"There Will Come A Hanging Day"......

Short Story

In silence , I listened to the questions bounce to and fro, among the trees , I can't even say that the horses seemed to listen to his voice , or at least thier ears aren't even turning back to the sounds of the desperation of his questions . He even seems to be resigning himself to the fact that I have not answered any of his requests . As I turn in my saddle to check to be sure that he's still tied up and the mask still covers his face , the squeaking of the saddle reminds me that there is still the reality of consequences to what I'm doing . Will I remove the mask so that he can see who it is that has become Judge , jury and hangman , all in one........but in time , in time? .......

I want the vision of recognition that firsts comes to his eye's , his mind and then his face to be mine alone to enjoy , and yet , there will be little enjoyment to it at all .........just a closure ........and in thinking back through the years of the trial , the view of the mans face in the courtroom, A man that found it easy , too easy .......although thats another story......To have hidden behind an outdated and outmaneuvered legal prosecution in a trial of destroying a child. That pleasure will be mine alone . especially when he see's what lies in his path.........and more than that , I want him to remember my promise to him when the verdict came down from the jury , after the initial shock to the courtroom....... after all the backslapping by his defense team ...........and yes, even after he turned just for a moment as he was lead out of the courtroom , and our eye's locked and he smiled..........and in that one smile , in that one look from one stranger to another man, ......the earth's movement itself , came to a screeching stop........and then turned itself around and slowly began to turn in the opposite direction for me.......Backwards.

The man that left a dieing child lying beside the road in a wet drainage ditch , and just drove on .....drove on ! .......only weeks later to be arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. He couldn't even be charged with drunk driving , even manslaughter.........no . And yet , I don't blame even him as much as the system that "protects " and advocates such a system to operate. There are just to many wrongs permitted to endure in our system, in our "justice sytem" ! Today though , there will be a reckoning ,........And now 'you 'ask , what will come of this ? How can I justify what I'm about to do ?.......Won't I pay for my 'wrongs' ?....... But , you see , none of these questions even bother me in the least . Your system has failed me ! Judges , prosecutors , defense attorneys ........they will go on drawing thier paychecks like nothing ever failed at all , as if you're system of justice runs along like a well tuned , purring engine , whether it functions in matters of justice or not , there are no consequenses at all.......no closure for the least favored participants involved of all , the victims ! For weeks on end I sat in the courtroom and watched the greedy faces of everyone from the participants in the trial, to the media covering it, to the spectaters who get thier enjoyment in watching such a system of frenzied circus performers juggle and toss around the victims like so many colored balls , No ,! Today , it all ends ............

We have ridden for miles now up into the national forests and away from the trails that any human beings ever walk on , so far that I really believe he has almost fallen asleep on the horse, except he now reacts with a start !....as he feels the rope sliding down over his head , and I remove his fancy cowboy boots from the stirrups and tie them up out of the way , he beginns to mumble and beg for mercy .........in a voice , quivering and anxious he asks question after question , .........but he hears no reply from me ........I have nothing to explain or answer to , Not here at least and not now. Finally though ..........he asks .......

"Is that you , Bill James ?" he ask's ..........and as he sits quietly awaiting an answer , I snug the knotted rope around his wrists and step his own horse forward to take up the slack in the hanging rope . Untill everything looks ready .......and as I realize that this is it , this is finally the end of the ride that has been on my mind for five years now I think about asking him why.......! I think about explaining to him how I have dreamed about this day , how I have planned and planned this very act of secrecy all by myself , no help at all , not from a system of 'justice' , not from a friend or family ,...... who all seem to have dissapeared after the trial , not from anyone ........I think about what to say ........and all I can say is this .........

" I want you to say his name ! ...........just once , so that I know that you know, what this is all about ! "...........

And then a silence ensues , for a few minutes there is nothing but the sounds of the forests ,the bird life and the wind in the pine trees , the groaning of the big pines that reflect my mood .........and no doult , his too......he says;

"Willey James " , he says it in a breaking voice .....as he breaks down and the tears and moans engulf him to the point that even I feel the hot tears and the increadible ache from within........ until this very moment he doesn't know who it is or why he's here . I'm sure that a man who has had dozens of encounters with the law , with what's right and whats wrong , finally realizes that he has to come to terms with such a past........with such behavior . I reach up and tear away the mask that covers his eyes and face and he sees me ........he see's every thing he has ever done wrong .......and all at once he vomits his insides and a shaking begins racking his shoulders and body , do I realize he's finally coming to the point that I need to see , ......Only then do our eye's lock..........and do we see deeply into each others soul.........That there has to be a reckoning.......

After a while , he just sits calmly , as if somehow he's accepted his fate , accepted what I'm about to do...........accepted that there can be consequences from others ......only then do I mount my horse and ride up to him and with my knife I reach up and cut the hanging rope and slap his horse hard on the flank ..........and as the horse thunders quickly away and the clods of dirt fly into the air as he falls to the ground ........and lies moaning and shaking , crying violently does he realize ............as I do too, That , It is impossible to hang your own brother............

Later as I put the horse away in his stall , hang the saddle on the rack by the doors
and put the grain in the feed buckets , I turn to the sound of the barn door hinges sqealing open , and look down to Willy Jr. in his wheel chair , and smile .........
He says,
" Dad , will we ride again tomorrow , I think I can handle it alright finally ? ....." I realize , yes , he's ready to begin riding with me , again ! I wonder sometimes how he survived being run down and left to die , and I smile in return and say;
" I don't know why we can't make it a daily ride son !

The End ..................

Comments 14 comments

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Ahorseback, I like it, but I think you posted it in the wrong category. I think you should post it in the Short Story section, you can do this in edit mode.

Did I tell you I love it.

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

Wow, Ahorseback that was Wonderful, lots of sadness and suspense and doing the right thing in the end. Two Thumbs up my Friend.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is so real in the rage and grief. I can feel the doomed man's fear and despair and the father's despair and love. Then his tenderness appears at the end and I am so glad he didn't forfeit his time with his son by giving in to that monster called revenge.

ahorseback, this is writing at it's best. I say that in all sincerity and gratitude for being able to read what you bring to life.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Cardisa , actualy I was going to write it poeticly but the imagination got away with me.! Boom , there it was ! I will do that ! Hey!, where has my girl friends picture gone to ......You look sweet either way but the real you is .......realer!......LOL :-}

P.S. Do you expect me to carry this picture around in my wallet?.. :-}

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Thank you B Malin, I am greatful! Sometimes just sometimes things work out......:-}

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

It is always a pleasure to know that you enjoyed it Hyphenbird. I actually had a couple different endings planned1 You can guess the one I almost wrote! You are a wonderful woman for humbling me!....LOL...:-}

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great story, ahorseback, full of suspense and mystery!

Up and awesome.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

GREAT story. You had me all the way. I didn't see the twist at the end coming. Good that he couldn't kill his Brother.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Thank you Will Starr , I can only stive to write like yourself! Truley, I like twists in the story.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Always Exploring ,Next! A story of Always Exploring in the abandoned farmhouse and her ghost? LOL. Thank you !

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

I think you could make that story come alive, listen, can you hear the whispers, the floors squeak? Oh, i can't wait. WhooHoo

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Always Exploring , Ok ! , now watch those challenges!LOL....:-}

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

Interesting story...with a pretty strong message.

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Well thank you , Paradise ! Perhaps this man has been too close to the trials of 'justice" in a personal way!......Thank you!....:-}

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