12 #StoryADayMay #SampleSunday Rustler

shortstorymonthx240I suppose every day this May is sample day, since I’m doing a story every day. Still, we must maintain our pattern. Mr. Monk says so.

As I said last Sunday, I promised the real Holly Jahangiri she could be in at least one story this month. She was in last Sunday’s, and she’s in today’s. Another pattern? Time alone will tell.


by Marian Allen

Assistant Librarian Holly Jahangiri of the planet Llannonn was glad to relax and enjoy the scenery – as far that was possible from the back of a moving pratty – and let the guide lead the way.

Copyright C. Jane Peyton used by permission
Copyright C. Jane Peyton
used by permission

The seven women riding between Holly and the guide were, like Holly, experienced prattywomen. It was a desire to return to their roots that had inspired these seven Living Books to volunteer for a transfer to this back-country branch. The same desire had motivated Holly to accompany them and see them safely and appropriately settled. She loved getting back to the country, where she could wear a rustic tunic instead of city clothes, and her purple feather boa wasn’t a personal hallmark, but was just something people wore.

When they reached the town, with its traditional one-and-two-floor mudbrick buildings carefully contoured to leave no edge or corner, the townsfolk greeted them with pulled forelocks and happy smiles.

Holly saw a man who could only be Branch Librarian and Living Book Shane standing in front of a long, two-floor building. He was dressed appropriately for his Terran text, in what people from Earth called shirt-and-trousers. When she had dismounted and got close enough to greet him, she could see the material was of Llannonninn make, carefully detailed to resemble Terran denim and flannel.


Another man stood next to him, a dart gun strapped to his side. The darts were undoubtedly loaded with a subcutaneous placator, a sad necessity in these somewhat lawless regions.

Shane introduced the man as Sheriff L. T. Tehxxann.

The guide unloaded the pack pratties and gathered all the beasts’ reins. “I’ll take these to corral,” he said to Holly, pulling his forelock in respect.

“Okay. Then come join us.”

The Dahzh City Living Library was only a set of rooms set aside for that purpose by the town’s largest hotel. Branch Librarian and Living Book Shane led Holly and her group into the hotel bar, where they could sit on something that didn’t move.

“I was getting worried,” he said. “We’ve had some trouble with pratty rustlers the past couple of days. Not likely they’d have the guts to tangle with a librarian, but you never know with fellers like that.”

Holly and the new books met the settled volumes and moved their luggage into their chosen rooms on the upper floor. She was relieved to find the facilities were clean, airy, and well-appointed. She would never have left Living Books in a library that fell short of the high standards Head Librarian Devra Langsam of Council City had taught her.

The squeal and blatt of an enraged pratty rent the air.

Branch Librarian and Living Book Shane bolted across the hall and down the stairs, Assistant Librarian Holly Jahangiri at his heels.

By the time they reached the corral, it was nearly empty. Only Holly’s and Shane’s pratties were left, the lingering redness in their pupils and the scraps of cloth between their teeth testifying to the refusal of librarians’ things to be stolen. The “guide” was nowhere to be found, but the cloth in the pratties’ mouths were identifiably from his tunic.

Sheriff L. T. Tehxxann lay on the ground, shot with his own subcutaneous placator, snoring gently.

“Take care of him,” the branch librarian said, swinging onto his mount. “I’m going after that thieving varmint. We know who he is, now, and he knows it. By the time I catch up to him, he’ll be so worried he’ll probably be on his way back to confess.”

Several of the Books lifted the sheriff and carried him into the hotel. Holly calmed her pratty and watched the branch librarian ride off into the sunset.

“Don’t worry,” she told her pratty, who didn’t actually seem all that worried. “He’ll be back.”

~ * ~

Holly appears in the short stories “By the Book” and “The Pratty Who Saved Christmuss.” The planet Llannonn also appears in FORCE OF HABIT.

MY PROMPT TODAY: rough country



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “12 #StoryADayMay #SampleSunday Rustler

  1. Holly Jahangiri

    May 12, 2013 at 9:43am

    LOL! Now you’re spoiling me! I’m going to bake you crumpets, serve you tea, andpolitely ask for awhole book, next!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 12, 2013 at 9:45am

      If I keep coming up with stories for you, I’ll have one: THE ADVENTURES OF HOLLY JAHANGIRI, LIVING LIBRARIAN.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
      • Holly Jahangiri

        May 12, 2013 at 10:09am

        I know, and I think that has such a nice ring to it!

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Cairn Rodrigues

    May 12, 2013 at 9:43am

    I like the living books, very creative 🙂 None of your share buttons seemed to work for me though 🙁

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 12, 2013 at 9:46am

      Oh, dear! I’ll have to fiddle with that when Mother’s Day is over. ~sigh~

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. Jane

    May 12, 2013 at 10:18am

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’d clean forgotten that pratty pic. It does look fierce, doesn’t it?
    Great story. Made me LOL.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 12, 2013 at 12:52pm

      Thanks, Jane! And thanks for letting me use the pic. It’s perfect! 🙂

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 12, 2013 at 9:37pm

      Perry, first, you speak to your doctor…. You can’t be a prattywoman. I’m sorry. You can be a prattypoke, though.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  4. Kiril Kundurazieff

    May 12, 2013 at 4:00pm

    Fascinating idea, living librarian.

    Nikita joins me in wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.

    His Day 12 is now up!

    100 Word Cat Story 20: For Mom

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 12, 2013 at 9:38pm

      Katya wished me happy Mother’s Day today. I wish the same to her. She’s never had kittens, but she’s the Mother of All Mischief!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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