Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Elliot's Kidnap Logan

The soft haze of a wood fire drifted like a lazy cloud over Sackett Valley on this cold winter mornin. The Sackett boys were all back in the valley for a long overdue visit with the family. The boys sure enjoyed the wild game and trimmins they had at Pa Sacketts shack on Christmas day. Somethin about gettin together at Christmas made the hard times seem a little easier. The only problem was that the no good Elliot boys had come back to the valley to visit their ner-do-well bunch over on the other side of Sackett Creek. A few days after Christmas Logan wanted to take a ride to see Sadie Lou Jackson over near where the trail starts up the south side of Clinch mountain. The boys told him that the trail he was takin came near where the Elliots were hangin out. Logan had a fast horse and said he'd be OK. When two days past an Logan didn't make it back the boys started to worry a bit. About the time they were gettin ready to set out lookin for Logan they spotted the dust from a running horse commin up the trail. They thought it was Logan but they soon realized it was Murl Ryan. The news wasn't good, Murl told the boys that he had seen three Elliot boys riddin up the Clinch moumtain trail with Logan tied up on his horse being led by Jeb Elliot. Well, that's it for the Christmas rest, Emmitt, Elmo and Elwood loaded up their rifles and headed for Clinch mountain. Them Elliots have stirred up a hornets nest that won't stop till Logan is back and the Elliot boys get their due.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sacketts Ride

Left to right: Logan, Elmo, Emmitt, and Elwood Sackett.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trouble at the Cabin

Logan lay flat on his belly and peered down at Elmo's cabin. There was no sign of life, no sign that anybody had even been there for weeks. Logan carefully scanned the yard, the chicken coop, the outhouse that Elmo had bought from a catalog and was so proud of...nothing to indicate any humans had been around. But something nagged at Logan; he couldn't quite place it but something in the picture that lay before him wasn't quite right. Logan looked until his eyes hurt, but couldn't figure out what was causing that feeling. Slowly, he crept out of the brush and began to crawl down the slope to get nearer to the cabin. He managed to disturb a rabbit that was hidden in the brush; the rabbit scampered out toward the cabin but then made a sweeping turn and headed back up the slope. That's strange, Logan thought. A scared rabbit out to be running downhill, not up. That only added to Logan's feelings of concern. Maybe that rabbit know's something I don't, Logan thought to himself.

As Logan neared the house, he realized he was losing his cover and would be putting himself in danger by continuing to crawl. Might as well stand up, he thought. He was in the process of gathering himself up when he suddenly fell down a flat as he could and stayed motionless. That's what it is, he thought. Elmo's water bucket was on a wooden ledge by the front door. The gourd dipper handle was visible, sticking up from the bucket. Logan knew his brother Elmo would never have left that gourd in the bucket. It always hung on a nail by the door. Somebody had been there; maybe was still there and maybe had a bead on him right now, and he was helpless to do anything about it. Logan wished he was invisible like he had bragged to his brothers. Just then, Logan heard the faint sound of voices. Two people were coming up the road to the cabin. They would pass within a few feet of Logan. Logan knew he had about 10 seconds to figure out what to do.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Elmo's Mashed Finger

Seems that Elmo and Elwood went down to Dave Carpenters blacksmith shop last Saturday to get Dave to fix the rusty wheel on the old brown wagon. Elwood was tryin to help when he swung the heavy hammer down on the rusty ole wheel and slapdab hit Elmo's thumb square as if he'd been aiming. What followed was not pretty to see. Elmo cut loose so bad Sofie next door called Glenn Abbott to come and see what happened. Glenn was the only law around and he asked Elmo what happened. He also said Sofie was upset about the words that was yelled. Elmo looked at Glenn and said. Well Glenn I got my finger smashed and I looked up at Elwood and said, " really Elwood you must be more careful".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Brothers Ride

