PW #341: Young Adult Supernatural Western: THE RECKONING OF TWIGGS TALLOW

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Cat Scully

Mentee Name: Elizabeth Runnoe


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Supernatural Western

Word Count: 85,000


Twiggs Tallow is an outlaw determined to live an honest life, but when her sweetheart is found hanging from a noose, she vows revenge. After dodging bounty hunters, facing tormented spirits, and surviving the winter, Twiggs thinks she’s seen the worst of the cursed mountain—until she meets the killer. Twiggs must choose to dispense frontier justice with her own hands and lose her chance at ever finding redemption. DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS meets VENGEANCE ROAD.


“Forgive me.”

I swing the ax onto the chopping block, severing the slender neck of the chicken. The head lops off clean and flies someplace I can’t see. Don’t matter. I grab hold of the curled, scaly feet and upend the body. She hangs limply in the air, her wings twitching as the last of her blood spatters the dirt, adding fresh stains to those already there. I watch as regret sticks in my throat like a bone too thick to swallow.

“Twiggs—” A voice calls from the kitchen window. It’s open a crack, hoping for a breeze. “Stop dillydallying with them birds. You better get scalding and plucking if we ever want supper on the table. I said I need three.”

I toss the headless chicken into a basket where one already lies. She lands in a heap of ruffled feathers, still twitching. They do that sometimes even without a head. The bodies refuse to believe they’re dead.

“You hear me, Twiggs?”

“Yes, Mrs. Belk,” I holler.

Molly Belk, the proprietor of Mealing’s Boardinghouse and Saloon, didn’t have to take me in last winter when she caught me stealing her chickens. But she did. Truth is, her kindness has altered the path I was on. At least for a while.

No amount of good can ever scrub the blood from these hands.


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