Manipulative Mothers and Dangerous Daughters
I thought Samantha Breecher was going to faint. I steadied her arm and helped her walk back up to the porch.
“Oh a baby!” Exclaimed her mother, “I cannot believe I am a grandmother.” She smiled as she started walking towards the porch.
“You stop right there!” Samantha said in steely voice. “Helen, you can go away. You do not have a grandchild because you do not have a daughter. You gave up that right 11 years ago when you left me and pa!”
“Babygirl,” Helen said sweetly, “You do not understand, it was your father who drove me away. You were just a little girl then, too young to understand.” She kept walking.
Samantha placed Rufus in my arms and marched to stop the forward progress of her mother. The two women stopped a few inches apart. I could see now the resemblance. “You do not get to speak of him like that. He was a good man who treated you well but you couldn’t handle life with us. I am not too young to remember.”
“Do not speak to your mother like that!” Betty Abbott said as she took a step towards Helen and Samantha.
“Betty, you take another step and I will put a bullet in you and plant a gun on your dead corpse and call it self-defense,” I said, stopping her in her tracks.
“Helen,” Sam said with gritted teeth, “Get out of here and never come back. I am the town doctor and I don’t want to have to patch you up after laying my fists on you.” Sam turned around to walk back and Helen put a hand on her shoulder. The young blonde woman whipped around and slammed a left fist into her mother’s cheek. Helen’s arm flailed as she fell back into Betty Abbott, who caught her.
Samantha did not look back as she walked to the porch and into the house. I handed her Rufus and shut the door behind us. She set the baby down in the crib and walked out to the parlor. She was shaking.
“Oh god, Ahna,” Sam said as she collapsed into my arms. “Why of all times in my life has she returned?”
“I am so sorry this has happened,” I said as I held her and stroked her blonde hair.
“You have been more of a mother to me than she ever was,” Sam sad as she cried.
“Don’t fret, Sam,” I consoled her, “We will sort this all out. When is Mathias coming back?”
“In a day or two,” Samantha answered as we pulled apart and she wiped her eyes, “He is riding with Danny Fog of the Texas Rangers. They are tracking a group of train robbers.”
There was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” Sam called as she straightened herself.
The door opened and a young Army Lieutenant walked in. “Good afternoon, Ma’am. My name is Howard Trapper. I am the medical officer for this detachment.”
The young man was handsome, standing well over six feet with curly black hair and warm smile.
“What can I do for you, Lieutenant?” Samantha asked.
“Ma’am, I do hate that I must give you this,” Howard said as he handed over a piece of paper.
Sam took it, reading it and passing it to me to read.
I looked up at him, “So you are to be posted here? At the doctor’s residence?” My eyes narrowed.
“I do apologize,” Howard said looking down, “The major has posted several junior officers in town. I do not want to intrude at all. With you permission, I would like to assist you in your medical practice. I will seek room and board at another place.”
I softened at him, “If you don’t mind a whore house, I can get you a room, free of charge, Lieutenant.”
He laughed, “I believe I have quartered in worse conditions. Please call me Howard.”
Sam chuckled, “What is your experience, Howard?”
“I graduated from West Point two years ago, studied under William Sharp,” he said.
“I have one of Colonel Sharp’s journals,” Samantha smiled, “He and my father were both surgeons during the war. Howard, I would be grateful to have another set of hands to assist here.”
“Thank you, Dr. Breecher,” Howard said smiling.
I looked at the young man, “Howard, why is the major posting the young Lieutenants here and not more experienced soldiers.”
“I am not sure, Ma’am,” he said, “Pretty much all of us are new and were transferred from General Wainwright’s staff. Most of those at the fort have been with Major Brogue for a while.”
“A very curious decision by Major Brogue, don’t you think?” I asked.
“Ma’am, I am still relatively new to the Army, but yes, it does seem odd,” Howard answered.
I looked from Samantha to Howard, “Lieutenant, can you take lead today here? I would like to take Samantha and her baby to my ranch.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he said enthusiastically, “I would be happy to.”
I took Sam and Rufus back to the ranch in the wagon. We rode up as the hands and Rosalina were preparing for supper. Micah Ten Bears and Rudy White Owl took an immediate shine to Rufus. I smiled as the rough hands played like kids on the grass with the baby. Sam seemed to relax and we did not talk about the events in town. Rosalina could sense there was something wrong. She brought out some sage and burned it. She waved the smoke over Samantha, murmuring in her native tongue. Sam closed her eyes and seemed to relax. After dinner and when Rufus fell asleep, Sam joined me on the porch.
“How are you feeling?” I asked, leaning against the railing.
“I am better,” she answered, “I just never imagined I would ever see her again. I hate what she did to my Pa and me.”
“Well, I think she knows now,” I said with a half-smile.
Samantha flexed the fingers of her left hand, “I swear, Ahna. I did not want to stop with the one punch.”
I looked out into the star filled night. “Sam, the way our lives go, I think you and Helen will be meeting sooner rather than later.”
She shook her head. “I know. A small part of me thinks it will end badly. However, the larger part does not care.” She reached over and squeezed my hand before walking back into the house.
The next morning, Samantha introduced Rufus to some of the horses. He cooed and giggled as the Appaloosa sniffed him. Bill Iron Buffalo, who never smiled, had a wide grin on his face watching the baby interact with the horse. His head snapped to face the dirt road leading to the ranch. My eyes followed to see a wagon riding fast towards us. I ran out with Rudy joining Bill and I. It was Doris Burns in the driver’s seat.
