Friday, September 22, 2017

Shiloh....1st Draft Chapter 3 The Cabin



Chapter Three  1st Draft

The Cabin

With the Deed and hand scrawled  note in his hand Michael thought
“This time will be different”
He and Sheol will head out after he finishes up here.
“Michael, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but if you need to head out, we can take care of Ben and make sure the fire is out”  Tom said
Michael looked off into the distance as his mind raced through all the scenarios in his head, finally turning he said
“I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done Tom”
“No Michael it’s us who owe you, now don’t you worry about anything here, you just get to Ben’s wife”
Michael nodded, and whistled for Sheol
The White Stallion walked up to them as if it knew what had happened, it’s head hung low..
“Well if that ain’t the darnest thing” Tom said
“Yea Sheol, seems to understand things” Michael said
Setting in the saddle Michael turned to Tom
“I’ll be back in a week or so”
“Don’t worry we’ll take care of everything”
Turning Sheol he rode away.
Michael knew he didn’t need to worry, but there was a storm coming and he felt the darkness edging closer.

Michael’s first instinct was to ride into town, find the men that were accountable for this and kill them.
But he couldn’t, he wasn’t that man anymore, he had left that life long ago, this was his new life.
So he would go to Ben’s wife, give her the Deed and that would be that, he would get back and rebuild.
Michael knew this would be best, Ben’s wife could get the local Sheriff to help with the Deed and land, and he wouldn’t be needed.
Ride in and Ride out…Simple.
But first he needed, to get to the Cabin for some supplies for the ten mile track to Horse Shoe Bend and he wanted to see Hedi before he left, Then he would get an early start.

Sam Smith was a hired hand, he did what he was told without a second thought, Thats the way he liked it.
He was told to keep an eye on the Saloon Whore and thats what he did, following her out of town and into the woods.
He kept back out of sight, giving her room so that she didn’t see him..
He saw her head for a Cabin that was up the draw between two large Blue Spruces.
“Nice little spot “ he said
He was tired of watching her hips sway as the horse took each step and it was getting to him.
Sam was a likable guy but wasn’t a looker, so he had to pay for a womans attention.
And it had been awhile since he had enough coin to do that, since he was saving up to buy his own stock in horses.
So Sam watched her with a growing interest, that was unwaivering even as he watch from afar.
Smoke started to lift out of the chimney as the morning sun came up over the mountain peaks.
Sam shivered from the morning dew that lay across his camp that he had made in haste.
His coffee started to boil  as he watched from a distance, he had found a place up above the cabin, nestled among some pines and huckleberry bushes.
His papa had always told him…”High ground Sam, Always get to High ground, it gives you the advantage”
Sam ate some huckleberries with coffee for breakfast as he watched for any sign of that saloon girl.
Finally  the front door opened and there she stood with a shawl around her shoulder, looking pretty as can be.
Sam licked his lips as he savoried the moment…Yea she was pretty he thought.
Sam had enough, she was itching​ to be had, he knew women and how they teased and this woman was just like the rest.
Standing up he had already make his decision
Sam made his way down the mountain picking his route carefully so as not to cause to much noise, he wanted the element of surprise on his side.
Hedi felt the crispness of the morning air as she let the sun warm her
She was worried about Michael, She didn’t like the way he left last night.
Something was wrong she felt it in her bones, she leaned up against the door, someone was watching her, she felt it.
She went to fireplace and pulled the shotgun down from where is hung on the wall.
As he drew close, he noticed she had gone back inside, perfect he thought.
Sam felt more than heard the movement to his right, he swung his horse around and pulled is 45 colt in one fluid motion .
That will be far enough Mister.
Sam was looking down the barrel of a 12ga shotgun.
She sure was more pretty up close he thought .
Spitting out his tobacco and wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve.
He stared at her.
Finally smiling he said l am just​ a drifter looking for a warm cup of coffee.
No, your not you've been following me since yesterday.
Well, ain't we the smart one, Sam slightly​ adjusted​ his gun hand.
Move another inch and I'll blow that hand clean off.
Sam, felt his upper hand he thought he had with this female start to unravel.
In fact Mister drop that colt into the dirt.
Now Missy, I haven't done anything wrong, following someone isn't against any law I've heard of.
Maybe, but I know your low life type and there is no good to come of it.
Sam, had avoided dropping the colt by sidelining her with talk but that same talk was pissing him off.
I'm no low life you saloon Whore
 Noticed she hadn't cocked the shotgun, that would give him a few precious seconds that he could use to his advantage.
Sam was judging his chances when heard a horse behind him.
Turning he saw a beautiful Pale horse with a rider that chilled him to bone with his stare.
Hedi do we  problem​? Michael asked
Nope, this drifter just was just passing through she said
Why the shotgun Michael asked
Just letting him know​ I mean business she replied
Michael turned back to Sam
“Drifter, I'm not sure why you have your Colt out but I'd slid it back into your hoslter and ride out”.
Sam saw the Winchester laying across Michael's saddle horn, pointing right at his stomach.
Sam hadn't noticed it before but the morning was a crisp with a cold that cuts through your clothes like knife through butter.
Pulling his coat closed with his free hand.
“Sounds like like a good idea” Sam muttered.
Slowly dropping his Colt back into his holster.
Sam tipped his hat at Hedi and said "Another Time Miss"
He reined his brown mare around and high tailed it back down the mountain.
“Shit, Big John isn't going to be happy”, Sam thought.

