Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Sad Fate of Huston Chapman

The Sad Fate of Huston Chapman

Many of you may not be familiar with the name “Huston Chapman”. He played a small but fair part in the aftermath of the Lincoln County War.

Huston Chapman was an attorney hired by Susan McSween on behalf of her late husband, Alexander McSween, who was killed July 19th, 1878, on the final eve of the 5-Day-Battle in Lincoln County, New Mexico.

Because the Dolan Faction considered Mr. Chapman to be a continuing nuisance of that war, Dolan had conceived that, should the man be “silenced”, the old feud would be over. Many may be familiar with James Dolan as one of the major players on the opposing side of the Tunstall Faction’s Regulators, and one of the primary instigators in Tunstall’s death, kicking off what would become known as The Lincoln County War, officially ending with McSween’s death.

On the fateful day of his own murder, Huston Chapman was in Lincoln County on business when he had an unfortunate run-in with Jesse Evans (ringleader of a gang called "The Boys", a vicious party of rustlers hired by the Dolan Faction to war with the Regulators) and several other men who were all involved in, of all things, a peace-pact with the Regulators. Huston Chapman suffered from neuralgia, a painful ailment of the face, and was in great discomfort and bandaged up as he strode down the Most Dangerous Street in America. A man by the name of Billy Campbell, dangerous and chief herder to Dolan, stopped Mr. Chapman, demanding to know who he was and why he was there. Chapman, having no healthy sense of fear, and being in a particularly foul mood, refused to humor the man, briskly stating his name and the fact that he was there on business.

The crowd of warring gangs were drunken from celebrating by this point, and Billy Campbell pulled out his gun and demanded the ailing man “dance” for the crowd. Huston Chapman again refused to humor the man, shook his head, and declared that he “[Didn’t] propose to dance for a drunken mob.” Campbell didn’t like the attorney’s tone, and warned him to watch his lip before harassing the man further by ripping the bandage from Chapman’s face. Chapman had lost his patience completely and growled that he wasn’t scared of these men, that he was familiar enough with them to know they’ve tried to frighten him before. Chapman then demanded to know if it was Dolan he was speaking with. Jesse Evans piped up and said it wasn’t, but it was a “damned good friend of his.” It was then that Dolan, who had been standing by, fired his pistol while Campbell’s fired near simultaneously, felling Chapman, who gasped, “My God, I am killed!”

Billy Campbell was ecstatic, excitedly exclaiming that he swore he’d kill Chapman, and now he’s done it. The men went on to continue celebrating and figure out what to do with Chapman’s body, which lay burning from gunpowder in the street.

As many of you may be unfamiliar with Huston Chapman’s story, you may also be just as unfamiliar with the reaction of the notorious brigand Billy the Kid, himself now leader of what remained of the still feared Regulators. If Billy was not quite shocked that these murderous, hard-case types could do something so cold, he was, at the least, disgusted.

Dolan had ordered one of his men to put a pistol in Chapman’s hand so that they could claim Chapman had pulled first and had been killed in self-defense. Dolan’s man was wise enough to decline, but Billy, seeing an opportunity to slip away from the volatile crowd and remove himself from yet another killing that could be pinned on him, offered to place the pistol.  Once safely away from the crowd, he rode hurriedly past Huston Chapman’s body, still smoldering, with his best friend, Tom O’Folliard. He never had any intention of putting that gun in Chapman's lifeless hand.
 

It was Huston Chapman’s death that Billy used to initialize a parley with Governor Lew Wallace, wherein Billy issued a testimony against men in the Dolan Faction for a chance of having his name cleared; Billy helped secure quite a few jail sentences. But this parley would help seal Billy’s fate absolutely, as the young outlaw skipped town when it was made clear Lew Wallace planned to wash his hands of Billy once the Governor got what he needed. Lew Wallace was called to Lincoln County to clean up the streets, and with Billy’s help, he did just that, at least technically. When Billy had left town after being discarded by the governor, Wallace was displeased. Despite Wallace's failure to keep his end of the bargain, forcing Billy's hand, any chance of Billy receiving amnesty was wiped from the slate. This also probably played a part in Lew Wallace's decision to eventually publish the infamous $500-dollar reward for Billy’s capture after a posse gathered for the Kid accidentally murdered Deputy Sheriff James Carlyle in White Oaks. Wallace ultimately decided offering a reward was the only way to get rid of the Kid for good. 

Spot where Huston Chapman was shot and killed in Old Lincoln, NM, on the Most Dangerous Street in America (Photo taken by Nicole Maddalo Dixon)

Author of the Bandita and Billy the Kid Series, available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Visit my website: Nicole Maddalo Dixon, or find me on Twitter: @NMDixonAuthor 


Monday, August 14, 2017

Where Did Billy Get the Gun?


Where Did Billy Get the Gun?





I am often asked many questions about Billy the Kid. There are so many interesting things about his short life and short, fierce notoriety that people to this day, over 130 years later, are still enthralled and riveted by the young outlaw. One of the questions I am asked oh so consistently is: Where did Billy get the gun?


Where Billy got the gun during his last, great escape from the courthouse in Lincoln County, NM, has been the subject of debate for years. Someone leaving it for him in the privy is a myth that has been perpetuated in film as much as in legend. But where did he get that gun? The answer to this question is much more logical and simpler than the romantic folktale that someone left it for him in the crapper.


See, Billy himself said where he got the gun; he got it from Jim Bell, the very deputy he shot and killed while making his grand escape. And common sense tells us that, had someone left a gun for Billy in the privy, then surely they would have come forward eventually, eager to tell the tale of how he (or she) sneaked into the outhouse to leave the piece that would set the Kid free.


Billy, being a notorious firebrand, was shackled to the floor in the Lincoln County Courthouse, sequestered from the other prisoners for being too “dangerous”, making a 24-hour watch period necessary. Billy was wily, see? (He had made quite a few jailed escapes before.) We know these days that Billy, though quite formidable in truth when cornered, was rather affable and well-liked. This, together with his slight build and smooth, youthful face, also made him dangerously disarming. Pat Garrett, the sheriff who brought the Kid to the courthouse after capturing him at Stinking Springs, warned deputies Bob Olinger and Jim Bell not to underestimate the Kid and take him for granted, and to keep their eyes on him at all times before he left Lincoln for White Oaks on business.


While Olinger was a real, well-known nasty case of a man who bullied the Kid, Jim Bell was pleasant and treated Billy kindly. For this reason, Billy had no intention of murdering Jim Bell when he planned his escape. In fact, Billy had no intention of killing anyone. But wisdom tells us that plans do not always go according to, well, plan.


Billy put his plan into action on April 28th, 1881, after waiting for Olinger to take the other prisoners to the Wortley Hotel for lunch. The Wortley resided (and still resides) across the street from the courthouse. Prisoners were held at the courthouse since Lincoln County did not have a decent jail house.


Once Olinger was out of the way and Billy and Bell were alone in the courthouse, Billy said that he needed to use the privy. This was a necessary component to his ruse, of course, since Billy was shackled to the floor. Bell unpinned Billy and escorted him to the outhouse. After waiting a reasonable amount of time (or perhaps Billy actually used the facilities), Billy emerged and both he and Bell headed back to the courthouse and up the narrow staircase towards Billy’s “cell”, the Kid ahead of Bell.


This was Billy’s opportune moment. In those days, handcuffs were made one -size-fits-all. It’s been noted that Billy had smaller hands than his wrists, which is the proposed reason he was able to slip his left hand from the cuff. With his right hand and its added weight from the freed cuff, he brought the iron down on Bell’s head intending to knock him out or render him dazed, probably with the hope that a fall down the staircase would help his cause. It was at this point when he most likely grabbed at Bell's gun. Bell, surely stunned, kept his wits about him, and as he fled to warn Olinger, Billy yelled after him, telling him not to run and to keep quiet. Billy wanted a calm, discreet escape from Lincoln; he wasn’t looking for bloodshed. Not only would that have been unwise as it would raise an alarm, but it also would have been unlike Billy, as he wasn’t the type to shoot a man without reason.  Billy would not have killed Bell, but would have forced him to remove his leg irons at gunpoint so he could make his quick getaway. 


So, as things went awry with Bell refusing to heed him, Billy shot Bell (the original pierced wall in the courthouse from this incident has been plastered over. The “bullet” hole that is there now is a recreation as visitors kept inquiring after it.) We know that Billy regretted killing Bell, his having said, “It wasn’t a matter of wanting to kill Bell, but having to.”


The alarm now equally raised by gunfire and by Bell as he made his way outside of the courthouse where he died, Billy shuffled to the armory, legs still shackled together, and grabbed Olinger’s loaded shotgun as he now expected the lawman to come running any minute. Directly, after hearing the gunfire, run Olinger did! Olinger raced from the Wortley to the courthouse only to find himself face-to-face with his own shotgun as Billy leaned outside of the courthouse window of his soon to be former cell. We all know the infamous, gleefully chilling greeting Billy gave Olinger, “Hello, Bob!”, before blasting him, shredding Olinger’s face and chest. Fatefully, Bob had learned that Billy had killed Bell, too, before he expired, as a Lincoln resident by the name of Godfrey (Gottfried) Gauss yelled to Olinger, “Bob! The Kid has killed Bell!” Olinger then replied, the last words he would ever say: “Yes, and he’s killed me, too.” If Billy was sorry for killing Bell, he had no qualms about executing Olinger.


Before you feel too sorry for Bob Olinger, it’s interesting to note that his own mother knew him as a devil, saying, "Bob was a murderer from the cradle, and if there is a hell hereafter then he is there."


Interesting fact: Godfrey Gauss was John H. Tunstall’s cook. The death of Tunstall would ultimately lead Billy to this moment, and then of course to his own eventual demise.


Billy, ever the charismatic young outlaw, addressed the crowd who had gathered around the courthouse, explaining himself and the reason for the death of Bell. Here is where he first expressed his regret in killing the young deputy, and telling the crowd he now only wanted to leave Lincoln peaceably, beseeching them to allow him to do so lest he must spill more blood.


During an hour or so of joking and chatting regular-like with the residents of Lincoln, Billy’s old friend Godfrey procured a pickaxe and horse for Billy after Billy ordered he do so. Billy was able to pry one ankle free, but the other iron would not give, and so when Billy went to mount the horse, the swinging leg iron spooked the animal, bucking the Kid off. Billy laughed about it, got back onto the mount, then took off into Baca Canyon, now called Salazar Canyon. Salazar Canyon runs through the Capitan Mountain chain.


Billy stayed with his friend Yginio Salazar, where he again recounted the tale of his Great Escape.





In Book III of the Bandita series (when it becomes available), I recount this act. But for a fun taste of Billy’s earlier exploits in accurate, novel form, you may want to consider purchasing the first two books in the series, available in print and eBook through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Bandita Bonita: Romancing Billy the Kid, Book I


Bandita Bonita and Billy the Kid, The Scourge of New Mexico, Book II


Warning: Violence and adult situations included.


If you want to see photos of my visit to Old Lincoln and the inside of the courthouse, you can visit my website: Nicole Maddalo Dixon

*Illustration of Billy (Still Riding High) by Bob Boze Bell, True West Magazine

*Bob Olinger from Legends of America
*James W. Bell head stone from uk.pinterest.com





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

About the Bandita Series: For All Demographics!!!!!

    About the first two books in the Bandita series:                                                                                          
    I receive a lot of PMs from people who want to purchase these books. I want to make sure I let those of you who are considering buying the books know that these are not your typical western novels.                                                                                                                                
    This is a contemporary, progressive story. The series is basically comprised of modern situations set against the backdrop of the American West. There is sex, violence, and Oh My God, cussing.
    ...
    The events surrounding Billy the Kid are accurate, but the circumstances are complex. So please don't expect novels in the vein of the average western book.                                              
    This series was written with the idea of crossing different genre demographics rather than being confined to the western genre.                                                                                                        
    I wrote this series so that anyone could read them, not just thought who are interested in the Old West.                                                                                                                                          
    They are available through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and are available for Amazon Kindle and NOOK as well as print.                                                                                                
    #Amazon
    #BarnesandNoble
    #BillytheKid
    www.nicolemdixonauthor.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Quick Difference Between Assembly Novels v. Philosophical Novels








I noticed a post by an author who is upset that many eBooks cost $.99. She went on to point out how much effort and work is put into writing a book, and I can personally attest to that. I don't generally respond to those posts directly, but it does bring to mind a caveat that I'd like to impart here: If you purchase a book for $.99 (and I can understand the appeal), you may be setting yourself up for failure. You may also get lucky, but in most cases, you're more than most likely not going to get a quality read.   
                                                                                   
True authors put a lot of heart and soul into their books, not to mention a ton of research, philosophy, and a generous understanding of the human condition. Being an author is a lonely existence, and that is what you're paying for when you see a decently priced book or eBook.
 
That said, those who self-publish and charge $.99 know that many people will choose to buy those books over a substantial read, and those who buy them will think they've gotten a bargain, but they are often disappointed; you get what you pay for. If you want quality writing, you should expect to pay more. I have to admit that it is frustrating knowing that I, and other authors like me, are forced to compete with those authors: with those who churn out books knowing that undiscerning readers will purchase them over a book that is a few dollars more. A good writer knows their value and price their works as such.  
                                                  
I know some self-published writers who have great talent, but they are few and far between, and in most cases they don't publish books one after the other for the simple reason that a good story takes time to plan out.  Even self-published authors should agree with this blog post. They, too, have to compete with authors who churn out books like they operate a grist mill.
                                                                                                                 
Readers... Please keep that in mind the next time you're looking for a good read.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

EXCERPT from BOOK II, Bandita Bonita and Billy the Kid: The Scourge of New Mexico Chapter 11 / June 1879

EXCERPT from BOOK II, Bandita Bonita and Billy the Kid: The Scourge of New Mexico
             Chapter 11 /  June 1879






     We were about a day’s ride out from Vegas when Billy chose to put us up in a familiar, secreted cave he had found out about during one of his many tours through the territory before we’d met. As far as he knew the cave was concealed carefully enough so that he thought not many could know of the little cavern—if any knew of it at all. He told me that he had come to this conclusion based on the fact that whenever he had a use for it for the purpose of refuge it seemed to remain unexploited by others and was always as neatly intact as nature would have it, though, he explained, it had been a while since he had visited the earthen cavity. This would be our first campout along our way to Las Vegas as we had stayed at the Gerhardt Ranch on our first day out prior to staying in Puerto de Luna and Anton before arriving here.

         It was close to the rainy season, and so staying put inside of the cavern was a necessary condition for us should we find ourselves caught in a storm. The day had burned slow and was heated under a clouded, covered sky. Billy claimed that a storm was a real possibility, basing this, he said, on the friction he felt in the air.
         There was a natural enclosure positioned just below the cave which was surrounded by sturdy mountain rock outcroppings and boulders with a natural overhang where we could shelter the horses. This would provide them decent enough protection from any rain or should a flash flood manifest without warning—flash floods were always a source of concern out here; they were an easy and near unavoidable death if one were caught and exposed by a merciless desert downpour. Certainly, dangers abounded everywhere out west.
         The cave itself was set up high within the mountain, as was the cave in the hills of Patricio (where we had hidden out just before the 5-days-Battle in Lincoln), and it, too, had a precarious ridge one must climb to reach the earthen portico that spread wide before its mouth—the same swatch of land that created the overhang for the horses below. The cave was set back and nestled into the mountainside, and this particular cave boasted something of a fictile shaft made of rock inside that ran up through the mountain like a regular chimney which allowed for a fire to be lit beneath it, the shaft a flue that would suck the smoke right up and out, accommodating the terrene lodging in a way that made it cozy.
         We secured the horses and began our ascent of the hazardous, narrow ridge that hitched along the mountain up toward the cave’s portico, our backs sliding against the wall of dirt behind us, loosing earth and scree that fell and bounced on its way down. With his right hand he took my left, guiding me along the dangerous edge as he negotiated it. With his left hand he held his gun aloft.
         He dragged me as we climbed, causing us to sidle faster than I had expected along the slim berth of ground. He seemed anxious, wanting to reach our destination and get settled, his gun poised and at the ready, ears tuned to any sound that might come from up above; he was primed for misadventure.
         He stopped for a moment, listening. An emerging ray of sunlight glinted upon something on the ground and caught my eye. I lent myself toward it with my free hand, attempting to grasp the object that had seized my attention. Knees and body bent, I reached out. The hand that Billy held kept my left arm anchored upwards as I angled myself toward the item, making my movement awkward. As he began to move again and pull me along he nearly caused me to lose my balance, but I had managed to grab the shimmering object and correct myself nonetheless. It was a pretty locket, covered by a fine sheath of dust. I wiped at it with my thumb as he continued to pull me along.
         We were cresting the ridge and approaching the level ground that surrounded the cave—a gaping maw set back by an atrium of dirt and rock. Suddenly, the wind kicked up and Billy turned his nose away, disgusted.
         “Oh Jesus...” he sighed.
         I opened my mouth to ask what was wrong, but before I could speak I knew. A foul stench enveloped us both, causing us to hunker down into one another against the mountainside and cover our faces in desperation.
         “God. What is that?” I yowled.
         He only managed to say something incoherently and moan dreadfully into his hand.
         He rose and turned back, preparing himself to look upon the place in which we sought. Letting go of my hand he turned to me and told me to stay put. Still crouching, I placed my hands down to steady myself along the ridge while he left me there alone. I saw him disappear around the bend at the top and then heard the firm flapping of wings before seeing black carrion birds scatter off into the air. And then...nothing. I waited as patiently as I could, but when his absence proved longer than I would have thought, the silence caused me to grow uneasy. Still attempting to protect my nose against the rotting stink with my hand, I called to him through my fingers. When he didn’t answer, I decided to make my way up the remaining stretch of path. Rounding the same bend Billy had disappeared around moments before, I saw him. His hand was over his face, eyes horrifyingly wide at the scene before him.
         Two bodies lay by the mouth of the cave. I shrieked in shock, causing him to turn and see me standing there. Reacting quickly, he began pushing me back toward the ridge, firmly instructing me to climb back down. After my initial confusion, I was finally able dig my foot in and slow him from pushing. He fought against my stubbornness, yelling for me to move, but I was able to calm him when he became aware that I was deliberately struggling to make him stop.
         “What are you doing? Go!”
         “Billy, we can’t!”
         “Like hell! Go! Move!”
         “Billy...the rain!”
         Just then a growl of thunder punctuated my point as it sounded in the near distance.
         He seemed to think on this a moment, then shook it off. “We’ll take our chances. Did you see what I just saw?” he barked.
         “We have to stay here; you know we have to stay here, unless there’s another place like this we can go—”
         His look turned derisive, sarcastically asking me, “Do you think this is likesome damned hotel? That we can just request a different room?”
         Frazzled, I hollered back, “Well, I’m sure I don’t know!” I was feeling provoked and uneasy.
         We grew quiet together in our shock, and exasperated, I placed my hands to my head, pushing my hat back. So we stood together silently, lost in our own thoughts; Billy considering our situation.
         “What the hell are we supposed to do?” He asked out loud, almost as if to himself.
         “Move the bodies,” I casually responded. Resolute.
         His expression toward me could only be defined as repugnant. For the moment he seemed clearly put off and sickened by my suggestion, and then he looked at me as if I were short on sense.
         “You must be out of your cotton-pickin’, east-side mind! I ain’t moving those damned bodies. I ain’t touching the goddamned things—”
         “—I’ll help you—“
         “—Like hell—no way! If there’s one person between us two who definitely ain’t going near them things it’s you, and I ain’t going, neither.”
         He began to push me along again but I held fast to my position.
         “We have to do this, Billy.”
         I looked up at him, into his unblinking, wide blue eyes. He registered this truth. Twilight was peeking over the desert, and with the prospect of a storm and the sky growing steadily darker, another rumble of thunder closer off in the distance turned the simple possibility of a storm into a devastating reality. He began to nod to himself as if he were mentally gearing up for what he knew needed to be done—teeth working at his lips as his mind worked at the unpleasant task that lay ahead.
         “Okay,” he said. “Okay…”
         He started back toward the gruesome scene, and as I began to follow, he turned to face me and placed his hand against my shoulder.
         “Stay there,” he commanded.
         I stopped and let him walk on. I leaned against the mountainside, already feeling exhausted as I thought over the matter and the unpleasant undertaking that lie ahead when I heard him gagging. I moved toward him and peered around to see him sicking up as he knelt close to the body that lay the farthest from the ridge. When his stomach had expended its contents he stood and came back toward me.
         “I can’t. We have to go. Now!”
         “I’ll help you; we have to do this.”
         “Aw, hell no, Lucy. Get going!”
         I maneuvered around him and stood directly between both corpses, surveying the macabre tableau.
         Both carcasses lay with their guns drawn, the body that Billy had first planned to move lay half in, half out of the cave. The half of him that lay exposed was horribly rotted; the gray-green flesh of the head had disintegrated in places, exposing the skull and desiccated tissue. The face confronted me, its marbled, black and puffy green colored flesh blistered; tongue eaten at, with what was left of it protruding through teeth unsheathed by withered, picked-upon lips; eyes gone. I waved away at the flies that had swarmed, realizing for the first time the churning black veil that shrouded the moldering flesh which should have been impossible to miss; the buzzing incessant and quite loud.
         I felt my own stomach spasm at this. I hurried away from the bodies and wretched.
         Satisfied, Billy yelled over to me, “Not so tough now, are ya?”
         When my own body had quit shuddering, I looked back at the morose sight. Billy stood there, a strange look in his eyes as they flitted back and forth between the two dead men, coat sleeve covering his nose and mouth in an attempt to keep the malodor from entering his nostrils. I knew this had to be done; we could go nowhere else. Thunder lightly sounded again from the east, seemingly just beyond a small mountainous range. I studied the situation some more.
         Looking at the angle of the bodies I wondered aloud, “Was it a fight? Did they kill each other?”
         “Hell should I know? Looks like.”
         “Okay, let’s just get this over with.”
         He walked with me back toward the body we had both become unpleasantly familiar with.
         “Grab him on that side by the jacket,” He said. “We’ll pull him and slide him over the side.”
         I nodded and moved to do what he told me to, then stopped.
         “Do you think he has any money or valuables on him?” I asked.
         “Jesus Christ. I don’t know. Can we just get this done with?”
         Ignoring him, I scampered around and to the other side of the dead man. I was revolted, seeing a new horror of insects as they scurried and writhed over and around the corpse.            Cautiously, I gingerly placed my forefinger and thumb on the edge of the dead man’s lapel and slowly peeled back his jacket to look for an inside pocket, eventually flipping the panel over quickly. When I found it, I very warily placed my hand inside. Billy made sounds of aversion and vocally objected at this, but I pulled out a billfold. I looked up at him with a wide smile and nodded my head, pleased with myself. He frowned. I opened the billfold and found some dollar bills inside.
         “Count it later,” Billy demanded.
         I counted it right then. Nearly fifty dollars! That would do. I dropped the billfold and observed the body, still waving off the flies that consumed me as well, as if I could make them go away. The corpse’s legs lay one over the other and looked to be somewhat intact, but one could not truly tell as the carcass was fully dressed, and so his pants concealed his lower half. The flesh around his exposed hand had grown taught and leathery; the other hand was missing entirely. Thunder sounded again.
         “Lucy...”
         I glanced quickly up at Billy and, ignoring him a moment longer, checked the torso and found a clean, gold pocket watch which I hurriedly snapped away from the body for fear of the things creeping about, and then finally, returned to helping Billy. We dragged the body together to the edge of the bluff by the shoulder of its jacket and collar and, despite my dragging a festering dead body, of which I should have found very odd, all I managed to think to myself was how light it was. We slid him over the side and he fell a ways down to the ground but still made an audible thump.
         We looked at each other and then at the second body. This one was laid out fully in the elements. His right, near skeletal hand lay clutched by his chest, his naturally decimated left hand lay alongside him as he lie prone, his gun resting on the ground as if it had been dropped there after its owner had been drilled by a bullet. There was a rucksack nearby him. Billy saw me spy this and placed a hand on my shoulder.
         “After we’re through,” he said.
         I nodded, knowing he wanted to get this over with, but still, I was not swayed from considering the body, looking for anything of worth and seeing nothing. I thought to check his clothing, but this one was by far worse off than the other. The skin of the face was gone completely, the chest appeared sunken in and the rotting shirt had a thick looking, slick stain; the gut hollowed out. Liquefied, I thought. I noticed a sticky-like substance pooled around him; biological run-off. The iron nerve I had initially summoned and maintained fairly failed me at this particular sight and I ran off again, dry heaving, wracked by the discomfort it caused my body.
         When finally we had fulfilled our unpleasant deed and pulled this dead man over the ledge, we smiled oddly at one another.
         Disturbed and with a strange smirk, he said, “Ghoul.

            He walked off to fetch our things from the horses while I hung back and examined the substantiation of what was here—what remained despite the removal of the grotesqueries. There were brownish, sticky and dry looking stains left behind by both bodies, thinly coated by a layer of grime, but the concentration of the smell had seemed to dissipate. I supposed this might be due to the fact that we had removed its source from the immediate places, but likely it was also because I had grown accustomed