Excerpt of The Littlest Hero

The Littlest Hero 

Chapter 10

      While the winds of war swirled about further south, beyond Louisiana's border with Texas, I fell into a comfortable routine each day of riding a couple of hours then spelling the horse by walking awhile on the solitary country roads and trails before riding again as I headed to New Orleans.
      Late one morning, I saw two men approaching me in the distance.  I happened to be on the ground at the time, giving my horse a rest from his load and getting some exercise for myself.  I carried the hickory stick that Ajani made for me years ago and used it for a walking staff as I usually did when I walked for any distance.  I was accustomed to passing people on the road two or three times a day, but they were almost always mounted or driving a wagon of some sort.  Everyone I passed usually had a friendly greeting along with the long stares they gave me, probably having never seen a grown person of my stature in their entire life.
     But these men, even at a distance, looked different than the other travelers I'd encountered along the way.  One man, the taller of the two, was bare headed with long and partially matted dark, but graying hair and a stringy beard.  His clothes were dirty and tattered.  His companion was shorter, wearing a filthy slough-brimmed hat which hid most of his upper face and eyes.  The part of his face that was visible was concealed with a scruffy beard.  his flattened nose appeared to have been broken and healed badly at some point in his past.  His worn, faded cape concealed most of his body.  It too was frayed around the edges and riddled with rips and holes.  Both carried kit bags which looked as if they had been rolled in the mud.  Still out of ear shot, the taller one poked the other with his elbow and spoke quietly out of the corner of his mouth, nodding toward me.  Their stench preceded them as they approached. 

      "Well, howdy little feller,"  the taller man said, exposing his few gapped, brown stained and scum coated teeth, forcing a grimace, which he tried to pass off as a smile.  As he spoke, he and the shorter man moved directly in front of me, to the center of the trail, blocking my passage. 
      "Morning,"  I responded, watching them both carefully, making note of any visible weapons.  The taller man had what appeared to be the handle of a butcher knife extending from his belt.  I couldn't see weapons on the other man because of his cape.  "Let me pass please."  I stepped to my right, attempting to lead the horse around them.  
      "What's your hurry, little man," the tall man said as they both stepped to their left, again blocking my way.  "Why, we ain't never seen no little bitty feller like you before.  What makes you so short?" 
      Both were now grinning, looking foward to having their type of fun with me.
      "That's just the way it is.  Now if you'll move aside..."  I continued to watch them closely, standing my ground, the horse's rein in my left hand and my staff in my right, waiting for their next move. 
      "Why, we was jest wonderin' why such a little feller'd be out here all alone with this nice black here."  He reached for the reins.  I pulled them away from his grasp before he could close his fist on them, causing the horse to jerk backward, away from the startling action.  I glanced at my saddle bags where I had left my pistol but quickly realized it was too far away to use.  I dropped the reins and slapped at Midnight's chest, pushing him farther away and continued glaring at the two now obvious bandits. 
      "Alright, I'm through fooling with you.  Here's how it's gonna be," the tall one snarled, bending over me, pointing his finger at my nose.  "You hand the black over and walk away."  He continued pointing with the finger.  An evil grin slowly crossed his face.  "Or you'll be a dead man in the ditch there."  He tilted his head toward the side of the road.  "It don't matter to me.  The horse is mine either way."  He started reaching for the knife handle in his belt.  At the same time, I saw motion under the shorter man's cloak.  Not knowing whether he was going for a gun or a knife, I went after him first. 

      Going into a crouching position, I flipped my staff into my left hand.  Now in command of the staff with both hands, I pulled downward with my left hand and upward with my right, pushing the tip up with all my strength into the unseen, but moving arm under the cape.  As the handgun fell from under the screaming man's cloak to the ground, I turned to the taller bandit and caught his right arm in mid-swing toward my throat with a sweeping blow of my staff, knocking the butcher knife with an eight inch blade to the ground.  Sweeping back again to the shorter man, I sunk the blunt tip of my staff into his gut, sending him to the ground on his back, gasping for breath.  Withdrawing the staff from the shorter man's gut, I planted the opposite end in the ground and, using it as leverage, I swung my legs upward, kicked out and into the taller man's groin, sending him to the ground, grabbing his crotch as he started to retch. 
      Reaching for the ground, I picked up the handgun and rendered it unusable by blowing away the primer powder and pitched it at the groaning man's feet.  I quickly collected Midnight and climbed my straps to the stirrup.  Once mounted, I retreived my handgun from the saddlebags, checked the load, shoved it in my belt and rode the dozen feet or so to the two men still writhing in the dusty road. 
      "Good day, gentlemen,"  I tipped my hat, smiling and staring down at them as I rode away.  "It's been fun not doing business with you."  After galloping a hundred yards or so away from the tramps who were still on their knees, I slowed Midnight to a more comfortable walk and resumed my trek toward New Orleans. 


Purchase now on Amazon.com

Script embedded in HTML

Website Builder