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Authors: Ford Fargo

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Kiowa Vengeance

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Western Fictioneers Presents:
WOLF CREEK: Kiowa Vengeance
By Ford Fargo

WOLF CREEK: Kiowa Vengeance

Smashwords Edition

A Western Fictioneers Book published by arrangement
with the authors

Copyright © 2012 by Western Fictioneers

Cover design by L. J. Washburn

Western Fictioneers logo design by

Jennifer Smith-Mayo

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or
by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage
and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the
author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short
excerpts in a review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places and incidents are either products of the author’s
imagination or are used in a fictional manner. Any resemblance to
actual incidents or locales, or persons living or dead, is entirely
coincidental.

Printed in the United States of America

Visit our website at www.westernfictioneers.com

Beneath the mask,
Ford Fargo
is not one but
a posse of America's leading western authors who have pooled their
talents to create a series of rip-snortin', old fashioned sagebrush
sagas. Saddle up. Read ‘em Cowboy! These are the legends of
Wolf Creek
.

 

 

THE WRITERS OF WOLF CREEK, AND THEIR
CHARACTERS

 

Bill Crider - Cora Sloane, schoolmarm

Phil Dunlap - Rattlesnake Jake, bounty hunter

Wayne Dundee – Deputy Marshal Seamus O’Connor

James J. Griffin - Bill Torrance, owner of the livery
stable

Jerry Guin - Deputy Marshal Quint Croy

Douglas Hirt - Marcus Sublette, schoolteacher and
headmaster

L. J. Martin - Angus “Spike” Sweeney, blacksmith

Matthew Mayo - Rupert "Rupe" Tingley, town drunk

Kerry Newcomb - James Reginald de Courcey, artist
with a secret

Cheryl Pierson - Derrick McCain, farmer

Robert J. Randisi - Dave Benteen, gunsmith

James Reasoner - G.W. Satterlee, county sheriff

Frank Roderus - John Nix, barber

Troy D. Smith - Charley Blackfeather, scout; Sam
Gardner, town marshal

Clay More - Logan Munro, town doctor

Chuck Tyrell - Billy Below, young cowboy; Sam Jones,
gambler

Jackson Lowry - Wilson “Wil” Marsh, photographer

L. J. Washburn - Ira Breedlove, owner of the Wolf’s
Den Saloon

Matthew Pizzolato - Wesley Quaid, drifter

 

Appearing as Ford Fargo in this episode:

 

 

Bill Crider (Cora Sloane)- Chapter 1

Jackson Lowry (Wilson Marsh)- Chapter 2

Kerry Newcomb (Sampson Quick)- Chapter 3

Troy D. Smith (Charley Blackfeather)-Chapter
4

Frank Roderus (John Hix)- Chapter 5

Robert J. Randisi (Dave Benteen)- Chapter 6
& 7

INTRODUCTION

 

In Wolf Creek, everyone has a secret.

 

That includes our author, Ford Fargo—but we
have decided to make his identity an
open
secret. Ford Fargo
is the “house name” of Western Fictioneers—the only professional
writers’ organization devoted exclusively to the traditional
western, and which includes many of the top names working in the
genre today.

 

Wolf Creek is our playground.

 

It is a fictional town in 1871 Kansas. Each
WF member participating in our project has created his or her own
“main character,” and each chapter in every volume of our series
will be primarily written by a different writer, with their own
townsperson serving as the principal point-of-view character for
that chapter (or two, sometimes.) It will be sort of like a
television series with a large ensemble cast; it will be like one
of those Massive Multi-player Role-playing Games you can immerse
yourself in online. And it is like nothing that has ever been done
in the western genre before.

 

You can explore our town and its citizens at
our website if you wish:

 

http://wolfcreekkansas.yolasite.com/

 

Or you can simply turn this page, and step
into the dusty streets of Wolf Creek.

 

Just be careful. It’s a nice place to visit,
but you wouldn’t want to die there.

 

 

Troy D. Smith

President, Western Fictioneers

Wolf Creek
series editor

CHAPTER ONE

 

The six-man Kiowa scouting party came down
on the Manning ranch like a wolf on the fold.

Roy Manning and his younger brother, Hal,
had been about to go looking for a couple of strays. They’d just
ridden out of the barn when Hal got an arrow through the throat. He
made a gurgling sound and clutched his neck with both hands. Blood
spurted between his fingers, and his horse broke into a run,
throwing Hal’s body off about twenty yards away.

A ball from an 1866 Henry Yellow Boy blew a
hole in Roy’s heart, and he pitched from the saddle, dead before he
hit the dirt.

Two of the Kiowa warriors jumped from their
horses and drew their knives. One cut away Roy’s scalp while the
other was busy stripping Hal to remove his genitals.

The other four warriors had already stormed
into the house, where Sue Manning was trying to hide her son and
two young daughters. A warrior knocked her to the floor with one
blow, while the other three dealt with the screaming children. All
the surviving Mannings were dragged outside.

They killed the boy first, then held Sue
while they raped her daughters. She’d fainted long before they got
to her.

When the warriors rode away from the ranch,
no one was left alive. And in that, they were lucky. The scouting
party, steeped in blood, headed northeast, toward the road where
the stage from Wichita would be heading for Wolf Creek.

***

The woman who called herself Cora Sloane
wasn’t impressed with her fellow passengers on the Wolf Creek
stage.

