A Tale From the Wild West part 5 The Mare Gets Cut
Tanner strode thru the middle of what passed as the main boulevard of the pueblo. The shadows were long and the dust that rose high in the air reflected in the twilight. Tanner thoughts were conflicted as he glanced at the construction of the village “Really more Spanish than Anglo” he idly thought as he passed, looking but not seeing, lost in his thoughts. The Song, the bayad the young singer had called it, reverberated in his mind’s eye. “Seems that someone else warn’t too happy with the outcome of the events of that evening,” he thought, recalling the night he had witnessed a man shot down without mercy or care by a bunch of deputies in Pima. Tanners mood was dark and getting darker. He was unused to the tequila that he had drank at the bar while encouraging the musicians, although, there had been a time when he was most familiar with the drink. He had expected to merely wet his whistle a bit in a quiet place and hearing the song sung by the mexican kid had put him off his kilter, so to speak. Parts of the bayad had struck close to home.
” Yet the people out in Pima, they ain't talking very much
You can feel the fear they're feeling under Sheriff's scary touch “
Tanner increased his pace as he circled the tiny town. Although the town was small he saw that it could provide whatever he would need. Some of the shopkeepers had put torches in front of their businesses; to attract customers or chase off skeeters Tanner was not sure, but he appreciated the look it gave to the town. He passed the bar Matt had told him about. Bill Turner’s place. He slowed and studied the building. Good sized place and pretty active already on this Friday night. Tanner shook his head and walked on “Don’t need that kinda noise right now” he thought. Just then,far off in the distance a banging sound interrupted his thoughts. He studied the noise. Now Tanner was not one to brag on it to other people, but he prided himself on his sense of hearing. He noticed that he heard things quicker than most everybody he had ever met, in time he had learned to hide this ability. What Tanner heard now wasn’t gunfire, he was sure of that and the cadence seemed too irregular to be a hammer or a maul swung by man. The intermittent noise became louder as he approached the road to the livery. He heard a shout and then a big bang erupted from the stable. The backwall of the livery bulged out as Tanner finally realized what was going on. “Gawd Dam” he roared as he rushed towards the building.
Tanner saw a young man holding the end of a lariat that had been thrown over his mares neck and cinched up tight, in the other hand he held a bridle by the Mares face. Right then the roan mare jumped up on her forelegs, cocked back her rear legs and let loose with all the power her hindquarters could offer, punching into the livery’s wall and shaking the whole structure. “What the hell do you think you’re doing” Tanner bellowed as he pulled the lariat from the man’s hands. He slid the lariat over and off the horses head and that is when he saw the cut. A good half inch wide 3 inch furrow of skin was missing about 2 fingers width above the horses left eye. A red rage engulfed Tanners being. He spoke no more. He wanted to kill. He wanted to inflict mortal pain.
He grabbed the bridle from the man’s hand and began to beat him about the face with it. His anger was such that his blows were often ineffectual, but the power behind them was not. “I said that’s enough of that” Tanner heard a voice through his fury. He froze, came to himself, and slowly extended his arms out from his sides. The voice said “I don’t have a gun on ya. Just let the boy go now”. “Boy?” Tanner questioned. He blinked his eyes and looked closely at his enemy as his vision cleared. “My Gawd, he is a boy” he cried, horrified. The freckles and cowlick, the pudgy hands, he was just a big kid. And he was crying. Tanner stepped back.”Go” he told the child and he was gone. Tanner knew he had done wrong.“You the boys father?“ Tanner asked the Voice without turning around. “No, but I know the man” he said. “Well,” Tanner sighed “You can tell that Pappy that you just saved his son’s life.” Now give me a bit of time to dress the wound that varmit laid on my horse and I’m outta here.” The voice looked over the roan “I can see why you were upset mister, We’ve got a good horse doc right up the street.” “That’s allright,” Tanner quickly replied “Think she has had enough of strangers for tonight.” The man took the hint “Well take whatever time you need then” the Voice said, then Tanner heard him leave the building.
The battle of the Livery Stable between Tanner and The Mare will not be fully recounted here. Needless to say that points and counterpoints were scored and all manner of tactics were employed. The Mare was in a foul mood and eager to share it with Tanner, Tanner was in a foul mood and not willing to take it from the Mare. There were victories and causalities. Tanner got bit on the shoulder, more of a love bite really, Tanner knew the damage the horse could of done had she been intent on harm. He welcomed the pain in a way. He wondered why. Finally, his horse patched, his arm patched, all gear and extra feed aboard, he left the livery.
Tanner rode to the cantina he was at earlier. As he stopped by the hitching post the Mare crowhopped twice to his left. He jumped off the horse in a flash and wrapped his fist hard around her mane. He leveled his eyes with the horses. ”That will not do“ he informed his horse and went inside.
Tanner soon returned with a bottle that he stashed in his saddlebag. For the first time ever the Mare was skittish when Tanner got on her “That won’t do either” he thought. “You wanna ride?” he asked the horse aloud “Well ride then!” he called, and gave the mare his heels. The man and horse pounded off into the moonlit evening.