Questman Tales Publishing
Independent Authors self publishing tales that are
entertaining, illuminating, and thoughtful.
An excerpt from The Midnight Rose....
Emerson Peabody has a story to tell as his six grandchildren gather around the bonfire in the backyard of his three-story Victorian home in Three Rivers, Texas. The year is 1918. He tells his grand kids about the legend of The Midnight Rose, a story that takes place when he was a young man of forty-five way back in 1878.
The story begins with a young privileged man from Chicago who is sent by his father to live with his uncle in Texas. The uncle owns a cattle ranch in the Three Rivers area southwest of San Antonio and has agreed to teach the boy all about cattle ranching.
On his way to the ranch the young man encounters an Indian Shaman who takes him on a vision quest where he witnesses a rather unpleasant future. The shaman tells him it is only a shadow of what might be and tries to warn him off his quest. He then comes upon a damsel in distress, a woman of intense beauty and mysterious aura. She is stranded and all alone and the young man can't resist helping her. What follows is a tale of mystery, romance, surprise, lust, betrayal, loss and survival.
Cody had seen only portraits and a few photographs of ‘deserts,’ and the desert in his dream was a wide, flat, expanse of dust, devoid of vegetation, with a few rocks no bigger than pumpkins, and not much else. He walked in large circles, following the same path continuously, seeing only his own footprints, and passing a single large cactus each time. The reflection of the sun’s light off the desert’s surface blinded him for long moments, while the heat beating down on him left him dizzy and disoriented. He tried to walk towards the horizon, but found himself unable to leave his route.
After what felt like hours, he found himself in the company of an old, grey-haired man who walked beside him, matching his steps. He greeted the old man, who did not respond, but kept his face forward. Looking down at the terrain, Cody saw that the man left no footprints as they walked. The circular path they followed did not change in shape nor distance.
They continued to walk along in silence, until Cody, hoping to get the man to speak to him, turned and stepped into his path. Without pausing, the man stepped around him and continued along the same trail. When they approached the lone cactus, the old man stopped. He turned to Cody. “What do you see?” he asked.
“A cactus,” Cody answered.
The old man shook his head. “Youthful observation can be without depth,” he muttered. “Look harder.”
Cody did as he was instructed, but saw nothing more than what he had first seen. The old man pointed to a large cluster of dark pink cactus blooms that had suddenly erupted from the base of the plant, their bright color infusing the surroundings with life.
“Take one,” the man told him. “They bring good luck.”
Cody reached down and grabbed the largest and brightest of the flowers, crushing it in his bare hand in his exuberance. He yelped in pain: the petals of the flower had disguised a number of long sharp thorns, which had embedded themselves in the palm of his hand. He dropped the flower, as a howling wind started around him, carrying with it the sound of laughter. The old man disappeared. leaving Cody to sit down in the swirling dust, painfully pulling out the many thorns in his hand.