Dead Women Crossing

Author: Eric Neher
Cat­e­go­ry: His­to­ry | Mur­der
Date Pub­lished: Octo­ber 25, 2019

The fol­low­ing is based on actu­al events and may not be suit­able for all age ranges. If you are eas­i­ly scared or fright­ened please refrain from read­ing this true Okla­homa tale.

At the turn of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, the annu­al divorce rate for the Unit­ed States stood at ten per­cent which was high­er than any oth­er place in the world. As if to jus­ti­fy this aston­ish­ing num­ber the pur­port­ed undoc­u­ment­ed claims of spousal abuse stood at fifty per­cent.

Of course, all of this mat­tered lit­tle to a fear-strick­­en woman who, on July 7th, 1905, found her­self sit­ting in the third car of a train in Custer City bound for Weath­er­ford Okla­homa. From there she would board anoth­er train head­ing east to Rip­ley where she would stay with her aunt and uncle until word was sent that it was safe to return. In her arms was her four­­teen-month-old baby girl. The only thing impor­tant to her at that moment was leav­ing before her hus­band could find them. By now he would have been served the divorce papers and would undoubt­ed­ly be search­ing for her. Out­side her win­dow, she could see the weath­­er-beat­­en face of the only man who ever real­ly loved her. Her father stood like a pro­tec­tive stat­ue, watch­ing her with a pained look dec­o­rat­ing his face and for a moment she con­sid­ered if what she was doing was right. What if some­thing were to hap­pen to him? She cocked her head a lit­tle to the left and felt explo­sive pain shoot down her spine; she had her answer, it had been pro­vid­ed by the back­hand she had received four days before by her hus­band Mar­tin.

Katie James Dewitt had made a mis­take in mar­ry­ing him and she knew it. She wasn’t stu­pid, she was a teacher, after all, and owned prop­er­ty, which was some­thing that she was sure Mar­tin want­ed to keep. And why wouldn’t he? He was a farm­hand who had, until meet­ing her, been with­out land and she was a woman near­ing thir­ty who had begun to hear the clock tick­ing away.But it wasn’t just the beat­ings, a lot of women she knew suf­fered through those, it was the cold­ness that seemed to sur­round Mar­tin James when­ev­er she was near him; a cold­ness that radi­at­ed from him, dri­ving her away. His only link to pas­sion (both good and bad) was pro­vid­ed by cheap whiskey.

A sud­den shriek of the final board­ing whis­tle split through the ear­ly after­noon air, caus­ing her to jump in her seat. Lulu Belle let out a low moan but con­tin­ued to sleep. From out­side the scenery began to move in slow motion. Katie looked out of the win­dow and returned a wave towards her father unaware that she would nev­er see him again.

The train would make a quick stop in Clin­ton, a town that sat only fif­teen miles away from Custer. For Katie each mile that passed by felt like a stone being lift­ed. It wasn’t long until anoth­er shriek blast­ed through the hot July air caus­ing Lulu Belle’s eyes to shoot open. Out­side, paint deplet­ed walls took the place of Black Oak and Cot­ton­wood as the squeal­ing brakes brought the steam engine to a shud­der­ing stop. Katie con­sid­ered get­ting off and stretch­ing her legs but decid­ed against it. What if Mar­tin was here? A wave of pan­ic washed over her. She gazed out onto the sta­tions land­ing. There were only a few peo­ple wait­ing and she didn’t rec­og­nize any of them. The door opened near the front of the car and she watched as a man wear­ing over­alls and car­ry­ing an old grain sack entered and then quick­ly sat down.

Behind him was a woman. She wore a Vic­to­ri­an Tar­tan dress that looked as though it had been mend­ed more times than it deserved. Her dark hair was done up in Edwar­dian style that show­cased a pair of star­tling emer­ald eyes. Katie watched her out of the cor­ner of her eye as the woman moved passed, and caught a whiff of Sepho­ra and sweat. It was then that the baby began to cry. She would have to be fed soon but the thought of expos­ing her­self with this man and woman sit­ting so close sent a shade of red across her face. Weath­er­ford was only fif­teen min­utes away and she would have a twen­­ty-minute lay­over until they con­tin­ued on. Lulu Belle would just have to wait. Katie reached down in her bag and pulled out a paci­fi­er. The baby took it hun­gri­ly and became qui­et. Katie watched out the win­dow as the wood­en walls again turned into Black Oak and Cot­ton­wood.

