The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to flash fictions.
The pickup rolled to a stop and Darrin couldn’t imagine a more picturesque spot for the last few days of their trip. There were still a few ranches they wanted to stop at, but this would be a perfect central location. After the hot tub fiasco at the cabins, he didn’t want anyone else within miles of them. That wish was likely unattainable, but that didn’t keep he and Mitch from wishing for it.
The stream running below the campsite rippled over the rocks like an advertisement for the Colorado Rockies. Even though it looked refreshing, he knew that water was barely liquid having been snow just a short time ago. He walked to the edge of the stream and into the high mountain sunshine. A breeze wafted through the small valley and sat the aspen leaves dancing again. He couldn’t seem to get enough of the beautiful fall colors. Fall at home was just a slow transition from gray-green to a tan and brown winterscape.
“That water’ll freeze off anything that dangles into it.”
Darrin chuckled at his husband and shot him a small wave. “I have no intention of putting any part of my body into that water. I know it’s probably only liquid because it’d moving so fast.”
There was a scratching noise that drew Darrin’s attention. He couldn’t hear it again over the sound of Mitch scrambling down the bank to stand beside him at the water’s edge. He wrapped his arm around Darrin and tucked the tips of his fingers into Darrin’s jeans. Darrin enjoyed the moment of closeness and leaned against Mitch.
“This is a beautiful spot,” Mitch said.
“I was just thinking the same thing. Home will seem really brown after this.”
They stood soaking up the scenery for a few more minutes before Darrin pulled away from Mitch with reluctance. A few seconds passed and Darrin’s adolescence thrust itself forward and he swatted Mitch hard on the ass cheek and took off running up the hillside. Mitch raced after him. Darrin topped the ridge first, raced by the fire pit, and grabbed a piece of firewood. He spun and gasped out a warning.
“I’m armed. You better watch out since I’m such a bad ass hunter.”
Mitch tried to dodge past the piece of kindling, but then motioned dismissively and sat down to catch his breath. “You’re an evil man. There’s no oxygen in the air up here. Only you obsessive exercisers can function up here.”
Darrin gave Mitch a comforting squeeze on his shoulder and headed for the pickup. He leaned over and dragged the cooler off the tailgate. He popped it open and went through the ice laden water to see what sounded appealing for tonight.
After taking longer than it should have, he spotted a package of bratwurst that would make excellent tasting hot dogs for their supper. Besides, Darrin had been in elementary school the last time he cooked anything on a stick. But since he was cooking adult hot dogs this time it required more subtle approach than cook them until they’re charred.
He found a few appropriate branches and used his pocket knife to cut them down to size with little effort. Darrin speared a couple of lengths of meat for each of them and propped them over the glowing coals he’d created on one side of the fire. He settled in to watching his charges when Mitch pulled out the food locker from the bed of the pickup.
Mitch spread a thick blanket over the tailgate and put out the fixings for the evening meal. He looked around and then to Darrin.
“There’s not much else unless you want to open a can of beans.”
Darrin grinned and pointed toward one corner of the box. “Dessert. I packed the fixings for s’mores.”
A grin spread across Mitch’s face. “You went all out for this meal.”
“You better believe it big guy.”
The evening wound down as they enjoyed their nostalgic meal. The first hot dogs disappeared and were followed by others. Now they were down to stuffing themselves with the last of the chocolate, graham cracker, and roasted marshmallow treats. Darrin leaned against Mitch as he licked the last of the chocolate from his fingers. After a second yawn he nudged Mitch. “I’m about to fall asleep. Let’s put everything away and get some sleep.”
A few minutes later found them nestling into the thick sleeping bag and Darrin had spooned against Mitch’s warm back. They drifted off to sleep surrounded by the faint sounds of nocturnal animals.
If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.