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Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

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  1. Linn Keller 12-14-13 Sarah dropped the black veil to her shoulders. It hung from the brim of her black mourning-hat, and matched her black mourning-gown: her jewelry, what little she wore, was gleaming, polished jet, all but her cameo, which she wore in the hollow of her throat: it was a bright, startling white, an oval of flawless jade, scrimshaw engraved with a black rose, gleaming dully through the concealing veil. Her few words, her quiet manner, were attributed to her grief; she was a young widow, married no more than a week, suddenly bereaved and alone in the world. In
  2. Linn Keller 12-13-13 Jacob rose as Sarah paused just inside the door. "Mrs. Llewellyn," he said formally. "Sheriff," Sarah replied stiffly. "May I come in?" "Please." Sarah's carriage was stiff and disapproving, her spine was straight and there was no trace of welcome or kindness in her pale eyes. Jacob gestured to a seat; Sarah smoothed her skirt, lowered herself into the visitor's chair with the regal hauteur of a crowned head of state. A very disapproving crowned head of state. Jacob sat behind the desk, leaned forward a little and frowned. "I do not feel ... com
  3. Charlie MacNeil 12-9-13 Four pack horses, three laden with elk carcasses, the fourth with elk hides rolled and securely cross-bucked, one tired rider on a buckskin mare, all grateful to see the golden lamplight spilling from the windows of the ranch house in the hollow. Charlie heard the squeal of the barn door's hinges, thought, need to oil them, and turned the mare's nose toward shelter, grain and water. It had been a long trek down from the mountains, but their winter's meat trailed behind him on the pack horses. Theirs and another's... The old man lifted the bullseye lantern
  4. Linn Keller 12-9-13 Many hands wrung my own, many good wishes were poured over my head -- figuratively, of course -- many hearty back slaps and shoulder thumps; Jacob received as much adulation and congratulation, for the community knew him and liked him, and people don't much like change: that the new Sheriff was a known quantity, was easier for the public at large to accept, and that I was right there beside him, made it easier for the popular understanding to swallow. His Honor the Judge showed up, puffing on a fresh cheroot, his eyes sparkling as he glad-handed us each in tur
  5. Charlie MacNeil 12-8-13 The gold and brown herd meandered through the high meadow, breath smoking in the morning cold, making their way to their morning feed. Calves, the young of the year, yet nearly all as big as their mamas, gamboled in the frigid air. The herd bulls had gathered with their brethren in bachelor bands that would stay away from the cows until the following summer. Cows chirped and whistled, each maintaining her place in the hierarchy. The predator, hunting later in the year than was his wont, watched from an alder copse, breathing through dyed muslin to disguis
  6. Linn Keller 12-8-13 I wasn't about to ride Cannonball yet. Angela was all on fire to ride her Rosebud so I got them both saddled up and we took out and my twins were asleep or they'd be all on fire to ride too. I rubbed my chin thoughtfully, considering a thought that just occurred to me. Angela delighted in riding with me, standing upright behind me and holding onto my vest or my coat or my shoulders, and she was sure footed as a cat when she did. Now that I had twins again -- our little girl was just awful glad to get home and hug her twin brother and he was quick to make
  7. Linn Keller 12-4-13 I don't know which woke me -- whether it was Angela's giggling, or my need to get rid of some second hand coffee, or whether it was an appetite that led me to consider masticating the horn of an anvil. Whatever it was, I rolled over, pushed off the floor and stood easily, my leg only a little stiff, and the rest of me feeling better than it had for a long time. I must've just laid down outside Angela's door last night, once I tucked her in ... normally if a man sleeps on a wood floor he wakes up stove up and stiff but I felt good. I felt pretty darn good,
  8. Linn Keller 12-3-13 Sarah held a hand over the pages she'd written. She felt her father's hand, warm, or rather its ghost, where it had been. She felt his life-energy, she felt where he'd been, and she looked at the pages she'd written, and she blinked, then she picked up her skirts and marched upstairs, her tread silent -- as silent as it was when she wished to pass without a trace. The green gown she'd chosen now lay on the bed; the figure that slipped from the house, the figure that wordlessly summoned the black Frisian mare, the figure that saddled the big warhorse, was l
  9. Linn Keller 12-3-13 "I went out to see Sarah," the Sheriff said quietly. Alfdis sat in the rocking chair in his study. He'd had it brought in especially for her; he knew that rocking a fussy baby can calm it, he knew that rocking while he held a little girl could get her to sleep; he knew a rocking chair was good for his poor old back, and he knew Alfdis liked the rocking chair as well. "How is the poor thing?" Alfdis asked, her voice heavy: the loss of her mistress hit her hard -- she was more than an employer, she'd become a good friend -- and Alfdis was only briefly adrift i
  10. Linn Keller 12-1-13 The arrow was as long as the distance from the archer's nose to his thumb: in that, it was a true "cloth yard shaft." It was fletched with white goose feathers; the head was hand forged, long, narrow: its edges, razor honed, were not terribly wide, but they did not have to be: constructed as they were, they could pierce armor as effectively as they could transect tendons, vessels or nerves. The bow drew just under 75 pounds and until what men would call the War to End All Wars -- and after -- it would be the most powerfully penetrating weapon invented, able
