the random word generator: duel
Disclaimer: Brothers & Sisters is not mine, I know. Stop rubbing it in.
Extra: shamelessly ripped off from “Horatio Hornblower” – probably set in the same Napoleonic times
Extra Extra: I, by no means, pretend to be historically accurate, it's just a story, written with a wink.
It’s a cold morning. The dawn is just showing. The light in the forest is still pale. Five minutes ago, the wet snow became more solid and now it starts to stick to the branches of the trees, slowly turning the remaining brown and green colours to white. Two carriages coming from opposite directions meet. They stop.
From one carriage descends Holly Harper, followed by her daughter Rebecca Harper. Their long blond hair tied with lace to keep from whirling in the cold wind. Both are impeccably dressed in black. Their slender figures accentuated by the tight dresses. Holly adjusts her cloak as she approaches the other carriage.
The door opens and Nora Walker immediately wraps her cloak around her to protect herself from the cold. Her feet find grip on the cold soil beneath them. She is as determined as Holly is. Nora is followed by her own children. Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Kevin and Justin. As their social status allows, they too don’t have issues with being dressed to the latest fashion.
Before Nora and Holly meet each other, Kevin puts himself between them.
“Ladies, please, is there no other way to settle this between the two of you than by duel at dawn?”
He know it’s an impossible question. How could they?
After the death of William Walker, his wife, Nora, found out that Holly had had a relationship with her husband for nearly twenty years. And to make matters worse, Holly’s daughter was now being courted by Nora’s son, Justin. Nora had intended to stand above her husband’s infidelity, So she had invited Holly to at a party thrown in memory of William.
That was last night. The evening ending in disaster, when Nora lost her patience and exposed Holly as her husband’s mistress. Accusations had flown and eventually Holly had mockingly asked Nora if she intended to challenge her to a duel at dawn. And that Nora had accepted with a sudden grace, completely knocking the wind out of Holly’s sails.
And now, there is no turning back. They are here and they have chosen their weapons.
“There will be ten paces between you two.” Kevin explains the rules one more time. “I will say: One, two, three, fire. At the last word, ladies, you can fire as you will. Are these rules understood by both of you?”
“Yes.” Nora holds her head up high.
“Yes.” Holly’s face shows no emotion.
Kevin is about to open his mouth to proceed with a duel, when another carriage arrives. It stops behind that of the Walkers.
Much to his surprise Kevin sees two men leave the carriage. He recognizes them as Sir Robert McCallister, magistrate, and his younger brother, Jason, a minister. He knows they are here as ‘independent witnesses’, although Sir Robert’s independency might be questioned by many, considering he has heart set on marrying Kitty Walker.
Through the wood there’s another sound as a horse approaches their meeting place. Kevin holds his breath as he sets his eyes on the last man to arrive on the scene. Scotty Wandell, largely recognized as one of the best cooks around, is a personal friend of the Walkers. And it’s a public secret that his relationship to Kevin Walker in particular is ... “very well”.
“ ...For the last time, ladies, can you two not be reconciled?” Robert asks. He has to know that this argument cannot be settled in any other way.
“No.” Answers Nora, narrowing her eyes.
“No.” Answers Holly, her blue eyes icier than ever.
“Very well. You may step out the distance.” Holly and Nora turn, so their backs are to each other.
“Five steps each... “ Kevin drones. “And one...” Kevin’s voice is loud is the wet silence of the woods. Frozen branches snap underneath the feet of Nora and Holly.
“...Two...” whispers Rebecca along.
“...Three...” counts Justin, worried for his mother.
“... Four...” Tommy’s lips hardly move, he has a frown on his face.
“...Five...” Kitty’s word a mere squeak. Sarah holds her breath.
“Are you ready?” Kevin asks. Holly nods, determination on her face. It is followed by a nod from Nora, equally dedicated to putting an end to this.
“One...” Kevin informs them, Holly raises her pistol and so does Nora.... “Two.... Three...” Shots ring and both Holly and Nora fall to the ground, capes covering their bodies....
She wakes up with a shock. That was a vivid dream. She shivers as if she can still feel the wet snow on her body, but then she smiles as she realizes, that she’s safely in her own bed. No dual at dawn over William. No cold. No carriages. She smiles in the dark, turns to the other side and wonders if she can pick up the dream and see how it ends....