As If (by Cheaux)

Summary:   The void between the ticks of a clock manifests itself in unusual ways for the Cartwrights.
Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rated G
Word Count:  284 words

The room was a somber grey and matched the mood of the men inside.

The tall man with the black hair could not stop talking.  He talked to people as they entered and left; he talked to the janitor who swept the hallway; he talked to the woman carrying a stack of linens who wandered in by mistake; he talked to the girl with a basket of flowers for sale.  He just could not seem to shut up, as if by filling the space with words, he could prevent anyone else from saying something he did not want to hear.

The big man was a bundle of nervous energy that could not be channeled.  He paced from one end of the hallway to the other — up and down, back and forth, round and round.  He refused food when offered, instead starting another lap around the room, down the hall and back again, as if by constantly moving a messenger would not be able to find him.

The smaller man sat quietly not moving, not speaking, but eating everything in sight.  He had devoured not one but three large sandwiches, the basket of fruit on the table, and was now inhaling a jug of milk and a dozen cookies from the restaurant nearby, as if by filling his belly, he could eliminate the empty feeling that was spreading through his core.

“Mr. Cartwright?”

Three heads turned and all the talking, pacing, and chewing came to a halt as time stopped and the walls of the grey room closed in.

“I removed the bullets.  Your father is stable.”

***The End***

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