Helen Shields H.M. Shields'
Badge of Destiny
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About the Author
As a youngster growing up and listening to country and western music, I grew to love the songs of the old west, the heroes of yesterday especially the vivid stories in song by Marty Robbins.

His characters came alive as I closed my eyes, envisioning the scenes, smelling the gun smoke as good faced off with evil, leaving only one standing as the victor. Eventually, my mind created my own 'heroes' with their own stories to be told. BADGE OF DESTINY is one of those stories. I hope you like Tris Calley and share his journey to find his parent's killers and in doing so, meet his destiny
Helen M Shields (right)

About the book
The BADGE OF DESTINY tells the story of a young boy whose life is changed forever when his parents are found in a pool of their own blood. As the result of a robbery and with only a few dollars as the motive, young Tris vows to find the killer and bring him to justice. He joins the rangers in hopes of one day coming face to face with the man responsible for their deaths.

Tris Calley finally tracks his man to a small town in the Arizona territory. But there, he faces the biggest decision he'd ever have to make since becoming a ranger. Does he dole out the same form of justice to the man as was shown to Jack and Ann Calley, or will he in the end honor this badge and his belief in the rangers and bring his man back alive? Even Tris Calley didn't know the answer.
Book Review
Young Tris Calley had grown up on his parentsí ranch, raising horses and being groomed for the day he would take over the ranch. Loving the life of a rancher, Tris looked forward to the day when those duties would completely be turned over to him.

That day would never become a reality as destiny would open up a whole different road to be travelled by this young man, a destiny that even though he had no part in controlling, it was he who would be the dominant pawn in fulfilling that destiny . . . .

Young Tris and Randy, the hired hand who rode onto the Calley ranch five years earlier and stayed, were tired from mending the broken fence line that had allowed some of the horses to make their way to freedom. Trisís mind was preoccupied on trying to decide just what to get his mom for her birthday.

"Did you decide on which one to buy?" he asked, but Tris had to ask him to repeat it.
"Iím sorry pal, I didnít hear you. What were you saying?" He was apologetic in his preoccupation of the gift.
"You said she had her eye on the new bonnets that Mr. Norwood had in his window, you know, the ones he ordered from St. Louis?" Randy teased Tris, knowing that he was having a hard time deciding on the gift. If it were him, heíd just go in there and buy the one he thought was the prettiest and give it to her.

"Oh, no, not really. I like the one with the little purple flowers on it myself, but her favorite color is blue. Iím not sure which one sheíd like. I guess I could just get them both and that way , Iíd be sure of getting the right one." He declared.

"Now see, it wasnít that hard to make your decision, was it?"
"Okay, okay. Donít get smart or Iíll see to it that youíre fired and thrown off the property." Tris teased his friend, knowing that heíd be there for as long as he wanted a job.

"Yeah, yeah, Iíve heard that one before." The man fired back. He stood up and took a step back, surveying the length of the row of wire that stretched down the range as far as the eye could see. "Well, you ready to head back for some lunch, Iím starved?"

"Me too, letís get going." They mounted up and took off in the direction of the ranch house that lay off to the west about two miles.
Theyíd only gone a short distance when a burst of gunfire came from the distance. Pausing a moment and looking at each other, they took off in the direction of the ranch house. As they drew near, they saw a rider approaching them with such speed that it was as if the devil himself were chasing him. The man lost no speed as he passed Tris and Randy, never once looking back. The man was completely dressed in black and his clothes and saddle were adorned with silver studs and spangles. Even with such speed, Tris could see the huge scar that stretched across the left side of the manís face, jagged and red. This grotesque scar, along with the black outfit with silver studs would be the one memory to stick in Trisís mind for years to come, finally leading him to the man responsible for the scene that lay ahead of them.

Upon reaching the ranch house and seeing the door standing open, the two men quickly dismounted. Being older, Randy held his arm in front of Tris, stopping him at the doorway.

"Wait here till I see whatís inside!" It was more of an order than a request.
"No, Iím going inside too!" he demanded. Randy didnít try to stop him.
Slowly, they walked inside the door. Lying on the floor were Jack and Ann Calley, Trisís parents, lying in a huge pool of blood. Both had been shot with a shotgun and left lying on the floor. Tris ran over to his mom and knelt down beside her. Tears filled his eyes as he tried to speak.

"Why?" He asked. "She was the kindest and most loving person in the world. Who couldíve done this?" Tris knew there was no answer to his questions. He couldnít stop the tears as he stood and walked over and knelt beside his father. Randy just watched, not being able to find the words to console his young friend. Looking around the room and wondering how anyone could have a reason to kill his parents, Tris saw the music box on the floor. A locket that heíd bought his mom for her last birthday, was beside it. She had put her and Jackís wedding picture in one side and a picture of their only child on the other, a photo of Tris. They were a special gift that Jack Calley had surprised her with on his last trip to Sedona, to purchase a special brood-mare. He had taken the photos to see if they could be resized to fit the locket that his wife cherished. Tris carefully picked up the locket and put it in his pocket for safe keeping.
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