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Wednesday, 22 July 2009


It's the third Wild Bunch Wednesday - the brainchild of Terry James, AKA Joanne Walpole, in which several Black Horse western writers post small section of their new, past or forthcoming books all linked by a theme. This week's theme is a pivotal event. Last week I posted a piece from Tarnished Star which is available now and this week I'm offering a piece from Arkansas Smith which is out March 30th 2010 from Robert Hale LTD. Below my offering you will find links to the other members of The Wild Bunch

The small piece posted here shows us of the aftermath of an Indian attack and is surely a pivotal part of Arkansas' origin...

Reproduced with kind permission of Robert Hale LTD

Walter shuddered and held the rifle tightly to his chest. At his feet there was a dead girl, a child really, no more than ten or eleven. Her head had been split down the middle by a heavy axe. The gory gash parted her head and her eyes were so many inches apart they could have belonged to two different people.

He said a silent prayer and stepped over her.

Everywhere he looked there were dead bodies, many of them with arrows protruding from their bodies, some mutilated, scalped, others with no obvious wounds. Many of them were naked and a good number of them had been burnt, charred clothing sticking to blackened flesh. Ahead of him there were a pile of bodies, maybe ten to twelve people, all stacked up one atop the other. Into this gruesome heap the Indians had shot arrow after arrow and then set it alight only the flames hadn’t taken and it was a ghastly sight.

It looked like some bizarre human totem pole.

Other than the gentle flapping of the canvas on his wagon behind him, there was nothing to be heard, and standing there Walter felt a chill run the length of his spine. The place became eerie in its silence and Walter decided to get out of here and report this at the nearest army post.

Didn’t look like he could do anything for these folks, in any case. The only one who could help them now was the Almighty himself. And it seemed as if he had forsaken this place, relinquished the land rights to the Devil. He looked up into a clear sky and saw several buzzards circling, waiting for him to move on so they could claim the flesh that now belonged to them.

For more extracts check out

Joanne Walpole

Ian Parnham

Ray Foster

Howard Hopkins


Jo Walpole said...

Hale let you keep the head splitting in then?

Unknown said...

Looks like another winner! Very cool video!