Word Count 5,845
An episode tag for High Riders
The story of Scott and Johnny’s very different paths leading to the Crossroads to Home. . .
March 1, 1869
The icy-cold wind from the nearby Boston Harbor made its way through the historic ocean city, sending a deadly chill through those brave enough to face its wintry wrath on this early Saturday morning. One of those brave souls was Scott Lancer, who would have preferred to be safely wrapped in the warm blankets of his bed at the Beacon Hill mansion he shared with his wealthy grandfather, Boston magnate Harlan Garrett.
But today, the grandson and sole heir to the Garrett dynasty was waiting at the Boston Train Terminal to begin a month-long journey across the country, with visits in between to friends and acquaintances in Chicago, St. Louis, and Denver. Scott’s final destination, and the real reason for the trip, was northern California and a meeting with his father, Murdoch Lancer, whom the younger Lancer had never met and only a week before had responded in the positive to the older Lancers’ summons.
While Harlan Garrett was not particularly enthused about his grandson agreeing to the meeting, he didn’t stop him. Instead, Garrett told ‘Scotty’ that he should meet with his father, to get that need ‘out of his system,’ and to see for himself just how selfish, hard-headed, and arrogant Murdoch Lancer really was.
Mr. Garrett also ensured that Scotty would have a lot to do on this trip; he planned the visits, stopovers, and sights-to-see, including lengthy layovers in Chicago and St. Louis, ensuring the time spent with Murdoch Lancer would be as short as possible.
He also reminded Scotty of the many social obligations he had later that spring, including his participation in the late April wedding of a family friend, and the trip to Europe in May that had been planned for both of them since the fall.
So when Scott bid his grandfather good-bye early that cold, March morning, Harlan Garrett told his grandson to have a good time and enjoy himself. For the old man was positive that this was not a good-bye, only a ‘see you later,’ because there was no way that Scotty would ever stay with his father. It just wasn’t an option.
But Scott had other plans. While he would enjoy the visiting and sight-seeing his grandfather had so painstakingly set up for him, what he was really looking forward to was the time he would be alone. For the first time that he could remember, the journey westward would give him time to reflect on his life, to really think about what he wanted. This journey would give him the opportunity to check out new and exciting cities, to be removed from his boring, predictable life in Boston, and to venture into unknown places and happenings that he found exciting.
So after finishing the wonderful breakfast that was served to him and taking another sip of the hot tea from the china teacup, Scott Lancer laid back in his private quarters of the train and looked forward to the events that would take place the next few weeks, with the thought of Murdoch Lancer only a small detour on the incredible journey he was about to embark on.
March 1, 1869
Damn, it was hot, even for Mexico. But it wasn’t the unusually hot, humid weather that had Johnny Madrid feeling miserable. The fever that had raged through his body the past three days had exhausted him, and the alternating chills made him feel like death warmed over.
Now that his mind was beginning to clear and the thoughts of the past week returned, he couldn’t believe he had been so stupid as to try to escape the Rurales and this hellhole that had been his home since just before Christmas.
Christmas. That day just before Christmas Eve, when the weather was perfect and the peasants of the small village had invited Johnny and the others to their Christmas celebration. At that time, it seemed that maybe, just maybe, the poor but kindly peasants, with the help of Madrid and his colleagues, would live to see the New Year. But the Rurales had attacked that day, killing everyone; women and children, the aged, even the pet dogs. They had killed many of Johnny’s partners in this failed effort, and had managed to catch and imprison the famous Madrid.
They had not been kind. They had taken him, at least three times, to face the firing squad, only to pull him back at the last minute, laughing and taunting that it wasn’t his turn. Yet. They had, at some time, shaved his head, and his once straight, black shiny hair had grown back into a wavy, unruly mess.
But still, he had too much time to think, and the great idea he had devised to escape turned out to be not so great. The whipping that followed the aborted escape was brutal, and his fevered mind couldn’t decide whether to welcome death or not. For death would happen eventually.
But he had survived, with the care of the prison doctor, a kindly man who had taken a liking to the young half-breed gunfighter, and who made sure the water given to his patient, or prisoner if you will, was fit to drink.
Johnny knew that soon he would be moved from this infirmary—if it could be called that—back to his cell and his friends: the rats, the cockroaches, the spiders.
And as he listened to the screams that were taking place around him, Johnny Madrid had nothing to look forward to.
Only what he hoped would be a quick, and painless, death at the firing squad.
