Today’s Question’s… Tomorrow’s Answer’s by Nancy Marie

Word Count 91,655

#1 in Today’s Question…Tomorrow”s Answer Series

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This is my first Lancer story. I don’t own them ( SIGH ) I’m just playin’ with them for fun.

This story does not pertain to the pilot episode or any other episodes directly so you will not need to be familiar with them to follow this.  To me Lancer was the best western on TV when growing up. JS/JML  was and always will be the best cowboy ever to grace our TV.

I will give this story an R-Rated because of the sexual content and swearing.

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Chapter 1

The man sat atop the hill looking down at the river below. His mind pulling him in all different directions, he tried to sit up straighter  in the saddle only to be met with a sharp stabbing pain in his lower right side. Four days ago Rurales had put a bullet in him. A bullet that luckily passed clean through. Having a five thousand dollar dead or alive bounty on his head put Johnny Madrid sitting on top of this hill looking down at the Rio Grande  river and Texas. Looking toward the sun Johnny knew it would be down in a couple hours. Del Rio, Texas would have what he needed for his wound. Even though he had cauterized it three days ago he knew it would need stitched up. What he didn’t like was the fever he had, It was getting worse and he knew the wound was infected. Johnny reined his horse down the hill toward the east end of town. He could see the mission from up top and knew the Priest would help him without involving the law.

Leaving his horse in the alley Johnny carefully walked to the back door of the mission and slowly opened the door.

Padre Tomas was in mid sentence in his daily Rosary when he heard the back  door. The entrance was not normally used by any but himself, he watched cautiously the doorway to the antechamber. He was shocked to see Madrid there when he appeared but more shocked as to the shape the young man was in. Madrid was pale and his face was drawn in pain. Tomas’ heart went out to his young friend. He knew life rarely had been fair to the youth.

“ It appears my child you need some assistance here.” he said as he reached Madrid and helped him back into the recesses of the building.

“una inconveniencia en absoluto.”

( My son you have been of great help in the past it is no inconvenience at all )

“ Si Padre podria utilizar si una cierta ayuda, pero no deseo incomodarle.”

( Yes I could use some help, but I do not wish to inconvenience you)

“ Mi hijo que usted ha side de gran ayuda en el pasado el lo menos que puedo hacer por usted.”

( My son you have been very helpful in the past, it is the least I can do for you )

Father Tomas helped Madrid to a small room and left him to obtain first aide materials. He then went to the kitchen were the old woman  who prepared meals for the mission occupants was cleaning and asked that a small meal be prepared.

Upon his return Madrid had halfway undressed and lay half conscious on the thinly matted bed. Tomas winced at the site of the draining wound.

“ Lo Siento Juanito, I will need to clean this. I am sorry for the discomfort.”

Johnny had thought the warm water the Padre had used in cleaning the wound had been torture but when the antiseptic met with the torn irritated flesh it was unbearable. He heard a scream of pain that strongly sounded like himself as he drifted into the comforting blackness that beckoned him.

Johnny moaned and tried to open his eyes, he could feel someone wiping his forehead with a cool cloth and speaking in low Spanish. Trying to get his mind focused he remembered were he was as he finally opened his eyes and looked at the Padre sitting on the side of the bed.

“ Lo Siento Padre…I.” he started to say as he grimaced from pain as he tried to sit up.

“ No. usted debe recliar a Johnny. Eslara bien. Usted es seguro en le casa de dios.”

Tomas wasn’t sure how long he had been there but he was tired, soon he succumbed to his exhaustion. ( No you must rest Johnny. It will be alright. You are safe in God’s house.)

When Tomas awoke his first vision was that of Madrid and the concern in his blue eyes, eyes that set him apart his entire life thought Tomas. So vivid and intriguing they were, but also the bane of much of the young man’s pain in his youth. A Mestizo gunfighter with a true heart of gold thought Tomas. He always wondered how Madrid had become such a kind man. So many others on his path would and did become bitter soulless killers yet here was one who could not fall so far as they. Pain and circumstances had not robbed Madrid of the man he could become. Padre Tomas saw this and prayed for the young lost man many times. Prayed that in some way El Dios would see fit to lead Madrid to a destiny far greater than the one the young man chased after now.

‘El Todopoderoso de dios, permite que el vea una diversa trayicloria pronto.’ thought Tomas as he rose to his feet.

( God almighty, allow him to see a different path soon.)

Johnny swung his legs over the side of the bed and felt a slight pull at his side. Looking down he could see the redness was almost gone now. Touching the wound he could feel very little heat from it. Cauterizing a wound is something Johnny Madrid had learned first hand from another gunhawk in the past. Gunfighters couldn’t always be lucky and not get shot, Someone was always faster and better and Johnny knew that one day he would be called out for the last time as he would feel a bullet end it all for him. With shaky hands he reached for the water and tried to pour some. Unable to pick it up he looked at the Padre.

“ Por Favor Padre?” he asked as he ran a hand through his hair.

Tomas quickly moved to the table and poured some water for the weakened man.

“ Juanito you will stay with us for awhile. Si?” Tomas asked hopefully. He knew the young man would not stay long but any time would be a blessing. The wound needed time to heal and Madrid he knew would need to regain some strength to continue along his journey.

“ Si Padre…for awhile.” Madrid laid back down and closed his eyes. Safe he thought yes for awhile at least and he allowed himself to drift into another troubled sleep.

Tomas watched over the young man till he was sure he was fully asleep. He had known Madrid for a long while, known the mother as well. The beautiful Maria had had no business attempting to raise a child, she had been to interested in her own needs to see to the needs of a small child and Juanito had run wild in the streets while she spent her time in the cantina’s. The boy had shown at the mission many times back then, usually with an empty belly and longing eyes that begged for more than food. They asked for caring and understanding, a place to belong. Yet always he returned to the mother aching for whatever morsels of affection she could muster for him. The woman was truly insane he thought, to bring a young child obviously a half breed to a border town, treatment for such was brutal but Juanito had borne the pain and abuse bravely.

Tomas could remember one time the boy before him had shown up with his back bloody from a whipping, a whipping from a man Maria had had in there home, a man who once looked into his placid blue eyes had beaten him and told him he was the mistake of the devil. Maria had done nothing to stop this and the Padre seen how the harsh words had changed the boy as he grew up.

Tomas left the room and closed the door. Making his way to the kitchen again wanting to make sure his previous orders were explicit, ‘No One’ was to know of the young gunhawks presence here. No one save himself and the old woman.

Johnny spent three days drifting in and pout of sleep. His fever finaly abated late on the fourth day. Trying to get out of bed he was overcome with dizziness and sat back down.

“ Okay…another day or two won’t hurt to rest I guess.” he stated to himself as he laid back down and pulled the sheet  up over him.

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Two weeks later Johnny rode into Moro Coyo. The Padre had helped him and he thanked him dearly for it. Riding out of Del Rio  Johnny had an urge inside him he needed to qualm. An urge to see the man who turned his life into a living hell. The man responsible for what his mother became and the reason he was who he had become. Johnny reined up in front of the bath house. He could use a  bottle and company. It had been awhile since he had bedded a woman and tonight his urge and need for one was strong. Dismounting he walked up to the door and opened it slowly and was glad to see the place was empty. An hour later Johnny stepped out of the bathhouse clean from top to bottom and his face felt good as he ran a hand over his chin.

Stepping down Madrid untied his horse and led him down and tied him in front of the saloon. Stepping up onto the walkway Johnny paused at the bat wings and peered inside before stepping in. The bartender, two old men who paid him no mind and a saloon girl were all that was in at this time of the day. Johnny walked up to the bar and asked for a bottle of Tequila, after paying for it he went and sat down at a table in the corner with his back to the wall.

A couple shots later Johnny noticed the saloon girl staring at him, he gave her a look that clearly told her that she was not what he wanted. Saloon girls did anything you wanted, anything for a drink. Johnny knew what kind of woman could cure his sexual appetite,and it was a strong one and getting stronger, as he stood up and picking up his bottle he walked cautiously outside and put the bottle in his saddlebag and mounted his horse. The barber had told him about the house at the end of town that would have what he wanted.

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Chapter 2

Johnny walked into the Bordello and slid his hat back so it was hanging by the stampede strap on his back. Looking around he could see several women talking among themselves and taking quick glances at him.  An older woman walked up to Madrid, she had green eyes and a look that told Johnny she clearly recognized his type and didn’t want him there.

“ Ma’am.” he stated as he took notice of the girl he would like to have.

“ I’m the owner of this establishment young man and I don’t want your kind in here… Your kind is nothing but trouble!”

“ Well ma’am.” Johnny said with a touch of sarcasm. “ Just what kind would that be?” he asked even though he knew she was talking about the gunfighter kind.

“ That!” she said pointing to his gun and how he wore it low on his hip.

“ Well Ma’am I’m not here to shoot anyone with that gun…In fact I’m not here to use that gun.” he stated with a slight smile as he again looked at the girl standing next to the fireplace. She had long black hair and a beautiful smile from what Madrid could see from across the room.

“ I see….. I also see one of my girls has caught your eye……Let me tell you something mister….?”

“ Madrid ma’am…Johnny Madrid.”

The woman caught her breath and Johnny could see she had heard of him.

“ I’m here for one thing Ma’am that’s all….I just want ten dollars of fun between the sheets!”

“ Very well…but it will cost you dearly if you so much as put a mark on my girl…Do I make my self clear Mr. Madrid?” she stated very firmly especially on his name.

“ Oh yes ma’am you do…I have never hurt a woman and I don’t intend to start doin’ so now.”

The woman motioned for Johnny to proceed and he did just that. He walked over to the girl with the long black hair and smiled as she put her hand to his chest and started running it up and down. Johnny took her hand and led her toward the stairs and watched her rear sway as she walked up them ahead of him. Stopping outside her room she turned and as she opened the door she took a hold of his belt and gently pulled him inside. Johnny closed the door behind him with his foot as he started kissing on the girl. Names were never important to him. Of all the girls he had fucked in the past he never asked their name. “ Why know the name of someone you are just parting the sheets with? ” he had told himself countless times. She was aggressive and demanding and hungry. Johnny delved his tongue into her mouth hungrily as he reached down and undid his gun belt,stopping only to hang it on the bed post as he always did. The girl reached for his other belt and started undoing it as Johnny ran his hands over her breast. And finally inside to touch and feel the hardness of her nipples. Wearing only her undergarments gave Johnny easy access to what he wanted and she eagerly allowed him that access. Undoing his pants as she removed her bloomers Johnny could feel himself getting more hard, especially when she reached for his shaft and started stroking it in her hands before he had his pants and boots off. Sitting down on the bed Johnny found himself pushed backwards onto his back as the girl climbed on top of him and buried her tongue in his mouth for several seconds before she started kissing his neck working her way down to his chest.

