Cole Hornback - "The budding" Chapter 1
My attempt at writing a western mini-novel. A short story may be better. Being a huge fan of Will Starr, I became motivated and allowed myself to drudge up a tale of my own, and did my best to put it to words. I had a lot of fun writting it, but I don't think I will be quitting my day job anytime soon.
As if being in my first fist fight wasn’t enough, I was faced with the decision of pulling the trigger and facing my first killing. Jim Spencer was about to see if I was man enough to go through with it. Though I just turned 16 a week ago, I was growing up all too fast these pass few days. With the passing of my Ma just a few weeks ago, with the fever, and my Pa was off to River City hauling some prisoners to stand trial. He was a U.S. Marshal and always seemed to be gone for weeks at a time. I had been left tending to my younger sister, Penny who was born exactly one year after me. My aunt Susan was coming soon to help out, but until then I had taken on the world it had seemed. Caring for Ma, who seemed just fine up until two days before the Lord decided He had other plans for her. Pa, has yet to even learn about Ma, she seemed healthy as can be when he had to head west. We was fortunate, Pa made a pretty good livin at runnin the law as Sherriff in the town of Winterset and bein a U.S. Marshal too, we had a comfortable livin. We had a nice home on the edge of town, and I had one more year left of schoolin before I was to head to the University to study Law.
Jim Spencer was beginning to build a pool of sweat on his forehead, as I laid my Pa’s Colt right smack between his eyes. You see, Jim had been no good to this town since he was a young’n. He had spent time in my Pa’s jail on several occasions. He snuck into my house just shortly after Penny and I finished off supper and was ready to retire for the evening. He had been drinkin, as normal, and decided to pay a visit to my baby sister as she was preparing for bed. I heard her scream, and ol Jim had her pinned down, layin on top of her, with his had over her mouth as I kicked in her door. I grabbed him and threw him on the floor; he flared up and rammed me into the wall. I drew my first punch and nailed him right square on his chin, barley phasing him. Jim was a pretty solid man, standing better than foot taller than I was. He face was glowing red, and had gruffly beard. I could hear him growling under his breath as he proceeded to rattle off a series of punches at my head and stomach. Despite knocking me into the next room over, I was too geared up to feel any of them, but yet I laid there for a moment trying to gather my thoughts. Jim yelled at me that I best just leave the house for a spell. He knew that I was all alone, and I knew I was out powered, but I was not going to let him harm a hair on my little sister. I stumbled into my Pa’s room and grabbed his colt he had used during the war. He had trained my how to use it, in case a time would come when I may need it. Without a second thought, I loaded it, and returned to Penny’s bedroom. Jim gave me a look as if he had had enough of me, he began to roll up his shirt sleeve and make his way toward me. That is when I stepped up and planted the pistol firmly right between his eyes. He froze, as he saw my face was not one of a young kid any longer, it was not the same boy who he had thought he was just messing with, but rather a very anxious and determined young man, the big brother of the girl he was set to bring harm too, and was all but eager to squeeze the trigger. As a small puddle of sweat gathered on his brow, I took a deep breath. I began to analyze the situation. Squeeze the trigger and do the town a favor, ridding this menace once and for all, or give him the option to get on his belly and wait for Skinner Bronson, the actin deputy while my Pa was gone to show up and properly handle this. I reminded Jim, it was his option to choose, but I was more than eager to end this, one way or the other.
Well, that was nearly a week ago when that incident happened. A moment, which changed my life forever. Though there was not much of a funeral service for ol Jim. His Pa and two older brothers were still in town, and made it quite clear to the judge residing over my actions, that Jim was innocent and I was guilty of murder. They thought I had over reacted to a harmless situation, and was getting special treatment because my Pa carried a lot of clout in that town. Harlan Spencer, Jims Pa, made it quite clear to me as he left the court room that he would get his justice over my wrong doings. I knew one thing, with pa gone; I was not going to take any threat lightly and was going to prepare to keep my sister and myself, safe. I was not too sure where my father was, or when he would be back. He was way overdue to return, and no one has heard hide or hair from him since he left for River City. I tried to think and do as my Pa would do. He was the best man I ever knew. He always treated people with respect and was well liked by everyone in the town of Winterset. I wondered how he would have handled Jim Spencer that night I decided his fate. Did I over react? As much as I regret it to this day, I had to protect my sister, and I would do the same thing if I had to. It was Jim’s choice, and I merely followed through with my decision. I know that my life has sure changed due to that decision. I went from a kid who had dreams of being a fancy lawyer in a big city, to becoming the famous son of a US Marshal in a small town, who shot down the trouble makin Jim Spencer. The name Cole Hornback would soon be well known to all in the Dakota Territory.