That’s a well-tem­pered baby,” said a raspy voice behind her. Katie tilt­ed her head around and looked at the woman.

Thank you,” said Katie. “She’s hun­gry.”

Well, don’t starve her out on my account,” said the woman. “I got three of my own.”

I was going to wait until we get to Weath­er­ford.”

You do what you think is best,” said the woman. “You have fam­i­ly there?”

No,” said Katie. “I’m head­ed to Rip­ley to vis­it my aunt and uncle.”

Rip­ley?” said the woman. “Nev­er been there.”

Me nei­ther,” said Katie.

My name’s Fan­nie Nor­ton,” said the woman.

Katie James.”

Nice to meet you,” said Fan­nie. “Are you from Clin­ton?”

No, I’m from Leno­ra.”

Leno­ra?” said Fan­nie. “That’s north of Custer aways, ain’t it”

It is, we have a farm up there.”

Sud­den­ly Fannie’s brow fur­rowed as if she was strug­gling to remem­ber some­thing. She then snapped her fin­gers and said, “Say, you ain’t run­ning from some­one, are you?” Katie felt an elec­tric jolt race through her body and forced her­self to take in a deep breath before she answered.

Why would you ask that?”  Some man was in the sta­tion talk­ing to the guy sell­ing the tick­ets. He was look­ing for a woman trav­el­ing with a baby.”

What did he tell him?” said Katie, her eyes wide.
I couldn’t hear them too well but I think he told the man to check Weath­er­ford.”

Katie felt her heart leap in her chest. The trav­el­ing car sud­den­ly seemed to be clos­ing in and she felt her breath com­ing in shal­low heaves. Lula Belle seemed to sense that some­thing was wrong and clutched at Katie’s shak­ing thumb.

Are you alright?” said Fan­nie.

I think I’m going to be sick,” said Katie.

So, I guess that man was look­ing for you?”  Katie could only nod.

Hus­band?”

Yes,” said Katie. “But I left him.”

Well, I’m on my sec­ond one myself. What did he do, cheat on you?”

Noth­ing like that,” said Katie. She then shift­ed the baby over to her left arm and lift­ed her hair expos­ing a pur­plish mark that ran along the base of her neck.

Ah,” said Fan­nie. “One of them.”

Katie let her hair fall back and felt her shoul­ders begin to shake. It was like a flood crash­ing over her and she was help­less to stop the tears from pour­ing down her face. Sud­den­ly the woman was sit­ting beside her, her hand rest­ing on Katie’s lap.

Don’t you wor­ry girl,” she said. “I know what he looks like. When we pull into town you just sit here and let me go have a look around.”

Katie sat rock­ing Lulu Belle, try­ing to keep her qui­et. Fan­nie had been gone less than ten min­utes but to her, it seemed as though the world had sud­den­ly stopped. Per­haps it would be bet­ter to just go back and recant the divorce. Her father seemed to think that once the papers had been signed Mar­tin would have no choice but to leave. But Katie remem­bered the absent cold look that so often occu­pied her husband’s eyes and had her doubts. Mar­tin, she was sure, wouldn’t just van­ish qui­et­ly into the night.

The door opened and Fan­nie came in, her Edwar­dian hair disheveled and her eyes wide. He’s here,” she said.

All of the stones that had been stripped away returned with a crush­ing force.

He’s going to take me back,” she man­aged to whis­per.

Not if I can help it. Come with me,” said Fan­nie, reach­ing out her hand. Katie took it and allowed the woman to help her up. “I’ve sent for my broth­er in law, we just have to stay hid until he gets here.”

Togeth­er they crept out of the box­car and made their way to the rear of the train. The sta­tion was a few hun­dred feet away by the time they crossed the tracks and cir­cled their way back down an alley­way. The sound of laugh­ter and an out of tune piano echoed off of the wood­en walls and every so often Fan­nie would motion for Katie to stop while she checked to see if it was safe to con­tin­ue on. Even­tu­al­ly, they arrived at the east­ern end of town where a man was wait­ing in a sin­gle horse hitched wag­on.

This here’s my broth­­er-in-law Willie Mor­ton,” said Fan­nie. The man got off of the seat and helped Katie and the baby up.

No bags?” he said.

No time,” said Fan­nie. 