Logan, Emmitt, and Elwood reached the crest of Backbone Mountain about noon and made camp. Emmitt took out a parcel from his saddlebag in which he had carefully wrapped some cheddar cheese, crackers, and jerked cat meat. Elwood gathered up some dead branches and built a small, hat sized fire and put some coffee on. Logan tended to the horses; he gathered up some straw and rubbed down Twitter, Elwood's horse Harley, and Emmitt's horse Tornado. The three brothers finally sat down around the fire, being careful not to look directly into the flames. It was Elwood that spoke first. "I reckin Elmo best head for the caves south of Japton. I figure Elliott's men have already found his cabin, and there ain't no sense of us walking directly into a trap." "Yep, I think you're right," said Emmitt. "Elmo knows them caves better than anybody, and he won't be found there unless he wants to be found." "Hand me a cracker and a couple of slices of that bread," said Logan. "I aim to make me a cracker sandwich." Logan sat muching on his cracker sandwich and thinking. Finally he spoke. "I think you boys ought to go on up to the caves and find Elmo. Me and Twitter will head for Elmo's cabin and see if we can sneek up on them boys of Elliott's. I'd kinda like to know what they're up to." "How you aim to sneek up on a couple of Elliott's best men?" asked Elwood doubtfully. "Oh, that won't be no problem," Logan replied. "I aim to make myself invisible. It's a little trick I learned from Chief Sitting Bull at Wounded Knee." "I thought Sitting Bull got hisself killed at Wounded Knee," said Emmitt. Logan sat silently for a minute, thinking. "Wall, I recking old Sitting Bull just wasn't doing it right." he finally replied. "Don't you worry none...I got me a plan." So, Emmitt and Elwood saddled up and lit out for the Japton caves. Logan saddled up Twitter, and headed out for Elmo's cabin. "Well, Twitter, I reckin we're in for a spot of trouble." he said. Logan thought about his words to his brothers. He only wished he really did have a plan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Logan Billy

Emmitt and Logan rode across the Clinch river at the Boen crossing near the falls. Logan's cabin came into view just as the boys topped Rudy Ridge. It had been too long since Logan had seen Sweetie Pie and the boy. For at least a short time the bad things in the world faded slowly away.
Emmitt said so long and took the south branch of the Clinch on towards his rambling shack near the big oak tree. Logan got close to home when a startling sight greeted his weary eyes. Little five year old Logan Billy was running to greet him as fast as his little legs could move. What was that all over Logan Billy's face. All of a sudden Logan was carried away to childhood back in the settlement. Memories of the coal pile came crashing back. Yes it was true, Logan Billy had been eating coal again. Logan greeted Sweetie Pie warmly and asked about Logan Billy. Sweetie Pie said she just couldn't keep Logan Billy out of the coal pile. Logan and Sweetie Pie agreed, over a cup of fresh cider, that Logan Billy's coal eating was a minor thing in the world. It was good to be home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Going Home

It was a slow quiet ride out of town with all eyes on the shaddows. They rode together half an hour and nobody said a word. They took no pleasure in takin a man down in front of his outfit. Elliot was trouble to come and they all knew it. It was Elmo that spoke first.. as much to himself as to the others. " I never figered they was a man nowhere any better or worser than myself. I always tried to treat everbody the same, but some folks sure try a mans soul." Elmo needed that three dollars for the turkey shoot up in Springfield next week. They was givin away a brand new Sharps 50 and Elmo aimed to own it. He had spent forty cents for three cans of potted meat, some crackers and a jar of mustard for the trip home. The entry fee was just two dollars that he had hid in his gun belt and he still had change jinglin in his pocket. They came to the fork and without a word Elmo took the North trail back to the mountains. Emmitt and Logan headed up river towards the Fort and Elwood turned down river towards the delta. It had been like old times these last few days with the Sackett brothers standin together against whatever come. Now Elmo rode on alone. A chill came down his back with the thought of facing Elliot's men without his brothers to back him. Badger knew the trail and had settled in for the long ride back to Japton.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paying a Debt

