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Massacre at Bend-In-The-River (standard:westerns, 27008 words)
Author: MikeKAdded: Jul 20 2008Views/Reads: 1833/1259Story 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. 



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