Red, Wild and Deep

27Mar20


The Red River ran hard and fast below her, faster even than she could ride. Roberta Rand-Daley knew that she could not cross until the water broadened out some and then she would have another problem, for where it got less rough and more broad, it began to run deep. Damn these rains, she thought and urged her horse ever faster.

Daddy didn’t like her to push the horses so hard but then Daddy didn’t like a lot of things. He didn’t like the way she let her fire red hair run loose or that when he was not looking she wore pants like a man. That morning he hadn’t liked that she gone for a ride and warned her about crossing the river and heading up to the high country.

Despite her wild tomboy ways she had every man in the county chasing her down like a steer, after all Daddy was rich. Daddy did not like that either. None of them were good enough for her or ever would be according to Daddy. Damn the man, she thought and pressed her horse ever faster. Damn the man for being right and a mud kicked up as the horse thundered on.

Then up ahead she saw the tree and she urged forward. The old tree was grey brown and had twisted branches like gnarled fingers grasping for the clouds. The river ran slower from here, but deeper too, but it should just be shallow enough to cross. She narrowed her gaze and scanned the bank, her violently dark red brows knitting together to give her an angry look. The water lapped the banks much higher than usual but that was not what seized her attention today.

Under the tree at the water’s edge was a man. Tall by the look of him and he was naked from the waist up revealing a broad tapered back that rippled into a V-shape as he stood up. She almost forgot for a second he was on Big D land or even that she was late. Then she remembered the damn mountain rain and the Red River rushing to block her way home and making her late.

The steed hauled to a stop just yards from the man who swung around. He had instinctively reached for his Winchester but on seeing a woman he snatched up his shirt instead.

“You there,” she snarled, it was a tone she inherited from her father and she had the same uncompromising set to her jaw as she spoke. “What are you doing on Big D land?”

The man studied her for a long moment and the pulled the half unbuttoned shirt over his head and began tucking it into his heavy trail pants. “Name’s Jake, Jake Sandman,” he said in a deep even voice. “A fine day to meet you ma’am,” he drawled easily.

“I said…” Roberta began.

“I heard you ma’am, but where I come from it is customary to introduce yourself before you go questioning folk,” his voice had a steel edge to it now.

“Rand-Daley, Roberta Rand-Daley, this is my father’s land,” she said proudly, almost haughtily, “This is the Big D as far as can be seen and beyond.”

“I am glad to meet you Miss Rand-Daley,” Jake smiled, “And I think you will find that this is my land, this side of the river, that is. From the old oak here right on to the Blue Hills yonder.”

Roberta rounded on him and drew her horse up close ready to dispute his lies and then she remembered that technically the land from here was only leased from Tom Barton or had been until he had died.

“You bought the Old Barton place?” she accused angrily.

“I did,” Jake replied simply, his smile relaxed some. He was beginning to look past the woman’s beauty and on to her annoying arrogance. Although beauty she was. As she rose up in the saddle he studied the cannonball curve of the finest rear end he had ever seen tight in denim.

Roberta might have said more but she was suddenly aware of the orange glow of the afternoon sun and increasing red tint to the water that gave the river its name. Damn she was late.

“I suggest you keep to your side of the river Mr Sandman,” she muttered and turned to examine the perilously high water.

“You ain’t gonna cross here?” Jake blurted in dismay.

“Watch me,” Roberta barked and urged the horse fearlessly into the torrent.

Jake took three steps forward as if he could catch her and the swallowed his heart back into his chest. She was mad. He gaped at her reckless horsemanship as she drove her mount into the rain-gorged river.

His nearby horse was not close enough to get to in time to help her. Instead he had to watch helplessly the crazy woman fought the tumult all the way to the other bank. The crossing took maybe a minute but those long seconds cost him years and Jake did not breathe until she was firmly on the far bank.

Roberta wheeled the horse in triumph and gave him a grin before spurring the horse on into the setting sun and home.

“Damn,” he grinned, “She was surprised as I was to make it.”

*

The sky was on fire by the time Roberta gained the ranch house and the shadows were so deep that everything was either black or red. She looked back to the high country and the river, which would be fire red by now. The long shadows of the house and barn pointed like fingers back to the way she had come. Her pants were still damp from the river crossing and she begun to feel the chill as the edge of twilight touch the sky. The sun had gone now and she was late.

“Damn you girl,” came a yell.

Roberta winced and with gritted teeth swung from the saddle and turned to face her father.

“Sorry Daddy,” she offered; the childhood word escaping before she could call it back. Damn I am over 21, she raged inwardly.

“You’re wet,” he snapped, “and what are you wearing…?”

Roberta pursed her lips and waited for the storm to stop gathering and break.

“You crossed the river to the high country?” he said.

Roberta nodded and avoided his eyes.

“You didn’t treat the horse too kindly either, did you?” he sighed.

Damn, he was keeping his temper, this was bad, she realised. “I…” she began.

“I can see you ran it ragged,” his voice was raised a notch.

Roberta sighed, protests were futile. Besides, he was right.

Robert Rand-Daley was an imposing man, his hair shot through with experience and the set of his face had faced down a dozen men. The land and all that went with it was written there. “See to the horse and then meet me in the barn,” he said.

Roberta gaped in protest, she knew wat that meant. A thousand injustices leapt to her tongue but did not pass her lips. Instead she just whispered, “Yes Daddy.”

