Herewith is my place marker to my next tale. It's still mulling around in my brain, but I have the basic stucture and if I don't start posting it now, I may never do it. I'm not sure how quickly I will get this one up, but it won't be as fast as my Persia tale came together, that's for sure. Anyway, hope you enjoy.
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Wyoming Territory, 1881
Dusk was settling and the town had grown quiet. Shopkeepers had closed their doors and the townsfolk had moved to their homes or the church far up on the hill. Only the saloon was bustling, but only because the men inside wished to have their drinks before the action outside began.
Sonny only stood there in the middle of the street, waiting. He would wait all night if that were what it took. He had waited a lifetime, so what were a few more minutes, or hours? He fingered his pistol and felt the bond between himself and his weapon. He knew it would need to perform just as much as he did. He recognized that this could be his final day on earth. But he didn’t care. More than anything else, this would be the revenge he had longed for since he was a small boy.
The men in the saloon hooted and hollered and gathered their courage to face the lone gunman in the street. Bill Tanney did not show his apprehension, but it was there all the same. His gut told him that this act might be his last, but one shot of whiskey was all he needed to convince his mind that he would be the victor.
As the sun lowered over the last cloud on the horizon, Sonny thought to himself, I’ve done this before. I’ve never had to worry about being slow. Just pull the gun from your holster and shoot. But he worried, as he never worried before. All those other men, now dead, had it coming. He shot them. He never flinched. But this time it was different. This time, he really cared. This time it meant more to him than just another notch on his handle.
He remembered the feeling he had when he realized the man in front of him was Tanney, standing there laughing it up with some whores by the bar. He had thought about shooting him right there, but that would have been cowardly. He wanted him in front of the whole town so they could see his act, his retribution. He remembered the satisfaction he already felt at knowing he would have his day. That was all he desired. And now that day was upon him. After 20 years, he would finally give this man his due.
He looked at the street in front of him and tried to focus on something other than his fear. The packed dirt stretching from one end to the other. The signs in each of the shop windows signifying they were closed. The lack of sound that usually was Big Bend. Oh how he had waited for this time, and now it was upon him. He looked at the horses tied up outside the saloon. I could just get on one and ride away. That’s what Corinna would want. But he put this thought out of his mind. Best to get it over with and leave knowing he had done his duty, that he had avenged his parent’s death.
But then he thought about Corinna again. She would be waiting for him out at the farm. She would wonder why he didn’t visit this night. She might even come looking for him in town. What if he wasn’t there to meet her? What would happen to her?
Before he could answer himself, the doors to the saloon swung wide and Bill Tanney walked out confidently and stood there grinning, eyeing his opponent.
“Well…you ready?” he shouted.
Sonny stood there without saying a word, his fingers tickling the grip of his gun.
“Well, ain’t you gonna answer me, you sumbitch?” Tanney asked again.
“Ain’t no need for an answer. You know what you gotta do, and I know what I gotta do” was Sonny’s only reply.
Bill Tanney walked out into the street, his topcoat flowing behind him as the wind picked up. He found his preferred spot and stood to face Sonny.
“You ready to meet your maker?” he asked.
Sonny looked at the other men pouring out from the saloon behind Tanney. They all seemed at the ready. If he missed, he was a dead man, and if he hit him, they would surely kill him anyway. But he didn’t care. All he wanted was to see Bill Tanney dead and if that meant he would have to die too, so be it.
The image of Corinna flashed in his mind again. Her golden hair, translucent in the sunlight. Her smile, so warm and natural. He might never see it again. Her twirled her around once more in his mind and then focused on the huge man in front of him. He flipped his duster to show his pistol and looked hard into Tanney’s eyes. He saw fear. He recognized that Tanney had as much fear as he did. Swallowing his thoughts, he stood strong and waited. He waited for the slightest movement to blow Bill Tanney away.
To be continued...