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A short western

Tell us about your adventures, amazing stories, wow us with your wit...use your imagination, tell us some of the greatest moments in your life.

Post Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:03 pm

A short western

Hope you enjoy...

Post Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:04 pm

Trail dust filled the air. It hadn’t rained in a month. Even the sun beat down on the dry gully, as if it could draw even a drop of water out of it. It was a hungry soul this year. Yet, the rider on the old paint kept his slow pace. He had what he needed to survive, water. Even the horse, seemingly unaware of the suns thirst for water, carried his rider onward.

Mysteries abound in Montana. But this one, well, it seemed to have a purpose. The mountains loomed all around. Beauty, more than the eye could barely hold. The sun, two hours’ high, crested the ridges showing the snow caps in all thier splendor. It was one of the reasons the man was here. He was drawn to this place, the reason only within him. Yet, he also had a purpose. His was on a mission that would not be denied. It was one he had to see through to the end.

The old town, aged through many a dry summer, yet it continued. It grew slowly, as if it had to replace one life with another, before one could be added. Yet, it grew. Old Doc Brown, had been here the longest of any. He had seen the birth of nearly all the present population. He was nearing eighty-two. A little old for this day, but still full of life. Only city dwellers lived this long, not those on the frontier. But, he was as crusty as they come. He survived many things, including a few Indian raids. His scalp was intact at least. He treated all the ailments in town, including old Mrs. Miller and her bouts with the vapors.

Doc was on the trail out to see Mrs. Miller when he spotted a stranger riding in the distance. The man was riding a Mustang. Doc was curious when the man suddenly stopped near some trees, but as he watched, he realized the man had company and Doc jumped off his horse as fast as his age would allow and led his mare to a safe hiding place to watch. A small party of Crow Indians rode up. The stranger held up his hand and appeared to say something to them. They returned the gesture, which was unusual to say the least. They were known for scalping first and asking questions later.

Doc was even more amazed that after a time of sitting and talking, all mounted up and rode off. The man continued on his way, safe and sound. Since he did not want to try his luck, Doc climbed back into the saddle and headed to the Miller place.

The stranger knew someone else was watching him, but they seemed no threat. Running Fire had been friendly enough. He remembered the stranger from a few years ago. They had a peaceful agreement between them. The man had even bought some land from them, with the agreement they could come and go whenever they wanted and could continue to hunt there as well. Game was scarce in a drought, so his land, with a creek running through, provided a place to hunt deer and fish for himself. Running Fox was on his way there to get game for the tribe. The man had wished them a good hunt.

Mrs. Millers place was little more than two shacks stuck together, but it was a roof over the old woman’s head, and was all that was left of her husband. When he died, apart of her did as well. He left her with some money and some land. The old house, was built by him, back when they first arrived. It was supposed to be only a temporary place, until they could build the house of their dreams. But, that never happened. The area was too dry to farm for any profit, so their dreams dried up with it. They kept food on the table, and her husband was able to get work in town, but, it never provided enough for their dreams. Dreams that they promised each other back east before coming to this dry and desolate place.

These days though, her ailments tended to occupy her time more than anything else. The doctor didn’t seem to agree. He knew the truth, but played along with her. The medicine he prescribed, was nothing more than placebos. He knew it was just company she wanted, but would not ask for. He reined up his horse as he arrived at her house. Getting down out of the saddle this time a little slower. At his age, he could not take too many risks. He looped the reins around the hitch, and removed his bag that was tied to the saddle bag. The front door was cracked a little and the aroma of food cooking drifted out. Doc knocked on the door post and pushed the door open. Mrs. Miller turned at the sound and smiled a bit. Doc was what she needed just now. “Doc, I’m so glad your here. The pain is so much worse today, you got to do something for it, please?”

The stranger pulled up at a dry gully and scanned the area. Nothing and no one insight. Even the cactus seemed to stay in the shade. Finally a sign he was looking for, a worn trail that headed to the mountains that were closest. There was a small cloud of smoke near the base. This, was where he was headed for. About another hour steady ride.

He reached the house that the smoke rose from. His home he built years ago, but had not been back to in over a year. Trespassers, it seemed, had taken up residents there. He pulled up to a small tree and dismounted. After tying the horse off, he pulled his rifle and moved to the nearest window. He wanted a look first, to see who he was up against.

