Fantasy Fiction posted January 2, 2018 Chapters: -1- 2... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Nara Baker arrives in a small Texas town to teach at a ranch

A chapter in the book Legend Chasers


by davisr (Rhonda)

An old man tells stories of his youth where he was a renowned legend hunter. While not quite believed, he manages to intrigue a young lady from the city whose life needs mending.
The hot July wind whipped about a dusty intersection, forcing the buildings and structures to groan in protest. There were few humans or animals that dared venture into the sweltering heat, and yet everything was not still and quiet.

A large gray bus pulled up creaking and groaning like an old man. After swaying to a stop, it deposited a young woman onto the sidewalk. She was tall, graceful and self-assured. Dressed in a flower print summer skirt and white cotton blouse, she cut an elegant figure in the bleak surroundings.

The woman placed two large suitcases on the ground. Looking around, her eyes fixed on an unusual scene.

She heard, "Let me go!"

A grizzled old man jerked his hand from the grasp of a local police officer. They stood beside a black and white squad car, Sagerton Police, emblazoned on its side.

"Mr. Byrne," the officer said. His voice was patient as though speaking to a child. "You're creating a public nuisance--again."

"I'm trying to save lives, youngster. I've finally spotted the Piasa bird, and it's up to no good."

"Now, Mr. Byrne, you know there ain't no such a thing as a pie-a-saw bird. What you seen was a hawk or something. Please go home."

Nara Baker turned her attention from the disruption and swept her gaze around the dusty town. She made no move to alter the melee caused by the arguing men, nor to step away from the curb.

Where was the woman that was supposed to pick her up and take her to Rugged Saddles Boarding School? The text said Barbara Eddins would be in a black pickup truck. Nara looked again. She was literally surrounded by pickups. Did everyone in Texas drive the wretched things?

"Ma'am?" a deep voice said.

Startled, Nara whipped her head to the left.

There beside her, was a tall, thin man dressed in dusty attire. In a quick glance, Nara took in his appearance. On probably size 13 feet, stretched a pair of old cowboy boots. They were crusted with something like dried cow manure, but might have been mud.

The young man's jeans were faded and worn. He had a thumb hooked in one pocket in a stance he must have thought seductive. The effect was lost on Nara. Also lost, was the charm of his clean pearl snap shirt somewhat dressing up a cowpoke appearance. The dingy white cowboy hat displayed on his head completed the package.

"Please tell me your name isn't Bubba."

"It's Hank, Pretty Lady, and if your name is Nara, I'm here to pick you up."

Nara motioned to her bags sitting on the ground. She tilted her auburn head to the side and squinted sparkling blues eyes in a habitual manner.

"What happened to Mrs. Eddins?"

"She's back at the ranch feeding the troops."

"It was my understanding she'd be here to pick me up."


"I know, feeding the troops. The statement was rhetorical."

"Come on," Hank said, lifting the deposited suitcases with ease. "Mrs. Eddins asked me to fetch you. Are these your school books?"

"Most of my teaching material is online, or already at the school," Nara replied. "These are my clothes. Please be careful with those bags, they're Rimowa's."

"Don't know who she is, but unless she comes to load them, I'm in charge."

Hank slung the two expensive pieces of luggage into the bed of his black truck like bags of range cubes. A cloud of dust spewed out in their wake.

Nara shook her head as though doing so would send the message to her escort that she wasn't happy with the treatment of her belongings. He simply smiled and opened the passenger door for her to climb inside.

"After you," he said. A dramatic gesture accompanied his remark.

Nara clambered up a muddied side rail, grasped the cracked dash and crawled inside with as much grace as she could muster. She didn't bother to look at the condition of the interior of the truck. She could smell it.

"Don't forget your seat-belt." Hank said. He pointed at a stained strap.

Nara fastened it around her, hoping the trip to the ranch would be short. She already felt she needed a bath.

Once inside, Hank nodded his approval, then started the truck and headed off. They didn't get far, though, before he jerked to a sudden stop.

"What's wrong?" Nara reached for her purse that had thudded to the floorboard. She wiped particles of food off it's surface.

Hank didn't answer, but rolled his window down and called out to the old man Nara had seen earlier.

"Riley, get in the back. Mrs. Eddins told me to bring you with me."

"You can't take him with us." Nara protested. "He's a drunk."

"Naw, Riley ain't no drunk, Sweetie, he's just a little confused."

"Does he live on the ranch?"

"Most of the time. He's our handyman."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"Nope, old man may be a bit nutty, but he's good with a wrench."

"This is going to be an interesting job," Nara muttered.

Why had she left her position as a Nanny in New York City? She was well-paid and treated with respect.

Oh yeah, Nara thought, she was supposed to be healing a broken heart and shattered life in the warm sun of west Texas. She didn't feel she was off to a very good start.

Hank drove off again, old man in tow and young lady clawing at a broken hand-rest.


A new year, a new book. Wish me luck!

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