She pulled hard on the reigns bringing the horse to a stop. “Ahna! Please help me; they are going to hang him!”
“Doris, catch your breath,” I said as I helped her down, “Who are they going to hang?”
“They are going to hang Harold!” She cried out. “He was only protecting Alice!”
I turned, “Bill, Rudy, rifles and the 8 gauge. Mount up and get ready to ride. Sam, can you leave Rufus with Rosalina?”
“Already thinking the same,” Sam said as she raced to hand her baby off to Rosalina.
“Ring the bell and bring the boys back in,” I said to Rosalina, “If things go bad, ride for Big Springs.”
“Just go, Ahna,” Rosa said.
I jumped up and took the reigns as Doris and Samantha joined me in the wagon, “Tell me what happened.”
She was sobbing as we rode towards town, “Alice did not come home last night. Harold and I went looking for her. We found her in the livery. They…. They were having their way with her….,” she said breaking into sobs.
Rage boiled up in me, “Who was doing this?”
“Some soldiers were,” she looked at me, “They cut her; they cut my little girls face. Harold pulled the man off her. The solder fell onto a pitchfork and was badly hurt. The other soldiers grabbed Harold and led him away. That major came into town telling Mr. Mathews to erect a scaffold for a hanging! I can’t lose him Ahna!”
“You won’t lose him!” I said as I whipped the reigns hard.
We rode fast into town with a few people having to rush out of the way. I pulled hard to get the horse to stop in front of the Gem. Levi, Deanna and Jeb were watching the makeshift scaffold being built. I hopped down as Levi came to me.
“Before you start,” he said holding up his right hand, “There is nothing I can do.”
“Bullshit, Levi,” I said glaring at him. “You are basically the mayor of this town. Your nephew is the marshal who has no idea about the law. If you won’t do anything, then I will.”
Before he could answer, I wheeled around and marched down the street to where Major Joshua Brogue was standing. I glance up and saw Rudy and Bill on rooftops overlooking the area where the major was standing.
Major Brogue noticed me and smiled, “Have you come to watch a good old fashioned hanging?”
“No, you horses ass,” I growled, “I am here to stop it.”
He laughed, “I do not think I have ever been spoken to like that. No, my dear, you will not be stopping it. I have the authority by the President of the United States.”
“You have cow shit!” I countered as his smile faltered, “We are not in a declared time of war with anyone, including the Apache or the Comanche. Harold Burns has the right to trial by a judge, not the damn Army.”
Hank Campbell walked up next to me, “I was a lawyer here in Texas before I became a rancher. She is correct, you, Major Brogue, have no authority to hang a civilian without a declaration of war from the President or Congress. You do have the right to hang those soldiers who defiled young Alice Burns. Now if they will be the ones you are hanging today, then Mrs. Stevens and I will be in the front of the crowd to watch.”
I smiled at Hank. “You could always give the soldiers to me. I will make sure that they will never be able to harm anyone that way again.”
“That man injured one of my men!” Brogue shouted at us, his big frame loomed over Hank and I but neither of us backed down.
“Then have the marshal charge him and the judge will hear the case,” Hank said, folding his arms. “I can have Federal Judge William H. Laudamill here in a day or two.”
Brogue glared at us, “Release him,” he said to the gruff looking sergeant next to him, “And bring Private Ferguson back to the fort.”
“Before you go, Major,” I said, “When you saw me returning from Big Springs yesterday. I was sending a telegram to friends in the New Mexico territory to inform General Wainwright what is going on here.”
The color drained from Brogue’s face. His left eye twitched as he turned and walked to his horse with his soldiers following. He and the contingent riding with him stopped by Levi, Deanna and Jeb.
“Your busy body townsfolk will get this agreement between us broken, Mathews,” Brogue said out of earshot of all except the three Mathews family members. “That bitch sent word to the General, and if he comes, I will be arrested and court martialed and not be able to help you get what you want.”
“She is spirited and she is wily,” Levi said quietly back. “Campbell on the other hand is not a protected as she is. If it happens soon, I can make sure you have a stake here once your time with the Army is finished.”
“You better live up to your end of this bargain,” Brogue snarled, “Or you will be the one swinging next to your sister and nephew.” He heeled his horse and rode off.
Deanna turned to her brother, “Leave Ahna to me. She will be cowed into submission or she will be dead. But I will require the services of your daughter, Willamina.” She turned towards the young Comanche woman standing just inside the bat wing doors of the Gem.
“I agree,” Levi said, “She has proven herself time and again. She knows that Persephone is the heir apparent to you. She knows her place.” Jeb started walking to disperse the crowd gathered around the unfinished scaffold. “Dear sister, I have noticed that young John, your daughter’s husband, has visited your home many times recently. Is there something I should know?” He asked with a cocked eyebrow.
“She has a sadness from the birth and young John has needs that are required to be filled,” Deanna said with a wicked smile. “Remember that Mother also slept with the only man I ever loved.”
“Yes she did,” Levi said smiling, “Our dear mother spent many nights in my bed.”
“It gave me fuel whenever I fought her,” Deanna said, “If Persephone finds out, she will have that same fire with me.”
“And I require to hear every detail, dear sister,” Levi said as his smile matched that of his sister.
