The continuing saga of three generations of ranching family. Below the story you’ll find links to other flash fictions.
Mitch bolted from his fitful sleep by his phone ringing. He almost fell off the couch where he’d ended up sleeping after Darrin threatened him violence after he’d kept both of them awake for most of the night with his tossing and turning. Trying to become coherent, he stared at the screen on his phone until the individual letters formed words for him.
It was Sam.
This time his motions were frantic to push against the right part of the screen. There were times when Mitch missed the old days and the phones that were not so technological demanding—especially when he was not awake. He finally hit the right button, and a voice came from the phone.
Joy, happiness, numbness, horrible loss. Mitch wasn’t sure what he heard in those few words. But it didn’t matter, Sam and Gordy were their oldest friends, and they’d do whatever needed to happen to help them. A crisis like this was when friends stepped in to help.
“Yeah. I’m here.”
With no extra words, Sam plunged into his news. “He made it through the night. He’s still not out of the high-risk category, but he’s responding to voices. I’m trying to get Gordy home, but am not having too much luck.”
“Have either of you had a break?”
There was a pause that drew a little smile from Mitch because he knew Sam was shaking his head. A second later Sam began speaking again. “No. We’ve all been at the hospital since the wreck. They’ll only let one of us back at a time, so the other sat in the visitor’s room with everyone.”
Mitch tensed. He knew how independent Sam and Gordy were about taking care of their problems. Mitch recognized a kindred soul. But at this point, it was time to help, regardless of whether they thought they needed the help or not. Both Gordy and Sam’s family was back in Oklahoma. At that point, it only took a second for Mitch to make up his mind.
“Sam. I’m coming to help. I know you don’t want to take anyone’s help, but with everything that’s happening, I can get food or something. I can stay in a motel so I’m not in the way if that would help.”
The pregnant pause that followed was all the confirmation I needed. “See! Now I know you can use the help.”
Sam cleared his throat and paused for a few seconds before he started talking. “If you’re sure—I don’t think we can continue juggling everything. Both our mother’s offered to come. Gordy’s practically had to be locked up to keep her from coming.” There was a brief pause, and Sam chuckled. “She can be a little strong willed.”
Mitch flashed back to his graduate school days and chuckled. “It does seem like I remember that about her. A very determined woman—especially about her kids.”
Mitch moved with determination as Sam wrapped up the conversation. He wasn’t terribly surprised to find Darrin up, packing a couple of travel bags for him. His attention was brought back to the present when he realized Sam was wrapping up the conversation.
“Okay, sounds fine. Darrin is already getting me ready. I should be there in late afternoon.”
He clicked the phone off after a few final pleasantries and turned to Darrin. “Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you up. I guess you heard that I’m going to help.”
“Of course you are,” Darrin said as he packed another bag with underwear. “We both knew one of us was going if Cody survived.”
Mitch stood a little surprised when Darrin turned to him. “Get your ass in gear and get dressed. You have a long drive ahead of you.”
The links listed below go directly to the individual stories.