Johnny liked how this girl took control and went for what she wanted but he wanted also and since it was his money paying for it Johnny decided he would take control again as he reached down and slid his hand between her legs as she spread them wider for him to do what he wanted.

Johnny slipped a finger inside her wetness and felt her moan as he attacked her mouth with furry. After a couple minutes Johnny could tell the girl was hot enough and ready  to explode. Bringing his hand back up to her waist he flipped her over onto her back and eased himself between her legs. Easing his throbbing head to her hot wet entrance Johnny thrust hard and entered her. Not wasting any time he slammed into her hard as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

“ Oh god, harder cowboy…harder..I’m…” she panted and begged.

Johnny could feel her muscles tighten as he thrust into her as hard as he could. Feeling his own climax starting Johnny delved his tongue deep in her mouth as he released his seed deep inside her wetness. With a final shudder Madrid rolled off the girl and tried to slow his breathing he wiped at the sweat on his forehead.

The girl got out of bed and went to the wash basin and poured some water in it. Taking a cloth she dipped it in the basin and rung the extra water out and wiped herself down. Looking down at Madrid she smiled as she again wet the cloth and came to the bed and started to wipe the sweat from Johnny’ body. Madrid laid there and enjoyed the feelings she was causing, and somehow he knew she knew what she was doing to him. Smiling the girl laid down  next to him with her breast on his right arm. Taking the cloth and wiping his chest and stomach down she moved it lower and with precise expertise she cleaned him while licking and sucking on his nipples. Biting gently she threw the cloth to the floor and started kissing lower and ran her tongue across his stomach. Johnny felt himself getting hard again as her mouth slowly took him inside. Sucking in a breath Johnny pressed his head back into the pillow as he started to move his hips to the rhythm  of her mouth. After a minute of this Johnny was rock hard and reaching down he stopped her and pulled her back up to his mouth. Delving his tongue in hers more demanding than before Johnny flipped the girl over on her stomach and brought her up onto her knee’s as he moved behind her. Reaching around Johnny slid two fingers inside her and could tell she was more than ready for his second assault. Shoving his cock inside her he thrust deep and hard as he put his hands on her hips and pulled her back into him when he thrust forward. Moaning the girl put her head down on the bed and spread herself more for Madrid. Johnny reached around and between folded skin he started to rub and gently pinch and pull as he grabbed her hair and pulled her head back toward him and started kissing her neck running his tongue up and down her neck breathing hot hard and fast. The girl turned her head and delved her tongue into his mouth sucking on his  as she felt a moan escaping his lips.

Johnny slowed himself as he kissed her deeply, finally pulling himself from her he backed away and turned her over again onto her back. Thinking he was going to lay on top of her the girl spread her legs only to be pulled up to her feet. Johnny spun her around and putting his hands on her face he started kissing her deeply again as he walked her backwards until she hit the wall. Raising her up Johnny slid inside her as he picked her up and had her wrap her legs around him.

Thrusting hard and deep up into her Johnny leaned his head down and attacked her breast with furry,sucking biting and pulling on first one then the other.

“ Oh sweet mothe…Oh my ……Yeah…Yeah Oh Yeah..” the girl said as Johnny slammed her hard against the wall as he thrust as deep and hard as he could inside her. His  balls tightening Johnny knew he was going to explode again.

“ You like that don’t you whore?….You like being fucked hard don’t you?” Madrid said between breaths as he released his seed again inside the girl.

“ Yeah…Yes I like it cowboy…….giver it to me blue eyes…”

Johnny was totally spent  and his legs quivered when he backed away from the girl as she let her legs down. Her chest rising and falling as she breathed fast from the wild ride she just took.

“ Tell….me somethin’ Boy….You always like that when you fuck?” she asked as she went to the basin and poured more water into it and took another cloth out to clean herself off.

Johnny went and sat down on the bed and watched . Wiping the sweat from his forehead Madrid smiled. “ It’s been awhile so I guess I was a little more aggressive than usual….I didn’t hurt you did I?”

“ Oh hell no…….Hurt me….boy you just gave me a ride like I ain’t ever had…….You sure do know how to please a girl…a hell lot better than older guy’s do that be for sure.” the girl stated as she walked over to Johnny and put a hand under his chin and lifted his eyes to hers. “ You have the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen Boy.”

Johnny had had enough of the * boy *  standing Johnny put his hands on her cheeks. “ Don’t call me boy again……A boy wouldn’t and couldn’t do to you what I just did.” he stated firmly before kissing her deeply one last time before reaching for his pants to get dressed.

“ I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to offend you….Look why don’t you tell me your name and I’ll tell you mine.” she said as she ran her fingers over his back. Dressed Johnny reached for his gun and strapped it on then took the ten dollars out and laid it on the dresser. Walking over to the door Madrid stopped and turned back to her. “ Madrid….Johnny Madrid.” he said before leaving. The girl had heard of him, heard how Madrid was way older than he was when it came to fucking a girl. The gunfighter had a reputation with the whores almost as much as he did as a  gunfighter.

Chapter 3

Murdoch Lancer came out of the telegraph office with a disappointed look on his face, still no definitive answer to his inquiries. He was sure how much money he had spent in these many years on the pink’s but if in the end they gave some closure to his son’s where abouts, dead or alive, it would be well worth it. He was tall and a powerful man, one with a tight control on his emotions. This was his one weakness,his long lost son and his estranged wife. After so many years he could take or leave the wife but the son, He wanted him back at all cost. He had lost two son’s  and the possibility of having even one returned to hold was a dream he just couldn’t let go, even now.

Paul the Lancer foreman approached, by the look on Murdoch’ face he could tell there had been no answers, at least  none his employer and friend wanted to hear.

“ What say we head to the saloon Murdoch? I’d be pleased to buy you a beer.”

Murdoch drew a deep breath,” Yes a beer would be nice.”

“ Still no word?’

“ No nothing and my hopes are beginning to wear thin Paul.”

They crossed the street to enter the saloon. A few of the patrons turned to nod in greeting to the two men as they moved across the room to the bar to order.

Madrid stepped out onto the bordello porch and let a slight smile curve his lips. Stepping down to his horse he started to swing up into the saddle when he heard it.

“ MADRID ”

Sighing Johnny slowly turned toward the voice, he could see a man standing just down the street from him . Retying his horse Madrid stepped away from the animal.

“ Today’s the day you *DIE* Madrid.”

Madrid stood there looking at the man, keeping his voice calm and cool.

“ Well a lot of men have tried….mind if I ask why you want to do this?”

“ I know all about you Madrid…Jackson…Ben Jackson, and I’m gonna send you to hell.”

People on the street stopped as they watched the scene before them play out. Murdoch and Paul as well as the others in the bar had heard  the gunfighter called out. As Murdoch and Paul stepped out to watch the scene unfold the bartender spoke.

“ That’s Johnny Madrid…They say he’s killed over fifty men, that there ain’t no one as fast as him. They say he always tries to talk his way out of killing the person that call’s him out, but it never happens….He’s a cold blooded killer Mr. Lancer…a cold blooded killer and he’s the devil himself is why he can’t be killed.”

Murdoch looked at Madrid and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He had heard of the gunfighter but never thought he would see him, never thought what he had heard would belong to such a young person.

“ My god Paul…he’s just a boy!”

Paul looked at him.” He’s a killer Murdoch, that’s pretty plain.”

“ A killer that has no soul.” the bartender stated firmly.

A chuckle escaped Johnny’s lips ” Well done  been there Jackson, all I want is to ride out of town.

Make your move I’ll answer it but get it done. My patience is running thin with a has been like you.”

He just wanted out of the town and this man was standing between him and his goal. He was tired of

waiting the man needed to put up or shut up. He moved as if to turn.

Jackson stood more firmly upward as he decided now was the time for Madrid to die. ” Time to Die

Madrid ” he said as he went for his gun.

Out of the corner of his eye Johnny saw the movement and in a gracefully practiced movement he drew

and fired as he swung down into his characteristic crouch.

Jackson felt the sting of the bullet as it entered him and felt himself propelled backwards and hit the

ground hard. His gun was still in it’s holster. He  never cleared leather. Laying there he looked up at

the blue sky as he felt the blood run from his body.

Johnny walked over an toed the man on the ground, he had learned long ago to never turn your back on

a dead man unless you make sure he was dead. He then turned and began to make his way to his horse.

” See….what’d I tell ya Mr. Lancer?” the bartender stated more than asked as he stepped back inside

the bar.

Murdoch stepped around the wagon and took a couple steps toward the team as he looked at Madrid

standing there. He could see the gunfighter looking at him coldly for some reason. Finally Murdoch

walked over to the dead man The shot had been through the heart. Looking back up toward Madrid

Murdoch sighed and turned to walk back to his wagon.

Johnny noticed the big man as he walked to the body. H turned slightly to watch, he knew who he was.

He wasn’t sure if the lack of recognition in the old man’s eyes pissed him off or relieved him, finally deciding he just didn’t care he turned back to the horse

Murdoch walked back over to Paul. ” I pray that Johnny never ends up like that….I pray he is still alive

and safe somewhere…..What could make a person grow up and become a killer like that Paul?”

Murdoch asked solemnly as he climbed up into the wagon.

Paul climbed up with him.” The Pinkerton’ will find him Murdoch……Your Johnny is still

alive….They’ll find him and when they do you’ll bring him home were he belongs!” Paul stated as he

took up the reins and started the team toward home. His heart went out to the man next to him. He

could not fathom what it would be like if he lost his Teresa the way Murdoch had lost not one but both

his sons. His oldest he knew was well and back east living with his Grandfather but it was his Youngest

that was surely tearing Murdoch up inside. Not knowing if a child was still alive or not was the hardest

thing any father could go through.

After a couple miles of quiet Murdoch cleared his throat. ” How could she…..How could Maria take

away my son?…..Why didn’t I see something was wrong Paul?….Was I that busy building my ranch that

I became blind to what was right in front of me?” he asked with a heaviness in his voice.

Paul shook his head not knowing for sure how to answer his best friend.

