An Excerpt from Kill the Indian
Sweating profusely, Daniel pushes his way through the throng crowding the boardwalks of Hell’s Half Acre.
Over the silk top hats, bowlers, Stetsons and battered slouch hats, he can just make out Rain Shower, in her doeskin dress and moccasins, fighting through the multitude. She’s maybe twenty yards ahead of him. He calls out her name. Screams it louder, but she can’t hear him. He can’t even hear his own voice.
The people - taibos, all of them, white men without faces - grunt like pigs, pushing him backward. He turns sideways, letting some of these men rush past him. Now he can no longer see Rain Shower. He jumps, tries to catch only a glimpse of her. A boot steps on his own moccasin. A spur’s rowel grazes his calf. Angrily, he slams an elbow into the side of a passer-by, but doubts if the faceless man feels anything. He curses, in the language of The People and in the Pale Eyes tongue, forces a path through the crush, jumps again, screams Rain Shower’s name.
He spots her shiny black hair, but just briefly. She’s too far ahead of him. He wants her closer. Needs her to be closer. Why does she keep walking? Why doesn’t she wait for me? Why doesn’t she turn back toward me?
“Rain Shower!” he cries. “Wait! Stop! Wait for me!”
Fort Worth, Texas, is no place for a Nermernuh girl. Especially not in Hell’s Half Acre.
A white man in dirty vest and bandana shoves him, and he stumbles, catches himself on a wooden column in front of a hitching rail. No horses tethered here, he notices, so he pulls himself onto the rail, gripping the column for support, finally able to see above the mass of people. They look like buffalo now, the way the buffalo used to look on the Llano Estacado, millions of them, so thick you could not see the ground.
Again, he yells Rain Shower’s name, and this time she turns. His heart races, but he can breathe again. He almost slips on the rail; in fact, he swings off briefly, but somehow he manages to get his feet back on the wood. Recovered, he looks down the boardwalk.
Rain Shower laughs at him, and he smiles back at her.
“Wait for me!” he says. Or starts to say. Before he can finish, he sees the hand reach around the corner. It grasps Rain Shower’s arm.
Fear etches into her face. She stares at the man holding her - Daniel can’t see the man, just his arm and hand, and the hand is covered in a bright red glove - then Rain Shower turns back toward Daniel and screams.
Only he can’t hear her scream. The hand jerks her out of sight, around the corner of a false-fronted mercantile.
“No!” Daniel yells, losing his grip on the wooden column, feeling his moccasins slip off the rail. He falls onto the boardwalk, landing on his back, hard, forcing the air out of his lungs. He rolls to his side, opens his eyes, tries to catch his breath, and sees the stampeding buffalo, feels the first hoof crush his ribs, as thunder rumbles and the skies darken ....
Copyright 2012 by Johnny D. Boggs
Booklist: "... impeccably researched story that begins with great deliberation and then accelerates to a startling, violent, very sad finish."
Historical Novels Review: "Highly recommended for Western book lovers who also enjoy a good mystery and a unique crime-solving protagonist."