Two responses to the Fear challenge on Lancer Writers
Word count: 588
Fear 01: The Experiment
A tag to The Experiment.
Set on the ridge overlooking the prison work farm – Scott’s POV
It was my idea to keep an eye on Murdoch. “Just in case,” I told myself. Johnny had grinned and said he was proud of me having such a sneaky idea. Truth is I was afraid of what Murdoch had let himself in for. It’s all well and good these prisoners are first-timers, but that just means the first time they have been caught and convicted. That’s no guarantee of good behaviour and Murdoch’s safety.
I’d teased Johnny on our way here asking him if he was scared of Murdoch and his reaction to us showing up. He had surprised me by admitting to being a bit scared of him and then when we arrived he called him Pa!
I was even more surprised when Murdoch had asked if we couldn’t pretend to be obedient sons and do as he says, and Johnny had very quietly said, ‘Yes, Sir’. So unlike his usual argumentative response when given orders.
Here we were on the ridge taking turns to spy on the camp. It was Johnny’s turn with my binoculars, although his eyesight is so good he probably didn’t need them. I sighed as I sat against a handy rock and pulled my hat low against the afternoon sun. “Johnny, can I ask you why you’re a bit scared of Murdoch?”
He kept his eyes fixed on looking through the binoculars. “When I was a kid, my step-father had explained all sons should be a little scared of their Pa’s, but not in fear of them.” He turned his head to look at me. “Told me there was a world of difference between fear and honest respect. That lesson came in useful when I was trading as Madrid. Now here I am, learning to trade as an obedient son.” He turned back to watch the camp. “Got to say though, Scott, I’m fearful Murdoch is giving them boys down there too much credit. We’re doing right to keep an eye on our Pa.”
I sat up and pushed my hat back. “I guess I can put into practice the lessons I learned as an obedient grandson to being Murdoch Lancer’s obedient son. I’m still not scared of him though.”
I heard him make a soft snorting laugh. “Sure, Scott.”
I decided not to argue that point. “Let us agree we both fear for our Pa’s safety down there, and incurring his displeasure at being disobedient sons will be worthwhile.”
Fear 02 : Shadow of a Dead Man
A tag to Shadow of a Dead Man
I know fear. Learned to live with—heck, learned to use it. Don’t stop me being afraid, though.
It’s two-sided. Now, on my side it sharpens my senses. Somehow I see and hear more clearly; ideas to get out of danger come to me real quick. Don’t know how or why; just know it’s kept me alive this long.
The other side is what I see in Harner. That flicker in his eye, the twitch of fingers, the licking of lips. Dang, I smell it on him like a damn dog can.
I could see in Jessamie the same kind of fear my Mama had, except Mama ran and tried to hide from it with other men. Jess, she ran and hid herself and her boy away.
I know it was fear that made her throw my gun out of the window. I don’t blame her. Fear makes folks foolish. I knew fear then, not just for myself but for her and Grady.
Then, like I said, my senses kicked in and I got that idea to go for the rifle.
26th April 2021
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