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Cole Hornback - "My sworn duties" Chapter 4
My sworn in duties
Lying on a small cot in the back of the jailhouse, a place I recently took on as my second home and being the new deputy and all, I assumed the duty as the nightshift guard. I was there to keep an eye on the jail, and in case anyone should happen to need the law in the middle of the night. It was only a couple of hours since our little conversation in the saloon had taken place. Skinner had a small apartment above the diner, which was just across the street from the jailhouse. I heard some voices and then some commotion down the street. I quickly arose, got dressed, grabbed my holster and loaded a rifle. I could see flames flaring high above the roof tops down the street, as I stepped off of the wooden porch attached to the Jailhouse. I started to pick up my pace, when I heard Skinner hollering at me. He motioned for me as he was sitting in a rocker outside the Diner. I could not fully understand why he was not more geared up and eager to see what was burning. He told me, it was my home that was my burnin…but he had seen traps like such done by the Sioux. It was a diversion tactic to get a sneak attack on those who would blindly run into it. He had two pistols on his side, and a shot gun loaded and ready. We circled our way around through a back alley, and then behind a small woods at the end of town. Sure enough, my home was engulfed with flames, and off behind a cluster of trees and bushes in my side yard was those three cow hands that worked for Harlan. They were kneeling down and had their pistols drawn. It was just as Skinner had claimed. It was an ambush waiting to happen. We walked up quietly behind them until we were about twenty paces away. Skinner yelled for them to turn around, and do it slowly. One of them decided to do things his way and spun around quickly with his firearm drawn. Skinner dropped him with one shot, the other two dove behind the trees and began to shoot. I had the same feeling rushing through my body as it did when Jim Spencer was attacking my sister. I drew a bead with my rifle and opened fired six rounds as fast as I could pump the chamber. I could hear return fire, and the whistling of lead zooming past my head. Skinner grabbed me and pulled me aside. I was certain I had hit one of them, but the third one was trying to make his way to a small shed just outside my house. He warned me again, to be patient, keep my wits, and not overreact.
Without a warning, there was a loud blast coming from behind me, ol Skinner was doubled over and bleedin. He had taken one in the gut. I turned and Harlan and his boys was riding full speed on the horses, firing everything they had. How everything managed to miss me again, is a miracle. I grabbed Skinner and drug him behind an old log beside the roadway. I grabbed his shot gun, turned and blasted two shots, and managed to get both the Spencer boys. They went flying off of the back of their horses no more than a few feet from me. Harlan by this time had passed me by, was leaping off his horse and went behind the shed where the last cow hand was hiding; I could see them moving back towards town.
Skinner was cussin mad and spittin up blood. I hovered over him, not knowing exactly what to do next. He said to not worry about him, he had worse injuries than this, fighting Indians, and being in the Army for twenty years…”If you think some two bit cow poke is going to do me in, then you need more skoolin!”. I reloaded his shot gun and handed it to him, and told him I was going after the Doc. He grabbed me sternly and told me to stay put, until they made their next move. I knew Skinner was hit bad, and didn’t have much time and to sit and wait was not an option as far as I was concerned. I had already lost my Ma, possibly my Pa, and I was dang sure I was not ready to lose him. I told him, I was eager to comply, my sworn duty as a deputy, just as he had promised old Harlan at the Saloon earlier that evening. And that is exactly what I was fixin to do.