Summary: A few more Pinecone Challenges for my pet squirrel to gnaw on. He’s getting a little chubby with all he’s been eating! Each chapter has a lyric prompt and had to be no more than 500 words.
Word Count: 8885 Rating: T
Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Squirrel’s Stash #3
Spoke a lot of words, I don’t know if I spoke the truth.
Trouble by Cage the Elephant
Paul poured three glasses of whiskey and handed two across to his guests before picking up the third and settling down into his chair. It was a well-worn leather wingback and one side of it bore the marks of sitting a tad too close to the fire for too long. He often found himself pulled up close to the fire with whatever medical journals he could get from colleagues back East and many a time he had fallen asleep in the chair and found the precious papers scattered on the floor the next morning. He worried a little that one day he might set the place on fire, but so far his curiosity had outweighed his caution.
“A bit like Icarus,” he mused to himself. The myth was one he had first read as a child of nine and the imagery stuck with him. There were certainly times when he felt just like the poor lad who flew too close to the sun and fell to his death. The day they had just endured felt like one of those times.
He looked up at his two friends and silently raised his glass towards them. As both of them slowly echoed the gesture, each of them nodded in silent understanding of the object of the toast. He felt the heat of the brandy as it slid down his throat and didn’t miss the tragic irony that it came from a bottle that Ben had gifted him for his birthday.
“Paul …” Roy’s words stuck in his throat. He took another swallow of his brandy and tried again. “Paul, is Ben gonna be all right?”
The doctor rubbed his hand across his face and finally settled his hand across his jaw. He honestly didn’t know the answer to that question. He hated to think that the truth might be that his friend had possibly reached his breaking point. Finally he dropped his hand to his lap and shook his head.
“I don’t know. Maybe … maybe if Adam was still here … but Joe’s barely functioning himself and Jamie … well he’s still just a boy.”
Reverend Davis Carter had only been in Virginia City for little more than a year, but he had found a kindred spirit in the three-times widowed rancher. His own wife had died two years earlier, leaving him with twins to raise on his own.
It was Ben who had sat and listened as he poured out his deepest unspoken grief and Ben who had assured him that he could keep on living life to the full. The man had introduced his son and daughter to riding ponies and he had almost been forgiven for dragging them to Nevada.
“Reverend, you spoke with Ben after the funeral.” Paul’s question was unspoken, but it was there.
“Well … I spoke a lot of words … I don’t know if I spoke the truth.” He looked up and frowned. “How do you bury your own child and survive?