Imaginary Nevada: January 1, 1920


https://soundcloud.com/sierra-tom-darby/wn-01012020

Brady rode the Mustang along the gravel flats of Beowawe, north or the railway, when the wind shifted. It carried a strange and offensive smell, like something was burning, and his horse reacted with a sudden jerk.

He gently guided the leery animal along the flats to the tallow works. There, he could see smoke curling upward from one of the shacks, where the non-edible parts of farm stock and wild beasts were boiled down to make lard, soap and tanned leather.

Outside the shack stood the owners only boy. He seemed not to notice the pungent odor as he paced back and forth from the works to a deeply rutted drive that lead to the works, only to turn around and walked back to where he started.

Brady watched him do this for a few minutes before loosening the loop that held his Colt in its leather and before approaching the boy. When called, the boy’s head jerked up, a look of surprise on his face.

Hardly 12-years-old, the boy stared at Brady, eyes wide, fingers twitching. That’s when Brady saw the Texas-44 tucked in the boys waist band.

“Where’s your folks?”

“Cooking.”

“In the house?”

“No, in the pot,” the boy nodded towards the shack, a vicious, toothy grin on his face.

The kid was fast, but Brady was faster. The shot cut through the boy’s head, spilling his brains on the ground.

He dragged the boy’s remains to the tallow pot, dumping him in with what was left of his parents and stoked the fire some more. Brady would return the following day to check on the family’s rendering.

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