Here is one of the stories I am entering in the Circle C Adventure's Short Story Contest.
I asked Mrs. Marlow and she said it was fine for me to post it on my blog.
Sorry, I can't seem to figure out how to remove the white background color without making the font tiny. :(
What do y'all think???
Chapter 1 A Trip to Town
San Joaquin Valley, CA Early Fall 1883
Cook-a-doodle-do! Andi groaned. Normally she would have jumped out of bed,dressed quickly and raced to see Taffy. Not today. Just last night, mother had announced that she was planning on going to town today to do some shopping. And she wanted Andi to go with her. Slowly, Andi climbed out of bed and walked over to the closet. What dress should I wear today? She wondered. Not that she cared, but she knew that her mother would want her looking every bit a lady for the trip to town. "I just hate wearing dressy dresses!" Andi muttered, selecting a light blue dress trimmed with pink lace. Dressing quickly, she walked to the mirror and braided her hair into it's two customary braids. Looking at them, she sighed. Soon mother was going to make her start wearing her hair up. One good thing about the trip to town,Andi thought I won't have to do my regular chores! Satisfied that her mother would be pleased with her appearance, she walked out of the room and shut the door behind her. When she got to the stairs she eyed the banister. She dearly wanted to slide down but 15 was much to old for that. Still... a quick glance around told her no one was in sight. Quickly, she slid down. She was almost at the bottom when she heard someone, "Andi!" Whirling around Andi saw Chad standing there.
"Will you never grow up?" he exclaimed shaking his head at her.
"Oh," Andi sighed, "for a moment there I thought you were Mother!"
"Aren't you glad I’m not? Mother would have a fit if she saw you sliding down that banister!" Chad laughed.
"I know,I know!" Andi answered walking into the dinning room. Slipping into her seat she looked at the food. She hadn't realized she was hungry until she saw the eggs,bacon,pancakes and orange juice.
"Are you ready for the trip to town dear?" Mother asked looking approvingly at Andi's dress.
"Yes, I am Mother. When will we leave?" asked Andi.
"Right after breakfast."
Andi swallowed the last bit of orange juice from her cup and pushed her chair back from the table. "I am ready to go!" she announced "Mother, can I go help hitch up the buggy?"
"Goodness gracious, No, dear! you would dirty your dress! Besides, I already had Chad hitch it up for us before breakfast." So that's what Chad had been doing before he caught me sliding down the banister,Andi thought as she walked outside to the waiting buggy. In a couple of minutes her Mother and Justin joined her.
“What are we doing today, Mother?” Andi asked.
“Well we have to go by the dressmaker's to get you measured and we have to go to the Mercantile for some things.”
Justin chuckled. “You'll survive, Andi. Just try to enjoy it.”
Andi sighed. It was going to be a long day.
Chapter 2 A Suprise Visitor
Justin dropped Andi and her mother off near the Mercantile and other shops and continued on his way to his office. It was agreed that they would meet at the Coffee Shop for lunch at noon. Andi looked up at the huge clock that stood at the top of the courthouse. It's large hands pointed to 9:00.
"Where are we going first Mother?" she asked.
"To the Mercantile," Mother answered. When they got to the Mercantile, Andi saw Cory and Jack outside the store sitting on some large barrels that were used to ship some of the items to the store, including flour,sugar crackers,candy and salt. As her mother entered the store, Andi stayed outside and sat on an empty barrel between Cory and Jack.
"My,my don't we look nice in that dress!" Cory teased.
"Oh, stop it!' Andi exclaimed making a move to push him off the barrel.
"Andi, you might want to stop before you rip your dress," Jack said, grinning. Andi looked where he was pointing and saw that he was right. The hem of her dress had caught on the splintered edge of the barrel. Reaching down, she carefully unhooked it being careful not to rip the lace. As she straightened back up, Cory asked,
"What brings you to town today?"
Andi sighed "It certainly wasn't my choice! I am shopping with Mother. Where up to me, I would be at home riding Taffy and I certainly wouldn't be wearing this horrid dress!"
"Well, you have to admit she does look rather pretty in it doesn't she, Jack?"
"Sure does!' Jack agreed.
"That’s enough!" Andi exclaimed and she whirled around and pushed him off the barrel.
"And you better stop it, too!!" Andi said turning to Jack. "
What if I don't want to?" Jack grinned. Suddenly, Andi felt her braids yanked form behind. Not hard, but the impact was enough to send her off the barrel and into the main street of Fresno. Cory ran over and helped her up.
