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Cole Hornback - "My sworn duties" Chapter 4

Updated on August 2, 2013

My sworn in duties

Chapter Four

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.


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

      It is a learning experience for me, THAT is for sure...I appreciate your honest feedback..

      :)

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      Very good, I am impressed. Some westerns have a lot of dialog, some not so much. They all have some. Finding your own way is the best way to go. Try to add some in and see how you do. Reynold Jay has the right of it. He seems to be a savvy writer. The main thing dialog does is help the reader to get to know the character.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      That is very good advice RJ. I will try that. I'm not sure IF or WHEN there will be another "story" to tell. That one just kind of snuck up on me and I ran with it.

      I am going to be more aware of this if I do another though.

      I really do appeciate your helpful suggestion, for I am very willing to listen and learn. I did enjoy doing Cole Hornback, and hope I get another vibe to do so again.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Here is an idea for you. Go back to chapter one and ask yourself, "Where could a word or two of dialog be inserted?" Tell yourself that it is a practice excercise and that you may not neccessarily want it that way. You simply want to see if it adds anything. Take a look at it when you are done and then go from there.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Yep, Will and I are buddies. As to the dialog, I have no answer either. I do know that when I started getting serious about writing, I always read the popular writers of that genre and them pretty much emulated their style.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      RJ, I have no clue to as if this is proper or not....probably not. This is my first attempt at my own novelette. I just jumped in and started swimming. I know with out a doubt I have much to learn. If you liked what I have written, you MUST check out WillStarr for his is an amazing writter. He has inspired me to do Cole Hornback.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I do notice that you have not dialog. Is this at part of the genre? I've never read a western although I have problably viewed about every western movie including the B westerns. I do know that the "no dialoge" doesn't bother me as what you have here works well. I probably have too much dialoge in my own writing. RJ

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      A good story that just keeps gettin' better! WB

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Cardisa, Chapter 5 is on it's way.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      Things are getting tight for the boy, hope he's got what it takes to handle this situation...Skinner may be in more trouble than he knows with that gut shot. WB

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Getting more interesting Meritt, can't wait for chapter 5.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Dusty, you are great! It was amazing how the A-Team never harmed one person, with all of that gun fire and explosions.

      Thanks AGAIN, for you generous comments.

    • CMerritt profile image
      Author

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Will....doing this gives me THAT much more appreciation for you and what you have done. Though this is a ton of fun, it is not an easy task for me.

      Thank you too Will for being inspirational to me. YOU are the one who helped me get excited about attempting something like this.

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

      Thanks OP, I'm working on Ch 5. I am kind of torn on how I want this to an end.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

      Call me morbid, but I've always had a soft spot for a good killin', none of that Cartwright stuff where the Ponderosa boys were bullet proof, except maybe a shoulder now and again, or the A-team haha, great write, dust

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Slendid western action story!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      Up and Beautiful - keep 'em coming.