I don't run out of bullets, I run out of bodies. ~Ezekiel Carson, The Blood Rider®
Coming Soon!
Graphic Novel
Illustrated by Vicente Alcázar and
Written by Erica Schultz and
Konstantine Bakalis
based on the book
The Blood Rider® Written by
Mark Tarrant and
Konstantine Bakalis

Chapter 1

The Blood Rider®

Written by Mark Tarrant and Konstantine Bakalis

Chapter 1 Excerpt

The sun shone in the deep blue sky, flooding the endless desert with its scorching heat and light. Two wagons rumbled across the hard soil of the New Mexico Territory. Matthew Carson, wearing a dusty black suit with a minister’s collar firmly attached to his neck, held the reins of the lead wagon. Next to him, his oldest child, Ezekiel, a zealous, handsome young man, sat holding an over-sized Bible.

The old preacher looked over to his son. “How are they doing back there?”

Ezekiel looked back to the wagon behind them. His sister Mary and her husband Michael sat there with their eyes forward, dull and tired from weeks of travel.

“Tired, but they seem good.”

“Glad we brought another barrel of water. This last leg of our journey has been hard on everyone.”

Ezekiel stretched his arms over his head with a yawn. He glanced down and closed the Bible.

“Yes, but it will all be worthwhile. We’re doing God’s work and helping His people at Bear Creek. It will be a blessing to work together in this great project. There’s so much to do, and so little time,” Ezekiel noted with eager anticipation.

“We have plenty of time for work,” Matthew warned. “We should arrive in a few days. How is your Bonnie holding up?”

Ezekiel looked in the back of the wagon. Nestled between clothing, books and boxes slept a young woman with red hair. A slight snore made Ezekiel smile. She turned in her sleep, revealing the round belly of her pregnancy.

“I think she’s fine…I’m sure she’s dreaming of her soft bed back home. I must be crazy to make her travel this distance now, but I feel that this is where I need to be, with you, spreading God’s message.” He looked at his father and confessed, “I fear I’m more nervous about fatherhood than spreading the word of salvation to people who may not wish to hear.”

“You’ll make a fine father, my boy. It’s a challenging path, but a joyful one. Don’t worry; you’ll make mistakes like we all do. Just do your best and keep God’s wisdom close to your heart. You’ll do just fine. I must say, my old bones are tired. Lord knows I wish your mother were alive to see all this coming together. Imagine! A new church, a journey to the new country, and more grandchildren.”

“She is with us in spirit,” Ezekiel comforted. “With the Lord’s strength I can do anything. We will reach the masses—heathens, miners, farmers, everyone we can.”

“You have confidence,” Matthew laughed. “I’ll give you that.” He was weary. It was such a long trip. His son, though his intentions were good, had been raised surrounded by kindness and goodness. He was soft-hearted and always tried to find the good in everyone. Matthew had a different upbringing, and he knew that there were wolves among the sheep.”

“Father, what of the other churches? The missions?” Ezekiel asked.

“What of them?”

“Do we work with them, even if their ideals of God are not the same as ours?”

“Do not judge them, and more importantly, do not judge those who do not accept our teaching. We are all God’s children. This is a rough land with rough people, and it may take time for them to want to get to know the Lord.”

“I hope they are open to change,” Ezekiel offered. “Life is change, my son, no doubt of that,” Matthew said, and changed the subject. “It’s beautiful country here, isn’t it? God’s canvas.”

“Father…I was thinking…”

Matthew let out a sigh. “I’m sure you were, son. What is it now?”

Ezekiel said nothing.

“Well, boy, spit it out—what is it that you think you could have done better for this trip?”

The young man hesitated, biting his lip.

“You know, son, we planned this…we worked so hard, and yet at every turn, you question me and the plan. I know you’re excited, but we have to do this in steps, small steps. Soon, when I am dead and gone, you can preach the way you want and raise your family the way you want. I am getting too old to fight with you every few days.”

“I didn’t mean to offend you, father.”

Matthew wiped his brow. He was worn down. Preaching takes a lot out of a man trying to walk to the path of righteousness while others ridicule and ignore your beliefs.

Patience was a virtue, but Matthew was losing his virtue on this leg of their journey.

“You never liked to follow or be told what to do. Even as a small child, you fought so hard on such small things. Life can be hard, son; sometimes a fight to show you’re right needs to wait until the proper time. Timing is everything. Pick your battles; don’t let them own you. Listen, after we are settled in a bit we can talk more about of some of your ideas. Just for now, let’s get to our destination. If I were twenty years younger I would be as excited and ready to whip the world too. But for now, everything we are and everything we have is right here and right now. Let’s try to focus on this. We have our faith, we have our family, and we have our freedom to do this wonderful journey.”

Ezekiel looked out at the open desert. His father was right; he always seemed to be right.

“I’m sorry, father. I’m just excited.”

“And you should be, son. Let’s just take this one step at a time.”

The wagons rolled on as the sun beamed down from the soft blue sky.