Sweetwater

PHOTO PROMPT © Danny Bowman

Henry crossed the Sweetwater for the third time that day. He was thick in Cheyenne country, or so cautioned the pamphlet that had lured him on this journey. He had not seen a living soul since Jackson. The pamphlet had been right about little, Henry mused as he wiped the film of sweat and dust from his forehead. With providence, the land of Oregon would be as rich as promised. Leaving Ohio seemed rash when he considered the miles of barren land he’d seen since Laramie. What manner of people would choose to live here?

And then, he saw them.

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

It seems like every time I try to toss my hat in the ring for the Fictioneers, I get busy with one thing or another and do not get a chance to read and respond to all the Fictioneers like I mean to. This week looks better, so here I am, showing up for the party.

50 Comments

  1. I feel as though I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Very suspenseful.

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    1. Thanks for reading. I think I cheated and didn’t write a full story. I’m going to beg Rochelle for another 50 words 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Karen,

    The suspense is killing me. Them? The Cheyenne? Aliens from outer space. Love the way you left it hanging. Well written as always.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol I wasn’t thinking aliens, but that could make for an even more interesting tale! Thanks for reading.

      Like

  3. Fantastic. If they are natives who have had experience with white men, then Henry is probably in for it!

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  4. So much great suspense in this story, Karen.

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    1. Thanks Moon, thanks for reading!

      Like

  5. Now I’m wondering who “them” are.

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    1. Good question James. I thought it was “what matter of man would choose to live there” but ever since Rochelle brought up aliens, I’m wondering myself. Or then again, maybe none of it’s real. Can’t remember if it’s the red or blue pill… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Left me with a smile, and a dream.. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Jelli, thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A great write. An even greater read. Such a sweeping feel. With that clincher of a last line that seems so natural, so obvious once you read it. Well done, Karen, I am nearly speechless – which doesn’t happen all that often!!

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    1. You are too kind! I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very suspenseful, I can anticipate ‘them’ appear on the horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gee, I hope it wasn’t that band of gypsies from outside Kansas City. A troublesome lot, they are. Snake oil salesmen practicing to be televangelists from what I heard. I’d rather take my chances with the indians or aliens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe my guy should swing by–I imagine he’s completely out of snake oil. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  10. michael1148humphris

    You do not need anymore words, as it is your story allows the reader to use their imagination, I saw a gang of motorcycle hell riders bearing down on him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s great!

      Like

  11. Sweetwater immediately made me think of ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’. This one was filled with suspense. I’m really curious now and would love to read a longer version. Cheers, Varad

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Varad, thank you for reading!

      Like

  12. Oh… that’s when i want to understand what the pamphlet says about scalping…. shudder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! One can never read those things too closely.

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  13. Gypsies tramps and thieves?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have a feeling things will go downhill from here! Nice one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Karen
    I’m so glad you ‘tossed your hat in the ring’ this week, because you’ve written a really good story. You persuaded me to feel interest in Henry and his quest; then you subtly led me to consider who he might meet; and then, in the last five words, you told me he’d met them – but not who!
    Now that’s a masterly use of a cliffhanger!
    Excellent work!
    Best wishes
    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny, you really made my day. Thanks for your reading.

      Like

  16. Sounds like the beginning of a western where the naive easterner encounters the natives. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Way to leave us hanging. Are they good people, or bad? Hmm…
    Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe both. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  18. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    Great story. When traveling I often question why people live in certain areas and how they survived. I like the ambiguous “them”. I have written several endings to your story in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment made me grin. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  19. Great line leaving us to wonder what the future holds for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m guessing he saw a tribe of lizards being chased by a roadrunner. 🙂
    I’m thinking no humans could live without shelter or water and aliens, if they landed, would soon move on, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lizards! Of course 😉 thanks for reading Christine.

      Like

  21. Go west, young man. And he did. I hope all his dreams come to fruition. Well done. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Every cowboy or western show or movie I’ve ever seen is now running in my head. Run! Run!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha cue the spaghetti western theme song! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Intriguing! Wonder what’s going to happen next – good, the bad or the ugly? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Love the idea Henry would up sticks and change his life on the strength of a pamphlet! But people did the same on rumour back in the day, so why not. Lovely atmosphere here, so nicely constructed. Loved it Karen

    Like

  25. I loved this, Karen.It had so much atmosphere. I’ve taken the locals as Indians.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  26. First of all, I love the Ohio mentions, since I live in Ohio!

    My first thought, based on the pamphlet, was that he encountered some kind of cult.

    As the others said, great cliffhanger!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. peterkirsch

    When I moved to Jackson Hole in ’98, having never been to the state, I got an hour past Laramie and looked in all directions and wondered this very thing.

    Fortunately, Jackson cured me of that the moment I spied the Tetons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do take one’s breath away, don’t they?

      Like

  28. Lavanya

    I loved the way you ended with a nail biter. Nicely done, Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

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