Adventure Romance Pride of the Prospectors


His Royal Highness, The Queen
Sep 6, 2023
@ari da emo

1848, Freewater County, Iowa

Gin rolled his eyes as his mother followed him around the small homestead, switching between sobbing and nagging him about the contents of his luggage.

“Virginia, darling, do you really have to go so far? There is work to be found here, there’s no reason to travel so far away. Think of me and your sisters. Oh, you must have Maxwell help you write to me.”

“I will, I will,” Gin said, shooing her away as he used his muscle to cram a pile of blankets into his trunk. Despite his coldness towards her, Gin knew he would have to fight to hold back the tears once he hit the road.

“Don’t forget your linens,” she huffed, with a sudden hint of irritation in her tone. “And wash them as often as you can. Heavens knows what kinds of diseases you’ll encounter. And with how little you bathe already-“

“Ma!” Gin sighed, rolling his eyes. “I can’t properly pack the wagon with you scolding me.”

“Virginia Lindsey Leech!” Gin’s mother scolded again. “You mind your attitude with me!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” He huffed.

There was a long silence as his dramatic mother drew a handkerchief from her apron and began to weep for the fourth time that morning. Gin folded his arms and leaned against the wall of his loft in the homestead. Being the only son in a family of daughters, he considered himself lucky to have his own space, even if he had outgrown it. Despite hitting his head on the ceiling every time he stood at full height and being unable to fit into the bed without curling into a ball, Gin wouldn’t trade the loft for the world. He scanned the walls, a sudden wave of nostalgia washing over him as he came to terms with the decision he was making again. He’d thought about it for the past month ever since he’d proposed the idea of leaving the old town to his best friend, Max. It was strange to know that there was a high chance he’d never see his childhood home again. The memories he’d made in the space made his farewell all the heavier.

Still, Gin knew as well as anybody that his reputation in the town was not redeemable and that there was little chance of making a life for himself there.

Even his mother knew that despite her wishes, convincing a girl that knew Gin from childhood to marry him was near impossible. At that point, his only options were to travel and begin a new life in a new town or live with his mother for the rest of his life. Both Gin and his mother knew that he couldn’t accept the idea of being dependant. Even though she cried as he packed, Gin’s mother was supportive of his departure.

He carried the heavy trunk down the loft ladder on his shoulder and then grunted as he crammed it into the wagon. When it was snug in between the rest of his supplies, Gin took a step back and admired the complete wagon. With the last of his things out of the house, he returned to it one last time to truly bid farewell to his mother.

Once again she shed tears and bawled in a loud and ridiculous manner, but Gin let her use his shoulder and didn’t push her away when she bombarded his cheek with sloppy kisses. He gave each of his sisters a hug and promised to write individual letters to each of them. He promised to bring back gifts and treats from far away places and to tell the stories of his adventures whenever he would return. If he did.

Despite the overwhelming emotion, the goodbye went smoothly until Gin’s new stepfather emerged from the barn after skinning a large cow, his apron still partially reddened by the blood of the meat.

“You’re heading off now, Virginia?” The man asked, peeking into the wagon to examine the boy's loading job. Gin turned from his sisters, the smile fading from his face as he met eyes with his step-father. The moment his gaze fell onto the blood on the man’s apron, though, Gin’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he swiftly and silently collapsed onto his back in the dirt.

“Oh, Virginia-“ his mother sighed as she turned to fetch a glass of water on the table in the kitchen.

His step-father crouched over him, peering down as he removed the apron. When his mother returned, she gently poured the contents of the glass over Gin’s face, causing him to quickly cough and sit upright, wiping the fluids from his eyes.

As she handed him her already damp handkerchief, his step-father said, “Sorry, boy. I always forget you’ve got that unusual trait there.”

“It’s not so unusual,” Gin’s eldest sister chimed in, also distant from her new step-father. “I don’t handle the sight of blood well either. And you should keep your aprons in the barn.”

“Yes, but you don’t faint, now do you, Ruthie?” Her mother subtly warned as she took Gin by the bicep and helped him to his feet.

“Oh, enough!” Gin barked. He held a hand to the back of his head where a headache began to form. Despite the pain, though, he pulled his arm from his mother and placed a hand on the wagon, preparing to mount.

“I’m fine. And I’d better hurry before Max starts off first. We agreed to meet at his homestead by eight. I’m already late.” Gin boarded the wagon and took hold of the reins. The two horses connected to them felt the movement and began to kick at the dirt, preparing to move.

“I didn’t get to properly hug-“ his step-father began, but Gin cut him off with the crack of the reins and began to steer the horses in a slow circle around the entrance to the farm.

His entire family followed alongside the wagon, waving, blowing kisses, and weeping.

“Goodbye, Virginia! Goodbye! Be careful! Stay safe! Be sure to write!” The chorus shouted.

Gin gave them one final wave before leading the horses onto the dirt road outside the farm fences. As he trotted down the road in the direction of his best friend’s home, he was filled with a mixture of excitement, nerves, fear, and dizziness from the faint. He gave his head a quick shake, brushing away all but the dizziness, and sucked in a large breath.

“There’s nothing for me here,” he reminded himself. “Me and Max, we’re gonna go make something of ourselves.”