Today is the fourth Wild Bunch Wednesday. The idea is Joanne's Walpole's (Terry James) and throughout July, I and several other bloggers below have been posting extracts from our western novels.
Terry James at Joanne Walpole's blog http://joannewalpole.blogspot.com/
Jack Giles at Open Range http://jacksopenrange.blogspot.com/
Lance Howard at Dark Bits http://howardhopkins.blogspot.com/
Jack Martin at The Tainted Archive http://tainted-archive.blogspot.com/
IJ Parnham at The Culbin Trail http://ijparnham.blogspot.com/
There's no theme this week so I'm providing something that's a little different to my previous extracts with a clip from the forthcoming The Treasure of Saint Woody.
"Let me go," the unfortunate man pleaded. He strained against his bonds, but he found that his two captors had chained him to the railroad tracks securely and he couldn't move his limbs. His spread arms were chained to one track, his bound legs to the other.
"We sure would like to oblige," Rick Hunter said, looming over him.
"But only," his errant brother Garth said, "after you've given us a name and a place."
The man looked up at his captors, but he found no comfort there. A patch covered Rick's left eye, an angry scar cut a jagged path across his broken nose. Two gunbelts crossed Garth's barrel-like chest.
As if to impress upon him the urgency of the situation the mournful whistle from an approaching train sounded.
"So you just want to know what's happened to your missing brother Frank and then you'll let me go?" the man asked.
Rick smirked as he withdrew a key from his pocket.
"Yup. Talk and I'll unlock those chains before the train makes everyone call you shorty."
"I don't know what happened to him," the man spluttered, his voice high-pitched with fear, "but the man you need to see is Marshal Colt T. Blood. You'll find him in Fort Arlen."
Rick nodded, judging that this information sounded plausible. The train was heading to Fort Arlen and the fearless lawman Marshal Blood did reside there.
"You just bought yourself our gratitude," Rick said.
Rick glanced at the train, now emitting an insistent scream as the engineer locked the wheels in a doomed attempt to avoid the obstruction on the tracks. The engine was 400 yards away and would reach them in around thirty seconds. He shrugged then turned away.
"Hey," the man shouted. "What about me?"
Rick turned back and appraised the man's predicament with a cruel gleam in his eye. He mockingly dangled the key between two outstretched fingers, licking his lips as he waited for the train to get even closer.
The man's cries grew more desperate as the train thundered on, its brakes sparking against the wheels, its whistle screeching so desperately it almost sounded as if it were in pain.
Then, at the last possible moment, Rick threw the key to Garth.
Garth missed it.
"Whoops," he said.
(c) I. J. Parnham 2009, published by Thomas Bouregy & Co Ltd and available from all good on-line retailers such as Amazon.