Chris Scott Wilson                   Writer                                             

©2010 C.J.S.Wilson

DMC crop

When Morgan Clay found colour, nobody could have been more surprised than he. Dogged, stubborn man that he was, he had already given up looking.

   But there it was.

A wide vein of gold running through quartz, a vein that began as a pinpoint, then broadened to an inch wide, offshoots breaking away in all directions, tapering to hairline cracks. Although he was no expert prospector, even he could see the gold was almost pure. It was rich, thick, and as he smiled to himself, decidedly the most beautiful thing he had seen in the last three months.

   Yet he could not believe it.

   But there it was.

Morgan Clay shook his shaggy head and lifted the canteen he had been filling in Sun Creek to taste the coldest, sweetest water he could imagine. As he drank he raised his eyes and scanned the timber. It was habitual. He had seen a Sioux brave cut down once because he had been too intent, bending over the neck of his pony as he tracked a deer that he had not sensed the two white men sitting their horses ahead of him on the trail, waiting patiently for him to come within range. From that day Morgan Clay had always taken time to look around him.

   When he had drunk enough, he pushed the neck of the canteen back under to allow it to fill then again peered down at the shelf of rock that formed the bed of the creek.

   It was still there. He wasn't dreaming. The water rippled over the quartz, the pattern of the gold vein shimmering and altering with the changes in the current.

   "Well, Goddam," Morgan Clay said in wonder over his shoulder to his waiting horses. "It was here all the time. I knew I was right." His saddle horse, a lineback dun, dipped his head and shook out his mane, blowing softly through dilated nostrils. The packhorse, a sultry bay, shifted uneasily, nostrils flared at the scent of water.

   The bay was only lightly loaded now, just tools and Morgan's camping outfit. His supplies were well down, depleted by his three month prospecting trip in the high peaks. He'd panned creeks, scratched at rocks, looking for signs in every canyon, gulch and arroyo in the whole chain of mountains. All the time that feeling had been there in his heart. He knew there was gold there, somewhere, but as the weeks passed, then the months, he had become despondent, his natural optimism fading with each successive and equally fruitless day.

   He had worked hard and long, his back breaking and burning under the hot sun, sheltered where he could when the storms in that 'sudden' country had lashed him with needlepoints of rain or hammered him with duck egg-sized hailstones, and through it all he had nurtured hopes of a strike. For three months' work he had absolutely nothing to show. One big fat zero. And when you weighed that in on the banker's scales you didn't get many dollars in return for all those endless hours. Out of pocket, eyes and muscles aching, he had folded up his meagre outfit and headed onto the downward trails. The only reason he had stopped here was he had tasted the water once before at Sun Creek and he knew it was good.

   And now this.

   "Goddam," he said aloud again, reaching down into the water to caress the rock shelf with his callused hand. It was as smooth on his fingertips as a silk handkerchief. He glanced round, furtively

ONE

DOUBLE MOUNTAIN CROSSING

    Double Mountain Crossing

had me hooked from the first page. I have read westerns before but never with such knowledge of the characters portrayed. Much research has been done, and the descriptive writing is superb. Once started I could not turn the pages quickly enough. I just had to know what was coming next. During reading this I felt the biting cold, the extreme loneliness, and the fear and despair of the characters involved. Chris Scott Wilson is a clever descriptive writer with a wealth of knowledge about all his characters. Whether they were real or fictional,  painstaking research into the subjects and places that this book portrays really has paid off. I strongly recommend this book - Mike Eastwood.

A FIVE STAR REVIEW

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