• Joanne Paulson

Blood and Dust. Chapter One.


My first historical fiction book, a western based in 1880s Canada, is coming soon. Here's an early peek at a bit of chapter one.



Chapter One

June, 1882




By now, Alexander, whoever the hell he was, lay there twitching in complete shock. What do you do for shock? Newspapers and book learning weren’t helping me with that issue.


“Don’t you fucking die on me now,” I told him, leaning up to speak right in his ear. “Not after all this. Don’t you dare fucking die. I’ll make you a nice leg, if you just won’t die.”


He didn’t say anything, of course.


“Are you done, James?”


“Oh, sorry, yes. You can let go now, Bert. Be careful as you step away. The floor’s slippery.”


“Someone’s coming,” he said.


I couldn’t hear anything, but I knew better than to question him. I saw, he listened.

Sure enough. Ten seconds later, the door flew open.


Standing there were two blazing eyes, blue as the summer sky, snapping with fury and fear. And a wobbling gun, trained right directly on my torso.


The sun glowed behind this apparition, and let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly expecting someone to walk right in just then. The firearm had my full attention.


Therefore, it took a few seconds before I could appreciate that the eyes and gun belonged to a woman. The rest of her, shaking with emotion, was dressed in a sprigged calico gown, thin as gossamer and the palest lavender from too much laundering. I noticed this, even in my confusion, because the body underneath was slim and round and soft and quivering.


She spoke first.


“If he dies,” she said, “you die.”


Copyright J.C. Paulson 2020

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