As I told you in the last post, ECHOES OF THE FLUTE, the third book in the CUT HAND series, is available on Amazon Kindle. The print version should be released by STARbooks Press on or around March 15. So it becomes an Ides of March publication. Does that bode ill, I wonder? Nah. That was Caesar’s problem, not mine.
At any rate, I have now posted the first chapter of the new book on this site for you to read. For this month’s regular blog posting, I wanted to bring a little more of the book into focus. In the following scene, John Strobaw (earth name: War Eagle), the half-breed grandson of Cut Hand, finishes work in the forge at Teacher’s Mead and decides to go for a swim. He is unexpectedly joined in the Yanube River by Matthew Brandt (Shambling Bear), the Yanube-Brulé orphan who grew up on the Mead after River Otter brought him there following the murder of his mother and brother. Matthew, who feels his Indian blood much stronger than does John, has just returned from one of his frequent jaunts, and this is their reunion. This scene comes in Chapter 2 of the book.
Standing bare-assed in the water washing away the day’s grime, I caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of my eye. Before I had a chance to react, a naked form leapt from the riverbank and tumbled us over into the water. I shrugged him off and came up fighting.
Matthew, laughing like a ten-year-old, splashed water in my face. “Hah, you would be a dead man if I was doh-kah.”
My fear turned to delight. I rubbed the water out of my eyes and shook my head. “You’re not a hostile. You’re just a skinny tepee Indian living in the past.”
“Tell that to the ah-kee-chee-dah at Greasy Grass.”
“What do the soldiers at Little Big Horn know about you?”
His naked chest swelled. “I was there.”
“You were at Little Big Horn? At the Custer battle?”
Excitement burned in his dark eyes. “I was there.”
“That’s a big one.”
“If you’re talking about my pipe, you’re right, but I was there fighting blue coats.”
“You’re full of it. How many did you kill?”
He sobered. “One. Maybe two.”
“Seems like a warrior would know how many he killed.”
His chin went up. “There speaks a man who’s never seen the elephant or fired a shot in anger. Things get all mixed up in battle. You never know what’s going on. Not even….” His voice dried up. “Not even exactly what you’re doing.”
Bear wasn’t pulling my dink. He was serious. I didn’t know what to say, so I asked him when he got back.
“Half an hour back. After we said hello, Ma told me to go put on some decent clothes.”
Ma didn’t permit breechclouts at the Mead. She considered them uncivilized.
“Rachel Ann told me you’d walked down the river, so I came here instead of putting on pants.”
“You back for good?”
He shrugged. His shoulders had filled out, but the part about being skinny was true. He’d lost weight. He was leaner but harder.
“Might stay a while,” he answered. “But who knows when I’ll have a hankering to move on again.”
“Good. One of the coach horses that pulled in Thursday’s still limping. You can doctor him.”
“That wasn’t the only place I was.” Something in his voice made me look at him. “I fought at the Rosebud with Crazy Horse. He’s a great man, Eagle. Never seen a man fight like him. We beat the War Chief Crook at Rosebud Creek.” He spoke as if remembering was reliving. “After riding all night to get there, we fought for six hours. Crazy Horse was everywhere. He talked to me—more than once. Said he was proud of me. We made the Americans turn back at Rosebud so they weren’t there to fight at with Custer at Greasy Grass eight days later.”
Greasy Grass was what the warriors called Little Bighorn. I held my tongue, afraid of drawing him back from wherever he was.
I hope that intrigues you enough so you want more. If you’re so inclined, please post your comments on any of my books on Amazon. They help me keep on writing. As usual, I also encourage feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.
New posts are published at the first of every month at 6:00 a.m.