Chapter 4

Johnny rode for two weeks after killing Jackson in Morro Coyo. Every time whoever it was calling him out, they all thought they would be the one to take down Madrid. Letting his mind drift back to Morro Coyo  Johnny couldn’t help but have a small smile on his face as he thought about the look on the old mans face.” Your time is coming ol’ man and when I come to kill you for what you did to my mother and me I won’t be so nice about it….I’ll make you go through hell just like we had to do’ he thought as he pulled rein and stopped near a stream to make camp for the night. He could be in a nice comfortable bed tonight if he wished but the stars, hard tack and coffee was what he was wanting tonight. After taking care of his horse Johnny set about getting camp set up for the night. Leaning back against his saddle Johnny’ mind drifted back to his mother. Why he didn’t know for sure. the woman never really did right by him all the years growing up and drifting from border town to border town. Finally as sleep started to take him he tossed his plate next to the fire and taking out his pistol he stuck it in under his saddle for the ready like he always did. Sometime in the early hours of dawn Johnny startled awake screaming *NO* as he struggled to get his breathing under control. Why after so many years did that memory have to show its ugly self to him again. A memory he wish he never had but for some unforeseen reason had decided to surface again. Running a hand over his face he seen the fire still had some hot embers glowing so he stirred them and added some wood and soon had the pot of coffee from last night heating up. Standing and walking over to check his horse Johnny silently cursed his mother for the dream that had woken him minutes ago. ‘ Love is what she said it was… Love between a mother and her son.’ That it was how true love was shown between the two. Johnny walked back over to the fire and sat back down. Looking up at the sky as the sun started to break on the horizon Johnny sighed deeply. How could a mother do such a thing? How could a mother tell a child that this was how that said child should show his mother how he loved her. How could a mother stand by and let said child be hurt like he had been hurt. Johnny realized he had more *hows and whys * than answers and knew he would never get them desperately sought answers from the woman he so desperately hated. Standing he decided to break camp and head into town and replenish his supplies. Maybe with some luck he could find out if his trade was needed. He knew a good bottle of tequila would taste good to him, a woman too but decided against the woman as his mind brought back what the whore in Morro Coyo had said to him.

Half Mex, half white and blue eyes to boot, Johnny was caught in two different worlds. One he grew up in and learned how to survive in and the other….the other a gringo world that had no use for a Mestizo nor wanted one around. He often wondered if his blue eyes was the reason his father had thrown him and his mother out. Could the man just not bare to look into those blue eyes and know his son had Mexican blood coursing through his veins also. Was he that disappointed in his son over his blue eyes that he couldn’t bare the fact anymore so did what he did without a thought to what would happen to that child. Again Johnny had more questions than answers as he rode into the town of Bisbee, Arizona.

Johnny Madrid was tired of it, tired of having more why’s than answers. He had fought in two range wars in the two months since that day in Morro Coyo when he stared at the man he so hated. Mounting up Johnny headed west. The job here in Laredo was done, he was paid nicely by the rancher, though hesitantly for his gun. Sometimes he would laugh inside when the person or persons who hired him didn’t want to pay him for his work. Madrid learned a long time ago to get payment up front for his work,after all a dead man couldn’t very well spend money.  Sometimes the person would try to squabble over how many men his gun killed, but when they found themselves looking at the wrong end of that barrel they changed their minds real fast. Laredo had brought him fifteen hundred dollars and a very nice horse. The Palomino was about three years old and hand a beautiful long white mane and tail.

The horse and Madrid were one together. The minute Johnny seen the stallion he knew that was his once in a lifetime horse, the horse of all horses to ride the country on. Johnny learned that first day out that this wasn’t just any old mustang, this was * the mustang * Crossing back into California Johnny smiled as he reined the horse to a stop.

“ Facil amigo,creo que es hora de que te dio un name. How sobre los invito Barranca.”

“Easy buddy. I think it’s about time I give you a name. How about I call you Barranca.” Madrid stated and laughed as the stallion shook his head as if saying * yes *. Urging the stallion onward Madrid headed to the one place he never thought he would go, but the only way he was going to get the answers he so badly needed to the why’ he had no choice. That night he camped just off Lancer land and laid starring at the stars as he sipped on his coffee. Looking over at his horse he couldn’t help but smile. Never in his life would he have thought he would get a chance to own something so beautiful and special, him the gunfighter. Standing and walking over he checked Barranca and rubbed behind the horses ear. Barranca pressed his head into Johnny’ chest and nickered softly. Patting the horse on the neck Johnny went back to his bedroll and stretched out, sleep soon found him but it was a restless sleep as again the dream surfaced and he woke sweating hard and shaking.

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Murdoch sat at his desk waiting anxiously, he wanted the Pink‘s report yesterday.. Paul was taking forever to get back from town he thought. He looked at the clock once more, it was only 5 minutes later than the last time he had looked yet it seemed as hours had passed. Murdoch turned back to the ledger he had been working on, staring at it but for a moment before slamming it shut. Who was he kidding, he could no more concentrate on that than understand why his wife had taken his young son and fled to where ever it was she still hid. Today though it seemed he would have at least one answer, the one that counted.

The wagon had not even made it to the courtyard out side before the tall man burst into the open and the bright sun light.

“Well where is it?” he asked impatiently ripping the envelope from his foreman’s hands. He tore into procured documents like a child on a long awaited Christmas day, as he made his way back to the hacienda. Paul was close on his heels excited as his employer at the thought that the long awaited information had finally arrived.

Once inside Murdoch began reading in route to the huge desk he stopped dead in his tracks, the foreman almost running his friend over at such an abrupt stop.

Paul was not quite sure what the problem was but apparently it was no small matter. The tall Rancher’s face was blanched and pale in utter shock.

“Madrid?” was all the big man could gasp out.

“What about him Murdoch?” Why thought Paul would the old man mention him at a time like…

“It’s …he ‘s.. Johnny Madrid.”

“The gunfighter we saw a while back yes, but what about…Oh Murdoch, you’re not saying…”

Murdoch passed the page he had been clenching in his hand. “I don’t understand how but …Yes Paul, that was my son. I just stood there.” My son he thought, a cold blooded killer, a man to be feared. My god did he know?

He closed his eyes remembering the cold and hardened young man he had seen, the look in his eyes when their eyes had met. Murdoch swallowed hard as the answer hit him like a locomotive, Yes he knew. Why did I not see it he asked himself as those blue cold eyes, even now haunted his dreams.

Still in shock he sat down behind the desk and began reading the report thoroughly.

Maria had indeed returned to Metamoros in the company of a man, but had left shortly before his arrival there to a smaller town. Using the man’s name instead of her own they had posed as husband and wife and the small child with them had been said to be their son. The next time they had surfaced had been in Sonora where the gambler had been shot and killed no one had been sure where the woman had gone… this had been all Murdoch had had for all these years but now the truth lay before him. The truth of Johnny Madrid and his life at least what could be pieced together there where many holes in the report as mother and child moved about resurfacing sporadically under the name Ruiz. Maria had no true employable skills but was quite skilled it seemed in entanglements with men and soon was popular amongst many patrons at several cantinas and bordellos moving on to the next town, when the pink’s got to close. It seemed the woman was never long with out a man in her bed.

Rumor’s abounded now that they had a name for Johnny as a youth, and as he read on he was horror struck. Some lead to use and abuse of his young son by many but most of all their was the hidden innuendo that possibly his wife herself had also taken part in many abuses of the boy. The half breed blue eyed Mexican in the border towns had suffered beatings and worse. One who was interviewed cited his memories of a starving young child yet precotious and full of energy, a child abused all for his difference. He was surprised the child had lived and was sure even that he had not. In time Maria had been killed by one of her drunken patrons and the child no more than 11 had killed the man and run off. No one had ever heard of him since but a few towns away the same blue eyes had appeared under the name of simply Juanito. He had worked hard trying to earn what ever pennies he could to survive and stolen what he could not until the black smithy had caught him. At that point however life looked up some for the child , the smith seeing  that the child truly had no hope in hell if someone did not take him in had been as kind as one could and allowed him to sleep in the loft. He soon discovered the child had a good hand with horses and kept him on even paying him more than just a hay stack to sleep on and food in his belly. The child had still been treated badly all over town for his mixed heritage but he was safe in the smithy’s company. The boy had met many a traveler at the Smyth’s and soon the pisteleros that came through began to pull at the boys attention. Apparently the boy had noted the fear the others in town portrayed to these young men and mistook it for respect. Soon the boy’s interest had turned to the guns the men carried he saved and soon had his own. He would watch as the others practiced and copied them finally one took note of not only his interest but the raw talent was obvious. Soon the boy left and that was the last of young Juanito.

It was here soon after that Johnny Madrid made his first appearance on the scene and his first kill in Sonora. A brash and confident young man with cold blue eyes whom unlike many of his trade had a quiet and calm demeanor. But as many would say from then on the man Madrid was as deadly as any they had seen. Always facing death with a relaxed countenance some said  death did not wish to find him, it was too afraid. As vividly dangerous as his skill with a gun was it appeared in the report too that many a young woman had found herself lost willingly in the man called Madrid as well.

Murdoch lay the report down, shuddering at the information now obtained. What do I do with a son like this, one men all hate? He shook his head and  looked at Paul who entered the room just then.

“Well Murdoch what now?”

“I suppose we go find my son…and hope he doesn’t kill me.”

.

The next morning Johnny watched as the old man talked with his workers and then watched as they rode off. Smiling Johnny went to his horse and after tightening the cinch he mounted up and rode around the hill to come in on the backside of the house. Leaving his horse tethered he walked to a side door and opened it slowly and seen it opened into the kitchen. Seeing it was empty he slowly stepped in and closed the door. Cautiously he made his way down a hall and at the end seen it opened into a big room. Looking around he seen a huge stone fireplace with the Lancer L engraved into the stone above. two of the walls had french style doors and windows to let the light in. Walking over to a corner of the room Madrid looked at the big desk and huge leather chair for which the ol’ man no doubt sat in to do his writing. A smile came to his face as he walked around the desk and sat down in the chair and propped his feet up and taking out his pistol he laid it in his lap and waited. Waited for the one person he so badly hated to walk into this grand room and get the utmost surprise of his life. Spotting a sideboard Johnny got up and walked over and opening it he found several liquors inside. Taking a glass and the bottle of tequila he went back over to the chair and sat back down to wait. His wait wouldn’t be long though. He heard the mans voice as he was coming toward the house.

“So According to them he was last seen in Laredo,” Murdoch said as he moved toward the house. “Paul I need to get there as soon as possible, Ill be leaving in the morning.”

