Copyright © 2015 W.W. Brock
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Published by Purple Sage Entertainment, Odessa, Texas
All characters, events, and conspiracies in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, and any real or imagined conspiracy is coincidental, and not intended by the author. Product names used herein are not an endorsement of this work by the product name owners.
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper.
The aging Cessna 206 touched down quietly on the barren, grass covered runway of the Rancho de Truenos near Sheffield, Texas. Situated miles from the nearest interstate and accessible only by several miles of dirt road, the runway activity was also hidden from prying eyes by its location below the towering buttes to the North and South, and the dark of the night. The flight had originated in Mexico, and had been timed to coincide with a “Bonsai” swarm of illegals coming across the border checkpoint at McAllen en masse.
Flying low to avoid radar and with its running lights off, the six passenger plane skirted the tops of the high bluffs, staying close to the valley floors and running by radar. When it arrived at the GPS coordinates for the little used ranch runway, the pilot keyed his mike in a prearranged sequence, and a confederate on the ground answered by turning on the headlights of an SUV that was strategically parked so that it could illuminate the landing area.
The pilot cut power to the single engine aircraft and settled it on to the hard packed ground, stopping just short of the SUV. Four men with packs and armed with military grade AK-47s quickly disembarked the plane and loaded into the SUV, which drove away into the night with its lights off. The plane taxied back to a take off position and quickly departed, the pilot executing the plan to fly the plane back to the south, and then climb to an altitude that would expose it to radar. He would then set an easterly course, put the plane on auto pilot, and bail out over his pick up area.
Fifty miles from the ranch, just as the pilot eased back on the controls to begin his climb over a towering rock wall, the Continental engine sputtered twice, caught again for a split second, and then died. The official report of the crash, which was discovered three days later, was pilot error, but the real cause were the two gallons of distilled water that had been poured into the wing tanks on the last fuel stop, freezing in the fuel lines, and then soaking into the ground after the crash.
Miguel Sanchez had been the foreman for the Rancho de Truenos for the past five years before it was suddenly sold to a gringo rancher from Midland, Texas a month ago. Today would be his last day on the ranch, and probably his most profitable. He had heard the small plane as it revved the engine for take off, and now he hurried on his ATV to the only dirt path that served the runway area for the prearranged meeting.
The SUV stopped where Miguel stood, and the driver’s window opened just long enough for the driver to toss a thick envelope into Miguel’s eagerly waiting hands.
“Gracias Amigo!” Miguel shouted to the tail lights of the moving SUV as he looked at the ten thousand dollars in crisp new one hundred dollar bills that he now held in his hands, “Muchas Gracias!”
He hurried back to the trailer that had served as the bunk house for him and his men before the sale, and took his bag with a small amount of clothes to the old Chevrolet truck that he brought to the ranch with him five years before. Everything else that he had accumulated over the past few years was left behind. Miguel was going home.
If you have been following the adventures of Michael Tucker and his wife Hanna, this is the first chapter of the third book in the series,”THUNDER RANCH”. If you haven’t yet read the first book, “COUGAR!” or the sequel, “NIGHT WIND”, you have missed out on two captivating adventures. Get your copies now to be prepared when “THUNDER RANCH” becomes available in April 2015. You can buy from us at the Permian Gun Show this weekend in Odessa, TX, or pick up a copy at your favorite bookstore and at Amazon.com.