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The Storm by Olley

Word Count 775


Riders on the Storm by The Doors
Riders on the storm, riders on the storm
Into this house we’re born, into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan
Riders on the storm.


Chapter One

The Texas dust storm engulfed the herd and riders, blinding man and beast.  Bellowing long horns panicking in the storm desperate to escape pawed the ground raising even more dust.

Among the drovers battling to keep control was a 14-year-old Johnny Martinez. The trail boss had been talked into taking the boy on the cattle drive by the sheriff in El Paso. The boy had got into a fight with three drunken local cowboys who thought a scrawny half-breed an easy target for their cruelty and bigotry. In the fracas, Johnny had managed to take a gun from one of them and put a bullet in the hand of the largest of the three. For his own protection, the sheriff had taken Johnny into custody and called in a favour from the passing trail boss to get the boy out of the town.

Johnny had shrugged and shook his head when asked if he had family who needed to be told he was going away with the cattle drive. It was soon obvious to the trail boss and his crew that this black haired blue eyed boy was good with the horses kept quiet and was a quick learner not afraid of the hard work.

The cook watched out for him, warning of how stupid and dangerous longhorn cattle were. He told him tales of the men he was working with and cattle drives from the past and of his own adventures coming out west. Johnny was quiet and watchful those blue eyes peering through his too long hair a smile showing white teeth occasionally breaking out when a tale amused him.

Johnny had been on his own for two years and lessons learnt by a mestizo in the orphanage and then the mean streets of the border towns had taught him how to survive. His instincts telling him who was a possible friend or foe, and these men on this drive if not friends were not foes, he could learn from them by listening and watching.

The storm had hit them quick and hard and all the hands were needed to stop the stampede that threatened. Johnny had been there amongst them a bandanna wrapped around his nose and mouth hat pulled low but still, the dust was blinding and burning.

Long-horned cattle were kept circling by ghost-like riders on brave cow ponies. The whole world turned into grey dust, the noise of the storm and the bellowing of the cattle drowning out the whistles and shouts of the drovers.

Johnny the youngest of them all hung in there trusting the pony his eyes stinging but watchful, putting into practice the skills he had learnt. Time lost all meaning until at last the storm eased and the sun filtered through the dust. He looked out at the scene of herd and riders now eerily diffused in an orange mist.

Exhaustion overcame him.

Chapter Two

The storm, he remembered he was riding herd in the storm.  Where was he now?

He had to find his own road out of the darkness of the storm.

It was as if he was watching a show from afar, the boy holding his Mama as her life ended. Her spirit turning to dust motes glittering in the pale light as he was taken fighting into the orphanage.

Fighting till he could fight no more against the beatings they said he deserved as an obstinate mestizo. Trying to ignore the lectures telling him how he and his wicked Mama deserved to be thrown out by his gringo father. The darkness took him again as he shouted out his defiance.

Now he saw the street urchin dirty hungry avoiding the kicks and punches, not letting the insults break his spirit. Learning to fight with his fists and feet then knives. Ever watchful.

The gunfighter, he thought he saw the gunfighter in the storm. The gunfighter who saw in him the need of a lost boy who showed him a road to being a top dog respected and feared as a pistolero good at his trade.

Johnny now understood the role he needed to play. The boy Johnny Martinez was lost in that storm the man Johnny Madrid awoke to ride out the storm.

April 2017.


Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or  Email Olley directly.



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