It was Elmo that called out Wayne Elliott. "I'll be takin that three dollars that you owe me, Elliott!" The words cut like a cold wind through the deserted street. "I don't owe you a blame penny Elmo. There ain't a Sackett what I owe nothin to!" sneered Eliott. "I reckin' I worked all day unloading that wagon load of cement for you, and all I got was a drank of Nine Bowen's water for my trouble." retorted Elmo. "I aim to get what's comin' to me now," he continued calmly. "Yeah, I reckin you will!" shouted Elliott, and with one motion pulled out a double-barrel shotgun from beneath his fancy riding cloak. Elwood sprang into action, nailing Elliott in the forehead with an apple core. Elliott's men drew their pistols in one motion, but Logan and Emmitt alread had a bead drawn on them, so all they could do was drop their guns into the dusty street. Elmo walked over to Elliott, reached into his vest pocket and pulled out three gold coins. "There, I reckin that squares us," he said as he pocketed the gold. Elliott rubbed his forehead and scowled. "No Sackett ever took gold off of me, and I don't aim to let this lie. You boys done bought yourself a whole passel of trouble," he said. "That's ok, Elliott," said Emmitt. "I figure we can handle pretty much anything you can sling at us." If only Emmitt had known what waited for the Sackett boys down the trail.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aunt Sadie

It was a cold rain falling on the Sackett boys as they rode into Sackett Valley. Ole man Floyd came running toward them holding a wrinkled slip of paper in his well worn hand. He told the boys that Aunt Sadie had took her last ride and they were needed at the service over on the other side of Clinch mountain on Friday. When Friday rolled around there they were, setting on the front row of the ole rock church helping with a proper service for Aunt Sadie. The boys enjoyed this place for the peace it brought. Trouble seemed like a far away thing. As the service ended the boys stood up to leave when, all of a sudden, trouble was staring them right in the face. There, with a smirk on his weathered face, was Wayne Elliot, leader of them sorry Elliots. "It won't be settled in here," said Emmitt but the Sackett boys knew that trouble was near at hand...

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Ride to Japton

It felt right for all four Sackett brothers to be riding together again. Each brother had their own unique characteristics, and most men would run from a fight with any one of them, but together the boys felt like there wasn't much of anything that could stop them. Emmitt, the oldest, was the recognized leader of the group. Emmitt had studied law at Fort Smith College with Judge Parker, and had worked as a practicing attorney briefly. However, his love for his music was a constant distraction, and more than once he had to rely on the strength of his Welch tongue to get out of trouble in his part-time job, playing piano at Miss Laura's. Finally, one day old Judge Parker sat Emmitt down and flat out told him that he was more of a cowboy than a lawyer, and from that day on that's what Emmitt did. Elwood was the next born; he was the adventurer of the bunch. It wasn't nothing for Elwood to load up and head for Colorado and stay gone for a year or two at a time. He had a claim out at a place called Rifle; he never said nothing but the boys figured he probably hit a good vein, since he come back with them diamond spurs. Elwood was a mighty good hand to have around, especially when there was trouble afoot. Next in line was Elmo. As a child, Elmo was frequently left behind by Ma and Pa Sackett at various places; seems he was kind of a free spirit that was likely to follow a butterfly if it caught his attention. One time he was left at Old Man Bush's Grocery Store. The family had made about three miles when Old Bush came riding up behind him, yelling out "There'll be no child left behind in my store!" Most people considered Elmo a friend, and he was likely to drop everything and come running if one of his friends needed help. Logan was the last. He was the baby of the group, along with his twin sister Augusta Sackett. Logan was meaner than a snake, and on one or two occasions had found himself on the wrong side of the law. If the boys hadn't busted him out of jail at Mena, he'd probably still be there today. Usually Logan had a good reason for getting crossways with the law, but he found that a little hard to explain when the time came. He blamed most of his troubles on bad preaching at the Rock Church. Anyway, he had managed to stay on the right side of the law for the last few years, and the other boys were proud to have him along. One thing about Logan, he could shoot a locust bug plum out of a tree and never touch the branch it was sitting on. That could come in handy.

