Pa pum! Pa pum! Pa pum!

The sound of her horse's hooves flying across the salt flats rang in Lou's ears. Each body-elongating stride stirred up more of the *gritty* grains. Not that it mattered much anymore. Her clothes were almost white they were so coated in the stuff.

About five minutes after she'd entered the flats the wind had started howling, pushing the *grit* ruthlessly into every orifice and crevice of her body and clothing, pasting it there until it felt more like a part of her than her own skin.

Pa pum! Pa pum! Pa pum!

She squinted trying to keep her eyes as nearly closed as possible, letting her eyelashes filter the grey *grit* out. Unfortunately, it was too late for her mouth. She could feel the salty grains grinding between her teeth as she gasped for breath, almost as desperate for fresh air as her horse.

Pa pum! Pa pum! Pa pum!

Her heartbeat kept rhythm with the horse's galloping steps, each one taking her closer to the end of this torture. She *gritted* her teeth and hung on. Just a few more miles, she thought, and it would all be over. At least for today.

Pa pum! Pa pum! Pa pum!

She found herself drifting off into a daydream of a hot, clean shower when she got back. The sound of the sprinkling drops of water replacing the pounding hooves. The sweet, fresh liquid soaking the salt and *grit* out of her skin, leaving it wrinkled and pink again.

Pa pum! Pa pum! Pa p…. Thud!

A spray of the *grit* that inhabited her nightmares flew skyward as her body impacted with the hard, grayish white ground. Her hat fell off her head and dangled by its chin strap against her back. She looked down at her hands as she lifted them off the ground, inspecting the newest scrapes, already leaving reddened slashes through the white coating of salt.

Pa pum. Pa pum. Pa pum.

The sound of her horse slowly returning to find out why she'd dropped out of the race they were running brought her out of her reverie. With a determined grimace, she stood, vainly attempted to brush herself off, then flung herself back into the saddle, spurring the horse once again into motion.

She'd known it would take *grit* to stick it out on this job. She just hadn't realized that would mean literal *GRIT.*

Pa pum! Pa pum! Pa pum!

iHard Times

Jimmy: "What happened ta you?"

Lou: "The wind was kickin' up in the salt flats."/i