What he was told was his mother had run off with another man.

What was true was that, her lover was a little thief. The little thief stole from partners in his father’s gun trade. The Chicago gun trade renegotiated new territories, as southern slaves arrived, labor for more rails. Western labor that smelled of patriarch and violence.

The little thief took liberties from these men with money. He told stories about trades he’d bartered in the west. Trades to be made without money, or pride. Without Zephyr’s father to protect her, his mother was kidnapped, held for bait. Her ransom sought to fetch the thief and his…