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.