One-Horse Town: Five Gold Coins (Chapter 4)

John had been good to his word. After checking for the arrival of darkness through out the rest of the day, Brady finally found himself outside his prison and next to the livery stable.

As quietly as possible he slipped inside and began searching for a horse that not only could run but could gallop long distances without a breaking. He also looked for the lightest saddle he could, to subtract weight from the horses back.

Once Brady found what he wanted, he saddled the animal and slowly walked it out he back of the corral. He had hoped to find a pistol or a rifle, but neither were available, so after coaxing the horse out into the desert a ways, he hopped in the saddle and trotted away.

Brady had found a willing horse, it needed no spurring as it tore across the moon-lit sandscape. Before he knew it and hours before the sun arose, Brady found himself skirting his way up the mountainside towards the cave and Rosa.

As before the sound of echoing horse hooves filled his ears as he breathed in the fresh air of the canyon lands. Finally, Brady reached the sloping flat surface and the boulder that hid the cave’s entrance.

Quietly and fearfully, he approached the darkened opening already certain he knew what he’d find. There she was, peacefully at rest, her eyes forever open to the endless mystery.

Brady sat by her side, weeping and apologizing for not having returned until then. Soon he gathered his unused rifle he’d left her, returned to his horse, mounted and rode away, leaving Rosa alone for a second time.

Now he had to find her family. “They’ll want to know where she is, what happened to her and to get her back.”

Brady dropped onto the valley floor long before the sun touched the eastern range. By the time it was noon, he had ridden to a hacienda of a friend of Rosa’s family. They sent a rider out to the family, demanding Brady rest and eat.

Within an hour, several vaqueros had found their way to the ranch, each wanting to hear the story for themselves. Brady obliged, not leaving out even one detail at each telling.

Finally, Rosa’s father, Juan Alcala rode in through the gates. His stern features racked by grief at the knowledge of his daughter’s death and how.

“I know the place,” a ranch hand named Pepe offered, “We used to ride and play up there when we were ninos.”

With that, a party of mounted cowboys raced back in the direction to where the cave was hidden and it would be sometime before they would return. So Juan Alcala decided that the time would be best used to plan a raid on the town of Keene to avenger the death of his only daughter.

Brady withdrew from his pant pocket, five gold coins and laid them on the table in front of the old man. “And there’s more where that comes from.”