"I'm awful sorry, Andi" he apologized."I didn't expect you to fall off when I pulled your braids."
"Andrea Rose Carter!" Andi turned to see her Mother standing in the doorway of the Mercantile.
"What are you doing in the middle of the street? And what happened to your dress?" Andi looked down at her dress. The sky blue cloth was covered with dust,the lace around the hem was ripped and the entire dress was hopelessly wrinkled.
"It's not her fault, Mrs. Carter, I was teasing her." said Cory. Andi shot him a grateful look. Mother sighed,
"Well, come here Andi and I'll see if I can get you looking decent." Five minutes later she shook her head.
“That's about as good as I can do for now.” The dust was brushed off and most of the wrinkles were smoothed out. Mother got out the small pair of scissors she carried in her purse and carefully cut off the lace.
"I am really sorry about the dress, Mother." Andi said.
Mother smiled. "Well, all's well that ends well! Now we need to go to the dressmakers shop”
"Bye, Cory, bye Jack. See you at school!" They waved then resumed their seat on the barrels.
"How long do you think we will be at the dressmaker's, Mother?" Andi asked. "Oh, it shouldn't be too long, no more then two hours”. Two hours? thought Andi. I don't think I will be able to stand it for two hours. As if reading her mind Mother said, "You only have to be there long enough to be measured and pick out fabric for your new dresses.”
Andi breathed a sigh of relief.
"What can I do after that Mother?"
"Well, you can go for a walk I suppose,” Mother answered. "Just be sure to be back by 11:30 and don't get your dress any worse." After being measured and picking out the fabric for four new dresses, Mother told Andi she could go. Andi walked out of the dressmaker's shop and breathed a sigh of relief. She decided to walk to the Mercantile hoping Cory and Jack were still there. When she got to the Mercantile no one was sitting on the barrels in front of the Mercantile, but she heard voices at the back of the store.Perhaps they went back there, Andi thought. As she got closer to the back of the store she realized that it wasn't Jack and Cory's voices she had heard. Stepping behind a stack of crates she listened to what they were saying.
"Your crazy, Jim!" she heard one of them say.
"I was at their ranch last night and everything is kept under lock and key." "Well, then we will have to just think of another plan now, won't we? And I have just the perfect idea!"
"What is it?"
Just then the stack of crates she was leaning on wobbled. Andi reached out her hand to steady them, but it was too late. The entire stack toppled to the ground. "What was that?" She heard one of the men ask as she heard footsteps coming towards her. She lifted her skirt above her ankles and began to run. She ran past the Mercantile and as she was rounding the corner to Justin’s office the hem of her dress slipped from her hand. As she ran, her foot caught on it and she tripped and fell down knocking the person in front of her down, as well. Untangling herself from her skirt, Andi tried to sit up.
"Oh, I am so sorry!" she said to the boy she knocked down. Just then he turned toward her. "Riley!" she gasped.
Chapter 3 A Puzzling Mystery
"Yeah, I’m Riley. Who are you?" he asked, getting to his feet and helping her up.
"Don't you remember me? I'm Andi Carter."
"You're Andi?" he asked in disbelief."I'm sorry you just look so much different in a dress and all..." he trailed off.
"Anyway, we were just on the way to your ranch. I sure am glad I ran into you. Or should I say you ran into me!" Riley laughed. Andi laughed also.
"I suppose you could say it anyway you wanted but the later is the more truthful of the two!"
"Say, why were you running anyway?" asked Riley, "Was someone chasing you?"
"Oh, I forgot! I need to talk to Justin!" Andi said opening the door to his office.
"Mind if I come along?"
"No, not at all. You can certainly come!”
Andi went in and walked straight to the sour-faced clerk sitting at the front desk.
"I need to speak to Justin right away, Tim," she said "It's an emergency."
Tim muttered something about having to lock the door to keep Andi out, but led them to Justin's office and knocked on the door anyway.
"Who is it?"Justin asked.
"It's your sister and a young gentleman, Mr. Carter." Tim said nervously."They say it's an emergency."
Justin opened the door. "What is it, Andi?" he asked. "Come in."
Andi and Riley walked into his office and Justin shut the door behind them. "What's wrong?" he asked. He listened as Andi told him what he had heard. "And that’s when I ran into Riley." She concluded.
Hmm...so all you know is that one of them is named Jim? Did you recognize either of their voices?" Justin questioned.
"No, I didn't. I have never seen them before."
"Well, there isn't much we can do. I'll talk to the sheriff and ask him to keep an eye out for them." Justin turned to Riley. "It's good to see you back. What brings you to Fresno?"
