Western Fiction posted February 14, 2018 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23... 

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The traveler is visited by silent Apaches.

A chapter in the book The West

Life and Death with Inga

by Thomas Bowling


The Traveler sees a camel and is visited by Apaches.

Chapter 22

In our sixth year together, we started seeing wagon trains. Just a few at first, but eventually, they were a regular sight. Mostly, they would pass in the distance. Sometimes, they would stop.

We welcomed their visits. They brought news from the east and traded cloth and string and odds and ends. They were willing to trade almost anything. Some even offered to trade for water from our well, but it didn't seem Christian to trade for water, so we gave it away.

One traveler let me use his razor, and for the first time in eleven years, I shaved. When Inga saw me, she told me to never do it again. She said I was too ugly to let people see my naked face. When she smiled, I knew she was teasing.

“I should have never taught you to speak English.”

“Zen who supposed to teached me, yourz mule?”

“It's not a mule. It's a horse and he speaks better English than you do.”

“You schood be niz vit me. Bevore me, you tink the way to growing zikens vas to burying zem. Iz a goot zing ve got no zikens. You vood be burying zem all. Und you vood be talking vit yourz mule, zilly man.”

“I don't have a mule. I keep telling you it's a horz – horse.”

“Itz a shtupid looking horz if you azk Inga.”

Inga was a pleasant woman, but sometimes she could nag like an American wife. Once she asked me why I woke up ready for love every morning. I said because you haven't said anything for eight hours.

------- ------- -------

One day, a group of wagons arrived with some sick folks. Inga did what she could for them. For three days, she carried water to the sick and wrapped them in wet sheets. They were burning up with fever and complained about blisters.

When they left, Inga finally got some rest. At that time, we didn't know what the grippe was. Inga never did find out. I buried her behind the house. I didn't mark the grave. What use would it be? No one would ever see it. I didn't mourn her passing. I had seen too much to mourn. Besides, love was for eastern folk. It had no place in the
west. One time Inga told me I was a good man. I guess that's as close to love as we needed.

This was the west for Inga Svenson, a Swedish immigrant who was my wife for eight years.

To be continued . . . 


The grippe - influenza
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