The Carriage Driver³ - Light in the Trees
“Ten seconds,” he called while opening the curtains the slightest sliver to peer into the other side. “Is everybody ready?” He looked behind him at the hundred person choir that all volunteered to be here at the greeting. He looked out in the distance and saw the space between the two gas lanterns. “Where is The Carriage Driver?” He called over his shoulder.
“Nine seconds,” called, the caller.
“You fired him, sir. Once Lilith found the passageway, you told him that it was not safe for him to run his route.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. We could just move the entrance to the passageway. Go and find him and bring him back.”
“All of them, Sir?”
“What do you mean all of them?”
“Well, sir, three angels have been following him for weeks now. You gave permission, Sir.”
“Eight seconds – Sir, you look pale.”
“Go bring all of them back here.”
Nuelle rose up on her hind legs as the rebel yell pierced the night, reminding her of the day she and Captain Griffin Chaffey died. Griffin rushed through the brush in the direction of the yell. He saw a naked man, pinned to the ground with a naked woman on top of him. She had a knife in her hand and was grazing his chest with the blade. He saw him catch her by the wrist and squeeze; the sound of the bones dislocating from her wrist came next. She dropped the knife and the man on the ground caught it with his other hand. He rolled her off and with one last penetrating stroke impaled her foot with the knife up to the hilt, staking her to the ground. The woman’s eyes went fiery red and the howl raised her hair. “You owe me your soul,” she screamed.
When the man rolled and began to crawl away, Griffin noticed at some point; he had lost a leg, and he pushed himself along on one leg and the stump of the other. Nuelle ran to his side. Griffin arrived and got the man resting against the trunk of a tree. He looked at the multiple wounds and went to his kit. He found what he was looking for, then went to Nuelle and plucked a strand of her mane. When he was finished sewing up the wounds, he got the man some water and a blanket.
When he looked around, the woman was gone. Nuelle, Griffin, and the man needed to sleep. They would tell their stories in the morning.
Griffin woke first, put a fire together for coffee with water from a creek. Everything green within ten feet of the woman had baked brown. Nuelle was fed and watered. The man woke near noon.
He looked at all the new white hair on his chest, “I guess I have to thank you. You seen a chunk of cedar around here about this long?” He held his hands about twenty inches apart. He made a snort with his nose. “No matter, I was whittling another one. The wood splits after a while and once that happens, I begin to creak when I walk.” He put a finger from each hand in his mouth and let out a whistle that must have been heard for half a mile.
Griffin handed the man a cup of coffee. “I’m Griffin Chaffey.”
“Me, I’m Tibbs, but no one calls me that. Call me Dusty.”
“What did she mean; you owed her your soul?”
“Oh, that one; Lilith, she is a seducer, thinks any man will trade his soul to bed her. I figure I wasn’t done, so she did not deliver, and the deal was not concluded. Besides, like you, I have a bonded soul. That I am still here might just be the proof.” He started to say something else when a beige colored horse standing eighteen hands stepped into view. “Big John, where did you get to?”
Dusty got to his foot as the horse approached. He went to his kit and grabbed a blanket, and he changed. “Thanks for the use of the blanket.” He took his hat, with the brim pinned up in the front, from the saddle horn and put it on.
It is not often you see a man wearing only a blanket and a confederate hat. Griffin thought. “Where are you headed?”
With some effort, Dusty climbed on the back of Big John and turned him. “I’m just passin through.... and it's getting late in the day.”
Griffin knew exactly how he felt. “Haven’t we met before?”
“Come on; I know a place that serves a man's size breakfast. But we have to make a stop first, to get me some clothes. The place, it’s a forgotten community, just up the road a piece.” There was a long pause, and then Dusty turned as far as he could on the back of his horse. Looking back, he asked Griffin, “Are you being followed?”
Griffin turned, also looking back, “No, I don’t think so.”
Just a few miles from where they met was an abandoned shack with a second building used to shelter animals. The two men stopped. Dusty found the cedar wood he was near done with and hopped inside.
Griffin walked to the barn, such as it was and found food for Nuelle. He located a brush and began to give Nuelle’s coat a good brush down. It was not long before Big John came in to investigate. He waited his turn and soon received a good brushing as well. Just as Griffin replaced the brush where he found it Dusty walked in standing tall.
“You made a friend for life,” he said, nodding to Big John. “Thanks for taking care of him.”
Hearing Dusty, Big John came over and nuzzled his bearded face. He received a biscuit for his troubles. “Big John and I been through many adventures. I’m guess’n you and that beautiful mare have as well.”
“Yes, she and I have been through many journeys.”
When the two men stepped out of the barn, they were greeted by Light in the Trees. Angels appeared to their left and their right.
“You are needed,” the beautiful woman said to Griffin.
“That’s always nice to hear,” Dusty responded, tipping his hat back.
The three angels glanced at each other and laughed.
“Seven seconds,” the angels heard the voice.
“Time to fly!”
Griffin climbed on the back of Nuelle. Dusty jumped on the back of Big John. And the group whisked away.
The eye peeked again into the other side.
The carriage was waiting between the gas lamps. Griffin, with Dusty’s help, puts Nuelle into her harness. Dusty seemed an old hand with the harness and the rest of the gear.
Dusty stood straight and tall, looking around when he heard the choir begin to sing. Griffin stood by the side of the carriage waiting. It was the first time in forever that he did not have an apple to share with Nuelle before their ride.
Dusty was trying to catch up with what was happening. Then he saw her. “Mary? Mary! So, good to see you. I guess I was meant to greet you.”
Dusty stood on one side of the step and Griffin on the other. The choir sang as Mary stepped into the carriage. She was going to miss her earthly friends, but she was joining many others.
I believe Mary found her
reason for being
Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed
© 2016 mckbirdbks