Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 -


by Rue Chapman
Published: Jan 10, 2014
Words: 22,972
Category: general
Orientation: M/F
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Kyra glared at the empty dirt road ahead of her, frowning when she saw the gateway. Carefully she braked and pulled off into the dust at the side of the road, then sat for a moment, her fingers curled tightly around the steering wheel.

The early morning sunlight streamed down, already promising the heat that would come as the sun rose higher. She couldn't sit here all day. She had a debt to pay, and the sooner she got out of this car, the sooner it would all be over.

She forced her hands from the wheel and got out of the car, walking with leaden feet towards the gate.

Dammit, why didn't she know when to stop? Why couldn't she ever pull back, let things go, play safe? But everyone was cheering her on, and the cards were running her way, and the bets kept building... until suddenly the luck deserted her and her bets became wilder and more desperate, and then she'd lost everything.

She closed the gate behind her - always leave a gate the way you find it, even now that was automatic - and started along the almost-overgrown old road, now not much more than a track through the bush.

She'd lost to the one person in the world she couldn't afford to lose to. Jarvis Casteel.

She pushed past clutching branches, grimly following the track. She didn't care how long it took to get to the end, but the faster she got there, the sooner it would be over.

The Baughmans' and the Casteels' had been neighbours for generations. They were still arguing over which family had started the first farm in the district. In fact, they were arguing about almost everything, and always had.

She almost tripped over a rock hidden in the low grass. Great, break an ankle, then he wouldn't... Yes he would, he'd just wait till the ankle was healed. He was good at waiting. And he always got what he wanted. Almost always. Up to now.

Kyra grimaced again, how could she be so stupid! Like most families on the land, the Baughmans had formed a company. Her parents owned a 50% share in the property, her brother had 25% and she owned the other 25%. Or she had, till last night. When she'd been drinking at the pub with friends, and been caught up in a fun game of poker, and then suddenly other people joined the game and it wasn't fun any more, it was serious. And then there were just the two of them, Kyra Baughman and Jarvis Casteel, and her luck was gone and she bet wildly, stupidly, desperately... she bet more than she had.

She stopped for a moment to untangle a grasping branch from her hair, impatiently twisting the long blonde locks into a knot at the back of her head, reaching into her pocket for the combs she always carried there to hold her hair out of the way when she was busy. Then she marched on.