Rulon Owen Visits Me Again

(This post was originally published on April 7, 2013. I had begun writing Gone for a Soldier, and had just written about Rulon Owen and Mary Hilbrands’ wedding.)

This is a work of fiction. I don’t really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, Gone for a Soldier, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster’s Folly, visit marshaward.com or westwardbooks.com

Gone for a Soldier I decided to take a power nap after a very edifying, but exhausting, weekend. As I dozed, Rulon Owen showed up. I let him in the door, seated him, and performed the amenities. He wasn’t interested in food or drink.

Me: Should you be here?

Rulon (his face coloring): Perhaps not, but I won’t stay long. I need to give you my thanks for beginnin’ my tale. It is … easier now to go on.

Me (studying his face): You are going to have a hard time over the next few years.

Rulon: Years? It won’t take years to give the Yankees their comeuppance!

Me: I live now. I know a few things.

Rulon: Hmm. You have a point. (He seems abashed.)

Me: I will bring you through it, but expect hard things.

Rulon: Thank you for the warning words. (He tilts his head.) I am a mite chagrinned to see myself as you see me.

Me (not sure if I should grin or not. Thinking better of it.): You’re young and strong, and have plenty of vitality.

Rulon (quirking an eyebrow): I am a lustful dog.

Me (tilting my head): That too. I hope getting married helped.

Rulon (mouth twitching. I don’t know whether to expect a frown, or what. Finally, he chooses to share a huge grin.): It did.

Me: Good. Now go to war. Get that out of your system.

Rulon: You make it seem like a rite of passage.

Me: In a way, it is. You’ll be fine, but don’t expect it to be easy, you hear?

Rulon (sobering): You will take care of Mary?

Me (nodding): I will. (I rise to my feet, not knowing where Mary is waiting, not wanting her to wait long.) Expect hard times.

Rulon (rising, his face cautious): You’ve said that four times, now. You won’t tell me details?

Me: No. Go back to your wife. Your time with her now is short.

Rulon. Don’t I know it! Thank you, Mom.

And he’s gone.

Copyright © 2013 Marsha Ward

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