Presenting a New Release
Book Two of the Western Serial Killer Series
"Good Day for a Hanging"
Fall of 1878
Ranching community south of Waco
As they approached the ranch house, the door flew open and banged against its latch. The sound echoed against the silence of the morning like a unwelcome greeting. Jim immediately felt the eeriness of the place. His guard went up. Tension flooded him. There was trouble here and he could feel it now as the ranch house came into sight. It was tangible. His deputy had stumbled onto it too. A bad kind of trouble that meant he'd have his work cut out for him.
Even his horse acted a little skittish, this put Jim on alert. Like some ghost lurked in the shadows. His uneasiness grew as he dismounted, but he didn't want to scare Smitty any more than he was already.
Smitty waited for Jim to dismount, watching, glancing about.. It wasn't necessarily something you could put a finger on, but it was trouble. Perhaps that's why he couldn't just tell him what was wrong this morning. Maybe he didn't know himself.
He glanced over at Smitty with a cautionary expression, knowing that his deputy didn't scare as easily as most folks thought. He dismounted and headed for the porch. His own footsteps resounded in the silence of the day.
But it was the loudness of the silence that resounded.
"He ain't there." Smitty said, as he hung his head, his voice almost hollow.
"Then where is he? Working?"
"No…he ain't workin' any more Jim. Follow me…" Smitty hung his head and wiped the sweat once more as he dismounted, and glanced around the place, his expression grim, foreboding.
Smitty's words took Jim by surprise. Anymore?
There was that silence again.
Jim watched him closely. Why wasn't Mr. Perkins working. He was always working, sun up to sun down. Why wouldn't he be working today?
"Why don't you just tell me what is going on here? I can see something has you upset. And this place doesn't look right, or feel right. What's going on?"
Smitty seemed to know the answer to that but he wasn't going to tell him.
When he remained silent, Jim frowned.
Smitty led him to the garden out back, and through the cornfield, and then he suddenly stopped. Jim waited for him to say something. Still Smitty firmed his lips, and widened his eyes.
"Okay…I give up, where is he?" Jim said unable to hide his irritation with him.
Smitty squirmed again.
"He's…up there." He nodded, as his face paled, and his eyes quickly averted to the ground.
"Up where?" Jim frowned, his eyes went to the sky, to tree tops, to the land.
"He's hangin' up there…" Smitty pointed to the scarecrow finally, but diverted his gaze to the open pastures beyond, as though he couldn't quite keep himself composed as he said it.
Jim raised his head, and looked at the scarecrow. Seeing nothing, he took the scarecrow's hat off and started to reprimand Smitty for his antics, until he homed in on the scarecrows face. It was Mr. Perkins. Or it used to be.
Jim backed up a bit. "My God!"
"Yeah…" Smitty nodded unable to look at the dead man hanging on the scarecrow's cross.