Saturday, February 15, 2014

Serial Novel: Burning Kansas - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 in the serial novel I am currently publishing in my little monthly community newspaper, The Deadline. I'm putting the chapters up here because our website is currently, to put it mildly, a mess.

Miss the first chapter? Never fear, you can check it out here.  Also, clicking on the labels "Burning Kansas," or "Serial Novel" will bring up all the posts. I hope you enjoy it.

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Burning Kansas: Chapter 2

The only reason Creighton Blaylock crossed the border from Missouri into Kansas was to find his son. He hadn't counted on meeting Caroline Cassett.

“Ma’am, I think you and I have a problem.” Blaylock's statement was heavy in the cool afternoon air.

“What do you mean?” said Caroline in a voice hinting that she understood everything.

“If you'll pardon my language, I think our damn fool kids may have run off together.”

With fluid grace, the shotgun was back at her shoulder. “What you mean is that your son has taken my daughter heaven only knows where.”

Even though this was far from the first gun barrel he'd stared down, prickles of fear ran up his back. Normally, he squared off with men over everything from politics to gold. He knew what to do in those circumstances. He either talked or shot his way out of it. This was something altogether different. He'd just told a mama bear that her cub was missing and he was partly to blame.

“Mrs. Cassett, please. Let's talk about this. We both know what things are like right now and our children may be out in it alone. They need us. Please, just put that gun down.” He repeated it twice, each time in a softer tone. Blaylock hadn't become an officer in the Missouri Partisan Rangers without being able to calm down a hot situation.

After an eternity of two or three minutes, she lowered the shotgun. Caroline straightened her back and looked him square in the eye.

“I'm sorry Mr. Blaylock. That was quite rude of me. This news is shocking. I suppose the only polite thing to do would be to offer you some coffee and hear what you have to say.”

He heard the strain and barely held tears in her too-proper speech. She held her head like a queen as she turned and went up her stairs in a swish of skirts.

Now that is a hell of a woman.

Blaylock waited a moment and followed her, stopping at the threshold. She nodded from the cookstove and handed him a mug. He took a chair on the far side of the table where he could keep an eye on her and the front door.

“This is easily the best coffee I've had in ages. I thank you.”

“My mother sent it along with the stationery. Luxuries are far between and dear out here since the troubles started. When she wants to help us, I'm not ashamed to take it.”

The mention of the letters reminded them both of why they were talking.

to be continued . . .

1 comment:

french sojourn said...

"...Funny though, not one of his admirers has put a hand to the plow he left rusting in the field.”

Powerful and so descriptive in describing the cost of loss. Well done.

*eagerly awaits the next installment*