“Murdoch I really think you need to have some one with you. I mean there ain’t no telling what this boy believes and if what you said is true about him knowing,” Paul paused not sure how to convince his friend he needed reinforcements. “and well what you say you saw in his eyes, Murdoch he may want to kill you”

Johnny had his colt ready when the door opened and Murdoch walked into the room. Johnny just smiled because he could see that the ole man didn’t see him at first. ” Morning” Johnny said sarcastically as he downed a shot of tequila and sat the glass down hard on the desk. He just sat there looking hard at the man he so hated. His stone cold blue eyes having no remorse or feeling at all showing in them.

 ” Bet I’m the last person on earth you expected to walk in here and find sitting at this big fancy desk o’ yours huh ol’ man?” Madrid asked as he stood up and cocked his pistol

“The last I thought to see but the first I had hoped for” said Murdoch cautiously. I just received word you where in Laredo and we were leaving to find you.”

Johnny stepped toward him ” So you know who I am then….and you also know why I’m here?”

“I know who you are yes, I found out just a few weeks ago shortly after you left Morro Coyo. I’ve had Pinkerton’ searching for you for years.” Murdoch paused a moment, he wasn’t sure how to proceed, then bewildered, he continued. “ I don’t know what you have been told and I don’t care, It’s done with. You’re my son and all I have wanted was you home.”

” Oh please spare me…..you are nothing but a lying bastard. You threw me and my mother out because you couldn’t stand the fact that I was not the perfect child you had hoped to get….She told me how you would stay away from the ranch from before light till well after dark just so’ you wouldn’t have to be near me…Tell me somethin ol’ man.” Johnny said as he walked up to within a mear foot of Murdoch.

“Were you so horny that she was the first no wait the only one you could get to bed Huh?…..I know you only married her because you didn’t want your good  * Lancer * name tarnished with a bastard  halfbreed kid running around!” he stated flatly

“I could stand here defending myself all day and we would get no where. I don’t know what your mother told you and at this point I don’t care. All I can tell you is I loved your mother, I wouldn’t have married her if I hadn’t. As for my staying out I had no choice. Not because I wanted to stay away from you but because I wanted something to leave you. I put my heart soul into this ranch for you and your brother.”

” I’ve waited fifteen years to face the man who threw me and my mother out to the wolves…..You claim you was lookin for me well I guess you just didn’t look very hard now did ya?….course from what I see around here I think it’s pretty obvious just how hard you did look. She told me that you thought more of your precious ranch and building it than you did me and her…..Looks like she was right!” Madrid said flatly.

“I could stand here defending myself all day” Murdoch stopped a moment grasping for some way to prove the young man his attempts to bring him home. “The left hand drawer on the bottom there you will find all the proof you need.”

“We only just discovered the name changes and that is what made it so hard to find you” piped in Paul.

Johnny stepped back and opened the drawer and took out the file. He threw the papers on the desk and scanned over them as he spread them out. ” You expect me to believe this crap?” he stated more than asked as he picked up a paper. “Well I guess these Pinks had better learn to get their facts straight about a person…..You know I bet it just tore you up inside watching me kill that man in Morro Coyo. You should count your blessings because when I seen you that day I wanted to kill you right then for what you have put me through.”

“Yes I could see that, I just didn’t understand why at the time. After reading those reports I couldn’t blame you. But son I …I wanted you here. Would’ve even taken her back if I had to even after what she did.”

” DON’T……don’t you dare call me your son……You have never wanted me!”

“Then why have I risked this ranch everything I have worked for to find you? I lost my first son and was determined not to loose you but I failed you both.”

” Failed……….that’s a laugh……tell me somethin ol’ man I bet you slept at night with a full belly…..I bet you had warm clothes when needed and not rags……You have cared more about this ranch than anything else and you know what……I’m not going to kill you….No I’ve decided I’m gonna let you live……You see half of this ranch is my birth right and I fully intend on taking it from you……so I hope you’re not too accustomed with the whole thing because you just lost half of it and anything else I want to take that’s yours!”

Murdoch stood there listening to his son’ words…. Words filled with so much hate….Words he thought he would never hear said to him by his own flesh and blood. What had Maria done to his son? What could a mother do or say that would turn a boy into someone filled with such hatred for his own father?

“I am willing to sign one third over right now, as I said you have a brother, the last third I will keep and in time it will go to my children’ children. But I warn you son it isn’t easy to hold a place this size. There are many just waiting to take it away. And not just men either it’s a fight with nature as well.”

” A third huh? ” Tell me you expect me to believe you are willing to sign over a third of this ranch to me and a third to a brother I have never met. So this brother you say I have what…….You throw him and his mother out so’s you could bed a Mexican?” Johnny said sarcastically. “Bet she really liked that one…..Being replaced by a Mexican whore….yessiree! Hell I bet she was real thrilled when you told her how you knocked my mother up!” Johnny said with a smirk.

“She died before I ever met your mother, Scott was raised by her family in Boston for reasons beyond my control.”

“I’m supposed to believe a man who don’t have the guts to fight to keep his sons but will fight to keep a piece of land…what do you take me for ol’ man……a fool……You just said I have a brother back in……….Boston is it………I bet he was taken real good care of and it sure is funny how you know where he is but you didn’t give a rats ass about me!”

“Yes Boston and I couldn’t fight for him. Against a wealthy family, it would have taken all I had. So I made a choice. I could look for you or I could fight for him. He was in no danger. So I chose to search for you. believe it or not, It is up to you.”

“Tell me something ol’ man” Johnny said as he walked over to the window and looked out. ” You said you was lookin for me well now that I’m here how’s it going to set with you when certain how should I say this……..Certain people find out where I am and they come callin…….How you gonna handle that?” Johnny asked as he noticed a girl walking toward the house.

“We will take it as it comes I suppose, I don’t exactly approve of your lifestyle but from what I have read in the reports, you really had no choice in it.”

Johnny started to lower his gun when he heard the glass break and felt the fire in his chest as he fell backward hitting the floor hard. The last thing he heard was * NO* before darkness claimed him.

Murdoch ran to his son and immediately pressed his hand on the wound in Johnny’ chest.

Get the doctor NOW.” Murdoch yelled as he grabbed Johnny up in his arms and took and laid him  on the couch.

“ Mr. Lancer…..I’m sorry….I thought he was going to kill you…I seen his gun pointed at you and…..”

“ Forget it…Go in the pantry and get me the medical supplies…and hurry!”  Murdoch could see that the bullet had entered Johnny’ chest just below his heart. Fear overtaking him,Murdoch laid his head on Johnny’ chest and listened to his breathing. Hearing what he hoped he would not hear Murdoch looked up at Paul as he came back into the room.

“ I think the bullet went into his lung!” Murdoch stated as he began to remove Johnny’ shirt. Both men were horrified at what they saw. Johnny bored scars on his chest and back that no man, let alone a child should ever bore.

.

Chapter 5

Murdoch started to remove Johnny’ shirt with Paul’ help when Cipriano came in. “ I sent a man for the doctor Senor!” he stated as he seen the blood flowing from the hole in Johnny’ chest.

‘ Please son…please hang on……….God please don’t die Johnny!’ Murdoch said to himself as he pressed a bunch of bandages to his son’  chest.

Sam arrived and seeing Madrid and the bloody pile of cloth’s he knew the boy had lost a significant amount of blood. Checking Johnny’ pulse and listening to his heart Sam sighed.

“ Let’s get him on the table Murdoch….I need to get that bullet out now!”

“ Sam……Sam did it go in his lung?” Murdoch asked as he and Paul gently moved Johnny onto the table.

Sam listened to Johnny’ breathing again and the look on his face was answer enough for Murdoch.

“ Just who is this boy Murdoch?”

“ It’s my son………Johnny!….He…….”

“ Maria’ boy?………..My god man!” Doc said stunned. “ Who shot him and why?” he asked as he took out a syringe and injected Morphine into Johnny’ arm. “ I need these instruments boiled Paul.”

Paul took the instruments into the kitchen and brought a pan of hot water and more bandages back.

Sam couldn’t believe what he was looking at. He had delivered this boy not twenty years ago. Looking at the scars on Johnny’ body Sam sucked in a deep breath. “ My God Murdoch…….What has this boy been through?…….He has knife scars….he’s been shot twice in the back…..and one….two……four times in the……..oh my God!” was all Sam could say when he noticed one particular bullet scar in Johnny’ gut. Looking up at Murdoch Sam had  tears come to his eyes. He noticed also how Johnny had scars on his back from a whip, belt or something  in that line.

Paul brought the instruments in and placed them on a clean towel Sam had laid out for just that reason.

Reaching into his bag he pulled out a long black hose and both Murdoch and Paul knew what Sam was going to need to do.

.

Three hours later Sam finished sewing the wound up and checked the tube coming out of the side of Johnny’ chest.

“ We need to carefully move him to a bed so he can rest……It’s imperative that that tube stays in  for a day or so to make sure his lung don’t fill up with fluid….We will need to prop him up a little so’ to help keep him from getting Pneumonia .” Sam stated as Paul left to get a couple hands to help move Johnny upstairs.

Murdoch sat and wiped the sweat from his son’  forehead as he had been doing for the past four days. Fever had been persistent showing up the day after Johnny was shot. Murdoch’ mind whirled in a million directions, but just one thing kept coming back to him over and over again. * Why * What happened that could be so bad to drive a boy to pick up a gun and become a gunfighter. Reading the reports he had from the Pinkerton’ Murdoch just couldn’t believe his little boy Johnny Lancer and Johnny Madrid were one in the same, except Madrid was cold, heartless and a cold blooded killer that never thought twice about taking another man’ life for money. He had heard about Madrid when tales    would come up or someone he knew seen him. He remembered a hired had who came up to work from Mexico had talked about Madrid and how he had watched Madrid gun down two men in Sonora so fast that neither man’ gun came even close to clearing leather. Shuttering Murdoch sighed as the shootout he himself witnessed in Morro Coyo came back to him. Looking at his son Murdoch  re-wet the rag and wrung it out and gently laid it across his forehead, he then took another  rag and gently pulling the sheet down to his son’ waste he started to wipe Johnny’ chest down being careful around the wound just below his heart. Stopping Murdoch was appalled at what he was seeing. His son who was barely twenty years old had numerous gunshot wounds on his body and marks Murdoch knew all to well were marks from a whip or leather strap. Sighing he sat back and rubbed his brow slowly shaking his head in disgust at what had happened to his son.

“ My God Maria!…..What have you done to my son?….How could you allow a boy so precious to be beaten like that?” he asked himself mainly as Paul walked in the room. Quietly he walked over and put a hand on Murdoch’ shoulder.

“ Why don’t you go get something to eat Murdoch?…I’ll stay with him…..You’re not doing him or yourself any good….You need to eat and rest a couple hours….I’ll call you if he wakes up!”

