August 17, 2019 ·

Short story prompt with a 300 word limit.

Picture prompt from Writers Unite! Visit here!

I caught sight of Granddaddy sitting his horse at the top of the hill and pulled my horse to a stop just to look. Joseph Waterhouse was a cowboy. A true cowboy. One of the last of a dying breed of men who’d lived their lives on the back of a horse facing everything from a raging blizzard to an angry bear hell bent on a beef dinner with an ease that was nothing short of amazing. He seen the cattle industry change from wide open spaces and months-long cattle drives to barbed-wire fences and shipping cattle to auction on trains. 

I could feel the fierce pride and the overwhelming sadness rolling off him as he surveyed the land his daddy’s daddy had laid claim to and clung to and through sheer willpower turned into a mighty legacy. This was the end of the line for him and he knew it. This ride his last. Both he and his old horse who knew him better than most people did knew that sickness, and old age, and modern ways had rendered them both as useless as the old broken plow blade back leaning against the barn.  

I’d been sent up here to bring him back home. The wind was rising and bringing a storm. This hill out here in the open was no place for a man his age. But sitting here watching him say his final good-byes I found I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t strip his pride away by leading him back home like a child.

I took one last glance at him as I turned my horse around and whispered a final goodbye. My heart was breaking. I knew what would happen if I left him here, but I also knew that every cowboy’s dream was to meet his maker with his boots on

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  1. I could hear an echo of my own country twang coming through with every word. The way you structured each sentence, with great care and love for a character who only had 300 words to come across, it was amazing! I want to know more! I want to know of this old mans life on his ranch. To know of the companionship he had with the horse he chose as his last ride. You’ve got me in tears just thinking about it!

    1. Aww thanks for all the kind words! So glad you enjoyed it and it touched you the way it did. It’s such a wonderful feeling for a writer when something they write touches a reader. Writing a story in 300 words is definitely a challenge. You never know, I might revisit this story one day and we’ll find more about this man and his horse 🙂

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