Raindance©

Free Online Short Love Story

Written by American Author Sky Taylor

The sky was black and rumbling with tails dipping down in funnel shapes from the squall line.  Chasity seriously hoped that the sky was teasing her because the ranch house that she'd just inherited from her uncle couldn't withstand a rain dance - particularly a strong storm.

At least the winds had calmed a bit and White Feather, the old Indian that had been with her uncle from the beginning of the ranch, kept assuring her it wasn't going to storm.  She supposed that he was as reliable as most weathermen so she quit concerning herself with the threat of rain and instead concentrated on the condition of the ranch house.

The old tin roof leaked and the chimney tilted gingerly to one side but it all belonged to her, Chasity silently boasted, her blue eyes dancing over the large crooked structure.

White Feather was walking the property with her, his steps slow and soft.  He was a striking figure with eyes as black as coal and snow white hair that fell behind him past his waistline. Over the years, he'd kept his distance whenever she'd visited, so other than his name and face, she knew little else about him - or any of the other cowhands that worked the ranch.

"The old house is getting shaky," he told her, his voice clipped and deep.  "When the night wind flings its arms, the rooms groan and tremble.  There is little to stop the rain and the cold."

Chasity's eyes seized the leathered face and countered, "I thought you promised that it wasn't going to rain."

White Feather nodded. "I've never been wrong yet.  See the sky as it now moves to the south?"

She strained her eyes but she just didn't see it.  A storm looked inevitable and after his comments regarding the old house, she felt a bit on edge again.

She tossed her attention from the dark sky to the broken trellis covered with a thatch of thorns but when she felt his gaze on her, she turned to find her assumption to be correct for he was staring curiously at her, his face as sharp looking as a butcher's cleaver.

She wasn't certain how to address the man.  Mister Feather?  No, that wouldn't do she quickly decided, biting her lower lip in thought.

She plunged in with, "White Feather, why did my uncle allow the ranch to get into such poor condition?  The last time I visited him, all seemed well.  How did it go downhill so quickly?"

"No time for frilly-frilly," he told her, waving a large hand to one side to get the full message across.  

One of his eyes veered off to the left and Chasity couldn't tell if he was looking at her or not.  He added, "The cistern leaks, too."

She knew the real reason for the deterioration of property.  Uncle had been thrifty, but still that didn't explain the sudden fall of the ranch.

"Oh.  What about the well?"

"Well is fine," he answered woodenly.

"That's good," she eased out more to herself than to him.  "What about the cowboys?  Did they all agree to stay on?"

"Yep."

At least money wasn't a problem.  Her uncle had left her a sizable fortune which would more than cover the cost of repairs.

Her eyes sifted onto the property again.  She had always loved this place - the green meadows, the carp weathervane and the ancient smokehouse where she remembered playing as a small child whenever she visited her uncle.  There was twenty-five hundred acres of prime ranch land with the chief income deriving from the herd of Arabians horses.

Located on the outskirts of Cherokee county, The Lucky Horseshoe was virtually lodged out in the sticks, the nearest town of Del Rio a good fifty miles away. The roads were outdated and it took a good hour to get there and another hour to get back.

White Feather was guiding her towards the ranch house and an old hound that was nesting on the porch rolled his eyes up towards her. "Be careful," White Feather warned.  "We don't call him Killer for nothing."

Chasity giggled at the absurd statement.  Killer looked like the laziest dog she'd ever seen.  And he didn't move a notch as they passed him and entered the house through the front screen door.

The house looked like a cyclone had hit; Uncle had never been a very organized man as far as paper went, but the house had always appeared presentable.  The leaning stacks of paper and books made the living room uninhabitable and the kitchen wasn't any better. This was the first time that she'd seen the house so upside-down.

"The rats have been chewing through the pantry door for a month or more.  Nothing in there," White Feather informed, statue-straight.

"Rats?" she squeaked, feeling ridiculous in the process.

"Frightened?" he challenged.

"Why....yes," she managed, her hand going to clasp her throat, her eyes suddenly watchful.

"I thought as much.  Well?   You staying?"

"Of course," she told him, hoping that one of the bedrooms was livable.

"I told him that you would," White Feather informed, and she noticed that his chest was jutted with confidence.

"Him?"

"Easton Trevor," he supplied.  "Your next door neighbor.  He owns Bandera - a cattle ranch.  Custar won't be too happy, either," he thoughtfully added.

"Custar?"

"An old fossil...like me.  He is also an overseer, like me - but he works for Trevor at Bandera," he explained, running a curious glance over Chasity for the first time.  Before, it seemed as if he was bored by her presence.  Obviously her announcement had impressed him - or at minimum, perked his interest.

"These neighbors....they are friends of yours?" she inquired, setting her straw handbag into an empty spot she had spied on the kitchen table.

"I've never been a fool full of words, Ms. Summers," he drawled with a guarded expression, as though he wasn't certain that he could trust her yet.

"Words of wisdom are better than weapons," Chasity reasoned and the Indian's dark eyes flickered with amusement.  She was suddenly proud that she'd so accurately recalled a favorite phrase of one of her former teachers.  Mr. Whooten would have been proud.

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