Western Short Story - The Blacksmith

The Blacksmith


She heard his footsteps on the front porch, and checked the table one more time. All was in order for his noon meal, and she met him at the door with a smile.

“Hello Dear. Did you have a good morning?”

She had originally been attracted to him because he was so big, and she was so tiny. Even as an adult, she was still under five feet tall, and weighed less than one hundred pounds. As a tiny child, she had endured constant bullying in school from larger children, so she welcomed his great size and strength as her protector. He had been apprenticed to the blacksmith in their town, and now he had a flourishing shop of his own.

He seated himself at the table, and she hovered at his side. She had served him a thick roast beef sandwich on fresh homemade bread, just the way he liked it, with a glass of buttermilk cooled in the well. The table cloth was fresh off the line, and had the mysterious, clean smell of sunlight. The silverware was clean and highly polished, again, just as he liked it.

The sudden blow came from the back of his massive hand, and she felt herself slammed to the floor and into the oven doors of the woodstove. She quickly put her hand to her bleeding mouth to stifle her cries. He did not like it when she cried out. They had been driven out of too many towns by neighbors who grew tired of hearing her screams. One brave man had challenged her husband, and he had died from a beating for his troubles.

“How many times have I told you, I don’t like crumbs on my plate? There was a damned crumb again! Can’t you do anything right?”

He kicked her in the side of her thigh, and she screamed in pain, the sound escaping her hand, despite her attempts to silence herself. That enraged him even more, and he kicked her again, carefully aiming at the same, tender spot. She screamed again, and he grabbed by the throat of her dress, lifting her off her feet. He slammed his fist into her jaw, and she lapsed into unconsciousness.

They lived on the edge of town, a spot carefully chosen for lack of close neighbors. The only house close enough to hear much was occupied by Darby Gooden, an old, retired sailor, who was spending his remaining days seated on his front porch, quietly whittling. He seemed oblivious to the goings on across the street.

When she regained consciousness, he was gone, so she stumbled to the basin and began washing off the blood. He didn’t like soiled clothing or blood on the floor. He also didn’t like it when she was bruised and cut, but there was nothing she could do about that.

She changed clothes and put her bloody ones in the wash tub to soak. Then she began to assemble what she needed to bake a fresh loaf of bread. He didn’t like to eat off the same loaf twice. He wanted a fresh loaf at each meal.

While the bread was rising, she took her broom to the front porch. He always tracked in dust from the street when he came home, and he didn’t like dust on the front porch. As she swept, she was aware that she was being silently watched by old Darby Gooden. He never spoke, and seemed to understand that any contact with anyone other than her husband would result in swift retaliation. So he simply watched from under his worn old hat.

Darby Gooden was bone thin, and he ate little. The doctor said he probably had an ulcer, which would account for his stomach pains. He had suffered from it since his sailing days, portside in Haiti. Only the partial loaves of fresh bread he found hidden now and then out by his front gate did not bother his stomach.

He marveled at the bravery of the tortured woman across the street. If her husband ever caught her giving him that bread, he would almost certainly beat her to death. Or perhaps that was her plan. Death might be preferable to the miserable life she was leading. He watched her carefully sweep the front porch and then step back inside the house. He picked up his knife, and resumed whittling.

For the next week, she succeeded in pleasing him, or perhaps he was just waiting for her swollen upper lip to resume its pretty shape. He seemed to enjoy destroying fine and beautiful things. He once made her stand and watch, as piece by piece, he smashed the fine china she had inherited from her grandmother. When he discovered that she had befriended a small flock of birds by scattering bread crumbs near the big oak, he tore up a loaf of bread and spread the crumbs himself. When the birds swooped down and began eating, he blasted them with both barrels of his shotgun, killing several.

Now he stood before her holding one of his shirts, and she knew the look on his face all too well. On one of the breast pockets was a small wrinkle she had missed while ironing, so she know what was coming. She put her hand over her mouth to stifle the scream, and he hit her in the stomach. The ugly sound that escaped her hand was a combination of a gasp and a piercing scream. Downtown, people turned and stared at the two lone houses at the far end of main street. Nearby, someone began using a hammer.

He reached down to pick her up and suddenly grunted. She looked up at his distorted face, and saw his jaw drop. His eyes widened and his mouth worked silently as he grasped at his chest with both hands, clawing and digging in pain. His face paled and his eyes slowly rolled up as he sagged to the floor.

For an hour, she sat and watched her husband in shock, knowing that he was dead, but not quite believing it. Then she heard a quiet knock on the door and answered it. It was the doctor, and he said he was responding to a note left on his door. His eyes went to the body lying on the floor, and he brushed by her.

