Contribution # 281330 submitted by juliadneal
February 6, 2002


Yeah, well, it's lame. But I'm in the middle of so much crap that this is all I can come up with. So don't rate the story and tell me it's crap--I know it is and that's more than my shaky self-confidence can take right now. Got that? Good.

ATF universe. I think.

I don't own 'em. I don't mean any offense to anyone, especially those who DO own 'em.

Yeah, anyway, here it is. My February challenge.


Chris watched as JD reached the far side of the bridge and looked down at the river below. Far below. At the bottom of the canyon. Beside him, Nathan sighed. "Chris, just answer the question."

"I don't like riddles, Nathan."

"Answer his question, dammit. I don't want those kids to catch us. They'll ask us for our autographs again and you know I hate that."

Chris crossed his arms over his chest. "Make me."

Nathan rolled his eyes and turned to the gate-keeper. "If I answer his question--"


"What?" Nathan asked.

"For each wrong answer, five correct ones must be given. You can answer for his wrong ones, but he must answer at least one. Correctly."

"Give me the questions," Nathan muttered.

"Your first riddle: The chill of its death you may soon mourn. But though it dies, it cannot be born."

He'd heard this one. "Fire."

A pause. The gate-keeper looked surprised. "Correct. Next riddle: Though easy to spot when allowed to plume, it is hard to see, when held in a room."

"Plume?" Nathan thought a moment. "Steam."

"Correct. Next riddle: A precious gift, this, yet it has no end or beginning, and in the middle, nothing."

"A ring."


"I'll answer one," Chris said suddenly.

The gate-keeper looked angry. "Fine. Your riddle: Today he tries to trip you up, and he'll torture you tomorrow. Yet he's also there to ease the pain when you are lost in grief and sorrow."

"Alcohol," Chris answered.

Now the gate-keeper looked like he would kill something, but he said merely: "Correct. Next riddle: As cold as death, alive without breath, never thirsty, ever drinking, all in mail never clinking."

Chris grinned. He'd heard this one. "A fish."

The gate-keeper sighed and turned to Nathan. "Correct. And one last for you. A man rides into town on Friday and leaves on Friday but he stayed in the town for two days. How did he do it?"

"The horse's name was 'Friday'," Nathan said.

"You may pass." The gate-keeper did not look happy. They ran across the bridge.

"What took you so long? Riddles are easy," Vin said.

"How was I supposed to know that woman kept a lighthouse?" Chris muttered. He looked back. "Think they'll catch us?"

"That team? With riddles?" Josiah said. "Not likely."

"Ha. Let's go win this, then," JD said.

"Sounds good to me," Buck said. "Hey, Chris, have you heard the one about Adam and Eve?"

"No more riddles, Buck. For at least a year."

"How about jokes, then? There was this lady--" JD began.

"NO JOKES!" the others cried.

"Fine, okay, don't get huffy."

"It's been a long day," Nathan said.

"Yeah, who said they could put that canyon there, anyway?" Buck asked. "It's not like it makes sense."

"Does anything?" Josiah asked.

"Uh... no. Not really."


-- Julia