A Saga of the West

Fiction By GReynolds // 5/6/2012

This is the first story I ever completed. I wrote it back in Mar/Apr of 2011, for a story contest. Thought I'd just share it with y'all.. Hope ya like it.

In this story, I do reveal what one of the characters thinks.. but since I can't get italics to work.. I'll use *this* to denote his thoughts.

Without further ado, delay or chatter... I present to you; A Saga of the West!

James reached the top of the ridge, and pulled up his horse. In the valley ahead of him lay his destination, the town of Grillhorn. James pulled out the letter again.

Dear Mr. James Tyler,
I regret to inform you that your uncle, Drew Boon, recently
passed away, leaving a small ranch, and 500 head of cattle.
Upon opening his will, I discovered that you were named as
his heir. I would say more, but pressing business forces me
to cut this letter short. Please come as quickly as possible,
and we can talk more at my office.

Sincerely,
Samuel Eduardo
Sheriff, Grillhorn City.

P.S. Your uncle had employed a few cowhands, I am keeping them
on, at least until you arrive. They are steady men, and will
take good care of the ranch.

Folding up the letter, he put it back in his pocket, and urged his horse into a canter.
As he rode into town, he took looked around. A saloon, diner, general store, stable and the Sheriff's office were the only non-residential buildings in sight. He dismounted in front of the stable, and tossed the stable boy a coin.
Adjusting his gunbelt, he walked over to the Sheriff's office. As he walked, he could feel the curious stares of several gun-toting cowhands lounging in front of the saloon.
The door of the Sheriff's office was open, and he walked inside.
“I'm looking for Sheriff Horston, is he here?” he inquired of the sprightly young man, who was writing busily, his Deputy's badge flashing in the light as his arm moved.
“You lookin' for the Sheriff?” the deputy replied, as without looking up, he blew on the ink to dry it, and put the paper inside a small folder.
“Yes, I have a letter here from him, telling me to meet him here.”
“You'll have to ask the Parson. He's eating at the Rose's Diner..” He raised a grubby, ink-stained hand, and gestured towards the diner. James thanked the deputy, and walked over to the diner. A bell tinkled as he opened the door, attracting the attention of the waitress.
“You'll have to wait a few minutes, we're barely filling out the orders as it is.” she said in a high, musical voice.
“Never mind the food, ma'am. I'm looking for the Parson.” She motioned daintily towards a small figure, hunched over a heaping bowl of beans in the far corner of the diner. James thanked her, and moved over to the Parson.
“Do you mind if I speak with you, sir?” He asked.
“Don't mind at all son, sit down and speak your peace. My name's Jay.” James pulled out the chair, and sat.
“I'm James Tyler, and I'm looking for sheriff Samuel Eduardo. T.J., the deputy at the office told me to ask you.”
The Parson smiled grimly, and took another bite of beans before replying.
“Samuel is dead. Guess T.J. wanted to have some fun with you.”
“Dead? When? How?” James sat up straight, and clenched his fist.
“The Parrish gang shot him up during the bank robbery. He didn't survive long enough to see the doctor.”
“Who's the sheriff now?”
“Samuel's head deputy, Travis. A good man.”
“Did you know a man called Drew Boon?”
“Sure, he was the only rancher who regularly attended church, a good, godly man he was... Say, you said your name was James Tyler? Then you must be his nephew. Drew told me a lot about you.” Jay wiped his hand with the napkin, and extended it to James.
“If I can do anything for you, just let me know.”
“Thank you, I will. First, this letter.” James pulled out the letter, and handed it to the Parson. Jay unfolded it and scanned the contents.
“The ranch is still there, and so are the cows, but you'll have to find some other cowhands.” He said, after reading through the letter.
“Other cowhands? What's wrong with the ones my uncle hired?”
“They were shot up just last week by the Parrish gang. All of them are de-” The Parson stopped short, and stared over James' shoulder at the door. James turned. Standing at the door were two of the cowhands from the saloon. When they saw that they were noticed, they walked easily over to James, their right hands hovering over their guns. James noted the jagged notches hacked into the handles.
“What're you doin' in our town?” demanded the taller one, glaring down at James.
“I don't see that it's any concern of yours. There are such things as private matters.”
“Private, huh? Well KID, there ain't no private matters in our town, so I'd advise that you skedaddle outta here.” James shook his head, noticing the look of concern etching lines into the Parson's forehead.
