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Authors: Ford Fargo

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The Taylor County War

BOOK: The Taylor County War
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Western Fictioneers Presents:

WOLF CREEK: The Taylor County War

By Ford Fargo

 

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2013 by Western Fictioneers

Cover design by L. J. Washburn

Cover painting:
When Cowboys Get in Trouble
by
Charles Russell (public domain)

Western Fictioneers logo design by

Jennifer Smith-Mayo

Smashwords Licensing Notes

This ebook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with
other people, please purchase an additional copy for each person.
If you are reading this ebook without purchasing it and it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of the author.

Wolf Creek: The
Taylor County War
is a work of
fiction. Though actual locations may be mentioned, they are used in
a fictitious manner and the events and occurrences were invented in
the mind and imagination of the author except for the inclusion of
actual historical facts. Similarities of characters or names used
within to any person – past, present, or future – are coincidental
except where actual historical characters are purposely
interwoven.

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 – Seamus O’Connor, deputy marshal

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 P. 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 Hix, 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

 

THE WOLF CREEK SERIES:

 

Book 1
Bloody Trail

Book 2
Kiowa Vengeance

Book 3
Murder in Dogleg City

Book 4
The Taylor County War

Book 5
Showdown at Demon’s Drop

Book 6
Hell on the Prairie

 

 

Appearing as Ford Fargo in this episode:

 

 

Douglas Hirt (Marcus Sublette)- Chapter 1

Chuck Tyrell (Billy Below)- Chapter 2

Clay More (Dr. Logan Munro)- Chapter 3

Troy D. Smith (Sam Gardner) - Chapter 4

Matthew Pizzolato (Wes Quaid) – Chapter 5

James Reasoner (G.W. Satterlee)- Chapter
6

Troy D. Smith - epilogue

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

 

Marcus Sublette glanced up at the
schoolhouse clock, startled to discover it was almost time for
class to begin. He’d let time get away from him again. Usually Miss
Sloane was here to help with the classroom chores, but this morning
she was attending a committee meeting for the new Haselton Memorial
Library.

The voices of children playing in
the school yard spurred him on to quickly finish cleaning the last
lamp chimney and then fill the bowl with oil, setting it back in
place in the wall stanchion.

He snatched the bell off his desk,
gripping the clapper, opened the door to the warm, early fall
morning, and rang assembly.

The children stopped their play and
scampered over, forming a line at the doorstep to make their
manners.

One after the other the children
made their manners and went to their seats. Marcus nodded his
acceptance of the polite bows made by the Li boys: Li Xiao, Li Lin,
and Li—Marcus glanced about. They were one Li short. “Where’s Li
Wei?”

Li Xiao held out a piece of paper.
Marcus unfolded it, glanced at the words written in a simple
script, and looked back at Li Xiao. “I understand that, with Li Wei
being the eldest son, his help is important at the laundry works,
but his education is important also. Please advise your mother that
I expect to see Li Wei in class tomorrow.”

The Li boys hurried to their seats,
leaving only the three older boys, who were always the last to
enter. It was plain they were growing bored with their lessons,
anxious to be out in the world of adults. Of the three, Frank
Miller, the widowed seamstress’s son, showed the least concern
about his lessons. How did one stimulate their interest in
learning?

Twelve-year-old Ethan Hartman, son
of rancher John Hartman, who owned the Lazy H, made a theatrical
bow and grinned. “Howdy, prefessor.”

“That’s professor, and howdy to
you, Mr. Hartman.” He put up with Ethan’s brashness, so long as it
didn’t get out of hand. Discipline taken to extremes sparked
rebellion.

Obie Wilkins gave a quick, short
bow; proper and respectful. “Wonderful day, Mr. Sublette, ain’t
it?” He struggled to hide a grin.

Obie was pushing for a reaction.
Marcus didn’t intend to play the lad’s game. “Yes, Mr. Wilkins, a
splendid day indeed it is.”

Obie was a quiet, polite boy whose
home life left much to be desired. His father drank too much and
his mother mothered him too much. Obie took the desk next Ethan in
the back row.

