“Five years ago, I was married to a wonderful woman. Her name was Annabelle, and we’d been married for seven years. A stray bullet from two men shooting out in the middle of the street took my wife’s life. Like any husband who lost his wife, it hurt me something terrible. The death of a spouse leaves a huge hole in one’s heart. After her death, I stayed to myself, built outhouses, and traveled to Carbondale, Redstone, and Marble, to sell them. When I was in those towns, I saw couples walking hand in hand, kissing, laughing together, and sharing a future beside each other.
I wanted to have the same thing. I deserved the same thing. But every woman I met, and asked if we could share lunch, or supper, rejected me. After a while, I got angry, knowing I wasn’t handsome enough, didn’t have nice clothes, a nice ranch, and probably couldn’t buy them all the things they wanted. Why should they have the right to be happy and not me?
One day, I came up with the idea of using my outhouses to abduct women. Folks in those towns and the sheriffs knew me. I could enter and leave town without so much as a glance. You’re proof of that. By the way, what’s your name?” asked Gerhart. Lolie told him her name. There was silence between them for a minute or two before she asked the question she hated to ask, but wanted to know.
“What fate do you have in store for me?” she asked in a sad voice. He stared intently at her before he answered her. “The fact is, I haven’t given it any thought yet. I wasn’t sure I could grab ya, and get you out of whatever town I took you from. I can tell you this though. There’ll be no escape, and no rescue by your husband, a sheriff or posse. Your fate was sealed the moment I laid you down in the outhouse. All that has to be decided is how you’ll die, and how much you’ll suffer,” Gerhart said.
With that said, he reached down, picked up the oil lamp, stood up, and left the shed. At that moment, Lolie’s mind was filled with the memories of what the young child went through before she died, and what the spiteful woman back in Marble endured before she died. She felt helpless. For a few minutes, like a fish dropped on the shore, desperate to flip-flop back into the water and live, Lolie struggled against her restraints, frantic to get free.
Exhausted, she gave up and cried herself to sleep. Whether she wanted the sun to rise, and get it over with, or take longer to put off the inevitable, the sunlight from the doorway woke her up. She knew it was just a matter of time before she knew her fate, and endured her first beating. When Gerhart stood in the doorway, she knew it, because he was blocking some of the sunlight shining on the bed.
She looked in his direction, saw a large cup in one hand, and a plate of food in his other hand. Also on the plate, she saw the end of a fork. When he walked close to the bed, she smelled fried taters, and sausage. He set the plate, and cup carefully down on the chair, before kneeling down close to her face.
“Good morning. I slept on it before I decided how you’ll die. You won’t die the way the gal back in Marble did, or the child I took my anger out on. I reckon before the seventh day’s passed though, you’ll wish you had. Three times a day I’ll feed you, and three times a day, you’ll feel the leather strap lying on the ground beside this chair. On the seventh day, I’ll use my knife, and cut the back of your lower right leg muscle.
Then I’ll undo these straps, help you stand up, and walk you out to the clearing. I’ll take out my pocket watch, and give you a 15-minute head start, as I watch you limp off into the woods. Then I’ll hunt you down, choke the life out of you, and leave your body along the road like all the others. I’m telling you all of this for one simple reason. As you’re being whipped, you’ll beg me to kill you. But it won’t happen. There won’t be a quick death for you,” he said.
As tears fell from her eyes, Lolie looked at the cup of water, and plate of food. “And if I refuse to eat the food you bring to me?” she asked tearfully. Gerhart smiled, and nodded, as she watched him reach over, and pick up his leather strap. “I’m confident I can change your mind, or you’ll pay the price for your stubbornness,” he said, almost daring her to refuse to eat.
Then the laughter left his eyes, and she saw sternness. “So what will it be, are you going to eat what I brought you, or suffer the consequences?” he asked. Lolie said reluctantly, “I’ll eat.” Suddenly, she saw him smile as he said, “Good girl.” He set the cup of water close to the mattress on the ground, and then picked up the plate. By the time she’d eaten all she wanted, and drank what she could; he stood up and set the strap down on the chair.
