KendallJaye Collard’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: From High Prairie To Hellshot
It had been quite a while since I’d felt so alive. This bounty kept me tracking for nearly two weeks. It was my first real challenge in years. Was I Legend? Myth? Tall Tale? People wondered where I came from. People speculated about my past. People argued if I was a boy or a girl. Truth is it didn’t much matter. I was known as ‘Kid’ Harper. And I was the best in the business.
When Marguerite contacted me to find the husband that abandoned her and the seven children, I’d nearly turned her down. Cases like this usually ended up with some drunk in a saloon elbow deep in whores and liquor too embarrassed to come home. But when Marguerite showed me a picture of her husband, I knew that good fortune had finally smiled on me.
The eyes that stared from the photo took me back to when I was eight. Father and I were at the pond half mile from home. We’d been fishing all afternoon. The angry shotgun blast rang out in the otherwise peaceful day. Father and I abandoned everything and ran like hell to get home. We arrived to find Mother dead on the plank floor of our homestead and a bandit rummaging through everything we owned in hopes of finding treasure. Being caught red-handed, the thief sought to make a clean get away. He shot Father in the chest. His mark was off when he fired at me, and the bullet went clean through my shoulder. I fell to the ground and was as still as possible. He didn’t even check to see if he had killed me. Ten seconds later he was on his horse. I raised my head only when the pounding of hooves had stopped. I was an orphan.
The bandit had scarves over his mouth and neck, but his eyes were clear as day. Ice blue and full of hate. Impossible to forget. And now, fourteen years later, they were within the reach of justice. My justice.
I told Marguerite I’d hunt her husband. She promised money upon his return. I declined. She didn’t know I wouldn’t be bringing him home. I left her residence with renewed spirit and a smile hidden by years of stoic practice.
Two weeks’ tracking led me to Hellshot, Texas. Perched on my horse on the out skirts of town, I planned my ambush. The sun was setting, and the dark clouds rolling in promised a storm. I promised a storm of my own. I stared down Main Street and saw the sign for the hotel swing in the increasing wind. I knew he was there. My hand went without thought to the holster under my left arm and rested on the mother of pearl grip of my revolver.
Now or never.
I spurred my mare to action.
If I fell, I would make sure to take Blue Eyes with me.
Tonight would be another tale for the storytellers. Maybe the greatest of them all
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KendallJaye Collard gets her kicks above the waistline, Sunshine. Wine drinker, Cancer Survivor, and protected by rocksalt. Spread the love with her at @KJCollard.