Samantha finished stitching the long wound on the right side of Alice Burns face. The young girl was crying more from shame than from pain. Harold had come into the office and held his wife as she sobbed.
Sam turned to Alice and held her chin, “You are a survivor, know that. Embrace it and let it steel your resolve. It will take time. If ever you feel like you want to talk, my door is always open to you.”
The young woman nodded.
Sam turned to Alice’s parents, “You need to keep the wound clean. I will give you a bottle of ointment to rub over it in the morning when she gets up and in the evening before she goes to sleep. It does not smell good and do not ask what is in it, but it will help with the healing.” Harold and Doris nodded, thanking Samantha as they walked out.
“What is in it?” Howard Trapper asked as he walked into the room.
“Yarrow, sage, and cow urine,” Sam said, “It is a Comanche recipe but it works.”
“Well that does account for the smell,” Howard smiled.
“Is that pig’s ass gone?” Samantha asked, referring to the soldier, Private Ferguson.
Lieutenant Trapper nodded, “The wounds were superficial. He is a winey turd who deserved to have his manhood removed for what he did.”
“I could not agree more,” Sam said as she washed her hands. “Howard, I was told to tell you that Kat’s Ranch as a room for you. Ask for Anna Gonzales and she will set you right.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Howard said, “Please thank Mrs. Stevens as well.” He gathered his belongings and walked out through the front door.
Samantha started cleaning up in the room for the patients when she heard the door open. “I will be out momentarily,” she called out from the back room. She wiped her hands and walked out, stopping dead in her tracks. “Get out.”
Helen Cartwright stood in the parlor, “Not until you understand.”
“I have nothing to understand, I know,” Samantha said as her eyes narrowed. “You left us.”
“It was your father who drove me away,” Helen said evenly, “Him and that life he wanted. A life on a farm. It ruined me. When he pushed me away, I had to sell my body to eat and sleep. I had to steal. All because of him! Now I have found you again, my wonderful daughter. And I have a grandson and will be a wonderful grandmother to him. What did you name the baby?” She was gleeful in a way Sam had only seen with people that were not right in the head.
“Do not blame my father for the choices you made, Helen,” Sam said in a loud voice, “You will never see Rufus! You will never be a part of his life.”
Helen’s face soured at the mention of her former husband’s name, “You named him after that weak old man?”
“You whore!” Samantha said as her right hands swung and slapped her mother across the face.
Helen held her cheek as her eyes bore into her daughter. “That is twice I allowed you to strike me. Never again. Where is the baby?” Her voice was demanding.
“Where you will never see him!” Sam stepped forward so she was almost nose-to-nose with her mother.
Samantha Cartwright had inherited her curvy body from her mother. However, since the birth and breast-feeding, her chest swelled.
“You will bring him to his grandmother,” Helen said as her gaze narrowed. “He needs his grandmother. And he needs a new name.”
“YOU BITCH!” Samantha yelled as she slapped Helen again.
“I told you!” Helen growled and she slapped Samantha back across the face.
The two blondes screamed as they grabbed handfuls of hair and began to pull each other around the parlor. They bumped into walls, knocking down pictures and paintings. Helen pushed hard as she forced her daughter back onto the small couch. The two women, Sam in a red button up blouse and grey skirt and her mother, Helen in a green and blue off the shoulder dress, struggled on the couch. Sam’s booted heel caught the bottom of Helen’s dress and both could hear the sound of ripping fabric. Sam pushed her mother off and launched herself from the couch, tackling Helen around the waist, depositing them on the hard wood floor. Hands went back to hair as the skirted legs tried to latch together as they rolled on the floor. As they rolled, hands left hair to slap and pull at clothing. Samantha tore the right shoulder of Helen’s dress, exposing more of her large breasts.
“If it is a whore fight you want, daughter,” Helen raged, “I will give it to you! I have spent years fighting whores and women, whose men I have lain with. You can’t win!” Her hands pulled on Sam’s blouse.
The blouse tore open as Sam pulled the rest of her mother’s dress down. Helen let her daughter roll on top and then shoved her off. The two got to hands and knees with large bosoms dangling.
“My, my how you have grown,” Helen taunted.
“You are a sick woman!” Sam exclaimed, lunging to meet her mother.
The crash of bare breasts sent a sickening feeling through Samantha but it was different for her mother. For the last 11 years, Helen had been exposed to every depraved act known to man. She relished in them. Even yesterday, after her daughter had punched her, she and Betty Abbott talked at length of a nasty fight between the mother and daughter. Helen’s hands slid down her daughter’s back to grab and pull on the back clasp of the skirt.
Sam felt the tugging, “What are you doing, you sick bitch!”
“I am going to make you feel every pain, every shame I have felt over the years, daddy’s whore!” Helen screamed at her offspring.
The large orbs banged together as Sam grasped her mother’s dress and began to tug it down. Seams split as the clothing tore away. The mother and daughter fell away in only their pantaloons. Sam leapt from her kneeling position and came down on top of her mother. The large tits compressed as they both groaned. Helen could feel wetness in between them.
She cackled with laughter. “I will milk you dry, little bitch. There are girls at my camp that can feed my grandson!” She reached in between them and grasped the milk-filled breasts.
