All Roads Lead Home – Book One: Getting There

L. L. Ward

all roads

CHAPTER ONE

Friday, July 8—Day 1

 

“Flinch, just once, you are gone,” the raspy voice declared into Jesse’s left ear, jolting him from good sleep; warm breath brushing the back of his neck, goose bumps down his spine. Sneaking a glimpse, Jesse slowly turned his eyes to the left.

“Ah, ah…eyes forward, let’s settle some business. Understand?” Jesse slowly nodded, changing the direction of his gaze.

“Better. Now, you are aware a pistol barrel rests upon your temple, correct?”

Jesse nodded, a sweat bead trickles down his forehead.

The intruder grinned. “No need for nervous, my young friend. You must learn to relax. Now, back to our business. You are traveling alone, yes?” Jesse nodded. “Grand. Are you currently sought after by the law?” The cowboy shook his head.

“Magnificent. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly.” Jesse hesitated, unsure what this strange character wanted from him.

“Mister, do I know y—”

“Go on,” the intruder interrupted, nudging him.

Now unsure why, the bewildered cowboy did as he was told. Jesse drew a long, deep breath, slowly letting it out.

“Wonderful. Feel better?” Jesse nodded in surprise. The intruder let out a laugh. “Mmm, amazing how a breath of fresh air revives one’s senses…simply exhaling expels debilitating tensions.”

This threw Jesse for a loop. Talk of this nature didn’t surface much in these parts. This much was clear to the cowboy: A hardened criminal this man wasn’t. Jesse was a yup and nope kind of man, not one to chew on his words. “Mister, state your business or shoot me. I’m beat and need sleep. I’m in no mood to be fooled with.”

More amused, the intruder let out a strange bellow of laughter, slightly easing grip on Jesse’s head, not pressure to his temple. “Commendable character. I like you, my friend. Feel I’m in the presence of my Western self.”

“Ain’tcher friend.”

“Now, now. So, have you eaten these last few weeks, my boy?”

“Yes I have!”

“No offense, it does appear you may have missed one or two…what is your phrase? Chow calls. I could remedy that. If you would be kind enough to share your fire, I’d gladly repay your generosity by sharing this fine rabbit I had the good fortune of crossing paths with. What do you say?”

“Fair ‘nuff, get offa me!”

All Roads Lead Home – Book One: Getting There Description:

You bury – with perfection – what tried to bury you…the betrayals, the lies, the bigotries; the abuse, addiction…the murder. Ten years later an unknown force digs it all back up for you to deal with.

“No. That’s it. You don’t get it. I have nothing. No family, no home, no one to miss me. I’m tired of this life anyway. Just do me a favor and do it now.” The old man dropped his smirk and stared at the cowboy for a long spell. He got up, walked over to a shelf and took down a bottle Jesse hadn’t noticed before. The old man walked over to him and poured some of it in the open spot on his head. That’s just plain sad, son,” he said. “I finally met a man more pitiful than me.”

That one question we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives: “Why am I here?” Nine-year-old Jesse’s grief ate at him; so much that he was sorely tempted to follow his family in death after witnessing the tragic event taking them from him.
His grandmother sentenced him not long after, binding him with one message: “You did not give you Life. The Great Spirit did. It is not yours to take.” There it was – sentenced to life in a prison without walls before life ever started.
His grandmother gave him his first lesson. Jesse would give himself the second: How to want to live. And do it alone in a world filled with strangers hating him. For what? He had no idea.

Burned out Jesse McKlintock has nowhere left to go except right back to the place he cut loose from ten years ago in a blind rage. In those ten years he stayed blind drunk. Now he hates himself as passionately as those who betrayed him. He is an old thirty-six needing to winter somewhere. And the chip on his shoulder from years of being hated for his skin is getting mighty heavy.

Getting lost is easy. Finding your way home’s the tricky part. The struggle for survival can get messy; and that’s for those who care. It gets downright ugly for those that don’t. Enter now into Jesse’s journey of last resort, pressed onward by an unknown force driving him back to the very ground he’d cursed before leaving it one decade prior. Jesse crosses paths with a curious character thought to be an assassin named Maxwell Calkinmyer, gets a partially shot off ear by Crazy Mary, and is shaken silly by a curmudgeon named Levon.

A fast-paced telling of one guy discovering love, having it ripped away, and seeing how he deals with all his rough, bittersweet memories. An honest, courageous story of the messy sweet ways we interact with those who steal our hearts. A tale of cross-racial bloodlines in the lives of our pioneers from early 1800’s to present day, through their stubborn and strong-willed offspring, along with all the hard stuff this life throws at us: addiction, racism, greed, betrayal, loss, bitter unforgiveness. Throw in assassins and murder…and you have a tale with more twists and turns than a path cut out by a toad on loco weed.

Getting There, the first book in the All Roads Lead Home series, reveals Jesse’s rich Scot-Wichita heritage as he treks north to Wyoming in order to winter. Not by choice; he’d flat run out of places that would take him. Along the way he travels back in time to his roots, where his Native American grandmother’s tales are spanning over eighty years across pre-Indian Territory; linking his past, present, and future generations.

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