Fiction: Hooked Up

Buck followed, having nowhere else to go. He glanced around at the filth and total confusion of the tiny place divided by a soiled and torn old quilt. The walls moved with bugs in the flickering candlelight. Fred grabbed at Ginny, who wore a threadbare wrapper. She had a wonderfully white and soft-looking body, Buck…

Fiction: Battle-tested

“No,” Graham said. “Buck can and should stand on his own. He’s struggling lately. It’s why he needs the crutch of religion, but it’ll pass when he’s stronger.” “Father! How dare you pretend to know me when all you’ve ever done is overlook me! Don’t make excuses for me. Don’t belittle my faith. God doesn’t…

Fiction: Honest Appraisals

A soldier poked his head in to the coach to greet the Crenshaw family when they came to a stop. He scanned the group of strangers. Opening the door, the soldier held out his hand to Buck’s sister Meg. “Allow me to help you, miss.” Despite her best efforts to appear unmoved, she giggled, blushed,…

Fiction: Family Shots

“Merciful heavens, Graham, look at Buck’s face. It’s worse than ever!” Margaret cried. “Mother, you look well,” Buck said and kissed her cheek. “You look terrible.” “Well, I was shot.” “What?” Fred cried in disbelief. “Who shot you?” “An Apache.” “Damn, you were in a shoot-out with Indians?” Fred asked in jealous awe. “You lucky…

Fiction: The Wedding Party

On the train west, Margaret Crenshaw insulted the coachmen and train conductors while fretting over the linens and china purchased and packed with great care for Thankful’s wedding. Fred in his booming arrogance educated his family about Indian tribes and the sinister Chinese—betraying his ignorance of both. Meg stared out the window, chin in hand,…

Fiction: Faith

The doctor led Thankful and Buck through the short, cool hallway to the adjacent room reserved for hopeless cases. There lay the lieutenant asleep. “He’s not dead, is he?” Buck asked from the doorway, craning his neck to see. “No, Buck,” the doctor replied and turned to Thankful. “You may want to say your last…

Fiction: Freedom

“Thankful is a uniform chaser,” William said. “Now, you should take that back. Thankful’s a romantic and a good girl, and I’ll help her all I can.” “So I guess you’ll be taking my spot on Mr. Kenyon’s team.” “Me?” Buck chuckled. “My cartography skills are only fair to middling. Nothing on the wonderful maps…

Fiction: Stuck

Fahy caught Buck’s unfriendly look. “What’s the matter? Has something happened to Thankful?” “She’s fine under the circumstances,” Buck said in his strongest voice. “I know she’s upset over my being here—but it’s the army.” Buck said nothing more. He’d been sworn to secrecy by Thankful. “The cadet brought us a whole case of fine…

Fiction: Letting the Cat out of the Bag

  William, Lieutenant Fahy and the missionaries head for the San Carlos Indian Reservation but are surprised by a cat. “Hey there, Bill. Are you holding up all right?” Fahy asked every so often as he trotted by on his sturdy mount. William had long since stopped answering. Determined not to fall out before the…