Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are glare, luster and threat.

Westward Expansion
We’re on a steam train heading west.
The gentle rocking, the click of the tracks, has lured most of the passengers asleep, including my parents. The excitement of travel, the luster and red velvet of the dining car has left me immune to the sleepy tonic of traveling by rail. I sit by a small table with a oil lamp and try my hand at drawing the blurred landscape as it goes rushing past the windows.
There’s a great bear of a man in one of the floral wingback chairs. His girth washes over the chair arms. He’s smoking a thick cigar and slowly turns in his fingers a small glass filled with amber liquid.
He notes my casual stare and glares.
“Can you shoot?” he asks, his jowls shaking as he speaks.
“Pardon?”
“It’s an easy question,” he says, taking a pearl-handled six-gun from a leather holster under his jacket. “I’m too old and fat to be much good here. And the threat is real. Can you handle a six-shooter or not?”
I’m about to speak when the train lurches. Brakes squeal, metal-on-metal, as the cars slow and groan under the sudden stress. Out of the window, I realize what the fat man’s talking about. A war party has materialized on the bluffs, hundreds of braves in feathers and war paint.
"Can you shoot or not?"
I make a run for the sleeping car, the fat man hurling curses as I retreat.
I return with father’s Winchester 1873 and several boxes of cartridges.
“Oh, I can shoot,” I say, cocking the Winchester’s lever handle. "Ready when you are, Mr. Carson."

25 comments:

Crystal Phares said...

I like the sleepy feel of the train and then the abrupt danger of your piece. Thanks for sharing!

pia said...

Wow Thom. You set the stage so beautifully and briefly
Love the whole set up between "you" and "Mr. Carson." Your flash fiction just gets better and better

anthonynorth said...

Great tale - and I'm sure you won't disappoint him :-)

Sepiru Chris said...

The snippet that I love the most is "uster and red velvet of the dining car has left me immune to the sleepy tonic of traveling by rail" because that resonates so well, within me, and starts to place the young man into a age of awareness and youth and cockiness and wonder. And then, just as I am enjoying the wonderful descriptions, you coldcock me, in a very enjoyable way, and send me into an oncoming battle.

I love how you do this... build characters, build worlds, and build expectations... then snap our expectations and show us something equally powerful that we didn't expect (or I didn't). Better still, I know to expect it, but I get so caught up in your descriptions and your world and emotion and character building, that I always forget to wait for the feint.

Coldcocked again.

And I like it.

Thanks, Thom.

Americanising Desi said...

you did it again Thom :)
as always very perfectly!

The Glare of Threat

illyria taylor said...

delightful romp! Thanx

maglomaniac said...

Thom I have always said that there is something in your fiction that is so powerful but yet so surprising.
It was all clueless even till the gun is out.
You are a great writer Thom.
Rock on.

~Harsha

maglomaniac said...

And yup the more I hit your profile the more inquisitive I become about your other blog.
Not wanting to sound too interfering but still-Can I see it??

~Harsha

Just someone said...

That is a great story! You are a great writer....

Lucy said...

thom! Please tell me you are not just writing here on 3 ww.. I am ready to buy the novel.. Hope it's in the works!
YOU always keep me on the edge of my seat and your descriptions have me visualizing the story like a favorite movie scene.

Stan Ski said...

Have gun, will travel - excellent!

Jeeves said...

Enjoyed this

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Another fun tale with a surprise at the end! Have you ever thought about collecting your favorites and making them available in book or pdf?

Sweetest in the Gale said...

I hope you write a book soon...you are a master at setting up a story. It's always effortless and crystal clear; wonderful read, as always!

lissa said...

a western - I like it, reminds me of those classic movies and the narrator certainly seems eager to use his Winchester

ThomG said...

Thanks, everyone. Like I've said before, I think there's a book in me I'm just trying to figure out how to let it out.

Andy Sewina said...

Cleverly done, a wonderful build up and a smart twist at the 'death'.

Asleep On My Feet said...

Smart piece. I like it.

Daily Panic said...

Hey cowboy! Great story! I like westerns. The tension that built before he brought his gun really brought out the boy's character.

AdellBeek said...

Your story made me think of Saturday afternoon Westerns on TV. Well done!

Kim Nelson said...

Drew me in and carried me back to the old wild west. Compact, complete story. Yee haw!

barbara Torris said...

"Oh I can shoot!"

Can hear the words. I can also see the fat man leaning back in the chair, cool, rich and powerful! Great read. I love this sort of story.

b

pjd said...

How old is this cocky son-of-a-bitch? I like him, and he'd make a terrific love interest for Andie, the protagonist of my WIP. I need a love interest for her for a later book. Timing is perfect, assuming the boy's around 16 or so.

Tammy said...

Delightful!

Tumblewords: said...

Nary a nit - strong imagery and delightfully designed plot.