Keeping Warm by Christine

Word Count 526

Keeping Warm (Winter Challenge)


Now, what was he gonna to do?  What should have been a real simple trip just kept getting worse?  First, the supplies were delayed, so he left Morro Coyo late, then the wheel on the buckboard came loose.

 Bad kept getting worse when he’d tried to get the wheel back on, and the hub broke and now the buckboard was laying across his legs – trapping him here in the growing darkness.  And he’d tied the horse so it wouldn’t be findin’ its way back to Lancer.  And it was getting cold.

“No way I can get a fire lit.  Maybe I could set the buckboard on fire.” 

Too cold, wouldn’t do for Johnny Madrid to freeze to death – the fires of hell will keep me warm sooner than I thought.  

Johnny felt around and found the matches in his pocket.  At least something to light my way.  He lit one and, in its glow, saw Theresa in the kitchen baking a cake.  Was it devil’s food? 

He lit another and saw Jelly in its flame. Jelly, who loved him like a son. 

The flame of another match flared and he saw Scott reading by the fire.  He couldn’t believe he had a brother, a good, intelligent man who accepted him for who he was, not what he’d been. 

It was cold, but the thoughts of the people who loved him warmed him.  

He had just a couple of matches left and he’d be alone in the dark, in the cold.  The great gate of Lancer and the hacienda flickered in the flame of the match – home.  When had he ever thought he’d have a home, a place to belong? 

“Last match, I’ll wait a bit.”  Delaying the cold and dark. 

His hands were so cold and numb it was almost too much to light the last match, the last light.  It flamed brighter than the others.  It was Murdoch, funny that it’d be the old man that came to him last.  He was pacing, looking at the fire and out the windows of the great room, saying something to Scott.  

Johnny smiled, their fights sure kept him warm, hot.  But there was more.  When they’d let their guards down, father and son, the love they’d had from the first was still there, still alive just waiting to break through and it kept him warm.  

Warm, he was warm and the bed was soft.  Bed, his bed!  Home! 

The sleepy blue eyes opened.  Murdoch.  

Relief flooded Murdoch’s face as he took Johnny’s hand.  “You gave us quite a scare, son.”

“How’d you find…”

Murdoch didn’t know how he’d ever be able to explain what he’d seen in the firelight; he wouldn’t try. 

“When you didn’t come home, we figured you’d run into some trouble.  We knew the route you’d taken; didn’t take too long to find you.  We were lucky.  It was so cold last night you could have frozen.  I saw the matches scattered around.  Did you try to light a fire?”

He snuggled deeper into the warmth, blue eyes closing.  “Fire, no, just seeing things to keep me warm.”





Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or email Christine directly.


3 thoughts on “Keeping Warm by Christine

  1. Vivi
    I’m happy you found the stories I wrote, that you’ve enjoyed them and have commented. They had been filed on one of the “off to the side” files on the Yahoo Lancer Writers site. I just never seems to make time to get them to Karen. We have great archivists to keep track of all those details.



  2. I love this story-in so few words, some much is expressed. Thank you for making your stories available in the Lancer lovers archive.


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