Micahael looked at Hedi "You ok?"
"Yes, Michael thankyou I didn't want to have to shoot that man"
"Well he is gone and I'll stick around for a bit just in case he wants to think about coming back"
Hedi looked at the black smudges on Michaels face and his blackened clothes.
"Michael is everything ok?"
Michael swung down from Sheol and said "I've got something to tell Hedi"













Rough Draft.....

FIRE...................

Saddling up Sheol, Michael took the short cut back to his farm, darkness was all around them as they rode in quiet.
Michael love the nights when he was alone away from town, He could see so many stars that it was uncountable.
The night sky was so big making him feel at home during these night rides.
His past invaded his worried mind, he thought of things he had seen and done for the first time in years.
The shootings, the death, the price he now readily pays for everyday of his life, it strips him bare by taking away his ability to have a normal life, to have a wife, kids,, to grow old.
The light in the sky was man made, Kicking Sheol into a run, Michael felt the old fire begin to burn in his soul and it only made him more angry by the minute.
Michael knew before he even crested the hill that it was his farm that would be burning, How could they do this he thought, how could they unleash his fury that he had tried so hard to bury.
"Goddam them to Hell" he screamed into the wind as he rode hard...Shoel seem to understand and went faster, snorting with the look of a crazed animal.
Michael pulled Sheol up when they reached the top of the hill that over looked the valley his farm was in.
Firer was bellowing high into the night air, his home was totally engulfed, his Barn looked to had been saved but not for long, the fire was stretching across the barn yard as if it wanted to consume the barn also.
Michael kick Sheol into a run.

Tom Steven's
One lone figure was pumping water from the well hand pump into a trough and taking buckets of water and throwing it on the fire..
Michael was hopeful it was Ben, but he knew better.
Tom Stevens had known Michael since the first day they camped on the plot of land he bought from an old timer that had lost his wife to the winter they had just got through.
He didn't want to sell but with his wife gone and his advanced age, he just couldn't see spending another winter there alone, so he decided to sell and move closer to his Son and his family in San Francisco.
Tom Stevens just happened to be passing through with a wagon train that was headed to California.
He had seen the for sale sign at the General Store they had stopped at to get some supplies
It didn't take much coaching to get his wife to stay here, She hated the dust, the rough riding wagons, and cooking by campfires.
They both had big grins when they waved goodbye to their newly found friends that were still on the wagon train. 
Tom Stevens was tired, he had been fighting the fire on his own for a couple of hours, he had sent Mary his wife to town to find Michael and get help..
When Michael burst into the court yard, Tom felt relief but something else...Dread
He wasn't sure why he felt "Dread" but it was right there in the pit of his stomach and he almost wanted to run from it but Michael was a friend and he had spent the first year with them, showing them how to grow vegetables, and how to farm really.
 Tom was a green horn and Michael knew it but never once said so..never once try to embarrass him in front of his wife.
Tom Stevens thanked him for that..
No, he would stay to help a friend.

