Friday, March 18, 2022

A Long Way Home

 It was a long way home. I'd done what I'd set out to do. I'm not sure how I'd wandered so far. Yet here I was, job done, a long way from home.

It'd all started some two months earlier. It wasn't much compared to many folks, but it was mine - a dozen cattle stolen in the black of night by brigands unknown. It was all I had. They were all I had. I set myself in motion.

Art c/o Kayla

Tracking had been easy - the growing herd made an increasingly large print upon the land as the thieves increased their take. The issue was with the confrontation. I was one man. One man against a multitude.

I'd timed my strikes. Snare a man while he was bathing - it was just bad luck that he got caught in a current. Shred a man who strayed too far from the group - there were wolves about; one needed to be cautious. Shoot a man during another raid - the price of doing business.

By the time they got to Texas there were only three of them. A hundred head of cattle and three rustlers. I could have killed them all at any time. I thought about it. But I'd thought about revenge for forty-some days on the range.

I had a better idea. I rode ahead. I joined up - five percent share for the final drive. The cattle made it to their final destination. They got to meet their maker. They got to meet their god.

The first murder was blamed on hookers. A man had to spend his money - he should have been more careful. They couldn't find his third of the money though.

The second murder was blamed on gamblers. You win some, you lose some. An ace up a sleeve didn't beat the dagger in mine though.

The last murder was just that. Shot a man dead in his bed. Skipped town before his blood had dried. Grabbed all his gold though - that didn't make me a better person though, just a wealthier murderer.

I have wandered so far.

I did what I needed to do.

It's a long way home.

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