Many of our Coffee Clutch and Facebook friends know of my novel. For some, this is the first you've heard of it. Tom Named By Horse is the first of a trilogy about Tom Named By Horse. An Historical Fiction spanning the years from 1850 to1910. Of course it's a love story, and much more than that ... The first book tells of a young Tom, orphaned on the prairie, sold to a sadistic buffalo hunter from whom he escapes – and immediately befriends Chief Red Cloud's granddaughter. Charged with a mission by Red Cloud, Tom selects the chief's granddaughter to travel with him. And that is just the beginning .... This excerpt is the Second Chapter, and we meet Army scout Buck Hawkins, among other key characters. You can read pt1here… I hope you enjoy, and please leave your comments. Thanks!
|Kessy, Saturday and me writing -|
“Yo, Buck Hawkins … General wants to see you!” Sergeant Worly scratched his white beard, as he swung up on “Old Bedlam's,” porch, the officers' quarters in Fort Laramie.
“Yea? Have a seat Sergeant. I haven’t finished my morning coffee. Just got in two days ago from four weeks of scouting and tracking renegades and the only thing I want to ride is this lopsided old chair. Have a cup with me.” Buck pushed his feet up against a porch post, rocked his chair back and forth on its rear legs, and was quite content.
“Can’t Buck. I gotta get to the corrals and look at the new saddle stock that came in while you were out on your pleasure trip.”
“What do you know about saddle stock? The last time you sat a horse we were still a British colony.” Buck smiled wide at the Sergeant.
“I didn’t mean I was gonna ride 'em, I just gotta count 'em. General wants to know how many made it through the renegades his favorite scout told him wasn’t there.
“Well they weren’t there when I was. Because if they were, I’d of seen 'em and run them off.
“You must have just missed ’em. Because they sure gave the Lieutenant and his boys a run for their lives!”
“That's not good. Guess I'd better go see the General.” Buck bounced down the heavy plank steps of Old Bedlam. "Thanks for the warning, Sergeant."
As Buck approached the General’s office, he was a little surprised to find him on the porch. “Morning Buck,” the General didn't bother to stand.
“Morning, General Sturgis, and a fine morning this is!” Buck tried to set the mood with his wide grin.
“Not if you have to answer to Washington for raided settlements, and missing horses. Buck what can you tell me?”
“Well, we have Arapaho to our East. Sioux and Cheyenne to our South, and renegades and outlaws to our North and West. Go more than twenty miles in any direction, and you'd better have a fast horse.” Buck took a seat on the rail facing the General.
Buck was a good looking young man and liked to dress in deerskin pants with fringes down the outer seam, and leather moccasin boots. He always wore army issue blue blouses and a dark leather vest. When he walked across the parade, any officer’s wives that happened to be about would surely watch. His sparkling green eyes could pierce a man through when angered, and melt any woman he turned his soft gaze upon. It had been gossiped that Lieutenant Harris’ wife had openly expressed desire for the man, causing a rift to exist between the two men. Although for Buck’s part, it was simply a way to torment a man he considered a good friend
“I need to know where Hooker’s camp town is. There has been a report they raided another settlement near Little Bear Creek and killed three men and stole the livestock. I have dispatched four men to guard the settlement, but we need to do away with the whole bunch. They cause more trouble then the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux combined. I want you to leave now and find where they hide like snakes in the grass. I want to know their numbers. Buck I want this over.”
“Numbers I can give you now. They have close to fifty, mostly lazy outlaws, and drifters, but they have begun to attract renegade Indians. They say that a renegade Sioux called, Tall Dog, is sending word to all Arapaho, Cheyenne and Sioux villages to join him with Hooker.”
“Well the Sioux and Cheyenne are fighting each other.”
“Not when they can fight you,” Buck pointed his finger at the General.
*********The old buffalo hunter guided his wagon horses carefully through the narrow pass that led up the last steep grade. His wagon was loaded with the results of a successful hunt. Not just for hides, but whiskey, and guns too, that he could sell to the band of outlaws and renegade Indians. He stopped the wagon in the center of the camp.
The camp had grown into a small town since the old man had last visited. Shacks of board and canvas numbered over twenty, and now there were even women in the camp. “Where’s Hooker?” Bellowed the hider.
A crowd of mildly interested ruffians gathered around the wagon
“What have you got for me this time, old timer?” Hooker walked around the wagon pushing the curious aside and trying hard not to get mud on his fancy boots.
“Whiskey for everybody, hides for the Injuns, and ten of these new Henry repeaters. For anybody with gold coins.” The boastful old hider flipped back some skins to reveal a wooden crate.
Hooker ripped the top from the crate and stared at the neatly packed rifles.
“Yeah,” the hider said. “I followed the sutler coming from Fort Laramie after he met with the Army buyer there. I knew he had these rifles along. I got’im talking after a little whiskey. One of them fancy gents thinking he would get rich quick sellin’ rifles to the Army. Fool was too new from the East. Come here representin’ a big Army contract for these new repeaters. So I moved ahead about twenty miles, and when he came over the rise I, well you can just say I put him outa the repeater business and put me right in it. I took these here Henrys and six hundred dollars in gold coins he had on him … There’s gonna be a big shipment moving from Fort Kearney to Fort Laramie, in a few weeks.”
“That, you old cuss, is worth a drink!” Hooker slapped the hider on the back and led the way to the makeshift canvas saloon. Hooker and the old hider settled at a small table in the corner.
“I can tell you this,” the hider held his voice low. “You need more men than you have now. The wagons with the rifles leave Fort Kearney with a cavalry escort of fifty troopers. They’re expected in Fort Laramie by the end of October.”
“Tall Dog will find us more. They’re scattered all over the prairie just waitin’ to kill U.S. soldiers. He can gather fifty in a week. Those renegade Sioux and Cheyenne will follow him anywhere. Almost every day another handful leaves Red Cloud, and wander into the village Tall Dog started just north of here. What day do the wagons leave Fort Kearney?”
“To get to Fort Laramie on time, they need to get started in a week or two. That many men, horses and wagons, it’ll take those soldier boys a good two weeks to make the trip.”
“What other supplies are coming along?” Hooker’s eyes held an evil glow.
“You’ll be able to outfit all your men with brand new U.S. Troopers clothes!” The hider wiped his mouth on his sleeve and smiled at Hooker.
“Troopers clothes? New Henry repeaters and new clothes!" Hooker scratched his cheek. "Ha, we’ll have our own army. You get back to the fort and find out when they’re leaving Fort Kearney, and get back here.”
********I'll be going publishing in a few motnths and am editing now. I hope you enjoyed this look into "Tom Named By Horse" – Please share your comments. I'll continue to share excerpts from time to time as I edit and polish ….
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry