Call me my brother and listen well, this is how you live a life...
I’ve never talked about my past. It was always something I left like the dirt in the road…dusty and forever behind me. It was my eldest brother, Dom, who was good at telling the stories…or at least he had been. Maybe that’s why I’m finally sitting here, opening myself up to it all again. Hearing that Dom had been killed damn near tore my soul in two. Surprised the hell outa me. Who would’ve guessed that I even had a soul?
I never told Dom about what happened back in Gleeson. I made the choice I made and I haven’t looked back since. Hell, by the time he and I reconnected, years had passed and my life had already taken hold. Sitting here now, in the crumbling remains of a house we had once called home while nursing a generous whiskey, has me thinking back. Way back…to where it all began.
We were a few days out of Gleeson. The sun was even hotter than the whiskey that burned our throats. We all watched as dust stirred up a cloud off in the distance. Bingo.
“Here we go boys! I can damn near smell that gold!” called out Clint, the leader of our little gang of bandits.
Dom and I both met him in a saloon way back in Montana. He and I both had holes in our pockets that needed filling, and Clint had dreams big enough to make that happen.
Clint was a true outlaw…a damn predator. Every single one of us knew it. Anyone who stood in his way would find themselves cut down in a jiffy. Rumor had it, his gaze was enough to send a man to the afterlife. He had led our gang through big hauls…and big blood baths.
It was pretty Miss Molly, back in Montana, that gave me the reason to get into the outlaw life. She and I were going to get far away from that dusty, old town…head out to California and make it big. I could still smell the scent of her jasmine perfume; her dark blonde hair bouncing in curls down the top of her back. She was gorgeous, and hell, she sure could sing.
When the chance came and our little gang moved to get the money we needed…I had no idea that she was at the bank that day…and because of a stray shot, she never left it. With nothing else to live for, that’s when I gave myself over to the life entirely. Fortunately enough, the outlaw ways just came naturally.
We were on our way to set up camp in Gleeson when we got wind of the coach traveling through. It would offer just enough to set us up nice for a while. God knows I sure as hell needed it. Sure I had raked in my fair share of the goods…basked in the attentions of many a good-lovin’ woman along the way…but it was pretty Miss Molly that had my mind back in ribbons. With each year that passed, I found myself wanting to hang my hat more and more; to go to bed each nice in the warm embrace of a curvy gal.
We spurred our horses out across the desert, in a race to cut off the coach before it reached the pass. It didn’t take us long…it never did. What we didn’t expect, was what happened next.
Dom, Frankie, and Tom were digging through various trunks that they ripped from the front of the coach, after having shot the driver dead. Clint had reached in and pulled out a man, a bit younger than us, and was hollerin’ up a storm at him.
“I know you’ve got more loot! Where’s the gold?! Where?!” Clint screamed, spit splattering the face of the man on his knees.
“Clint, the boys are digging through the only trunks on the damn coach. We sure this was the one?” I questioned, feeling ballsy.
“You shut your damn mouth!” he turned, pointing at me with a crazed look in his eye. My patience for his bullshit was running about as dry as the cracked, and crumbling creek bed we passed a few miles back. Spinning around, he continued berating the pleading man. “I ain’t gunna ask you again,” he warned. “Where’s the fucking gold?!”
The man on his knees was in tears, pleading that he didn’t have anything else. All he owned was in the trunks. Clint spit on him, before slamming the butt of his pistol right into the man’s temple, sending him sprawling to the ground.
Now, I know I didn’t have perfect vision, but I would have been a damn fool not to notice the barrel of the gun that slid out through the curtains of the coach door window, pointed right at Clint. A lot of thoughts crossed my head in that split second…but not a single one involved giving him a heads up. This was my chance. With Clint taken out of the picture, I could take over running our little gang. Dom was older, sure, but also a raging alcoholic. He loved his whiskey more than air. The other guys couldn’t tell their little dicks from their pinky fingers.
I froze where I stood, watching as a finger far daintier than any man’s pulled the hammer back before resting on the trigger. The cocky outlaw in me had to have one last look. Before she could pull the trigger, I called out his name.
“Clint!” The tall, scarred up cowboy spun on his heel to face me, his features puzzled. A devilish grin melted across my lips as I lifted my hand up and waved goodbye.
The shot echoed out around the coach, bouncing off nearby rock faces. Dom and the men, who were still rooting around in the trunks, tossing the contents all around them, shot up to find the source of the shot. Their eyes found Clint…just as he dropped to the dust, blood trailing in a single, thick stream down his face. One after another, their gazes slowly slid back up to me, shock etched into every feature.
“Round it all boys! Next stop, Gleeson!” I yelled excitedly. For the briefest of moments, I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. Frankie was the first to shout out, tossing his hat excitedly into the air, stuffing his pockets with coin. The other men quickly followed suit.
My attentions focused back on the woman in the coach. Ripping open the door, I found myself face to face with one of the most beautiful women I had ever set eyes on. Her dark brown hair flowed in free, cascading curls over her slim shoulders, framing her angelic face. Ocean blue eyes stared back at me in a mix of fear, and anger, her hand still curled around the gun.
Knowing that the men would do worse, having been under Clint’s influence for the past several years, I had to think fast. I smacked the gun out of her hand and let it clatter to the stagecoach floor. Pulling her out of the coach, I brought my lips crashing down hard on hers, my tongue pushing past the barrier of her teeth, rendering her stunned…showing to the men that I had claimed my prize.
I was more than a little surprised when I felt her respond, starting to kiss me back. Breaking away, my tormented green eyes met hers, the strain in my pants becoming far more noticeable. Her tongue flitted nervously over her bottom lip.
“You saved me,” she whispered.
“My hands weren't on that gun, lady. You saved yourself,” I answered, not knowing what else to say. She managed to catch me completely off guard. I hadn’t pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Clint, she did that one all on her own. Did she mean the kiss? Hell, if she thought coming to bed with me was a saving, she was going to be upset as all hell when she woke up in the morning and I wasn’t there.
The men’s saddle bags were stuffed to the brim, and my prize sat snugly between my legs as I spurred us onward. In a flurry of “yee haws” and kicked up dust, we tore off towards Gleeson.