A novel based on the marriage of teenager Gregoria Cortez to New Mexico’s 1860’s serial killer Charles Kennedy. Available in paperback or ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your other favorite bookseller. Includes Readers Guide. Published by Sunstone Press.
“Here boy, gimme another drink.” The teamster slammed his glass on the battered wooden table in the center of the half-empty saloon. “You!” he bellowed. “Boy!”
Charles Kennedy shuffled toward him. At thirteen, he was a big boy who gave promise of being a massive and bitter man. Always ragged, life had already lowered his shoulders into apparent submission and the brow below his dark mass of hair into resentful creases. His blue eyes were habitually squinted and rarely looked directly into another man’s face.
“And get one fer yerself,” the old man sitting with the teamster told the boy. He grinned at the teamster. “See what he does.”
Charles nodded sullenly and returned in a few moments with two glasses.
“Go on,” the old man said. “Drink it.”
Charles tossed the whisky back with one gulp and grinned.
“Now ask him where he comes from,” the man said to the teamster.
“Where you from, boy?”
“You a mountain boy?”
“No sir. My pa owns a hundred slaves, raises horses.” He thrust his chin forward belligerently. This was untrue. He’d run away from his parents’ hardscrabble Tennessee mountain farm two years before and begun drifting slowly west.
The teamster laughed. “And my pa is President Fillmore!”
The boy’s fists doubled.
“Have another drink,” someone said from behind him. A hand thrust a glass of whisky into the boy’s hand and he gulped it down.
“Try again, kid. Where ya from?”
“I’m from Tennessee!” he bellowed, glaring blindly at the men around him. “Ya goddam sons of bitches. Ya sons of hell!”
The bartender looked up from his work. “You, Charlie,” he said. “I told you about swearing at the customers, now didn’t I?”
The boy swung around to face him and went silent, his broad face red with anger, fists clenched. The men at the tables laughed uproariously. The boy swung back to face them, then turned to stalk out of the room. But he was too drunk. He lurched against an empty chair and it clattered sideways onto the wooden floor. There was another burst of laughter.
“You hadn’t ought to rile him like that,” the bartender said mildly. “He’s got a temper, that one.”
“Seems harmless enough,” the teamster said.
“He’s just a driftin’ kid,” the old man said dismissively. “He’ll outgrow his foolishness.”
The boy waited in the shadows of the alley beside the saloon. The whisky had worn off now and he flipped the knife in his hand, over and over. A cold fury filled him. Those bastards. Filling him with drink. Taunting him. Laughing in his face. They had money so they could do what they wanted. Make everybody bow and scrape. Say what they pleased.
He threw the knife, hard, across the alleyway. The blade bit deep into the wooden planks of the building opposite. He’d be bigger than them, one of these days. Bigger in size. Bigger in money. Bigger’n all of them. Bastards.
Trappers, gold miners, cattle rustlers, and settlers. Men, women, and their children: They came from as far away as Prussia and as close as San Fernando de Taos. They met in the green mountain valley that lay between the Sangre de Cristo and Cimarron ranges, a valley like no other in New Mexico Territory. These short pieces of fiction will make you wish you’d been there. Paperback and Kindle: Moreno Valley Sketches: Micro-Fiction Set in Historic New Mexico’s Scenic Moreno Valley” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>www.amazon.com Other E-book Formats: www.books2read.com
The second in my Moreno Valley Sketches series, this collection of historical micro-fiction contains over forty stories set in northern New Mexico’s scenic Moreno Valley. There’s a little something here for everyone: from pre-Spanish elk hunting to Elizabethtown gold miners, romance at Eagle Nest Lodge, and early skiing in Angel Fire. If you like historical fiction set in the West, this book is for you! Paperback and Kindle: www.amazon.com Other E-book Formats: www.books2read.com