A quiet, haunted man, Paul Cable walked away from a lost cause hoping to pick up where he left off. But things have changed in Arizona since he first rode out to go fight for the Confederacy. Two brothers—Union men—have claimed his spread and they're not about to give it back, leaving Cable and his family no place to settle in peace. It seems this war is not yet over for Paul Cable. But no one's going to take away his land and his future—not with their laws, their lies, or their guns.
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August 09, 2006
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Excerpt from Last Stand at Saber River by Elmore Leonard
Paul Cable sat hunched forward at the edge of the pine shade, his boots crossed and his elbows supported on his knees. He put the field glasses to his eyes again and, four hundred yards down the slope, the two-story adobe was brought suddenly, silently before him.
This was The Store. It was Denaman's. It was a plain, tan-pink southern Arizona adobe with a wooden loading platform, but no ramada to hold off the sun. It was the only general supply store from Hidalgo north to Fort Buchanan; and until the outbreak of the war it had been a Hatch & Hodges swing station.
The store was familiar and it was good to see, because it meant Cable and his family were almost home. Martha was next to him, the children were close by; they were anxious to be home after two and a half years away from it. But the sight of a man Cable had never seen before-a man with one arm had stopped them.
He stood on the loading platform facing the empty sunlight of the yard, staring at the willow trees that screened the river close beyond the adobe, his right hand on his hip, his left sleeve tucked smoothly, tightly into his waist. Above him, the faded, red-lettered Denaman's Store inscription extended the full width of the adobe's double doors.
Cable studied the man. There was something about him.
Perhaps because he had only one arm. No, Cable thought then, that made you think of the war, the two and a half years of it, but you felt something before you saw he had only one arm.
Then he realized it was the habit of surviving formed during two and a half years of war. The habit of not trusting any movement he could not immediately identify. The habit of not walking into anything blindly. He had learned to use patience and weigh alternatives and to be sure of a situation before he acted. As sure as he could be in his own mind.
Now Cable's glasses moved over the windscarred face of the adobe, following the onearmed man's gaze to the grove of willows and the river hidden beyond the hanging screen of branches.
A girl came out of the trees carrying a bucket and Cable said, "There's Luz again. Here--" He handed the glasses to his wife who was kneeling, sitting back on her legs, one hand raised to shield her eyes from the sun glare.
Martha Cable raised the glasses. After a moment she said, "It's Luz Acaso. But still it doesn't seem like Luz."