Red Valley – Chapter XIII

So I’ve finally gotten back into Red Valley. It’s been tough. A screenplay has rules and guidelines. Even if it’s hard, you at least know the format and that can often help you if you get too far into the weeds. With prose, almost nothing is off the table. I’m sure a real prose writer wouldn’t agree but…

Anyway, I took the advice of my good friend (and hell of a screenwriter), Steve Warren, and did a couple more edit passes on LP. Steve had some wonderful ideas that helped tighten the story and really ratchet up the tension.

Once that was marked off the list I decided it was time to return to Red Valley. And once that’s done, then I’ll tackle my new screenplay idea. I would love to get to the point where I can switch between projects and have a full plate of different stories to work on, but until I’m doing this professionally it’s a little too difficult with a job and a life and whatnot. We’ll get there.

Hope you enjoy the latest chapter. Cheers.

 

XIII

Empty booze bottles littered the safe house floor. The Sanchero gang was getting restless. They were all getting on each others’ nerves, and with a band of misfits like that, touchy nerves could be dangerous. The whether was finally starting to clear and Roberto was anxious to get back on the road.

Chico sat playing his guitar like he always did, his skills having never improved despite the amount he played. Juan and Francis played poker by the fire and both were deeply invested in the game. They’d get annoyed when Cullen would interrupt their concentrations, and they’d always turn him down when he asked to join in.

“C’mon, fellas, just deal me in this once.”

“Fuck off, Cull. Can’t pay your debts, can’t play the game.”

“Well maybe if you deal me in I can win some scratch and pay you fellas back.”

“No thanks,” said Francis.

Roberto stood by the window looking out. He’d become quieter than usual, and the boys knew that with Roberto a storm always followed the calm. In fact it was his quietness that seeded much of the tension in the house, and it was this tension that Juan and Francis sought to escape by indulging in their card game. Finally, the bickering and the terrible music was too much for Roberto and he lashed out at Chico and ordered him to stop playing. Chico did as he was told. Then Roberto wandered off into another part of the house.

Megedagik entered the house carrying an empty plate, and before he even had both feet inside Roberto called for him. The others looked at Megedagik knowingly and he knew he must be in trouble. He found Roberto sitting on the edge of his bed rocking back and forth. For a long time neither men spoke, until Roberto finally broke the silence.

“You wanna tell me what you’ve been givin’ that little girl?”

Megedagik didn’t respond. He just looked at him, waiting for the accusations.

“I know you’ve been givin’ her more than just scraps.”

“…”

“Say somethin’ ya red piece of shit! Don’t tell me you’re goin’ soft on me, now. Where’s that savage I found all those years ago? Remember when they slaughtered your tribe? I told you if you ride with me and do as I say, you’d have your revenge on the white man.”

“Man. Not little girls.”

“Oh what’s the difference?” Roberto took a breath. “Now I know it’s hard because of your savage mind, but you are capable of doing the smart thing. And the smart thing here is following my orders.”

Megedagik did not respond.

“You will not bring that girl any more of our food. You will not undermine my punishments. You will not show her affection. Or you will be introduced to the end of my barrel. Is that understood?”

They looked at each other and Roberto knew that Megedagik would not say anything and it sickened him to have such a savage in his ranks.

“I’mma take that silence as a ‘yes.’”

Roberto stood up and exited the room. Megedagik could hear him giving orders to the gang.

“Alright boys, let’s pack it up! We’re goin’ to spend some quality time with Uncle Al.”

Megedagik stood there, motionless, a quiet rage inside him building.

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