Western Short Story - The Kid's Revenge

The Kid’s Revenge

The boardwalk was empty in the early morning sun. To the northeast loomed the vast battlements of the Superstition range, framed in the arms of a tall saguaro across the narrow street. Sam Coburn broke the action of the double barreled, Greener shotgun, and inserted two shells of number four, high brass loads. The slumbering town of Apache Junction waited quietly, and so did Sam.

Marshall McGee stepped out of his office with a bucket and tossed mop water into the street. He glanced up at the hotel at the small, lone figure seated on the bench under the low porch roof and shook his head. He put the bucket back in its place and hung the mop on a hook. Lighting his first cigar, he picked up his rifle and headed up the street.

“You’re probably going to get yourself killed. John Mackam won’t care that you’re just fifteen.’

“Sixteen Marshal, and if he’s such a killer, you should have arrested him when he murdered my father.”

“We’ve been over all that. He had four witnesses that your pa came at him with a gun.”

Sam snorted. “Four witnesses who all work for Mackam. He murdered my father and you know it. My father was a peaceable man, but Mackam wants our ranch, so he killed my father. Now he aims to run me and my mother off, but I’m going to kill him when he comes to town. He’ll be along and I’ll be here.”

McGee lurched his bulk off the bench, and looked down at Sam. “Suit yourself youngster. Can’t say I’d do any different had it been my pa.”

“You’re a good man and a good friend Marshal McGee. My father set some store by you, and he didn’t do that lightly. All I ask is that you stay out of it. This is mine to do.”

“This is my town and I’m the law, so kindly refrain from telling me what I will and will not do should trouble come.”

“Yes sir. I only meant that John Mackam belongs to me. As you said, as far as you know, he killed my father in self defense, so you have no reason to brace him. But I do.”

Morning passed, and Sam was chewing on a strip of jerky when the sound of horses echoed down the street. John Mackam and a hard case by the name of Hardy Jenkins were mounted on horses, followed by a wagon driven by Mackam’s Chinese cook. As they passed in front of the hotel, Sam stood up and Mackam wheeled his horse in astonishment. Jenkins pulled up some twenty feet on Sam’s right.

“What the hell are you doing here kid, and why the shotgun?”

“You murdered my father and I’ve come to kill you.”

“You? Why you ain’t but just a nubbin! Hell, you ain’t over thirteen!”

“I’m sixteen and you sir, are a cold-blooded murderer.”

Mackam flushed in anger and glanced up and down the street. Several townspeople had come outside and were listening. “Your pa came at me with a gun, so I had no choice. He meant to do me harm, and I defended myself.” He looked around at the town folk. “Hell, you all seen it! Speak up! Tell Sam here how it was.”

“Nobody here saw it Mackam.” The speaker was burly Jim Mathews, the blacksmith. “The shooting took place behind Hanford’s barn, and the only witnesses were men who work for you.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Mackam glared at Mathews.

“It means that everybody knows my father would never have done that and that everybody knows you are a lying, cold-blooded murderer.” Sam raised the shotgun and leveled it at Mackam.

“Now you just hold on!” The color suddenly drained out of his usually ruddy face. “That’s murder if you just shoot me down like that.”

Sam lowered the shotgun slightly. “Draw your weapon then. I’ll wait.”

John Mackam stared at Sam for a moment, and then he drew his revolver and held it at his side. “Don’t you make me kill you youngster. I’ll do it if need be. You know I will.”

Sam raised the shotgun again and Mackam stiffened, hastily firing his revolver. Sam heard the blast and pulled the trigger on the right barrel. Mackam jerked hard and tried to bear down on Sam for a second shot. Sam fired the left barrel and Mackam slid out of the saddle into the dust of the street.

Out of the corner of the eye, Sam saw Hardy Jenkins grabbing for his revolver and a rifle spoke harshly from down the street. Jenkins spun around, his left arm dangling, and raised his revolver. The rifle barked again, and Jenkins’ startled horse lunged, toppling the gunman to the street. Marshal McGee levered in another round and waited, but both men were dead.


‘To tell you the truth, when I saw them two come into town, I never thought for a minute that you’d come out alive, but you fooled everyone.” Marshal McGee stood next to Sam

“I know he had it coming for what he did to my father, but I feel sick inside just the same.” Sam was seated on the bench again, and was visibly shaken.

“Good. If you killed a man and didn’t feel sick, there’d be something bad wrong with you. Well, you did what you had to do, and you gave him a fair shake, so I have no more business with you.” Marshal McGee patted Sam on the shoulder. “I do have one thing though that I’ve wondered ever since you folks first moved here. Why the hell do they call you Sam?”