Samantha screamed in pain and rage. Her mother’s heavy tits were the targets her hands sought. The two women knelt in the parlor of the doctor’s office, ravaging the breasts. Sam’s let down, spraying Helen’s chest with milk. The hands started to slip and the two slammed together in a bear hug, falling to the floor. The wooden surface was slick with the milk coming from the younger woman’s breasts. They slid and rolled as pantaloons were soaked to the skin. Blond hair was torn out in clumps as Helen rolled on top, separating her chest from her daughter’s and sending it down in a sickening smack of flesh on flesh. Sam cried out, but had the sense to reach up with her hands to rake her short nails over her mother’s face.
“AAAAHHHH!” Helen roared and rolled off, temporarily blinded.
Samantha sobbed as she rolled to her side, cupping her breasts that were still spilling milk. She got to her knees and saw Helen rise, scratch marks going from her mother’s forehead down to her chin.
The locked front door shook as someone was trying to enter.
“Samantha!” Mathias Breecher called out.
“Mathias! Help!” Sam screamed.
Helen looked wide-eyed at her daughter. “I will have him!” She said as she stumbled towards the back of the house and the door leading out.
Mathias broke the glass and reached in to unlock the door. He rushed in to find his wife, half-naked, bruised, scratched and leaking from her breasts. “Dear God! What happened?”
Sam told him of the two encounters with her mother as he bathed her and cleaned her up. He kissed her softly on the lips.
Anna Gonzales and Jennifer Dumont walked down the street towards the Burns home.
“Jennifer, you don’t have to do this,” Anna said, “I can take care of it.”
“My love, it is my responsibility,” Jennifer said as they came to the front door. “Just having you next to me, gives me strength.” She knocked.
Doris Burns answered the door. She knew of the two women who ran Kat’s Ranch however, until this day, she had never spoken with them. Respectable women do not talk with ones who run a whorehouse.
“Mrs. Burns,” Jennifer said in a shaky voice, “I want to give you all this.” She handed over a small lockbox.
“What is this?” Doris asked.
“The other night, two of the soldiers who hurt Alice were in my place,” Jennifer said. “They got upset and….”
“We threw them out,” Anna added, “After I gave one a really good hit on the head.”
“I …. Just feel a little responsible for them all riled up like,” Jennifer stated as tears formed in her eyes, “I know what Alice has gone through. Every working girl has had those type of men before. But she didn’t choose the profession like we did. This is all the money I won off them boys. Please forgive me.”
Doris stood there, looking at the box. Tears began to run down her cheeks and then she did something she would have never thought before. She grabbed both Jennifer and Anna in a fierce embrace as she started to cry. The three women hugged in the doorway of the Burns residence for several minutes.
“Gosh, where are my manners,” Doris said, breaking the hug, “Please come in.”
“We do not want to intrude, Mrs. Burns,” Jennifer said wiping her eyes.
“Oh nonsense,” Doris said, “I just hugged two women who run a brothel and the good lord did not strike me down. Get your young asses in here.”
Anna let out a belly laugh, “Yes, Ma’am!”
The women chatted for much of the afternoon with Alice and Jennifer talking quietly for some time. As Anna and Jennifer got up to leave, Anna turned to Alice.
“If you ever need anything, you send word for me,” Anna said. “I am not afraid of any man or woman. Except maybe Ahna Stevens.”
“We have never felt so much kindness in this town before,” Doris said as shook her head.
“Mrs. Burns, Ahna has a way of bringing in lost souls to become family,” Anna said, “She did with me. She had every right to see me hang for who I once was but she saw different.”
Jennifer smiled, “And now Alice as a few older sisters who will be looking out for her, even if they are a whore and gunslinger.”
Alice laughed loudly which startled her mother. Alice was smiling for the first time since it happened.
“I do not care what you do or who you are,” Doris said, “You are always welcome here.”
The women bid their farewells.
Later that night, Mathias rode to the ranch to collect Rufus. He told me what had occurred between Sam and Helen. My fists clenched.
“Ahna,” Mathias spoke softly to me, “Samantha was adamant about you not interfering. In fact, she was adamant about me not interfering either. She said she would handle Helen herself. I am both frightened and excited by my wife.”
I snorted with laughter. “You have a good woman, Breecher. I would ask one favor of you.”
“Anything, you know that,” he said as he cradled Rufus.
“Get word to some of the Texas Rangers who are not swayed by the Mathews clan or this contingent of soldiers,” I said. “There is a fight coming, I can feel it in my bones.” He nodded and trotted off back to Rattler’s Holler with his son.
I awoke early the next day and dressed for a day at the ranch. A new set of brown dungaree pants fit comfortably over my hips and legs. My well-worn brown leather boots slid up my feet and calves. I chose a dark green button shirt and started to roll the sleeves up as I knew it was going to be hot today. I tied my long red hair into a ponytail with a buckskin tie. I pulled my gun belt off the peg in my room. Both Colt Lightening’s were cleaned and well maintained. The bowie knife sat in the scabbard at the back of the belt. I walked into the kitchen as Rosalina handed me a cup of coffee and pointed at a chair.
“I am not that hungry, Rosa,” I protested as I looked down at the eggs and fried bacon on a plate.
Her flat gaze caused me to sit. “Eat, you will need it. You have two canteens filled with water. The creek has good water. Drink today. It will be hot.”
My stomach rumbled. I dug into the food. I guess I was hungry after all. I finished the food and walked out. I walked out as Jed Ten Bears got off his horse. He looked sour.
“What is it?” I asked.
“The fence west of where our horses graze was broken down,” he said, “By my count we are missing a dozen ponies.”
