The Start gives you a taste

The start of The Cowgirl Murders will help you decide whether you will like the book – I hope! For a synopsis, please see my previous post.

The Start is here

1870 Ten miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming

“Wasichu!” said the Lacota warrior as he emerged from the sage brush onto the trail. His voice wavered as he said the word, for the approaching rider, although dressed like a Wasichu, a white man, and sporting a heavy moustache, had a complexion, hair and eyes as dark as any Lacota along with the bony chin, nose and brow.

The rider eased his horse to a stop and tipped his bowler hat. The mule tied to the horse’s tail began nibbling spikey grass. “Howdy!”

“Are you a truth-seeker?”

The rider replied in the Lacota tongue. “I’ve been called a lot of things. Most folks call me Davy Reece, but last year I helped Mick McLuhan, a US Marshal, deal with some bad men. He was a seeker-of-truth right enough. I’ve been scouting again since then. Say, is that person – no, two people – creeping up on me in the brush – are they with you? Only someone’s likely to think it’s a coyote and take a pot shot.”

The man in front of him scowled and called, “My sons – show yourselves and stop playing that silly game!” Two lads stood up, looking amazed. One was in his early teens, the other in his late teens.

Davy Reece asked, “You know who I am. Will you tell me who you are?”

“I am Black Hawk. My sons are Swift Cloud, the elder, and Red Sky. I bring a warning of great danger. Two nights ago, the spirits came to me. At first it was just a smell. I think it was the smell of a flower, but not one I know.”

“Did you see anything? Will you two stop creeping up on me? It’s not polite and you can get into trouble.”

“I saw McLuhan. At first, he was alone, then a woman came, and they lay together. His face seemed to disappear, but I realised there was something over his face, a cloth perhaps.”

“AAAGH!”

As Black Hawk examined his younger son’s leg, he said, “It is not broken, but it is hurt. Did you not know a mule can kick?”

Davy said, “You picked the wrong one.”

Black Hawk asked, “Do you mean that you are not easily taken by surprise?”

“Hmm. I guess that’s true, but what I meant was he chose the wrong man to teach him how to creep up on anyone.”

Swift Cloud said, “You Wasichu are thieves: you take our land, our buffalo and our women. Do you now insult me?”

“When it comes to insults, you might ask who’s insulting whom. Now you mention it, my wife is a Shoshone. I did not steal her. We love each other.”

“Shoshone?” He spat. “You lie, like all your kind.”

Davy turned in his saddle and let his right hand hover near his holster. “You keep on insulting me and my wife and I might run out of patience. Why not take some of that back?”

Black Hawk said, “Please do not shoot my son. He speaks ill of everyone, Wasichu, Shoshone, even Lacota. But, my son, you have gone too far. You should apologise.”

“To a Wasichu? Like them all, his courage lies in his gun. They are all afraid of us.”

Davy took off his gunbelt and hung it around his saddle-horn. He then dismounted and laid his hat and coat over the saddle and slid his bowie knife out of its sheath and into the holster. “Now, I’m asking you one more time to take back some of those insults to me and my Shoshone wife.”

Swift Cloud spat again, almost reaching Davy, and began dancing around him, chanting and making a series of feints. Davy stood still, his hands at his sides, elbows slightly bent, following his opponent with his eyes, turning his head and body only minimally. When he moved, it was sudden, butting Swift Cloud in the face, kneeing him in the groin and punching him in the stomach. It was the uppercut that laid him out cold.

Black Hawk shook his head as he examined each of his sons. When the elder regained consciousness, his father said, “Go now. Take your brother home and behave yourselves.” Swift Cloud led two ponies from the sage brush and helped his father lift his brother onto one, before riding off.

Davy said, “Tell me, was there anything else in this vision?”

“The woman pressed this cloth onto McLuhan’s face. I felt death and evil. Soon he lay limp and she left.”

“Did he not fight?”

“No.”

“Why did the spirits tell you to reveal this to me?”

“You are also a truth-seeker and a brother to McLuhan. The evil seeks you too.”

“Why do the Lacota care about the fate of a Wasichu?”

“We know you are our friend, as was McLuhan. The Lacota value truth as he did. As you do.” He raised a hand in farewell, but paused and said, “There is something else. I do not know if it is important, but I saw the woman pick up a sheet of paper – like this.” He held his hands about two feet apart. “She looked and threw it down. Then she left.”

“Can you describe her?”

“Yellow hair. Not big. Not small.”

“I thank you. How may I repay you?”

“Water.”

Davy handed over his canteen. When it was returned, he took a long drink too. When he hung it back on his saddle he saw nobody.

For more go to The Cowgirl Murders: A mystery set in Wyoming in 1870: Amazon.co.uk: Monmouth, Mr Geoffrey: 9798388603135: Books