The Wagon Train Diaries...4
The Wagon Train Diaries...4
The rain that pelted the wagon trains for the past seven hours had finally stopped. The Wagon Master wanted to check the rain barrels so he could determine if he had enough water for washing and cooking. It was part of his duties.
Alastar Brown listened intently to the gentle breeze as the leaves crackled due to the raindrops. It was going to be a wonderful day. He crawled out of his wagon only to see something horrible. Something very disturbing. It was a hanging. Someone had hung Charlie Brooks from the biggest branch for everyone to see. He closed his eyes briefly as though he took a moment for prayer. A madman, his speculation was that the one who had hung Charlie was demented.
Then he heard a chorus of screams. The Wagon Master stood in front of his wagon with his hands clasped behind his back and surveyed the wagons. He looked at each wagon with the utmost scrutiny.
The screaming had stopped. He hadn’t heard another sound as the travelers gathered around the man hanging from a tree. In the empty silence that followed, the Wagon Master looked around at his fellow travelers. They seemed just as puzzled as he was.
"Justice, finally," said an older man. The bent, frail looking, white haired traveler who stood next to the Wagon Master shook his head. "In the times of a wild west, we finally tamed a mad man. He swings from that tree until God snatches his soul and throws him to hell."
"Yeah, but what happens to the soul of the man who hung him?" Alastar Brown replied with a rhetorical question. "This is murder."
"Murder?" another traveler shouted. "This is justice!"
The Wagon Master was about to acknowledge that comment but stopped when the voices of the travelers flooded the air.
"Settle down! I said settled down," he shouted. "This is murder, and I don’t care what anyone here says. Who ever did this will pay. This criminal act will not go unpunished!"
"He was my brother! Audrey Brooks shouted as she stood directly in front of the Wagon Master. "He butchered children!"
Alastar Brown bowed his head briefly and closed his eyes.
"He got what he deserved, and if you’re going to punish one then you’ll have to punish us all!"
"Audrey, I can’t allow this type of mad justice," said the Wagon Master. "It can’t be tolerated."
She turned and walked away slowly.
"Eric Skye, cut the man down and bury him next to his family," the Wagon Master ordered.
"No!" Shouted Audrey Brooks as she stopped dead in her tracks and turned around. " Bury that animal away from his family. His soul might butcher their souls!"
The Wagon master nodded his head in agreement.
"It’s done Alastar," said Eric Skye. "Lets just bury him and move on. Lets leave it at that."
The deed was done. The Wagon Master drew a deep breath and surveyed the wagons again. This place was the closet thing to home he would likely find here in the wild. And the travelers were like family. That notion should have comforted him, but it left him cold somehow.
Later that day White Deer came back from his scouting duties only to find out what someone had done to the prisoner. He sat down next to the Wagon Master, but did not offer any comforting words.
" How does the Dead Crow’s Valley look?" Alastar Brown asked.
"Like the end of the world," he replied.
"Any other way around it?"
The Wagon Master sighed.
" A little."
" Do you think Eric Skye knew you were the voice in the shadows?"
"You did the right thing Alastar."
"Why don’t I feel right?"
"You had to do it that way."
The Wagon Master nodded somberly...
If You missed the Wagon Train Diaries 3 click here:
If you missed The Wagon Train Diaries 2 click here:
if you missed the Wagon Train Diaries 1click here:
© 2011 Frank Atanacio
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