“Boys, you had better stop this nonsense before some-” Again the Parson was interrupted by the entry of another man. Wearing a silver star on his vest, he looked the typical western sheriff. He glared at the two cowhands.
“Don't you boys have something better to do than pester strangers? If not, I'm sure I can find something for you to do.” He said, shifting the shotgun he carried. There was an ominous click as he pulled back the hammer. Muttering curses, and imprecations, the two cowhands left hurriedly.
“Sheriff! You old son-of-a-gun, come here and meet the man you just saved.” The sheriff grinned, and pacing over to the table, he pulled out the remaining chair.
“James, let me formally introduce our sheriff. This is Sheriff Travis, he was the head deputy under Horston.” James shook hands with the sheriff, instantly liking his broad, easy smile, and firm handshake.
“Pleased to meet you... James was it?” James nodded.
“James Tyler.”
“Oh, Drew's nephew? You've come about the ranch, eh?”
“Yes, sir.” the sheriff glanced at the Parson.
“I”m afraid you won't find much out at the ranch.... The Cross T gang rode through there just a few days ago.” James shifted uneasily.
“Tell me something, was my uncle murdered by the gang?” He inquired.
“No, you're uncle was lucky. Died peacefully in his sleep. Holly thinks his heart just stopped beating. Well, it's been fun chatting with you, but I have a job in this town. See you around.” Travis briskly strode out of the diner. Jay cleared his throat.
“Maybe I should take you around, and introduce you to the townspeople, then a little later we can ride out to your ranch.” James nodded slowly, then grinned when his stomach growled. The parson laughed.
“When's the last time you ate?”
“Early this morning.”
“Catriona, are you free?” Jay called to the waitress.
“I'm free now, what would you like?”
“Get this gentleman something to eat.” Parson nodded his head towards James, and winked at Catriona.
“What would you like to have, sir?” she inquired.
“What's on the menu?”
“Anything you want, Gideon's the best cook in all of Nevada.”
“How about two steaks, medium rare, and a bunch of mashed potatos?”
“Ten minutes, sir.” She swept away, and entered the back of the diner.
James sighed, and unbuckling his gun belt, he leaned back in his chair. Catriona soon emerged, carrying a plate heaped with steak and potatos. Placing it in front of him, she said.
“Since you're a friend of the Parson, it'll be on the house.” James shook his head.
“How much? I intend to eat regularly here, and it'll cost you if I don't pay.”
“Well, if you insist, it'll be twenty-five cents.” James fished out a coin and handed it to her.
“Keep the change.” She thanked him, then moved off to another customer as James dug into the food.
The parson grinned broadly as the food on the plate rapidly disappeared. At last, with a slight sigh, James shoved the empty plate away, and leaned back in his chair.
“Shall we take a turn around town now?” inquired the Parson. James nodded, and slowly stood.
He followed the Parson out of the diner, and into the General store. Inside the store, two young ladies sat behind the counter with their heads together, their brown hair intermingling, and as James entered the store, they burst into happy peals of laughter. Then seeing the Jay, with a stranger, they quickly composed themselves, and stood to greet James and Jay.
“Olivia, Laura, this is James Tyler, nephew of Drew Boon.” The girls curtsied.
“I'm Olivia, and this is my good friend Laura.” laughed the shorter one, with dimples on her cheeks.
“I'm sorry about your uncle, most of us looked up to him.” said Laura, glancing briefly at James. James nodded soberly.
“Thank you. Back east I thought Uncle Drew was kinda out of his head, but now I think I was the one who was crazy.” Jay wiped a smirk off his face, and tugged James out of the store.
“Now I want you to meet Holly, she serves as doctor when necessary, but the rest of the time, she's just the best gardener in town.”
“Did she graduate from medical school?” inquired James.
“No, the town can't afford to hire a doctor, but she did complete two years of nursing school before moving out here with her brother.”
The Parson stopped in front of a small cottage. A trim, neat herb garden flanked the walkway, and covered most of the front lawn.
“Holly! Drew's nephew is here!” Called Jay.
Holly appeared from behind the house, wiping her hands on her apron. When she saw the Parson, her face split in a wide grin, and she waved them to the house.
“Good afternoon Parson, and you too, sir.” she called in a soft voice. “Excuse my appearance, but I was just in the middle of washing Bobby.”
“Bobby? Your dog?” James asked. She giggled, and waved her hands.
“No, Bobby is the town mascot, a tame bear-cub.” said Parson, grinning from ear-to-ear. As if in agreement, a sopping wet cub came running around the side of the house with a loud growl. He shot off down the street towards the diner. Holly giggled again.