Murdoch stood up and stretched and put his hand on Paul’ shoulder and Paul knew without a word spoken how hurt his friend was right now,he had known for the past eighteen years but neither man was prepared for this. Neither man was ready for the day they found out that a little boy they both loved had become a famous gunfighter. Paul sat down in the chair and took up wiping Johnny down with the cool rags as Murdoch walked out.

.

Chapter 6

For five long agonizing days Murdoch stayed by his son’ side as infection and fever surged through his youngest. Finally the afternoon of the fifth day Johnny’ fever broke, Murdoch was sitting in the chair resting when he heard a moan. Looking at his son he was relived to find a pair of intense blue eyes staring back at him. Reaching over Murdoch gently placed a hand to Johnny’ right shoulder.

Johnny flinched and tried to move away from the unfamiliar voice and touch. Jerking he gasped as a very sharp pain grabbed him in his chest.

“Wha…..what…where am I ?” he managed between gasp for air.

“ Easy son..you need to lay still!” Murdoch stated firmly as he wiped Johnny’ face with a cool rag.

Johnny looked at him and through heavy eyes he remembered what happened and tried to speak.

“ Ya….you shot me…..que me tiro…” Johnny said before sleep claimed him again.

Murdoch sat back and letting out a deep sigh his heart breaking that his youngest thought he had shot him. Cursing Maria silently again Murdoch looked at the scars on his son’ body that he could see as he check the  wound to make sure it  had not been pulled when Johnny tried to jerk away. A couple hours later Murdoch awoke to find his son in a dream. A dream that clearly showed pain on his boys face.

“ Lo Siento, mama por favor no me hagas hacer esto por favor….no esto no es mama derecho…no por favor no me pegues por favor ya lo hare…te mostrare te amo.”

( I’m sorry mama please don’t make me do this please . No this isn’t right mama…no please don’t hit me anymore please…I’ll do it….I’ll show you I love you.)

Murdoch’ heart broke as he listened to his son pleading with his mother to not beat him any more to make him do something he clearly didn’t want to do. Something he knew was wrong….but what?

“What the hell did you make this boy do Maria that was so bad you had to beat him to make him do it?” he asked himself quietly. “Why couldn’t I have found you and brought you back to the home you belonged in?…The home you should have grown up in my son?” Murdoch asked as he wiped Johnny’ forehead of the sweat that beaded there from the dream. Seeing that his son had calmed down again Murdoch sat back and just shook his head in disgust.

 Paul came into the room and could see the pain so adamantly showing on his friends face. Pain for his youngest.

“ Murdoch.”

Murdoch looked up at his friend.

“ I’m sorry to bother you…but there is a gentleman downstairs who insist on speaking to you!…He says his name is Scott.”

Murdoch stood up. “ Scott…….Scott what?”

“ I’m sorry sir but he didn’t say his last name and well……..I don’t think he’s from around here.” Paul stated.

Murdoch looked down at his youngest, could it be?…could his oldest boy by some miracle have decided to come back home to his father as well? Murdoch stepped around the bed and looking at his son once more before heading downstairs. Paul took up the chair Murdoch had just vacated and looking at Johnny could clearly tell the boy was in a dream that was making him restless.

Murdoch walked into the grand room and could see a tall man…young man standing over by his desk looking out the big bay window. Suddenly finding it hard to breath Murdoch stepped into the room more.

“ Scott… I’m Murdoch Lancer….Can I help you?” he asked knowing in his heart what he would find when the man turned around.

Hearing his fathers voice Scott turned around and stared at the man he knew nothing about……The man he had as a child been told thought it best he be raised by his Grandfather after his mother died giving him life. Scott stepped toward his father and stood straight and proud.

“ I believe you have some idea on why I am here sir!” Scott said as he stepped even closer. “ I would like to meet the man my Grandfather so hated.”

“ Scott….Son?” Murdoch said as he found it difficult to swallow a lump in his throat.

“ Sir”

“ My God Scott…….How…Why didn’t you let me know you were coming son?……I would have been more prepared.” Murdoch asked as he walked over to the side board and poured a stiff drink for him self and his son. “ Sit down Please.” Murdoch asked as he handed a drink to Scott.

Scott took the drink after sitting his coat and hat on the back of a tall backed chair and sat on the couch facing the fireplace.

“ I know this is sudden and I should have gotten your permission and or let you know I was coming sir…….but……” Scott stated but was cut off by a male voice yelling.

Murdoch……you need to get up here now.”

Murdoch sat his drink down and headed for the stairs. Stopping at the bottom he turned and looked at his oldest. “ Excuse me Scott…..But your brother has been shot!” he stated as he turned and headed back up the stairs.

“ Did he just say My Brother?” Scott asked himself as he also headed for the stairs.

Murdoch came into the room and found Paul standing just inside the door. Stepping inside Murdoch wasn’t prepared to find his son standing against the wall breathing hard as blood trickled down his side from the torn stitches.

“ I don’t know what happened Murdoch…..He just bolted upright in bed and when I  tried to calm him down he shoved me and well…….”

Johnny was standing shaking holding his colt pointed right at them. Murdoch took a step toward Johnny.

“ You need to put that gun down son and get back in bed…you tore out your stitches  in your chest.”

Scott stepped into the room and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Stepping past Murdoch Scott walked to within mere feet of Johnny and stopped when Johnny pulled the hammer back on his colt.

“ Johnny……….I believe you are my little brother?” Scott said as he could tell Johnny was close to collapsing.

“ hijo de puta…mierda hijo de puta…me dispararon…su propio hijo.”

(you bastard….you fucking bastard…you shot me…your own son)

Johnny said as he went to aim the colt at his father but couldn’t, his body failed him and he collapsed forward into Scott’ arms. Murdoch and Paul were quickly at his side and the three of them got him back into bed.

“ Want me to send for Sam Murdoch?” Paul asked as he noticed the bleeding.

“ No Paul…I can fix this…he was lucky he just pulled a couple stitches loose….Paul this is my oldest son Scott.” Murdoch stated as he prepared to fix the stitches.

Scott was somewhat taken aback by what he was witnessing.  A brother his Grandfather never mentioned to him. Watching Scott also wondered what his brother had said in Spanish and why he was trying to shoot his father. What had he come in to. Silently he vowed that no matter what he would find out and most importantly get to know the brother he never knew he had till a short time ago.

.

Chapter 7

Scott Lancer stood at the door watching his father and the man called Paul settle his brother back in bed.

“ Scott go down to the kitchen and ask Maria to give you the medical basket.” Murdoch asked as he wiped the blood away from Johnny’ side. Scott stood there a second or two before moving. He came back a minute later with the basket. Murdoch took it from him and hurriedly took out the needle and thread.

“ Why does he think you are the one who shot him?”

Murdoch glanced up. “ I don’t know Paul……I guess……maybe because of all the lies that woman filled his head with about me he thinks…..he thinks I threw them out Paul…….Look at him! He’s barely nineteen years old and look at him……Look at the scars on his body….What the hell did that woman do to our son?”

“ Easy Murdoch!” Paul said as he put a hand on his shoulder.

Scott stepped out and went back down stairs wondering what he had come into. A brother he never knew he had…..A father who according to his brother a few minutes ago * shot him * . He had always wished for a little brother when growing up in Boston, someone to look out for and do brotherly things with. Walking into the Grand Room Scott found the sideboard and poured himself a big shot of what appeared to be Brandy and stood there glancing around the room as he drank it down. Seeing the desk he walked over and noticed two picture frames on it. Picking one up he stared at it. It was his mother, in all her beauty.

“ You have your mothers eyes” Murdoch said as he stepped up to the side board to pour himself a drink.

Scott turned around without looking at the other picture. “ So my Grandfather tells me…Sir…. just what was that all about upstairs?” he asked wanting to know what he walked into. Murdoch just looked at him and didn’t speak.

“ I think perhaps I should go into town and get a room…..I have obviously come at a wrong time!” he said as he started toward the door.

“ Scott…Son please don’t leave…..you can stay here…this is your home after all.”

“ Is it….Is it my home* Sir* I mean if this is my home as you are saying then why did I grow up in Boston and not here?”

Murdoch poured himself another shot and downed it. “ That is your brother …. half brother upstairs fighting for his life Scott..”

“ Yeah my brother…….* My* brother says you shot him!……Did you?…..Did you shoot your own son?”

Absolutely not…….look Johnny came here and had the intentions of killing me because of what his mother told him……..He had his gun pointed at me and one of my hands seen it through that window and shot Johnny before I could stop him…..he had no way of knowing your brother wasn’t going to shoot me….that he was lowering his gun….Look if the air needs clearing son then lets clear it. ……I met your mother not a year off the boat from Inverness. We fell in love and got married…she died on her way back to Boston after giving birth to you……..I “

“ I am fully aware of how my mother died…….I want to know why she was headed back to Boston instead of here with * You* Sir…like my brother!” Scott asked with anger.

Your Brother was taken away from me when he was two by his mother to Mexico….I awoke one morning to find her gone….Johnny with her……..I met his mother two years after your mother died down in Metamoros,Mexico. She……..we got married and I thought she was happy here but I was mistaken.”

“ You telling me that my brother grew up in Mexico while you were here building your Ranch?….My Grandfather said you thought more of this ranch than your own child as why he raised me and not you He never once told me you had remarried and * never * that I had a little brother!”

“ Listen Scott about your brother…….*He’s * not the kind of brother you want……Johnny…….Johnny isn’t Johnny Lancer.” Murdoch stated as he went over and poured another drink. “ You want one?” he asked.

“ No thank you……What do you mean Johnny’ not Johnny Lancer? He’s your son isn’t he?”

“ Yes…yes he’s my son but….”

“ But what Sir?”

“ Scott have you ever heard of a gunfighter named Johnny Madrid?”

Scott looked at his father and shook his head. “ What does he have to do with my brother?”

“ Because Johnny Madrid and Johnny Lancer are one in the same son…..your brother is a cold blooded killer.”

Scott could feel his gut tighten and a lump came to his throat that he couldn’t swallow, he knew he had heard the name Madrid recently but couldn’t remember where then it hit him. * Laredo* reading a paper while in Salt Lake City he read about a range war in Laredo and how Madrid had again used his gun and ended it….and all for money.

“ Are you telling me that my brother…..your son kills people for money?”

