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"
"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"
"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?"
"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."
"Now get the hell out of here"