"It’s good to see you too!" Riley grinned. "My father got stationed about three hours from here and Mother thought it was high time to pay you all a visit. We were just about ready to head over to your ranch when Andi ran into me. Mother just had to pick up some stuff from the dressmakers first."
"It will be nice to have you around. How old are you now? How long are you planning on staying?"
"I am 16, Mr. Carter and I am pretty sure Mother was planning on staying for three weeks."
"Call me Justin. How long has it been? Six years?"
"Almost 7, Mr. Car---- I mean Justin," Riley answered.
"Well, It sure is good to see you again." Justin said snapping open the cover of his watch he looked at the time. "It's about 11:50 and I am almost finished up here. So, why don't we go down to the sheriff's office and tell him what Andi saw, then we'll go pick up Mother."
"Ohh," Andi gasped. "Mother told me to be back at the dressmaker's shop by 11:30!"
"Well, if she is at the dressmakers shop both my mother and Mrs. Carter probably assume we are together."
"I'm sure you are right, Riley." Justin replied "We'll just be sure to be there by noon." Justin replied.
"But, we were supposed to meet at the coffee shop at noon." Andi replied.
"Your right. Well, let's check the dressmakers shop first and if they are not there, then we'll check the coffee shop."
Five minutes later they pulled up to the sheriff's office. Justin handed the reins to Andi.
"Y’all wait here, I'll be right back," Justin said.
Andi turned to Riley, "if you will be here for three weeks will you be going to school with me?"
"I suppose I will." Riley replied.
"Oh good, that will be fun!"
Just then the door to the sheriff's office slammed shut. Andi looked up and saw Justin walking toward them.
"What did the sheriff say?" She asked.
"He said he would keep an eye out but, that was about all he could do."
The dressmaker's shop was right across the street from the sheriff's office. Sure enough, when Andi walked in, there sat her mother and Mrs. Weaver chatting with one another. Both of them looked up when Andi entered.
"Oh my, is it 11:30 already? I must have lost track of time!" Andi laughed. "It's 12:00 Mother. Justin,Riley and I came to pick you and Mrs. McCoy up and take you to the coffee shop for lunch."
"Well, I have certainly lost track of time!" mother exclaimed.
"I guess Riley was right!" Justin grinned as they walked out of the dressmakers shop.
"What did he say this time? Mrs. McCoy asked.
He just said he thought that you two would be talking and lose track of time," Andi answered.
After lunch they picked up Mrs. McCoy's and Riley's luggage from the depot, then started home.
Andi and Riley sat in the back seat with the luggage.
"So, what do you think those guys were talking about?" Riley asked.
"I have no idea. Your guess is as good as mine." Andi answered. "All I know is that they are trying to break into someone's ranch."
"I wonder what their plan is now?" Riley mused.
"I don't think I want to know," Andi replied.
"It's Thursday today. How did you manage to get out of school?" Riley asked changing the subject.
Andi grinned."Mr. Foster had a teaching conference he had to attend yesterday and today. He gets home on the 5:30 train tonight, but we have school again tomorrow."
In no time at all they turned up the lane leading into the Carter ranch. "Can I help you unhitch the horses Justin?" Andi asked.
"Andrea you need to go upstairs, change your dress and fix your hair. I would like you to put it up for supper. Justin can manage the the horses alone I'm sure."
"Yes, Mother" Andi replied slowly walking into the house and up the stairs.
I wonder who those men were? She thought.
Chapter 4 Another Tease
Andi entered her room and walked over to the closet. Choosing a yellow dress with white lace she quickly changed then walked over to the mirror. Taking out her braids she brushed back her thick, black hair and twisted it into a bun. Looking at her reflection in the mirror she sighed. Wearing her hair up and fancy dresses were two things she hated most about growing up. She walked down the stairs, not daring to slide down the banister. Walking into the parlor she found her brothers, Melinda and Mother chatting with their guests.
Riley looked up when she walked in "wow, Andi, you sure look nice." he said.
Chad winked at her, "you sure do, Andi. I'm not surprised Riley was the first to notice."
Andi felt her face flush red. "Oh, stop teasing me, Chad!" she exclaimed, as she crossed the room and sat next to Melinda.
Melinda leaned close to her and whispered, "Have you noticed Riley watching you ?"
Andi turned toward Riley. He smiled at her.
"Like I really care!" Andi whispered back.
"Well, you have to admit he is handsome!"
"Okay, I admit it, he's handsome. Now would you leave me alone!" Andi replied exasperated.