Murdoch walked over to his desk and opened the bottom drawer and took out a file. He laid it on the desktop. “ It’s all right there……..I searched for my son for years trying to desperately find him and bring him home but the Pinkerton’ couldn’t find one lost wayward little boy named Johnny Lancer… they got lucky a couple months ago and found out Johnny Lancer was going by the name Johnny Madrid and Madrid was a killer….I seen him gun a man down right in front of me and Paul in Morro Coyo not to long ago……I didn’t know it then that he was my long lost son.”

“ How do you feel about this?”

“ How do you think I feel Scott?…….He’s just a boy and a killer……Look read this file if you want to know about your brother…..but I warn you……you will not like what it says.” Murdoch said as he headed to the door. “ I need to see my segundo……I’ll be back later……Dinner is at six so you have time to clean up and rest if you like son.”

Scott looked at the file laying on the desk and walked over and noticed the second picture wasn’t of his mother but a beautiful Mexican lady, clearly Johnny’ mother. Picking up the file he headed upstairs to his room to clean up and rest. Walking by the room his brother was in he stopped. Paul looked up at him. Standing he walked over to the door.

“ Scott…I’m glad you’re here….Murdoch needs his boys with him…….I just hope he can have * both * his boys on this ranch.”

“ Hows he doing?”

“ He’s holding his own……He’s one tough * kid *.” Paul stated with emphases on the kid at the end. I put your things in the room across the hall. You’ll find a hot bath waiting for you” Paul stated as he noticed the file in Scott’ hand.

“ You know….I know we just met but……well I think everyone deserves a second chance Scott…Your father did what he thought was right in letting your Grandfather raise you but Johnny……he didn’t get a chance with him……I’ve read that file son and I have heard the tales about him…….He needs someone to guide him….the boy needs someone to love him.” Paul said before he turned and went back to sit in the chair next to the bed. Scott stood there looking at his brother a few minutes before turning and going in his room. Setting the file on the bed he unpacked his clothes and shucked the ones he was wearing. The bath felt so good to him after a week on a stage.

.

Chapter 8

An hour later Scott had finished his bath and sat on the bed in his room. His mind still reeling with the information Murdoch had supplied. The file lay ominously before him still unopened. Scott stared at the thick stack of pages, unsure as to whether or not he should open it. He had only come to meet his father a man he had until today never remembered having met only to learn he also had a brother. ‘ A brother?’ across the hall fighting for his life. Another binding tie that would only hold him in this strange land that he had no intention of remaining in. Brother he thought again, ‘ More like a stranger ‘ and as such their was no bond to hold him. Satisfied he stretched out on the bed to relax from his travels. Soon curiosity began getting the better of him, he cautiously reached for the pages. He held them gingerly as if at any moment they might strike out with some dangerous intent, he hesitated once more then focused his eyes on the written words.

The first few pages contained basic information much of which he had learned from his brief encounter with Murdoch Lancer upon his arrival. He began skipping through the report, suddenly looking toward the door at a sound on the other  side, an idea occurred, Scott then turned to the last page to read the most recent findings…

‘It is reported that Mr. Madrid was hired by a Mr. Doug Johnson to kill a Mr. Mark Thomas over water right dispute in Laredo. It has been confirmed that  Mr. Madrid did in fact carryout this task. According to one witness Mr. Madrid was wounded during the confrontation and by all accounts was defending himself when he shot and killed Mr. Thomas. The incident took place in front of Mr. Thomas’ home with his wife and two small children in view. During the investigation in this matter it was discovered Mr. Madrid rode to the Thomas ranch after refusing to complete the job for which he had been hired to do. It should also be mentioned that the right of water did in fact belong to Mr. Thomas. A woman of less than reputable character stated Madrid had riden out to tell Mr. Thomas that he was not accepting the contract on his life. If the woman’ statement is true then one could assume this latest killing was an unfortunate turn of events as well as miscommunication.

Mr. Madrid was wounded in the above confrontation. Several witnesses  reported that he was shot in the chest and bleeding profusely when he was last seen riding from the scene. It is believed that Mr. Madrid has died and as I have been unable to find any sign or rumor of the gunfighters whereabouts I am inclined to believe this to be true.

I would like to add Mr. Lancer that during my investigation your son has proven to be a true oddity among the many gunmen I have met and known. Mr. Madrid’ gun was hired at a rather high price and it is reportedly with a guarantee of satisfaction. We have however rumored reports that Mr. Madrid is not the Cold Blooded Killer most tell him to be. We have learned of more instances than not where Mr. Madrid has accepted certain jobs for little or no pay. These so called jobs have been dangerous and depending on ones point of view, the right thing to do.

My sincere apologies to your loss Mr. Lancer, by all accounts this was truly a young man I would have taken pleasure in meeting.’

Scott laid the report down on the bed. Lost in thought he drew in a deep cleansing breath looking up to the small clock on the chest he noticed the time, he moved from the bed. Stretching tensed muscles he then reached for the report and placed it in the drawer by his bedside and headed downstairs for his first dinner with his father.

Murdoch sat at the dinner table lost in thought when Scott came into the room. Looking up he smiled slightly at his oldest.

“ Sir” Scott said as he took the seat to his fathers left, noticing another place was set but vacant across from him. He wondered if that was were his brother would sit when able, thinking back to what he had just read Scott looked at his father. “ Sir…about my brother….I….”

“ Your brother is not and will not be eating at this table with us son and I don’t wish to speak of him again!” Murdoch stated flatly.

“ With all do respect Sir that’s my brother laying up there fighting for his life……..I have a right to know about him!”

“ I gave you the report…….Read it if you want to know about that…….that killer that…….”

DON’T……Don’t  talk about him that way…….” Scott stated more loudly than intended. “ I come all this way to meet you and I find out I have a brother and you talk of him like he’s dead…….like he never existed……with all do respect Sir….I did read most of that report and I’d be willing to bet Sir that with the hatred you are showing that You have not read it.” Scott stated firmly.

Murdoch glared at his oldest hard. “ I know all I need to know…..I read all I need to read about that boy laying up there claiming to be my son……..You know nothing about him and I assure you that as soon as he is well enough to ride………He is off this ranch!”

“ Why…..why are you going to throw him off his home? I read in the report where it was thought that you threw him and his mother out when he was a baby…….I guess that shouldn’t surprise me none seeing how you never bothered to come and get me in Boston…….I will say this though…….I will do everything in my power to try and get to know the  little brother I never knew I had till this morning… and if that means leaving this ranch when he does then so be it!” Scott stated very firmly as he took a sip of wine and began to eat his dinner.

Murdoch sat there appalled at the audacity his oldest son had standing up to him. He couldn’t help but let a small smile creep onto his lips.

For three days Johnny lay unconscious after the fever broke. Sam was pleased to find the wound healing good,

“ There’s no sign of infection Murdoch….I think he’ll recover just fine….He’ll need to stay in bed for at least a week…have Maria give him broth’s to get his strength back and change his bandage once a day…     I need to check on Mrs. Benson, she’s due any time and that baby hasn’t made up it’s mind yet when it wants to be born. I’ll stop back by in two days and check him again…..I……..”

“ Sam I want him out of this house…he’s a killer and I want him out….How soon can he be moved?”

Sam looked at Murdoch in shock at what he was hearing. “ Moved…? Murdoch he’s your son…my God after all the time you spent searching for him you want to throw him out to the wolves! Murdoch…”

“ He’s not my son…my son would never become a cold blooded killer Sam!” Murdoch bellowed.

Scott stood outside  his brothers door listening to what his father was saying and it angered him deeply.

For three day’s his father had stayed away from Johnny’ room as much as possible, Paul and Maria mainly took care of him,changing his bandage as needed. Scott could tell that even Paul was appalled at the way Murdoch was  now treating Johnny. He had heard Paul confronting his father about this and how when he was shot Murdoch was a caring worried father but now, now he was wanting to throw his own flesh and blood out to a certain death. Granted he didn’t know his brother but, tonight at dinner he would confront his father again about the harsh treatment and talk of his own flesh and blood and demand he read the Pinkerton report fully and then and only then decide if he still wanted to throw  his son out. Being brought up in Boston Scott had learned that everyone deserved a second chance and he stood there listening making a silent vow to give his new found brother just that.

Johnny woke and found he was alone. He was no stranger to the white hot pain he felt in his chest and when he breathed.  Taking as deep a breath as he could Johnny pushed himself up so he could sit up and swing his legs over the bed. After several painstaking minutes and painful labored breathing Johnny wiping the now running sweat from his face stood on wobbly legs and slowly walked over and got his pants.

Twenty minutes later and just shy of passing out Johnny stood up and eased himself over to the door. Searching the room he had found his gun in the top drawer of the dresser and strapped it on like he had done countless times low on his slender hips. After drawing the pistol and checking the cylinder was still loaded he cautiously opened the door a bit and listened. After hearing nothing he stepped out into the hall and kept close to the wall for support as he made his way to the top of the stairs and let out a deep sigh. “ I can make it” he said to himself as he slowly started down. Once reaching the bottom Johnny sat down on the bottom step and held his chest as he breathed. Hearing voices coming from the other room Johnny listened and could tell one voice was Murdoch’ but the other voice…..the other voice he didn’t know and it  was clearly foreign and younger, then he heard it, Johnny heard a word he never in his life thought he would hear but so desperately wanted when growing up.  ‘ Brother ‘ The old man had said it right before he was shot, had said he had an older brother that was going to be part owner of Lancer. Johnny got up and went over and leaned against the wall so he wouldn’t be seen but could hear what the two were talking about because he had a gut feeling it was him.

.

Chapter 9

Scott sat at the dinner table deep in thought of how to approach his father yet again about his brother. Their first dinner together had turned into a heated argument about the boy and not wanting to repeat that Scott decided he would wait till after dinner to discuss it.

“ Son…I need to talk to you about………about the other night…what I said about….about that boy laying upstairs….I know what I said to you was harsh about him…but it’s the truth, he is a cold blooded killer and killed for money, He came here with the intent of killing me and I believe he still fully intends to do that therefore when he is stronger he will be leaving this ranch and I will not have him on Lancer land again!”

“ No Sir……Johnny is ‘ MY ‘ brother and as a part owner of this ranch I ‘ WILL NOT ‘ allow you to throw him off this land….Lancer is his birth right as much as it is mine…….If you do this ‘ SIR ‘ then I will also leave and I mean that.” Scott said firmly. “ You never bothered to read all of the file you gave me on him from the Pinkerton Agency did you…..DID YOU? No you didn’t because if you had you would have read the final report from the Pinkerton’ telling how Johnny had changed and most of the jobs he took, He took for nothing more than a meal or some place to sleep. He……….”