A week after the funeral, she baked two loaves of fresh bread, and then, for the first time, openly walked across the street and up to the old man seated on his porch.

“I would like you to have a fresh baked loaf of bread, Mister Gooden, and a whole one at that.”

Darby Gooden rose and doffed his hat.

“I thank you, and I’m pleased to finally make your acquaintance, Ma’am. I’m right sorry that you’ve lost your husband.”

She lifted her small chin in defiance. “Don’t be , Mister Gooden. He was an evil brute, and if he had not died, he would have surely killed me, and probably sooner rather than later.”

He studied her for a long moment, and then, with a slow nod, seemed to make up his mind about something. He reached down beside his chair, and picked up a small box.

“I reckon you should have this, then. It’s my way of paying you back for all that bread you left by my gate. That was a brave and kindly thing you did for a stranger.”

It was later that evening, and after she had poured herself a cup of tea before she finally sat down and slid the top off the box. Inside, was the skillfully whittled figure of a blacksmith, complete with a tiny leather apron. She instantly recognized the heavy features as that of her own late husband, down to the color of the red checked shirt he habitually wore.

In the middle of the figure's chest was a blacksmith's cut square nail, and she knew from the unique shape and style that it was one of the thousands of nails her husband had forged himself. The nail had been driven clear through, and the back of the figure was splintered where it exited.

She walked to the front door and opened it, stepping out onto the porch. Somewhere in town, a piano played, a drunk was singing off key, and someone was laughing out loud. Across the dark street, Darby Gooden was sitting quietly on his own porch under the warm light of a kerosene lantern. He looked up, tipped his hat to her, and went back to his whittling.

More by this Author


Comments 132 comments

LABrashear profile image

LABrashear 5 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

You are awesome! Another great story!


trishh profile image

trishh 5 years ago from London, UK

enjoyed your story.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Glad to see that the brute got what he deserved. Enjoyed the story.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

Haiti eh? Too Cool!!!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

"The mysterious, clean smell of sunlight." That is so aptly and beautifully put, Will...sort of miss that in the UK.

Great story, too, we guessed the neighbor was going to kill him, but how was another of your great endings. Bob

PS Do these tales serve you at all from the adsence point of view?


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Well, Will you nailed that one. Riveting story.


John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 5 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

As diogenes said, Will 'the mysterious clean smell of sunlight' is a perfect description. I had a blacksmith in my family, but it was my Mother, and there was not a hint of cruelty - I think.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This one needs to be considered for the Halloween podcast selection. Will Starr it is awesome. I cannot bear bullies and when one is the supposed protector it is a worse betrayal. The moral of your story? Perhaps man cannot but woman CAN live by bread alone!


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

WillStarr - You did it again, kept me reading and wondering right up to the last sentence. Man do you have the talent.


Clairepeek profile image

Clairepeek 5 years ago

Will,

I barely breathed reading this one! That was exquisite and a little bit in advance for Halloween ^_^


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Great story. I too marveled at the phrase 'the mysterious clean smell of sunlight', and read every word. As I was reading, I could not understand what it was that had made this man so cruel, or why his role had changed from protector. At the end though, it did not matter.

Well done.


Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

Your story had me from the moment I started it. And I have to go with the rest, the mysterious clean smell of sunlight" - nothing better!!!! I totally do not get bullies and deliberate cruelness. Great story!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Lovede the description of the smell of sunlight. Loved the little blacksmith with the nail. Beautiful answer to this story.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, awesome Laura, and thank you! ^_*


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

You are a very talented writer, you had me glued to my screen. Up and awesome you deserve every one.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi trishh, and a big welcome to our cousin from across the pond!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Susan!

Sadly, these types really do exist.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Barb!

You caught the 'Haiti' connection! ^_^


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Bob!

No, I don't try to weave in any adsense key words, so I don't get much traffic that way.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, mckbirdbks!

I'm trying to keep up with your Emerald Wells series! :-D


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, John MacNab,

I've been promising myself a chance to go peek at your stuff!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, John MacNab,

I've been promising myself a chance to go peek at your stuff!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Hyphenbird!

Thanks for picking up the hint!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Mike and thanks for being my most loyal reader. I'm buying that beer!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Clairepeek!

You are the sunshine that keeps Sweden warm!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, FitnezzJim!

Controlling through violence is learned behavior, and usually, the controller is very insecure individual.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Lynn S. Murphy,

Again, bullies are often insecure people who use their size and strength to control others.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Becky Katz,

Well, he had been in Haiti for a while, so...!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, writer20!

Thank you! You are very kind.


