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Two Worlds by SandySha

Word Count 1,125

*I don’t own them, just dream about them and wish I did.
**Written for the Lancer Fan Fiction Challenge – Summer Heat
**Thanks to Alice Marie for help with the beta. All other mistakes are mine
**Credit goes to Heather Mallard for the colorized photo.

‘Two Brothers; Two Worlds’


Scott stepped out of his grandfather’s Beacon Street home.  Pulling the collar of his tweed coat closer to his ears, he braced against the cool air. Taking a deep breath, Scott relished the crisp feel late autumn in Boston.  At times he could even smell and taste a hint of salt off the Bay.

It was a spectacular Fall day with trees turning colors of bright crimson, gold, and deep orange. Looking up and down the age weathered and tree-lined thoroughfare, Scott sighed. He loved this time of year.

Walking across the cobblestone street, Scott entered the Common and began a leisurely stroll along the meandering paths of the centuries-old park.  Passing ponds and crossing the old iron suspension bridge, he lifted his face to the weakening sun, feeling hints of the first frost in the air.

Sitting beside the Frog Pond in the heart of the park, Scott stretched out his legs, crossing them at the ankle.  Looking out over the pond, he marveled at the shimmering water as it reflected the  brilliant colored trees.

Again he sighed enjoying the brisk breeze lilting over the water.  Lowering his head, Scott closed his eyes and dozed off.


There was a gentle shake to his right shoulder.  Electing to stay where he was, Scott ignored the voice calling his name.

“Scott, come on, brother, time to get up.”

Frowning, Scott rolled his head and opened his eyes.  Leaning over him was his dark-haired brother with a grin on his face.

“You gonna’ sleep the day away.  It’s already 5:30.   The old man will be in here any minute if you don’t get up.”

“Go away.  I was dreaming; a wonderful dream.”

Johnny flopped down on the bed next to his brother. 

“What were you dreaming about?  Was she pretty?”

“It wasn’t a she, little brother.  I was dreaming about Boston in the fall; a cool, crisp Boston.”

“Cool?  It’s going to be another scorcher of a day out there, and you’re dreaming about Boston.”

“We all have our dreams, Johnny.  I suppose it’s my way of dealing with this heat.”

“Heck, Boston, this ain’t nothing.  You should have been with me down in Chihuahua.  The Mexican desert is an angry land in the early summer. Mostly, that time of year, in the low valleys it’s bone-dry and desolate; a dry waterless world, nothing but wind-worn rocks, sunbaked earth, and tumbleweed.

“I remember crossing the Rio Grande at Banderas one time when it was so hot the river felt like bathwater.   All I could see on the Texas side was flat plains so hot the heat shimmered off the sand.  Had to hole up during the heat of the day and ride in the early evening and night.”

“Sounds awful.” Scott grimaced.   “Johnny, I’d love to show you Boston in the fall.”

Johnny snorted.  “Well, that’s not gonna’ happen any time soon, so I guess you’re gonna’ have to keep dreaming about it.   Only a few more months and we’ll be wishing it was warm again.”

Johnny jumped off the bed, pulling the covers off Scott as he did. 

“Get out of here, boy,” Scott hissed, throwing a pillow at his brother back.  “I’m getting up.”

As Johnny stepped out of the room, he stopped and turned to look back.

“Scott, is Boston real pretty in the fall?”

Scott swung his legs over the side of the bed and nodded. 

“Oh, Johnny, you have no idea,” Scott’s eyes lit up when he answered.  “The spectacular colors of fall leaves stay until the first freeze.  Then later, when the snow comes, it covers the city in a soft peaceful blanket of white.  There’s no other place like it.”

“You miss it a lot?” Johnny’s voice was soft and quiet when he asked the question.

Scott saw the pensive look on Johnny’s face.

“Sometimes, I do,… but Johnny, I wouldn’t trade any of it for what we have here.  I wouldn’t trade one minute of the time I have with you and Murdoch for all the snow in Boston.”

Johnny dipped his head, a hint of a smile gracing his lips.

“Go on. I’ll be down in a few minutes.” Scott pushed himself off the bed.


A heat haze hovered low over the land as Scott and Johnny pushed the small herd of strays toward the last little bit of water on the south pasture.    The main herd had been moved to summer grazing in the north, where the grass was still green from the mountain runoff.

It was August now.  It hadn’t rained since the last week of April.  The temperatures had soared into the triple digits more days in July than in any year in memory.

All the ranchers were worried.  The smaller ranches were all but finished, and the larger ones were struggling.  Lancer was the largest in the San Joaquin Valley and had the luxury of the mountain and foothill grasses, but even Lancer was feeling the heat.

Scott reined his horse to a lone tree that stood beside the pond.   The drying leaves rustled overhead with the wind blowing through them.  Dismounting, he loosened the cinch on his saddle and led Charlie to the pond.   

Johnny threw his leg over the pommel and slid to the ground, landing softly on the balls of his feet.  Mirroring Scott, Johnny loosened the cinch on Barranca’s saddle before leading him to the water’s edge.

Scott took their lunch from his saddlebags and sat under the tree.  Johnny joined him moments later.

As they ate, Scott thought about what Johnny said that morning.

“Johnny, you said it was hotter in Mexico and along the border.  How much hotter?”

Johnny took a sip of lukewarm water from his canteen, wishing it was a cold beer and turned to look at his brother.  

“Don’t know what temperature it gets to down there, never had one of those thermometer things but it feels hotter.  It’s a different kind of heat than up here in the north.”

Johnny looked away and then back.  “So, Scott, does dreaming about Boston and all that snow really make it easier for you to deal with this heat?”

Scott nodded. “Yes, it seems to help.”

Johnny thoughtfully nodded.

Once they finished eating, the brothers mounted up and got back to work.  It wasn’t long before Johnny reined Barranca next to Charlie.  Lifting his hat, Johnny wiped the sweat from his face.

“Scott, tonight after supper, will you tell me more about Boston; about the leaves and the snow.  Don’t think I’d like to be out in all that snow, but wouldn’t mind hearing about it.”

Scott smiled.   

“Yes, and I’ll also tell you about walking through the Common on a cool fall day.”

August 2019

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