"You have any family, Hook, if that's what they call you." The heavy set man asking questions had been around for at least half a century, carried serious eyes, some obvious facial scars marking the years, but those remnants didn't appear to be from life-threatening situations. Warmth, in no certain terms or applications, issued from his person as well as from his voice, a long-time cowboy tone carrying his words with a semi-hoarse baritone as though it came from deep in his chest and not through regular vocal channels. A cough would not have been so deeply issued.
All of which said, to those idling around him, "Listen, I got somethin' to say." Read the full story HERE>>
Catching a Wagon to the Stars
Jocko Digby, CSA Vet of the Civil War, at 53 still with the keenest sniper's eye, counted the small list of gifts he could give to his lone daughter's wedding. Laura's mother would have done a better job than him, but lost herself inside a fire. Now it was necessary to create a gift, raise a gift, find a gift, make a gift ... but he was short on all points of that argument, down and out of silver. no dust in a locket-sized bag, "not even any coin for the tinklin'," as he shook a hand in an empty pocket. Read the full story HERE>>
The Son of Cattle Barons
When beloved Welcome "Kucky" Ross was shot by a bushwhacker, no range war rampant, nor enemies of common knowledge, two of Texas' cattle barons met at the boundary of their ranges after interment, to discuss the death of a son, a son-in-law as well.
Both men were heart-broken and neither one tried to hide his feelings, though they had long been on opposite sides of many deals.
The Deacon, Lucky Lu and Duke
Deacon Allie Jones studied a crude map of Texas he'd found on the trail near a campsite long since used, the ashes in the ring of stones blown with the wind, and the ring disturbed by man or beast. He accepted the discovery as a sign sent to him. Without thought, he reached and patted a shaggy-looking dog by his side.
The Badge and the Good Word
Kennard Kenny Duques was the only sign of law for a hundred miles around the cow country of Hornbull, Texas, and Deacon Roger Delphin was the main source for the good word, where whispers made no intrusion. The pair had arrived there from opposite directions, little known about Duques and Delphin's background known as wide as a poster board; sought, hired away from a northerly town, and right to work from day one, burying cattleman Randell Dagos, mangled by a mad bull, marrying Claire Dumont and Chet Williams, blessing newborn Felix to Freighter Eddie Calhoun's wife, Bobby-Joe Calhoun.
Six-gun Sugar Stetson in a Race for Life
Cowboy, ranch hand, sometimes deputy to a few sheriffs in Bridgeton, Texas, often a disputant in favor of any small rancher like his father, Sugar Stetson was named by his mother on her death bed the day he was born, his father ever saying in endless tribute to both of them, "That was the last and the only word she said when she held him at birth, 'Sugar,' so 'Sugar' he is." Thus was a legend of a kind traveling the whole of Texas, even as his prowess with a six gun grew and stormed each and every saloon within a few hundred miles of his home range; "That Sugar Stetson sure can handle that six gun of his." to accompany that statement, they'd make a practice quick-draw at their for-sure empty belt line as if their idea of a six gun was aimed and ready for action, right at the belly of a listener.
Sam Kirkness, Sheriff
Sam Kirkness rode as fast as his horse would go, across the low grass of Melwood Alms, a territory of the open West. May, 1864 had arrived. Now and then a swirl of dust could be seen behind him when he topped a slow rise in the grassy stretch and looked back over his shoulder. The gang would not catch him, he was sure, before he reached Melwood and many guns would be on his side.
Boy in a Cave
The sound was different from all sounds he'd heard coming from outside the cave, from beyond the boulder his father had, with all his power and ingenuity, placed at the entrance to the cave. This was not a bear trying to get into the cave, pawing and thrusting at the boulder shoved there, oh, so long ago he was not sure of any time lapses, what month it might now be, the darkness, the interior night that a deep and lonely cave has for a 12-year old boy, for Noah Quirk. Read the full story HERE>>
The Hooded Horde
For the fourth day in a row, Sheriff Dermott Candler sat his mount on a hill outside his responsibility, the growing town of Saddlebox, Texas. He was hoping to catch sight of a gang of hooded riders who for weeks upon weeks had committed a host of crimes from murder down to kidnapping, including bank robbery, stage robbery, and burning the barns on two spreads, a half day's ride apart. The hooded riders had been seen only once by a young lad on the outs with his parents, and lying low in his own hideout. Read the full story HERE>>
A Freighter’s Connection
Creighton Glastenbury, last of his family, impoverished from birth despite his name and lucky to get to his 16th birthday, found his journey working on a wagon train ending in the small California town of Newbridge. Across seven state borders he had traveled seeking warm weather, safe winters, and a chance to find a cause other than simple survival... Read more of A Freighter's Connection HERE>>
A Mannequin for Missy Drumm
Every good morning the sun sat like a flame in the window of Missy Drumm’s women’s store in Wallow Creek, Wyoming. She went outside early each day to see that window display for herself, from where her customers could see it and warm up to a purchase as they came into town on errands, visits or head off to jobs. Since the day the store opened she felt the scene was incomplete for some reason... Read more of A Mannequin for Missy Drumm HERE>>
A Matter of Disguise
He came up out of shale and sand and a face full of grit that cut him when the wind was right, coming down-range and cooler than he thought it would be. His horse shuddered on worn legs, slipped in more shale, and then straightened his legs as he found solid ground underfoot after an arduous climb... Read more of A Matter of Disguise HERE>>