Chicago—A Pretty Girl
March 10, 1869
Scott bid the McKelvey family, his hosts of the past several days, a cheerful good-bye as he began the second step of his journey. He had thoroughly enjoyed his visit, and the Windy City surprised him with its culture and artistic venues. Chicago boasted a relaxed and friendly atmosphere unlike her stuffy, eastern counterpart.
He again had private quarters on this train, courtesy of his father. He wrote a small note in his journal to remember to thank Mr. Lancer for the first-class accommodations afforded him on this trip. He also wrote in his journal his fondness for Chicago, and that he would consider moving there if the opportunity ever arose.
Scott left his cozy quarters and made his way to the main car of the train, where he met Mr. Clive Barton from Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Barton was on the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Arts Society and was traveling to St. Louis for a convention. Over lunch, the two gentlemen discussed such niceties as art, music, history, and literature, and Scott was invited by Mr. Barton to become a member of the Arts Society.
Scott advised he would think over the offer.
After lunch, Mr. Barton retired to the smoking room, but Scott made his way to the passenger section with the intention of reading the book he had purchased in Chicago. However, his plans were averted when he noticed the china doll sitting there pretty as you please, with skin as white as the snow falling outside the windows of the train. Her hair was as black as coal, and it encircled a tiny face that boasted huge blue eyes that shone like sapphires.
Surely, Scott wondered, this beautiful creature wasn’t traveling alone. So he sat a few rows behind her, and waited. He waited for the mother or father, or sister or brother that never came. And most importantly, Scott waited for the husband that never came. Yes, it seemed this beautiful young lady was traveling alone.
She won’t be for long, Scott mused. Not if he had a say about it.
He walked up to where she sat, and asked if the seat next to her was taken. She looked up, eyes sparking and teeth shining, and responded no—not yet, anyway.
So, Scott Lancer sat next to her. . . and made his move.
Rebecca St. John was leaving her home in Chicago and traveling to Denver, alone, to take a teaching position in the Mile High City. It took a lot of persuading for the close St. John family to let their youngest member travel alone, but her being over the age of 21 gave her that right.
So here she was.
After talking and getting acquainted for the rest of the afternoon, Scott asked Rebecca if she would honor him by joining him for dinner.
She said she would love to. The two attractive young people continued to talk and laugh and share stories well into the evening, when the proper Miss St. John was escorted to her quarters by the equally proper Mr. Lancer.
Well, proper for this night, anyway.
They said their good-nights, and as Scott returned to his own comfortable quarters, his heart was bursting at the seams. For the first time in over a year, since Julie Dennison, Scott Lancer was in love. . . .
And starting the next morning, Mr. Lancer and Miss St. John were inseparable.
Mexico—To Hell, and Back
March 10, 1869
Johnny had no idea what day it was, and he could only guess the time of day by the shadows on the hard brick walls of his cell. Yes, he was back in his cell, though by no means was he recovered from the vicious whipping he had received—how many days ago? He didn’t know. The whip marks still burned his back and even something as simple as stretching made him wince. His doctor friend had only been by to check on him once, although that was not the fault of the good doctor; he could only do what he was ordered to do by the guards of the place that was referred to as the Hotel Hell.
He was dirty; he hadn’t bathed since before the aborted escape attempt. He hadn’t shaved, either, and he could swear his hair was being infested with. . something. . though he wasn’t quite sure what.
He was hungry. The slop he, and all the prisoners, were given was not meant for animals, let alone human consumption.
But most of all, he was lonely. Johnny Madrid had been alone, and on his own, most of his life, even before his mother was murdered in front of him. But he had never really been lonely. He had always had lovers to comfort him, and compadres to raise hell with. And even at his lowest point, even when he had been wounded, or sick, or knifed in a fight, someone had always been there to help. Yes, he lived his life alone, but he was never lonely.
Except for the doctor, there was no one to help him through his fever following the whipping, and at that, he was left on his own to endure the pain, the fear, and the torture; and the thought that he wanted to die.
Why didn’t I? he wondered.
And now, there was no one to talk to about his fears, or his dreams that would never happen, or about how his life turned out to be the mess that it was.
So as the sun set and was replaced by a moonless night, Johnny curled up in the corner of his dark, damp cell, and cursed the person that was his father, Murdoch Lancer, and went to sleep dreaming of revenge on the man he blamed for his pitiful, meaningless life.