“What is west of where our horses graze? I asked, knowing the answer.
“The fort,” Jed said as he spit on the ground.
“Jed, you come with me,” I said, “Tell Micah and Rudy to fix the fence and have Bill bring the rest of the horses back to the corral.” Jed nodded.
Jed and I rode to town first. We stopped at the Breecher home first. I walked in as Mathias and Howard were conversing. Sam walked out with Rufus on her hip.
“Samantha, may I borrow your husband for a few hours?” I asked.
“Promise to bring him back,” Sam smiled.
“I do,” I said, “He likes blondes for some apparent reason so I couldn’t keep him.” The men all turned their heads from me to Sam.
“Oh if the boys weren’t around, Ahna Stevens,” Sam said in a mock scowl. She and I laughed, as the boys looked bewildered.
As Jed, Mathias and walked out to our horses, a group of riders headed out south from town. Harold Burns ran up to me.
“What is happening, Harold?” I asked as the older man bent over to catch his breath.
“The Campbell place has been attacked by Comanches,” he wheezed out.
Mathias and I traded a look as Jed shook his head. We rode off south.
We arrived at the Campbell property 15 minutes later. As we were riding up, I could see smoke rising. The house, barn and silo were smoldering ashes. At least ten bodies lay on the dirt, stripped naked and torn into like animals attacked them. Livestock lay dead in the pasture. Town Marshal Jeb Mathews and Major Joshua Brogue talked as we rode up.
“Fitting that you bring a heathen here,” Brogue sneered, “Look upon this, boy! This is what your people do!”
“It was not Comanche or any tribe for that matter,” Jed said cooly.
“And why the hell is it not Indians? Only savages could have done this!” Marshal Mathews inquired.
“Because the Comanche travel in a single file line to hide their numbers,” Jed said as he pointed to the area where many hoof prints covered the ground. “This was a group of horses in formation. Like a cavalry unit. But most of all, in any incursion by the Comanche, Apache, Sioux, Cheyanne or Pawnee, when have they over killed livestock for sport. They have always taken it for their people.”
“That is an interesting theory from a savage himself,” Brogue said as his men laughed.
“Oh do shut up, you sorry sack of shit,” I said to the major. “You call yourselves Indian hunters and killers. If you could not figure out this was the work of white men, then you are a liar too.”
“If you were not a woman,” Brogue seethed in anger, “We would drawing steel now.”
“She is more of a man then you will ever be,” Mathias chimed in.
“And who the fuck are you?” Brogue shouted.
Mathias moved the left side of his coat aside to show him the badge, “I am Deputy US Marshal Mathias Breecher. You, Major, have no jurisdiction here. You will be accompanying myself and these two people back to your fort to look for 12 ponies stolen from her property. Your writ, as you have flaunted around, does not call for the confiscation of horses. Horse thievery is a capital crime here in Texas.”
“Bring a warrant, Marshal,” Brogue smiled. “Then and only then will I allow you to inspect my horses.” He lifted his arm and whirled it once, as he and the soldiers with him rode off.
“What the hell do you think you are doing?” Jeb Mathews said angrily.
“You tell your Uncle he is playing a dangerous game,” I said as I rode up close to Jeb. He did not have a poker face like Jennifer did.
“I don’t know what you mean,” he said definitely.
“Yes, you do. Now go and tell him,” I said, “And tell him, I will be ready.”
I looked at Mathias, “Best get back to town and try to secure your warrant. Jed and I are going to look around here some.”
“Ahna, be careful,” Mathias said, “Oh and about your request, they will be here in a few days’ time.”
I smiled, “Thank you. And kiss you wife and son for me.” He nodded and rode off.
“This was a very poor attempt to make it look like natives did this,” Jed said as he picked up an arrow shaft. “These have Pawnee markings. Most likely they were taken from the Black Hills, not from anyone down here.”
I kicked aside some of the burned wood and my boot hit something metal. I bent down to clear the debris away. My hands picked up a metal lock box. I pulled the bowie knife from the scabbard at my back and jimmied the box open.
“Well look at this,” I said as I held up the will and deed for the Campbell ranch. “Jed, you and I are headed to Big Springs to find, Calvin J. Rockwell, Esq.”
“Who is that?” Jed asked as he came over by me.
“That is Hank Campbell’s lawyer,” I said. “If anyone had plans for this property, they will be very sore at what I found.”
Marshal Mathews walked into the Gem Hotel behind Major Brogue. Levi waved both to chairs around the table he was sharing with Deanna.
“Trevor,” Levi said over his shoulder, “Some privacy please.”
“Yes, Sir,” the barman said as he walked into the backroom.
“I regret to inform you that Hank Campbell, his wife and ranch hands were massacred by Indians,” Major Brogue said with a smile. Jeb gave his uncle a look.
“Well, Major,” Levi said. He smiled at Jeb to acknowledge his nephew’s look, “So everything ran smoothly.”
Joshua Brogue’s smile faded, “Well, not entirely. The Stevens bitch came up with one of her heathen hands and a US Marshal before Jeb and I could search for anything important.”
Deanna turned to face Brogue, “So you are at square one again?”
“Listen, woman,” the Major said angrily, “You never told me that a sworn US Marshal lived in town. That type of information would have been nice to have.”
“I cannot secure the land for you without having all of Campbell’s documents,” Levi said evenly. “If you had procured them, I could have his will changed rather quickly, leaving his property for the town. Which in turn I would give to you.”
