The next book in my Anderson Chronicles, Bound for Texas, will be released later this fall. It is James Anderson's story about his life in Texas with an adoptive family and his continual search for his family who were headed to California by wagon.
The picture at the left might be the cover for my story, Bound for Texas. Below is an except from the story. Enjoy the read.
BOUND FOR TEXAS
Kansas Territory, 1849
Riding up to the bank of Deer Creek, William Darrah Regan dismounted, dropping the reins to his horse and supply mule.
“Hey, Chat. Would you look at that? There’s a kid laying on the muddy bank down there. Looks like he’s hanging onto a piece of wood.”
Chatton Darrah Prescott slid from his saddle and made his way down the soft, slippery bank to the water’s edge. The mud kissed the back of his long legged, gray woolen trousers and covered the tops of his work boots, making a sucking sound as he made his way toward the boy.
“Is he alive?” asked Regan, straining to get a better view of the body without falling into the mud pit below.
“Don’t know. Can’t tell. He’s pretty beat up.”
The boy lay face down, his cheek resting on the short log, his arm draped over the wood. His torso bobbed up and down with each lap of the water slapping against the bank. Pieces of his ripped shirt were still attached to his shoulder and arm. Brown hair, plastered to his head, covered one side of his face. Only his dark, muddy trousers and unlaced boots were intact.
Prescott squatted next to the body, turned him over onto his back in the gooey mire. The kid moaned.
Jumping to his feet, Prescott shouted, “Jeez, he’s alive!” He lifted the boy in his arms, hugging him to his chest, caking his blue shirt with mud as he scrambled up the bank. Laying the lad on the grass at Regan’s feet, Prescott finished the climb up the bank to join his partner.
Regan removed his hat, and wiped his face with his red kerchief. “What’ll we do with him?” He ran his hand through his short-cropped, blonde hair and then replaced the cloth in the crown of his hat and plopped it on his head.
“We can’t just leave ۥim out here.” Chatton Prescott looked across the horizon, shielding his eyes from the sun, searching for some form of life. “I don’t see anyone around. What’s a little kid doing way out here? He can’t be more than eight or nine. I wonder how he got down here in Deer Creek.”
“He probably fell in upstream somewheres. Maybe in one of them big rivers north of here. ” A scowl filled William Regan’s face. Turning his head, he spit, then wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his faded flannel shirt. “We can’t take ۥim with us. I don’t know anything about taking care of a kid.”
Prescott pursed his brows. “Well, we sure in hell ain’t leaving him here. We’ll take ‘im to the next town we come to.”
“That could be in Missoura.”
Grabbing the reins, Prescott climbed into the saddle. “Nah, we’ll find somebody around the Neosho River before we cross the border. Hand him to me.”
Regan looked dubious, first at his partner and then at the kid. “You want me to hand him to you?”
“Are you deaf, you whoremonger? Pick ‘im up and give ‘im to me. He won’t bite ya.”
Regan threw his hands in the air. “Can’t believe this.” Then he wiped the back of one hand across his forehead, tilting his hat back. He hesitated for a moment, then bent down and picked the lad up with an awkward motion, slipping one arm under the child’s knees and another under his shoulders, holding him away at arm’s length.
“Don’t act like he’s gonna puke on you,” growled Prescott. “And don’t drop ‘im. Sometimes you’re a worthless piece of shit.”
“I don’t want to get my shirt dirty.” Regan held the boy closer to his chest. Suddenly, the boy groaned and flopped his head against Regan’s chest.
“Damn, he moved!” he hollered, stepping around in a circle, not knowing what to do with the body in his arms.
You dumb shit, he’s alive and probably hurting. Hold still.” Chatton Prescott reached down and pulled the lad up onto his saddle in front of him, holding his limp body against his chest with one arm as the lad’s legs dangled free.
“Let’s ride. We need to find some place to get him some help,” Prescott called over his shoulder. “You keep the supply mules together. I’ll take care of the kid.”
“Jeez. You do this and you do that. I should have left you in Tennessee," William Regan grumbled as he mounted his horse. Setting off in a trot, he shouted to his partner, “What we don’t need right now is a kid. I smell trouble.”
“You always smell trouble. What harm can he cause?”
“What harm can he cause? Like the time in Westport with the blonde floozy. Almost got us shot by that gambler who just happened to be her husband.”
“What’s that got to do with the kid? Besides, that wasn’t my fault. You’re the one who grabbed her ass. Not me. I was trying to ease things over.”
“Right. Ease things over.”
“Do you have to repeat everything I say?”
“Ah, shut up. You’re babbling worse than that blonde.”
Regan continued to complain. “You know, he might have cholera or some other disease.”
Prescott tried to ignore his partner. Finally he replied, “He’s not sick, damn it, he’s hurt.”
“Maybe somebody threw him away."
“Will, you’re a dumb ass. No one throws a kid away. Did your mother throw you away?”
“Probably should have.” Regan urged his horse forward with a kick of his heels and pulled on the pack mule line.