St. Louis—Love Found
March 10-20, 1869
In the beginning, Scott Lancer and Rebecca St. John had agreed to a ‘no strings attached’ relationship, and both young people had been responsible in their intimacies toward one another. But the days, and nights, spent on the train afforded them a freedom that neither one could have had if their respective families had been present, and by the time they arrived in St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, their relationship was solid, and their agreement became harder to accept. Scott and Rebecca found themselves wanting more and they made the most of time they had together.
Scott, however, had some social obligations he had to take care of in St. Louis. After all, the wealthy Vandegriff family would be anticipating his visit arranged by Harlan Garrett, who would no doubt hear from the Vandegriff’s on the visit by his delightful grandson. So to not contact or spend time with the wealthy family would raise suspicion.
Scott made sure Rebecca was safe and comfortable in the upscale Meridian Hotel for the four days he was ‘required’ to spend with the Vandegriff’s. Rebecca, for her part, wired her family of the blizzard that had her stranded in St. Louis for she didn’t know how long. Well, one small lie in her lily-white life wasn’t so bad.
When his visit was over, the Vandegriff’s bid Scott good-bye at the train station. And as they left, he did, too. He left the train and headed to the Meridian, where he and Rebecca quickly checked out, made their way to the other side of town, and checked in at the Royal, a cheaper, but none-the-less, comfortable hotel.
For the next four days, Scott and Rebecca toured the town. They went ice-skating, shopping, hiking, sled-riding, and enjoyed quiet, intimate nights by the fire of their pleasant room, talking about their hopes and dreams. And their feelings for each other.
Their last night in St. Louis, as he watched Rebecca sleeping blissfully, Scott realized that Denver, and Rebecca’s new home, was the next stop of his journey. And he wondered what he should do. . .stay in Denver and build a life with this beautiful, wonderful young woman who was all he could dream for, or continue on his journey to California and the reason for the trip. . .to meet his father.
And although he didn’t understand why, Scott knew what he had to do. What he wanted to do. For at this point in time, meeting his father meant more to him than the beautiful Rebecca St. John.
He just hoped she would understand.
Mexico—The End. .And The Beginning
March 10-20, 1869
Johnny was jolted awake by angry curses and several prison guards grabbing and dragging him, shouting that today was finally the day his worthless life would be snuffed out in one long, and they assured him, painful moment.
He was taken to a room and stripped of the so-called clothes he wore, and was shoved into a hole in the ground with cold water that they called a bathtub, and told to bathe. It didn’t matter that the bath water was used by at least five of his fellow prisoners, and that the water he washed his hair with was filthy as well. He was given a covering and they cut his hair, and he was allowed to shave. He didn’t know why, but he figured at least he would die looking halfway decent.
He dried off with a rag that was, again, used by his fellow prisoners, then was given virgin-white peasant, or death clothes, to put on. He joined the other condemned men in one last meal, a breakfast of some sort of slop that was garnished with pesky little roaches wandering aimlessly in the clay bowls. Needless to say, not one of them ate. Then, they were asked if they wanted to visit with a priest. Some of them responded in the affirmative, but Madrid declined the offer.
Ain’t nothin’ no man dressed in black can do for me now, he thought, with unwanted regret.
As he was shoved into the wagon with the others on his way to destiny, the sun warmed him, and he relished in the feeling that he knew would soon end. He spied his doctor friend, and the man’s sad smile and small wave good-bye gave Johnny the feeling that at least someone would mourn his passing.
Ol’ Man Lancer sure won’t. . .was the thought that filled his angry, yet frightened, mind.
It was a bumpy, and it seemed endless, ride to the top of a hill, with the prisoners chained to each other to avoid escape. It was a pretty setting, Johnny thought, until he spied the large hole where he knew his body would be thrown, with the others, and covered. No single graves, no markers, nothing to show that this was a resting place for the men who had fought, valiantly, but lost in a revolution they knew could never be won. The morbid thought that 100 years from now someone might want to build a grand hacienda there, on top of century-old skeletons, brought a rather wicked smile to Johnny’s languished, but yet, still handsome face.
There were nine of them to die that day, with Madrid considered the ringleader. For this, he was awarded a large white sombrero that he was ordered to wear, another dig by the Rurales that the great gunfighter would finally be disposed of by their hands. The first six were taken in sets of three, and finally, Alvarez was blindfolded and pushed to the spot where he would in a minute drop to the ground. .dead.
“VIVA LA REVO. . . .”
“. .lution. . .” came a soft, sorrowful reply.
Johnny slowly stood up, knowing his time was short, but he was determined to die like a man. He would not wear a blindfold; his eyes would be staring at his killers, ensuring that the piercing sapphires would be forever engraved into the minds of the Rurales.
