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10 February 2012 @ 05:30 pm
This webpage will remain on hiatus due to my poor health, it will re-open when I can devote the time to it I feel it deserves. I apologize to those who follow it.

26 September 2010 @ 01:34 pm
My apologies on the silence of this muse, it's been a bad year for me. A slow healing broken arm and ill health have temporarily put most of my writings on hold, I'll be back once we get a handle on things again.

Thanks for reading,
He had been in Carterson prison for goin' on three weeks as best he reckoned it. Prison? More likely this was as close to hell on earth as he would ever see in his lifetime, if he lived that was. With his shoulder healing, and the fever and sweats past him, Heath no longer spent his days shiverin' under the thin blanket he'd been given on his arrival, and instead, as the sun rose, so would he. After mixing a small ration of cornmeal porridge and eating, he rinsed it down with a swallow of brackish water before packing up the few meager belongings he owned. Over the next five or six hours the teen would make his rounds of the camp-grounds, picking up snippets of conversations from prisoners and guards alike, which he would then trade for food, or if he was lucky, a new shirt, or extra blanket in preparation of the winter that was still to come.

He'd been surprised at first how few people seemed to notice him as he lingered nearby as they talked. He's wondered if it were due to his size, or his age, or if people were just too numb by all they had been through, and at times he could almost talk himself into believing he was invisible. That though was a risky thought, for he'd found when he let his mind dwell too long there he tended to get careless and more than once he'd done something that had set off one of the Johnny Rebs. That of course was never good, for at the least it meant several blows from one of the sticks they carried, and at worst a good whippin'. Best not to think, but his mind went crazy if left idle too long.

He'd tried to find other things to ponder on as he walked, things to distract him from the dull throb in the pit of his belly. Sometimes it'd be the meals that Rachel and Hannah had made for him when he'd been back home, didn't even have to be nothin' fancy, could be biscuits still warm from the stove with butter and honey, or flapjacks with maple syrup, or a fresh made pie. The very thought of the food made his mouth water and set his stomach to grumbling, but, it wasn't enough to make him stop. Some nights, he would lay there, before goin' to sleep and close his eyes and picture whole meals, like he was sittin' there eatin' every bite, all the while knowin' that come mornin' it'd be back to another day of porridge and bacon ends. Still, it could always be worse.

How many of those had he seen die since he'd been here? How many had lost arms, or legs? How many had made the mistake of going to the camp doctors for help and were never seen again? His train of thought prompted him to remember one of the first things that Angus Campbell had told him when the elder Scot had taken him under his wing when he'd arrived. "They want us tae die lad, they couldna kill us on the battlefield so they mean tae do it here, and tis our job now not tae let tha' 'appen." It hadn't taken him long to see the signs himself of the truth to the man's words. From the filth, to the near starvation conditions they were forced to live in, how could anyone believe that the Rebs planned for anyone to leave the camp any way other than in a pine box?

"Boy, git yerself away from that there fence now, you hear me?" The Confederate guard's shout jolted him out of his thoughts and Heath immediately jumped and looked around to see where his idle wandering had landed him.

"Sorry, Captain." He offered the apology in hopes of appeasing the man and quickly put distance between himself and the barbed wire fencing that surrounded the guard tower.

"You'll find out how sorry you are if I see you near that fence agin, now git." The man's voice was harsh and rather then antagonize him further, Heath kept walking, all the while praying that he wouldn't be stopped by a guard less willing to forgive the misstep. Life in Carterson was not easy and if you weren't careful, it could be deadly, today, he'd been luckly, who knows if he would be the next time.

Muse: Heath Barkley
Fandom: The Big Valley
Words: 944
19 May 2009 @ 01:37 am
Thank you to all those who follow Heath, to all who nominated, and to those who will vote, your support is greatly appreciated.

Section One

2. Best Chest in the West

Nominated/ heath_barkley

10. Young and Lickable

D. heath_barkley- Heath Barkley

Section Three

3. Outstanding Prompt Response - Short Form

B. Heath Barkley

4. Outstanding Prompt Response - Long Form

C. Heath Barkley

8. Canon Prompt Response of the Year

I. Heath Barkley
18 May 2009 @ 12:14 am

Heath is also up for 4. Outstanding Prompt Response - Long Form C. Heath Barkley, which I seem to have somehow missed on this. Bad Mun.

Vote here: The Tammys
"It's good to shut up sometimes." Jarrod Barkley's voice remained calm as he looked at his younger brother.

"What, so now I can't even say how I feel about things? Since when has that ever happened in this family?" Nick's anger was already close to the boiling point and the other man's words did nothing to ease that.

"Nick, what Jarrod is trying to say is, you need to think about what you want to say before you actually speak, not that you're not welcome to your opinion." Victoria Barkley looked between her own children and the newest member of the Barkley family. There was no denying that Heath's arrival had driven a wedge between them, and it wasn't just because of having learned that their father had been with someone outside of his marriage. No, this went far deeper than that.

"Maybe I should head out to the bunkhouse." As he felt the mood in the room shift, and it became clear that there was something deeper at issue than his sudden arrival Heath couldn't help feeling it was time he made his exit.

"You'll do no such thing, you're a Barkley now, you're part of this family and whatever happens here concerns you too." Victoria Barkley's blue eyes moved to each of her children in turn before finally returning to Heath.

