Ceaseless Endearment

By Kirsten
Copyright 1999

The Prologue

The all-too familiar taste of dirt filled his mouth as he fell, having been knocked forcefully to the ground. He rose to his feet in an instant and spit out the filth, vowing inwardly that he wouldn’t ever set foot in this town again. If the land wasn’t barren enough, the food had been rotten, and the residents, well, they just flat out stunk.

“Just remember what I told you, Injun!” The man yelled after him. “If you don’t pass the message, I’ll be sure to see that you suffer for it.”

Buck thought better of snapping back the few comments that he deeply longed to say. But, regretfully, there was no point in picking a fight with a man who wanted nothing more than to shoot and kill anyone for no particular reason.

As he took one last look over his shoulder before mounting his horse, Buck couldn’t help but notice the shy young woman that stood beside his aggressor. She had been watching the whole scene with a horror-stricken face. It was not a look of fright from seeing a man beat around, she’d obviously witnessed such a thing before...no, this went deeper than that.

After he rode off, gladly leaving the village of doom behind, Buck thought about the sadness in the young girl's eyes. He realized that there was something more to the situation than what he was seeing. Her face reflected a million emotions all garbled together, and it went beyond just having to spend her time with a dirty man...it was almost as if she were acutely aware of the consequences of the message. And when he had mentioned his name, she'd flinched...causing it appear as if there were a personal connection. But no, that was silly. Buck knew that he was making a mountain out of a mole hill.

He took a deep breath and decided that he was going to get back to the station as quickly as he could. It wasn’t anyone’s fault that this had happened to him, or that he had been dragged into what might become a complicated issue. After all, he’d already experienced plenty of them.

But, rightfully, he harbored a few questions which demanded answers. And according to the man who had taken it upon himself to slap him around, there was only one person that he wanted to see....

On to Chapter One

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