Where can I read a free book excerpt from Warren Troy’s, The Last Homestead?
I’m a true and consistent fan of Warren Troy’s future books after reading The Last Homestead. Denny Caraway’s life was so peaceful in this quiet little homestead. A friend’s sudden death trips the wheels of life. Caraway ventures from home in order to find money, work and love. Truly unexpected circumstances change his life. The story has bear attacks, love, a small aircraft crash, friendly animals, and the wild outdoors bringing people closer together. Please read the free book excerpt below to get a sneak peak into Caraway’s world.
The Last Homestead
There was a very little log cabin, so snugly tucked inside a ring of trees and willows, he wondered how it had been built there, unless it was old enough that the trees had grown up around it. It was a little trapper cabin, barely eight by ten feet in size, with a set of handmade snowshoes leaning against the front wall. There appeared to be no windows, but a small stove pipe was sticking up out of one corner, wisps of the smoke he smelled coming from the stack.
He considered walking up to the hut when suddenly, a familiar voice behind him said, “Officer Brady.”
Without turning around, Charlie said, “Mr. Caraway.” Charlie stood silently for a moment, then said, “Got any coffee brewing? I could use a cup.” Then he turned around.
The sight before him made him do a mental double take, so strange it was. There stood Denny Caraway, looking like a man from another, more primitive time. He was dressed in a fur hat, made from a coyote’s head skin, and a down parka, heavily stained, with numerous patches, but with a beautiful ruff made of wolverine fur. His gloves were rabbit skin, the right one off and hanging by a piece of leather lanyard, the bare hand gripping an old lever action Winchester rifle. On his feet were some old pacs which had seen better days. His beard was long and full, and his hair stuck out thickly from under the skin hat.
“Just came to visit, Denny, not to intrude on your solitude. I can leave, if you like.” Charlie noticed how lean Denny had become, even in the thick parka. His face looked much thinner too. Still, he looked healthy for all that.
Denny stood staring at him. His intense look seemed even sharper and somehow deeper than before. Charlie was so glad to see his old friend still alive, he couldn’t help smiling. Sticking out his hand, he said, “Damn, Denny, it’s really good to see you again.”
Denny didn’t smile, but there was a relenting of the coldness in his eyes. Reaching out, he shook Charlie’s hand gently.
“No coffee. I have some Labrador tea.”
“That would be fine, thanks.”
They went into the tiny cabin, Charlie having to bend down to pass through the low door. There was a small window in the back wall made from a piece of thick plastic sheeting. Once his eyes got used to the dim light, Brady saw there wasn’t much inside, only a wooden plank bed with several blankets and a sleeping bag on it, a stump probably used for a chair, a small wooden counter, and several wooden shelves. In one corner was a rusty old sheet metal military woodstove with a cast iron skillet leaning on the wall near the stove. The stove had seen better days and Charlie wondered if it came from the person who had originally built the cabin. There wasn’t much by way of foodstuffs in the cabin either. Charlie wondered how Denny was keeping fit. In fact, he wondered how Denny had survived at all, despite his great store of wilderness knowledge.
It was a meager dwelling by anyone’s standards. The thought that came to Charlie’s mind was, “Gone to ground; the man has gone to ground.”
Denny poured some of the tea into an old heavy mug and handed it to Charlie, then poured some into a handmade wooden cup for himself.
Charlie noticed one shelf with a few personal items on it, including a small photo in a wooden frame of Gwen as a younger woman, smiling and holding up a large salmon she had obviously just caught. Charlie didn’t remark on it.
The two old friends didn’t talk much about anything, but sat in each other’s company. Charlie did ask Denny how he was doing. Denny looked at him a moment and simply said, “As you see me.”
After all too brief a time, Charlie knew he should go. He stood, slipped on his gloves, and walked to the door. Denny walked out with him. It was then Charlie saw the several moose quarters hanging high up by a rope in a tree, safe from any marauding critters, and hard to spot by people, too.
“Well, take care, Denny, and if you ever see your way clear, I’d be happy to stake you to a meal and all the coffee you want at the cafe.” Then Charlie added, “There are some people wishing the best for you, Denny.”
Denny stood a moment, then nodded slightly. Charlie nodded too, and began walking back the way he had come. He looked back once, but Denny was gone. Turning away again, Charlie left, a pain in his heart from seeing his friend in such condition.
Brady put his snowshoes back on and walked out to his snow machine as the light was failing. He decided not to camp despite the late hour, rode back past Denny’s old homestead, and continued on to the highway and normal life, though Charlie felt nothing would feel quite the same to him after his meeting with Denny.
He feared Denny was truly lost to the world, and would remain a sad, lonely hermit until something in the wilderness put him out of his obvious misery. Charlie mentally kicked himself for his negative thoughts, for giving up on Caraway. He felt he still knew the man, and just had to keep thinking one day he’d show up at the cafe, have that free meal and coffee, and get on with life.
This free book excerpt was courtesy of Warren Troy.
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