Markwildyr.com, Post #248
The Singaporeans are still with us. So far they’ve checked out the site 3,300 times in the first half of this month alone. Keep it up, guys. \
This week, I want to return to my Cut Hand series novels, and selected the prologue to my third novel in the series, Echoes of the Flute. I find it a powerful tool to set up the tone of the novel. In this third novel, John Strobaw, who becomes better known later as Medicine Hair, was the grandson of Cut Hand, last chief of the Yanube tiospaye, although oral family history has him the grandson of Billy Strobaw, Cut Hand’s lover.
At any rate, here’s the offering for this time.
* * * *
“Be civilized and prosper.”
Yet fortune never smiles. Only wretched pain.
Warriors, forced into trousers and called by alien names.
Drums remind of yesteryear.
Flutes lament what was.
Stanza from the poem “Echoes of the Flute” by Mark Wildyr
Dakota Territory, June 1878
A mob surged across the wooden bridge like a primordial organism in search of food. Torchlight punched flickering holes in the black night as people with the look of farmers and merchants and housewives and mothers churned restlessly in front of a cabin on the north bank of the crick. Moments later, a white-stockinged blue roan pulled a buckboard into their midst.
A hook-nosed man, clad in black, bellowed from the driver’s bench, “Come out, sinners. Atone to these good people and the Lord God Almighty!” Despite a thin frame, his voice was deep and sonorous.
The cabin door opened, flooding the porch with lantern glow. A tall man with thumbs hooked into his braces walked out to face the group. “What’s going on here? Why’re you tromping around in my yard this time of night? You there, get out of that flower bed.”
“You are abominations in the sight of God!” the man in the buckboard thundered. “The judgment of Leviticus 20:13 shall be upon you this night.”
“I have sinned against no one, Preacher. Your words are farts in the wind.”
“Did you hear? Profanity! Yes, you have sinned, brother. Grievously. ‘Mankind shall not lie with mankind as he lieth with womankind,’” the Preacher intoned. “Confess and beg forgiveness lest the Almighty rain fire and brimstone upon us all.”
“Stop acting the fool and get out of here. Go home and leave me in peace.” He turned and started back into the cabin.
“He’s goin’ for a gun!” someone yelled.
As the man turned to protest, a bullet caught him in the chest. He stumbled against the doorjamb. A second slug broke his shoulder and propelled him through the cabin’s threshold. He managed to close the door and drop the bar to barricade it behind him before collapsing onto the floor.
When demands to fire the building rose, the black-frocked preacher flicked his reins and turned the rig around, scattering members of his flock. Torches hurled against the cabin walls had little effect, but brands landing on the roof kindled a hungry fire.
A pinto charged out of the tree line into the pack, the rider yelling and firing his rifle into the air. After a shocked silence, the mob rushed the newcomer. Hands snatched him from the saddle before he could bring his weapon to bear.
By the time the maddened horde hoisted a rope over a cottonwood branch and left the horseman kicking and gasping his life away, the buckboard raced for Yanube City.
This mindless mob action, promoted by the bitter preacher in black, ignites events that will test the Strobaw family’s ability to survive and prosper and results in young John Strobaw taking the road that will eventually earn him the names of Night Sky Hair and Medicine Hair. Ultimately, he is awarded the name of American Killer by one Lakota chieftain.
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
See you later.