"Do I make myself clear?" The tone of her voice left no room for discussion and that was not lost on the young cowboy in front of her.

"Yes, Ma'am." Suddenly, with those two words, he had the feeling that accepting his birthright would mean far more than just taking a name and an inheritance, only time would tell just what that would be.

Muse: Heath Barkley
Fandom: The Big Valley
Words: 288
It was only natural for many of those in Carterson to form alliances, there was in fact safety in numbers, that couldn't be denied, but, it was never a decision to be entered into lightly. So it was that when word that new prisoners were being brought in made it's way round the camp, it always drew a crowd, each man carefully looking over those coming through the registrar, each looking past injuries that might heal, trying to see the hidden benefits to their existing community.

"Tha" lad there, see 'im?" It was Campbell who first spotted Heath, and he quickly drew the attention of the others to the young man.

"Who? Him? You've got to be kidding me!" Under any other circumstances Garrick wouldn't have thought to question the Scot, the man had yet to be wrong, but, the boy, he couldn't stand by and say nothing.

"Angus, he can't be more then 16, and he's scrawny to boot, what good could he possibly be to us.

"Shh, look at 'im, the lad's not backin' down from tha' guard doin' the rolls. I canna say wha' the talk is about, but, he's clearly already got his goat. " Campbell found himself smiling as the guard's face reddened with growing anger before he finally slammed Heath's provisions and blanket on the table.

"I'm not sold. How 'bout we keep an eye on him for a couple days, see how he fares before we rush into anything?" Garrick made another assessment of the youth as he weighed the other man's words.

"Aye, 'tis only right we all agree, we'll gi'e him a watch, but, ye'll see, I'll be right when all's done."

Muse: Heath Barkley
Fandom: The Big Valley
Words: 275
09 March 2009 @ 03:58 pm

Heath would never know for sure what had prompted him to head to Bodie, he'd never worked a mine before, but, he was down to his last dollar and with winter coming on, ranches were letting hands go, not hiring. He'd seen the posters at several saloons now, the mine was hiring, no experience necessary, and if it kept a roof over his head, and food in his belly 'til Spring, he was willing to give it a try. Now, with his first day in the mine at hand, he was wondering if the decision had been the right one for him after all.

"Come on, Son, that ore's not gonna find it's way out of that vein on it's own." One of the older miners, slapped a hand on the young cowboy's shoulder as he passed him.

"The sky will be there when we come out, if we come out." As he caught the look of shock his words prompted, the man laughed.

"It's a joke, Son...come on, I'll show you what to do."

Muse: Heath Barkley
Fandom: The Big Valley
Words: 176
26 February 2009 @ 07:50 pm
Settlin' In

Chapter One

Four days he'd been on the Barkley Ranch. Four days he'd had to deal with the side glances, listen to the whispered gossip over his motivations for showing up. Four days he'd been subjected to conversations abruptly stopped when he entered a room, hateful glances hurled his way, and worse. In a way he'd welcomed the chance to ride out and repair fences, it didn't even matter that he'd be workin' alone, he'd been doin' that longer then he could remember.

Drawing up the horses, he brought the buckboard to a stop and climbed off the seat. The fence wasn't in good shape and from the looks of the damage it was not going to be a one day job like he'd been told. Well, if they thought he was goin' to tuck tail and run back whinin' like a kicked stray they had another thing comin' to 'em.

Yanking his gloves from his pocket, he pulled them on as he walked around to the back-end of the wagon. Wouldn't be the first night he'd spend out, likely wouldn't be the last, course, it'd have been nice if he'd have known he'd be stayin' out, if only so he could have tucked coffee and a pot in his saddlebags. Nothin' he hated more then startin' the mornin' without coffee.

Reaching for the bail of barbed-wire he hefted it out of the wagon and carried it over to the trampled section of fence before dropping it. Repeating the process, he unloaded the rest of his supplies before tackling the first challenge of tearing out what remained of the old fence.

It was well into mid-day when he heard the sound of a horse's approach, pausing with the shovel still in hand, he turned to see if he could make out the rider, and almost instinctively found his gun-hand fallin' to his holster. There was no tellin' what he might run into out here, and he wasn't about to take any chances. As the rider drew closer and he saw them more clearly his face broke into a smile and he immediately relaxed.

"Audra, what are you doin' way out here, the family know where you are?" Dropping the shovel he walked over to catch the bridle of her horse, so he could hold it steady as she dismounted.

"I heard what the Foreman did, sending you out here on your own, I thought you might be hungry." As her feet hit the ground she pulled two bags off from behind her saddle.

"I had a bite of jerky earlier, but, yeah, I could eat. Let me get my bedroll out of the buckboard so you're not settin' on bare ground." Taking her horse with him, he tied it off to the wagon before retrieving the bundle from beneath the wagon's seat. As he turned, he shouldn't have been surprised to find that Audra hadn't been content to stay put, and she had in fact followed him.

"Why don't you let me take those, we can go up the hill a bit, away from all the dirt." He marked the direction by pointing after taking the bags from her, and as Audra gave her nod of agreement matched his stride to hers for the walk.

"So, just who knows 'bout you comin' out here? Can't imagine Nick'd be too happy 'bout it."

To be continued...

Muse: Heath Barkley
Fandom: The Big Valley
Words: 563