Thursday, August 26, 2010

Flash Fiction Interlude: Sense of Direction

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was written for Thursday Tales and will be cross-posted later this week at Weekend Writer's Retreat.. It's also part of the Will and Diana series, which you can find out more about in the sidebar or by following the tags.

“This isn’t it.” Will reined in and the two young men behind him did the same.

The lead rider, Aguilero, sneezed and huddled deeper in his jacket.

Boeing glared. “You’ve gotten us lost." He turned to Will. “I told you we shouldn’t leave the tracking to a guy who’s sick.” He waved his arm in a gesture that took in the darkening landscape and the distant hulk of an abandoned barn. “No way will we make it back to camp tonight. We don’t even know where we are.”

Coyote tightened the reins and tried to calm his fidgety horse. “I know where we are.”

“Shut up, weirdo.”

Will shook his head. “No, you shut up, Boeing. This isn’t getting us anywhere.” He moved his horse a little closer to Aguilero’s. “What do you think?”

Aguilero sniffled and shrugged. “I think I’ve got a fever.”

“Isn’t that just fucking great,” Boeing muttered.

Will turned on him. “He’s our best tracker. It’s not his fault he’s sick.” He looked at Aguilero and in a softer voice added, “I wish you’d told us it was this bad.” He pondered the darkening landscape. “We’ll camp in that barn, if it’s stable enough.”

As they walked their horses toward the barn, Will fell in beside Coyote, who was looking around with his usual air of casual curiosity. “I'd hoped we would make it back tonight.”

Coyote nodded in understanding. “Our girls can handle it.”

“Handle what?” Will’s eyes narrowed in suspicion.

“Not sure, but don’t worry. It’s fine, and we’re not far from base. We’ll be there tomorrow.”

“Can we get there tonight?” Will looked ready to ride off in whatever direction Coyote might suggest.

A few paces behind, Boeing had been listening. “Don’t tell me you believe everything Psychic Wonderboy says.”

Coyote flashed him a look. “How often have I been wrong?”

“The problem isn’t that you’re wrong,” Boeing admitted. “It’s that you’re vague, and those voices in your head tend to leave out critical information.”

With a twitch of his shoulders, Coyote acknowledged Boeing’s point. “We can’t get back tonight, anyway.” He glanced at the old barn with a devilish glint in his eye. “This will be fun.”

“Glad it’s all a game to you,” Boeing said, and went to lead his horse inside.

Will stopped and glanced at Coyote. “You’re sure we can’t make it back tonight, and that our girls are safe?”

“Safe? No. But like I said, they can handle it.” He clapped Will on the shoulder. “You worry too much.”

Will watched him go inside, then cast his eyes toward the evening sky once again. His gaze settled on the old weather vane, creaking in the wind. Useless thing. It could tell which way the wind blew, but not which direction one should go. But what could he do? Coyote was right. Their girlfriends were skilled and savvy fighters, just like they were. They could manage any problems that came up. And in the morning, Aguilero would lead them out of this place.

He would have to.

Photo by Leolajax


K said...

Oooh. What are the girls going to be up against? I'd love to know.

As always Ann, effortless, clean writing.

Alice Audrey said...

You aren't going to leave us hanging here, are you? We do get to find out what "is going to be fun" and what the girls have to deal with, right?

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Alice: Maybe I'll do a follow-up. I'm really not sure what's going to happen back at base camp, though. If my characters decide to tell me, I'll be sure to write it down.

As for Coyote, as his nickname implies, he's a trickster. His references to fun are probably just his way of hinting he's got some pranks up his sleeve.

This is the sort of thing he likes to do: Ghost Story

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I like the way Psychic Wonderboy's info is weathervane-esque.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Why do I have this bad feeling that the girls won't be all right?