Brogue slammed his fist on the table, “You promised me, Mathews!”
“No, Joshua,” Deanna said, “My brother promised you land once both the Campbell and Stevens properties were in the town’s grasp. Those have not been completed. Live up to your end, Major.”
Major Brogue stood up quickly knocking the chair he was sitting in over, “If this goes sour, I will not be the only one taking a swinging in the wind.” He stomped out.
Levi looked to his nephew, “Jeb, go out to the Campbell property again. This time under the color of law and search for any papers or documents.”
“Yes Sir,” the marshal said as he left.
Levi breathed out, “This partnership was ill planned. I do apologize for that, my dear sister.”
Deanna stroked her brother’s cheek, “No apologies are need, sweet brother. I do believe that Willamina will need to be used differently.”
“How so?” Levi asked.
“I suggest that she seduce and kill Major Joshua Brogue,” Deanna said quietly. “I do not want to put her in danger but he is becoming a liability.”
“I understand,” Levi sighed. “Do as you see fit.”
Jeb Mathews walked into the small town marshal’s office to find his cousin, Persephone waiting for him with her baby, Miriam on her hip.
“Good day, Persephone,” Jeb said closing the door, “What is the reason for your visit?”
“I want you to kill my husband,” she said.
Jeb’s eyes went wide, “What in the hell for?”
“Jeb,” Persephone replied as she walked closer to her cousin, “You are a beautiful man but are dimwitted. John and my mother are fucking. I will not have that. His loyalty to me is gone. I want you to take him out with you somewhere, find a reason, and shoot him dead.”
“I…I … can’t do that,” Jeb stuttered.
She walked closer and moved her right hand to brush against the front of his trousers. “You can and you will. And after it is complete, I will give you what you have longed for.” She gave his manhood a squeeze and raised her hand to cup her large breast. “Make it look good and then take him to the doc, feigning sorrow and anger. I will take care of the rest. And you will not tell my mother or Uncle Levi. Do you understand?”
Jeb nodded in a delirious haze. Persephone smiled and walked out of the marshal’s office. She went down the street and greeted her mother, who was walking out of the Gem.
“Hello, my dear,” Deanna said in greeting, “You look much better today.”
“Oh I feel much better, mother,” Persephone answered. She passed Miriam to her mother. “I think your granddaughter needs some attention.”
Deanna held the child up and laughed with the baby. “You do not know how happy I am that you had a daughter. I do pray that John will give you more babies.”
“I do hope the same,” smiled her daughter. “And speak of the devil!” Persephone waved John Morgan over for a kiss.
“My love,” he said, “You look like a new woman. I am glad your melancholy has gone.”
“Oh it has,” the young redhead said, “Look at this, the members of my family that I truly adore.”
Jeb rode up to the Gem, “John, I need your help today. Can you ride with me?”
“Of course,” John replied, “Let me saddle my horse and I will ride with you.”
“Jeb, dear cousin,” Persephone said sweetly, “Please do not keep my husband too long.”
“Of course not,” Jeb smiled, “I will return him safely to you this afternoon.”
Deanna looked on with her daughter as the two men rode off to the south of town. “Mother, if you will excuse me, I believe I need to feed Miriam and put her down for a nap.”
“Of course, honey,” Deanna said handing the baby back, “If you are feeling up to it, call on me later. There is much to discuss.”
“I do believe there is,” Persephone answered as she walked to her house with her baby.
Deanna walked back into the Gem and up the staircase. She paused at a door and knocked. Willamina Mathews, the adopted Comanche daughter of Levi, answered the door.
“May I come in to speak with you?” Deanna asked.
“Of course, Ma’am,” Willamina said as she stepped aside to let her aunt pass. She closed the door behind her. The two woman sat facing the other.
Nineteen years prior, Levi, Deanna and Sarah brought Willamina into their lives to grow up with Jeb and Persephone. Levi had told her from a young age that he found her abandoned in a Comanche camp that had been razed by the Army, killing her Comanche father and mother. In truth, after Levi had shot Willa’s father in the back, Deanna and her sister Sarah, had fought Willa’s mother in a grueling catfight to the death. The baby was the prize. What the Mathews siblings did not know is Willa was present as Sarah and Deanna’s fatal fight a few years later. Her dreams growing up were plagued with images of the two redheaded sisters clawing and biting in vicious combat.
“Your father and I have a job for you, my dear,” Deanna said as she looked at Willa. “The army man, Joshua Brogue needs to die. I would like you to appeal to his need to dominate natives and coax him into taking you roughly. I want you to kill him. I know you are well versed in both the act of sex and the act of death.”
The young woman nodded.
“It will be dangerous,” Deanna went on, “But you have proven yourself time and again in some very precocious situations. I trust you will fulfill this as well.”
Again, Willa nodded. “I will do so right away.”
“Thank you, my dear,” Deanna said, “I knew I could count on you.”
In Big Springs, Jed and I walked into the office of Campbell and Rockwell Law. A balding man in his late 50’s sat at a desk writing. As we came in, he looked up.
“How may I help you, Ma’am?” He asked.
“Are you Calvin Rockwell?” I asked back.
“I am and you have me at a disadvantage,” Calvin said, “May I ask your name and how you came by mine?”
“My name is Ahna Stevens,” I said, “I am a rancher in Rattler’s Holler who knew your client, Hank Campbell.”