The only thing that Michael Thought about is that he failed.
It wasn’t bad enough that he didn’t keep Ben safe until he healed up or that his farm was burning to the ground.
It was the failure to keep his dark side inside him, because he felt it welling up and bubbling over, drenching his soul with a hatred for the men that did this.
Michael and Stevens did what the could with the fire and making sure that it didn’t spread to the barn.
Finally, the dawn started to bring light into the valley, and with it, the exhaustion of fighting the fire all night overwhelmed both Stevens and Michael and they collapsed next to the horse trough.
“Michael, I’m so sorry, I got here as soon as I saw the light from the fire”
“ Stevens it’s OK, you did the best we could”
Putting his head under the water pump that filled the trough, Michael washed away some of the smoke that blackened his arms and face.
Handing a metal cup full of water to Stevens he asked “Did you see anything, anybody?”
“No, but it looked like someone dragged something from the barn to the back door, I noticed when I first got here”
Michael thought for a moment “Why would someone drag something from the barn into a burning house?”
“Unless”
Michael jumped up and ran into the barn.
That’s when he saw the blood trail crossing the floor leaving bloody straw in the path.
Michael followed it to the last horse stall.
There in the middle of the stall was Ben, propped up against the back wall,
He had Michaels shotgun that had hung over the fireplace laying in his lap.
The sun had raised high enough to pierce the darkness of the stall, Michael could see that Ben’s Shirt front was matted to his chest with blood.
Ben’s head was drooped down with his chin resting on his chest.
“Ben” Michael whispered.
Moving to Ben’s side, Michael gently started to remove the shot gun so that he could lay him flat, when Ben yelled and tried to hold onto the shotgun.
Surprise stunned Michael for a second, who would think Ben would be still alive “Ben, It’s Michael, I’m here now”
“Stay still Ben” Michael opened Ben’s shirt and what he saw, told him that Ben didn’t have long.
Coughing up Blood, Ben said “Michael,  They have killed me”
“Your not going anywhere Ben, what happened?”
“They came to find the Deed I had for the land” 
“What Deed?”
“The one my Ma gave me”
“What is so dang important about that land”? Michael asked
Ben coughed up more blood, straining to talk he said “Water and grazing rights, without that land Big John would be done”
“So he has been using it for free all these years?” Michael asked
“Michael, They are after Sue now, I heard them talking after they left me for dead”
“Michael please stop them” Ben pleaded
Michael heard Tom Stevens behind him
“Michael, Mary here, knows a little about Doctoring”
Mary knelled next to Ben, She looked him over and looked up to Michael.
Michael nodded and looked back to Ben
Mary stood up and Tom noticed tears in her eyes as he followed her out of the Barn.
“Ben did they get the Deed?”
It took a minute for Ben to answer
“No, it’s hiding in your saddle bags over there” Ben attempted to point but couldn’t raise his arm.
Michael knew where they were and he said “Ben I need to know where Sue is”
“It’s all there Michael, address and all, please get it to her”
“I will Ben”
Ben closed his eyes for the last time.











Saturday, September 9, 2017

Rough Draft

The Sheriff......

After Hedi had gone, Michael looked over at the Sheriff
"What's on your mind Sheriff?"
"Michael that was dangerous"
"I can take care of myself" Michael said
"I know you can, and that's not what I mean"
"What do you mean then?"
"I agree to let you stay here, knowing about your past as I do, but I don't need you bringing your troubled past to my little town"
"I don't see how tonight could do that" Michael said
"You don't seem to realize those boys were part of a bigger group who rode into town a few days ago"
Michael started to see the connections.
"You mean that big Cowboy and the slick one"
"Yea I do, The Big one is called Big John and the slick one is his brother Frank, he is a killer, supposedly killed 12 men, they are Ranchers from Adams County"
"Why are they here?" Michael asked
"I have no idea, but I bet it ain't going benefit us"
"Look Michael, all I'm saying is this, Keep your head low for a few days and those boys will be gone"
Michael hated to crawl, but he saw what the Sheriff was getting at.
"I don't like it, but I will Sheriff, I not looking for trouble"
"Michael I know your an honest man, But give me your word"
"Sheriff there is no need for that"
The Sheriff stood his ground putting his hands on his hips
"Shoot, Ok Sheriff I'll keep it on the down and low for a few days, I've got a boy to get mended anyway"
"What?" the Sheriff asked
"Didn't the Doc tell you?, I found this kid on my porch a few days ago, he had been beaten badly and shot through the shoulder"
"You know that old coot doesn't say anything about anything, Doc ethic's or something"
"Well he is mending fast and probably be on his way in a week or so, I'll loan him a horse to make it easier"
"Did he say who did it?"
Michael decided it would be better to forgo mentioning about the Cowboys who came looking for him
"Nope he said it was too dark, but they got nothing for their troubles" he said
"So he's just a drifter?"
"I'd assume, Yea" Michael said
The Sheriff cocked his head to the side as if he was hearing some little voice talking to him.
"Well you know you'll probably never see that horse again"
"Kind of figured I'd give him old broom"
The Sheriff chuckled at that "Yea well nothing lost is nothing gained"
"Have a good night Michael and tell Hedi, she sounded lovely tonight"
Michael stood there for a minute, soaking in the night air finally turning to the Sheriff "Well you old coot, you were outside all along?"
"Michael this is my town and not much gets past me"
Turning with that, he yelled up at the swinging doors "Let's go boy we've rounds to finish up"
Michael smiled as he turned and headed for Hedi's place.
There goes a good man Michael thought

