Home of Sword and Soul
Zeke sauntered up the flower bordered walkway leading to Pierre's porch. The warm spring day was complemented by a gentle breeze which kept the heat at bay. He took off his plantation hat as he approached the door then rapped the silver knocker against the oak door.
The door creaked opened, revealing a petite maid with caramel skin and questioning eyes.
"Yes, monsieur?" she said.
"I'm Zeke Culpepper. I'm here to see Pierre."
"Just a minute, monsieur. Please come inside while I inform Monsieur LaRue of your presence."
Zeke stepped inside as he took off his hat. The maid glided away to Pierre's sitting room. Moments later the house erupted in shouting.
"Zeke Culpepper! Ce salaud a un sacré culot!"
Zeke grinned as Pierre stormed through house then into to foyer.
"It's been eight months, Zeke. Eight months! You better have my book or my money!"
"I don't have your book or your money," Zeke said calmly.
Pierre's eye bulged. "What? What?"
Zeke took a seat. "Seems as though the man who stole that book from you was the original owner. So after I tracked him down he convinced me to let him keep it."
"I don't care who that book belong to! I bought it far and square!"
Zeke stood and reached into his pocket. Pierre's eyes went wide and he backed away. Zeke took out a small pouch.
"Seeing as though you're out of a book and I did fail to fulfill my duty. I brought you a small gift."
Pierre snatched the pouch from his hand and opened it.
"No trinket is going to...Oh mon dieu!"
Pierre took out a huge diamond broach.
"Thought you'd say that," Zeke said. "Think that makes us even. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my farm."
Zeke didn't wait for Pierre's mouth to close. He strolled back to his steamcar then drove away. As he weaved through the roads of Terminus and into the countryside he patted his chest. Inside his jacket was the deed to his farm. He could finally hang up his guns and take a serious stab at being a farmer.
He reached his farm about dusk. He expected the land to be covered with weeds but instead it looked well groomed. A smile came to his face as he thought of who was responsible.
He unlocked the door then set his things down. The house was stale from being shut for so long, so he worked his way from room to room opening the windows. Afterwards he went out the back door to the barn. Everything was as he left it; his reloader resting on the table, the various custom shotgun shells strewn about.
"Good to be home," he whispered. As he walked back to the house he spied Pauline riding up in her wagon. He walked around his homestead and met her at the gate.
"Welcome home, stranger." The smile on her face told him she missed him.
"Thank, you Miss Pauline. You sure got here fast."
Zeke helped Pauline out of the wagon. She reached into the bed and took out a basket smelling of fried chicken, collards and other home cooked goodness.
"That contraption of yours makes more noise than an army," she said. "I figured you'd be hungry whenever you got back so I brought dinner."
"Now that's what I call a homecoming," Zeke replied.
They walked side by side together to the porch.
"You been gone a long time, Zeke," she said. "I missed you."
"I missed you, too," Zeke replied. "But I won't be travelling anytime soon."
"Where did you go?" she asked.
Zeke smiled. "From here to Timbuktu."
Pauline laughed. "Ain't no such place as Timbuktu. It's just a saying."
"Now that's where you you're wrong. There is a Timbuktu; and I've been there."
They climbed the porch and Zeke opened the door.
"You know I don't believe you,' she said.
"Well, come on inside and let me tell you a story," he said.
Pauline gave him a sly grin then entered the house. Zeke followed then closed the door behind them.