His head dipped, “I take by the use of past tense that Henry is no longer with us.” He waved for me to sit.
“I am sorry to be the one to give you the news,” I said as I sat down opposite Calvin.
“Henry was a good man and a better friend,” Calvin reminisced. “How may I be of service to you?”
“I found these and want to ascertain their authenticity,” I said as I passed the documents across the table.
“They are accurate,” he stated right away. “I should know, I drew them up. I have certified copies here.”
“I did not read the will but whoever he left his land to will want to learn of it soon,” I said, “There are parties who would jump at the chance to take it.”
“Henry or Hank as you knew him, and his lovely wife, Josephine, had ten children,” Calvin said, “But due to disease, hard lives or even unfortunate circumstances, only one survived. Ella Campbell is in her early thirties, I believe, and lives in Amarillo. She runs a home for wayward women there. I will have the telegram sent out today.”
“Will you please have her call on me before she goes to Rattler’s Holler?” I asked, “It would be best since the parties I mentioned earlier are aggressive in their tactics.”
“I will Ms. Stevens,” Calvin said, “I do thank you for bringing word to me and helping to secure Henry’s estate.”
Jed Ten Bears and I rode back to the ranch.
Later that night, Samantha and Mathias had just put Rufus down when shouts came from outside.
“DOC! DOC! Come quick!” A man’s voice boomed.
Both ran out of the home to the street. Marshal Jeb Mathews was holding his upper arm as blood seeped down. Laid over the horse next to him was the body of John Morgan.
“What happened?” Mathias asked as Sam checked the body.
“We were out south of the Campbell place when we were shot at from a treeline! I got hit and then I saw John fall,” Jeb said in a manic voice. “Oh god, what will I tell his wife!”
A few of the town’s people gathered around. Samantha pointed at two men, “Take him off the horse and bring him in.” The men gently removed the body off the back of the horse.
Samantha had them place John Morgan on the examination table. She heard a commotion and walked out to the parlor, closing the door behind her. In the parlor was a wailing Persephone Morgan being held by her mother, Deanna.
“Where is my husband?” She cried out.
“Mrs. Morgan,” Sam said in a calming voice. “You do not want to see him like this. It will haunt you. Let me set him right and I will send for you.”
“The doc is right, my dear,” Deanna said as she smoothed her daughter’s red hair. “You want to remember him in the best way.”
Jeb Mathews came in, followed my Howard Trapper and Mathias. “Persephone, I am so sorry. There weren’t anything I could have done.”
Persephone cried harder as Deanna glared at her nephew.
“Marshal, please follow me and I will clean your wound,” Howard said leading Jeb away from the women.
“Ms. Mathews, please take your daughter home to rest,” Sam said, “I will send word when he is ready.”
“Thank you, Dr. Breecher,” Persephone managed to weakly say.
Howard finished cleaning the wound on Jeb and gave him some laudanum for the pain. After Jeb left, the young Lieutenant walked into the main exam room to see Sam and Mathias turn the body over.
“He was shot in the back,” Sam said as she moved around the body. “The bullet is lodged in the body since I did not see an exit wound.” She felt around the body with her hands. “I think I found it. Howard, can you and Mathias turn him back over?”
The men did as she asked. Samantha took sharp, thin bladed knife and made an insition under the right side of the ribcage. She inserted her fingers, felt around and pulled a round ball of lead out. She placed in a tin cup.
“Does that look like that came from a rifle?” Sam asked as Mathias shook his head.
“What does that mean?” Howard asked.
“Did you see anything odd about the wound you cleaned on the marshal?” Mathias asked as Sam was thinking the same.
“Actually there was,” Howard said, recognition washing over him. “There were small powder burns on the shirt and skin of his upper arm.”
“Like if you extend your right arm out with a pistol, turn it and fire at your other arm?” Mathias asked.
“Yes,” Howard replied, as he had to sit down. “This man was murdered.”
“Is there anything you can do?” Sam asked her husband.
“To accuse a sitting town marshal is no easy thing,” Mathias sighed. “I have seen cases with more evidence then this thrown out of court. What happens if you tell the wife what you think?”
“Could lead to more pain for her,” Sam mused. “Maybe I will pull her mother aside. But hell, the marshal is her nephew!”
“There is no easy way about this,” Mathias said as he put an arm around his wife. “Howard, do not say anything right now. This has to stay here.”
The young Army office nodded his head in agreement.
Samantha spent much of the early morning cleaning the body with Howard’s help. She made sure the body was presentable for when she called on Persephone Morgan. Deanna and her daughter both wore black dresses as they entered the room. The wife had tears in her eyes as she gazed upon her dead husband. She nodded to her mother and left the room.
“I will have the undertaker over in a little while to gather him,” Deanna said with a look of sadness on her face.
Samantha Breecher nodded to Howard, who left the room. “May I have a word with you, Ms. Mathews?”
“Of course,” Deanna said.
“The circumstances of John’s death are not the same as what Jeb Mathews has said,” Samantha stated.
“What do you mean?” Deanna asked as her eyes went to the body.
“John was not shot with a rifle but with a pistol,” Sam answered as she passed over the lead ball.
“No, no,” Deanna protested, “That is not possible. There is some other explanation.” She handed back the lead ball to Samantha. “If you will excuse me, I have to attend to my daughter.” Deanna left and hurried down the street to her daughter’s home.
Persephone was sipping tea as her mother walked in.