Hedi loved touching Michael the morning after they had made love, it was a time that he felt almost human.
But this wasn't morning and this wasn't one of those times, this was now and Michael was pulling on his boots.
She noticed His shirt was unbuttoned and hanging out of his pants as he stood, his muscles stood out, so defined as if he was chiseled from a statue.
But what took away from his phycic was the scares, he looked to been cut, shot and God knows what.
Taking her eyes way from his body.
"Whats wrong?" she asked
"Something isn't right"
She could hear the strain in his voice as the words left his mouth
"Do you want me to come?"
"No, I can't watch out for you and myself"
"What do you need Michael?"
Looking at her with those eyes of his he said "I need you to get out of town as fast as you can, get to the stables and buy a horse, I'll give you some money"
Reaching into his pocket he handed her enough to buy a horse
"You know, old Chuck probably won't even wake up"
"You make sure he does Hedi"
"I want you to ride up to Blue Gulch to the Cabin and wait for me"
"Michael please your starting to scare me"
"I've got to go Hedi, now promise me"
"Will you come soon, Michael"
Michael thought about it for a second
"Yea I will, now git"
"Well kiss me first"
Michael pulled her into his arms and kissed her madly
After a minute Hedi pulled back
"Hey your kissing me like it's the first time we kissed"
Michael just snuggled deeper into her neck, smelling the flowerily fragrance she wore, trying  to take in a lifetime of remembrance in that moment.
Pulling back Hedi thought she saw tears on Michael's face but he turned too quickly for her to be sure.
"Michael are you Ok"
"Yes Hedi, now get going"
As he slipped out the door into night, he knew in his heart this might be the last time he ever saw her.




Friday, June 9, 2017

Shiloh...Rough Draft..Chapter Two "Ben"

ROUGH DRAFT

Chapter Two

Ben...

Michael closed the door behind him, He was torn between helping this kid and probably bringing unwanted attention to him and his past catching up to him
Leaning against the door, Michael closed his eyes as snap shots of the past bombarded his thoughts, leaving him with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Looking up he found Ben staring at him.
"Are you OK?" Ben asked him
"Yea sure, You need to tell me about the promise and Deed"
"Ben quickly looked away"
"Ben I can't help if I don't know what and why I'm doing it...I need a cause"
"Maybe I should leave" Ben said
"Your not up for it, yet"
"Look Ben I'll protect you for a few weeks, but when your able I'll need you to move on"
Ben sifted in his bed, "Michael That's all I ask for, a couple of weeks and I'll leave you be"
Michael Stared at Ben for a minute, contemplating how to say what he wanted to say without sounding to harsh.
"Ben it's not like that, it's just that I have a past I prefer not to catch up with me, I came here looking to make amen for it"
Ben looked up, "What amens?"
Michael turned with a stern look
"I prefer not to bring that bad omen into my home Ben"
Ben's shoulders fell as he made a decision
"Look Michael, I made a promise to my Ma"
Michael looked at him with those eye's that seemed to cut clean through him "What promise?"
"That I was to stake a claim to some land that she had a deed for"
"And those men that came have a problem with it?"
"Look Michael it was the only thing she had to give me, She kept the deed for years, knowing one day when I was old enough, She would give it to me, to give me a start in life"
"Sounds like a smart woman"
"Maybe" Ben said
Michael cocked his head as deep furors increased around his eyes
"I mean she was a good Mother and everything but"
"But what Ben"
"She was a Saloon girl Michael"
That shook Michael to the core as it hit home about Hedi, "Would her children think the same way about her?"
It made him want to make her a legitimate woman, but he knew that was impossible.
"And?" Michael asked
"Well you know it was hard at school, everyone would make fun of her and I had got into a lot of fights over it"
"So life was hard, grow up it's hard all over Ben, She sounds like a good Woman"
"She was Michael"
"Enough of this, you need to rest and I need to think and I do that, best on my horse, I'll be back in a awhile"
As Michael turned to open the door Ben said "I'm sorry for bringing my problems to you"
"It's not your fault, I was the one who brought you into my home"
Michael shut the door before anymore talk could start, He needed to think.
Saddling up his horse he whispered, "Lets ride Sheol"
He pranced around as if this made him happy "Michael laughed I know you would like this"
Kicking his horse into a gallop, they left the farm far behind.
Passing the Stevens farm, Michael thought back to when they first arrived in the valley.
Tom Stevens was a city boy and didn't know which end to hook a plow too, Michael grinned at thought of how he worked with the two of them that first year.
He enjoyed teaching them how to plant corn, raise chickens, cows, pigs, He had a warm feeling he was making amens for his troubled past and it warmed his soul.
He hadn't noticed the two horse men watching him from the tree line.