Whenever the swaying coach hit a bump in the
road, which was all too often, Lester Weatherby, a talkative
whiskey drummer from St. Louis, would deliberately bounce against
her and try to collide with her bosom. He was a small,
unprepossessing man, and when he wasn’t bouncing around, he tried
to ingratiate himself with Cora, which only irritated her. She
found herself wishing that the stage door would flop open and
Weatherby would fall out. So far it hadn’t happened.

Cora wished she were sharing the seat with
one of the other passengers—though, on second thought, not the one
who sat across from her. John Hix said he was Wolf Creek’s barber.
He looked as if a good puff of wind would blow him away, but
something about his eyes bothered Cora. They were empty as the
prairie sky, but there was a kind of feral heat in them that
reminded her of a coyote she’d seen once as it tore into a couple
of chickens. Hix had told Cora that he’d been out of town on
business, though he hadn’t said where he’d been or why—the plain
implication being that whatever business it was, it was certainly
none of hers.

Cora had never been to Wolf Creek. She’d
seen an advertisement in a newspaper that said the town was looking
for a school teacher, and she’d written a letter to apply for the
job. To her surprise, she’d been accepted—she’d packed at once and
left the hotel in Wichita where she was staying. She didn’t like to
remain in one place for too long, but Wolf Creek was small and far
enough away from her home to be safe. Or so she hoped.

The most intriguing passenger was the man
beside Hix. He appeared to be in his late forties, though his
shaggy hair was still dark and untouched by gray. He’d introduced
himself politely to Cora and the other passengers as Dave Benteen
and explained that he was going to Wolf Creek to set up as the
town’s gunsmith. An unnamed friend had helped him purchase a store
where he’d be working. His weathered face showed the scars of past
battles, and Cora wondered what they might have been. His haunted
eyes gave him the look of someone with secrets.

Cora had seen that look in her own eyes in
the mirror, and she’d had to learn to smile with her eyes as well
as her mouth in order to hide it.

She reached into the reticule at her feet
for the copy of Mister Hawthorne’s
Twice-Told Tales
that
she’d put there before leaving, in the hope that she might read
some of it along the way. The coach was rocking so much, however,
that she hadn’t tried to read for fear that she might become sick.
Now the road seemed a bit smoother, and she thought she might be
able to pass some time by dipping into one of the tales. She wasn’t
always sure that she grasped Hawthorne’s meaning, but the woman
fleeing her terrible past in “The Hollow of the Three Hills” was
someone Cora could sympathize with all too easily.

“I see that you’re a reader, ma’am,” Dave
Benteen said as she opened the book.

“I am a teacher, sir, and teachers read. Do
gunsmiths?”

Benteen grinned. “I’ve been known to crack a
book now and again, though my taste runs more to Mister Poe’s tales
than to Hawthorne’s.”

Cora gave him a demure look over the top of
her glasses. “Mister Poe’s work is a bit too morbid and gruesome
for me, and while Mister Hawthorne does indeed look on the dark
side of things, he does so without excess.”

She opened her book to end the conversation,
but she found that she was still unable to read. Even on the smooth
road the coach was swaying too much for that. She closed the book
with a sigh and was about to replace it in the reticule when she
heard a distant scream so harsh and piercing that it rivaled
anything in the works of Mister Poe.

She looked out the side window and saw six
Indian warriors riding toward the coach. They seemed in no special
hurry, as if they knew the stage couldn’t possibly outrun them.
They rode as if they were one with their mounts. Cora had never
seen anything like it.

“Oh, Jesus Christ,” Weatherby said. He
seemed to shrink within himself at the sight, and his face turned
pasty white as if he might be ill.

The coach lurched forward, and Cora heard
the driver slap the reins and yell encouragement to the horses.

“They aren’t coming to welcome us to Wolf
Creek,” Benteen said, as the coach picked up speed. He spoke as
calmly as if he were taking tea in the family parlor. “You have a
gun, Hix?”

Hix was as imperturbable as Benteen. He
shook his head and said, “I prefer other weapons.”

Benteen didn’t ask what those might be. He
said, “But you
can
shoot.”

Hix hesitated for a moment, as if
considering his answer. “Of course,” Hix replied. “If my life
depends on it, I reckon I can.”

“Good.”

Like Cora, Benteen also had a bag at his
feet. He bent down to it and came up with two revolvers, both Smith
& Wesson Americans. He left a third inside.

“It’s a good thing I brought along a few
pistols to sell in my new shop.” Benteen handed one of the guns to
Hix. “It’s fully loaded, and I have more cartridges.”

Hix took the pistol and looked at Weatherby,
who was now hiding in the floor of the coach.

“I don’t think the drummer will be needing
one of these,” Hix said, hefting the gun.

“What about you, ma’am?” Benteen asked
Cora.

Cora rummaged through her bag and brought
out an old cap-and-ball Navy Colt. It felt heavier and more awkward
than she remembered, but she could hold it steady if she used both
hands. The coach was bouncing so wildly now that she wondered if it
would be possible for her to hit anything

“I can shoot,” she said, and as she spoke,
she recalled the smell of burned powder, the dying lawman, her
brother’s capture, her own escape. She pushed those hard memories
away—that had been another life, and she was starting a new one
now. But only if she lived to do so.

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