Cole Hornback - "The look of Evil" Chapter 5
The look of Evil
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.