Christmas Catastrophe

 By Lizzy D.

December 28, 1887 

This Christmas was probably the most eventful! I don’t even know how to start. It probably all started on Christmas Eve.

Riley was loading up the wagon to go to the Circle C. I was packing up Jared’s things. Suddenly I heard a gunshot! I didn’t know what to do. I grabbed Jared and hid behind our bedroom door. I heard boots clomping up my porch steps and into my kitchen. I thought it was probably ranch hands, but they usually knock first. Then someone spoke and I immediately knew.

“Senora! I heard that you had a bebe! What is its name?”

It was one of my worst nightmares! Benita Rodendo! Her husband kidnapped me, Lucy, and Sammy long ago. I sucked in a gasp and hugged Jared closer. That was a mistake. He didn’t like that and let out a high squeal. I decided to make a run for it.

That was also a mistake. Benita had an accomplice. A tall Mexican man. He grabbed me, and tried to pry Jared out of my arms. I kicked and elbowed and he let me go for a minute. I raced out the door and towards the barn. When I entered the barn, I wished I had brought my coat. I saw Riley getting up off the floor and I ran over to him.

“We’ve got to get out of here! They will be here soon, so hop on Shasta and ride! I’ll be right behind you.”

Riley handed me Shasta’s bridle and I hurried to his stall. I have become very fast in tacking up Shasta, and Shasta was very calm and seemed to know that he needed the be, so we could get out of here. I threw the bridle on Shasta and flung open his stall door. I scrambled on and spurred him forward. I heard Dakota behind me, and felt a little relieved but I realized the barn doors were closed. That was not the case when I got there.

Benita had flung the doors open and was standing right in the middle of the doorway. I didn’t have time to do anything but hang on. Benita jumped away with no time to waste as I barged through. The Mexican was not as lucky. I nicked him with Shasta’s side and he fell. I didn’t look back, but I could hear Dakota behind me. We rode on for only ten minutes before I looked back at Riley, but when I did, I also saw Benita on one of our wagon horses only a few hundred yards from Dakota. But that wasn’t the worst. She had a gun pointed straight at Riley’s head.


December 29,1887


Last night I fell asleep while writing.


After I realized that the gun was pointed at Riley’s head, I screamed! “Riley! Look out!” I screeched

Riley ducked and I turned my head back to the front, so I don’t know exactly what happened. All I heard was a shot, then a shout. I know now that the shot came from Benita’s gun and it hit the Mexican man, who had caught up to us. Since at the time, I thought she had hit Riley, I pulled up Shasta and looked back, Riley had fallen a few feet behind and pulled Dakota up beside me.

I looked down at my whimpering baby. He did not enjoy that ride. I pulled him up on my lap, nodded to Riley, and spurred Shasta forward. We were probably ten minutes from the Circle C, and I was anxious to get there.

We pulled up in the yard and handed our horses over to some hands. I raced inside, not knowing if Benita was behind me. I hurried into the parlor, gasping and out of breath.

“Andi? What’s the matter?” My mother asked.

“Benita, Procopio’s wife, came to our house with some man. I ran and Benita chased me out to the barn, we rode here, and she is still following us!” I blurted out.

“She’s got the nerve to show up at your home!” Chad bellowed.

My brothers pushed past me and grabbed their hats. I knew they would help. When they went out the door, Riley came in. He came over to me and squeezed my shoulders. I looked back at him and realized a dark red stain on his arm.

“Riley! You’re hurt!” my mother gasped. She had noticed it too. She led him over to a chair and patched him up.

Melinda and Ellie came up to me. Ellie took Jared over to where Lucy sat with Susie and Sammy. Melinda took my arm and led me to the chair next to Riley. I was dazed.

Melinda walked over my mother and they whispered something and Melinda walked over to the piano. She sat down and played softly. I strained to hear the song. It was so quiet I couldn’t recognize it.

Melinda played louder and I realized. She was playing “The First Noel.” That is my favorite Christmas song and she was playing it so beautifully. I thought, what a perfect song for a slow night.

Mother hid it well, but I knew she was worried for my brothers. Ellie looked worried and Lucy hid behind Susie, so I couldn’t quite tell, but I’m sure she was worried.

I pulled myself out of my daze and looked over at Riley. He had a wrap around his arm and a grimace on his face. “Are you okay?” I asked, putting my hand on his non-wounded arm.

He slowly nodded.

I looked over at Melinda, as she finished up “The First Noel.”

“Melinda, play another.” I asked.

Melinda looked surprised, probably thinking of when I asked her to stop when I was a little girl, but nodded and started to play “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

I walked over Ellie and picked Jared up. “Thank you for watching him.”

Ellie smiled.

Suddenly the door banged open. Ellie and Lucy raced over, thinking it was Chad and Justin. It was not! The Mexican man stood in the door, blood coming from his leg, and gun in hand. He pointed it at Lucy and told us to get in the parlor.

Cuanta gente hay aqui?” He asked.

“There are four women, one man, and three children.” Riley announced.

He nodded. “My name es Antonio. Benita hired me to ayuda her.”

His English was terrible. I could barely understand.

“I will keep you here. Maybe get dinero.”

He wanted money! If I was right, he probably got promised money but Benita went back on her promise.

“You!” He pointed the gun at me. “Tie them all up! Make sure its tight!”

I couldn’t believe it! I was elected to tie up my family! I hurriedly grabbed the rope he handed to me and went toward Mother.

“No! Him first!” Antonio pointed at Riley.

I’d been on the verge of tears when I walked over to him. I told myself to be strong when I took Riley’s hand in mine and wrapped it in rope. I slowly brought his injured arm around and he winced. I’d felt so sorry for him. I’d finished tying Riley up when Antonio pointed at Ellie. Ellie was next.

I’d finished tying everyone up. Antonio had even wanted Sammy, Susie and Jared tied up. It was heart-breaking tying up my barely six-month-old baby.  Antonio walked over to me and roughly grabbed my hand. I squirmed under his touch.

“Be still!” He grabbed some more rope. I didn’t know where he got it all. 

I’d prayed hard that Chad, Justin and Mitch would come back. God had definitely been listening. I had barely said amen when my brothers barged in with Benita.


“Chad! Get him off me!” I said, for Antonio had pressed me against his body. Antonio pushed his gun against my head.

“Andi!” Riley jumped off the chair. Apparently, he had gotten loose. Riley pulled me away easily while Chad and Justin grabbed Antonio.  While taking him over to where Mitch stood with Benita, Antonio tried to wiggle away. Luckily my brothers have grown stronger than ever with all their ranch work.

Justin had warily let go of Antonio and walked over to the door. “Diego!” He shouted.

Diego rushed from the bunkhouse. “Si, Senor?”

“Have several hands saddle up horses and take these two to town!”

Diego nodded and sprinted over to the bunkhouse.

I don’t remember the chaos that happened after that, but I do remember that after, we had a great Christmas Eve feast.

Mother invited us to stay the night, and we agreed. Christmas was a little tense. Melinda jumped at every little noise and I might have joined in a few times.

I am thankful that God pulled our family through.


  1. Awesome story, Lizzy!!! Please keep writing!!!!

  2. Whoa, great story Lizzy! You’re really good!
    Thanks for the new Fanfiction story!!

    ~Toriana H


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