Melinda just smiled. Andi shook her head. All Melinda ever thinks about is suitors! She thought to herself.
Just then the supper bell rang. As Andi took her seat, she realized she was sitting next to Riley. Melinda gave her a teasing smile from across the table. Andi ignored it. After Justin had prayed and asked the blessing on the food Andi turned to Riley.
"Do you still have Midnight?" She asked.
"Yep, I still do!"
"It's too bad you couldn't bring him along. We would have had a lot of fun with him and Taffy, but I'm sure Chad will let you ride one of our horses."
"You're sure I’ll let you what?" Chad asked from across the table.
"Let Riley borrow one of our horses while he's here." Andi answered.
"Of course! He can even ride ol' Whirlwind if he wants to!"
"Thanks, Chad," Riley said. "I would like that."
Andi,Chad and Mitch burst out laughing. Riley looked confused.
"What did I say wrong?" he asked.
Andi swallowed her laughter. "Whirlwind is a wild mustang Chad insists on trying to train. He won't let anyone ride him. Chad was teasing you."
Riley laughed along with them. "That was a pretty good joke!" he agreed. "So can I ride another horse, not Whirlwind?"
"Of course!" said Chad.
After supper was over, Andi, Riley and Chad went out to the stables while the ladies talked in the parlor,and Justin and Mitch talked business in the library. After showing Riley Taffy and giving her a treat Andi went back inside and sat in the parlor. It's to hot to stay out there, even thirty minutes in such a long,heavy dress! She grumbled to herself. As the clock struck 9:30, mother turned to Andi,
"About time to go to bed don't you think, dear? You have school tomorrow."
Andi yawned. "Yes, Mother," she said walking over and giving her a hug.
As she walked out of the parlor she nearly ran into Riley and Chad who were coming in from the stables.
"I don't believe I need to be ran into twice in one day!" Riley laughed.
"I'm sorry, Riley." Andi apologized.
"Where are you going sis?” Chad asked.
"Up to bed."
"Say, Andi can you show Riley his room on your way up? He will stay in the one next to yours." Chad said.
"Sure." replied Andi.
Riley followed her up the stairs. Pointing to the room to the left of hers Andi said, "this is where you will be staying Riley. I hope you like the room."
Riley opened the door and walked in. "This will be mighty fine, " he said. "Goodnight Andi, see you tomorrow."
"Goodnight," Andi replied. Opening the door she walked into her room, slipped into her nightgown, then sat down and unwound her hair.
"Sure feels good to get it out of that horrid bun!" she muttered.
After reading a chapter from the Bible, she climbed in her bed and went to sleep.
Chapter 5 All's Well that ends Well
Andi awoke with a start and sat up in bed. Suddenly, there was a loud noise downstairs followed by a low voice. Listening, she heard the voices move up the staircase and down the hall. They're coming to my room! Andi looked around desperately for a place to hide. Slowly, her doorknob turned and Andi looked up into the faces of the two men she had seen the day before. One of the guys roughly grabbed her, while the other one tied a gag around her mouth and bound her hands and feet.
“This is going just like I planned. Now, all we do is kidnap her and insist on a large ransom for her release,”
The man who held her said. Picking her up he threw her over his shoulder and carried her down the stairs. They had opened the door and were just about to make a dash into the night when Andi heard a gun cock. Just then Chad moved out of the shadow of a tree, a gun pointed at the man who held Andi.
“I suggest you put her down slowly and put your hands up,” he said. They obeyed. By then everyone had awakened from the commotion and came downstairs.
”Justin, Mitch, tie these two men up and gag them. Then we will take a little trip into town.” Chad walked over and untied Andi. She threw her arms around him.
“I was so glad to see you!” she exclaimed. I was scared to death!”
“I am just glad you're safe, little sister, ” Chad said
“I wonder how they got in, ” Mitch muttered.
“Well, I heard a noise in the barn and went down to check. I left the door unlocked. Of course, everything was fine in the barn. It was just part of these guys' plans to kidnap Andi.”
“Are you alright, Andi?”
Andi turned and saw Riley.
“Oh, I am fine now! But I guess we figured out what their plan was.” Andi replied.
Riley grinned. “For sure.”
Mother turned to them “Oh, Andi are you alright?”
Andi smiled, “I am fine, Mother.”
Mother looked relived. “Well then, you and Riley need to go back up to bed and go to sleep. You have school tomorrow!”
“Your right Mother. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight dear, see you tomorrow!”
I can't wait until tomorrow! Andi thought. I wonder what Cory will think of Riley.