Grinning, Smitty watched as Michael trotted down the road towards town.
"OK Jake head to town the back way and let Big John know he is on his way"
"Yea sure" with that Jake turned his horse and raced for town, taking a trail that followed along the bottom of the ridge that over looked Michael's farm
Smitty turned his horse towards the farm, kicking it into a trot.
Michael rode into town, knowing Hedi would be working he headed for the Saloon, he had to get Hedi alone, he needed to talk.
Michael didn't like the Saloon, didn't like that some drifter might recognize him.
But his urge to touch her touch, to smell her hair, to kiss her lips made him sucked in a breath and walk through the swinging doors.

Michael felt eyes watch him as he approached the bar.
Pete the bar tender saw him sit down . Michael the usual?
Michael asked him when Hedi was going to sing
Any minute Michael, your looking a little down what's going on.
Michael let his gaze wander the full view of the room through the mirror that hung behind the bar.
Oh just life Pete, how is the misses doing? Michael asked him
Michael knew thats Pete's wife Laura was down with the flu
"She is doing alot better Michael and the remedy you gave us sure helped alot"
"I'm glad, tell her we'll stop by soon" Michael said
Michael had noticed three of the four cowboys sitting in corner of the room but that hadn't stopped them from watching him.
The sweetest voice he had ever heard started over at the piano
Drawing his attention back to Pete.
Pete did you say Laura was having another baby?
I said no such thing and strike that thought from your head Michael, it's bad luck to even think that.
Michael started laughing
That ain't funny Pete announced
From behind him, he heard some cowboy say something to Hedi.
Michael watched as Hedi smiled at him and slightly shook her head "no"
Taking a breath he took another drink, letting the warm coffee settle in his stomach
This time Hedi pushed the cowboy away as he tried to kiss her
Michael started to get up, but Pete put a hand on his arm, Michael she can take care of herself.
Michael looked down at the hand that was resting on his arm and slowly looked up at Pete
Pete swallowed hard and removed his hand, trying hard not to look into those eyes that were tearing right through him
Big John saw it all, and smiled
Well our boy there seems to have a soft spot for our little singer here.
Frank smiled, "information like that could come in handy."
"Your dang right" Big John said
From over at the piano a sound like a gun shot followed by yelling. The room went  quiet as a morgue
They weren't sure when Michael crossed the room, but he was there now
Michael grabbed the cowboy by the back of his neck and flung him over the table he had been sitting at, drinks, money, cards flew in ever direction.
Two other cowboys that had been sitting there with him came up off the floor cussing.
"What the Hell" was all one cowboy got out of his mouth before Michael hit him.
The Cowboy hit the ground not getting up
The other Cowboy grabbed at his iron but Michael was there, putting his hand on the gun before it left the hostler .
Looking the man dead in the eyes, within a breath from his face Michael said.."You don't want to to do that.
The Cowboy started to resist but as he looked into the eyes of death, he gulped and backed away enough to turn and head out the swinging doors, not without glancing back at Big John and Frank.
Big John nodded at him..
"Hey asshole"
Michael looked over at the first cowboy he had thrown over the table and he was looking at a 44 Colt aimed at his heart.
Michael stood there, gazing right through the cowboy
The cowboy had but a wink of an eye before he would dead, but Michael wavered.
He was a changed man, he didn't want to kill anymore, he walked away from that part of his life
Final Michael broke the tension, "Son you have a choice"
"Hell I have all the Choices I need, right here in my hand"  as he steadied his Colt on Michael's chest
"The way I see it, you have 10 seconds to pick your friends up and head out of town or die"
The cowboy laughed "Your telling me? I'm the one with the gun"
"You've got 8 seconds"
"Mister you don't appear to understand, I've got the gun"
"You've got 7 seconds"
The cowboy laughed but not as bravely as before, looking around for some kind of help, He found none.
Frank whispered to Big John "Shouldn't we back him up?"
"No I want to see what this guy is about, let it play out"
"Michael Please, Hedi whispered in his ear"
"Hedi your in danger, get behind me"
Michael moved her from his side to behind him
"Oh I see how this is" the Cowboy said,
Looking around the room he said, So this is his girl friend.
No one would look him in the eye, worrying that they might be brought into the mix
"Well you chicken shits are in for a treat because I'm gotta kill this sod buster"
"You got 6 seconds" Michael said
"Michael please, he didn't mean any harm" Hedi whispered to him
"He does now and he has a choice"
"You've got 5 seconds"
With a nervous laugh the cowboy said in a lowerd broken voice "I just wanted a kiss"
"You don't treat women like that" Michael boomed as he fought back the urge to kill this man in front of him.
The room was dead silent, as the time ticked past 5 second mark
Michael had hesitated twice now, in the past he would've been dead , and the cowboy sensed it.
Looking over at Big John and Frank he Stood taller, the cowboy grinned at Michael as he thumbed the hammer back.
Bursting through the swinging doors was the Sheriff and a Deputy with a double barrel shot gun pointed right at the cowboy.
"Hold on there son, no one is dying tonight unless you want want to be the first."
The cowboy looked at the Sheriff and back to the shot gun pointed at his head
what voices were in the back ground, now became completely silent.

