Western Short Story
The Sons of Josiah Somersby
Tom Sheehan

Western Short Story

The mother of Jevers and Juan Somersby died the night they were born, her name never said again and an Indian maiden, Tulip Edge, was given custodial care of the two babies she came to quickly adore and swell with her love and her lore. She was a Cree kidnapped as a child from the small Nantoka tribe that failed its procreation too soon, especially in her case because she had been stolen for the third time, that small spot of spirit amidst the mix of ages older than thought itself.

She was a most beautiful woman that virtually upset on-lookers before they saw the woman in her, a cultivation of assorted numbers and parts in the ways she leaned and taught the twins their roles in life; they were fierce, and victorious warriors from their first encounter, blood and scalps as if mounting their horses with them each time leaving their village, looking for more prizes out on the land, and all for the taking.

Nothing beat talent and wizardry, they believed, and so they proceeded.

But the most striking bit of lore here is that Tulip Edge had, alone, in secret, interpreted the scrapings on the wall of a cave unseen by centuries of men in its usual darkness, until she removed a rock allowing sunlight to enter, those scrapings announcing the coming of the Most Holy Spirit upon all the lands, hence in Time with no measure; while she waited alone in all the nations, all the tribes, all of them unannounced as brothers, for the appearance of that Most Holy Spirit..

Tulip Edge could peel an onion without crying or welling up tears, though not a usual fete of a soul’s measurement, but her heart and mind ran on special fuels coming from beliefs usually as common as weeds, if one were to go to the roots. Skin=deep or foot deep, it made no difference to her, and peace was her endless prayer on the edges of life, her own and all other souls.

Within the teachings of the scraped messages were directions on how to pacify an enemy bound on killing or murder-by-chance, if it may be heralded that way. Many of the people of the tribes came to her seeking not only good advice but good luck in the hunt for the Holy Spirit, supposed to choose lief instead of death at the time for prayed souls. In so many words, in controlled silence, in silent admonishments, she calmed anger, hatred, promised murders, loss and abomination atop whole villages and whole tribes Such as hit the Nantoka, who left these grounds too early, lives gone to faulty exclamations, pointed fingers, anger, destiny called forth by curses on a whole kinship.

When Face of Evil, a new power in the Dakota Territory, came forth on the land, his small band of killers, warriors, thieves galore, he struck terror into even those solid hearts standing on firm grounds of beliefs; the Final God is Good, he does not pick on the weak over the strong, often ends one war by starting another, diverts attention in various manners so that poor leadership is compounded, destroyed in some cases, altered in others.

When the previously-mentioned Nantokas were at their ends, Face of Evil struck them with an unseen fury buried in many men for years on end, only to erupt at his command; the Nantokas being obliterated except a few who remained hidden by disguise, name change, new tribe affiliation, faces lost in the nights of horror sent like waves over a whole tribe. Some knowledgeable tribesmen kept secrets to themselves on such matters, the where and when and why of former leaders and chieftains astray of the tribe, at loose ends in life, the scourge of those left with little chance of continuance, the hidden of the culture abounding in new cave-life.

A Nantoka member, Flash of Flight, trying his early wings of leadership, gave birth to a new belief, that no mortal man could be a chieftain, that all chieftains had to be invested by the Godhead of the tribe, and that had to be done in a secret ceremony, thereby allowing a few false leaders imposing themselves as chieftains only to be restrained by the hand of the true God when such need was brought down on man and beast. Cruelty alone cannot and does not carry its own weight, or its longevity. Goodness crawls and creeps in any fracture or break in any wall, human or otherwise, seen or not seen, sworn to or unsworn. All of that is bound up in mortal man.

And when Desman Daylor, long-range shooter with a most accurate eye and his great rifle, set out to punish or slay the poor lot of leapers-up, as he called them, from serious consideration, he did so with depth and design while firmly hidden in distant mountain entrenchments. His small-war tactics raised hell with a great many possible chieftains, medicine men, and soothsayers of odd degrees, cutting into the core or cadre of decent Indian men. Daylor did not pick sides, just targets, thereby not settling either corruption, thievery, or poor choice among men, the way he saw them, meaning it was by poor chance. He enjoyed the act of killing from a prestigious distance on the face of the earth, and the longer it was meant the more pleasure for him.

The white man (some say he was white) had a hand in Indian leadership, and it was a most deadly hand: he rarely missed a target, until Flash of Light set out with bow and arrows, and a small file of cohorts following him, to end the terrors of Daylor.

It took him two weeks to pin down the ever-elusive Daylor in the interior of a cave in the Great Shelf of Mountains in Colorado, where he was buried behind stones that an army would have a problem moving, but not a weapon used or fired.

Godhead’s rush, as one might put it forth in the Old West, came to its stop in Colorado, at the hand of Flash of Light and help of followers, just enough to get the job done, and God was on his own, as one might say in a most peculiar way, and Josiah Somersby nowhere in the mix of it, right from the start of things.