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.