Friday, October 16, 2015

Read the 1st Chapter of award-winning author Big Jim Williams "Battle in a Blizzard" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Jake constantly thought of sending his wife’s killer to an early grave. However, seeing Leviticus ride toward Arizona Territory’s Superstition Mountains revived memories of past dangers there.
* * *
Jake had ridden into the Superstitions years before when pursuing three men who had murdered a rancher and his family. He remembered...
“Weren’t no kill Mom and...Dad and Jacob,” sobbed a boy of ten, the only survivor of the Pierson family. “Paw showed ‘em his buried cash they wanted. They took it all. Twelve dollars...our corn and pig money. Took Mama’s brooch...the one Granny Pierson gave her. Shot at old Luke, but he’s faster than greased lightnin’.” The boy hugged the big black-and-white sheep dog.
“Rode off with our two plow mules, too,” sniffled the teary boy.
The boy ran and hid when the three outlaws shot his parents and brother. “Had no need doin’ that,” repeated the towhead, wiping his nose and eyes on his sleeve. “Mom gave ‘em hot coffee and biscuits...when they rode up. Asked ‘em to come inside out of the rain.”
Three bodies were laid out on the homestead’s small muddy porch. One was the boy’s fourteen-year-old brother. “Jacob bit one of ‘em on the hand,” said the youngster, choking on his own words. “Drew blood. A tall fat man...mean lookin’...long black hair. Had a bad cough. He’s the one...shot Jacob last.”
“Which hand?” asked Jake.
“Left one,” replied the boy.
“You Marshals goin’ after ‘em?” asked a shotgun toting neighboring farmer. He had heard the shooting, but arrived too late to help. He said he and his wife would shelter the boy until they could find his kin.
Jake nodded. He and Marshal Caleb Thorne would be chasing the killers into the mountains. Caleb, who lived in the area, knew the Superstitions far better than Jake.
“Mighty rugged up there,” said the farmer. “Lotta men go in there lookin’ for gold or buried treasure and never come out, including miners looking for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. We find their bones among the rocks and canyons now and then. Some say a few Apaches are still up there waitin’ to scalp white folks.”
“Wouldn’t be surprised,” replied Jake.
It had been raining, so the muddy tracks were easy to follow. Then the rains came again, only heavier, wiping the soil, making it harder to follow riders and their stolen mules.
Jake and Caleb moved as fast as they could through rocky terrain and tall saguaro cactus, often dismounting to lead their horses up muddy slopes, then remounting to cross rushing streams. They could still find some of the renegades’ hoof prints.
“Where are they heading up there?” asked Jake.
“There’s an old abandoned mining camp way on the other side of the Superstitions,” responded Caleb. “Suspect that’s where they’re going. It’s a hell of a climb. Nothing much up there but solid stone cliffs.”
Jake turned up the collar of his slicker as cold water trickled down the back of his neck.
“I’m sure I know these hombres,” continued Caleb, carefully leading his horse up through a slick part of the narrow trail. “The big one, with the perpetual cough and long black hair sounds like Nevada George. He’s a chain smoker. Never see him without a cigarette between his lips. He’s been in an out of prisons for years. He’s mean. Broke a bartender’s arm last month for being slow re-filling his whiskey glass. The barkeep left town, so the law couldn’t do anything about it.”
“Think I’ve heard of Nevada George,” added Jake, leading his horse behind Caleb’s on the switchback trail. “Don’t remember where, but it wasn’t good.”
“Real name’s George Dawson. Hails from Utah. Calls himself Nevada for some strange reason. His sidekicks are young and stupid. Hang around him like flies on road apples, like he’s something special. He’s about to get ‘em killed.”
“Sounds like hero worship,” said Jake.
“One’s probably Rupert James,” continued Caleb, “a cemetery-bound, no-good who wants to be another Jesse James. Thinks he’s related to Frank and Jesse, but he ain’t. The other one is probably Red Hooker, a wet-nosed kid with a long red ponytail. Caught him stealing from our church poor box last month. Gave him a swift kick and boxed his ears. Cried like a baby. Thinks he’s something with his first pistol. He ain’t, either. He’s dumber than Rupert.”
“The kind of folks you’d like to take to a hanging—theirs’,” added Jake, with a shake of his head, “if we can catch them for what they did to the Pierson family.”
“My problem goes deeper,” continued Caleb.

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