San Lucas at Night

Avatar Author: Le Héros Tragique Let's see... my name is Chris, I'm 30 and a male type person. I really only write for my own amusement and hopefully for the amusement of others. I'm my own worst critic. I've never been one to have... well... any conf... Read Bio

It was almost night at the San Lucas outpost just outside of Los Gorriónes, a small, dusty town on the edge of the frontier. The occasional buzzard could be seen circling the open lands in search of supper.

The air was tense. Father Michael thumbed through his bible. Clayton Roth marched back and forth along the wall with his rifle on his shoulder in the sort of ever-readiness that he was rarely without whether circumstance called for it or not. Finally, “Deuce” Mitchell sat leaning back in his chair chewing on his toothpick in a manner that seemed far too relaxed when compared to his current company.

Out of the still dusk light clomped the hooves of a lone horse. It immediately caught the attention of the three men at the San Lucas outpost and they peered out into the nothing of the frontier trying to pinpoint the location of it’s origin. Finally the silhouette became clear and galloped ever closer.

Clayton pulled his scope to try for a better look. It was the Pony Express. Finally, word had come.

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Comments (3 so far!)

  1. Avatar Proctagon

    Alright, so you’re trying to create tension, and you’ve done a pretty good job. I think if you show, rather than tell, readers what happens, you can create more atmosphere.

    For example, don’t just come out with “far too relaxed when compared…” Maybe add some dialogue that shows us how tense everyone is compared to Deuce

    And a small grammar quibble: Pony Express is a proper noun.

  2. Avatar jesteram

    The dusty feel from the first line carries through this story. I like how the sense of waiting isn’t spelled out, but .

    A few suggestions: The word “finally” sticks out several times. It doesn’t really lend anything to the line about “Deuce,” if you’d like to cut one. If you cut the second one, too, the final “finally” would have that much more impact.

    Also—and this is coming from someone who likes to be concise—I’ve always felt it redundant to say things like “could be seen.” If the line read, “The occasional buzzard circled the open lands …” the implication of seeing them still stands. Similarly, “clomped the hooves of a lone horse” could shorten to “clomped a lone horse.” The hooves are implied in the
    clomping.

    But again, that’s just my tightening gene kicking in. Keep it up.

  3. Avatar jesteram

    Ah, sorry about the lone “but.” I meant to say: but is evident in the men’s actions.

    Sorry.

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