After they were set­tled Willie jumped back up and gave the reigns a rip­pling whip and they were off. The sun was low­er­ing at their backs by the time they pulled up to the two-bed­­room shack that Willie called home. Katie couldn’t help but look behind them, expect­ing to see the oncom­ing dust cloud of her hus­band rac­ing them down, but there was noth­ing. Maybe they had lost him.

Willie helped them off of the bug­gy and went and opened the door. Katie again looked back down the road.

He ain’t com­ing,” said Fan­nie.

But I can’t stay here,” said Katie.

You can stay tonight and in the morn­ing I’ll take you back to the sta­tion. By then he should be long gone.”

It was what she would do, she had no choice and at least now she could final­ly feed Lulu Belle.

Katie began to offer her thanks but was cut off by a wave of Fannie’s hand.

You just feed that baby so we can sleep,” she said, “That’ll be thanks enough.” She then turned and made her way inside.

The sun broke over the east­ern hori­zon and found Willie already hitch­ing the wag­on. To the west, a low rum­ble of an oncom­ing storm beat its way across the fields. Inside the shack, Katie had just fin­ished feed­ing Lulu Belle while Fan­nie stood over the stove flip­ping the last of the wheat flour flap­jacks. For Katie, the anx­i­ety from the day before still lin­gered. She had found it hard to sleep in a strange house and when she did final­ly man­age to drop off it was for only min­utes at a time. The baby had slept the entire night, which was rare, and for that Katie was grate­ful. Not that she thought Fan­nie or her broth­er in law would actu­al­ly do any­thing it was just that the silence was com­fort­ing and it allowed her to think. Mar­tin was look­ing for them and if he caught them there was no telling what he might do. And if he found them with Fan­nie it might even be worse.

The best thing for all of them was for her to get on that train and get to Rip­ley and hope that Mar­tin nev­er found out about the woman who had helped her.

Break­fast is done,” said Fan­nie. Katie picked the baby up and made her way into the small din­ing area. The room was as under kept as the rest of the house with trim boards hang­ing loose­ly off of plas­ter chipped walls. The din­ing table was a cir­cu­lar oak top with one leg propped up by some old book.

Bet­ter eat it while it’s hot,” said Fan­nie with a fork in her hand. Katie sat down and heard the chair creak beneath her. She reached for her own fork and sliced off a small piece of flap­jack. The last thing she felt like doing at this moment was eat­ing but to refuse would be rude. Katie gave Fan­nie a weak smile and put the piece in her mouth. The taste was bland and instant­ly dried out her mouth.

Here,” said Fan­nie, push­ing over a small plate of but­ter. “You can’t eat flap­jacks dry.”

Katie grabbed the small knife and went through the motions, took a bite and gave Fan­nie anoth­er weak smile.

Bet­ter?” said Fan­nie.

Much. Thank you,” said Katie. “So when do you think we should leave?” 

Fan­nie looked over at an ancient pen­du­lum clock hang­ing above the sink, it read 6:45. The first trains don’t leave out until nine,” said Fan­nie. “At least that’s how it always was when I had to go back and forth from Clin­ton. So if we leave here in thir­ty min­utes or so we should be fine.”

Katie gave her a nod and con­tin­ued to pre­tend that she was enjoy­ing her break­fast. Fan­nie stood up and looked down at the baby that was sleep­ing in Katie’s cra­dled arm and said, “That real­ly is a well-tem­pered baby, I can see why your hus­band is doing what he’s doing.”

Katie wait­ed until Fan­nie had left the room then took what was left of the flap­jacks and threw them into the trash. She then walked over to the only bag that she had man­aged to bring with her and count­ed out ten clean dia­pers and three out­fits. Would it be enough? Before they had been forced into a detour it would have been more than enough but now they would be cut­ting it close. Well, if she was forced to clean them while she was trav­el­ing so be it. By tomor­row she would be in Rip­ley and able to go to what­ev­er store she could find. 

By the time her count­ing was done and the blan­kets fold­ed it was time to leave. She and Fan­ny walked out of the front door just as Willie was bring­ing the wag­on around from the back of the house. He again got down and helped Katie up, mak­ing sure that she was set­tled. Fan­nie didn’t wait but jumped into the seat and took the reigns.

Are you sure you want to do this?” he said.

Why wouldn’t I?” said Fan­nie.

It’s all han­dled. You just do your chores and let me wor­ry about mine.”

