Desert Journey (Short Story)

7:37 pm

 

 

DESERT JOURNEY

 

Written by William L. Bradbury

 

 

Cory’s parents had left for the day to go shopping in the big city. He had just turned

 

twelve, and was bigger then the other boys his age. After he finished his chores, his

 

thoughts turned to his horse, and trouble-maker old Toby. It was blue skies and seventy

 

degrees with five miles per-hour winds. It was going to be another beautiful day. He

 

would call Tim. They could go riding in the desert and collect things.  There were a lot

 

of beer and pop cans laying around that they could recycle into money.

 

“Tim, would you like to, or can you go riding today?”

 

“Just a minute, I will ask.”

 

“Sure, just for a little while.”

 

“Great, I will pack some food and water while you are riding over see you soon.”

 

Cory made some sandwiches and got snacks, and some cold pop. Then he thought of

 

two old gunny sacks for the treasures they would find. Tim came riding up; he was

 

smaller then Cory but he was willing to go any place and do any thing with his best

 

friend.

 

Hi, Tim. “I’m ready.  I was thinking we will take old Toby to carry our treasures and

 

food. I will lead him and you can follow.

 

“Cory, that old donkey bolts at almost everything. The last time we spent most of our

 

time chasing him. But if you want to do all the leading of him it will be okay with me.”

 

Now they would have about five hours before dark. They knew riding through the

 

cactus was not a good thing to do at night. If the horses rubbed into one it would bolt

 

and probably throw his rider into the cactus.

 

“Let’s go over to Box Canyon. People throw out all kinds of scrap we can probably

 

fill up both sacks.”

 

They would be there in about one hour, unless old Toby decided to mess things up.

 

“Tim”

 

“Yea!”

 

“This is like the old days us prospectors looking for some gold, or an old treasure

 

that was left by some wagon train after the Indians had attacked them.”

 

“Yea! but those guys never took a bath.”

 

Cory grinned,

 

“Yup! You smell just like one too.”

 

As they rattled on a rattlesnake spooked old Toby, and he almost pulled Cory out of

 

his saddle before he got him settled down again. Cory got down and was talking to old

 

Toby.

 

“If you don’t be good I am going to beat you with this rope, just like my dad does

 

Maybe I will or maybe just leave you out here with all the rest of this scrap.”

 

Cory re-saddled and they started over the rise and down into the canyon. Cory and

 

Tim’s eyes grew large with excitement. For there glistening in the sunrays were

 

treasures of cans sparkling and shining all for them, they had found their treasure.

 

“Tim, I bet there is more here then our sacks will hold.”

 

“Cory, we can pick them up and then stomp them into smaller pieces and get three

 

times as many. They tied the horses up, and grabbed the sacks and off they went.

 

Tim, going one-way, and Cory going the other. They would eat when they returned.

 

As they left, they forgot to tie up old Toby. So, he just started wondering off looking for

 

what ever. When their sacks were full the boys returned to fine old Toby gone, and he

 

took their food or drinks with him.

 

“I told you, Cory, that donkey is just a waste of are time. Now what are we going to

 

do?

 

“Tim, you stay here and stomp the cans I will go look for old Toby. He cannot be

 

too far.”

 

Cory leaves and Tim is stomping cans, when he is done he goes and picks up more

 

while he is waiting. Cory is now gone thirty minutes and has found old Toby up on a

 

plateau above the canyon. As Cory approach’s Old Toby runs away not wanting to be

 

caught.

 

After three or four tries Cory is really discussed with old Toby, because old Toby

 

does not want to be caught. Then Cory remembers what his Mother has told him. When

 

things are not going right, it is time to ask God to change one side or the other. So, Cory

 

gets down on one knee and, bows his head.

 

“Dear Lord. Why is old Toby acting this way? Why does he not want me to catch

 

him? Would you show me what I’m doing wrong or change that donkey’s attitude? Tim

 

and I are hungry and thirsty, and old Toby has both, and won’t let me catch him. I need

 

to get back to Tim before he gets scared. A-men Lord.”

 

As Cory looked up, there was old Toby standing about three feet away just looking at

 

Him. Slowly Cory reached out and got the rope. In his thoughts, he wanted to take

 

the rope and whip old Toby, but was too thankful for the answered prayer.

 

After, Cory returned Tim had picked up another sack of cans and had them stomped.

 

After finishing their food, and making sure that old Toby was securely tied, they were

 

off again to get more treasures. Through all this they had forgotten about the time. The

 

sun was going behind the rim of the canyon.

 

“Cory, we have to be going it will be dark before we get home.”

 

“Okay Tim, we now have two sacks full of stomped cans that is a good haul for us.”

 

While tying the sacks of cans across old Toby back there was an instant scare as the

 

coyotes began to howl up the canyon. Cory, now a little scared.

 

“Shouts, Tim we need to go now.”

 

“Cory, I will beat you home.”

 

He jumped into his saddle, and was off with Cory close behind screaming at old Toby

 

to run faster. And Cory praying.

 

“Dear Lord don’t let them wild animals get us, we are too young to be eaten.

 

Tim was way in the lead, and Cory was going as fast as old Toby would let him.

 

After a while the horses were tiring, so they pushed on at a slower rate. With their

 

thoughts, on themselves and watching for snakes, mountain lions, wolves that they

 

could fall prey to. Then over the last rise and with all the wild sounds still behind them

 

there was the small ranch home. It was so close to dark, but they could still see. And

 

Cory with a thank you Lord for protecting us.

 

Tim’s parents were there with Cory’s and being thankful they were back safe and

 

sound, and a little scared. They sat down and listened to Cory and Tim’s story as it

 

grew scarier and they became braver.

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