“Bobby can tell when it's his mealtime. And Gideon sure feeds him well. Maybe too well.” She said, gasping for breath, tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks.
“Holly, this is James Tyler.” She daintily offered him her hand. As he shook her hand, he glanced at her face. Smile creases ran over her cheeks and forehead, and her long brown hair streamed down her back. James smiled,
“Well, I almost hope I'll get injured so you can patch me up.” He said, winking at her. She burst into another peal of laughter, and shooed him back into the street.
“Sorry, James, but I don't appreciate it when people try to give me some work to do.” She called after him. Parson chuckled, and slapped James on the back.
“At the rate we're going, you'll have plenty of help whenever you need it.” He said, trying vainly to smother his mirth.
“We won't visit the saloon, the only things you get there are cheap whiskey, women, cards, and bullets.” James nodded,
“School's a little ways out of town, so we can visit when we head out to your ranch. Olivia's sister, Amylia teaches there. She arrived from Boston last year, and took over for the old schoolmaster. Haven't heard any complaints yet, so I guess the kids like her better than their old teacher.”
“Who else do you want me to meet?” asked James, beginning to feel the effects of walking after a big meal.
“Probably just the mayor. He used to run the general store, until we elected him two years ago. Since then, his daughter, Olivia, and Laura have run it.”
“So, let me get this straight. Amylia, and Olivia are the mayor's daughters?”
“Yes.” Jay grabbed James' arm, and pulled him into one of the back streets.
“Where are we going?” inquired James.
“To the Mayor's office.”
“But, wouldn't his office be on Main street?”
“No, he says that would make him too proud, so he rents a small room in Widow Amanda's boarding house.” Parson walked up to the door of a large, well-built house, and knocked on the door. After a short delay, Amanda, dressed in a long black skirt, opened the door.
“Yes.. Parson, what are you doing here?”
“Just wanted to introduce James here to the Mayor.”
“Come on in, I'll tell the Caleb that you're here. Wait in the library” Parson nodded, and led James to a large, well-decorated room. Several chairs were scattered around the walls, interspersed with shelves of books. Before James could sit down, Amanda came back.
“Caleb says for you to come right in, he's all finished his other work for today.” Jay thanked her, and pulled James to the small office. The Mayor stood to greet them, and firmly grasped James' hand.
“James, I'm glad you made it.” James thanked him, and withdrawing his hand, he flexed his fingers.
“I”m afraid you'll have to prove your identity before we can officially turn the ranch over to you, but your free to go ahead and take over tomorrow”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Be back tomorrow, and we can finish the legalities. Say, ten o'clock?”
“That will be good, sir. Thank you.”
“Well. I'm done here, so you mind if I walk a little ways with you?” asked the mayor, as he closed his file cabinet, and locked both it and his desk.
They left the boarding house, and headed for Main Street. At a large house, halfway between the diner and Sheriff's office, the Caleb stopped.
“Well, this is my house. I'll see you to- Well, here's my daughter Amylia.” then to the approaching figure, “Amylia, come here please. I want you to meet Drew's nephew.” Amylia smiled, and quickened her pace, her red-tinted hair flying in one of the small breezes that often infested western towns.
“Yes, father? You wanted me to meet Drew's nephew?” She inquired as she neared the trio.
“Yes, Amylia. This is James Tyler. James, this is my eldest daughter, Amylia.” James took her proffered hand, and gently shook it.
“Well, Mayor, Amylia, I was just about to show James his ranch, so if you'll excuse us.” said Jay, grabbing James' arm again, and hustling him off to the stables. Mounting, they rode out of town, to the west. After a few minutes of riding, they approached the school-house. Jay pointed out the small steeple housing the school bell, and the large windows, which allowed plenty of fresh spring air into the school. Kicking their horses into a canter, they rode on.
“James? What did you do back east anyway?” inquired Jay,
“I was training to be a shipbuilder. My dad was a sailor, so I guess the sea just kinda stuck in my blood.”
“Drew was your mother's brother, right?”
“Yes.”
“How did your parents meet?”
“Well-” Jay pulled his horse to a stop, interrupting James. James glanced over at Jay, and froze. To their left stood a horse, and beside it on the ground was a prone figure. They galloped over.
“Looks like Gideon's horse... and look! Blood!” Jay bent over the prone figure. “He's still breathing! James, quick! Ride back to town and get Holly!” James leaped onto his horse, and set off at a dead gallop. Arriving in town he pounded up the street to Holly's house.