Maggie-May profile image

Maggie-May 5 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

Awesome!!! And now, I'm going back tracking, missed your very fine stories..


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Will, you did it again, and, I don't know "how" that old man did it but I'm glad he did it, and great ending!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Maggie-May!

Great to see you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, SubRon7!

He spent some time in Haiti! ^_*


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

What a riveting story Will. Had me feeling her pain every inch of the way. I was so pleased you gave it a happy ending and set her free.

Alas monsters like this really do exist.

Thank you for a great story and voted up


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Rosemay50!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Must excellent Will Starr, somewhere good old Rod Serling is smiling, dust


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

I suffered with the poor women, and your words meant that I could feel her fear, and I rejoiced with her when that brutal man finally got what he deserved! But the way you write is as always brilliant and engaging!

Tina


Ghost32 5 years ago

You "nailed" it again, Will. Though I'd not have read past the first blow, had it been any other writer but you. Even then, I had a bit of work to do, holding my homicidal rage in check long enough for Darby to finish the figure to its necessary realism.

Even if the blacksmith does remain nameless and Darby is a Gooden.

Voted Up, but not Beautiful. Still in kill mode.

Which is a clear indicator, of course, that you not only pulled me into the story, but that I haven't quite got back out yet, either.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 5 years ago from South Carolina

Excellent hub! I really enjoyed it and find it interesting that lots of folks mentioned the "mysterious sun" description. I was also impressed by this description.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Dusty,

Rod Serling, huh? If so, I'm pleased!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, thougtforce, and thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hey, Fred,

We've all seen it at one time in our lives, and usually as kids when we can't do anything about it. Usually, such men are afraid of other men.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, resspenser!

Bed sheets dried in the sun have that great scent. We never dry ours in the dryer, if the sun is out.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Great story, Will ... I jumped with shock when he hit her the first time ... I was not expecting violence.

Domestic violence is one thing that really makes me angry but something about this story makes me feel as though the balance is redressed a little, even though it is fiction.

Well done ... novel subject matter and beautifully written.


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 5 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

I hope w/ all my heart, you are collecting these i nto a short story series! Love your knowledge of humanity! Love yaz, lily


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Angie Jardine,

This is learned behavior, and is usually passed directly from father to son...or even mother to daughter. Many men also live married lives walking on eggshells, waiting for the next angry outburst, although usually, they are not physically attacked.

Someone very close to me is finally getting out of just such a rotten marriage, and is learning how to live without dread of the next explosion. He was physically attacked when he announced he wanted out, so it's not just men.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, lilyfly!

I may do just that!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Will, this is a pro quality short story if there ever was one. HP and community are lucky to have you. Wow. That's the why things could be back then and I couldn't wait for that dude to get what I knew was coming. The only question was how he was gonna get it. What a skillful and welcome write. And the voodoo supernatural twist-ending is as surprising as it is perfect.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

You are soo good!!! and I was really happy for this ending...God Bless...:O) Hugs G-Ma


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Alastar Packer, and thank you, sir!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you kindly, G-Ma Johnson!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

My star WillStarr, a true writer and storyteller. This was a touching story of a woman's bravery and trials. I am downright glad that awful man is dead...good riddance. Thank you for a wonderful read.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Will Must people can spell "most" cept me haha, yep Rod Serling could nave taken pleasure in narrating that for you, great tale, dust


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Cardisa,

I guess you might be able to appreciate his method, being from Jamaica!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Will, I've said it before, but you are one of my very favorite short story writers. You craft each line with such character, your readers are fully engrossed right out of the gate. I was hoping this guy would get what he deserved, and was delighted with your mystical yet symbolic ending. Well done, as usual!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Genna,

An adored Iowa classmate of mine married a man who took her far away from the protection of her family and beat the hell out of her for years. He finally died from lung cancer, and she was delivered out of his grasp.

I wish I had known, All that time, she lived just a few miles from me here in Arizona.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Will,

Your honor is showing in this awesome tale, so riveting and fulfilling at the end. Thank you for writing about the horrors of abuse in your style! I agree with Hyph!

Voted UP & AB, mar.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, marcoujor, and thank you.


Sueswan 5 years ago

Awesome Will! You outdid yourself on this one.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

A great story about the sort of thing that is not confined to history. My wife used to take hotline calls for a abused women's shelter and I heard quite a bit of stories not too different than this.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Another fantastic short story from the pen, or rather keyboard, of the Star of Star's - Will Starr! It is always a pleasure when the most distinguished professor of writing shows the rest of us how it should be done.

Not much else to say, but up, up and away!!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Sueswan, and thank you!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, dahoglund,

I think we have all known a situation like this. It's too bad that we no longer expect and allow fathers and brothers to take care of these monsters.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Dex!

