Thanks, Charmed...I had a great time researching and writing about 1800 Arizona. Here's a snippet:
“Papa…” The word lodged in Odessa’s throat. Horrid memories
returned. Her heart thudded. She was alone. Hot, fetid breath
washed over her face, and she shuddered at the reality of how
close the animal stood. Her trembling fingers found the rifle at her
side and searched for the trigger. She raised the barrel slightly,
and with eyes scrunched closed, fired. Her body shuddered from
the force and a piercing yelp sliced the night. Something thudded
to the ground. Odessa froze in place, listening for movement. The
acrid smell of gunpowder hung in the air, but nothing stirred.
She took a deep breath and slid the hot rifle back to her side.
Her stomach churned and bile rose in her throat. Despite praying
to see some hint of sunrise, darkness cloaked her and whatever
she’d killed. She rested her cheek back on the blanket. Tears
slid and dampened the wool beneath her face. She’d never been
so frightened. Exhaustion weighted her eyes shut, but her hand remained gripped around the rifle stock