Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: November 1 106 by jdurham Morguefile.com
After the last of the tourists loaded into the covered wagon, I pulled the canopy tight. Sweat beaded on my brow, in the stifling July heat. My heavy dress and bonnet were one of several downsides to working for my parents at the “Oregon Trail Tours.” The hours sucked, the pay wasn’t great, and I had no life outside of helping out. Not that I minded, too, much. I liked the history, but a date every now and then would be nice.
“Everyone on board, Jasmine?” Dad turned in his seat at the front of the wagon.
I counted five heads. “Yeah, we’re all set.”
Dad took hold of the reins, and the horses began to move. The wagon rolled forward, hitting several ruts and jarring the passengers. I groaned.
I cleared my throat, and gave a forced smile. “Hi, my name is Jasmine. Welcome to the Oregon Trail Tours. Today, you’ll get to see what it was like for families to travel west. Along the way, we’ll reenact what might happen on a true wagon train. For instance, how the pioneers passed the time riding in the wagon, and you’ll have a chance to help take care of the horses.”
The blonde guy snorted. “Sounds like we’ll be doing your job for you.”
“Abe, that’s enough,” his mom said.
My face burned. Seriously, there should be an age limit on these tours. Like no morons under the age of twenty. There were two teen guys on this overnight. Of course they wouldn’t appreciate the westward movement.
With my skirt fisted in my hand, I continued. “We’ll take lunch this afternoon by the creek, so you experience what the settlers would’ve eaten. Then we’ll travel to where the teepees are set up on the plains. You’ll be able to unload your bags and get settled in for the overnight.”
“This sounds wonderful,” Abe’s mom said. She gave her husband’s arm a tug, but he was too wrapped up in his Blackberry.
“Sounds lame.” Abe nudged the boy next to him. “What do you say, Alex? Think we’ll get to see some hot prairie girls running around?”
Alex raised his hooded eyes, and grinned. “I don’t know. Depends on if Jasmine here decides to do laps.”
“Boys, enough,” the mom said again.
Would it be too much to ask Dad to hit a giant rut and knock them out?
We stopped a couple of hours later to make lunch, while Dad fed the horses. The scent of beans cooking over a fire and homemade bread made my mouth water.
“Watch what you’re doing,” I said.
“I am.” Abe’s mouth twitched.
“You look warm, maybe I can help you cool off.” Alex leaned down, flinging water down the front of my dress.
“Ooo, wet t-shirt contest, Little House on the Prairie style!” Abe winked. “C’mon Jasmine, we’re from the east coast. Show us what you western girls are made of.”
I’d show him all right. Maybe if I shoved my size 6 ½ cowgirl boot up is butt, that’d wipe the grin from his face.
“Sorry, I can’t fraternize.” With that, I spun on my heel. Mom and Dad so owed me for this. Because there were like a thousand ways I could strangle the boys with a rattlesnake.
Mom quirked an eyebrow at me, when I offered to help get the food served.
“Why are you all wet?”
When the teepees came into view, I sighed in relief. I just had to get through a quick tour of the main area and dinner. Then I could ditch Abe and Alex. They’d spent the whole trip making snide comments, while their dad talked on the phone. The mom gave me sympathetic smiles, which didn’t help. And the old guy, who must be grandpa, grated on my last nerve with his “version” of history.
“Make sure the lanterns are on in the exhibits,” Dad said, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief. “I’ll send the visitors through in a few minutes.”
He didn’t have to ask me twice. I raced to the largest of the teepees. My fingers brushed against the switch on the lantern. I gasped, much like I did every time I came in here. The Native American figures stared back at me; a woman posed to grind corn. While a warrior in the back, had war paint streaked across his face. There were native artifacts like blankets, furs, dishes, weapons, and clothing scattered about for people to look at.
But it was the young warrior that always caught my attention. His dark eyes seemed to watch me. Okay, so it was weird to have a crush on an inanimate object. But he was hot for a statue. I gave a small wave then hurried from the teepee.
“You can go in and have a look around now,” I said to the tourists. The three adults headed up first, while Abe and Alex sipped water from canteens.
Abe raised his to me as if it to toast me. I rolled my eyes.
A while later the adults came back to sit around the fire. The boys, however, disappeared. Great! My eyes darted around camp. I needed to find them.
Voices carried from the teepee. With a groan, I moved to the opening to find them on the display side of the fence, messing with the tomahawks and the string of scalps hanging from the warrior’s belt.
“Hey, get out of there!” I grabbed the axe from Alex. “These aren’t toys.”
“It’s not like they need them anymore, they’re dead,” Abe said. He waved the scalps above my head. When I jumped to get them, he shoved me out of the way. “If you want to get tips from us, you better keep your mouth shut.”
He tossed the scalps in the dirt and they walked out, laughing. My eyes narrowed as I retrieved the scalps. I wiped them off as best I could, then hopped into the display.
“Sorry,” I said softly to the statue. I secured his treasures back on his belt then turned to go. Something snagged my skirt. I whipped around to find myself caught up on the figure. Reaching down I pulled the fabric from its hand and gasped. It felt warm. My heart leapt into my throat. For a moment, I thought the warrior nodded.
I awoke the next morning to screams, and leapt from my sleeping bag. Sunlight blinded me, as I hobbled from my teepee.
“My boys are gone!” the mom screeched.
“I’ll look around.” Maybe a coyote ate them. I chuckled at the thought as I made my way to the display tent. The lantern was on, but there were no signs of the boys. Then I caught movement from the corner of my eye. The warrior. He smiled at me. There, hanging from his belt were two new scalps.