(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
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