15 Years Ago
I was wakened by the sounds of horses riding up the road to my sister’s small home. The sky was still dark, and a ghostly moon hung in the clouds. Gray, inky clouds crept across the sky, at times blotting out the moon. The air was damp; it was like a wet towel hanging in the air, ready to smother me at any moment. It was too dark for somebody to be calling upon my sister.
I stood up and tired to brush thick hanging golden straw that clung to my clothes like a June bug in heat. The straw had found a home and didn’t budge. I walked a crossed the barn and grabbled an old flannel shirt that hung on a sturdy nail. It smelled like cow dung, and I winced as I put it on. In the distance I saw four riders hop off their horse and kick in my sister’s door. Panic filled my emotions. I didn’t know what I should do.
Just a year ago, my parents and I where heading across the plains to meet my sister. She had moved out the
with her husband and wanted to show my parents the spread David and she had bought up. My parents where eager to see her, and were thinking about buying up some land too. My folks and I hitched up a wagon and made our way west. On the way out we where ambushed by a gang of thieves. They wanted my folk’s spending money, and my mom’s golden ring. My father protested and that only got him a bullet to his head. My mother, in a frantic attempt to protect my father, tried to cover his blooded corpse and was rewarded with two bullets to the back. I was in the back of the wagon and could only watch them be murdered. I had felt some helpless that day. And now, I was feeling hopeless again. Wyoming
I stood there looking at my sister’s house and tried to think of my options. I didn’t have a gun; and I didn’t think my sister had on either. So I went back into the barn and grabbed the ax that I had been using to chop wood with all day. The wood that made up the handle was dry and splintery, it had rubbed my skin raw, and the blisters that I had earned from using the ax all day still covered my hands. But the ax felt natural, my fingers curled around the grips and I headed for the house.
I could hear muffled arguments spill from the house. I saw that there was a lamp burning in the living room, and occasionally a body would pass by, briefly, shrouding the house in a blanket of darkness. I could see four horses tied up to the long porch that my sister and David like to sit out on and watch the night go by. They snarled and whined as I passed them and I peered into the grimy window. I saw David and my sister sitting on their new couch. David looked like a trapped rabbit, fidgeting and trying to find an opening in which he could bolt and save his hide. My sister sat there, with a stony look in her eyes.
Four men paced a crossed the room, but only one spoke. He was a medium built man. Nothing was impressive about him. His head was covered by a tan riding hat, even in the dim light you could see the sweat stains that had bleed through. He was well built, but signs of a gut where showing. His nose was straight, so if he had been in any fights, I had guessed he was the victor every time. The one thing that did make him stand out was that his eyes where sunk deep into his skull. So far into his face you’d think that they where hollow holes in the poor lighting that hung over the room.
I couldn’t make out what they where saying, but I could tell they wanted something from my sister, and she wasn’t eager to give it up. I could see frustration build in the man; he seemed to coil up like a rattle snake. His was hissing by this point, and looked ready to strike. Suddenly all the fear that had built up in me came to a head and broke. I felt sweat drench my body and I made a decision to act, and hopefully save my sister.
The world slowed down and I ran into the open door way. I saw everyone turn towards me, the men looking puzzled, my sister looking saved. I swung the ax decisively at the first man I saw. The heavy blade smashed into his skull, and his head split open like a watermelon. I tried to pull the ax out, but it was firmly logged into the man’s head. I gave up the effort, but it was too late, one of the men had pulled out his gun and was pointing it right at me. I could see the steel shining in the dim light. His lips snarled and he smirked at me.
“Stupid move boy, you killed my kin’ now I need to kill your kin’.”
He turned to David and blasted off two thundering rounds. I thought I felt the room shake. The man’s aim was solid and both the rounds smashed into David’s chest, his bones snapping like twigs under the weight of the bullets. David’s body went limp and he crumpled into my sister’s arms.
“You bastards,” my sister said with steely resolve, “You think this will change anything? To hell with you!”
She threw David’s corpse off her lap and stood up. Under her apron she pulled out a gun and fired off four rounds at the man who had killed David. Three of the rounds went wild, but it only takes one to kill a man. And one of my sister’s rounds found their home. The bullet smashed into the man’s nose and flattened it against his face. Chunks of flesh flew off his face, and a geyser of blood sprang from where a nose used to be. The man only made a gurgling sound as he fell, a gruesome pool started to collect on the floor.
My sister tired to turn her gun onto the man with the sunken eyes, but she had no chance. He already had his gun out and was pumping rounds out of his gun without mercy. I saw those rounds tear into the soft flesh of my sister’s neck, holes so big that they almost torn my sister’s head off. Somehow she stayed standing, blood flowing down her neck, turning a once white nightgown into crimson red. All she did was look at the man, and she smiled.
She collapsed back onto the couch, and almost like it was planned, she fell into the arms of her beloved David. I sat there, mortified. I was the last one of my family, and I too was about to die.
The man with the sunken eyes turned to me. My senses had started to return. The air smelled like death. Gunpowder was dancing with blood; blood was dancing with torn flesh. The man walked right up to me, he stunk. That’s what I remembered most at that moment. It smelled like he had spent the last twenty years of his life rolling in pig shit. I winced at the thought of having to smell him any longer.
“Boy, you should of stayed out of this, look what you gone and done…” he trailed off.
“I’m gonna’ kill you,” I snared, “but I wanna’ see you hang!”
He looked right at me, and for the first time I could see his little black beady eyes.
“You not going to see me hanging anytime soon I’m sorry to tell you, in fact I’m probably going to be the last thing you ever see.”
He turned around and walked out the door, his murdering friend in tow. I followed him out the door and looked at him and he mounted his horse.
“Time to die!” He bellowed.
I was puzzled for a second, but then I saw him draw his gun and point it at me. He pulled off two rounds, but I only remember one. The bullet sang through the air and torn my ear off my head, the pain screamed through my body. I fell to the ground, my head bouncing off the wooden porch, and passed out.