Sunday, September 23, 2007

Where the Cold Winds Blow

For all my writer friends, past and present, Ralph Moody, Stephen King, John Grisham, Janet Elaine Smith, Anne Coulter, Cathy Brownfield, Joyce Anthony, Joyce Scarbrough, John Krakauer, Sean Penn, Molly Swoboda, Bo Drury, Ron Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Will Rogers, Dr. Hans Selye, Robert Collier, George Clason, James Frey, Joseph Murphy, and especially Mark Twain.

Where the Cold Winds Blow !

By Jay Hudson

"Hey, mister, where did you get that horse? Said Crazy Tom, leaning against the hitch-post in front of the Lucky Dog as the stranger ambled up to towards the saloon. Something about this man sent shivers down his spine. Tom was a man known to ruthless violence and didn't get nervous often. A thought from deep in his past raced through his mind now. Could anyone from back yonder have known?

A crudely painted sign hung over his head. It said "The Lucky Dog Saloon, man's two best friends."

The dun mustang mare halted ten paces from the saloon landing and the dusty rider answered with a deep voice.

"I recognize that Lazy J brand from The Junction, down near Four Corners," Said the gunfighter as he flicked his nubbing to the ground. Taking a step backwards and to his left he set up a perfect "turkey shoot" if the stranger took offense at his speaking.

Crazy Tom had crossed the line when he was a lad and there was no looking back now. He was already a seasoned veteran when they came up to The Junction that night. He and Jess, and King Daddy, had planned on just robbing the farmer and killing him.
They hadn't reckoned on the farmer being handy with a gun, and it never occurred to them that the little kid would be carrying a gun.

When he reached for his gun that long-ago night, he hadn't counted on being shot up. Folks said he was mighty fast on the draw. They likened him to Ben Tillman, or maybe even close to James Hickok with his two pistols.

" Mister, I tend to my own busines and I advise you to do the same," Said the stranger as he slid from the saddle like a cat stalking it's prey. Cold-blue eyes blazed from under the brim of his tattered reb slouch hat, his long fingers hovering near the big Colt, ready, should it be needed for close work. The leathery textured lines in his face spoke of many fields plowed and rivers run.

It had to be him!

God a'mighty! It must be the kid a'growed up now. He was just a wee boy ten years ago, but God, he had never seen such pistol work before, not even from Wild Bill himself. His memory was crystal clear now. The recognition sent chills through his body like a raging current. As he was reaching for his pistol that long-ago night, he was puzzled by the heavyness of his right arm, and the heavy feeling like two hot boulders hitting him in the chest right above his heart. His fingers would not close around the pistol grip for some reason. He heard six rapid booms so quick in succession that it sounded as one boom of rolling thunder on a humid summer day. He was slammed violently against the wall. As the black abyss closed around him, he was puzzled by something?
Darkness had swallowed the room an instant before he felt the heavyness in his chest.

"It had to be!" Thought Tom, as the shivers grew even stronger now. "The kid had shot the lamp out before turning the gun, first, on Jess, King Daddy, and then me. Just like bracing ducks on a pond."
Jess and King Daddy had got the Farmer, but the kid got lead into all three of them. Jess and King had taken a shot dead-center in the heart, and were dead before they hit the floor.

"Mister, I meant no offense." Said Tom, now visiblly shaking with panic in his eyes at his sudden recognition of who was starring him in the eye. "When a stranger rides in," He stammered, "Folks are just naturally curious about the man, and the brand. Are you looking for somebody, or just passin' through?"

Copyright-2007-Jay Hudson-All rights reserved.

To be continued....


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