“What have you done?” Deanna accused as she locked the door behind her.
The look Persephone gave her mother, made Deanna’s skin prickle. “I did what had to be done,” she answered as she continued to sip her tea.
“But why?” Her mother asked.
“Because of you, mother!” The young redhead said, “Because you were fucking him! You caused this! You are to blame!”
“You dumb cunt!” Deanna swore down at her daughter with Persephone smiling back at her. “The doctor and most likely her US Marshal husband know what really happened. You used your idiot cousin to do it. God child, if you really wanted him dead I could have provided Oleander to poison him.”
The smile went away from the young woman’s face. “So Dr. Samantha Breecher knows. I will deal with her. Not you, not ever you again. And when I am done with the good doctor, I will deal with you as well.”
“I will be waiting,” Deanna Mathews looked hard at her offspring, “Because if you come with an ounce less than your all, Miriam will be an orphan.”
“Get out, whore!” Persephone Mathews said as she stood. The pressed heavy breasts together as the cleavage pushed up in their black dresses. “You will be getting yours very soon.” The elder Mathews woman turned and walked out of the house.
Inside Kat’s Ranch, Jennifer Dumont leaned back and smiled as she looked around the crowded saloon. She bit the end of a small cigar and struck a match on the table in front her. She let the plume of smoke rise from her lips. She looked over to Sabrina and Lizy in the laps of some very horny ranch hands.
“Spend your hard earned money here, boys,” she said quietly to herself. The chair next to her was pulled out.
“May I join you?” Came a woman’s voice.
Jennifer looked up to see Karen Dempsey looming over her. “Please do, Ms. Dempsey.” For the past year, the two brothels had steered clear of the other with only a few catfights between the working girls. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“You and I need to come to an agreement on prices and what the girls earn,” Karen said as she leaned forward, showing her massive cleavage to Jennifer. “You are taking away from my livelihood by your prices for booze and cunt. And your girls are keeping more of the money than mine.”
“Then let your girls keep more money,” Jennifer said blowing out more cigar smoke, “Honey, even with the prices lower than yours, I am making a profit.”
“At my expense,” Karen said sharply. “This won’t do. This won’t do at all.”
“I am not going to raise the cost of cunt or alcohol just to appease you, Karen,” Jennifer said as she leaned towards the other madam. “If you can’t hack it, close. I would gladly have any of your girls come over here to work.”
“You little bitch!” Karen said, “I am not going to have some upstart cunt-licker run me out of town. Go back to fucking your Mexi-whore!”
Karen’s head whipped around fast as she tumbled to the floor on her shapely ass. The crowded bar went silent.
Jennifer stood over the older madam, “If you ever insult her again, I will beat seven shades of shit out of you! Get up and get out! If you come back again, be prepared for a fight!”
Karen’s vision was still swimming as she stumbled out the bat wing doors. Eva Savant walked up to her.
“Are you alright, Ma’am?” Eva asked as held Karen up.
“Let me go damnit!” Karen growled, as she pulled free and stomped down the street towards Deanna Mathews’ house.
Eva followed at a distance; curious as to why her madam would be visiting a woman she hated and had fought more than once. She watched as Karen knocked on the door. She saw the door open and Karen went inside. Eva looked around and quietly moved to the side off the house, off the street. She was able to hide behind some barrels but could hear the conversation clearly through the slightly opened window.
“What a surprise that you would come to me with a problem?” Deanna Mathews said to her guest.
“Please do not make this any harder for me,” Karen Dempsey replied. “That little whore is in league with Ahna Stevens. I know you have issue with her. As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
“Oh Karen,” Deanna cooed, “You and I will never be friends. However, since your goals and mine seem to align now, I will assist you. But you will be doing a few things for me.”
“And what are those things?” Karen asked through gritted teeth.
“The lovely Asian woman who was in the first fight,” Deanna said, “I think it was Lilly or Lillian. You will give her to me. She won’t be returning to you.”
Eva covered her mouth to stop from gasping.
“Agreed,” Karen said, “Anything else?”
“As a matter of fact there is,” Deanna said standing, “I am in the heat of fire right now, so strip off your clothing as I will strip off mine. Than you and I are going to fight.”
“Gladly agreed,” Karen replied as she too stood and began to remove clothing.
Eva stole a glance to see the busty mature women remove their clothing.
“Come here, you cunt!” Deanna growled.
“Whore!” Karen shouted as she and the redhead rushed together.
Eva watched through the window as they slammed naked bodies together, falling quickly to the floor. As much as Eva wanted to stay and watch the two tear into the other, she knew she needed to get help. Karen had said that Jennifer was friends with Ahna Stevens. Eva knew what she had to do.
“Where are we going?” Lillian asked as Eva pulled her down the street.
“”Bad things are happening and we need help,” Eva said as she pulled the busty Asian forward.
They pushed through the bat wing doors of Kat’s Ranch with Eva stopping abruptly as her large breasts impacted into those of Sabrina Jackson.
“What are you doing here, bitch?” Sabrina growled.
Lizy walked and pushed herself into Lillian, “Back for more, cunt!”
“We are not here to fight,” Eva said trying to keep her voice calm. “We need help from your madam. Please.”
It was the please that broke Sabrina’s resolve to fight the raven-haired beauty.
“Come with me,” Sabrina said softly, leading Eva and Lillian to a table at the back of the room where Jennifer Dumont and Anna Gonzales sat.