Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From the trunk

Well, Bryn started it. She posted a bit of random crap from her random crap folder. So, being a shameless copycat, I sorted through my stuff and decided to post this. It's from a trunked historical/western/romance. I'll probably get round to finishing it one of these days, when my brain stops giving me other ideas for other books.


Have you ever used one of these?” Kristian pulled a revolver from his belt.

Tessie eyed the gun with unease, “No.”

“It’s about time you learned,” he told her and placed it in her hand, “It’s ok, it’s not loaded.”

Instinctively, her hand curled around the butt, it felt cool and smooth to the touch.

“There isn’t much to shoot at, but you need some practice. Salim is looking for something for you to shoot at.”

She looked across the camp to where Salim was kicking through the grass. He stooped and picked up a piece of branch, about as thick as a leg, “There isn’t much around. This will have to do,” He dragged it away from the camp and fiddled about, trying to rest it upright against a rock. In the end, he succeeded and the branch rose out of the grass like a crooked finger that pointed to an evening sky flushed pink and streaked with thin, silvery horsetails of cloud. Tessie was more entranced by the sunset than the prospect of firing a gun.

Her instructor retrieved the weapon, “Watch me,”

She tore herself away from the sky and tried to follow Kristian’s instructions.

“This is where the bullets go, it holds six, as you can see, this is now loaded,” he pulled one of the bullets out and gave it to her. She held it gingerly in the cup of her palm.

“Now put it back in the chamber.” He slipped the cylinder back into place and it was a gun again. “With your thumb you pull this back, this is the hammer, and this means that you’re now ready to pull the trigger." Arm out and, with one eye closed, hetook aim at the target,.“The hammer and the notch at the end of the barrel should line up at the target." He pulled the trigger. The gun’s echoing report sent a flock of birds screeching and wheeling out of the grass and the acrid tang of cordite made Tessie’s eyes water. The target quivered as the bullet tore through it leaving a wisp of sawdust and smoke lingering in the air.

“Now, you try.” He handed her the revolver, “Don’t worry, I’m going to help you.” He stood behind her and slipped his arms around her. Tessie tried not to tremble and she wasn’t sure whether it was because of the gun or because of the unaccustomed nearness of a man. “Hold your arm out straight,”

She did and the gun felt heavy and unsteady. Instinctively, she brought her other hand forward to support it.

“Good girl.” Kristian’s breath was warm against her cheek. “Now, the hammer.”

The hammer tripped back with a satisfying click and his hand covered hers. "Line up the hammer and the notch.”

Following his example, Tessie closed one eye and took aim.

“Pull the trigger.” His forefinger nudged hers.

She drew a deep breath and pulled. The noise and the recoil took her by surprise. She stumbled back against her teacher, coughing from the smoke.

“How’d she do, Salim?”

Salim held his arms wide. “She missed by about this much.”

“Not bad.” Kristian patted her shoulder. “Let’s try again.”

Tessie steadied herself and raised the gun. The branch seemed more like a twig but she was determined to show that, if the need arose, she would be able to hold her own.

“Are you ready?”


“This time, “ he murmured. “You’re on your own, I’m just going to keep you steady.”

She bit her lip, cocked the hammer, took hard, cold aim and squeezed the trigger, braced for the recoil. This time she did not stumble and the top of the branch dissolved in a fierce shower of shattered bark.

“Well done, “ Kristian clapped her on the shoulder, “We’ll make a cowgirl of you yet.”

Tessie grinned and handed him the gun, “As it happens, my father had a gun like this, he taught me to shoot.”

The look on his face was well worth the deception but she resisted the urge to tell him to close his mouth before the flies got in. Salim, meanwhile, was almost bent double from laughing as she walked back to the campfire, sat down and returned to watch the sunset. When Kristian returned he, wordlessly, rummaged through his saddlebag and handed her a worn and cracked belt and holster. “Wear this, and, “he passed her the revolver, “You can look after this for me. I have another.”

“Thank you.”

He shook his head. “I guess that was your revenge for the whiskey.”

She put the gun in the holster. “I guess so.”

“Serves you right, “ Salim was still chuckling, “I believe that Tessie has the measure of you, my friend.”

“You are a deep one, Tess, that’s for sure.”


  1. Ah, men and their condescending instruction in the manly arts. :D

  2. I love this phrase, "I believe that Tessie has the measure of you, my friend."

    Untrunk! Untrunk!

    Really, you've got a great dynamic here - nice tension in the dialogue and of course the gun helps. Great work, as usual.

  3. lol, agreed, Bryn!!! (Though, I'm actually better than my brother when it comes to hitting what I aim at... :D)

    This is really really well written and VERY accurate! Especially the recoil... I love how Tess pulls off the deception. Great job!!!

  4. Man, if this is trunked, I can only imagine what you WIP is like!

  5. Great teaser!! And I agree with Ed above. : )

  6. Yup. Keep going on this one. Although I always enjoy your writing, this makes a nice change of pace.

  7. Man! This was great! There were a few lines I had to go back over but over all it was engaging and funny and smartly written! :)

  8. Take it out! Keep it going, mate!

    Me likey!

  9. Allrighty then.
    Thanks for your comments, Purgies!

    When I've finished the WIP, I'll drag it out, dust it off, and finish the thing. Not sure what to query it as, it isn't a 'traditional' western because there's no moral to be learned.

    Romance, I guess.:)

  10. Nice job! Love the deception. You should definitely pull this out, dust it off, and keep writing it.

  11. Great job on this. Your writing is always so smooth and fluid and you set such a beautiful scene and characters.

  12. Nice! Take it out of the trunk please-lol. Oh, and I've nominated you for Kreativ Blogger...go check it out on my site. Hope this isn't a repeat for you.