Selected Excerpts from forthcoming Novel, “Western Legend”

From here on, until the books release in July, I will be posting a series of excerpts from chapters of my book, every Thursday.  Featured in order of Chapter, I promise these excerpts to be intriguing to any prospective reader.  Especially to any avid reader of the Period Thriller, Historical Fiction, Western Fiction, or fans of the late author, Michael Crichton.

The story, told in “false document” tells of a chance encounter among a motley group of aging legends of the Wild West in 1899, their afternoon entertaining adventurous children, and an astonishing sequence of events that play out over the next 24 hrs.

This initial chapter describes the harassment and torture of a young Irish Immigrant in the County of Nacogdoches, Texas, which sets off the events that follow.

**

Selected text taken from: ONE — THE NEAR DEATH OF TOMMY HENDERSON 

In the trees, Henderson turned left, then right, again and again; zigzagging all over the damn place. It was painfully disorienting. He staggered, made himself one with a tree, and gasped for air. Daylight evaporated to the west, and the red tint pervading the forest turned blue in a matter of seconds. Instantly, his eyes played tricks on him; his vision washed out from lingering sunspots. Now he couldn’t see much at all. Certainly he couldn’t see them, he realized with a tinge of excitement. So just perhaps, they couldn’t see him either. Maybe the thieves won’t find me in the dark, he thought. Maybe they waited too long t’kill me. Or maybe, just maybe, he’d get lucky and they’d loose interest.

Either way, he was unsure of even a general direction in here. While this region of Texas was universally spotted with the occasional oak, cedar, dogwood, maple, and sycamore tree–it had principally earned the nickname “The Piney Woods” for being filled with so many godforsaken pine trees. Even in broad daylight they all looked alike; making it far too easy for even a local to get lost in here. Add virtual darkness, and the situation became absurd. So he marked time the best he could. Low to the East, and through the webbings of treetops, he could see stars, peeking. He estimated the hour at around 7:45. That meant he had been running for around forty minutes.

A ringing in his ears grew louder. He slapped the side of his head hoping to put a stop to it. But the effect only worsened. And he heard nothing. Now he had no idea how labored and sonorous his own breathing really was. Even when a few rounds went past his head on hot wind, he was totally unaware. It took dirt and pine needles kicking up from the ground at his feet, accompanied by a stream of gunshots emitted as a singular cannon crack, to get his attention.

In no time his thinking organ was shifting forward and backward in his skull, his veins were pumping blood like heavy machinery, and the trees ahead of him formed a tunnel. They were on him fast, weaving their horses through the labyrinth like hounds harassing a fox. He felt a big rock hit him in the lower part of his shoulder. That’s what he assumed it was–one of the thieves hurling rocks. Hell, they had done everything else they could think of to amuse themselves. Then suddenly, and without ever feeling it rising, he coughed vomit into the air right in front of him. And he felt muscles in his shoulder and neck wrench and spasm. At the instant his peripheral vision found a dark stain spreading across his shirt, and he felt a strong, cold chill mixed with warm blood covering his back.

He managed a quick and painful look over each shoulder, and saw the men were stretched out through the trees like a search party–and staring right at him. Facing front, he found the trees passing him grew blurry. So he sent jerking glances to the moving ground, to better orient his self. His head came up with improved vision, the dizziness subsided. But soon, a sense of déjà vu hit him, dead center, and his eyes began searching; desperate for landmarks.

He never spent much time on “other’s property”; a man of substance had more manners than that. And he was in no condition to really recognize his surroundings, anyway. But something certainly seemed familiar. When he spotted trees already sheared of their bark by earlier gunfire, and heard that familiar clinking sound from above…he knew.

Tommy threw his head way back, for verification. And there it was. Still there, hanging from wires strung high among the trees. Passing beneath the large pulley, he lost all composure. His eyes shut watertight, and for a moment he seemed lifeless. Then, for possibly the first time in his life, Tommy really heard himself scream.

This had a truly risible effect on his tormenters. A healthy wave of laughter echoed from behind, followed by a raspy voice: “Think farm-boy just figured out he’s going in circles.”

He now knew this was likely to end badly.

JULY

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