Exactly what I am trying to tell you……He is a cold blooded killer and he has no conscious… No care about who he killed or kills…….food or money it is all the same……”

“ NO SIR IT IS NOT” Scott yelled as he stood up and threw his napkin down on his plate. Walking into the Great room Scott retrieved the file from the top right drawer of his fathers desk where he had put it and walked back to the table were he dropped it down in front of his father. “ READ IT ” Scott demanded as he opened the file. “ Either you read it SIR or I will out loud!” Scott stated firmly as he stood over his fathers left shoulder. “ Read it Murdoch…..read how MY brother at the age of twelve killed the man who killed his mother….Read how from that day forward he did what he had to do to stay alive. How he was beaten just for being a……..a…” Scott despised the word the Pinkerton’ had used. “ Mixed race….Read how he always by documented credible witness accounts on numerous occasions took what he believed to be the right side in a range war or hiring his gun out…… How HE NEVER called a man out and ALWAYS tried to talk another who called him out, out of being killed…..”

Scott went and sat back down in his chair watching his father sit there looking at the file before him.

Johnny stood there and was shocked and taken aback by the way a man he had just come to know was his brother was defending him to the core. “ Pinkerton’…….so that’s it ole man…..you hired detectives to find me……’ why ‘ if you don’t want me on this precious ranch of yours?” Johnny asked himself silently as he listened. Finally unable to stand it any longer Johnny stepped into the room but kept his left side against the wall.

“ You talk pretty good Boston…..but you’re wasting your breath on him.” Johnny stated.

Scott stood up immediately as did Murdoch at the sudden soft voice spoke.

“ What the hell are you doing down here?” Murdoch bellowed.

Scott immediately went to Johnny’ side to help him to the table to sit down.

“ I’d think that was pretty obvious Ole man…..Part of this ranch is mine so I have a right to go where ever  I please in this house or on this land…….Oh and don’t think you’re gonna throw me off what is my birth right…….because……well lets just say it would be a mistake….Big mistake on your part or any of your hired hands to try.” Johnny stated coldly as he sat down across from his brother.

Murdoch stood up angry. “ Don’t you dare threaten me BOY…..Not in my house!”

“ Our House SIR……the three of us!” Scott stated firmly.

Murdoch glared at him hard before throwing his napkin down and storming into the Great Room to the side table and pouring a stiff shot of scotch.

Johnny reached for the file still laying on the table and Scott gathered it up first and handed it to him.

“ You have a right to know what it says about you……BUT I think after you read it you have an obligation to talk to US that is if you feel up to it.” Scott said in a calm voice as he stood and went to join his father leaving Johnny at the table alone.

Johnny sat there looking at the file in front of him, scared to open it. Johnny Madrid scared of some words written on paper. Words of things he had done in his short life, some good,some bad. It was the bad that his father obviously believed, The bad and lies he had heard. The rumors he himself had heard about himself as a gunfighter. It was what he read when he was a baby that shocked him the hardest.

“ Las mentiris….todas las mentiras.” Johnny said outloud. “ Por que mama, por que me mentiste y me dicen que mi padre no nos quiere y nos tiraron cuando tenia dos anos?” Johnny said as his voice trembled.

( Lies…all lies. Why moma why did you lie to me and tell me my father didn’t want us. That he threw us out when I was two.)

Scott looked at his brother then at his father. “ Sir…what is he saying?” Scott asked softly.

Murdoch looked at him a minute before speaking.

“ He’s asking his mother why she told him lies……lies that I didn’t want him……Lies that I threw them out when he was two.” Murdoch said as he set his drink down and walked back over to the table and sat down across from his son who had his head down. Murdoch could see the tremble in Johnny’ shoulders as he sat there breathing somewhat hard.

“ John….Johnny……..I think we have both been lead to believe wrong these past years….. Me believing what I chose to believe in you and what you did……..and You in what your mother told you happened when you were a baby……Maybe when your strength is better s… we can have a talk…….clear the air so to speak….or perhaps start afresh and forget all that was said and heard and leave it in the past and start over.” Murdoch said as he reached to take a hold of Johnny’ hand, only to have Johnny pull it back and look at him hard through cold ice blue eyes.

“ That your answer to it Ole man?…..to just let the past go……Well let me tell you something about my past Ole man!” Johnny said harshly as he stood up to fast and was immediately slammed with sharp pains in his chest causing him to gasp for air. Scott immediately hurried to his brothers side as did Murdoch.

“ Easy John…….Lets get you back upstairs and in bed where you belong.” Murdoch said as he went to pick his son up.

“ I can make it Ole man……been takin care of myself just about my whole life now…….I don’t need you startin.” Johnny said as he turned and ignored both men and started toward the stairs collapsing when he got to the bottom step and blackness claimed him.

.

Chapter 10

Murdoch  and Scott removed Johnny’ clothes and Scott gasped at the scars he seen.

“ My God Sir……..what happened to him?” he asked softly.

Murdoch looked at him a second then back to ‘ his ‘ youngest. “ Your brother……He didn’t have an easy life growing up on the border son.”

“ Why……..because he is part Mexican/American?”

“ Yes Scott some people even here in Morro Coyo don’t like a Mestizo.”

“ Mestizo sir?”

“ A half breed son……..Johnny I’m afraid may have been most likely beaten up while growing up from both Mexicans and Americans……living in the border towns he most likely was beaten mostly by Mexicans for his blue eyes because without them you wouldn’t know of his Amer….his father was a gringo.”

Scott sat down in the chair next to his brothers bed and shook his head in sadness. “ I want to stay with him the night Sir……why don’t you get some rest and I’ll see you in the morning.”

“ Scott I don’t…….” Murdoch started to say. “ Alright son……wake me if you need me.” he said finally as he headed to the door. Turning he took a last look at his two sons and thought of the difference between the two. Heading back down stairs Murdoch gathered up the Pinkerton report and headed back up to his room. He didn’t know if he would be able to do it but he was going to ‘ TRY ‘ to read what he has had on his son for some time to try and get to know him, to know if this was once the blue eyed boy he so desperately loved and cherished  the first two years of his life. 

Johnny hurt but pain was something he was used to feeling, but this pain he was not used to. This pain was in his heart. All the beating, stabbing and bullets could not add up to the pain he now felt. Laying there in the bed he slowly opened his eyes and could see his brother sitting in a chair next to the bed with his head down, his chin on his chest, sleeping. Johnny tried to push himself up but was met with pain. Sucking in air he started to cough and Scott was immediately at his side.

“ Easy little brother…let me help you.” Scott stated as he put an arm around behind Johnny’ waste and helped him to sit up. Readjusting the pillows Scott then poured him a glass of water.

“ Here…you need to get liquid in you to help get stronger.”

Johnny looked hard at him before taking the glass in his right hand and tasting it to be sure it had no Laudanum in it. Drinking it down he handed the glass back to Scott. “ Thanks”

“ You’re welcome…you know I would have told you if it had Laudanum in it little brother….You can trust me…”

“ I trust no one….I don’t need no one either Boston so don’t go thinkin just because we share that Ole mans blood that I give a damn about you cause I care about no one but my self.” Johnny said sarcastically.

“ Yeah I guess I was wrong to think that just maybe we could be brothers…….What was I thinking…I mean here you are what  a day not over eighteen at most and it shows how well you can take care of your self…..”

FUCK YOU….you don’t know me or a God damn thing about me except the lies in that file so don’t Boston…you with your fancy words and your fancy clothes….You and all your perfectness know nothing about me or life…….Oh you probably know what hurt is when you didn’t get your way or what you wanted for a birthday or Christmas…..let me tell you something….until you know what it’s like to go without…go to bed hungry nights on end….be hated by men because you are neither white nor Mexican……then maybe…just maybe then you will have a right to say I can trust you……until then just leave me the fuck alone.” Johnny said harshly as he heard his door open.

“ I thought I heard voices in here. Is everything alright son?”

Scott looked at his father then back to Johnny. “ Yes Sir….me and Johnny was just discussing how to get to know each other better and maybe become brothers.”

.

For three days Scott stayed by his brothers side trying to get to know what he could about the brother he never knew he had. One thing he learned real fast was that Johnny Madrid and Johnny Lancer were one in the same in body, but not one in the same in soul. Scott could see the Madrid side of his brother through his aqua blue eyes and how they would go stone cold with his mood. A second thing he learned about Johnny was the ‘boy’, and he used the word loosely , did not like to be kept down long. Seven days after being shot Johnny was up and against the doctors orders out in the barn taking care of his horse when Scott walked in only to face the wrong end of a colt pointed in his face.

Putting his hands up in defeat Scott froze. “ Easy brother….I was just wonderin’ were you got to was all when I didn’t find you in your room.”

“ Ain’t my room….and as you just learned Boston…sneakin’ up on a man like that could get you killed.”

Johnny stated factly as he holstered his gun and continued to brush his horse. “ What do ya want Boston?”

Scott slowly put his hands down and walked around to the beautiful palomino’ face to rub his head. Barranca snapped out to bite but Scott pulled his hand back just in time. “ Whoa…he’s not to friendly is he?”

“ He is…but only if he wants to be…Ir facil mi compadre, es un dandy del este que no conocen nada mejor.” Johnny said as the Stallion nudged his chest. “ Si,lo se amigo, Lo siento amigo, Lo siento.”

( Go easy my compadre he’s an eastern dandy who don’t know no better.)

( Yeah I know buddy. I’m sorry amigo, I’m sorry )

Scott watched silently awstruck at how the horse and man understood each other and the Stallion became calm again at the soothing soft voice of his owner.

“ He’s quit an animal Johnny…..where did you get him?” Scott asked hoping to learn outside the Pinkerton report about his brother.

Johnny looked at his brother and sighed as he walked around to brush the right side of his horse.

“ Did a job for a man in Laredo…..got me a nice chunk of money and this guy as a bonus…you see I was the only one who could touch him and well…….let’s just say you might want to keep in mind I don’t cotton to a man abusin an animal…especially when that animal is only doin’ what comes natural to it.”

“ So you broke him?” Scott asked as he leaned against the stall rail.

“ Broke him……Hell no Boston…Barranca here ain’t broke are ya fella……Nope me an’ him just have a mutual friendship……compadre’s……an open trust you might say.” Johnny could see the confusion on his brothers face. “ I take good care of him and he takes good care of me……I saved his life and he knows it so he lets me ride him purely on that trust we have for each other.” Johnny let a smile curl his lips and laughed.

“ Whats so funny?”

“ You Boston…you or anyone else who tries to ride this horse….you wouldn’t be able to get within five feet of him and he’d come at ya to kill ya.”