"No sir I don't see a need for that ,we just had a misunderstanding Sheriff"
Looking over at Michael the Sheriff said, "Is that right Michael?"
"Yes Sheriff it was was but I think there needs to be apologize for Hedi"
Looking back to the Cowboy, he said "Well"
Dropping his Colt back into his holster the cowboy was more than happy to apologize and get out of the Saloon.
Frank motioned for Big John it was time to leave.
Michael noticed the two leaving and filed it back in the back of his brain.
"Sorry for the trouble Sheriff", Michael said
"I'm not sure what you were doing Michael going up against a man with a gun and your not carring"
Smiling at the Sheriff , "I was hoping you would get here in time"
Shaking his head the Sheriff said, "Well I've had enough fun for the night"
"Hedi you ready to get out of here?" Michael asked her
Smiling she said, "I was wondering when you were going to get to me"
Stepping into the street Michael heard the swinging doors behind him.
"Michael can I have a word with you"
Looking back at the Sheriff "Sure Sheriff"
"Hedi I'll be along in a few minutes"








Sunday, June 4, 2017


*Rough Draft*

The Promise

Michael watched the camp for the dark, until the fire was almost out
Finally he said, "Come on Boy let's get home"  the horse hesitated for a moment
"It's OK nothing going to happen tonight"
Reluctantly the horse turned and headed home.

The sun shone right into Ben's face.
 It felt like a huge hand was pressing down on his chest, he rolled over and puked up blood
Wiping his face Ben fell back onto his back, "Where I'm I?"
"Your about as far as you got" Michael answered
"What?" visibly shaken Ben looked over at Michael "Who are you?"
"Well it looks like I'm your guardian Angel at the moment"
"How did I get here?" Ben asked
"Well by the looks of it, you got here by yourself"
Ben felt some relief when he looked into the strangers eyes, "I have to leave, they are coming for me and I don't want to bring trouble to you"
"And I don't want any trouble, but I think your safe for now"
Ben turned and looked at the ceiling....closing his eyes, he felt like he was home again...soft bed...food cooking..bacon
"Son what are you running from?"
The question jolted Ben back to reality
"I don't want to talk about it"
"It's OK son, we'll have plenty of time"
"Quit calling me Son, my name is Ben"
"Ok Ben, I'm Michael" Michael smiled
Standing up Michael asked,
"Ben you hungry?"
"Does possum make good stew?" Ben asked with a grin
"I take that as a yes and I'll scoop up you a plate of possum stew"
"Ben laughed" it's been a long time since he laughed and it felt good he thought"
"Michael I'll be on my way soon, but I thank you for helping me"
"Ben your busted up pretty bad, and the Doc said you'll need to stay in bed for a couple of weeks to mend"
"The Doc?"
"Yea I had him fix you up and pull the bullet out of your arm but it's the ribs he was worried about, said that if you moved around to much you could perice a lung or even your heart"
"Shit" Ben exclaimed
"Ben I don't like that language"
"Sorry your right, I was raised better than that"
"Good" and Michael went back to stirring the eggs and adding bacon.
"Ben, I want to know who those men are camped out across the field"
Ben was enjoying the smell of a home cooked meal,
Jolted out of his food dream "What men?" Ben asked
"Two Men, a Smithy and Jake"
Ben froze, "they are across the field?"
"Yea, are they looking for you?"
"They are going to kill me, they already tried "
Michael thought for moment "Well worrying about it on a empty stomach isn't going to do neither of us any good.. lets eat and we'll talk after"
Ben attacked his meal with a vengeances, and Michael smiled "I ain't that good of a cook" 
Between gulps Ben said "I have no idea about that but I'm starving"
