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It was quiet. Uncommon quiet. Slade Jackson cracked his eyelids to the blue light of dawn, scanning the red-rock canyon below. Things looked all right, but the desert could be like a strange woman: pretty and prickly at the same time.
Still, the dun was quiet too, which was a good sign, since horses were generally onto trouble before men. Slade relaxed a touch, rolled over to check on the new filly, and like-to jumped out of his skin.
“I’ll be taking back my horse,” she said from atop an oversized sorrel. Her voice was as hard and cool as the barrel of the Spencer Carbine pointed his way. Her eyes narrowed. “Where are the rest?”
“Apaches got ‘em, I reckon.”
“Likely story.” She nodded toward the dun, which she’d already managed to untie. “Then how did you wind up with her?”
He paused to study his adversary. Her delicate features belied her fortitude.
She arched an eyebrow. “I asked you a question?”
“Some young buck hunting hair came across my track and ran me down. He shot my paint out from under me, so I finished him and took this one.”
“Well, she’s not yours, so I’ll be taking her now.”
“With all due respect ma’am, you can’t leave a man alone in the desert without a ride.”
“But it’s the dry season, ma’am. That’s the same as murder.”
“Not murder. Justice.” She pointed up the hill. “I tossed your guns up there in the brush. You can hunt them down after I’m gone. Look at it this way; it’s better than a judge would give you.”
Heat crept up the back of his neck. “I told you, ma’am, I’m not a thief.”
She said nothing, just lowered her reins, and slapped the horses. Her red hair whirled like a dust devil as she disappeared into the rising sun.
Would Your Read On?
Last weeks brave author was Annie Carter.
Annie dabbles in a variety of pursuits, from writing poetry to teaching German. She began blogging earlier in the year at writelightuk.wordpress.com, mainly on culture, family and faith.
The Book Beyond Time is her first novel, that she was inspired to write as a coming of age fantasy for her three sons. The story follows thirteen year old Marcus who embarks on a quest that he’s not quite sure he wants to follow. Set in the land of techno-medieval Krinton, three hundred years after the Great Catastrophe of 2025, Marcus tackles physical and spiritual forces to make his way cross country to the elusive Kingdom of the North before Krinton’s impending doom. The excerpt is from the prologue; Ree-Mya is Marcus’s mother.
A website is underway for the novel and should go live by the end of the year. Check back soon at thebookbeyondtime.com
Merry Christmas everyone!