But Madrid’s mental determination was not needed, for the events of the next few moments would see the young gunfighter not only spared and very much alive, but on his way to a meeting with his father. . .and, more importantly to Johnny, $1,000 richer!
March 20-25, 1869
Upon arriving in Denver, Scott immediately checked into the Colorado, Denver’s finest hotel, and just down the street from the Weston Boarding House for Women, where Rebecca would live until she became more settled. Her first day of work was April 1, and she was busy meeting with the representatives from the school she would be teaching at, signing employment papers, informing her family she had arrived intact, and learning her way around Denver.
So the time spent with Scott had been short; it had been nothing like the romantic, magic time they had spent in St. Louis.
It was during this time, when Scott was alone, that he realized his instincts were correct—that at this time in his life, meeting his father was more important than a relationship—with Rebecca or anybody. He also began to notice the differences of life ‘out West’ as opposed to Boston and Chicago. . .and even St. Louis.
Although some culture was evident in the City as men and women still dressed for nights out on the town for dinner or a play, he felt out of place in his ruffled shirts, buttonaire, and top hat.
He peeked in, but did not venture into, one of the saloons that stood on the side street away from the main downtown area, where men wore guns and gunbelts, drank beer and played poker with cigars hanging from their mouths, and women in low-cut, frilly dresses danced on tables and sat on the laps of these men, allowing themselves to be kissed, intimately, and fondled, shamelessly.
Scott questioned what he was getting himself into—if Denver was like this, what on earth would it be like in California? He could not fashion himself dressing like these men were, acting like they were, and living in a place that was so—uncultured. Was his father like this? Did his father wear guns? Was his father dirty, unkempt, and uneducated? Would he turn into one of these men in time, wearing a gun and using women like they were something to be thrown away when he was done with them?
No, he would not. And for the first time since leaving Boston, thoughts of his refined, educated, and proper grandfather came into Scott’s mind, and he realized that Boston is where he belonged, that his desire for excitement and change that he thought he craved was merely a temporary feeling due to his break-up with Julie Dennison and his reluctance to join his grandfather in his lucrative business.
He further realized that the lovely Rebecca St. John was a diversion; she was companionship on this exciting journey he had ventured on, and though his thoughts of her remained that she was truly a beautiful young woman who deserved respect, he knew that there was no room for her in his life.
The final two days that Scott and Rebecca spent together were strained. Deep down, they realized that they were not meant to be. While polite with one another, their unease was apparent. Minutes of uncomfortable silence came between them, and they seemed downright embarrassed at their own behaviors toward one another, especially the nights they had spent together.
On their last night, after a somber meal at a truly elegant restaurant, Scott Lancer walked Rebecca St. John home. Gentlemen friends were not allowed in the boarding house, and male relatives, including fathers and brothers of the young women, were allowed only as far as the vestibule to the lobby. So Scott and Rebecca said their final good-byes in a gently falling snow on the sidewalk outside of the door to the home.
After thanking each other for the wonderful time and wishing one another luck on their future endeavors, Scott took Rebecca’s hand and gently kissed it. He tipped his top hat in her direction, gave a quick wink and a smile, turned around, and walked directly to his hotel and up to his room, and it was only then that it hit him that she was gone.
Emptiness overtook his heart.
Sighing, Scott retrieved his travel folder from his jacket and perused it. He would be leaving by train tomorrow morning to San Francisco, then would board another train to Stockton, and finally, catch a stage in some place called Green River.
Good Lord, catching a stage in a place called Green River. What have I gotten myself into?
And it was only then that he comprehended that in the next few days, the almost forgotten meeting with his father would take place. And he became terrified.
Scott Lancer wanted to go home. What he didn’t realize, though, was that he was headed in that direction.
Only Boston wasn’t home anymore. . . . . .
Crossing the Rio Grande—I’m Alive!
March 20-25, 1869
It had been at least four days of non-stop riding since Johnny and the horse he dubbed Rory (for Rurales) splashed their way across the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States. He stopped by a small stream to let the horse drink, and he sighed heavily.
He was safe. . .he was. . .alive!!! And he still shuddered when he remembered the feeling of sheer hopelessness he had in front of the firing squad, and the fear he felt in spite of his stoic appearance.
The past several days had been hectic; after all, there were clothes and supplies to buy. Thank goodness he had caught up with the Pinkerton man, who helped him get out of Mexico and gave him money from his own personal funds to buy what he needed.
