, , , , , , , , , ,

by Frank Sonderborg

The Texas Panhandle 1868. Ned walked the porch and watched the sun setting fast over this vast lonely untamed land. He could hear the high pitched howling of a hunting wolf pack carrying on the wind. Ned had worked this land the Lord had so graciously given him, but tonight, as a long drawn out wolf howl rended the night, a biting, gnawing fear overtook and almost engulfed him.

Hannah called him in for dinner and prayer. He held the heavy, unfamiliar Colt Dragoon revolver tight in his hands. He’d bought it off a drunken Ranger he met in town while buying supplies.

Why the Ranger was selling it cheap, he didn’t bother to ask. He was sure it had to do with the demon drink. The Ranger had laughed when he heard Ned was homesteading, out in the wilderness, with his pregnant wife and kids.

“You’re plumb loco,” he said. “If the Mexican banditos don’t get ya, them Comanches sure will.” He laughed again when Ned said, “The Lord will protect us from the heathen savages.”

“Listen friend,” the Ranger said as he engulfed Ned in spit and foulness. “Them Comanches will rape and scalp your purty wife and either kill your kids or sell them over the border.”

“And what about me?” Ned asked.

“You, little feller, will be hogtied to a wagon, scalped and roasted alive. Maybe they’ll saw off your cajones and wave them in your face. So here’s some advice. Keep that Colt close and shoot your wife ’fore those savages get their mitts on her milky white teats. Those injuns are so ornery even the Apache run scared when it’s a Comanche Moon.”

“A Comanche Moon?”

“A big fat full moon. Means it’s time to lock up your women ’cause they’re a comin.”

“Aren’t you ever afraid of them?” Ned asked.

“Afraid of a bunch of buck-assed heathens? Are you jossing me?” Then the Ranger took Ned’s Mexican silver, laughed and staggered off to the local sin house.

Ned and Hannah had come, unmolested, down the old Natchez Trace, protected by the good Lord, and Ned was certain that would continue. He had asked about and been told that the government had been unable to deal with the Comanche, a tribe that had ruled the plains for more than a century. They were also said to be the fiercest horsemen since the Mongols. But the scholar that had told him that didn’t look like no Indian fighter.

The moon was up and shining brightly as Ned sat with his wife and three small sons inside and said grace. Hannah gave a start as the howling began again, this time much nearer. Ned could see the look of dread starting to move across her pretty face.

He cocked the Colt and said, “There is nothing to be afraid of, dear. The Lord will protect us. He will let no harm come to his chosen people.”

Outside, the wolf howls had stopped.

Frank Sonderborg lives in the UK and does his best to write interesting stories. His stories have appeared in Action: Pulse Pounding Tales 2, Noir Nation 3, Noir Nation 5, Pulse Modern JFK Issue #6, Shadows and Light, 100 Words 100 Books: (The O’Brien Press), The Big Adios, Thrills, Kills ‘n’ Chaos, Shotgun Honey and Near To The Knuckle. Check out his Amazon page at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Sonderborg/e/B00F8P3AX6 and his blog at http://franksonderborg.blogspot.co.uk/.