Almost Home – Min Min Challenge

Copyright C. E. Ayr

The Great New Min Min Challenge:

In less than 250 words write a story starting “Long Ride Home”.

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Almost Home

The hills look impossibly distant.
The desert is vast and dry, dotted with forlorn cactuses.
Maybe I mean cacti, I never know.
If I ever escape this hell-hole I’ll find out, I promise.
But for now I just keep walking.
It feels like it hasn’t rained in a couple of centuries.
My horse trails behind, reins loose in my hand.
He has the same chance as I have of getting out of here.
Practically none.
But I can’t leave him, can I?
Far to my left I see dust rise.
Maybe the wind?
I turn my head.
To the right, behind me, there appears to be more wind.
I sigh.
They’ll be here soon.
And, after what I’ve done, they’ll be understandably unforgiving.
I’ve a few bullets left, but I know this isn’t a fight I can win.
There’s no cover, nowhere to hide.
And I can’t run.
Far ahead I see another dust cloud.
I cannot imagine they’re coming to rescue me.
The hills look impossibly distant.

* * *

I’ll never have a luckier escape.
That sudden sandstorm reduced visibility to mere feet.
I walked through them unscathed.
Now there’s grass under my feet, the hills look much closer.
They won’t follow me over the ridge, their honour forbids it.
Then three more days and I’ll be home.
Not quite the conquering hero, but job done.
I’ll be forgiven, at least by her.
The wind has dropped again.
I look behind me.
I’m not safe yet.

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15 Responses to Almost Home – Min Min Challenge

  1. obbverse says:

    Doing the hard yards, for sure.


  2. In top form, CE. Jenne’s comments nailed it. I kept thinking of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid being relentlessly pursued and repeatedly asking ‘Who are those guys?’


  3. Yes, I’m hearing A Horse With No Name … a fitting tune for this brilliant tale.

    It seems you have your hands full, my friend. They’re closing in from behind but you’ve gotten this far. Be vigilant, smart and carry on! I’ve got faith in you!

    Stunning imagery, C.E. I’d love to see an accompanying video. Perhaps next time. 💫


    • ceayr says:

      Maybe if you’re good, Nancy, I’ll post the finale next week.
      But a video, are you serious?
      If I have to take my shirt off there’s no saying what my female readership might do!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz H says:

    A bit like Odysseus, crossing the broad ocean, to return to Penelope…and all those damned suitors.
    He never QUITE returns.

    (reading Emily Wison’s new translation of Homer’s Odyssey — 2018. Brain & heart buzzing with the final chapters. Sorry)


  5. Katrin "Kate" McElderry says:

    This is so brilliant.


  6. jenne49 says:

    Such a scene of desolation and despair you paint here – it oozes out of the words – painfully framed by the ‘impossibly distant’ hills.
    Then the twist, and I breathed again with the return of hope and forgiveness, ‘at least by her.’
    But you don’t let me relax yet!
    And I don’t even know what he’s done – nor do I need to!
    Masterfully done.


    • ceayr says:

      Not the most relaxing trip, for sure!
      Thanks, Jenne, it was fun trying to build and drop and rebuild the tension, so I’m happy it worked for you.


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