Although he was still reeling from the events of the past days, Johnny knew he had to calm down and get himself under control. The fact that at this particular time the world considered Johnny Madrid a dead man at the hands of the Rurales brought him great comfort, but he knew that sooner or later the word would get out he had survived, and he would, once again, have to start ‘watching his back.’ So he figured the sooner he made it to California, spent one hour—and no less—with his old man, and got the money promised to him, the quicker he could head to Montana, Big Sky Country, where he could perhaps find peace from the person that was Johnny Madrid.
He surmised he was in Nevada; the cool mountain air was a blessed relief from the humid weather in Mexico, and the clear blue sky and statuesque mountains gave him a feeling of humbleness that he hadn’t felt in a long time. . .if ever. Johnny kept to the backwoods, staying away from the towns as much as possible. This night, however, he was feeling tired. He longed for a hot meal, a swig of tequila, a hot bath, a comfortable bed. . . .and a soft body.
It was dusk when he found himself in the place known as Needles, Nevada. There was no hotel, but a saloon and livery were visible and that was all he needed. He checked Rory into the livery, and ventured over to the saloon called The Lost Haven. He ordered tequila and a steak, and although not of the greatest quality, it was the first decent meal this young man had eaten in months.
As he savored his meal, Johnny realized just how tired, both mentally and physically, he really was. So when the saloon’s resident ‘lady’ sauntered his way and began to drown him in much-craved attention, Johnny didn’t flinch.
Angelina was a pretty woman with long black hair, white skin, huge brown eyes, and red, luscious lips that made her the favorite of the Lost Haven. He followed her upstairs to her room. It was small, almost claustrophobic. But to Johnny, it was a cozy hide-away, complete with a small sink, a desk, comfortable chair, and most of all, a bed.
His tiredness was paramount; however, when he felt Angelina’s soft, warm body next to his, when he felt her warm breath, when he touched her soft hair, when he smelled her sweetness, Johnny Madrid could not be denied. The pain and fear of the past several months were released into the person that was Angelina; his forceful thrusts an end result of the helplessness he felt languishing in prison with nothing to do but await his death.
When all was said and done, Johnny gently brushed Angelina’s hair from her tiny face, and in doing so, felt warm tears roll down her cheeks. He became alarmed, fearing he had hurt the girl when it was certainly not his intent. When questioned, Angelina sighed that the tears were not from pain; rather, from the feeling she had that she had never felt so fulfilled. . . .or so alive.
The next two days were a blur for Johnny. The young gunfighter was exhausted, and the safety and comfort he felt from Angelina’s humble room allowed him to sleep. However, he was aware of Angelina’s presence as she gently massaged his still painful back, applying medicinal creams to help with the swelling. He was aware of her as she gently stroked his hair and wiped his slightly fevered brow; of the cool water she gave him, and the hot broth that tasted so good. He was also aware of her gentle scolding, when he barely awoke and said he had to move on, and she ensured he stayed put until he was rested.
When Johnny finally awoke, Angelina directed him to the bathhouse, and he relished in his first ‘real’ bath in months. Then she rewarded him with a home-cooked meal of tacos and the fixin’s, and she was even able to fulfill his request for cold, fresh milk.
But as was Johnny’s way, he began to fill antsy. . .he knew it was time to move on. He felt the best he had felt in months; strong, rested, confident, and it was all thanks to Angelina. But he realized he owed this beautiful woman so much. One last time, they engaged in sexual bliss, and this time, Johnny’s act was gentle, loving, respectful, the way he always intended it to be. And Angelina responded in kind.
As Johnny left Needles, and Angelina, he was saddened, and he wondered, not for the first time, if he had left a part of him in her that would be a constant reminder of their time together. But he couldn’t worry about that now, he had this appointment in California that he needed to go to, and the result would be $1,000 in his hot little hands.
Johnny stopped Rory at the top of the hill and looked down in the valley. . .at California. He was that much closer to meeting his old man. And for the first time, Johnny’s stomach tingled as he realized he was curious about the man that was his father. Of Murdoch Lancer.
Green River, California
March 31, 1869, The Night Before. . .
Scott had returned from dinner at the Green River Hotel and looked out of his hotel room at the town called Green River. Talk about culture shock! The young man who was used to the civilization of Boston and New York felt way out of place in this. . . .cow town.
