Fiction Tuesday – Horse Trading

Ama led both Walter and Jeremy out of the examination room. They passed through the reception area and went through a door opposite them. Jeremy took a moment to adjust to the dimmer lighting in this part of the building, but once acclimated he took in the difference between this room and the others he’d been in. Whereas the reception area and examination rooms were brightly lit and organized so much as to be considered “sterile,” this room was less bright but somehow warmer. What Jeremy assumed were personal items lined some shelves on his left, displayed like personal treasures. A book was open on a weathered table to his right, a single chair pushed out as though someone had risen from it suddenly and neglected to return it to place. Jeremy assumed it must have been where Ama had been sitting when he and Walter had arrived. She placed a mark in the book and gently shut the tome before placing on a nearby bookshelf. She then sat in the single chair, motioned toward several more seats stacked in the corner, and invited the two men to join her.

“Now, we must make plans as we prepare to leave. Walter, I assume you have wares at the Stables with Raleigh?”

Walter nodded, “That I do, he’s expecting me first thing in the morning to settle up accounts.”

“Good, your previous plans will help us much – though I assume you have no horse with you?”

Walter huffed in annoyance, “Ama, you know as well as I there are no horses along the coast. They won’t go off the Boulevard ‘cause they smell Them.”

Ama rolled her eyes, “You could have rented an animal in Plantation, Old Fox. You’re not as young as you once were.”

Walter nodded, “Oh yes. I could have don’t that, if I wanted to return home penniless. I’d rather push the cart than pay their robber’s fees!”

“As frugal as ever, I see. And where are your porters?”

Walter pointed over Ama’s left shoulder with is right hand. “Back at Plantation, helping with the harvest. Who needs porters once you get on the boulevard? Besides, they earn three times more harvesting beans than pushin’ my old cart.”

Ama rubbed her temples, “Which puts you alone on the Boulevard. You are a stubborn one, Old Fox.” Walter said nothing, but a slight grin etched on to his face before Ama continued. “Pushing a cart might be fine for a humble trader, Walter, but it will not do for a healer. I’ll send a runner to Raleigh tonight to prepare animal for travel in the morning.” Walter began to protest, but Ama cut him off. “I will incur this cost, Walter, even though you should. How would it look for you to arrive at the Ravine pushing your cart by hand?”

Water shrugged. “Maybe I was tryin’ to make a statement.”

“Yes, well, you’ll have to make it another way. We are not taking the road together without an animal.”

Walter bowed his head, “As you wish, Ama. If you want to pay, you’ll get no argument from me. You reservin’ an animal might not be so bright, though. Water Gap won’t be too thrilled with you leavin’ and word of that will get ‘round this town in no time.”

“That, Old Fox, won’t be an issue.”

“Oh? And why is that?”

“Because I’m going call the council to order tonight and inform them of my plans.”

“Oh, this is a watermelon.”

Just then, Ama and Walter heard a dull thud and felt the table shake briefly. They turned to see Jeremy face down, a snore beginning to escape his throat. He’d fallen asleep as they’d talked. Ama smiled at her friend.

“Engaging as ever, Old Fox. You put the poor boy to sleep!”

One Comment

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  1. Now what is going to happen? Do I have to wait a whole week to find out ? Not fair.

    Sent from my iPad

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