|Massacre at Bend-In-The-River (standard:westerns, 27008 words)|
|Author: MikeK||Added: Jul 20 2008||Views/Reads: 1834/1259||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A western tale: He was a veteran of that Great War called Civil, she was trying to raise a son and run a ranch after the death of her husband. They could make it work except for the owner of Bend-In-The-River. Powerful men don't always win.|
Massacre at Bend-In-The-River A Western by Mike Kahmann I Legend has it that in 1889 in Summit County, Texas at the largest ranch in the county called Bend-In-The-River, every man woman and child was massacred. Those responsible were never brought to justice and most of the bodies were never recovered. My name is Bill Preston. I was born and raised on a ranch not far from Bend-In-The-River in central Texas. When I was 17 years old my family, which is to say my mother, my stepfather, and myself moved to Oregon where we have spent the last twelve years becoming successful apple growers. My stepfather is dying. He's not expected to see the century turn, which will be in a couple of months, let alone my wedding, which is to be in June. He had asked me to make some notes about the occasion of our leaving Texas, to put the record straight as it were, and it is from this information, and some research I did on my own that this story emerged. * I was fifteen years old in the spring of 1886 when Emmert Shannon rode into Springdale, Texas. By chance he ran into Marshal Tibbets whom he had known from the Great War, the one now called our Civil War. He must have asked about work, because the Marshal told him about our situation, how my mother was looking for some temporary help. She had asked the Marshal to keep and eye out for someone to help who wouldn't steal us blind or worse. Dad took sick and died the year before and while I was old enough to be a help, I was too young to do all that needed done. I was out by the well when Emmert rode up. He wasn't a big man, which made the large rifle he carried in a scabbard stand out, and he wore some kind of moccasins on his feet. "Where's your boots, mister?" I asked him. "Where's your mom?" he asked as he dismounted, ignoring my question. He had a way of looking at you, and then through you. He spoke too softly for a man, I often had to strain to hear him, and he had a kind of a half grin on his face so you never knew what to make of him. If you judged by appearance he was unremarkable, except for a white streak just above his hairline, and you could only see that when he took off his hat. He looked decently clean but rugged. I would have guessed him to be in his mid-forties. I got my mother, and they struck some sort of deal about working. He started that day and seemed naturally to slip into the routine of everyday ranch life. It's a drudgery I'll testify to, as long as I live, but it didn't seem to bother him. I know he didn't get paid much, or regularly, on account of how mom was always apologizing to him about not having enough, but he shook it off. "Something to eat and a warm place out of the weather" he would say as if that explained it all. Saturdays he would ride into town and have a drink with Marshal Tibbets, and Sunday, if the travelling priest were in town he would attend a church service. Mom liked him, more than I knew. Mostly, at first, because he worked hard and wasn't any trouble. When he wasn't around we often talked about how different he was. Loneliness and isolation are the scourge of ranch life but it seemed not to bother him. He wore his solitude like a comfortable old duster. At first I tried to get him to talk by asking a lot of questions and then, like a kid will do, I went through a time of being afraid of him because he wouldn't talk. Mom said not to pay it any mind. "That War messed up a lot of good men" She would say. I noticed that he would talk to her. He seemed wary, like a new barn cat, and whenever he left the ranch he would take that big rifle with him. Same goes for his 45 Colt. And he also had a small short barreled revolver, which he never was without. Working around the ranch, or eating, whatever he was doing I never saw him without it. He kept it in a small leather half-holster tucked in the back of his pants. I mentioned before about his moccasins; he was the quietest person I have ever known. Mom often threatened to put a cowbell on him because of how often he startled her. Me too, for that mater. Click here to read the rest of this story (2798 more lines)
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