"Well eat up, we are having some visitors soon"
Ben lifted the spoon for another bite but stopped "What?"
"Visitors, they'll be here soon"
"Who?"
"Well I guess it'll be those men that are looking for you" Michael said
Ben dropped his fork and stared at Michael
"Well you good for nothin' pig farmer, why in the hell did you fix me up only to hand me over too them?"
"I didn't"
"The land is mine, Ma gave me the Deed, She made me promise"
"Promise what?" Michael asked
Ben didn't have a chance to answer, When a knock came from the door
"Keep quiet Ben; I'm not handing you over"
Ben had a confused look on his face
Another impatient knock turned into pounding
Michael approached the door, "Hold on, I'm coming"
Michael opened the door and stepped out onto the porch closing the door behind him
"What can I do for you gentlemen?"
A big man, sitting tall in the saddle asked "Have you seen a vagabond coming through here? He might need medical attention"
The four men smiled at each other
"Smitty spoke up, Hey your the one who came into our camp last night, asking for coffee, See I told you Big John"
"So you've met each other than" Frank said
"Yea, Jake said but it seems funny that he asked for coffee when he lives so close to our camp, you a drifter? he asked Michael
"I'm not drifter, I own this here farm and I only asked for coffee, so I could get a look at you two"
"I'm not sure I like being lied too" Smitty said as he edged his horse closer to the front 
A cold blast of wind encircled the men for a moment, causing each of them to shriver to the bone
"Jesus this weather is weird here" Jake exclaimed
"Don't use the lords name in vain again" Michael said
"Who in the hell do you think you are?" Jake asked
Michael just stared at them
Their horses were getting jumpy and started to sift away as if they wanted to break into a run
"What the hell is wrong with the horses, something is spooking them"
Big John judged the man that stood before him and in some kind of eternal decision, he turned to the others and said.."Let's go, we need to search further down the ravine"
Frank turned back towards the porch "Make sure you let us know if you see any drifters, we'll be at the hotel in town"
Michael just stood his ground while staring them down...
After they had ridden for a few minutes Smitty said, "That guy gives me the creeps"
Jake laughed but he looked a little shaken too "Smitty what about that cold wind?"
"It was like death had wrapped around us" Smitty finished as he stared out into the distance as if he was thinking of another time.
"You two muffin heads shut the hell up" Big John yelled
"So what do you want to do" Frank asked
"Well if you all weren't shaking in your skirts, you might of noticed the blood trail leading up onto the porch"
The other three turned to look at Big John "That a fact" Frank asked 
"Yep it's a fact"
"What are we going to do?" Frank asked
"We are going to take our time and watch for our chance to get into that farm house to see if Ben is in there and if he is we'll kill him and pin it on that do gooder"
They all starting laughing...
"What are you too laughing about?" Big John asked..
"Well we thought that was a great idea" Smitty volunteered 
"Well you ain't going to like this" Big John said
"You too go back and pull camp, and than set back up closer to town but were you can see went he passes, everyone needs extra grub or other things from town"
"Boss come on, we want to go to town too.." Jake said
"I won't tell you again, now the both of you listen up...When you see him going to town, one of you come tell us but without being seen and the other go check out the farm house and if you find Ben, Kill him and get that Deed."
"Yes Sir"
"Now get the hell out of here"