Bringing up the end of the line,
his head bent toward the ground, Frank Miller gave a quick bow and
mumbled. “Morning, Mr. Sublette.”

“And to you, Mr. Miller.”

The boy scooted past, but
Marcus caught his shirt sleeve and lifted his chin. “My, my. I must
say, that is a most impressive shiner, Mr. Miller. Likely the
finest black eye I’ve seen in quite a number of years.”

Frank half grinned. “Yes,
sir. You’re probably right.”

“Hurt?”

“No.”

“Hum. What does the Bible says
about lying?”

Frank winced. “Well, maybe a
little.”

“I suspect so. You see, I used to
get those all the time. Only, mine were always upon the right
eye.”

Frank gave him a skeptical look.
“How’d’ya manage that?”

Marcus smiled. “You might say it
was job related.”

Frank didn’t know what to think,
and that was just as well. Keeping students a little off balance
gave the teacher an advantage. “And to whom do you owe it?”

He looked away. “Nate
Huffington.”

Marcus recalled Mr. Huffington; a
promising student until he turned fourteen last year and dropped
out of school to apprentice with Joseph Nash, the carpenter. “How
did Mr. Huffington fare?”

A sparkle brightened Frank’s gray
eyes. “Busted his nose and knocked him into the trough out front of
the livery.” He grinned. “Last I saw, he was sputtering for breath
while Mr. Torr — err, I mean Mr. Tolliver fished him out.”

Marcus tried not to smile, which
would only encourage the youth. He said sternly. “Fighting is not
the way to settle a difference, Mr. Miller. Especially with someone
older and bigger than yourself.”

“Only by a year. And he’s not
either bigger’n me.”

“Regardless, there are other
ways.”

“Grandpa says I’m the man of the
house now, and I gotta protect my ma.”

“Oh? Did Mr. Huffington threaten
your mother?”

“He –he called her a name.”

That did put a different light on
the matter. “I see. I won’t ask . . .”

“Said only a dry sow would marry a
stink’n Johnny Reb razorback.” Frank’s mouth screwed tight and his
face reddened.

“A stink’n Johnny Reb razorback!”
Marcus’s spine stiffened. “In that case, I hope you gave Mr.
Huffington two black eyes.”

Frank looked for a moment as if he
was going to burst into tears. Instead, he burst into laughter and
the two of them went into the schoolhouse.

***

“Oral hygiene,” Dr. Cantrell
growled, “has become the bane of my existence. It will ruin me, I
tell you, John. The very devastation of my livelihood! I haven’t
had but three customers all week. It’s enough to drive a man to
drink.”

“That’s a short ride for you, Doc.”
John Hix jockeyed the glistening razor around Dr. Cantrell’s sharp
chin. “By your breath, I say you’ve already begun the trip.”

Jefferson Cantrell laughed. “Never
touch the stuff until the sun’s over the yardarm.”

“Which is about seven of the clock
in these parts. Now, stop wiggling.”

Hix scraped the cold blade over the
dentist’s throat. “Been meanin’ to ask,” the barber said. “Cantrell
sounds a lot like Quantrill –no offense intended –you ever notice
that?”

“A very unfortunate coincidence, I
assure you,” Cantrell said. “The man was a menace and a
disgrace.”

The blade pressed more sharply
against his throat, and Hix leaned closer. The dentist seemed not
to notice.

Cantrell huffed. “In the old days
I’d have performed eight extractions by Wednesday, and grounded at
least that many cavities clean — ouch!” He put a finger to his
cheek and looked at a smear of blood mixed with shaving soap.

“Warned you. Next time it’s liable
to be an ear lobe. Or a slice of cheek.”

“You did that on purpose.” He
waited for Hix to deny it, but the barber had gone strangely
silent, the blade in his hand motionless. Cantrell looked up. Hix’s
eyes were cold and empty ... staring. Cantrell slanted his view at
the gleaming razor poised near his throat. “Err, careful with that
thing, John. John?”

BOOK: The Taylor County War
12.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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