We were on day four of traveling south to Mobile, Eleanor’s hometown, and we weren’t making much progress with the horses. I knew Pie by herself would be faster than this, but Holiday was a bit older and we had a wagon full of our provisions to boot. And it seemed like every new mile was hotter and stickier. I was driving this portion, not a cloud in the sky to get between us and the sun, and the reins were tacky in my hands, leaving some of the tanning dye on my palms.
“This is gross,” I said to Lucas, who kept nodding off. How dare he try to get out of any of this.
“Mm? What’s gross?”
“This,” I said, waving one arm around in a big circle to mean: everything, dude.
“I think it’s pretty,” he said, and he closed his eyes and hunched himself up against the corner of the seat. As a final screw off to my comment, he pushed his black cowboy hat over his face.
I tried to appreciate the surroundings. Even though there was only one state between Eleanor’s state and ours, the landscape was pretty different. Here the trees were covered in thick green moss on one side, many of them tangled up in some kind of vine. The bird calls were different, too—I didn’t hear any morning doves, but I did spot a few woodpeckers. I was pretty sure we wouldn’t have any run-ins with wolves or coyotes, because all of the big predators seemed to have fled a while ago.
Pie suddenly went lame and stopped walking, snorting instead in a way that made me think he was in real pain. I tapped Lucas on his knee and hopped down to look at the horse. Read More…