Willie reached up and rubbed the top of his head just as Fan­nie slapped the reigns. They made their way down the wind­ing path with Fan­nie dri­ving the old horse on. Katie turned back and saw that Willie was still stand­ing where they had left him and felt appre­ci­a­tion wash over her. The man was con­cerned and she hoped that Fan­nie was right and that he wouldn’t be need­ed but ahead of them was a storm and some­where with­in it, she was sure, hid Mar­tin.

The dirt road was rid­dled with pot­holes and from them sprung tall blades of Bermu­da and Fes­cues, the per­fect cam­ou­flage for hid­ing their true depth. The horse did the best that it could but was still unable to miss every­one. The wag­on sud­den­ly rocked for­ward a foot or more as the wheel strug­gled to work its way out of par­tic­u­lar­ly large crevice caus­ing Lulu Belle’s eyes to shoot open. Katie placed her against her shoul­der and began to pat her back. 

Damn this road,” said Fan­nie. “Lost many a wheel on this thing.”

I don’t remem­ber it being like this last night,” said Katie.

That’s because we took a dif­fer­ent way last night. A longer way. This way’s short­er by half a mile but it’s rougher. I only take the oth­er way if it’s get­ting late.” 

The sky in front of them was dark as if immune to the ris­ing sun. Flash­es of light spread across its base and Katie could hear the far­away rum­bling of thun­der. The storm was still far away but it was com­ing and she hoped to be well on her way towards Rip­ley before it final­ly hit. The horse was strug­gling up a steep hill and Fan­nie began to lash out with the reigns.

Come on,” she said. “You’re almost there, you mule.”

The wag­on had decreased to a crawl by the time the poor beast was able to final­ly reach the top. Whoa,” said Fan­nie. Twen­ty feet ahead of them sat a wag­on, its rear axle plant­ed firm­ly in the dirt road. Two men stood near a wheel that had been tossed into a ravine. The men sud­den­ly looked up at the women and one gave a wave. Fan­nie clicked the horse for­ward. The men made it back to the road just as Fan­nie brought the wag­on to a stop.

Well, Hen­ry,” said Fan­nie. “Looks like it got anoth­er one.”

Sure enough did,” said Hen­ry and Katie could see that the man’s den­im shirt was cov­ered in sweat stains, untucked and hang­ing almost to the knees of his dirty jeans. His mid­­dle-aged face held the ram­bling scruff of some­one who hadn’t shaved in weeks. The man next to him was much younger, bare­ly out of his teens, judg­ing by the rash of acne scars that speck­led his wrin­k­le-free face. 

Can you fix it?” said Fan­nie.

I ain’t got the tools or time,” said Hen­ry. “I got­ta get Sam to town for his suit fit­ting. He’s mar­ry­ing Sarah Graves in six months.”

That’s right, I heard about that,” said Fan­nie. “Well, con­grat­u­la­tions Sam.” The young man gave her a quick nod and then turned away.

This here is Katie James and her baby girl Lulu Belle,” said Fan­nie. “ I’m giv­ing them a ride into town. You can jump up if you need a lift.”

We’d appre­ci­ate that,” said Hen­ry. “Come on Sam.”

The young man hes­i­tat­ed for a moment as if unsure of what he should do and Katie thought that he might not be all their in the head. Final­ly, he made his way to the back of the wag­on and leaped up. 

The road began to smooth off and the four of them sat in rel­a­tive com­fort with Fan­nie hum­ming light­ly to her­self. Katie could feel Lulu Belle begin­ning to stir in her arms. She would have to be fed soon and would need to have her dia­per changed.

How much far­ther?” she said.

Not much,” said Fan­nie. “Less than an hour.”

Are you late for some­thing?” said Hen­ry. Katie turned to see that he was smil­ing at her, his teeth stained from years of chew. His face seemed friend­ly enough, weath­­er-beat­­en but not unkind, but it was his eyes that sud­den­ly had sweat break­ing out on her brow. They were blue, and not the warm blue that was her favorite col­or but fad­ed, like an old ice-cov­­ered trap. An image of Mar­tin flashed in her mind.

No,” she said. “I’m catch­ing a train.”

Ah,” he said. “Only been on one of those. Took it to the city to buy a used wag­on. Didn’t care much for it, too con­fin­ing.”

Yes, well it’s a lot faster than a horse,” she said.

That is true, mis­sy and they don’t have to rest.” With that, he let out a deep laugh and slapped Sam on the back. Sam only sat there gaz­ing off into the fields. Yes, Katie thought to her­self. Def­i­nite­ly not all there. 

