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Western Short Stories Bio. of Sumner Wilson
Sumner Wilson is a retired railroad trainman, switchman and brakeman. For the most part, he took up writing in motel rooms to bedevil time while waiting to get-out on homebound trips.
He is the author of three previous novels, A House of Men, The Hellbringer and Billy in the Lowground. Wilson's short stories have appeared in Cappers, Big Muddy, a journal of Southeast Missouri State University, and he has sold two-dozen stories to Sterling/McFadden Holdings, Inc. He also has had stories published in Frontier Tales, an online magazine.
He lives with his wife in rural Missouri.
The Sad and Unfortunate Death of Jawbone Jones
Sheriff Held had a rough three weeks of it but finally he had all the criminal activity in the county shut down. All, that is, save for Jawbone Jones a crook and hard man of the first water. Jones was so brutal that he’d cowed many of the lawmen he’d gone up against so far. Now it was Jess Held’s turn. So far, the closest he’d come to taming the man was when he nearly wore out his leaded sap on him, but still was unable to conquer the man. Jawbone Jones was a beast. Read the full story HERE>>
Awaiting the Darkman
The heated air bloomed from Mary Belle’s lungs and hung there in a cloud, like a mask upon her face. The chill air bit at the exposed portions of her skin. She caught the scent of cold sod, of dead weeds, of other vegetable matter past season, and other scents just out of the range of her memory. It seemed to her that everything in her world had suddenly engaged death in a weak, feeble struggle. She couldn’t reclaim the scents, even though she knew they were familiar. Read the full story HERE>>
A Final Gift from an Old Friend
Jeff Marley held down the sheriff of Ozora County position for thirty years. He then allowed his wife Justine to talk him into retiring. Jeff hadn’t really wanted to retire but she had insisted so he couldn’t very well deny her wish. She’d told him that she had a bad feeling about the future, that he might even be killed if he stayed with it too long. Jeff wasn’t really afraid of this but for her own good he decided to take her advice and hang it up. Read the full story HERE>>
To Pump on a Dry Well
Sheriff Hay had two objectives when he left Lyons Beach and traveled by wagon to Bodark in Aux Vases County next to his. The locals called it Ox Faces.
The first one on the list and the one he dreaded most was the recovery of Darlene Wimple’s children, twins, boy and girl. The second one was to fetch back home to Lyons Beach a man named Sloan who had robbed their bank a few months back.
Hay had no idea where in Bodark the twins lived. He was blind on that score. So, he would need to go by feel until he did learn of their whereabouts. Child custody cases were the absolute worse duty a lawman can be saddled with. Read the full story HERE>>
No Easy Chore
Big Ed Smiley, the big man in the county, the big shot who owned most of the wealth in the region, had reached the point where he felt he could do anything he wanted to do and get away with it. This time, though, when he plucked the fifteen-year-old Benson girl, Mona, off the street and hauled her out to his ranch as a personal toy, he made a mistake. The Benson family was well respected in the area and the residents of the town of Scarlet, county seat of Nebo County were outraged. Read the full story HERE>>
Amos Case was a callous man. Callous and brutal. He possessed such a violent temper that no white man dared share a camp with him. He was a suspicious man. When a dispute arose involving him, even the tough, venturous men who shared the mountains with him would drop their gaze from his and back off, content that all they were losing was a small portion of their pride. He was paranoid and could not long be in the company of his own kind before inventing difficulties he could develop into blood-lustful events. He was a hard-faced man, filled with gloom, living in the past reliving slights and events he made out to be slights. If he even seemed to be in high spirits, it was only at times of altercation when he turned loose and raged away without restraint at the unjust way fate had indiscriminately dealt him the cards, he was forced to play out…. Read the full story HERE>>
Death Never Blinks
The Morris ranch was leaking cattle. Shelby the widowed owner of the ranch told Ben Smith her newly hired foreman of her fears that someone was rustling them. He sat out then to keep his eyes peeled and watch for any sign of rustling. Read the full story HERE>>
An anecdote from a wayside tavern.
Innovation turns the wheels of progress and advances civilization. Time just won’t stand still. So when the railroad won the transportation war with steamboat service, the gambler, Truck, left the rivers, took his grip and deck of cards and hit the rails. In only a few short years, he became as well known to all those who operated the rails as he’d once been on the rivers. He shrewdly harvested acquaintances with the engineers who ran the mighty engines, the conductors, the brakeman, the station agents, the porters. Always a garrulous type, those who met him found they were unable to resist his charm or the big tips he left.
August 1890, Lyons Beach, Ozora County. Read the full story HERE>>
Homer Abney had been ambushed by the Rigsby bunch. Boss Rigsby wanted Homer’s land because his own range was insufficient to graze all the cattle he owned. Rigsby was a greedy man with big plans to become the largest rancher in the area.
The Rigsby riders had shot Homer down in front of his wife and young son. Had it not been for Jack Troop who was riding by on his way farther south on a mission of his own things could have grown much worse. He jumped in when he saw the way Homer was being ramrodded. He surprised the gang, wounded one of them with a well-placed shot. The rest of the cowardly men fled. The gunshot wound suffered by Abney would lay him up for some time. After this, Troop committed himself to staying with the Abney’s until Homer was back on the job, or even more, till Rigsby gave up on running Abney off. Read the full story HERE>>