It was Charlie. An old friend turn bank robber he had met years ago. He had made the mistake of telling Charlie where his place was and to come visit when he was near. That was before Charlie went loco and took up bank robbery. Now though, it would be different when they met. He knew the bounty on old Charlie’s head, and would claim it if he could. It would be up to Charlie on that account.

The man edged near the door, and opened it slowly. Charlie had his back to it as he tended the fire. His pistol was on the table too far to reach. Cocking the rifle got Charlie’s attention. Turning to see who it was, Charlie at first smiled then the smile disappeared in a flash when he noticed the rifle aimed at him. “Hey Carl, been a while” Charlie spoke. He slowly tried to inch his way to the table. Raising the rifle to point at Charlie’s head slowed that idea. “Carl, what’s gotten into you?”

“What are you doing here Charlie?” Carl spoke softly, “You and I went our ways back when you took up bank robbery or have you forgotten my promise I made you?”

Charlie remembered. Carl said the next time they met, he would cash him in for betraying thier friendship. He also remembered the bounty on his head that was up to $5000 dollars as well. Now he was starting to worry. Was Carl going to try and collect, or would he let him go. Charlie decided to play that hand and see if he could walk out of this one with his skin intact. He raised his hands in a gesture of resignation and the smile returned to his face. “You win Carl’ and Charlie took a seat and faced Carl. He had to get him to see his side of it if he was to get out of here. Carl was too good a shot to risk going for his gun. In a shoot out, Charlie knew he would lose.

“Hey now, wait just a second, Carl” Charlie spoke as he began to sweat. “After all we’ve been through, you wouldn’t turn me in, now would you?” He looked around, seeing his gun on the table.

“What we’ve been through? Charlie, you lied to me and you killed a woman in the process, you got me involve in your schemes and I don’t much like that.”

Charlie was dripping by now. He knew Carl was going to turn in, no matter what he said. His only chance now was to try and reach his gun and kill Carl first. It was a gamble though as his gun was six feet way, He would have to bluff a little to get closer to it.

“Don’t do it Charlie” Carl said, looking his old friend in the eye. I want you taken in alive, but I will shoot if I have to.”

Desperation now grew in Charlie’s eyes. He was going to risk it now. If he could dive over the table, grab the gun and shoot first, Carl would be the one dead on the floor. He inched a few steps closer to the table, then a shot rang out. The edge of the table splintered and Charlie jumped backward. The bullet hit inches from the gun. Charlie was desperate now. He leapt for the gun, grabbing it and tipping the table over. He pulled the trigger back and fired a shot over the table to where Carl had stood. Carl was now against the wall and aimed his rifle to the table, about mid way up. “Charlie, throw the gun out, Now!”

“No way, I’m not going back to be hung, your just going to have to shoot me, Carl.”

“So be it” Carl whispered and fired two shots through the table and into Charlie. No sounds came now. Carl moved closer to look. His friend lay on the floor now, a pool of red growing. He was shot through the heart and lay dying now.

“Why Carl, why did we have to end up this way” Charlie asked. The answer went back in time to when they were little, choices made then in church one day. A preacher traveling through, had preached a salvation sermon. Carl was listening to it while Charlie slept. In the end, Carl made a choice that was his forever, while Charlie turned away to his own ways. Now, he paid the price for it.

“Because of the choice you made, remember?” Carl answered as he set his rifle down. He through Charlie’s gun out of reach and sat beside his friend. There was no hope of getting to a Doc now, only chance Charlie had was his friend to lead him home before he died.

3 Year Later.....

Carl had a small spread now. He was looking to hire a few hands on now as well. He needed help and wanted just the right type to work here. Running Fox was now Chief and Carl was there that day to see his friend become the head of the tribe. He gave a gift of ten head of cattle to them and in return, Red Fox gave Carl his daughter, Morning Flower for a wife. She lived up to the name nicely. She was so beautiful, her eyes bright as the sun. She loved Carl quickly enough. Carl was honored at Running Fox’s actions and thanked the man. He promised him he would love Morning Flower with all his heart.

Carl found three men he felt he could trust. They all had good reputations among the Indians. Paul Walker, Tommy Pierce, and Wild Bill Tyler. Bill truly lived up to his name. They made life a bit easier for Carl. They could hold thier own in a fight and never give an inch. He knew his cattle were in good hands.

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