Day 22 – A Man on a Horse Who Was Riding it Of Course

Don’t ask. It was the only thing I could think of!


Word count: 574


There was a man on a horse and he was riding it of course. Out in the wild west with the sun to his back he was heading out to the town he’d been running from. For four months now he hadn’t set foot in the dusty little mining outpost. He’d been on the run, but no more.

The horse galloped passed cacti and barren rocks, slithering snakes spitting dust in the air as they wriggled through the dusty plains as their hooves slammed on the sun-cracked ground. He was less than a mile away now. From his vantage point he could see the clock tower and faint movement in the streets below. He slowed the horse to give him time to think, time to calculate.

He was wanted. The third most wanted man in the state. There was a heavy price on his head. He couldn’t deny that he hadn’t felt it pounding against his temple every day for the past four months. As he glared at the horizon he was doomed for, his memories of the last time he was here rose up deep from his denial and shame. He’d shot the mayor. It was all an accident, a misunderstanding.

On the day he was forced on the run, he’d found a letter by the side of his wife’s dead body. As she lay there as still as stone, he read her final words. It read of a man who had blackmailed her and had tortured and abused her. She was sorry, he read, sorry that she couldn’t live with the pain any more. He remembered closing her eyelids and tucking her slit wrists underneath a blanket. He could not bear to look at her like this.

He had turned to see his friend standing with his Stetson in the doorway, his face contorted with shock. He told his friend about the letter and a sadness instantly fell over his friend. His friend told him it was the mayor. The mayor had been the man in the letter.

The man now knew this to be lies.

“I never thought I’d see you around these parts again,” a voice echoed up from a ditch behind him.

The man recognized this voice instantly and rage instantly shattered his concentration. He leapt off his horse, a cloud of dust rising up from the ground as he landed. Before his feet had hit the ground, though, his friend had drawn his pistol.

“You won’t get me like you got Thomas,” his friend said.

“Thomas was a mistake, but you know all about that,” the man bitterly replied.

His friend raised his hands in the air, “I can’t deny…. But how did you figure it out?”

“Something she told me, the night before she killed herself. She said you’d taken her home the night before. The next day, you told me you hadn’t seen in her a week.”

“I guess you got me,” the friend said, steadying his aim.

But the man was too quick for his friend and threw a knife from his hand before his friend could pull the trigger. It sliced through his friend’s heart and he was toppled back by the force.

The man didn’t stop to see if his friend was dead or merely wounded. He knew that out here death was only a matter of hours away. Instead, he  climbed back on his horse, and rode away back into the sunset.

~ by S.G. Mark on October 29, 2011.

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