a salty crust of dried sweat. How is a man supposed to survive this long when he sweats and pisses out more fluid than he manages to force down his gullet.


Over in the corner, his antler rack holds every piece of clothing he owns. He begins fingering through the limp shirts he has worn for two or three days, they never seem to dry off between wearing. Across the room the peg rack holds chaps, leather breeches, sheep’s wool vest...even Jesus on a donkey wouldn’t wear any of this stuff on a day like today.


Big Blue is the sheriff! He must show up at the jail and he can’t be going there nude or in his skivvies. He grasps a rusty pair of shearers and cuts off the sleeves of his oldest damp and soggy shirt. That takes care of his top half. Next he pulls on an ancient, very stained and threadbare pair of longjohns. The knees are full of holes and the seat end is worn so thin it is almost transparent, a bit like isinglass. Now his gun belt and his hat!  He is ready for work and anyone who dares laugh will be staked out in the dusty road in front of the saloon until they melt into a puddle of lard.


The long slow walk from the back room of the saloon where he sleeps to the jail feels like an insurmountable journey. He stops, leaning into a doorway while he knuckles the never ending sweat from his eyes. Looking down the Main Street, dust swirlies up in little eddies, a horse left at a hitching post seems to rise above the dusty street. Mirage, yep, that’s what they call it, mirage! He is glad he has some book smarts so he knows about things like mirages or he might think his eyes were failing.


Finally plopping down into a splintered old rocking chair with two rungs missing, on the covered porch in front of the jail, he lets out a bellow for his worthless deputy.  


“Bring me my shotgun and get to the well and bring me the biggest jug of water you can carry. This is where I will spend this day,”. He lays the gun across his knees and looks up to see how close they might be to high noon.


Big Blue’s deputy is known in these parts as “Luckless”. Not sure if that is a sur name or his proper name or just an appropriate monicker based on the reality of his luckless life. He is pretty far down the food chain, just one step up from old Shaggy, the mongrel sheepdog that has mange really bad and one eye missing. Old Shaggy was a great friend to have if you must spend a night on the ground out in the prairie but today fleas and flies hovered over his dirty fur as the heat radiated off of him.


Looking down the dusty Main Street that was in fact the whole town, Big Blue slides his eyes over the bank, the barbershop, the emporium, and the saloon. Not a soul is moving today. Further out of town, the church appears as dead as the cemetery.


Big Blue pulls his hat down to shade his eyes and dozes off. Soon he is snoring loudly, his mouth hanging open and a big drop of spit drooling on his already damp shirt.  


Waking suddenly, as if from a dream, his eyes flew open and his hat flew off his head and cartwheeled down the dust and debris filled street. Then he spat out a mouthful of sand and dust, wiped the mud from his mouth with his shirttail while drawing his six shooter ready to drill holes in any person dumb enough to fool with him on a day like today. But there is no one there!


He scratches idly at his damp crotch and sits upright. Damn strange!


The tree in the churchyard, between the church and cemetery is bent almost double. Leaves are torn from branches and branches from tree. Bits and pieces of the town that are not nailed down have become airborne , things that could kill you if you don’t get out of the way. The church bells are ringing but not in harmony but in the frantic way that something out of control might sound like.


And now the really strange thing is, I mean even stranger than the day so far, Big Blue can no longer see the street or the bank or the church. He is looking at a wall of swirling sand and bits of every life.  


As he tries to stand, the old rocker skids away from him and across the porch. He lowers himself to the porch floor and scoots crablike toward the edge. He wants to get lower, put something between himself and the stinging sand. Staying low and scooting along he get a big splinter in his backside but finally drops off the porch edge and into the space offering him some protection. He pulls his shirt up over his head and face and tries to breathe cleaner air.  


Big Blue is not sure how long he sits this way, in some sort of stupor but finally he realizes the sounds are changing, less debris is hitting the building. He drops his hand towards the ground and finds his legs covered in sand, it came on so quickly, he thinks, but then remembers he had been asleep in the chair.


Trying to free himself of the sand packed around his body, he wants to try to stand. He wants to see how the folks and the town have fared. He wants water from the well. Where the hell is Luckless?


He looks up, straight up and he sees blue sky. Looking down the street he begins to see the outline of the buildings. Everything still stands but the horse is gone from the hitching post, the air still heavy with dust but it is clear of sand. The worst is over he thinks as he tries to pick the sand from his eyes.


One other weird thing has occurred. The sweat is gone, he is bone dry, parched from head to toe and his face feels papery dry. And a new revelation, the air has turned cool and is changing each minute.  


Big Blue begins to shiver, he feels goose bumps on his bare arms, he wraps his arms around himself and makes for the interior of the jail. He wants to wash in warm water, no actually, he wants to soak in hot water. He wants to get the splinter out of his rump. He wants a hot cup of coffee, he wants heat and warmth.  


September 13, 2020 12:22

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7 comments

C. Jay Loren
02:07 Sep 23, 2020

I liked this! The descriptions were wonderful and I knew exactly what type of weather you were describing. It was kind of nice to have to piece together the setting and weather for once. Most stories just tell you what the weather is like. Good job. :)

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P. Jean
02:27 Sep 23, 2020

Thank you so much. I do try to stick to the prompts but often I fall far short. Thank you again. Time and comment!

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P. Jean
15:25 Sep 17, 2020

Many just like stories. I hope they really read them before liking! I hope you do! Thank you for the likes!

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S. Closson
19:40 Sep 24, 2020

This was a very fun take on the prompt! Your character descriptions were very fun and your detailing of the surrounds were quite vivid. Nice going!

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P. Jean
19:45 Sep 24, 2020

Thank you ..Steven. My imagination often takes over my normal sensitivity!

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Dhananjay Sharma
09:35 Sep 25, 2020

Simply beautiful. I am speechless. Kindly go through mine. https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/60/submissions/35763/ Looking forward to collaborate with you.

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P. Jean
13:03 Sep 25, 2020

Thank you, I would never have thought it beautiful but thanks.

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