“Been coming here to Cloverdale for a while now, Taklishim.” Alan Tupper stood in front of the abandoned general store, almost all that was left of the ghost town in southern New Mexico.
“You have been my good friend since you were a boy.”
“I’m twenty-six now and getting ready to get out of the service.”
“I thought you liked the Army.”
“Talking to you every year since that last reunion changed me.”
“You have never taken life unjustly.”
“But ol’ Captain Tupper did.”
“I’ve forgiven your family,” said the Apache.”
“I haven’t forgiven myself.”
“Let go, Alan.” Taklishim tried to put his hand on the man’s shoulder, but he wasn’t really there. “My spirit is at peace. Someday, I hope yours will be as well.”
“Until next year, Taklishim.”
The Apache smiled as he vanished back into the world of the dead. “Until next year, Alan,” whispered the wind.
I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google Maps image or location and use it as the prompt for crafting a tale no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.
According to them:
Cloverdale is believed to have been established sometime in the 1880’s. On May 2, 1882 The Critic (Washington, D.C.) had a story about an Indian fight at Cloverdale between Apaches and the Sixth Cavalry, led by Captain T.C. Tupper. One soldier was killed in the battle, two wounded and fourteen Apaches were killed. It was not the first battle with Indians in the area and certainly not the last – the war with Apaches continued until about 1924.
There had been an annual picnic held in the town until 1962, although by 1943, the community was already in decline, with the post office, once the southern most postal service in New Mexico, closing.
That would mean Alan was six years old at the last picnic where he met the spirit of Taklishim, which means “Grey one.” Taklishim, a fictional character, was one of 14 Apache killed by Alan’s ancestor Captain T.C. Tupper in 1882. The spirit and the boy grew to be friends during Alan’s annual visits over twenty years. My story takes place in 1982, 100 years after the massacre.
Yes, I’m taking liberties with history and reality, but that’s where the muse led me.
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit inlinkz.