Monday, May 29, 2017


Michael.....

The muscles in his back flexed as he put on his boots, Just the sight of it made her weak in the knees.
This farmer had some kind of grip on her and it made her uneasy, but at the same time, it made her want him even more.
"When are you coming back?" She asked
"Don't know"
"You say that now and then your back in my bed in a week, " she said
He turned his head and looked at her
"She wished she could take the last words back, " she thought
"I mean, well you know what I mean"
"Yea I do and I think it's time we took a break"
"What the Hell! you come in here and bed me and then tell me you want to take a break, You bastard" She blasted him
"Watch your language,  Hedi, you know I don't like it"
"Fuck you, you bastard" she snarled
The man stood, he looked like chiselled granite she thought, sweat glistened on his body in the light from the kerosene lamp as the flames flickered shadows across the room.
She caught her breath and started to sob
"I'm sorry Michael, I just never met anyone like you and I was hoping..."
He cut her off  "Hedi waiting for what? I told you I cannot commit to anything"
"But"
"No butt's Hedi, It's just not in me"
Michael's eyes looked right through her as if she wasn't even there and for a moment he wasn't
"Michael what is it, why can't you? Is it because I'm a Saloon girl"
"Hedi I told you that didn't matter to me and if it did, I wouldn't be here now"
He pulled her into his muscled chest
"Then why Michael" she sobbed against his chest
"Hedi you're a good woman and that is all that matters, not your past life or present...It's what is in your heart that matters"
"Please Michael tell me why"
"Hedi I can't explain it, but I can tell you this, I wasn't always a Farmer and I have a past, if it catches up with me, it wouldn't be a good place for a woman to be"
"I can handle it Michael, You know I'm strong and I can shoot"
Michael didn't know how to break from this talk, so he just comforted her for a few more minutes and said.."Hedi let me think on it"
"You promise?"
He nodded "I'll think on it Hedi but noguaranteess"
"Ok, when will I see you again?"
"I'm not sure, the crop is about ready and it's getting busy, maybe in a couple of weeks"
"Please Michael"
"Hedi I told you I would think on this"
He leaned down and gave her a kiss.
Once outside He lifted his head and smelt the night air, He didn't feel good about lying but how could he explain this to her?
Swinging over the saddle, Michael sat there for a moment thinking, something is wrong.
Touching his Winchester for comfort, he kicked his horse , riding into the night.
Michael's horse knew the way, but of course it did..it always knew.
Smoke touched his nose a secound before Michaels and the horse threw it's head back and forth, agitated by the smell.
Michael touched his mane, speaking in a language only they both knew, calming him, easing him into the course they both knew too well.
Breaking the ridge, his horses ears perked up, "What is it Boy"
Michael heard voices coming up the trail.
Easing his horse into the shadows, they waited
The two men were arguing about something or some one it was hard to make it out.
"God dammit Big John, it wasn't my fault he wasn't dead, Smitty checked him"
"Frank you should of checked him too, Now we are stuck in this shit hole for another few days"
"Ah you know your liking that slut at the Saloon"
Big John laughed "Yea your right"
Michael was feeling something he had never felt before and he didn't understand it.. nor like it..
He wanted to grab the two men and kill them for the way they talked,  and Hedi
Hedi, maybe it wasn't her who they talked about, God help them if it was cause he would kill them.
Nudging his Horse Michael moved down the trail after the two men were out of sight
"Lets go see whose down there" Michael said to his horse
Following the smoke, Michael's thoughts wandered about what they were talking about...Kill who, why now?
Coming into view of the camp site, it was all too close to his home for it to be a coincidence
Michael shouted "Hey camp"
The two men had been deep in discussion over something and had not even noticed the lone rider at the edge of the light from the camp fire until he hailed the camp.
Jumping up they both had their hands on their colts
"What do you want?" smitty yelled back..
"Lone rider here, you got any coffee to spare"
Jake and Smitty looked at each other "What the hell Jake said"
"Come on in and keep your hands were we can see them friend" Jake yelled
Smitty elbowed Jake "Dam look at that horse, ain't that palest color you ever see"
"Sure is a good looking horse, maybe we could buy him or ?" Frank said through clinched teeth
Smitty shoosed him
Michael rode into camp as the two cowboys stared at them
"Thanks for inviting me in" Michael said.
"That's the palest horse I've every saw" Smitty said.
"Shit Smitty, look at it's eye's, the deepest green I've every saw"
To break the enquiries Michael stuck his hand out "I'm Michael"
Both cowboys shook his hand and Michael said "And the Coffee"
"Yea..yea over at the fire there" Frank pointed towards the coffee pot..
Frank and Smitty walked around the horse
"Jesus Smitty look at that patch of Red on his chest"
"Holy Cow Smitty...see that?"
They both felt, the hand of death pass through them like a gust of cold wind
Frank shivered, "You feel that Smitty"
Smitty stood there for a moment before coming to his senses
"Mister that horse is an odd one...Pale..green eyes that red patch with black.." Smitty said
Michael cut him off "Best stay away from the horse he doesn't like anyone but me"
Frank and Smitty looked at each other.. "I'm cold Let's have some coffee" Smithy offered
Sitting around the fire holding their coffee cups tight to warm their hands, the talk died down about the horse.
"Where you boys from?" Michael asked
"Doesn't matter, we are just passing through"
Michael shot them a glance
Shrugging, Michael said "Guess it doesn't matter"
"Where you suppose that cold wind came from it's the middle of August"
"Shit you how it is up north here, one day rain and the next sunny" Jake offered
"Yea I suppose," Smitty said as he stared at his hands... He had a bad feeling Michael looked from man to man as if he was judging them already
"Mister you don't talk much,it's" Frank said"Nothing to talk about, I asked for coffee, not conversation," Michael said
"Well, you assh..." Frank said in a tight lipped voiceMichael's horse whinnied, shak its head
"Whats up with him?" Smitty asked
"He doesn't like cussing," Michael said
"Like Hell He did," Smitty saidThe Pale horse stomped his hoofs into the dirt
"What the hell is he saying now" Jake said with a laugh
"His telling me it's time to go," Michael said without a smile
Frank and Smitty looked at each other
"You always listen to your..."
Cutting them off again..."Yea I do"
Tossing his coffee into the fire Michael thanked them and settled into his saddle.
Looking back, he said "Word to the wise, You boys should move out at the first light and not come back"
"Well I'll be dammed", Smitty snarled as he got up, but Michael was gone
"Where in the hell did he go?" Smitty asked
Jake was white as a ghost...."They vanished"
"Oh bullshit Jake"
"I mean it, one minute they were there and I blinked and then they were gone"
"Well you must have blinked out" Smitty laughed
"To Hell with you,were" Jake said as he stalked off where his bedding was