You are too kind, my friend!


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Awesome short story Will with an even better ending! Rated up, useful, beautiful, awesome, interesting - this was better that most, unfortunately because it is a very true story.


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 5 years ago

Great turn of events - who would have thought of voodoo in an old west town - well done!

Wonder where the old man had been on his travels?! The Islands, perhaps? Great story, Wll, one more time again.

q


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, quester.ltd!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..Good God man - you write like lightning captured in a bottle - and my dad (as I've said before) would have loved reading you - high praise since he wrote 70 novels

lake erie time ontario canada always a pleasure and the time for everyone else 11:51pm


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, epigramman,

High praise indeed from the Sultan of Sly. I would love to read some of your Daddy's work.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee

This is simply the best short story I've read in ages.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Well, thank you, Beth!


republicagain 5 years ago

Hi Will,

Just out hubbin' stopped to enjoy one of your stories. Fred said your hub was worth the visit. He was right.

Valerie


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Valerie, and thanks for the visit!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

You are in tip-top form, Will. You didn't disappoint with this one. I knew something evil was coming this way when you slipped in that 'portside in Haiti.' Very clever as well as engrossing.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, drbj!

Sometimes we have to have a little voodoo in the old west.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I love your stories Will and this one being no exception.

I vote up,up and away.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Another outstanding story. It was very cleverly written and I enjoyed it immensely.


Diane 5 years ago

GREAT STORY WILL AND GLAD FOR A HAPPY ENDING. BOTH MY MOTHER AND FATHER WERE ALCOHOLICS AND MY DAD WAS A MEAN DRUNK AND BEAT MY MOM LOTS OF TIMES. AS SMALL CHILDREN THERE WAS NOTHING WE COULD DO BUT COVER OUR EARS SO THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO HER SCREAMS. THEY BOTH HAVE PASSED ON NOW BUT IT HAS LEFT US WITH BAD CHILDHOOD MEMORIES.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Eiddwen!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Pamela99, and thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Diane,

I wondered if you would read this. I wish I had understood a little better at the time. Things might have been quite different. This story is about several people I have known, including your mother.


september girl 5 years ago

Awesome story, Will...the blacksmith finally got his just dessert! I could definitely feel for the woman in the story. What a brave sailor that man was, the sweet neighbor who saw so much and said so little. You need to publish this one! ; )


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, september girl!

"You need to publish this one!"

Easier said than done, I'm afraid!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, that was amazing! the way that you went from explaining the sunshine and the cloth to the first beating! wow! I was getting madder and madder, until finally he got his just deserts! lol brilliant story, rated up! cheers nell


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Nell, and thank you for your wonderful comments!


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Wow, Will, I had to read the ending three times as I didn't get it right away. I'm kinda not very bright. lol But I got it! By George, I got it! Kudos to the Great WillStarr!

Have a nice day,

Rosie


Aficionada profile image

Aficionada 5 years ago from Indiana, USA

Oh, Will, it's hard to add anything that others haven't already said, but I was riveted and just blown away - as always. Every one of your stories becomes my favorite. Always worth recommending to others!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Rosie!

You're a very bright star to me! ^_*


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Aficionada!

What a great story you wrote!

http://hubpages.com/literature/Shadow-from-the-Pas...


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

One of my favorites. You write so many good ones but this one intrigued me. Great work - tweeting and sharing on Facebook.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Well, thank you Suziecat! I appreciate that.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

Wow, that was Good Will...Didn't expect that ending...But as a Woman, I'm glad you gave it that kind of ending...Justice served! Voted Up.


Aficionada profile image

Aficionada 5 years ago from Indiana, USA

Thanks so much for the compliment, Will, and thank you *ever* so much for the link!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, b. Malin!

You too have a great new Hub! :

http://hubpages.com/literature/ANOTHER-COCKTAIL-PA...


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Wowee! Utterly fantabulous. I never suspected the story was going to end with voodoo that old man Gooden had picked up in Haiti. You are one fine raconteur, my friend. Your short stories deserve to be in wider circulation.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

"Raconteur", eh? And here I thought I was just a simple storyteller!

Thank you, James!


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Dog GONE! How do you do that every TIME!! You had me all fired up too...then BAM! a freakin voodoo doll got him....not ONCE did I even remotely think...voodoo!

Will another FUN one...you need to put theses short stories into a book.

voodoo!...

lol...

Chris


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Chris,

Gotcha!


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

A very fun short story to read Will.....you always amaze me with your stories.....keep up the great work.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Cogerson!


