Hellesgate is a little town of about 500 citizens in southwestern Kansas. It has a post office, a small store, a gas station, a granary and a row of neat tiny houses running up Main Street. At first glance, Mayberry comes to mind, but fair warning: there are no Opie’s here.
Bingham Daughtry is an old, old man who runs the post office. He was a sniper in the Korean War and never got out of the habit of calling his gun his best friend. He’s famous for his hard lemonade and the senility he flirts with daily. He is a loyal man who says what’s on his mind and who defends the few he calls his friends with vigor and when necessary with violence.
The Eastons, Iona and Elwood, run an apple orchard on the outskirts of town. Iona babies her apple trees and her husband with an equal but fierce passion. While the couple were never blessed with children of their own, they were blessed with Cane, their nephew. Having raised him since he was a baby, they consider Cane their own and would gladly defend him with their lives.
May Shaw is an eccentric girl. A beautiful woman in her twenties, she is as slight as a thistle and as winsome as the prairie wind. She loves Cane Summerfield with a passion which frequently crosses over into the obsessive. Her stalking tendencies have mellowed some through the years but her incendiary love of Cane has not.
Jefferson Shaw is May’s brother. With all the passion with which May loves Cane, Jefferson hates him with equal fire. Convinced that Cane has somehow wronged his sister, Jefferson has vowed to destroy Cane’s life… that is if he ever sobers up enough to figure out how.
This is Hellesgate, Kansas. It is an environment rich with love, hate and fire. It is the bed in which Cane Summerfield and Matthew Archer’s love was sparked and their family was born. I hope you will drop by for a visit tomorrow and be sure to bring your friends and enemies – after all, there’s something for everybody (be it murder, mayhem or momentous love) in Hellesgate, Kansas.
However, Matthew and Cane’s love and adventures are by no means limited to Kansas. Denver, Colorado plays a crucial role in Shafts of Torchlight, a backdrop to a dangerous night in which lives are threatened and love is tested…
Chapter Seven: Sleet in Denver
“Standing there alone at a frosted window Matthew missed the brush of arm against his arm, the tickle of breath against his neck, the sound of his own voice tangled in the sound of his husband’s.” (page 85)
Well, I believe I have flapped my jaws enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll give you a recap of the histories of Matthew and Cane and their little girl, Sahara. Until then, I leave you with the final reindeer of our WWII games…
I imagine Blitzen to be…
An assassin. He is a man who is sent in as a war’s last resort. He must blend in, get lost among the maddening crowd… until the final shot can be had. He trusts no one but his own gun. While he once hated his role as reaper, he views it now as a mission of mercy. The atrocities of the war have changed him, hardened him. In the mirror, Blitzen no longer recognizes himself. Who he will be after the war, if there is an “after the war” for him, only God knows. Until then his crosshairs are set on only one man… a man who is responsible for hundreds of deaths or so the intelligence alleges. When the truth of his target’s actions come to light, will it be enough to convince Blitzen to betray his own orders to save one good man’s life? Or will his own heart feel the cold death of his own assassin’s bullet?
Until tomorrow (Release Day!!!)…
Chloe Stowe and her Hellesgate homies.