Cole Hornback - "The look of Evil" Chapter 5

The look of Evil

Chapter Five

The clouds were beginning to thicken and take cover over the full moon we had had, making it very dark and hard to see.  I reckon it was near 1 or 2 am by now.  The town folks was keeping to themselves, many had already anticipated something bad was going to happen ever since Harlan and his gang had arrived.  I figured we had four out six out of the way, there was just Harlan and his hired hand left.  The last I could see was that they were near the saloon.  I propped up Skinner’s head comfortably upon a piece of wood, placed my kerchief tightly in his wound and told him to hold it there.  “You hang in there old man”.  He was looking pretty weak and worn out.  I knew I had to be quick about things.  I decided to back track the way I came in and come up the back alley near the diner.  As I got near the back doors, I found a blood trail.  It was pretty heavy and as I followed it, I found our fifth victim, it was the last hired hand, and he was barely alive.  He must have been hit during the battle.  I bent over to get a closer look at him when I saw a shadow out of the corner of my eye and turned just in time to see Harlan swing his rifle across my back.  I fell to the ground, unable to breath.  He kicked me in the side several times.  He let out a scream as I blacked out.

I woke up and was in the saloon, with my hands tied behind my back.  Harlan was standing over me and had a crazed look in his eyes.  To my horror, I realized he had Elli tied to a chair.  She had tears running down her face, filled with terror.  Harlan had completely gone mad.  He wanted me to feel the pain I had created for him.  He had lost all of his boys now, and was going to be sure I paid a price for everything.  He went on and on about how I was the cause of all of this.  His boys were good boys and how I ruined everything.  Now, I was going to feel the pain I had caused him.  He took his old revolver out of his holster and put it up to Ellis’ head.  He was sobbing and swearing.  I could not even understand what he was saying any longer.  All I knew was Elli was in real trouble and I could do nothing.  I was struggling with all my might to get my hands free.  He pulled the hammer of his pistol back, and gave me a look that will stay with me forever.  It was a look of pure hatred and evil.  I shouted at him to shoot me and not the girl.  The next thing I heard was the explosion of gunpowder and a flash of light that caused me to nearly lose my consciousness.  Everything was nearly blacked out, but through a cloud of smoke, I could see Harlan spinning around and smashing violently against the wall to my left.  I first looked at Elli to see if she was okay.  She had fear all over her face, but appeared to be fine.  I scanned over to the right of her, and my eyes became big as silver dollars.  My father, the U.S. Marshal was standing there with smoke rolling out of the barrel of his shot gun.  “Pa! I cannot believe this!  Thank God you are alive!”  He untied Elli and me and the tears and hugs were all but accounted for.

I told him we had to get to Skinner, that he had been shot and was hurt badly.  Pa quickly calmed me down and said that my Aunt Susan and Penny were tending to him.  He was hurt, but it was going to take more than that to finish off that ol gizzer.  Pa had stopped Sioux City on his trip back and found Penny with Susan.  He was amazed at the turn of events that had occurred while he was gone, and was real proud of me; on how I had grown into the man he knew I was destined to be.  He knew something was big that was going on when he heard a “tale” rumoring around in River City of how a kid named “Cole Hornback” had stood up to the menacing Jim Spencer.  He also somehow knew that his good friend Skinner Bronson had done some “skoolin” for him, and that we would be just fine until he made it back home.

Comments 22 comments

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

Outstanding and great ending. I was really sorry to see it end with this chapter. Will we be seeing more of these great stories?

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

Looks like a good ol' western tale that turned out alright in the end. I liked it a lot, Chris...keep pumping them out! WB

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

Thanks OP.

This one took a lot out of me. It was fun, but much harder than I thought it would be. I need to let Cole take a rest and will see if there is anything left for me to go on about.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

Thanks Wayne, coming from you, I am very honored.

I am a sap for happy endings, so it was probable pretty predictable.

I REALLY appreciate your kind comments.

Sueswan 5 years ago

Excellent story! I sure hope Cole Hornback returns.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Looks like the other western writers need to move over and make room for the new talent!

Congratulations, Chris! You have arrived, and with a bang!

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Dang, old son great job polishing off the bad guys with a twist. I always wanted to shoot somebody with my old coach gun, both triggers at one time, great stuff, Dust

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author


thanks, I may keep ol cole around from time to time.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author


I appreciate those WAY TOO KIND remarks. I know I have much to learn still too. But, I can honestly say that I am learning from one of the BEST!....and that is from ALL of your hubs and Short Stories.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

Thanks Dust, I love it when the bad guys get what is coming to them.....I appreciate your support. :)

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

That was a close call Cole, I mean CMerritt. Glad your father showed up just in time. Is there more to come?

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

That WAS a close one....but, Ol Cole as on it.

There MAY be a sequel to a few days or weeks.


I really do appreciate you reading my little mini-western novel.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Cool-Cooler-Coolest! I could read these every single day. they seriously need to be a serial. Look into publishing them somewhere. Even if you put it on obooko, the exposure might garner attention from someone connected to the publishing world.

Thanks, H.

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Great job CMerritt I enjoyed reading all five of your chapters....they were very well done....I liked the ending especially....hopefully we will see more of Cole...voted up and awesome

marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

Thanks for this exciting story.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

Thank you guys all, very, very much....I just had a really good time writing this one....and I am not a writer, I just followed the lead by some very good instuctors on here........

Thanks again..

Becky 5 years ago

Good ending, I liked your story. I will be looking at some more of your writing. Keep writing and keep having fun.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

Beck, I very much appreciate you taking the time to read my litte adventure...



Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I just read this whole story again and wish you would write some more. You are good at this.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana Author

Hi Becky!!

YOU just made my day, with that very generous comment!

I do have one I started about 2 or 3 months ago, and I just cannot get myself to finish it. That kind of writing is really fun, but I am such a novice at it, and I have come to a point in the story where I am struggling.

But, I may go back and give it another try...

I really appreciate your words,


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I just wrote my third one, it takes practice for sure. I am having great problems with dialogue. I just keep writing and hopefully will get there. Keep writing them, I understand that it gets easier.

klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 23 months ago from Niagara Region, Canada

Just read all five parts and couldn't have enjoyed them more. Great job for sure and loved the twist at the end. Well done! Kim

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