“Holly! Holly! Somebody's been shot! Get your stuff, and let's go!!” He shouted, attracting the attention of the townspeople, who were just closing up their businesses. The stable boy stuck his head out of the stable, then disappeared for a moment. He emerged leading a horse, already saddled.
“Who's been shot?” inquired Travis, as he crossed the street with long strides.
“Gideon, the cook!” James replied, shifting impatiently as Holly emerged from her house.
“Gideon? No!!!” Screamed Olivia, running over.
“Gideon is her brother.” said Holly in a low voice, as she rushed past James. Mounting the horse that the stable boy had brought over, she turned to Laura.
“Take Olivia home, Laura, and keep her there. I'll send James over when we get Gideon back to town.” Laura nodded, and helped Olivia towards the Mayor's house. Holly swung to face James.
“What are you waiting for? A whirlwind? Let's go!!” James turned his horse and galloped off towards the waiting Parson, Holly keeping a few yards behind. As they rode up, James noticed that Jay had tied the two horses a little ways away. A small fire crackled merrily, and Gideon was lying with his head now on a saddle blanket. Holly quickly dismounted, and yanking the saddle bags off her horse she approached Gideon.
“He's been shot twice, Holly. Once in the chest, high up. And the other one glanced off his head.” said Jay, wearily. Holly glanced at the scalp wound, then turned her attention to the chest shot.
“It missed his lung, must have glanced off a rib. James, take my canteen and warm some water. I'll bandage this, then we'll try to get him back to town.” Heating some water took only a moment, and soon both wounds were cleaned and bandaged. Carefully lifting Gideon between them, James and Jay managed to get him on his horse. Mounting their own horses, they rode, one on each side, while Holly lead the procession. The sun had nearly set by the time they reached town. But, despite the lateness of the hour, a large group of townspeople lined the street. As they rode up she street towards Holly's house, James could hear them murmuring, and whispering among themselves.
“Who would shoot Gideon?”
“Must have been the Parrish gang.”
“Why would they shoot him?”
“Maybe he saw them doing something.”
“How-about this stranger? Maybe he shot him. Easiest way to avoid suspicion is to pretend to help out.”
“Yeah, what's he doing in town any way?”
James glanced at Jay, who glared at the people lining the street.
“What are you all staring at? This isn't a funeral procession! Get out of here and maybe tomorrow you can learn more.” Growled Travis, as he pushed through the crowd, his shotgun resting comfortably in the crook of his left arm. The townspeople quickly dispersed.
James breathed a sigh, and glanced a look of thanks at the sheriff, who winked back at him. Reaching Holly's house, they dismounted, and with the sheriff's help, they got Gideon inside.
“James, go tell the mayor that Gideon is now at my house. He can come if he wants, but the girls should wait until tomorrow. Gideon has lost a lot of blood, and looks worse than he is.” James left, accompanied by the sheriff.
“Tell me something, Sheriff. What's with the Parrish gang? Quite a few people have been killed by them, and Gideon might have been shot by them. Why hasn't anyone stopped them?”
“James, you hit on the tender spot in this town. You see, the Parrish brothers own the land our town sits on. If we start any kind of legal action against them, they'll take the town away. And many of the people in town can't afford to move, so my hands are tied.” Travis sighed heavily, and ran his hand through his graying hair. “Well, here's the mayor's house. I'll see you around.” Travis sighed again, and stumped away, his shoulders stooped. James gulped once, and knocked on the door. It was opened almost immediately by Amylia, her red-rimmed eyes betraying the fact that she had heard the news.
“James, how is Gideon? Will he live?” she asked, trying desperately to stifle her sobs.
“I think he'll live. He's at Holly's house now, but Holly said only your father can come tonight.” James said, his eyes filling with tears as he realized the pain Amylia must be feeling. Amylia nodded, and turned, calling back into the house.
“Father... Holly says you can come see Gideon tonight.” Then she broke down, and hurriedly left, vainly dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief. Caleb appeared, wiping his nose.
“Thank you, James. You've probably had a long day. Go to Widow Amanda's boarding house, and tell her to give you a room for the night. It's on me.”
“Thank you, sir. But, I'd rather pay for the room myself.”
“If that's what you want.” said Caleb wearily, as he pulled on his coat, and headed off to Holly's place. James turned, and left.