“It’s short for Samantha”



I wrote this with 50 Caliber in mind since he lives near the beautiful, but mysterious Superstition Mountain.

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

Will, another great write my friend. It is nice to read stories naming locations I am familiar with as I also live in Southern Arizona.

You have a great writing style, and perhaps should consider writing a book, unless of course you already have.

Keep the hubs coming, I sure enjoy reading your work.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks Poolman.

A book is underway, but my first love is the short story.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

A good surprise twist.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks dahoglund. Compliments from a great writer are always welcome.


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hiya WillStarr, I'm so glad you dropped by and left me a comment in my country-cured ham. What a great story and a super ending. You are a very talented story teller and writer and I wish you all the best in your new book.

Merry Christmas,

Rosie


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I like that ending... coool.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Another well penned story, thanks.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Thanks for another great tale. I am happy to hear that you are writing a book. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Voted up and awesome, just as awesome as you are!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Rosie and welcome aboard.

Thank you and a Merry Christmas to all!


ralwus 5 years ago

Oh that ending was soooo cool. Samantha. A mean ornery gal for sure to come. Haha Brilliant. Best wishes for you on the book and Merry Christmas. Charlie


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Merry Christmas Charlie!


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

How you manage to build such suspense in an economy of words is just plain fantastic. Loved it.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks Suzie. Coming from you, that's high praise indeed.

Merry Christmas.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Will Starr, you got the word hammer in you. I enjoy the short story, those who master them I envy. If you were to throw a book down "Tales of the West, a story at a Time" I'd stand in line to buy it. I do like long reads but treasure tales and to me a tale can be told in the time it takes a cigarette to burn. You are good at what you do in that venue and it is a pleasure. Peace 50


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks .50.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

GOOD story, cleverly told! Hope you had a great Christmas and will be having a good New Year!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks Nellianna, and a Happy New Year to you!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

I enjoyed that revenge short story, that's what happens when you take your guns to town boy's. Loved the twist at the end regarding Samantha:0) good one. Rated Up..he he and a big Happy New Year to you sir.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks saddlerider.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

That would have made a dang fine episode on "Gunsmoke". Glad to see that marshall redeem himself...somehow I felt that he would. Thanks for sharing, Will! WB


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks Wayne!

Good to see you again.


Diane from Canada 5 years ago

READ THIS ONE BEFORE BUT FORGOT TO POST A COMMENT.

KEEP THAT ACTIVE IMAGINATION WORKING. WE LOOK FORWARD

DAILY FOR A NEW ADVENTURE INTO THE WILD WILD WEST!

THANKS FOR SHARING, WILL!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you Diane!


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

I always love your endings. You make the read worthwhile. Thanks as always for sharing your talent. Rated up and awesome.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you toknowinfo!


Ghost32 5 years ago

Ah, True Grit with a twist!

And, for those who might wonder about a slip of a girl being able to handle a Greener, my wife was no bigger than that when she fired her very first weapon--a 10 gauge, no less--and didn't even get knocked on her butt.

True, she figured out the "joke" in advance and readied herself, actually jumped back along with the recoil.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Fred,

Western women were expected to be able to shoot. It was sometimes a matter of life or death.


Loves To Read profile image

Loves To Read 5 years ago

Great story Will, i really loved it. It most certainly could have been out of any of the Western tv series. You have a real gift my friend. Loved the twist at the end.

Many Blessings


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you Loves To Read,

As you know, living in Australia, frontier women were every bit as tough as their men. They had to be.


Loves To Read profile image

Loves To Read 5 years ago

Yes Will you are so right. Without those pioneers who blazed the trails there would be no cities and towns like there are today.

The women had to know how to ride and shoot for their own protection and that of their families.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..Good evening Mister Starr from the Canadian side of lake erie on this cold night - even the heat came on for the first time since April - I just read a comment of yours that 'you write for the sheer pleasure of it' - well I've had (and many others) the sheer pleasure over the past year or so - of reading your work .....thank you. time is 12:07am with red wine and Black Sabbath

followed by the Sons of the Pioneers with Sweety Betsy from Pike - one of my favorite all time songs


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Epi! The admiration is mutual.


klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

As usual, you dropped me smack-dab in the middle of your story. I love that you showed the type of skills a woman would have to learn in order to survive on the frontier. A great read, Will. Thanks and best wishes, Kim


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Kim!

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