The Box Canyon
A Serial in Seven Parts
Previous Episodes: 1
Gloria. Who liked to be called Glory. Pretty, and used to the flirty ways of the eastern school her father sent her to. Home for the summer and lording it over the local girls with her fancy dresses, stories of fancy balls in fabulous ballrooms and handsome easterner beaus with clean hands and clean clothes. Flirting and flaunting herself at the rough cowhands.
Maybe if her father, ‘The Colonel’, had not lorded the fact that he had been a Union officer and that the North had won the war over Southern ‘scum’, Sam might have been more interested in Glory. But her father’s blustering made Sam want nothing to do with the whole outfit and he planned to move on after roundup.
His disinterest galled Glory and she set her sights on him: waylaying him at the barn, asking him to ‘fix’ her saddle, help her mount, take her riding so she ‘wouldn’t get lost’. Her interest in ‘that Southerner’ in turn galled her father. And it had come to a head the night of the barbecue and dance hosted by the ranch.
Sam was in the barn saddling his horse to go to town and avoid the whole mess when Glory found him there and after a suggestive conversation threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Sam admitted to himself that he liked it and returned the kiss. When the Colonel found them and attacked Sam with his quirt, Sam took it away and knocked the Colonel to the ground. Glory jumped on his back and tore at his face with her nails. By the time Sam and thrown her off, the Colonel had a derringer in his hand pointed at Sam.
Had the Colonel not been so busy calling Sam names, Sam would not have had the time to draw his Colt and shoot. The Colonel dropped his derringer and Glory ran to his side. Sam jumped on his horse and galloped off. He had no idea how badly the Colonel was wounded, and Sam hoped he hadn’t killed him. It didn’t matter much, because as soon as the crew found out what had happened, they would be after him.
Having no food, he found the trail that headed to the western line shack where there would be provisions stashed. Sam knew the line rider was at the ranch for the dance. At the line shack Sam stuffed some jerky and hard tack in his saddle bags. He found a bedroll and some cartridges for his rifle and also took a pan, a small sack of flour, and some coffee. Sam was owed almost a month of wages so he didn’t feel bad about taking anything he found.
He dared not linger; with the sun they would be on his trail. The river was just a few miles west and Sam pointed his horse in that direction. He crossed the river and headed west, planning double back to the river and follow it north. Sam ended up taking two full days to get back to the river. Days filled with hard riding—a blur of rough country, hot days, and sleepless nights.
To be continued