My first foray into historical fiction (“histfic”) is a poignant Western story, exploring the birth of American Sign Language and the prejudices of the time.
Watched by his companion Walter, Earl Johnson lays flowers at a makeshift grave on the prairie. He’s been here every year for twenty years, back to his abandoned and ruined homestead. Earl was away from the house on the day of a Mojave raid and has never forgiven himself for the loss of his family.
The two men begin the ride home. On their way, they come across a young man, Bill, who has been ambushed and his horse stolen. It appears that the young man is deaf, and neither rider can communicate with him. At Walter’s behest, the two take the young man in hand and set off for the town of White Rock. There, Bill can see a doctor and be looked after by a spinster who knows sign language and has a deaf daughter.
But in White Rock there lives a man who has sworn to kill Earl if he ever returns…
Not only must Earl accept the past, confront his guilt, and try to see Bill onto a straight and lawful path, every day in White Rock is a gamble.
Currently in first draft, adapting from my own screenplay draft, looking at publishing in 2021.
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