Return to Silver Creek was a tough novel to write, for me anyway. If you remember Vulture Gold, you know that Garet Havelock and Laura Donovan got married. Garet quit his lawman job and moved to his homestead on Silver Creek where he and Laura planned to build a horse ranch. Garet left to get stock. He offered to get someone to stay with Laura, but she assured him that wasn’t necessary. But a man came. A big bad man. He treated Laura very badly. Very very badly. But a friend, Rita Pilar, came to visit unexpectedly, scaring the man off. She found Laura hysterical and wounded, so she took her friend home. Now for an important six lines, or so.
“Oh, Rita. You take such good care of me. You… you…” Tears sprang to Laura’s eyes. She swallowed. Then continued, “I’ve been here for weeks, yet you never lose patience. I eat your food and sleep in your bed and stay all day in this room and…”
“You are my friend, no? Would you not do the same for me? I think so. You are welcome here. Forever.” Rita reached across the table to grasp Laura’s hand. “Forever,” she repeated.
Laura suddenly realized why she felt nauseous. She’d not menstruated since coming to the Pilar hacienda. She’d thought the shock of being so brutally assaulted was the reason, but now she felt it was something else.
“Oh, my God,” she whispered, clutching her stomach. “Oh, my God.” Tears streamed silently down the scars on her cheeks.
This is the real Silver Creek, where I caught many a rainbow trout as a lad.
Garet and Laura's ranch house would be right up against that hill you see in the background.
Of course Garet had his problems, too. Like in the six lines below.
This is the kind of malaria cliff that Garet
fell over when he was shot.
In those first seconds, Garet knew he was hit bad. The bullet took him high under the left arm and ranged downward, cracking a rib and ripping though his deltoid muscle. Maybe the thickness of his sheepskin coat made the difference. Maybe he’d turned a bit. But it didn’t matter much.
The shock of the bullet tumbled him from the saddle and over the brink of the malpais ledges that formed the small canyon cut over the eons by a now-trickling stream that fed into Ortega Lake. Twice he bounced on jutting malapais before cracking his head on a protruding boulder and hitting the bottom twenty feet down, unconscious and bleeding.
Garet swore to find the man who had abused Laura, but when he did, what he found showed exactly how depraved the man was. Six more lines.
Garet dismounted, Colt in hand. At the door, he stood to one side just in case Blasingame shot through the pine boards. He rattled the door.
Nothing. Then he heard the same strange mewling sound.
He rattled the door again. He could tell it was latched on the inside, not barred. Taking a chance, he stepped back and lunged at the pine door, striking it with his right shoulder and arm. The door burst inward on a sight such as Garet had never imagined and hoped never to see again.
A double bed stood against the back wall. Above it hung the head of Pablo Baca. It looked smoked like a ham. Only now the sightless eyes stared down at a naked woman tied spread-eagle on the bed. The mewling sounds came from her ruined face. Her eyes, almost puffed shut, stared at Garet like a spooked horse looks at its tormentor.
Of course Garet gets the baddie, and he rescues the abused wife of the man as well. But will Laura go back to Silver Creek with him? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
A scene of the White Mountains,
where Garet has to fight his way through a blizzard,
and help rescue a big flock of sheep for his wife's friends.