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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
So, as is the trend, I've begun the back tales of the crew. This is young Mal. Mostly a study in description, but I would love to expand it.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 516 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Mal padded barefoot across the stretch of bare earth in front of the ranch house. His small feet sent up tiny puffs of white dust that covered his sun-tanned feet and ankles. The sun beat down on his bare back, darkening the bronze of previous exposure. Mal wiped a trickle of sweat from his forehead, simultaneously pushing back his shaggy forelock. He stopped about halfway to the weathered front steps and turned back to the dusty road from which he had come. The road was rutted deeply from past rains and wandered along down the edge of the ranch until it met up with the larger road. The road was the only thing dusty in Mal's vision. Bordering it on either side were pastures of the finest grass. This grass was presently being grazed eagerly by the finest cattle.
The short-horns of Shadow weren’t a particularly huge breed of bovine, but they made good eating. If they were fed properly, as they were on the Reynolds' ranch, they would thrive and fatten up. The Reynolds' steaks were hailed as the best on Shadow, and that was saying something as the whole world specialized in the short-horns. Shadow was a relatively small world and the Reynolds' ranch was not the largest by any means, but definitely one of the most popular. It was manned by some forty-odd hands and run by Mal's mother. She did a great deal in her own right, rustled the cattle with the men as well as caring for her growing son. She oversaw every birthing, branding and slaughter. It was often said that it was because the Reynolds' ranch was run by a woman that it prospered.
Mal didn’t care much for ranching. It was all he'd ever known and he longed for more. More than the smell of alfalfa hay and cow manure. More than sweating under the summer sun and shoveling snow in the winter. He wanted more than to ride his horse in the hills. He wanted the sky.
Looking back over the extent of the ranch Mal was struck by the longing once more. The sun was high and no shadows fell, but Mal felt as though he were in the dark. He turned again and headed around the side of the house instead of going up the front steps. Behind the house stood the barns. Mal headed for the largest of the three. It was where the hay was stored to feed the cattle during the cold months. As it was summertime, the barn was nearly empty. Mal shoved one of the huge doors aside and paced into the cool interior. The hay barn was massive, fully twice as tall as the two-story house, it was mainly empty space. After the hay cutting, the lifts would pile the bales to the ceiling filling the place with the sweet scent that only fresh hay gives off. Mal walked across the hard packed dirt floor of the empty barn making minute noises with his steps. He approached the side of the barn and mounted a ladder. The ladder took him up the side to a small loft area near the ceiling vents. From the loft he was able to observe the entire ranch. He had claimed the loft as his own as soon as he had discovered its existence. He felt somehow better up there, atop the world. The patchwork of the pastures spread out before him were speckled with the dark forms that were cows.
Mal had fashioned a sort of nest for himself up in the loft. It was some old saddle leather over some sacks stuffed with the sweetest smelling spring clover. After peering out the vent, Mal settled back on his mat and wriggled his shoulders a bit to find a good fit. It wasn’t long before the heat and the soothing smell lulled him to sleep.
He woke as the sun was setting, casting long shadows and turning the sparse clouds to flame. It was his favorite time of day. He leaned out of the vent and breathed the cooling air. Scents of clover and grass wafted to him.
Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:08 PM
Friday, June 02, 2006 10:49 AM
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