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David Taylor, 21 Jan '13

“You listenin’ to me, Finn?”

“Huh?” I said, snapping from my reverie with a start.

“Guess that’s a no then,” Jessie grunted, spitting a goblet of sticky, blackened phlegm onto the scuffed floor of the wagon. “I said are you ‘bout ready?”

“Course,” I answered, dropping my fingers to brush the polished gun that was strapped against my thigh. “I'm always ready.”

“Bah,” Jonah snorted, adding a ball of his own spit to the floor. “He don’t look it, Jessie. If you ask me we shoulda left him back with the others. I don’t wanna ‘ave some green yahoo watching my back out there and neither do you – that’s if you've got half the sense God gave a pony anyway.”

“I'm a better shot than you ever were, old man,” I retorted, smirking as the memory of Jonah missing every bottle in the camp’s range at twenty feet flickered through my mind. “And that’s on a bad day.”

Jonah’s faced contorted with anger and I laughed loudly as a tirade of cusses charged from between his parched lips. Most of what he said was lost however, drowned out by the protesting of wood as the wagon lurched through a pot hole, but I got the general gist of what he said. He disagreed.

“There’s enough now lads,” Jessie snapped as the wagon slowed to a halt. “I’ll wager there’s belligerence enough for us all out there – there ain't no need to rage on our own.”

I nodded in response and deigned to hold my tongue. As always, Jessie’s word was law.

“Now come on,” he said, pulling his black and silver neckerchief over his mouth as he pushed through the heavy flap covering the exit.

My eyes watered at the sudden flash of light, a silver streak of gold that seared through the dim confines of the wagon, and I stood to follow him. As my boots thudded dully on the floorboards, I cocked my revolver ready and grabbed my father’s old, long-barrelled Winchester from beneath the bench.

I raised my arm to block the beating sun as I jumped down beside Jessie.

“Sure you ready for this, kid? There ain't no goin’ back once we leave this 'ere wagon.”

I nodded, feeling resolution set in my chest like a lock clicking to hold shut a door. “These folk went and killed my Pa. And I've a notion to see them pay.”

Jessie nodded and, seeing that Jonah had finally joined us, turned towards the farmstead that loomed behind the crimson hills rising beside us. “Keep your eyes fixed on the horses good and proper, Moe,” he said without looking back.

“Bet your life I will,” the grizzled gunslinger called from his obscured vantage on the driver’s bench. “Good shootin’ boys.”

I nodded, despite knowing that Moe couldn't see me, and followed after Jessie. As if sensing my apprehension, a horse nickered loud and sudden, and I felt my heart fighting to escape my chest.

Comments · 4

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  • David Taylor said...

    I hope you enjoyed reading this burrst as much as I did writing it! It's my debut post and also the one I used to ask for an invitation to this site. I'm always looking to improve as a writer so feel free to comment - I welcome all comments and advice (both good and bad) and I hope that you will enjoy reading my future burrsts! There's sure to be many!

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Matthew Schroeder said...

    Really well written. I'm hoping to see more.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • David Taylor said...

    Thanks @Matthew Schroeder! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was a bit unsure when I was writing it because no-one's ever read anything I've written before.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Jonathan Stevens said...

    You have a knack for writing believable dialogue. Good stuff.

    • Posted 6 years ago