Western Short Stories
Darrel Sparkman

Darrel Sparkman

Western short stories Bio. of Darrel Sparkman

Darrel Sparkman resides in Southwest Missouri with his wife.  Their three children and eleven grandchildren live nearby.  His hobbies include gardening, golfing, and writing.  In the past, Darrel served four years in the United States Navy, including seven months in Viet Nam as a combat search & rescue helicopter crewman.  He also served nineteen years as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician, worked as a professional photographer, computer repair tech, and along with his wife Sue, owned and operated a commercial greenhouse and flower shop.  Darrel is currently retired and self-employed.  He finally has that job that wakes you up every day with a smile

     I never studied much. School wasn’t a big interest for me. In retrospect, I wish I had.  But, what I did was read. Didn’t have much of a childhood, so I read to escape.  Four to five books a week—from middle school into adulthood.  You name it—I read it.  

     Changing schools over twenty times from kindergarten to twelfth grade gave me insight into people and circumstances—and the value of standing your ground.  I loved science fiction, but when the genre morphed to dragons and zombies, I dropped out.  
     Being raised in rural America bent me toward adventure novels and westerns, and I’ve been writing since I was young.  Reading an adventure novel and wanting to get on to the next one gave me the style in my writing of picking a week or so in the protagonist’s life and riding hell-bent from problem to solution.  My heroes are prone to suddenness of action and intent.
​     Writing can exorcise your demons, give you the pleasure of a story well told, and drive you to distraction.  But it is always a ride worth taking.

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Western Short Stories by Darrel Sparkman


Latigo Jones ©

By Darrel Sparkman

When I walked into the Red Rock Emporium I was tired, hungry and grumpy as a bear with a sore tooth. The desert moccasins I wore barely made a sound as I scuffed across the hardwood floor. My left shoulder was sore, right under that bloody tear in my buckskin shirt. Barnes MacDougal took one look at me and poured a shot glass full of rotgut.

I dropped my grey, low-crowned hat on the bar, stared at the bloodstain on the crown and then put it back on. I didn’t want to get anything on Jenny’s countertop.

Read the full story HERE>>  


The Reckoning ©

By Darrel Sparkman

I was just shy of seventeen when I buried Edward Tyler. He was my pa and a hard man, nearly as hard as the ground where I buried him. The promise of June rains lasted about a day, leaving the baked land desert dry and rock hard.

The only headstone he would have was the shovel stuck in the fresh turned dirt. He lay about four feet down. I hit sandstone and that’s as deep as I could go. Ma didn’t have a headstone either, but we knew where she lay.

Read the full story HERE>>


Comanche Moon ©

By Darrel Sparkman

Becker smelled dust in the air and reined his horse under the feeble shade of a twisted mesquite. He eased himself in the saddle and took off his hat, wiping his brow with a faded red bandana while looking at the earth in front of him, dimpled and churned with the passage of horses.

Enough of them were unshod to have Comanche written all over it, and he cursed softly.

 Read the full story HERE>>


 Abilene Stage ©

By Darrel Sparkman

The stagecoach tried to outrun the dusty whirlwind it generated as it careened along the road, two days from Abilene. Grizzled and wrinkled from age and years of throwing his tough old face into the wind, Frank Drummond shifted his cud of chewing tobacco—stretching his left cheek to impossible proportions as he eyed the figure standing in the road ahead. He started to spit an amber stream over his left shoulder, then abruptly changed his mind and aimed it into the soiled can at his feet. If he spit over the side it would blow back into the passengers and that about got him shot once.

 Read the full story HERE>> 


Fool’s Choice ©

Darrel Sparkman

I’ve never been one with a quick repartee, or the talent to trade witticisms that cause a lingering memory. One thing I know. When a beautiful woman comes toward you with a big smile it’s time to circle the wagons and check your ammunition. Double the ammunition if you’ve never seen her before.

She cut a tall figure all decked out in blue gingham dress with a white lace collar and a bonnet to match. Her walk was purposeful and showed no hesitation in heading toward my table. When she took off that bonnet, coal-black hair tumbled out to frame the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. She could have graced the courts of many a king. Read the full story HERE>>


Red-Headed Trouble ©

Darrel Sparkman

I was sitting at the desk looking at wanted posters when that thunderbolt hit. You know it’s close when you feel that snap by your ears and see a lightning flash the same time thunder hits. It rattled the windows and I like to jumped out of my boots. My hand clutched my chest trying to keep my heart from beating itself to death. I about soiled my pants when the door slammed open showing a shadowy form in the doorway. It looked like a water-soaked hat sitting on top of a patchwork blanket. If I didn’t have steady nerves I’d have taken a fright. Read the full story HERE>>


That Holy Sabbath Morning ©

Darrel Sparkman

On the holy Sabbath morning of June 26, 1870, I went to church and prayed to the Father—took communion at His table. I am at peace. Today I'm going to kill a man.

Pastor Schuler met me at the bottom of the steps where he shook hands with all who had come to his service. I was the last to leave so we had a moment to talk. Read the full story HERE>>


Who Shot Jesus? ©

Darrel Sparkman

Union soldiers showed up at my neglected ranch a day after I came home from the war and caught me trimming poles to repair the corral. There was a nice stand of white pine right close to the barn. They wouldn’t last long, but it was a quick fix and pines are easy to cut.

The soldiers had a banker from Big Springs with them and a paper that said they owned my place, because of my participation on the wrong side in the late difficulty. My folks bought this land from the Cherokee years ago. I’d been expecting something like this—just not so many at a time. Read the full story HERE>>


Code of the West

Darrel Sparkman

Like many folks, I was fiddle footing around the country when I arrived in Springfield, Missouri.  That misbegotten War Between the States was over and I was one of a great number of people either leaving home, or going home—or, just going.

After a meal of beef, beans and warm beer at a local eatery, I carried my bellyache next door to a gambling hall called the Dugout.  After a drink of skullbuster whiskey, I sat in on a friendly poker game that turned into high stakes.  The point is—poker is never friendly. Read the rest of Code of the West HERE>>


Witches of Bennett's Pass

Darrel Sparkman

The front door of the sheriff's office flew open and a massive form cast an ominous shadow on my desk. A commotion caused me to turn and I caught sight of my deputy fleeing out the back door. Damned coward. Read the rest of Witches of Bennett's Pass HERE>>


Kindness

Darrel Sparkman

When I saw those buzzards, I reined old Red into the shade of a live oak growing along the trail.  The sun was high overhead and beat on us like a hammer.  I was following a horse with a broken shoe on its right hind leg.  It left a distinctive track in the dusty trail that a two year old could follow.  That horse left the same track in front of Arnold’s Mercantile, a small supply store near Fort Smith, Arkansas.

A customer recognized Johnny Fontaine when he robbed the store, so I had a name and good idea of a destination. If this was a hardcase outlaw, he wasn’t good at it. Read the rest of Kindness HERE>>