"A Man Named Eustace" Preview

I'm currently writing a novella called A Man Named Eustace. It's about a cowboy named Callum Bane who is on a quest to find a woman's husband. Here is the rough draft of chapter 1.

I was riding into Danbrook in west Texas. I was a regular
in that town, as I regularly did business in that county. The
thing about Danbrook is that it used to be an old Christian
Mission with a sizable church, but the priests who lived there
left when the California gold rush happened. I didn’t usually
come in from the east like I was today; I typically came from
the west or the north. But I had business out in the east and
part of that job was to deliver a sum of cash and a plea for
innocence to a notary there.

kicked at my horse, he was starting to get old and he’d
suffered a viper bite to his leg the other day. Thing swelled up
to the size of a grapefruit and started to stink. I lanced it a
day or two ago, all sorts of colourful fluids poured out of it
and the old boy got real skittish and distrustful of me. But
after a rest, it was back up and moving around again, clearly
not bothered by the previous wound it had. Animals are great
like that. But a day later, it had begun to move slower than
usual, and had a hard time taking directions. I never named the
horse, I don’t like to.

Old Navajo man once told me that the Great Spirit named
everything, so I asked him what it named my horse. The Navajo
man said I didn’t understand the story, and I said he didn’t
understand how to tell stories. I called my horse old boy on
account of it being both old and a male, but that wasn’t its
name.

The old boy trotted on, and I had to stay vigilant to keep
it on the road. I could see the town coming up, maybe a mile or
so down the road. Wasn’t often that I’d pass by the old
monastery outside the town. It was beautiful in its decaying
state. The white plastered walls, cracking to show the bricks
underneath, the Spanish style roof and towers with unique light
blue clay tiles, and the large archways made for a pretty
picture.

Nearby, someone had built a cottage. The door opened and
some lady in a dirty white dress came running out, arms waving
and hollering. I couldn’t make out what she was saying. She ran
closer, and I kicked at my horse subtly, but the old beast
actually slowed down. I cursed, and the lady caught up to me.
“Please sir, please stop. I need help. I can’t find
Eustace. Please, can you go get my dear Eustace from the town?
We’re going to be late for the wedding.”
“From Danbrook?”
“Yes, from Danbrook. He’s going to be late for our wedding,
I’ve been waiting so long for him.”
“Well congratulations on getting married, but aren’t you a
little old for that?” The lady was quite old. She could easily
be someone’s grandmother. He remaining white hair stood on end
making her look like she’d give me a big static shock if I
touched her.

“I’m not old!” she lied.
“What’s Eustace look like?”
“He’s tall, with a mustache. Oh please find him for me.”
“A tall man with a moustache isn’t exactly a hard thing to
find. Know where he might hang out or be likely to be found?”
“He’s always drinking, no matter how much I try to tell him
to stop, he would never stop.”
“So the bar, then?”
“Anywhere that serves liquor in town.”
“So the bar, then.”
She stared at me and I took particular note of the size of
her eyeballs. Massive, like seashells, but lidless. They looked
like they were barely hanging in the sockets; like they might
fall out if she shook her head too hard. I questioned briefly if
Eustace even existed.

“Here,” she pulled some crumpled paper out from a pocket I
didn’t see. I took the papers and studied them. They were old.
Maybe as old as her. But the papers were bonds, worth about a
thousand dollars. I quietly looked at the money, thinking of all
the things I could do with the thousand dollars.
“I have more for you when you get back,” she said.
“I’ll go looking for Eustace.”
“Bring him back if you find him, he’s going to be late for
our wedding,” she said. Her voice was getting hoarse. How many
travelers was she hollering at each day?
“Will do, ma’am. Sit tight.” I turned and rode off towards town.