March, 2018

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Issue #102

Looking for free, tantalizing Tales of the Old West?
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Read this month's Tales and vote for your favorite.
They'll appear in upcoming print volumes of The Best of Frontier Tales Anthologies!

The Green Parrot Fuss
by Buck Immov
Snakeskin McMurtry hated killing, but the Thumpsow brothers had killed a fella after Snakeskin had promised him protection. He couldn't let that go. Trouble was, he had no chance against those two stone killers. Before he'd hatched a plan, along they came. Time for some fast thinkin'!

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Danger on the Rim
by Lowell "Zeke" Ziemann
Rico steals $300 from Fort Apache, planning to meet his Navaho sweetheart on top of the Mogollon Rim. General Crook sends two troopers after him. Navaho chief, Manuelito sends a killer, Cassadore, to make certain Rico returns to him. All parties come together for a showdown in the Rim pines.

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The Twenty-Third Psalm, Part 2 of 3
by Steve Myers
When his brother is murdered by four low-lifes, eighteen-year-old James is told by his father that it is his duty to hunt them down.

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Summer's Daughter, the Song of Early Unnamed
by Nikki Ferguson
Cobby Mossburg has a duty to pass on forgotten tales to avid ears. Trouble is, ears aren't so avid these days. Nobody wants to believe-until he finds Early Unnamed wandering the hills. But Early is no ordinary girl and Cobby finds himself playing the starring role in his own tale.

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Sickly Man
by Jonathan Oosterhouse
Sheriff Nathan Degroth was enjoying a cup of coffee when Sue and Burt Anderson burst in, telling him her father was missing. The old man wasn't remembering real good anymore and had wandered away. It was Nathan's job to find him before the Comanche did, but could he?

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Death Ghosts
by Donnie Powell
The hundred-strong Cantex gang surrounds the small western town, killing, raping, robbing, and kidnapping. But the posse members were in an army unit called "Death Ghosts" who killed enemy generals by slipping into their camps, and by long-range rifles. Now the Ghosts must rescue the captives and bring the gang to justice.

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All the Tales

Death Ghosts
by Donnie Powell

The 100-strong Cantex gang hit the small town without warning. They rounded up everyone in town, killed the part-time sheriff, his deputy, and anyone who resisted. They herded the children into the church, sparing them. They robbed the bank, each of the stores, taking jewelry, cash, supplies, horses, wagons, whiskey and whatever they wanted. With lookouts posted, the gang closed in on the citizens. As they had done in other small towns, they had all the men and women stripped of their clothes. They raped the women and beat the men. Some of the gang carved their initials in the women's bodies—laughing saying "So you and your husband can always remember us".

Next they forced the townspeople to have sex with each other. Any who refused were threatened with death. The gang laughed saying, "So you will remember what your naked neighbor looked like and how they looked while having sex." One citizen said, "This is my sister I cannot have sex with her." A gang member pulled out his gun and said he would kill the brother. The sister begged him not to shoot her brother and got her brother to have sex with her, thus saving his life. The gang laughed saying, "Maybe brother and sister have done this before."

The gang wanted no posse following them so they killed or injured many of the young men—especially ex-soldiers. They also stole or ran off all the horses in the town.

They put six of the youngest and prettiest women in a wagon they called "the honey wagon"—where gang members could find rape victims. Those men and women left behind had the tips of their noses cut off—so they would be reminded every day of the gang.

The gang set fire to most of the buildings in town to help ensure the townspeople would lick their wounds instead of coming after them. Some of the towns they had raided never recovered and just became ghost towns.

* * *

As the gang camped that night—with guards posted—one member read aloud the old local newspapers he had found in a building before he set it afire. One article told of a few local farmers who were unusual veterans of the War Between the States. They formed a one-of-a-kind unit to kill Union generals. A few stealthily went behind enemy lines at night to dispatch their targets. Others had super long-range sniper guns and skills to shoot targets from almost a mile away. The unit had succeeded by killing many generals—Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Wallace, Harrison, etc. Next they targeted colonels and other officers. The unit had such an impact that the North sued for peace and the war ended without a victor or loser. The leader was named Pearson. Several of the gang told of hearing of these men and said they were called "Death Ghosts"—a term that spooked Union officers. They also told of how a general would be surrounded by guards but somehow the Ghosts got through and killed him—or how they would have decoys but the real general was still found and killed. One said in several battles, from nearly a mile away, the Ghosts shot officers watching the battle. The more they talked the quieter the gang became.

One member voiced their thoughts, "So, now the Death Ghosts will be coming after us." Some said, "they are farmers so maybe they won't feel obligated to come after us." Another said a couple of the wagons they stole were farm wagons. They then asked the captives their names and what they knew about the veterans known as Death Ghosts. The women were dazed and in shock and provided little information. One gang member found information in a stolen wagon showing it belonged to Pearson. Another pointed to one of the captives saying "she was sitting on this wagon when we came into town—she must be his daughter." They pressed her until she—Jane— came out of the fog and confirmed she was his daughter. She told them her dad and his army buddies had been out of town on a trip selling cattle. The leader said having his daughter as a hostage would stop him. To which Jane replied, "That won't stop them—they believe in the law—no matter what you do to me—they will come for you—they will get you and make you pay for what you have done. You picked the wrong town. If you surrender now, you will get a fair trial. You have a choice—surrender or die." The leader slapped her to the ground yelling, "Shut up! Shut up"!