The boys were silent as they rode toward Elmo's place in Japton. There was trouble up there, not of Elmo's making. Somebody was taking cat pelts from Elmo's barn, and that was all Elmo had to get him through the winter. The boys intended to replace what was lost and then find out who was responsible. When you steal a cat pelt from one Sackett, you're gonna deal with the whole bunch.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Smoke

Elmo led the way down Needmore's dusty wind blown street. Close behind was Logan, rifle at the ready, and a determined scowl on his face. A ways back was Emmitt. The boys never knew who might be following them. Emmitt felt important guarding the approach. They walked past the deserted Needmore Saloon and on down the narrow street toward the church. As they neared the church the boys spotted a whisp of white smoke wafting into the darkening sky coming from behind the old church building . A scruffy dog scooted by and out of sight. Guns ready the boys cautiously rounded the back corner of the church. The sight that they laid eyes on caused a stunned silence. Sitting on a worn log bench was Sofi Floyd, Maud Carmack, Maudi Davis and Nine Bowen. They were helping to stir corn mash in a big black kettle that the boys new to be a whisky still. A still just a few feet from the old church. What stunned the boys the most was the sight of the bedraggled leader of this bunch, rough and unshaven with a big chaw of chew bulging in his jaw. "We found him," Elmo yelled to Emmitt who stayed at the front of the church just in case. There was Elwood sitting on a leaning stump telling this motley crew every move to make. After Elmo, Logan and Emmitt got everything cleaned up they got Elwood and all four Sacketts headed north over Needmore Mountain to settle the score with whoever it was that tried to shoot Logan over on Clinch Mountain.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trouble in Needmore

The ride down from Foreign Gap was mostly silent. Elmo, leading the way, kept his eyes on the trail ahead, occasionally glancing to one side when a rabbit skittered through the brush. Emmitt was concentrating on keeping his pipe going, and finding it necessary from time to time to give it a whack against the saddle to loosen up the contents. Logan, trailing behind, was lost in thought. The boys knew that Elwood was somewhere in these mountains, but exactly where was something that escaped them for the moment. They hadn't seen Elwood since he bought that new horse that he called Harley. Harley was a fine piece of animal flesh. Logan smiled to himself when he remembered Elwood's reaction that time the boys had gone for three days without grub and Elmo had suggested eating Harley. Course, Elmo nearly died before they got all the buckshot removed, but it was still kind of funny.

When the boys came to the crest of Needmore mountain, they noticed right off that something didn't seem right. Not a soul was moving anywhere on the dusty street. The Needmore Saloon would normally have the sound of laughter and piano music spilling onto the street, but it was quiet as a church. Emmitt noticed that right off, because he once had a job playing piano in that saloon. The old dog, Lucky, that normally slept just outside the door to the general store was nowhere in sight. "This ain't right," Elmo whispered under his breath. "You think so?" replied Emmit sarcastically. That Welch tongue of his was gonna get him in trouble someday. In one motion, the boys dismounted and shouldered their rifles. "Let's just take a stroll down the street and see what's going on," said Logan. "Elmo, how about you going first?" Logan suggested politely.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just In Time

Emmitt left Elmo down by the meandering creek near the falls to guard the tired horses and keep an eye on the well worn trail. Emmitt thought things were way too quiet and wondered what could be causing this unsettled stillness. A chill shivered down his back as he slipped through the scrub brush toward a spot where Logan sometimes camped. Even the frogs had stopped their mournful song and a far away hawk screeched faintly in the silence. Emmitt could feel the cold tension rising when he spotted the fading embers of a campfire near the crooked old oak tree just a few feet in front of him. As he neared the little camp Emmitt spotted Logan slowly rolling to his back holding his trusty rifle in his hands. Then a cold numbing fear gripped Emmitt. For a moment he froze. A lone figure of a man with a rifle pointed at Logan was visible in the faint moonlight. No time to even think. Emmitt drew his pistol an fired. Somehow the bullet hit the silhouetted mans rifle and it flew from his hands into the night. The man fell back into the brush and faded into the darkness. Logan and Emmitt rode back down to the meandering creek near the falls to meet up with Elmo and together they would settle this. Tryin to shoot a Sackett might be seen by some as a big mistake...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Night Sounds

