Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chapter 2 - The Dusty Gully

Several days had passed since John start tracking the Beverly Brothers.  Edward was right when he said their trail ended at the river, but what they missed was the torn shirt that was further up the trail. It was obvious that they had been dragging some kind of brush behind them to hide their tracks, but the torn shirt caught on the tree pointed their direction once again.

As John rode up to the tree he could tell it was his son’s shirt.  A sigh of relief passed through him. He could tell when they passed this point his son was still alive, but now that they have a few days lead on him, there was no telling what he might still find.

He followed their tracks and moved west as they headed into a gully.  As he approached the gully a gunshot echoed. His horse threw him, fell to the ground and landed on his leg.  Pain seemed to become a regular occurrence and one he could soon put aside. He struggled to get out from under the horse and take cover.

With his gun drawn he looked at every high point and any place that someone could shoot from, but nothing.  No movement, no sound, not even a puff of dust to show the shooter’s location.  He hid behind some shrubs hoping to see something.  The silence was broken as someone yelled out.

“Coming for your little one are you?”

“Who is that?” John yelled out.

“It’s Tom Johnson, sheriff!  You are not gonna get him!” Tom answered.

“Tom if you hurt him, I swear I will get all of you and HELL will follow with me!”

Tom cocked his riffle again and shot in the direction of John’s voice. He looked over the rock desperately trying to see John.  He could see his lifeless horse as it lay at the entrance, but not a single sign of John.

“What’s a matter, sheriff?  Did I get you?” Tom yelled as he continued to scan for John.

A breeze passed by and dust moved from behind a bush.  Tom aimed and shot at the bush.  He waited for the sound to confirm he shot John, but nothing.  The only sound he could hear was that of the wind as it whistled through the canyon and the snort of his horse that was tied up to some shrubs behind him.

“Where are you?  Come out and let me kill you SHERIFF! I can do this all day!” Tom yelled.

John sat behind a rise in the gully keeping his cover.  He focused on Billy and could sense in his heart that he was still alive.  He remembered on his ninth birthday when he walked up to John and said, “Pa, I want to be like you when I grow up.  I want to be a fearless sheriff too.”  As he finished he embraced John.  John felt so proud of his son.

An hour had passed as the sun reached full noon and baked on both of them.  It had positioned just at the point that not a single shadow could cover them from its intense heat over the dirt. John took a sip of water from his canteen, took his gun out and popped a shot in Tom’s direction.  Jumping to attention Tom shot back in the direction of the bush he thought John was at. 

“Come on Sheriff, let’s end this.  I know you can’t survive in this heat!” Tom said.

John knew he was right, sitting there would not stop him and he couldn’t get to his son.  He looked around and saw a way up to Tom.  He took some rocks and threw them at several bushes to draw Tom’s attention.

As the second bush moved Tom aimed and shot at the bush.  He cocked the rifle and shot at the other bush too.  He paused to see which would move again so he could fire the perfect shot and finish the John off.   
Another bush moved and he quickly jumped to his feet to fire at it.  As the shot echoed through the gully he saw a skunk move out into his view.

“Where are you Sheriff?” Tom yelled out.

“Right behind you!” John answered.

Tom turned to see John standing there with his gun in hand.  A look of shock played over his face as he quickly tried to position his rifle but it was too late.  John hit him knocking him to the ground and causing him to lose his rifle.

As Tom laid on his back he looked up at John and said, “How?”

“With all the noise you were making a blind man could have found you.” John answered.  “Now, where are they taking my boy?” He asked as he pointed the barrel of his six shooter toward Tom’s head.

“I don’t know.  They told me to slow you down.”

“Wrong answer!” John said as he pulled the hammer back on the gun.

“Honestly, that is all I know.  Besides you can’t shoot me.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because you’re the sheriff.”  Tom sighed.

“Wrong, I’m not the sheriff anymore!” John said as the hammer fell on the bullet.

(Chapter 2 - The Dusty Gully - Written by EW Bradfute)

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