The next morning, ten of the gang had deserted and gone their separate ways—hoping they would not be tracked down.

* * *

Back at the town, Pearson, two sons, and his friends returned from their trip. Mrs. Pearson—a victim herself—told them what had happened in town. He snatched up his rifle and started for his horse, but Mrs. Pearson grabbed him and pleaded with him and the others to control their wrath—to avoid rushing into an ambush—to plan and be patient. She said, "One mistake and you, our sons and rest of the team will be dead and our daughter lost. Go, Death Ghost, on a long cautious hunt—do what you have done so well in the past—seek, find—do whatever you must. Go."

The gang left a few behind to set up an ambush—thinking the posse would be so upset they would be careless and rush into the trap—they would be easy prey. A few days later, one ambusher caught up with the gang and told that the others were dead—killed in the night just like the generals.

After that report, the rest of the gang got more worried and sped up their rush to Mexico—hoping the Ghosts would stop at the border—but knowing the Ghosts would stop at nothing. The gang wondered how to survive—surrender to the law or soldiers or just keep running.

The posse alerted nearby towns about the gang being close by—they prepared just in case they were raided.

While being raped in the "honey" wagon, one girl was able to get her assailant's gun, shoot him and drive the wagon off. She was chased and she emptied the gun, reloaded and kept shooting until all the ammo was gone. She was able to shoot 3 more of the gang. But as they were closing in—knowing she would be killed—she drove the wagon over a cliff killing herself and the horses and destroying the supplies in the wagon. She sacrificed her life but made a small dent in the gang. After that, the furious leader told the remaining ladies that if any of them killed another gang member all the ladies would be hanged. He had the dead girl brought back and hanged her—naked—to the nearest tree—they even pulled her legs apart and rammed a large stick into her—someone cut off one of her breasts—they used her for target practice. All the remaining girls were in tears begging them to stop—but the gang's pride had been hurt by a woman and they were now monsters. Then the leader turned his men loose on the captives for a night of rough and brutal debauchery. The next morning, all the women had bruises, cuts and scrapes and were nursing bleeding wounds. They saw the sign attached to their hanged friend—the sign said "She fought the Cantex Gang—this is what will happen to you if you follow us." One woman had the courage to ask the leader if they could cut the girl down and bury her—he said, "No" and slapped her. She asked if they could drape her with a blanket—his answer was a couple of kicks. Thus the women resolved with pioneer spirit of iron to do whatever it took to survive and see these monsters brought to justice or killed. They now possessed a silent, suppressed determination that the gang failed to see—had they seen, it would have struck fear in their inner-most beings.

* * *

Like the other women, Jane had been raped and abused many times. One outlaw was called "Biter" and another preferred rough anal sex. One night while doing their cooking chores, Jane challenged anal man to a fight—if she won all the girls would have 3 nights off—if he won she would give oral sex to each of the men. The leader smiled and agreed to the bet. Jane coaxed—tricked—her opponent into removing his clothes by saying, "That way, when you win, I can immediately pay off the bet, starting with you." The outlaws did not know her dad had trained her in the rough and tumble art of wrestling and fighting hand to hand—to win. Biter stepped close to be second in line. Jane faked and maneuvered then quick as lightning she kicked anal man hard in the stomach, while bent over gasping for air, she swung her elbow into biter's teeth breaking all his front ones—he fell over backward bumping his head knocking himself out. Just as the other man straightened up she kicked him in the stomach again, this time he dropped to his knees. She grabbed an ear of corn with the shucks peeled back, whirled, jammed it into his anus, then kicked it home with just the shucks showing. She came around in front of him saying, "There you go Mr. Shucks, next time you want rough anal sex I'll be glad to give you another serving of corn." She dragged biter over to a log, and propped him up so he didn't drown in his own blood. She said, "Mr. Gummer, next time you want to bite one of us, I'll let you bite my elbow." Thus the two now had new nicknames. She said to the entire gang, "Unless you welch on your bet, we ladies now have 72 hours off, come on girls, lets go to bed." Addressing the leader she requested clothing to reduce tempting the gang members over the next 3 days—he agreed. She said they would continue their camp chores of cooking, cleaning, etc., but would like boots since their feet were all bleeding. He agreed. The ladies hugged her and thanked her and without vote, immediately elevated her to the status of their leader. They had their best night of sleep—and she told them to be ready to leave at the right time—she knew her father and brothers and special former soldiers were coming—and they were probably close by. She told them to keep their boots on even at night.