  11. Linn Keller 11-28-13 Everyone else was being sociable. I didn't feel terribly social. I set down behind my desk and looked at what used to be Esther's cane. She never needed it for walking. She ... I closed my eyes and swallowed hard. I remembered how she walked with it, how she ... she flowed when she walked and that cane was an ornament, a scepter, a veldt-marschal's baton. But not a cane. Esther had a way of knowing things, a knowing I could neither understand nor explain. In time I came to accept that she had this gift, and this cane ... this cane was a potent
  12. Linn Keller 11-27-13 The Sheriff leaned on his gold-headed cane and listened, smiling a little. He was in the Mercantile, half hidden behind one of the displays, and two of the town's women were discussing as women will: one asked, "Did you go to the Llewellyn's reception?" "Oh yes!" the other gushed. "That young Sarah Llewellyn has a house fit for a Vanderbilt!" The other sniffed. "Vanderbilt! No such thing, I'm afraid. No self respecting Vanderbilt would live in such a desolate and remote place!" "Mrs. Llewellyn looked very composed," the first offered. "Oh, I don't dou
  13. Linn Keller 11-25-13 Daffyd Llewellyn woke to sweat-matted, auburn hair spilled over his chest, and something warm, soft and feminine laying across him, and a big, contented smile on his face. Sarah woke when he did, and she moved a little, glorying in the feeling of strong, protective arms around her, and a manly chest furry under her, and she wiggled, slowly, gently, and felt his response. Daffyd reached up and stroked her hair, gently, slowly, blinking like a sleepy cat, like a well-sated tomcat, and were any to see, his sleepy smile was that of someone utterly contented wit
  14. Linn Keller 11-24-13 "You know the Shivaree." Daffyd looked blankly at his bride. Sarah put her finger to her husband's lips. They stood beside a boulder, Snowflake behind them, hidden: Joel, their hired man, met them as instructed and traded their fine carriage for the big black Frisian. "My dear," Sarah whispered, "you will carry me across our threshold, but not tonight." Daffyd's eyebrows puzzled together, but with Sarah's finger to his lips, he remained silent. "Trust me," Sarah whispered, and Daffyd nodded. "There is a barbaric local practice," Sarah whispered ag
  15. Linn Keller 11-23-13 "Pa?" Jacob blinked and realized he'd been woolgathering. "Yes, Joseph?" Joseph was still in his getting-too-small-for-him suit and he frowned as he puzzled over how to frame his question. "Pa, what's it like to die?" Jacob held very, very still, and he frowned a little, and Joseph shrank back a little, for he could feel the change in his Pa. Finally Jacob motioned his son closer, put a hand on his shoulder, and the two went out into the kitchen. Annette turned away from them, for she didn't want them to see her wiping her eyes; neither of her men
  16. Linn Keller 11-22-13 Esther leaned forward and patted Edi's neck the way she used to. They looked down into the Jewel, hovering at ceiling height, smiling as the couples took the floor and the waltz took the moment. "She dances well," a voice said, and Esther jumped a little and gave a little squeak of surprise, and her niece Duzy smiled at her. Esther's mouth fell open and she turned without dismounting -- she didn't stop to wonder how she did it -- but she blinked and seized Duzy's hands and looked her up and looked her down and then she abandoned all propriety and hugged h
  17. Linn Keller 11-22-13 Strong but gentle hands steered me here, steered me there. I was in a carriage, out of a carriage, I went here, I went there. I was numb. I set down and stared at nothing. It took a little for things to soak in but I finally realized I was in the Silver Jewel, and it was decorated, and there was music, and a voice in my ear murmured something about dancing with the bride. I woke up. This I could do. I knew how to dance. Sarah stood before me and she was beautiful. Her face glowed, she smiled at me half-shyly, the way a grown-up little girl wil
  18. Charlie MacNeil 11-21-13 Charlie stood close by, offering comfort with his presence, knowing that words would go unheard until his friend had time to come to terms with his grief. Instead, his voice joined with that of Ranger and cavalryman, lifting on the breeze, doing their part to send a beloved friend to heaven on the wings of their song. Scripture enjoins us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and though the song was one of farewell it was also a paean of joyous love for the departed. The song drew to a close, one last refrain echoing from hill and dale. All heads bowed a
  19. Linn Keller 11-21-13 I watched Sarah and Daffyd. Each one had eyes only for the other and I think they heard the parson only from a distance. I know that moment. I remembered when Esther and I jumped the broom. The world shrunk to just us, and I was King of the World, and Esther, my Queen, and in that moment, nothing could be better. It felt good. I wished Esther was a-settin' beside me, but I sat with family anyway: Jacob and his young, at least one of 'em: Joseph stood with the men up front and I dandled his youngest on my leg, and Annette smiled at us from the piano
  20. Linn Keller 11-21-13 Daffyd marched down the aisle, centered in the red-shirted Brigade: he alone wore a suit, somber black in the middle of spirited crimson, and he remarked later he felt like a man being taken to his execution ... but never did a man face a hangman's noose with such bright eyes and such a broad grin. Angela took careful, mincing steps, daintily sprinkling rose-petals as she went: Joseph, beside her, pretended to an air of disdain, carrying the green-satin pillow with its two rings as if he were carrying an infant, or delicate china. Fannie's arm gripped Cha
  21. Charlie MacNeil 11-21-13 The congregation stood, and all eyes were on the belle of the ball. Sarah floated, or so it seemed, the length of the aisle, her fingers resting lightly on her Papa's sleeve, her every step and gesture that of a gueen accepting the homage of her subjects. She nodded regally at those nearest the aisle, with special smiles for those several who were most dear to her heart. As she passed Uncle Charlie and Aunt Fannie in their places in the front row she smiled, white teeth flashing, eyes of deepest blue sparkling behind her veil. Her lips moved as she whispere
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