Chris Scott Wilson                   Writer                                             

©2010 C.J.S.Wilson

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Spur from Istock

The Quantro Story

his heels as he rekindled the tiny fire, his teeth clamped tight to stop them chattering uncontrollably. He used the last of the water from the first canteen for the coffee, and tipped a little of the second into his hat for the horse. He hoped to find sweet water before the end of the day, but where he had no idea. He did not even have a firm idea of where he was headed, just a vague notion to ride and keep on riding. Now that he had completed the task that had taken up all his thinking for the last two years he had no idea what to turn his hand to next. He’d heard it said that when you’ve got no place to go why not try Mexico? Well why not? He supposed he would have to find a job somewhere before long because the money he had left would not last forever, but that was as far as his thinking had gone.

   He kept the climbing sun on his left shoulder throughout the morning, allowing the buckskin to set his own pace as he threaded his way in and out of the arroyos and rock spurs as he pleased. He passed the hours studying the terrain, his ice-blue eyes restlessly moving back and forth under the brim of his sweat-stained Stetson, the only sound the clicking of the horse’s hooves on the rocky ground. The sun had chased away the chills of the night and now his buckskin shirt was stuck fast between his shoulder blades, a dark patch of sweat spreading slowly across his shoulders.

   By noon he reckoned he had covered another fifteen miles which

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

would place him about eighty miles from Sasabe to the east and about fifty miles from the Mexican border in the south. He had heard talk of Sasabe, maybe he would try there first and buy some supplies. Coffee and bacon and some grain for the stallion to supplement its meager diet. Two or three times during the morning the horse had stumbled and he had became increasingly aware its ribs were beginning to make long shadows under the once lustrous coat. With luck, the tough buckskin would take him all the way to wherever he was going. He had developed an attachment for the loyal horse, and he knew he would hate to have to trade it in or turn it loose.

   He whispered a few words of encouragement, and at the sound of his voice the stallion’s ears picked up, but he stumbled on some loose shale and Quantro decided to rest for a while. He selected a spot under an escarpment which would provide some shade, then reined in and dismounted. He loosened the saddle cinch a couple of notches, then unhooked the canteen from the saddle horn and drew the Winchester from its scabbard before he turned the horse loose to find what forage it could.

   He carried the canteen and the rifle over to the lee of the rock, occasionally flexing his stiff right leg as he walked. After a cursory glance around the base of the outcrop to see if any snakes had made it their home, he sat down with his back against the rock wall and gave his attention to his back trail.

“ . . . no nonsense about may the best man win. Interesting to Western lovers.” —The Birmingham Sunday Mercury

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