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Cole Hornback - "The budding" Chapter 1

Updated on August 2, 2013

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.



The Budding

Chapter One

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.


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    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      This was really great. Hooked me from start to finish. Totally got my attention! All the best, Kim.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks WD, I appreciate your comments and your feedback to my story.

      :)

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      Good stuff. I will be back for chapter 2 soon.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thank you for that very gracious remark Maggie, as you know Will Starr is in a league all in his own. I would love to have an ounce of his talent someday. This was a lot of fun to write though.

    • Maggie-May profile image

      Nadine M AuCoin 5 years ago from the Island of Cape Breton to the Eastern Shores near Halifax, NS

      Purely awesome!!! This is your niche!!! Another Will Starr in the makings!!! Bravo Chris!!!

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thank you for your kind words epi!!...I very much appreciate it.

      Chris

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ..well you've got two of the best in the business when it comes to Mister Brown and Mister Starr here in your comment section - and that, according to the epi-man completes the Holy Hub trinity of the Western short story genre - My dad would have loved your style of writing here - he enjoyed Zane Grey and wrote 70 novels of his own (including one as a true life memoirs of his experiences in World War II as a Canadian soldier for six years) ...none of his books were ever published but still, what an achievement.

      lake erie time 9:30am having my first coffee of the day and sending you sincere best wishes

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Hi Becky, very glad to meet you. I appreciate your comments. You should get in on the action and share with us on one of your own hubs.

      Chris

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      I am the infamous reader. I don't have a Hub, I just read. You might have seen me elsewhere.

      I have enjoyed this very much and am sorry that I have JUST found out about it. Expect to see me around reading, I like your work.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Your advice is much appeciated, along with your accolades.

      Thanks RJ

      :)

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Ah, shucks mam--I got me hat in mey han and just lov'd da country talk'n. Good action story and now to move on to the other chapters. I'm hooked! This my first encounter with you and, simply because it seems to come easy in writing this for you, doesn't mean it isn't great. It means you are gathering experience and the words flow much easier and faster. You have a talent of tellin stories and you should give up any idea that it might not be as good as the last. Rj

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Wayne.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks for your support Sueswan...I really apprciate it.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      You are off to a great start on this one, Chris...caught me from the start and held my interest well. If you only got one story, you seem to have a good one and that's the best kind! WB

    • profile image

      Sueswan 6 years ago

      Great! Looking foward to reading next chapters.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Cardisa!!

      :)

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Another good one, awaiting more.

    • CMerritt profile image
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      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Cogerson!

      :)

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Nice...on to the second chapter.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Hypenbird,

      Thank you so very much for those extremely kind words. This is all new to me, I am just diving in and having some fun.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I liked it. Usually the first person narration grates on my nerves (which are short anyway) but this one does not. It's really good. I can feel the boy like he is a real person. Great job here!

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Coming from you, that just made my day. I'm not sure how long I can keep my mind in that ol town, but I am beginning to understand your passion for these short stories.

      Thanks Will.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow! That was very, very, good stuff! Up and awesome.

      Looking forward to the next installment.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Chris, that is the whole point, having fun, I look forward to the smiles trickling down to we readers,

      Peace Dust

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Dusty....even though it is very similar, I still had fun with it....I have much to learn...and I am going to work on Chapter 2, very soon.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Chris, got my attention, I don't find it runnin into nuthin I dun read, I'll be looking for more, thanks dust