Monday, December 05, 2005

A Story Idea By Sara Allsop from two years ago.

Originally posted on The Lost Lake Creative Alliance blog:

I'm not sure how this all works...geronimo

This is a short story I wrote based on a improv that Jeff, Matt, Brett, and I were in. I just thought I would throw it out there to see if Matt or Jeff remembered the skit and to see if anyone had an suggestions on improvments.

Tatonka and the Shooting Gallery
Tatonka kneeled on the ground, his hand against his lower chest. His fingers circled the arrow, a moderately small success at damming his seeping blood. It didn’t hurt, but there was a strange tightness that made breathing difficult, that made him want to remain still even as his legs grew weak and the warm, soft, ground looked more and more inviting, wobbly though it was.
Tatonka looked up from the ground to see a hazy image in front of him grow more distinct. He squinted his eyes, trying to make out the shape, it looked like a person. A person from his tribe, based on his clothing. Tatonka smiled, it must be his guide into the afterworld. The haze shimmered and solidified and placed his hand lightly on Tatonka’s shoulder. Tatonka smiled as his breathing grew steady and the ground firm. He looked up into the man’s eyes.
“Tatonka. I am your spirit guardian. My name is Runs with No Legs”
Tatonka was slightly confused. He had thought that the rattlesnake was his spirit guardian. As he suspected that one question was all he had time for he asked the most important one, “Sprit leader, please, what are we to do with the white man?”
Runs with no Legs’ eyes softened and saddened. He looked over at the white man standing ten feet away breathing hard, gripping a rifle. His eyes were wild and his legs were braced widely, ready for more carnage. He whipped from side to side jerking at every sound he made himself as he stepped on twigs and branches and the crunch of trampling a dead man’s clenched fist. Tatonka settled to his knees and remembered how they had met.

A lone coach trotting across the pains. Bouncing the fat driver up and down against the solid seat. A group of four Cherokee trailing it for lack of anything better to do for almost a full day, remaining out of sight. Just before night an attack. The coach driver easily removed, toppling comically off the seat. The husband coming out to whip the horses faster. As if two exhausted horses pulling a coach could outrun their sturdy little ponies. The third person in the coach had come as something of a surprise. She came out a whirl of silk and ruffles and flowers and fire. Holding a gun she first shot the man who was inches from scalping the husband. Reloading quickly she shot Tatonka’s horse in the leg or neck or chest, or somewhere; there was no time to analyze. His horse collapsed and he fell to the ground before being trampled by his friend’s horse behind him. The forth horse panicked, bucking off his rider and spinning to gallop away from the noise and smell of fellow animals in pain.
Tatonka laid on the ground, twisted awkwardly. He slowly rolled on his side and straightened his legs. He was able to take one deep breath of air before passing out. After a short time he woke up and was able to walk, but his head refused to work correctly. He wandered into the white couple’s camp, thinking it was his own tepee, and collapsed nearly on top of their cooking fire.
Two weeks later he had almost completely healed. Two months later he had started to pick up the rudiments of their language, as well as their customs and religion. They worked every day building a permanent house, clearing trees, planting vegetables, and other tasks that Tatonka did not fully understand. They made a strange threesome, but for some reason Tatonka felt no desire to leave them yet. If he could understand them and why they acted the way they did, he could share their reasons with his tribe. If peace could not be settled, then at least they would have a better understanding of their enemy. And so he waited and helped them to build and clear the land.
“Tatonka. Water!” Herman shouted from the field. Tatonka looked up from shoving a mixture of dirt and weeds in between the logs of the cabin to keep out the wind. He stood and as soon as he had left the shade of the cabin something made him spin around and reach instinctively for a weapon he wasn’t carrying. Too late, an arrow buried itself surprisingly deep between his bottom rib and the rib above it. Tatonka recognized the black and red feathers notching the arrow. He looked up and saw on top of the cabin his friend. He smiled, raising his hand in greeting. His friend stared at him with wide eyes.
Herman ran towards the cabin yelling. “Rachel! Get the gun! Hide Rachel! Attack!” Tatonka spread his knees wide apart for stability still locked in gaze with his friend who had shot him. Now was not a time for weakness. Herman ran outside with his rifle while Rachel pulled at his sleeves.
“Please, Herman! Stop, these are his friends, they didn’t recognize him, don’t!”
Herman pulled up his gun and shot the friend, who only had eyes for the visible half of his arrow. Tatonka turned to Herman and put up his hand, “No. Don’t shoot anymore, this will only end in disaster. Put the gun down!” His mouth moved. No sound broke the air. He couldn’t get enough air in his lungs to speak.
Two more men broke the air with their shouts. Herman had reloaded and shot them both in mid cry. The stage coach driver came running from the creek. After being left for dead, he had spent two months eating grubs and healing.
“Stop! I’ll go for help!” Herman shot him.
Rachel stood in front of him, “That was the stage coach driver! You can’t just shoot everyone!” Herman shot her.
The driver stood up, dusting off his knees, “No! It’s ok, I think I can still go for help, I’m all right!” Herman shot him.
Runs With No Legs looked at Herman, surrounded by bodies. He pulled from his ceremonial robe a bulky revolver and shot the white man. Herman looked around, all his spinning and gasping and pointing hadn’t saved him from getting shot by an invisible ghost.
“What the?” As he fell backwards he shot off his last bullet in the general direction that he felt the shot had come from.
“Oh,” Runs with no legs said. He was short of breath and spoke in a scratchy voice. “Darn it.” He gripped his stomach and tipped forward, leaning on Tatonka for support before he hazed away.
Tatonka looked around, there were five bodies on the ground surrounding him. The stage coach driver leaned up.
“I think I’m ok.” He looked around at Tatonka and stood up gingerly.
“I’ll go for help.” He limped away. Tatonka very gently laid himself down on the ground and thought about brown skin and dark eyes. He thought about coarse black hair and obsidian hooves and a tail for switching flies that would snap you in the eyes if you weren’t paying attention. She had been a pretty little thing. Very smart. Always gotten along well with all the other ponies. She really had been a pretty little delicate thing.

2 comments:

Sara Allsop said...

Thanks, I probably should. I want people reading it to be a bit unsure at first if it is supposed to be funny or not, but by the end I want it to be rediculous, clearly, yet subtly...

Jeff B said...

I think it's funny. At first I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a comedy. I think you should play up more on the stereotypes, and make it a tad more ridiculous. Make it sound maybe like it was written by a white man who has no idea what he's talking about?