Logan woke with a start. Something had stirred in the darkness beyond the campfire. Logan lay motionless in his bedroll, listening. A chorus of tree frogs were singing down by the creek, their high pitched hum moving up and down as if were coming from a single thing. Suddenly, the tree frogs fell silent. Logan's muscles tensed as he felt for the rifle he kept next to his bedroll. He eased it into his arms; the cold steel felt comforting in his hands. Slowly, he eased to his side and in a single motion rolled away from the firelight and into the bushes. He stared into the darkness. His eyes could make out the top of Clinch Mountain against the dark sky, the moonlight illuminating the treeline. The frogs remained silent. They were waiting too, waiting for whatever was about to happen to get over with so they could resume their song. A faint snap penetrated the darkness; a twig, Logan thought, snapping under the weight of a footstep. That was the only sound. The night wind whispered through the pine trees above Logan's head. Everything else was silent and still. Too still, Logan thought. He peered into the scrub brush for some sign of movement. Nothing. Somewhere in the distance a hawk screeched; so far away that it could barely be heard above the whisper of the wind. Then another sound, a sound Logan knew very well...the click of a rifle hammer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bitin' off more than you can chew...

Logan crept silently along the rocky crag. One slip, one falling stone, would give away his position. Twitter was tied up back at camp, waiting for Logan to return. How did this get so bad, Logan thought. Just this morning he was sitting at the bar at B&B Drug, enjoying a cherry phosphate. That was before. Before the ride down the lonely trail. Before he realized he was being followed by Harold Chew. Before the story somehow switched to third person. Seemed like a lifetime ago, Logan thought. He hadn't had anything to eat since that last cherry phosphate; seemed like his stomach was thinking his throat had been cut. Kind of like what old Davis had done to Grandpappy Sackett. But that was a long time ago too. A thought began to roll over in Logan's mind, one that wouldn't go away. Somehow, Logan began to feel like this trouble with Harold Chew might have something to do with Grandpappy Sackett's dealings with old man Davis. If that's the case, Logan thought, this is gonna end bad. Logan looked out over the dark prairie. Somewhere out there was his brothers. He couldn't help but wish they were here...
Hot On The Trail:

Turns out it was ole Harvey Bates camp. On down the trail the boys spotted the faint glow from a small hat sized fire. As the boys rode on in they saw none other than Edgar Floyd layin up against a rock. Seems ole Edgar had slipped across the mountain to "have coffee" with Maud Carmack but stayed too long and didn't make it back to Sofi before dark. I'm afraid when he gets home he'll have a lot of splanning to do. So the boys rode on into the darkining night. With H.C., Harvey Bates and the Elliots all in the area Elmo and Emmitt were startin to worry some. Logan could handle about anything but things didn't look good with all the hired guns around. The boys still didn't know what Logan did to stir these scruffy faced good fer nothins up but whatever it was they had to find him and find him fast...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Logan's In Trouble:

Emmitt and Elmo rode on toward where they had last saw Logan. That onery Hicks boy had told Elmo that Harold Chew was out to get Logan. HC as they called him had teamed up with them Elliot boys and they were close behind Logan with nothin good on their minds. As Clinch mountain came in sight the Sackett boys spotted a whisp of smoke from a hat sized fire about half way up the mountain. Whatever was in HC's craw meant Logan was in a heap of trouble. HC once shot one of Nine Bowens mules just to see Nine spit. If that was Logan's fire the boys knew HC and the Elliot's could see it too. A slight mist was hanging on the mountain as Emmitt and Elmo eased around the scraggly bushes to within sight off Logan's forlorn camp...