* * * * * *

Isaac and Benjamin Parrish had just finished their supper when a knock sounded on the door. Isaac, glanced sharply up, then motioned to the door, with his hand.
“You get the door, Ben. I'll clean up.” Ben rose, and walked down the hall to the door. Opening it, he found himself facing a man who seemed a bit preoccupied with keeping his face in the shadows.
“Did you get him?” Ben inquired, as he wiped his mouth with a napkin.
“Yes, sir. I know I hit him at least once in the head. He won't say anything.”
“Good, come back tomorrow morning, and I'll have your next orders.”
He nodded, and left. Ben sighed, closed the door, and headed off to the kitchen. Isaac looked up as he wiped the last dish.
“Well?”
“He won't be able to tell anybody what we're planning.”
“Alright, tomorrow, we'll continue with the plan.” Ben nodded, and stifled a yawn. Isaac grinned, slapping his brother on the back.
“Still the same old Ben, always tired.” He laughed. Ben grinned sheepishly, and stifled another yawn.

* * * * *

Caleb strode down the street, his head bowed. He nodded sadly at Travis, who fell in step with him for a few blocks.
“Caleb, I'm sorry about your son. We... all of us in town really like him... and his food.” Caleb nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Travis put his hand on Caleb's shoulder, stopping him.
“Caleb, what are you thinking?”
“Why does God allow this? The Parrish gang runs rampant, and we can't do a thing about it. My son is nearly killed, and what does God do? Just sits up there, and laughs at me...”
“Caleb, I know how hard it is. My whole family was massacred by Sherman during the war. But, it's not God's fault. It's our fault, the whole world's fault. Our fault for rejecting him. I'm not a preacher, or even a theologian, but I do know that in the end, the Right will win.” Caleb nodded again.
“Thank you Travis.” Travis patted him on the back, and continued walking. Caleb stood rooted, thinking. Travis had barely walked five paces when a shot rang out, and Caleb uttered a cry.
Travis whirled, his thumb cocking his shotgun in the same move. Caleb lay on the ground, clutching his left knee. His pant leg was already blood-soaked. Travis glanced around, then dropped his shotgun, and ran over to Travis. Footsteps pounded behind him, and T.J. came up, pistol drawn.
“Sheriff? Oh man!! I'll get Holly.” T.J. turned and ran towards Holly's house.
Travis yanked a handkerchief out of his pocket, and tied around Caleb's leg, mid-thigh. Pulling out his pistol he stuck the barrel in the loop, and began twisting the tourniquet tight. Caleb groaned.
“Travis, how bad is it?” He muttered through gritted teeth.
“I'm sorry Caleb, I don't know.” Said Travis. Softer footsteps sounded behind him, and then he heard Amylia cry.
“Father!!” She ran to his side, and knelt beside him.
“Amylia, I'm fine, it's just my leg.” Said Caleb, trying to pull himself into a sitting position. He cried out as his smashed knee twisted. Holly cam running up, T.J. just paces behind her. She knelt, and felt his knee.
“This is not good. Caleb, how do you feel?” Caleb only groaned in response. Amylia glanced worriedly at Holly.
“Holly, how is it?” Tears filled Amylia's eyes, as Holly sadly shook her head. From the bag she carried, Holly pulled a vial.
“Caleb, I have some laudanum here, it will help deaden the pain.” She carefully poured a small amount into Caleb's mouth. He fell back with a sigh.
“Travis, T.J., pick him up carefully, and bring him to my house. Amylia, run ahead, and open the door.”
Carefully lifting Caleb, the Sheriff and his deputy carried him into Holly's house, setting him gently down on a bed.
“Thank you.” Whispered Caleb, his teeth tightly clenched. Travis tipped his head, and left, followed by T.J.
“Amylia, get Laura. I'll need both of you to help.” said Holly, as she began collecting bandages. Amylia nodded sorrowfully, and left. Holly watched her soberly.
“I know it's hard, Amylia... I know...” she muttered softly to herself. Then she returned to gathering bandages.
Soon the door opened, and Laura entered, followed by Amylia and...
“Olivia! What are you doing here?” cried Holly. Olivia sniffed, wiping her red-rimmed eyes.
“I... I can't just (sniff) sit around doing nothing.” She said. Holly sighed.
“Alright Olivia. Girls, Caleb's knee is broken. He'll never be able to bend it when it heals, so we need to straighten it. Otherwise he'll never be able to walk.” The trio nodded,
“Laura, take his leg, and when I say, slowly straighten it. Amylia, if he starts moving, give him some if this.” A bottle was transferred to Amylia's hand. She glanced at it, then at her father.
“Olivia, heat some water, and keep some hot, wet cloths ready for me.” Holly nodded towards a stack of bandages.
Soon the Caleb's leg was straightened, cleaned and bandaged. Olivia glanced at her brother.
“Holly? How is Gideon?” She asked, noting his face, pale beneath beard and bandages.
“He's doing very well, considering several busted ribs, and a creased skull. If fever doesn't set in, he'll be able to get up in a few weeks.” As if in protest, perspiration burst out on Gideon's forehead, and he began to shake from the chills.
“Oh great. Just when everything was going so well.” Groaned Holly, as she quickly moved to Gideon's side, and felt for his pulse.
“Holly, tell us what to do, then get some sleep.” Said Laura, coming over with a damp cloth.

