Saturday, August 9, 2014

Redemption along the Red

by Phil Truman

Continuing with the West of the Dead Line series, Episode 4 came out early last month.

What follows is an excerpt from #4, "Redemption along the Red."

Here's the setup:
Bass Reeves, still living among the Creek and Cherokee in 1875 Indian Territory, has settled in as a guide and tracker for lawmen out of Fort Smith, Arkansas who come into the Territory to hunt down wanted felons. During the course of this particular trip, Reeves takes the opportunity to rescue his mother, sister, wife and children from down in north Texas. On the land of his old master, he must face a nemesis from his past to fight for his family’s freedom. Escaping across the Red River and back into Indian Territory, Bass and his family are caught in the path of a deadly storm. In its wake he finds redemption for a sin from his past. 

Riders approaching brought Bass to the cabin door. As he pulled a suspender strap over his left shoulder, he picked up the Henry with his right hand, jacked a .44 cartridge into the rifle’s chamber, and stepped outside.

The two men pulled up twenty feet from the cabin’s front, staying in the saddle when they saw Reeves with the rifle. One was a stout man with a drooping brown mustache covering both his lips. The other was lean and clean-faced, sat taller in his saddle than his companion. They were young men, younger than Bass. Both wore tin badges on their shirt fronts.

“M’name’s LeFlore,” the stout one said. “This here’s Heck Bruner. We’re deputy U.S. marshals.”

“Charlie LeFlore? Believe I heard of you,” Bass said. “Don’t believe I know Mister Bruner.” He pointed the barrel of the Henry toward the ground, un-cocking the hammer with a thumb. His smile let the men know they weren’t in any immediate danger.

“We heard of you, too, Reeves. That’s why we come lookin’ for you,” LeFlore said. “Sam Sixkiller tells us you could track a dead man straight into hell.”

Bass laughed a little. “Well, some leave more sign than others, but if Sam said it, I ’spect it’s true. You needin’ a tracker, are ya?”

“We’re needin’ to go down into Chickasaw land to find a man shot and kilt a woman. There’s a couple whiskey runners we’d like to round up, too, while we’re down there. They’s said to be south of Anadarko, down around the Red. Sam says you know the land.”

“Red River country, huh? Where you’re talking about is Kiowa and Comanche land, out west of the Dead Line.”

Reeves paused to let that sink in. Then he continued. “Ain’t many men your side of the law likes to go out there.”

The deputies nodded and glanced at one another, keeping silent.

“I take it this man what kilt that woman ain’t Indin, or was she a white woman?”

“Naw, he’s a white man name of Bill Pollcott. I believe she were Choctaw, a whore. He beat her up and choked her dead when he woke and caught her stealin’ from his poke. Still, law says you can’t go around killing women, even thievin’ whores.”

“Believe that to be true enough. I require five dollars a day, plus expenses,” Bass said. 

LeFlore nodded. “Court’ll pay the goin’ rate, I reckon.”

"One of the men you lookin’ for Dick Glass?”

“We ain’t got a writ for him, but I believe if we’s to meet up with him, we’d want to take him in,” LaFlore said.

“He’s likely out that way. We meet up with Dick Glass, there’s a few things I’d like to discuss with him before you arrest him.”

“What would that be?”

“He oncest shot a friend of mine, stole somethin’ of ours. Another time he shot at me, but missed and kilt a little boy. I’d like to see if I could get restitution.”

The deputies looked at one another, knowing what Bass implied... 

Episode 5, "The Getaway of Cross-eyed Jack Dugan," is set to be released this month.  We'll take a glimpse at it in my September post. If you haven't had a chance to review the first three episodes, you can find them here:
#1 - Bringing in Pike Cudgo
#2 - Freed Men
#3 - Runaway

Phil Truman is the author of the award-winning historical western novel,  Red Lands Outlaw, the Ballad of Henry Starra sports inspirational about small town schoolboy football entitled GAME, an American Novel; and Treasure Kills (formerly Legends of Tsalagee), a mystery/adventure in a small town. 

He's currently working on a series of western shorts put together in a volume called West of the Dead Line, the first four stories of which are available at Amazon in e-format only for 99 cents each. Volume I - six stories in all - will be available in print and electronic format in the Fall of 2014. 

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