THE CURSE OF SCÁTHACH, Short Story
Historical Fantasy / © 2015 Tamsin L. Silver
To read about how this is going to become a full novel, go HERE
Soon to be a full novel, titled, "The Curse of Billy the Kid," - Coming in June 2020
"Intriguing and fast paced! Silver writes with the right balance of historic accuracy and flight of fancy to please fans of weird westerns and historical fantasy. Saddle up and go read it!"
"The Six-Gun Tarot"
Will McCarty has returned to New Mexico for the first time since he "died" in 1881. While in town for a job, memories come flooding back and the murder of his boss, John Tunstall, still plagues him.
The death of The Englishman ignited the Lincoln County War of 1878. This story of revenge and greed has been told many different ways, but Will knows the truth, and it's time others did too.
Go back to when crooked politicians, mafia mentality, and dirty lawmen were the demons that ran the Wild West, and walk alongside the reluctant hero who decided it was time their reign ended.
It’s weird to be dead.
Or rather, it’s a strange feelin’ when the world thinks you’re dead and yet, here you are, walkin’ around, savin’ the world from evil…well, I best not get ahead of things. Let me introduce myself. My name is Will McCarty, or it is for the time bein’.
I arrived in New Mexico today for a job and it’s the first time I’ve been here since I “died” in 1881. The memories floodin’ my brain make it hard to concentrate on the current task at hand, so I thought I’d write them down. I never have before, which is odd, I know. With all I’ve seen and done, one would assume I keep better records.
They say to start at the very beginnin’. That would be where I tell you I was born in 1859 to a poor Irish woman in New York City, that she died when I was about fourteen, and that I was a good kid when it all began…but that shit is borin’ and no one, not even me, wants to rehash it. What needs rememberin’ is the year I became a Regulator, for that’s where my true-life began.
I was eighteen years old, and unfortunately it was a death that gave me my new life…
February 18, 1878
The thunderous echo of approachin’ horsemen interrupted the leisurely quiet of the canyon. Glancin’ behind us, Middleton and me laid eyes on a large posse of Dolan’s men on horseback comin’ our way, and nothin’ about that was a good thing. Lookin’ ahead, for we were at the back of the travelin’ party, I noted the other three of our party had just gone over the brow of the next hill. They couldn’t see the trouble comin’ our way.
“Hey-ah!” I yelled, slammin’ my heels into my horse’s sides. We raced through the newly fallen snow, past the horses we was movin’ to town, and toward Brewer, Widenmann, and our boss, John Tunstall. We needed to warn them.
Once over the hill, we noted that Widenmann and Brewer were off the trail to the left while Tunstall rode lazily to the right of the trail. Makin’ a split-second decision, I rode toward Brewer and Middleton headed to Tunstall, I could hear him yellin’, “For God’s sake, follow me!”
“We’ve got trouble!” I shouted to Brewer and Widenmann. “Dolan’s men comin’ hot an’ fast on our ass.”
Widenmann circled his horse, examinin’ the landscape. “We can’t hold this place! Let’s ride to the hill over there and make a stand!”
With no time to argue, we rode toward an area covered with tall timber and large boulders, assumin’ Middleton and Tunstall were right behind us. Yet, as Middleton joined us, he was alone.
“Where’s Tunstall?” I asked, panic squeezin’ my chest tight.
John Tunstall was the one they were after. Jimmy Dolan was out for blood ever since John posted that letter in the Mesilla Valley Independent, exposin’ Dolan and his pals as the real crooks of Lincoln County.
Middleton spoke up. “He was half asleep in the saddle. I yelled to him, but he just rode in a circle. Still dazed, I motioned for him to follow me. As soon as he started to, I headed here. Maybe he didn’t hear me?”
“Or he didn’t want to hear you,” I clarified, “Damn it, John, you can’t talk your way out of this one!”
“What?” Middleton asked.
“Not you, the other John. We really need to give you a new first name,” I said before lookin’ to Tunstall’s Cattle Foreman, Richard “Dick” Brewer. “Tunstall thinks he can talk it out, fight it in court.”
“Damn it! They’ll kill him!” Dick replied, his voice strained and his eyes filled with worry.
“Let’s lay down some cover fire and get him outta there!” Rob Widenmann, Tunstall’s best friend, suggested.
Dick’s eyes swiftly scanned the area, which was no more than vast, unsettled land, filled with nothin’ but brush and trees surrounded by mountains covered in snow. We were well hidden, but that caused another problem.
“Will, you’re the smallest. Can you climb?”
“On it!” I dismounted and reluctantly handed the reins to Middleton. I’d have preferred to ride out there, take a shot at them bastards myself, but I also understood what Brewer was aimin’ for. Besides, at five-foot-eight and only a hundred and thirty-five pounds, I was the best option for givin’ us eyes to what was goin’ on the other side of the hill.
Spottin’ a good tree, I started up. Halfway there, an eerie silence filled my ears like water and a rifle shot echoed off the canyon walls. I came to a halt as dread slammed into my gut.
“Oh, God,” Middleton said, “They’ve killed Tunstall.”