* * * * *

James awoke to a growling stomach. Yawning and stretching, he got out of bed, and splashed his face with water. He looked into the mirror, and rubbed the stubble on his face. Fifteen minutes later, he emerged from,his room and headed off to Rose's Diner. Entering the diner to the sound of the bell, he noticed Jay sitting in his corner, hunched over another bowl of beans. Beside him sat the sheriff. Both of them looked up at James, and soberly motioned him to come over. James complied.
“James, Mayor Pieplow was shot last night after you left.”
“What? The Mayor? How is he?”
“Busted knee. He won't walk for a while. Looks like you'll have to wait on the ranch.” James nodded.
“I understand. Besides, I'm not in a big hurry to take over ranching yet.”
“Well, I need to get started on tracking the guy who sho-” Travis glanced at the door, and stopped mid-sentence. James turned his head. Standing at the door were two somewhat unremarkable men, wearing dusty jeans, and ten-gallon stetsons.
“The Parrish brothers.” Hissed Jay. James watched out of the corner of his eye, as Travis' hand stole towards the shotgun leaning against the table next to him. The Parrish brothers glanced around the diner, and then headed for James' table.
“Where's the Mayor?” Asked the bearded one, keeping his right hand near the butt of his pistol.
“Why would you want to know?” demanded Travis.
“Because Ben and I have something to say to him.” Isaac glared down at Travis, then quickly glanced toward the shotgun. With a sigh, Travis let his hand fall to his side. Isaac grinned.
“I'm glad to see that you want to cooperate. It makes everything easier. Now, where's the Mayor?” His voice hardened with a barely veiled threat. Behind him, Ben shifted uneasily, and cleared his throat.
“And what if I told you he was pushing up the daisies?” Growled Travis.
“I would say that you're a liar.”
“Well, thanks to your men, he almost made it there.”
“I did not issue such orders, and neither did my brother. You're a liar. Now, for the last time, WHERE IS THE MAYOR?” Isaac's voice rose almost to a yell. Jay squinted at him, then turned back to eating beans.
“Why do you want to know? So you can finish the job?” Travis shot back, rising from his chair. Isaac growled angrily, and drew back his arm.
Travis ducked beneath the blow, and leaped forward, crashing into Isaac, and knocking him over. James jumped from his chair, and tackled Ben, who was struggling to untie his gun. Within seconds, both brothers were lying on the ground with their hands tied. Travis squinted at James through two reddened and puffy eyes.
“Thanks for tackling Ben.” James grinned back, then winced as his sore knuckles bumped the table. Jay vainly smothered a smile.
“You'll never get away with this! We own the town! You can't arrest us, or you'll be sorry!” Snarled Isaac, wrinkling his face as a trickle of blood ran down his upper lip.
“Isaac Parrish, I'm arresting you for assaulting a law-enforcement officer. You and Ben will also be held on suspicion of unlawful activities. Now get up and start walking!” Sullenly the two brothers got up, and began trudging over to the jail, muttering imprecations against the Sheriff. Travis followed them, the barrel of his shotgun pointing in their general direction.
“Sheriff? How are you going to keep them from taking the town back?” asked James in a low voice.
“They can't contact their attorney when in jail. I know this is a dirty trick, and would be considered unlawful back east, but it's the only way to stop these two.” As they neared the jail, T.J. appeared at the door. His eyes widened when he saw the Parrish brothers trudging up the street towards him, with Travis following closely behind.
“Sheriff? You caught the Parrish brothers? What about the town?” He called.
“Shut your mouth, and get a cell ready!” Shot Travis, glaring around angrily as several townspeople began to gather. The Parrish brothers were quickly recognized, and the call went around town. The small crowd quickly became a mob. Gathering around the jail, they stood there, and began debating the pros and cons of the arrest. Suddenly a cry ran through the mob. “Hang them! Then they can't take the town back! They deserve hanging!”
The crowd surged towards the jail, but stopped when Travis reappeared, carrying his shotgun.
“Be quiet!” he yelled “Even outlaws have the right to a FAIR trial! The circuit judge will be in town tomorrow. Now go back home, and don't speak of this affair anymore today!” Under the threat of two 12 gauge barrels, the crowd dispersed.
Travis looked around and caught James' eye.
“Let's go check on the Mayor, and then I'll head out and try to find who did it.” He growled.

* * * * *

He sucked in a breath of air, and slowly released it. His rifle remained unwavering. Slowly he pulled the trigger. The gun bucked in his hands, and his target dropped like a log. *Three down.* Quietly, he chambered another round, and raised the rifle to his shoulder again.