Unknown to the ladies, her father and team were close by and had been gentling the horses each night by giving them cubes of sugar. The next night, her dad silently approached the girls, led them out undetected while the other team members covered their retreat and led all the horses away. Dawn found them a few miles away as the gang awakened to find their horses and the girls gone. The leader sent three fast runners after them to try to kill them and get the horses back—they were backed up a little later by five more men with extra food, water, etc. The three encountered a sign that said "Surrender to the law or die". They ignored it and charged ahead. One of Jane's brothers used his long range rifle to shoot all three. He set a trap for others he thought would be coming—and he was right. They carefully approached the apparent shooter's ambush site, where he had placed empty shells in plain sight. One gang member said he was taunting them but another said, "No, it's bait! Run!"—just as the first of five shots rang out. They should have surrendered.

The gang needed horses so the leader sent 10-12 men to nearby towns to get—steal—horses. Thanks to the posse's warning the towns were prepared and the gang members never returned.

The posse got the ladies far enough away that they were safe. Then the ladies—and horses— were escorted by three members back home. The ladies—having been raped and abused many time—broke down sobbing and telling the men they were "damaged goods and that no decent men would ever look at them". To which one brother said "I'm looking and hope I can call on you when you are better." Others said the same or similar things and that really lifted the ladies' spirits—so much so that the ladies said, "You are and will always be our heroes—true heroes." And for the first time in a long time they smiled.

The rest of the posse went looking for the gang—determined to finish this thing.

When the two groups of the gang failed to return from the raids to get horses, the rest of the gang began to realize they might not survive—maybe they should surrender. A few days ago when they raided the little town and captured the sex slaves they had nearly 100 men. Now they were down to about 60, they had no horses and were stranded in the middle of nowhere. They also thought that if the posse could steal the captives and horses without any noise, then they could just as easily have killed them. Would the posse return once the captives were safe? The gang began to believe the posse were indeed Death Ghosts.

One night, the posse Ghosts slipped into camp capturing some of the stolen money—they left several painted signs that said "Surrender to the law or die". The next morning, the snipers shot up the food cooking on the fires. The next night none of the gang slept—they were all on high alert but again the ghosts slipped in and left their calling cards. When a couple of groups tried to slip out and come in behind the posse, several were shot down as the others hastily retreated to their camp. A short time later they raised a white flag. They had to leave their guns and come out naked except for their boots.

They were terrified by the looks of the posse especially when one said that was my daughter and a couple others said that was my sister.

Using leg chains the posse had brought just in case, the posse had the gang chain themselves in pairs. Naked except for their boots, the gang walked back to the town—dreading what awaited them. They dared not try to escape because they thought there were dozens of Ghosts hiding in the nearby area. The townspeople greeted the gang with boos and pelted them with dirt. They were marched by the cemetery so they could see all the graves of the people they had killed.

They were all found guilty and the murderers hanged—the others were sentenced to long terms in prison. The citizens of the town could finally begin to put the horrible events behind them and move forward with their lives—thanks in no small part to the Death Ghosts.

FOOTNOTE: During the trial, the judge publicly thanked the posse. The gang could not believe only 8 men had destroyed or scattered the Cantex gang and captured the 50 or so that were left—only 8. Witnesses from other towns came to testify against the gang—bringing many spectators in the courtroom to tears. The judge said, they ALL deserved to hang—but evidence was lacking for some. He said, "I should invoke a ruling that 'if one gang member does something then each gang member is guilty'—if I do that all of you would hang!" To which the courtroom responded with cheers and clapping—they wanted these monsters put to death.

FOOTNOTE: The Ghosts sent posters to towns where the escaped gang members might have gone. The posters said, "The Death Ghosts will come for you unless you surrender—Surrender or die." Surprisingly, all but two were so terrified of the Ghosts that they turned themselves in and awaited their fate in the judicial system. They were nervous wrecks constantly looking over their shoulders, unable to sleep—they were glad to surrender. Two months later the final members surrendered saying at last I can get a good night's sleep. Thus ended the Cantex gang—thanks to the Death Ghosts.

FOOTNOTE: All the victims and their families thanked the posse over and over and spread the word and increased the legend of the Death Ghosts.

The End

Donnie Powell was born and raised in Georgia. He grew up watching western movies and television programs such as Gunsmoke, Wanted Dead or Alive, Paladin, Bonanza and anything western. He still watches them today on the Western channel. He taught school (math) for three years, then 34+ years Federal civil service. He enjoys dabbling in writing short stories of various types. He has three self-published books on Amazon--titles are Some Christmas Stories and Others by Powell, Josie: Squaw Slave White With Many Sex (ADULT STORY), and Cancer Detection Dog On the Run (Adult Story). In August 2018, he will have been married 50 years, has two sons and one daughter, two fine children-in-law, and two (daughter's) wonderful grand-darlings. He has also written an unpublished, non-serious book, When I was a Boy in Georgia. He gives "Thank You" wooden nickels to veterans and stuffed animals (with a tag that says " . . . do a good deed . . . and pass me on or keep me . . . " to people in wheel chairs, senior citizens, Nurses and other medical personnel, etc.—he has received many blessings from each project.

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