A young pioneer widow must journey to the very gates of Hell to rescue her son from the ghost of a vengeful sorcerer.
The Widow’s Son is a weird west novel I began writing in episodic form in 2014. Soon after writing the first three chapters life got busy and the project was put on hiatus, eventually to be forgotten.
On February 25th 2020 I decided to finish writing it.
It is now available on Amazon. Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Tó Hałtsooí, New Mexico Territory, 1867
Steam filled the small earth and timber hut as the Navajo woman poured water over glowing rocks. She sang as she bathed the hot stones, rivulets of sweat streaming down the landscape of her body.
Taking up a smoldering bundle of sage, she cast it three times to the four points of the compass and threw a small handful of sweetgrass onto the stones. Waving the smoke into her face, she inhaled deeply before sitting back, swaying to the rhythm of her song of summoning.
The cadence increased in intensity and her body moved in response until she shook so violently it appeared as if she was having a seizure.
Suddenly the woman cried out and froze, catatonic, her eyes showing only the whites, her entire body motionless save for the rapid beating of her heart under her breast.
After a long moment of utter silence, she breathed deeply, slowing her pulse, and her dark eyes rolled forward to behold a man crouching before her, gazing at her with the cold unblinking curiosity of a snake observing its prey.
“You are not White-Shell Woman,” she stated, her voice betraying neither fear nor surprise.
The man leaned back on his heels and tipped his wide-brimmed hat. He grinned, revealing two rows of bronze teeth that glimmered in the darkness. “I am indeed not.”
“Bilagáana,” she said with calm malice.
“White man?” the man with bronze teeth asked. “Can’t help that, Ma’am; yet you summoned me here.” His voice flowed like molasses, slow and sickly sweet. “Why?”
“I seek White-Shell Woman to end the plague of your people on our lands.”
“They are not my people, Ooljee. I care nothing for them.”
The sound of her name on his lips sent a cold chill down the length of her spine and goosebumps formed under the beading sweat on her coppery skin.
“How do you know my name?”
His eyes locked with hers and for the first time since he appeared, she felt truly naked. She drew up her legs and crossed her arms defensively as his gaze flayed her soul apart methodically, casually, like a doctor dissecting a cadaver.
“I see you, witch.” He smiled again, his teeth glowing like burnished gold in the red glow of the stones. “You have no secrets from me. Let me help you.”
“No devil offers help without a price,” Ooljee said. “I have dealt with enough of them to know that.”
The man chuckled. “I am no devil, Ma’am.”
“Your price,” she repeated.
“I seek the offspring of Kokopelli and a white woman. You will deliver the child to me.”
“And for this you can make the Bilagáana leave?”
“I will sweep them before you like chaff on the threshing floor into the fire.”
“How can you do this thing?”
“Bring me the child and I will show you power you have only dreamed of.”
“I have no thirst for power,” Ooljee replied, “only for the freedom of my people. For that cause and that alone have I followed the dark paths.”
“Then summon your brothers and bring me the child.”
Ooljee stared at the man with bronze teeth silently for a long time. He was a patient man. He waited.
“Where will I find this child?”
“You already know,” he said, and Ooljee realized that she did. She saw the future unfold before her, horrific and terrible. She witnessed her own sacrificial death. And she saw her people free.
“Let it be done,” she said.
The man tipped his hat once more and vanished into the steam. Drenched with sweat in the hot soupy air of the hut, Ooljee shivered.
Now available on Amazon. Read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.