* * * * *

Travis whirled when the shot sounded, and saw Holly fall in front of her house. Quickly he glanced around at the surrounding hills, but there was no sign of movement. James tore past him, in a dead run for Holly. Travis lowered his shotgun, and took off after James. Together they arrived at Holly's side, just as Amylia opened the door. Travis knelt at Holly's side and felt for a pulse.
“Holly? Holly!” Amylia screamed, then rushed to her friend's side.
“I'm sorry Amylia, she's dead.” said Travis in as gentle a voice as he could muster. James turned to see T.J running up, his pistol drawn. Behind T.J was a crowd of townspeople. James watched as Olivia took a glance out of the general store to see what the fuss was about. She executed a double-take, and then with a cry, she emerged, and began running.
He turned back to see Amylia leaning against Travis, who was gruffly trying to comfort her.

* * * * *

*So many targets to choose from.* He slowly swung his rifle from one to another. *Just like sharks, they gather around the dead.* He closed his eyes, and pulled the trigger.

* * * * *

T.J spun around from the impact of the bullet, and tumbled to the ground. His pistol bounced harmlessly off the rocks. The street instantly cleared. Travis grabbed Amylia, and Olivia and dragged them into Holly's house, while James quickly knelt to check on T.J. He was dead. James ducked as a bullet slammed into the ground near his right foot. And then he scrambled for the house.

* * * * *

*They scattered just like chickens.* He raised his rifle again. *Sooner or later somebody will show their head.*

* * * * *

James scanned the surrounding hillsides, carefully keeping his body behind the door-frame. Behind him, he could hear Travis reloading his shotgun with slugs.
A quick flash of light! James grunted to alert Travis, and carefully watched the place where the flash had been. Travis came up behind him.
“Up there, between those two rocks. He has a regular fortress up there.” James pointed carefully, then ducked as a bullet whistled through the door. Travis grunted, and raised his shotgun.
“Hold your ears ladies.” He growled, then pulled the trigger. James saw one of the rocks near the bushwhacker explode into pieces.

* * * * *

*They're firing back now. That just makes it more interesting. Now they're acting like a nest of wasps.* He smirked at the thought. Carefully he sighted on a head just showing behind a window. Again the gun bucked in his hands.

* * * * *

The window of the general store exploded into a million shards. A faint scream, quickly shut off, reached James and Travis.
Travis groaned.
“Not again! We have to do something, and fast!”
“Cover me” James took off like a shot. Behind him he heard the roar of Travis shotgun. A quarter of the way to the store.

* * * * *

*What does he think he's doing? He won't make it far.* He squinted through the magnifying sight, and let out a chuckle.

* * * * *

A bullet smacked into the wall of the building beside James. Then another one hit the ground on front of his feet. Halfway to the store. Again Travis' shotgun roared. The tangy bitter-sweet taste of adrenaline filled James mouth. He reached the store, and rolled through the doorway. The sidewalk right behind him disappeared under a hail of lead. James glanced around, and spotted Laura lying on the near the window. A small pool of blood spread from underneath her head. Quickly James moved to her side, carefully keeping away from the window.
She was still breathing. James quickly checked the wound. Just a flesh wound. He saw a stack of bandannas neatly folded on the counter nearby. Quickly he bandaged Laura's head. Grabbing a stack of cloth, he put some under her head as a pillow.
Several bullets whistled through the open window frame, and crashed into the line of bottles behind the counter.
James crawled over to the gun cabinet. It was open, revealing several rifles, and a fair assortment of pistols. James took down a .50 Sharps. Ammo boxes littered the bottom of the cabinet. James sorted through them, and took out a box for his rifle. Quickly he loaded the rifle, and then chambered a round. He risked a glance out the window. Spotting the rifle of the bushwhacker, he slowly raised his own.

* * * * *

Ping! A bullet ricocheted off of his rifle, leaving a large scar on the barrel. He dropped the rifle, and shook his hands, which had been stung by the vibrations. *Stupid rat! Now I have to kill him the usual way.* He drew his revolver, and began scrambling slowly down the hillside, keeping under cover. Within minutes he was just outside the town. He saw a large man lean out of a doorway, and point a shotgun at his previous position. Without hesitation, he fired.

* * * * *

Travis grunted from the impact of the bullet, and then toppled forward out of the house, as Amylia and Olivia watched in speechless horror.

* * * * *

He sighed with satisfaction, and turned his gaze towards the store, from which periodic shots were fired at the hillside above him. He caught a glimpse of a hand and raised his pistol. A shot rang out. He looked down at his chest as pistol dropped from nerveless fingers. He raised his left hand to touch the bullet hole, and then slowly crumpled to the ground.