He remembered the saloon in Denver that shocked him; next to this, that saloon was a four-star establishment. Scott thought about Boston, about what his friends and family were doing now; this being a Sunday evening, delicious dinners in elegant homes were being served, where conversation would revolve around politics for the men, and the latest social events would be discussed amongst the ladies.
Scott had wired Mr. Lancer that the stage arriving to Green River was late, but that he would be on the first stage on Monday to Morro Coyo; during dinner, Scott received a telegram acknowledging Lancer’s receipt, and that someone from the ranch would be there to meet him at 12:40 p.m.
Someone from the ranch? Won’t he be there himself? Scott wondered, irritated.
He learned that Green River was the center, and largest, of three towns in a 20-mile radius, the other two being Spanish Wells and Morro Coyo. He learned that the Lancer ranch was closest to Morro Coyo, and was informed by the waitress at the hotel restaurant that the ranch was the biggest in the San Joaquin Valley, and that Murdoch Lancer was the most respected, and, by some, feared rancher in the area.
Well, tomorrow he would finally meet the man he had wondered about all his life. He would meet the man who, according to his grandfather, kidnapped his mother, taking her away from all that was good, to some god-for-saken wilderness, and had left her, and her baby son, to die. He would meet the man who had never sent him a birthday or Christmas card, who had never sent a letter or package, and who, as far as Scott could tell, didn’t even know his son had been a prisoner of war for over a year.
So why was his father contacting him now, after all this time, after all these years? And why did Scott agree to come to California to meet him? And how on earth, Scott wondered, did people live out here, with nothing but dirt, dust, and run-down buildings that they called towns?
And, Scott Lancer wondered, what did his father look like?
10 Miles from Morro Coyo
March 31, 1869, The Night Before. . .
The band of gypsies that Johnny Madrid encountered around dinnertime below the crest of a small hill was positively delightful. They were a happy bunch, full of laughter, full of song, and more than happy to share what they had with the stranger who did not judge, but accepted, them for what they were.
Johnny learned that he was 10 miles from Morro Coyo, the town that the Pinkerton agent told him was closest to the Lancer ranch.
He also learned from the gypsies that the stage to Morro Coyo passed by on the dirt road, just above the small hill, every day at five past noon, so he decided that tomorrow he would hitch a ride on the stage into town, and that tomorrow would be the day he would meet his old man, and, more importantly, collect his $1,000.00.
He also considered the fact that Rory, the horse that had belonged to the Rurales and he had ridden off to freedom on, had served him well, and he had decided to retire him in Morro Coyo and purchase a better horse with some of the cash he would receive. But the kind-hearted gypsies needed a horse, so Johnny decided to leave Rory with them. He knew the animal would be taken care of, and besides, the horse was a reminder of the horror that had bestowed Johnny the past several months.
He spent that night at the gypsies’ camp, snuggling with their beautiful daughter, Lyana, and after sharing a hearty breakfast, the gypsies bid Johnny Madrid a heartfelt good-bye. They had asked him to join them, for they truly liked the young gunfighter, but he kindly declined.
He had things to do. . . . . .
The Day of Reckoning. . . .Crossroads Joined
April 1, 1869
Scott Lancer realized it was exactly one month since that freezing morning when he left Boston in anticipation of the exciting journey that lay ahead of him. He wasn’t sure whether it had been exciting or not, but he realized that he had just what he wanted in Boston, and that if he couldn’t find it there, it wasn’t anywhere. He decided that after meeting his father and making some sort of amends with the man, he would be content to return to Boston and be thankful for the privileges that had been bestowed him.
But could he? Or was he just fooling himself, thinking that Boston had all the answers to his questions about his life?
He climbed into the stagecoach at Green River and let his mind wander to the upcoming meeting with Mr. Murdoch Lancer.
Johnny Madrid enjoyed a few hours of quiet reflection as he waited for the stage to appear, and just after noon, as the gypsies had told him, the stage was in sight. He climbed the small hill, and asked, knowing the answer, “You headed for Morro Coyo?”
After being told yes and reluctantly turning over his gun to the stage drivers, Johnny entered the stagecoach and plopped down, rather unceremoniously, next to a fancy-dressed dan that Johnny couldn’t help but notice.
“Didn’t mean to ruin your outfit,” Johnny said, not quite meaning his words.
“Couldn’t be helped,” answered the slightly annoyed gentleman.
And at that point, the very different journeys of two young men met at the crossroads of their lives, and although they couldn’t know it then, the crossroads would eventually join into one straight road, and would lead them home to the most satisfying journey of their lives. . . .
The Journey of Brotherhood. . .
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