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Will,

What a great story and, as is always the case with the works you produce, the writing is excellent.

And Mr. Gooden learned a few things while he was in Haiti, didn't he.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, feenix!

Great to see you again. I thought a little voodoo in the old west was appropriate under the circumstances!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

So compelling -- like your other followers say. The Wild West is acountable for good and bad.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Sally, and thanks for the great comment!


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

There are a few writers on hubpages who should be capable of becoming published, I don't mean myself, but you are one of them Will. Stories like this one are all too common, and usually minus Darby Gooden. Cheers


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, attemptedhumour,

Yes, they are all too common and a good friend and classmate of mine was one of them. She finally escaped when he became terminally ill. I knew him too, and never liked him, but I didn't know just how bad he was.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

I tell you Will, sincerely, you have a great talent that deserves to be noticed. The story can grasp you so quickly that everything around suddenly disappears. You are quick to give everyone praise and you deserve it most of all Will. Magnificant!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, thelyricwriter, and that was the most gracious comment I've even gotten. Thank you.


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

Will, I will be very honest here and say I almost stopped reading this story about a 1/3rd way through. Your description of brutality made me feel sick to my stomach, but knowing your style and play on words I continued to read. I am so glad that I did. I used to tease you about catching up with your talent, but I know that will never happen because you are still the master my friend. So from now on I tease no more, just happy to follow and cower under your glory. You so deserve the prize.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

I'm glad you stayed with me, Annette!

I prefer the company of other writers, and we all have our niche. This one happens to be mine.


caltex profile image

caltex 5 years ago

Will, I just can never guess how your stories will end. Always with a twist. I sure hope you enjoy telling us these stories as much as we enjoy reading them. Thanks!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, caltex!

Thank you for that great comment!


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Will...I was not expecting him to hit her...and I was not expecting him to keel over at the end. You are a masterful storyteller my friend! I am never disappointed!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, ThoughtSandwiches,

The admiration is mutual, my friend


Aka Professor M 5 years ago

@WillStarr: You are my kind of storyteller, Will! This was just simply spellbinding, my friend! Your Imaginative way with plot development and character depiction is nothing short of inspirational, sir.

I am so sorry that I haven't kept up with your hubs, my friend! I shall endeavor to rectify that starting today! This was exceptional Voted it up and pushed all the buttons twice because it was that GOOD!

Regards Mike (Aka Professor M!) ;D


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Mike!


anusha15 profile image

anusha15 5 years ago from Delhi, India

Domestic violence has a more brutal, ugly face than the one generally acknowledged by the civilized society. You story highlights this in a subtle, powerful manner. Nice hub.


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, anusha15,

Here in the US (I'm not sure where you call home), awareness of domestic violence is at an all time high. If police are called to a domestic violence event, someone usually goes to jail.


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Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

When I want to get away from politics, I read your stories. The endings are surprising but satisfying and I feel more optimistic that the good guys do win and the bad guys get theirs. I wish I felt this way when I read your nonfiction, hahaha. I think it is best for me to stick with your short stories. I'm thinking I might just ignore politics this season, though I find the debates pretty entertaining thus far. Thanks for another great tale of the western variety.


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Barb,

Both my fiction and political Hubs are written with the same goal in mind...the good guy wins.

I truly believe that conservatism and capitalism are what makes this country great, and that's why I disagree vehemently with the notion that we need to tear our country down and 'fundamentally transform' it into another failed, socialist state.

What socialist state has ever prospered? Think about it.


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

Hey Will...I really like your attention to detail in emphasizing the rustic way of life. Clothes on the line, cooling the milk in the well. I can picture the scene very well from your optical phrasing...well done, my friend..two thumbs up!! (Sorry...I can only use one thumb)


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, ThomasRydder!


Amanda Storm profile image

Amanda Storm 5 years ago

Another good story. I love how you do endings on these pieces.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Amanda Storm,

Thank you for reading and the great comment.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

He met what he bargained for. Treating others with cruelty especially women must be stopped. Such a sad story but glad the sadist met his waterloo. A great story


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WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, ubanichijioke.


weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia

Wow, that was great, so descriptive, it all came to life in my head! Great job as always Willstar!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, sir!


GetitScene profile image

GetitScene 3 years ago from The High Seas

Pleasant surprise at the end. Good writing.


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WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, GetitScene!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 3 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

I wish I had read this sooner. You have a very powerful way of making a story come alive. I read this and got a knot in my throat - I could feel the pain not just physical but of disappointment that the wife must have felt every time he struck her. And, of course, I like the man across the street. Fabulous article Will. Thanks


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WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Maralexa,

You are a gifted writer.

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