* * * * *

James caught a glimpse of a white shirt on the street, and he whirled to look. A stranger on the street, pointing a gun in his direction. Without pausing to wonder how the bush-whacker had entered the town, he brought his gun to bear. But before he could fire, a shot rang out.
James watched as the stranger slowly crumpled to the ground, as if in slow motion. He glanced up the street. Amylia stood at the door of Holly's house, her face pale, and a smoking pistol in her right hand. James turned to Laura. She was still lying on the floor, but her eyes were open.
“Laura, how are you doing? Can you walk up to Holly's house?” He asked, putting the rifle down on the counter, and coming over. She struggled to sit up.
“If I can get over this headache, I'll be fine.” She said, rubbing her hand over the bandanna. James gave Laura his hand, and helped her to her feet.
“Lean on me if you need to.” He said, ducking his head under her arm, so as to support her better. She nodded, and they slowly moved out of the store, and up the street towards Holly's house. Amylia, and Olivia glanced up from where they knelt beside Travis.
“Laura! Are you hurt?” Called Olivia, jumping to her feet, and rushing over. Laura smiled weakly.
“I'll be fine Olivia.” Olivia glanced at James inquiringly.
“Just a flesh wound.” He said, suddenly feeling very tired. They got Laura inside the house, and lay her down on the last empty bed. She sighed, and closed her eyes.
James and Olivia returned to Travis' side, where Amylia knelt, wrapping his shoulder. Travis moaned through clenched teeth.
“Oh man. Oh man.” he muttered. James nodded soberly. Too many lives had been snuffed out today. He glanced towards the still body of the bushwhacker. Rising, he stumbled over, his legs feeling like lumps of lead. Riffling through the bushwhacker's clothes revealed a letter, and a poster. James opened the letter.

Blue,
Meet me at Rose's Diner in Grillhorn on Apr. 7. I have a job for you. You'll be paid $50,000.
Isaac Parrish

James unfolded the poster, already guessing at the contents.

$25,000 Reward
For the capture, dead or alive, of Royal Blue.
Wanted for murder.
Posted Sheriff Barney Reynolds, Half-crown, TX

“Sheriff! There's enough evidence here to send Isaac Parrish to the gallows!” James hurried back to Travis' side, and showed him the letter, and poster. Travis grunted, and smiled for the first time since James had seen him. James suddenly noticed that Amylia and Olivia were gone. He glanced around. They were staggering slowly towards their house. He started to rise, but was stopped by Travis' hand on his shoulder.
“Leave them be James, it's been a traumatic day. Now help me up.” James grabbed his arm, and hauled Travis to his feet.
They stood together, and watched as the townspeople slowly crawled out of doorways and cellar entrances where they'd dived when the shooting started. The undertaker came out of his small office, and headed up towards James and Travis.
Travis gazed sadly at the two bodies lying on the ground in front of the house.

Comments

Pardon my asking, but am I

Pardon my asking, but am I the only one who doesn't see anything written?

Emma Katherine | Tue, 05/08/2012

Check out my etsy shop!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/AmethystToGarnet

I don't see anything either

I don't see anything either :D

Lucy Anne | Tue, 05/08/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Should work now.

There was some kind of glitch..
James asked me to repost it.. see if that works..

Sorry for the delay and problems.. :/

Edit: Looks like it's working now! Enjoy. :D

GReynolds | Tue, 05/08/2012

"Give me liberty or give me a pen!" ~ Patwick Henny
"If we do not hang together, we shall certainly hang." ~Benmine Fraklin
"Four-score and heavenly years ago, our fore-feathers brought forth on this cobweb a new station." ~Abe Clinkin

I liked it (a lot) :) Are you

I liked it (a lot) :) Are you going to write more soon? :)
~Sarah

Sarah Anne | Tue, 05/15/2012

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths

P.S
Go to my blog and follow it: Sarahanneandrews.wordpress.com
:) for my sake, follow

I am glad you liked it.

I am glad you liked it. :D

Alas, duty hath kept me from my work. Perchance I may find an hour or two this very day to relate the adventures of some feisty hero. ;)

GReynolds | Tue, 05/15/2012

"Give me liberty or give me a pen!" ~ Patwick Henny
"If we do not hang together, we shall certainly hang." ~Benmine Fraklin
"Four-score and heavenly years ago, our fore-feathers brought forth on this cobweb a new station." ~Abe Clinkin

Okay :D lol :)

Okay :D lol :)

Sarah Anne | Tue, 05/15/2012

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths

P.S
Go to my blog and follow it: Sarahanneandrews.wordpress.com
:) for my sake, follow

Navigation

User login

Please read this before creating a new account.