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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Western · #1223884
A western story told from the point of a woman.
        I can still hear my mother’s screams. They haunt me in my dreams and yet are present when I am awake. I was young the night my sister was born. My mother young as well. Her screams filled the house even as the doctor looked on. When I was born with much difficulty, she was told not to have any more children. The love of my father and mother’s was too strong though, and the doctor said this child would kill my mother. I saw my father as he held her hand. He tried to hold back the tears and never stopped loving her. I wanted very much for her screams to stop. When they did, I wanted them back.

Chapter One

         My mother’s death almost killed my father as well. Perhaps it did kill him and only his body remained; his soul was long past. The relationship between my sister and him was never notable. He blamed her for the death of his wife; he would give anything to have her back. If it wasn’t for us girls, I fear he would have taken his life long ago in hopes to join my mother in heaven. When I was little I saw my father as a brave man, never afraid of anything in the world. Now I know that was his acceptance of death; not afraid to lose is life.
         The day I awaken to is cold and wet. I am stirred in bed by the thunder and try to draw the last bit of warmth and comfort from my bed before I begin the day. I slip on my gown and slippers and pull open my curtains. The sky is dark and clouds are moving in. I don’t like gloomy days like this one. They always make me feel powerless and as if I can’t do anything. These days I stay inside, patching father’s work shirts or teaching my younger sister, Liz, to crochet.
         I figure my father is in the barn harnessing up our pair of work horses. My thoughts are proven as I clear the fog off the windows with my gown sleeve and see the barn door swinging open in the wind. How much work does he think he’ll get done in this rain anyway? Mother was taken on a day such as this one and the thunder brings back her screams to his ears. Days like this he seems to lose his sense and lets the badness in him come out. I leave him be and head down the hall to the kitchen. The aroma of strong coffee fills my nose and I pour myself a cup of it. The liquid hits my throat and I cringe at the heat. Liz is still in bed so I begin the batter for pancakes. They sizzle on the grill and finally wake Liz. She walks misty eyed into the kitchen. 
         The girl pushes a chair back from the table with a skinny arm and sits her small body in it. Her curly hair is pulled back in twin braids and is coming unraveled from the night sleep. Her blue eyes seem big for her face and her eyelashes draw attention to her pretty face. I know that’s what will draw the boys when she is a few years older.
         “Good morning sleepy head,” I smile over my shoulder.
         “You are yet in your gown,” she rubs her eyes and pours a glass of orange juice from a pitcher on the table. I lay a golden pancake on her plate and she nods in gratitude.
         “I saw dad standing at my door again this morning. He’s been doing that often now.” Liz stares at her pancake and pokes at it with her fork.
         “He doesn’t know what to do. He is lost without mother, you should know that.”
         “He hates me,” she mumbles and puts her hand on her forehead.
         I walk to her and lay a comforting hand on her shoulder. “But I love you, and I won’t let anything happen to you.”          
         As I held my sister, tears rolled down her cheeks. The absence of my father’s love has brought down her spirit. At her rich age of 14 she looks at men with hate. We have never spoken much about the subject. I have delayed trying to find myself a decent man to give her hope and help her out. I have been close to a few men. My sister’s stubbornness and jealousy always came between us though. I wipe the tears from her face and gently kiss her hair.
         “It’s going to be fine,” I assured her. Just as the words were finished coming out of my mouth, we heard a scream from outside. I ran out into the wet exterior sloshing through the mud in my slippers. My sister was right behind me. The wind caught her robe and she struggled to cover herself. The mist from the rain was challenging to see past. I pulled my gown out of the mud and ran to where I saw the work horses up a little hill. My father lay on the ground, one of the horses was struggling to get out of the tangled reins almost still on top of my father’s body. I quickly grabbed my dad’s pocket knife and cut the horses loose. It kicked its body around and was finally able to stand up. I rolled my father over onto his back. He was still breathing but coughing up blood.
         “You’ll be o.k. dad. We’ll get you to Doc Borrows.” I tried to pull him up into a sitting position but he resisted. He clutched his ribs and spitted up another mouthful of blood. It mixed with the rain and was washed away quickly.
         “It’s too bad. I’m sorry girls. I’ll be better now.” He pulled both of us to his side and held our hands tightly to his chest. Tears start to fall from my eyes as my dying father took his last breaths. My sister sits emotionless and only kissed my father’s head once as he passed.
         “I’m sorry I couldn’t have been as good as mother was,” she whispered to my father. He smiled, not looking at anything.
         “She was perfect, and she looks perfect now. You could never have been like her.” He said in and out of breaths. As he finished, his eyes closed and his head rolled to one side. My tears ran as one with the rain. It dribbled off my sister’s braids. My father’s hand fell out of mine as he lay motionless on the wet ground. Liz cried a tear of hate rather than sorrow and let his hand down hard upon his chest. She stood up and lead the two horses back to the barn.

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