“The next time I come into this shed, I’ll pick up that strap,” he said in a cold voice. Then he walked out of the shed. As she felt herself soil the canvas tarp under her again, she wanted to die. It would cheat him out of the enjoyment of torturing her and watching her suffer. But there was no way, on her own, she could kill herself. At that moment, she didn’t know how long it would be before he walked back into the shed, and whipped her.
All she knew was, she’d be beaten three times a day, for six days. That meant she had to endure 18 beatings or die from them. But she knew one thing for sure. If she refused to eat the food he brought her, she’d be beaten more, and he’d show no mercy. The child’s death and that of Theresa was proof of that. Ruthlessness came easily to Gerhart. As she sobbed, she thought of her husband, and how worried he was.
By nine that morning, Steven’s horse was tied to some brush at the crossroads of McClure Pass and Marble. He’d brought a stool with him to sit on, a large sack of jerky, and a canteen of water. Across his knees rest a Winchester rifle with eleven shells in it. He was filled with anger, and eager to kill someone. Though it could end up the person he killed might be innocent, the thought was fleeting.
What he stayed focused on was, for the killer to dump his wife’s body along the road to Marble, he had to pass by where he sat. He promised himself he wouldn’t kill the man with his first shot. He gloated with an evil satisfaction; the killer would never kill another woman. As each man on a horse rode past, he never left his stool. When he heard a buckboard, freight wagon, or covered wagon approach, he scared the wits out of the driver.
What man looking down the barrel of a Winchester rifle wouldn’t feel he was about to be robbed? But the deputy marshal’s badge pinned to Steven’s vest took some of that fear away. Once he knew they were innocent, he apologized and waved them on. At ten o’clock, Gerhart closed his pocket watch, stood up and left the table. When he walked into the shed, she saw him, turned her face away, and clenched her fists tight, waiting for the first blow.
She never saw him pick up the strap, but she heard him speak. “I won’t whip you so hard, I’ll draw blood, but you’ll get ten welts across your back, ass, or legs just the same. With each scream, you let out, keep telling yourself, in seven days you’ll be set free,” Gerhart said. Seconds later, she heard a swish, and the strap slapped against her back. She screamed out in pain, soiled herself, and before she could take her next breath, the strap struck her again.
Each time he inflicted pain on her body, he counted out loud, to let her know how much more pain was coming, or when it would end. By the tenth time he struck her, she was sobbing, and her body felt like it was on fire. For someone who wanted her to live for seven days, he hadn’t shown her any mercy. When he returned with her noon meal, she was wild-eyed and struggling to get free. “It ain’t no use, woman. You’ll stay right where you are until I untie you. I’ll wipe you up before I feed you,” he said.
Under his left arm were some convenience papers, and he let them fall on the mattress. Then he set the plate of food, and cup down on the chair. He showed no tenderness when his left hand spread one cheek, and wiped her with his other hand. Then he did the same thing to her other cheek. He tossed the sheets away and patted a two inch wide raised red welt across her ass, making her sob.
Then he scooted closer to her face, and asked, “Do ya feel like eating what I brought you for lunch?” Oh, how she wanted to glare at him, and spit in his face. She wanted to tell him he’d die a slow death if she ever got free, but she didn’t speak. As tears rolled down her cheeks, she nodded. At three o’clock, he returned, picked up the leather strap again, and inflicted ten more welts on her body.
After Lolie’s abducted, this story will tug at your heart-strings.
The Gunnison River Serial Killer is my 2017 emotion-filled western frontier serial killer story. I’ve made this comment section so I can share with visitors to my website what readers feel about this particular eBook. After reading this eBook, would you consider writing an Amazon review? Reviews are important to readers who are considering reading an author’s newest book.
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June A. on June 17, 2017. I was skeptical in reading a book having a dark side while on vacation but the cover of the book had me totally intrigued. I am under the impression that the writer has a multiple series of books. However, at the very beginning, I felt like I walked right into the story without missing a beat. Without giving it away, this is a good read and highly recommended.
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