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Shadows of Nemesis

A Taste of Shadows of Nemesis

An Excerpt

It's been months since I took retribution on a half dozen no-goods, and I now pray they rot in a hot hell due to my administration of hot lead, a blade or two, and a bear trap. And I know them that disagree with a fella settling his own grudges are of a mind to stretch my neck...no matter the right of it. I know by the posters peppering the landscape.

It's damn nigh impossible to lay low when posters dot the landscape and when, no matter, you are driven to find kin who've been badly treated and have fallen on hard times. You can't question folks in order to find your baby sister, now three decades old, and stay out of sight of folks who might recognize your likeness.

Otherwise I'd be in the high lonely, where no one but deer, elk, raptors, and the good Lord, would know my presence.

My third morning in the town of Stink, one of three mining towns on the headwaters of the Owyhee River in southern Idaho Territory—and I’ve been here too long, resting up, licking my wounds. 

The sister city of Reek and another called Commotion lie in a triangle with Stink, each about five miles from the other. The ones with smelly connotations to their names are so named due to the proximity of hot sulfur springs near enough to occasionally wrinkle the nose of inhabitants.  But only on occasion when the wind doesn’t favor. The towns weren’t laid out due to their olfactory pleasure, but rather due to silver and gold discoveries, mostly now played out. Tailings from hard-rock mines and placer digs surround all three towns, some in humps as high as buildings.

I’m going to make the rounds of Stink one more time asking about my missing sister before I move on, so tie up Rusty, my gray with unusual sorrel 'rust' spots on his chest, and Jackson, my mule, in front of the town’s busiest saloon. I’ve found that one must ask more than one time to get honest answers, particularly when men are busy with other tasks, like gambling and swilling. And when I get answers, it’s oft times answers to questions I wish I didn’t have to ask and answers I wish I hadn’t received. I haven’t been well greeted in this establishment, but don’t give a damn. It’s difficult to get a miner’s attention when he’s admiring the cleft of a generous bosom.

It’s answers I want, not comradery, so I care little how I’m greeted. It’s answers I need no matter how it might redden my cheeks.

The smart-alecky, plate-round-face, with the bulbous nose and ears a half-inch thick, is sitting-shotgun on the far end of the bar, away from the bat-wing doors. He looks a mite ridiculous with a bowler hat perched too high on his fat, but thin haired, liver spotted noggin. As I approach, elbowing through drovers and miners, he’s eying me like I’m something sticking to the bottom of his boot after he’s crossed the corral, so I’m not surprised at his obnoxious greeting. 

He wastes no time and curls a lip at me, then snarls, “Ain't this the third time...the third night in a row...you asked about that whore. The hell of it is, saddle tramp, you don't look like you could buy a single goober if'n they was a buck a barrel, much less invest in a poke off'n one of our soiled doves.” The fat man cuts his eyes away and spits a well-gnawed chunk of chaw into the spittoon near the base of his stool, then rearranges the scattergun across his fir-tree-trunk size thighs with one hand while backhanding the dribble off his chin with the other.

It seems I must adjust his attitude.

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