Katie turned back to the front and noticed that the lane was begin­ning to nar­row. She thought she could hear a dis­tant rip­pling sound mixed with the ear­ly sum­mer breeze. A row of oaks and wil­lows ran across the field, stag­ger­ing their way up to each side of the road. It was then that they round­ed a turn and she saw the splin­tered rails of a wood­en bridge. She could see parts of the knot­ted planks ris­ing up and noticed that por­tions of the side rail were bro­ken leav­ing gaps wide enough to fall through.

She hugged Lulu Belle clos­er to her breast and said, “We’re going over that?”

We have to,” said Fan­nie. “It’s the only way.” Katie flinched from Henry’s hand sud­den­ly touch­ing her shoul­der.

Don’t wor­ry,” he said “We go over all the time. Ain’t that right, boy?

Sam remained qui­et and con­tin­ued to gaze off into noth­ing.

The wag­on was only twen­ty feet away from the bridge and Katie could hear the rolling water. The July air was warm­ing up fast but it couldn’t stop the shiv­er from rac­ing through her body.  Out of the cor­ner of her eye, she saw Hen­ry reach over and tap Fan­nie on the back. The boys got to take care of some busi­ness,” he said. Katie looked over at Sam who hadn’t appeared to have moved at all.

I’ll stop at the bridge,” she said. “He can go in the trees.”

Fan­nie brought the horse to a stop just before the dirt had changed to wood. Katie sat there watch­ing the water flow under the bridge. Fur­ther down she could see a her­ring wad­ing though the cur­rent hop­ing for a catch.

Hur­ry up boy,” said Hen­ry. “This lady’s got a train to catch.”

Sam sat there for a moment and Katie noticed the young man’s face. It was drawn and he looked…what? Scared?

Hen­ry leaned towards him and said in a low voice, “You best get to it before it’s too late.” Sam gazed at the man for a moment, his lips quiv­er­ing. He then gave Katie a quick look and jumped down off of the wag­on and made his way into the trees.

That boy is all sorts of prob­lems,” said Hen­ry. “But I believe he means well.”

He bet­ter,” said Fan­nie. 

Katie shift­ed the baby over to her oth­er shoul­der. Fan­nie looked at Lulu Belle with a grin split­ting her face.

That is a well-tem­pered baby,” she said. “Do you think I could hold her? My kids left this age a long time ago and now I can bare­ly get them to talk to me much less trou­ble them for a hug.”

Katie looked over at the woman and felt a rush of fear. No one besides her fam­i­ly had ever held her baby and that did seem strange. Per­haps she was over­ly pro­tec­tive, and why not? Her child was still an infant and couldn’t yet crawl not to men­tion her father was a very vio­lent man. For a sec­ond,” she said, gen­tly hand­ing Lulu Belle over.

She is love­ly,” said Fan­nie, tak­ing the child. “And I’m sure her father miss­es her.”

A sud­den roar over­pow­ered the rolling water as the .45 explod­ed in Henry’s hand. The bul­let blast­ed through the back of Katie’s skull toss­ing her over the front of the wag­on. The horse bolt­ed for­ward and Fan­nie strug­gled to bring it to a halt with Lulu Belle now scream­ing in her ear. 

Sam stepped out of the tree line and saw the shat­tered remains of Katie’s face lying just under the front of the wag­on and began to wretch, his speck­led cheeks going from red to a sick­ly green.

Cut that out and get over here,” said Fan­nie. Sam stood up and wiped his mouth then stag­gered his way over to where Hen­ry was now lean­ing over the body of Katie James. Anoth­er heave gripped his body.

Don’t you go get­ting sick on me,” said Hen­ry. “You want­ed in on this and then you want­ed out, Sam. And there’s no back­ing out. Not after tak­ing the upfront cash.”

Let’s just throw her in and get out of here,” Sam moaned. Lulu Belle was now scream­ing, her body rock­ing back and forth as Fan­nie strug­gled to keep ahold of her.

Can’t you shut that baby up?” said Sam.

She’ll qui­et down in a few,” said Fan­nie. “It’s you I’m wor­ried about.”

Sam felt a sud­den chill seize him and for a moment for­got about the corpse bleed­ing at his feet. What are you talk­ing about?” he said. 

You know too much and your heart ain’t in it,” said Fan­nie. “And I ain’t plan­ning on going to the chair just because of no yel­low boy.”