*

Roberta scanned the gloom of the barn walls as butterflies tingled in her tummy. There were hooks, blades and chains dangling with an occasional clink. She knew what most were for, but not all and some had just hung there from before she was born. Here and there she eyes a leather harness or strap and her mouth went dry.

It had not be so very long that she would have been sent to cut a switch or two to bring to a meeting with daddy in the barn. That had always been excruciatingly embarrassing as everyone could see and would know what they were for. Not that this evening was any better. It was just that by now the men were all in the bunkhouse.

“I could just tell him…” she steeled herself for an imagined confrontation. ‘Father I am over 21 now, I am a woman grown,’ she would tell him.

Then she heard the heavy footfall of Robert Rand-Daly and she visibly gulped.

He had brought his own strop, which lay now over one shoulder, which was stripped of his jacket so that he wore only his shirt rolled at the sleeve.

“Your momma, God rest her soul, would have no doubt just employed a hairbrush and set you in the corner after,” he sighed, “But maybe you are too old for that… maybe.”

She had been 18 the last time that happened, she thought and for once wished it could be that way again.

“You have this coming don’t you?” he said and drew the leather to is hands and stretched it taught.

“Yes Daddy,” she breathed and worked nervous hands over her thighs.

He nodded like a man about to begin a chore. “Alright get those breeches down and bend over that saddle rail,” he said.

“Yes Daddy,” she whispered with sad eyes.

She turned with a wince on her face and fiddled with her belt. Her breeches were an old pair and a little too tight these days. Given his views, her father was hardly going to spring for a new pair. So when riding she tended to leave off the draws under them. He doubted that he would have let her keep them on anyway, but there was always hope.

“Roberta, your breeches, take them down,” he ordered her again.

Reluctantly she eased them south giving him a clear view in the lantern light of her smooth white bottom etched in shadow that emphasised her curves.

Her father shook his head in disapproval, “Girl, when will you grow up?” he growled, ignoring the fact that patently she already had.

Roberta held the cloth at her knees and hobbled forward to the saddle rail. The cold wood pressed her sex as she folded herself over it to proffer her bare bottom. Reaching out with her arms to held the lower rail to steady herself, and blushed furiously at the view she was now offering her father.

“This is wild country and the weather has been less than clement,” he said, “Reason enough not to be reckless.”

“Yes Daddy,” she answered in a muffled voice.

“You were late and I was worried,” he added, “You went to the high country, although you were forbidden.”

Her bottom bobbed as out of sight she had nodded.

“The horse, the poor horse,” he sighed, “You could have drowned it and…” he paused, “And you…” His gut twisted as he spoke.

“Yes,” she agreed. It had been a close run thing and it had scared her.

Any one of these sins should earn her a spanking, but he could not let this much recklessness go. The sooner she was married the better. The strap fell with force and landed with a crack that made some of the men all the way to the bunkhouse look up.

For Roberta the burn seared her bottom, and then bit harder before unleashing the full fury of the leather. She announced the blow with a pained yelp.

The second swipe of strop cut quickly without pause with much the same affect, followed by four more until the woman twisted and yelled bent over the rail. Her bottom was red now, with standout angry welts like the Red River at sundown, but boiling like kettle water.

Her father paused and adjusted his stance.

Roberta gathered her breath and braced herself.

The next six biting swipes came fast and furiously, burning like a cattle brand and making her buck and twist like the preacher dancing at the county fair. Six or eight, like hot iron drawn across her bottom then always the pause, often with words of reproach, before the leather found her bare bottom again and again.

“Daddy, I’m sorry Daddy, please Daddy,” she wailed, cursing her cowardice.

Robert looked on and marvelled at the way she stayed in place to take her due. He would give her two or three more sets and then let it go. She would not sit a horse for a day or two, or anything else come to that, but it would do her good.

Roberta was sobbing hard and wondered if she had any skin left on her tail end when the whopping stopped.

“Get dressed and come and get supper,” her father said gruffly and somewhat distracted. Damn the girl, he thought, she is too old to make me do this. Then he left her with the growing darkness in the cold barn.

Roberta strained to be indignantly angry and tried to blame everyone for such an injustice, but her bottom hurt and the floor was hard against her knees. It was all that stranger’s fault she cursed, knowing it wasn’t. She wanted to cry again. Suddenly she blushed red at the idea of the man and him seeing her spanked like a child.

She jumped to her feet and hauled up her breeches as best she could over her leather stained rear. She regretted at once. It might be both diplomatic and prudent not wear pants for a few day, she decided.

It took a moment for her to address her hair and dust of the barn from her already trail weary clothes and then she did her best to look natural as she went off to supper. Maria the housekeeper would know at once what had happened and Roberta blushed. But it was the young man at the river that somehow occupied her thoughts and would so for the rest of the evening.

To be continued…



4 Responses to “Red, Wild and Deep”

  1. 1 Susannah

    Hurrah, a short that isn’t, my favourite. Thank you, thank you DJ

  2. 2 Ruth

    A short that got out of control perhaps brilliant story enjoyed very much thank you

  3. 3 lilorphanannie1

    Thank you, DJ for another terrific story that ignites my vivid fantasies even more. I can put myself in Roberta’s place for the entire story.

    annie ________________________________

  4. 4 DJ

    Glad you liked it – more soon 🙂


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