Run The Wild Country
A Lyrics Challenge Story
The triplets send the most challenging lyrics. I took one look at these that
Mac sent me, sighed, and put my nose to the grindstone. The first story read
that way, too. You could almost read the struggle of the author in the
lines. You could see the blood, sweat and tears on the page. The story
contained little other drama beside that.
Through a general discussion with someone not doing the Lyrics Challenge, I
was given another idea. I didn't like it, but found a way to alter it, and
came up with this. I'm still not totally thrilled with this, but I have
multiple projects in my inbox to edit, and a Wizard story almost ready to
put out, with another that needs to be finished, so here it is.
The story itself will tell you when it takes place. It's fairly obvious.
Usual disclaimers. Not mine, no profit. No sex, no violence. Angst. Archive
to your heart's content.
Run the Wild Country
By Louise Taylor, Ben Street, and Dean Sharp
From the CD Ride
Lost in wide country
the sky a line of poetry
map unfolded on my knee
in the prickly pear, in the prickly heat
Cut lean for the dirty ride
the feel of a horse between my thighs
and I thirst for the sound of dry
stones breaking under hoofs that fly
to run the wild country
I swear your ghost rides next to me
over the bleached out bones of the Navajo, the Hopi
and I listen for the past to rattle
with the moon turning big and yellow
and I call myself free
My head to the west, my back to the pain
heal to the steel, hand in the mane
I'm holding on to asphalt reins
and I won't be letting go again
I'm gonna run the wild country
He's dead. She killed him. I have to get away, to think.
I never told him how much I loved him. How important he was to me. And now
I have to kick Argo to get her to speed up. She usually knows when I want to
gallop, but she's not responding to me like she normally would. Maybe it's
because my thoughts are racing so wildly. She begins to move gradually, but
soon the road sings with the sound of dry stones breaking under hoofs that
I've been out here, alone for days. I couldn't look at Gabrielle anymore. I
had to get away, deal with my pain. Perhaps Argo doesn't want to gallop
because she knows how weak I am right now. It's been a while since I last
ate, even longer since last I slept. But this has rocked me to the bone, and
I can't do either any more.
Solan is dead. Gabrielle's daughter killed him.
My mind spins at that. I feel physically sick. I told her Hope was
dangerous. I told her she would have to kill her, never mind that she was
her own child. She didn't; she couldn't. And I've paid the price. She'll do
no more damage now. But it came too late.
I remember where I was going. I wanted to go to the mountains. I force
myself onward. I need a place to plan, to figure out what to do next. My
heart went up in that funeral pyre with my beautiful son, and Gabrielle
might as well have ripped it out herself. I may hate her.
Can't seem to think straight. It's getting dark, and I talk to my son.
Solan, I explain, I sent you away for your own good. I always planned to
come back for you, but by the time I made it, it was to bid you farewell. I
know you can hear my thoughts. I can feel you nearby. The inner monologue
only serves to further stir my fury. It's still a cold hard rock inside me
right now, but I know it could easily be fanned into flames. I keep riding.
The moon rises, turning big and yellow. There is no comfort in the
moonlight. I can't decide if I should seek vengeance, or sleep forever so I
can't hurt any longer. But I can't sleep. I need to ride. I'll decide when I
get there, wherever "there" is.
I've reached the mountains. It's cold here, and there's snow. It suits my
mood. I keep hoping that writing this down will help me see the way, but my
mind is as muddy as ever. I think I'll pull the blanket from my pack and
just walk a while.
I'm back, and Ares is right. I cannot atone for my past sins - all it's
brought me in trying is pain. He made it all so clear. Gabrielle is at
fault. I have to make her pay. I hate her.
If I fail to make her pay the ultimate price, I pray that she will know the
pain of losing someone she truly loves, someday, to a betrayal such as this.
Xena looked up from the scroll in anguish, her own words having stabbed her
through the heart. Across the fire, Gabrielle sat, staring into space as she
seemed to do so often these days. Eve slept, and she couldn't help but
notice how the bard had placed herself as far as she could from the girl
while still remaining in the campsite.
She had found the scroll in Joxer's tavern, soon after he'd returned Argo to
her. She wasn't sure where he had found it, but she suspected he had placed
it in her room secretly, so Gabrielle wouldn't come across the painful
reminder of a time neither of them really wanted to recall. How could she
know that she had cursed both her friends with her rash words, and how much
her self-centered pain then would hurt her these many years later?
She had no right to assume her own pain had been any worse than Gabrielle's.
Although she had been right about Hope, she could just as well have done the
same thing, if Eve had turned out fully evil. And her own unwillingness to
kill her child, so like Gabrielle's before her, had cost them Joxer. Ares
had used her - the Furies had used Gabrielle. The wheel had turned full
circle. Slowly, almost silently, she walked to the fire, and placed the
scroll in it. But she would never, could never again forget.