I ain’t yel­low,” said Sam, “and I ain’t going to talk.”

That’s enough,” said Hen­ry. “There’s been enough killing today.”

What if he talks?” said Fan­nie. 

He won’t,” said Hen­ry, reach­ing under his shirt and pulling out a nine-inch Bowie knife. Sam felt his stom­ach tight­en and stepped back. Hen­ry brought the pis­tol up that he was hold­ing in his oth­er hand.

You have two choic­es,” he said. “One choice is to be shot down where you stand. The oth­er choice ain’t much bet­ter but at least we’ll let you live.”

What do you want me to do?” said Sam.

Take this knife,” said Hen­ry, he then point­ed to the side of the bridge. “I want her body to go off there.” He then point­ed to the oth­er side of the bridge. “And I want her head to go off there and if you ever say a word we’ll both make sure that the law knows just what you done to this poor mur­dered moth­er. The choice is yours.” 

His knees were now shak­ing and he could feel his heart ham­mer­ing away in his chest. Sam had been a fool for most of his short life and a fol­low­er, traips­ing after the likes of these two because they offered more than back-break­ing work that had paid so lit­tle that it seemed point­less to even try. But now he had learned a les­son. Only he wasn’t sure he would live long enough to fol­low his new epiphany. He looked up at the woman hold­ing the moth­er­less child and saw only mur­der in those flash­ing green eyes. If it had been her hold­ing the gun and not Hen­ry Sam was sure that he would already be dead. He turned and looked back at Hen­ry.

The blade glit­tered like a bea­con in the July sun. A heat­ed flash rush­ing through a night­mare. And that was what scared him the most. His dreams, not the ones from the past but the ones he would be cursed with in the future. A life sen­tence of sleep­less nights and hor­rif­ic night­mares when he dared to sleep. Maybe death would be bet­ter but then again what if Hell was wait­ing? That would come even­tu­al­ly but he wasn’t quite ready yet. Sam reached out a shaky hand and took the knife.

The small porce­lain vile sat on the table next to a copy of The Dai­ly Okla­homan. Fan­nie Norton’s gaze went from the head­line to the vile and back again.

Body of Mrs. James Found and hand­writ­ten across the top was They know. A month had passed, long enough for her to col­lect what was owed and leave town. The baby had been returned to the father unharmed, thanks to the farmer she had left her with after they had fin­ished with Katie. Of course, that had been a mis­take. One of many she now real­ized that she had made. The damn father was part­ly to blame for that; he should have met her him­self. Why bring more peo­ple into this?

Even here in Shawnee, a hun­dred miles away from where the body had been found, Fan­nie knew that she hadn’t gone far enough. Charles White was a good man and was once one of her best cus­tomers back when her liv­ing was made on a bed in Clin­ton. He had been more than hap­py to let her stay with him espe­cial­ly if he could get for free what he used to pay for. But that kind of trade would only go so far.

A sud­den knock jolt­ed her out of her thoughts. She sat there, her heart pound­ing in her chest. Mrs. Nor­ton?”

Fan­nie stood up, crept over and peeked around the door­way. Even from this dis­tance, she could see the gold­en glare of the lawman’s badge shin­ing through the glass pan­el.

I know you’re here,” the man said. “Mr. White told me.” 

Of course, he would. They all would. A sud­den thought crossed her mind, a rev­e­la­tion that summed up her life and pro­mot­ed her next deci­sion; There had to be a bet­ter place.

She gazed over at the vile that was still sit­ting next to the news­pa­per. The pain would last for only a moment but she was used to pain. Fan­nie walked over and picked up the vile, drink­ing its con­tents just as the door burst open. 

Eric Neher lives in Blan­chard Okla­homa with his wife Tam­my (The Trav­el­ing Nurse) and son Gar­rett. His oth­er two chil­dren, Wyatt and Kelsey, grad­u­at­ed from New­cas­tle High school and left the nest. He is a con­tin­u­ing con­trib­u­tor to Ozark Farm and Neigh­bors as well as hav­ing numer­ous short and flash fic­tion sto­ries pub­lished. When not typ­ing out the words Eric works in the con­struc­tion field as a prod­uct con­sul­tant and instal­la­tion spe­cial­ist, trav­el­ing all over the great state of Okla­homa. A grad­u­ate of MNTC’s diverse and var­i­ous cre­ative writ­ing pro­grams he is con­stant­ly on the look­out for bet­ter ways to hone his craft.

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