Pale Horse Coming
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The year is 1951. A smooth talking Chicago lawyer has come to chat with Sam Vincent, a former prosecutor, about a dangerous unknown - a prison for violent black convicts in Thebes, Mississippi, a place of many questions but no answers. Would Sam, a white man and a Southener, be willing to investigate? When Sam vanishes in the mists and swamps, his old friend Earl Swagger packs his gun and heads to Thebes where he discovers sinister secrets that go far beyond the prison walls. The whole town guards itself from nosy strangers with a private army of brutal, gun-toting, klan type thugs and rednecks. After barely escaping, Earl vows to right things and reclaim Thebes from the throes of a sinister conspiracy. But first, he enlists just a little help from his friends.
he didn't like California generally, and Los Angeles specifically, its brown hills, its sense of thickness filling the air, like they were burning rubber somewhere nearby, the arid little neighborhoods of bungalow amid burned-out shrubbery, its heat, but most of all: its showiness. This was where they made the pictures, and Earl didn't like the pictures a bit, except for that John Wayne fellow or one or two other cowboy-style heroes. He could never remember their names. But there was something
mail, found the usual accumulation of bills, circulars and advertisements, then came across something new. It was a personal letter from one Harold E. Perkins, of Washington, D. C. Sam searched his memory. The search revealed no record of a Harold E. Perkins, which Sam took to mean either he was losing IQ points fast in his quest, or that Harold E. Perkins was a complete stranger writing for money. Sam opened the envelope, found a small, handwritten note card. "Dear Mr. Vincent," it began, I
mercy. Mercy came in but one form, however. "What does it mean, Fish? What does ' horse coming' mean? You have to tell me, you know. You will, in the end. The only question is when. Tell me, Fish. Save us both trouble, and the warden worry. Tell me, Fish, tell me now." Fish did not and paid for his disobedience. He paid, he paid, he paid. And then he paid some more. But he never opened his lips. Now, at last, death dogged him. He could smell it, taste it, knew it was here at last for him.
could see the Jap, bled out, sometimes concussed, the poor man fighting against them on some kind of general principle of survival but without much energy. As much as Earl hated the Japanese, he hadn't enjoyed seeing that; the packs of dogs ripping at the wounded man, usually by this time awash in blood that made the dogs even more insane. Meanwhile, their handlers, by nature brutal, urged s the animals on, laughing at the spectacle. The dogs snapped and , chewed, or they hung on and shook and
hand, risked everything, and lost everything, although Willis was convicted and spent six months at the Tucker Farm. As for Nadine, she moved from town because even in her own community she was considered what Negro women called a " '," and moved to St. Louis, where her appetites soon got her murdered in a case of no interest to anyone. Sam had taken his defeat bitterly. If his family thought he would see them more often, they were mistaken. Instead, he rented a small office on the town square