Fiction does not spring into the world fully grown, like Athena. It is the process of writing and rewriting that makes a fiction original, if not profound. ~ John Gardner

Why am I doing this, putting some old manuscript out there on tumblr, etc.? It’s all about the waiting. My new novel is with my agent. I’ve revised it a billion times. Now I wait to see if he’s cool with the edit. So it’s all about the waiting. 

And it’s driving me batso. So… I decided to dig out this old manuscript, one that my late hubby loved, yet was never published. I thought I’d tune it up. Just for fun. 

And because the waiting is driving me batso.


Big Bend National Park, Texas – November

Three figures, dwarfed by rust-colored mountains, climbed a twisted path. At times, the mountains swallowed them whole, only to disgorge them higher on the track. When the path disappeared the men crouched close to the earth, until they melted into a yawning hole carved in the side of one peak.

A scream of agony echoed across the mountains.

Hours later, the blond pressed his weight against the wall of the cave. “Is he dead yet?”

The dark-haired man kicked the Ranger, rippling the pool of blood on the cave floor. 

The Ranger groaned and feebly moved a few fingers of his right hand. 

“Nope,” the dark-haired man said. “Not yet. This is one tough hombre. Man, he shoulda croaked by now.”

“Wish we’d waited,” said the blond. “He could have been fun.”

“You were the one stuck him, man, not me.”

The blond shoved his hands into his pockets. He thrust out his lower lip. “He was about to end you, bro.”

The dark-haired man spat. “Yeah, well, I could have handled him.” The dark-haired man moved toward the back of the cave. “I’ll go load the stuff. Get your knife.”

The blond obeyed, then turned to his friend. “Hey, be careful! Some of those things are real delicate.”

“Shut up. We’re in a hurry.”

“You said I could keep a few pieces,” the blond said. “I really want that bracelet, bro.”

“Stop whining, man. I said you could have it.” The dark-haired man gave the bleeding Ranger a final glance. “He’s done. Let’s go.” He hefted one of the duffle bags and walked from the cave.

The blond lifted the second bag and trotted after him.

The orange crescent of sun vanished, consumed by the horizon. Hours later, a blood moon rose. A horned toad skittered into its hole when the Ranger crawled, belly up, crab-like, from the mouth of the cave. Soon, the Ranger’s movements slowed, as if he moved though a viscous liquid.

A cloud drifted across the night sky, dousing stars. Shreds of vapor floated across the moon. A fragment of light splintered the path, bathing the stilled Ranger’s form in shards of silver. © vjs  

© vjs

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Kristen Lamb

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