Scott wasn’t amused at the remark but could understand what Johnny was saying. He remembered a horse he had in the war that was loyal to him also, but nothing like what Johnny and Barranca clearly had.

“ Why’d you name him Barranca?”

“ He’s named after a ravin in a canyon in Mexico. At sunset the ground is gold like his coat so I figured … why not.” Johnny said as he stopped brushing the horse and walked out and closed the stall gate then put the brush away. Reaching into his pocket he took out a cube of sugar he lifted from the kitchen and handed it to Scott.

“ Lay this flat in your hand and give it to him.” Johnny said figurin his brother would be scared to do it after almost getting bitten already, but to his dismay Scott took the sugar and walked up to the horse’ face and rubbed his forehead as the Stallion took the sugar cube.

“ Now he knows you but I wouldn’t try anything without me around Boston.”

“ Scott……Johnny…my name is Scott not Boston.” Scott stated firmly as he walked toward his brother.

“ Sure….Boston…whatever you say.” Johnny said with a small smile as he walked with his brother back toward the estancia.

Murdoch watched as his two son came from the barn walking together back to the house. Walking back over to his desk he picked up the legal paper he had his lawyer draw up. Hearing the door open then close.

“ Boy’s…Scott…Johnny come in here I would like to have a word with you both.”

Scott stepped into the Great room but Johnny stopped at the entrance.

“ Come in here John…Johnny I want to talk to both of you.” Murdoch stated as he walked over to the sideboard and poured himself a drink then went back to his desk.

Scott sat down in a chair Murdoch indicated with his hand and hesitently Johnny sat down in the other.

Murdoch picked up the paper he had. “ I had my lawyer draw up a legal contract last week when I was in town……what I’m offering you boy’s is One Third, one third of everything you see out there. One third of One Hundred Thousand acres of the finest land in the San Joaquin, twenty thousand head of beef and the finest herd of Capanaro De Palomino’ in the San Joaquin.” Murdoch stated with pride as he handed the contract to his oldest.

Johnny just sat there stunned by what he was hearing from the man his mother had repeatedly told him did not want him.

“ Only I call the tune.” Murdoch said as he looked at his youngest. “ Agreed?”

Scott handed the paper to Johnny and with a smile and node silently gave his answer. Johnny read the paper then looked from Scott to Murdoch.

“ Why…….why you doin this ol’ man?”

Murdoch knew his son would have doubt’s but didn’t expect him to have ‘ why’s ‘.

“ Because you are both my son’s…..and …”

“ And what……you think you can buy your way into our lives……well let me tell you somethin ol’ man……my mother told me how you threw us out because you didn’t want a half breed son putting shame on your good name around here………”

“ I don’t care what you heard……it’s past…bad or good, right or wrong it’s past and gone.” Murdoch stated firmly. “ I’m offering you a chance at what you both should have had growing up….what is rightfully yours….I want your arm’s and legs and gut’s if you have any…….you give me that and you will prove to me you’re man enough to keep and run this ranch….You don’t have to give me an answer right now….but I suggest you think real hard on this boy….think real hard about that road ahead compared to the one you’ve been leaving behind.” Murdoch said as he walked over and poured himself another drink.

“ It don’t take no thinkin’ on my part Sir.” Scott said. “ I accept your offer and I’m sure my little brother here will do the same.”

Johnny looked up at his brother then hard at his father before turning and walking out the door. Scott went to go after him but was stopped by a strong hand.

“ Let him go son……he won’t leave…..he just needs time to sort things out…….you see his mother…..well lets give him time.” Murdoch said as he and Scott watched as Johnny led the Palomino out of the barn and mounted him and took off.

“ He shouldn’t be riding yet sir.” Scott stated. “ He’s not healed yet.”

“ I know son but neither you nor I can stop Johnny from doing what he needs to do right now.”

.

Chapter 11

Johnny rode Barranca full out for several miles before he slowed his friend down to an easy lope.

After a couple more miles Johnny found himself nearing a stream that had a cove of tree’s and lush green grass. Stopping Barranca Johnny got off and pulled the saddle and bridle off his friend and grabbed up some grass and rubbed the horse down.

“ Lo Siento mi amigo, yo no tenia la intencion de llevar a mi a la perplejidad he estado en you. ” un buen amigo para mi Barranca….. oh hombre…por que…por que se me mientas amigo? Por que mi madre me dice mi viejo nos echaron y no me quieres?

(Sorry my friend, I didn’t mean to take imy being perplexed out on you. You’ve been a good friend to me Barranca….Oh man…Why…Why did she lie to me buddy? Why did she tell me my old man threw us out and didn’t want me?)

Barranca nudged against Johnny’ chest and nickered softly as his friend put his head against his beautiful stallions face and rubbed the side of his neck. Johnny and the stallion had become very respected friends in the short time together. The stallion could always tell when or what Johnny needed or wanted from him,and he was always willing to oblige.

“ You go ahead and graze amigo, I got some serious thinkin’ to do.” Johnny said as he patted the horse and then stepped away to sit near the stream in the shade. He knew the stallion wouldn’t leave him so he didn’t worry about tethering the animal out.

Scott leaned against the corral fence looking to the north wondering just were his new found brother could have gone too. He couldn’t fathom what his little brothers life had been like, not really, growing up in border towns and hated by both sides because your parents were of different races. Fighting in the civil war Scott had fought to end slavery and help people become free, standing there today he realized that the four years that that war lasted was nothing compared to the nineteen years his brother had been fighting his war to stay alive.

“ I really hope you come back brother, I would really like to get to know you.” Scott said to himself before turning to head inside to dinner.

Johnny sat watching the small peaceful stream hazily roll past him over the few bigger rocks protruding  up causing small rapids. A Meadowlark sang out as the sun slowly descended behind the mountains. Johnny got up and gathered some wood. After he had a small fire going he walked down and filled  the small coffee pot he always carried and canteen. Barranca walked down to drink and Johnny slipped the rope halter on his friend and staked him out close enough to allow the horse to both graze and drink. Sitting back down Johnny leaned back against the tree and closed his eyes as he let out a deep sigh. The life of a gunfighter is the hardest life any man could have. Very rarely did a gunfighter live past twenty and the few Johnny knew that did did so by pure luck of the draw. What his father offered him was what he had so wanted for all his life, a place to call home, a chance at a new life, a life without wonderin where his next meal would come from or hiring his gun out. Truth be known Johnny was tired of taking another man’s life for someone else and all for money.

Johnny took the colt out and looking at it he couldn’t help the small smile that came to his face. The colt 45 had been customized for him both in grip and the finely honed down trigger. ‘Vengeance is in my Heart,Death is in my hand’ Johnny thought about those words as he laid down and looked up at the stars. “ Why Juanito…Why do you ask such foolish questions?….I told you the gringo didn’t want us in his life any longer…that you was not what he wanted in a son and never wold be his son.” he remembered his mother telling him several different stories about how his father didn’t want a half breed for a son. Now he was being told by his father that what his mother had told him growing up was all a lie. His father didn’t throw him and his mother out and he did very much want his blue eyed son. Johnny slid the colt back in the holster and reached over and poured a cup of coffee. So many questions running through his mind it was the late hours of the night when sleep finally came to him. Sleep that would bring with it memories of a past he so desperately tried to forget, a past time with his mother that he vowed he would never let another  soul learn of. A past that he knew if his father found out would surely not want him around.

.

In the early hours of the morning Johnny in a complete sweat tossed and turned in his bedroll as the nightmare pulled him down.  Chihuahua, MX was away from the border enough that Johnny and his mother had settled and actually found a small shack he called home for four months now. Rarely did they stay a month in one place but here, here Johnny had been longer than any other that he could remember. His mother had plenty of work here and more times than he could count Johnny would end up sleeping out someplace because his mother had company that did not want a half breed kid around.

His mother forgot about him, lost in her own little world and only after Johnny wasn’t around for a few days would she go in search of the boy. One cold rainy night is when Johnny’ world changed with his mother. Not being able to have the company she wanted because of the storm Maria turned to her son.

“ Johnny venir aqui…Se estan convirtiendo en hombre creo que es hora de que te muestra como llegar a ser ese hombre…Tu amas a tu madre, ?”

(Johnny come here…You are becoming such a man I think it is time I show you how to become that man…You do love your mother no?”)

“ Si la madre Te amo…eres todo lo que tengo…Por que me pregunta eso?”

( Yes mother I love you…You are all I have….Why do you ask me this?”)

“Porque quiero que me quieras de una manera muy diferente a mi hijo!…La forma en que un jijo debe amar a su madre.”

(Because I want you to love me in a much different way my son!… The way a son should love his mother.”)

Maria started touching Johnny in ways a mother should never touch her son and when Johnny tried to stop her she slapped him hard enough to split his lip.

“ Asi que usted no ama a su madre, como ustedes dicen…”

( So you don’t love your mother like you say)

“ Si la madre Te amo…no mentir…Por favor, no me golpeo de nuevo…yo te amo y te demostrara que te amo, como ustedes dicen un hijo debe.”

( Yes mother I love you….I not lie to you…Please don’t hit me again…I will love you and I will show you that I that I love you like you say a son should)

Johnny said as he licked at the blood on his bottom lip. His mother brought her face to his and started kissing him slipping her tongue into his mouth. Johnny knew deep down inside that this was wrong but not wanting beaten for disobeying his mother he did as he was told and that night became the worst night of Johnny’ life. That night Johnny was forced to do to his mother what he knew the men who came to there place did to his mother. He had seen her with a man once and without her knowing had watched as the man lay on top of his mother grunting and moaning as she did the same until he fell on top of her spent and breathing hard. That was in the last town they had been in and since that time Johnny wondered what it would be like for him to one day bed a woman and do what he seen that night the man did to his mother. That night in Chihuahua Johnny lay there after next to his mother in her arms.

“Ahora soy una madre del hombre?”

( Am I now  a man mother)

“ Si eres hijo es un hombre…con el tiempo voy a tener que tan bueno que las mujeres a hablar de mi, Johnny y como es en la coma….Pero esto debe ser nuestro pequeno secreto… wue mustan’t digas a nadie que demostar que essta entiendes?”

( Yes son you are now a man…with time I will have you so good that the women will talk of my Johnny and how good he is in bed….But this must be our little secret… you mustan’t tell anyone I show you this…understand?)

“ Por que?…usted dijo que esto es lo que un hijo…”

(Why….you said this is what a son ….)

“ Yo no he dicho…Por que no haces lo que te dicen?…Usted es como el…”

( I said never…why don’t you do as I say….You are just like him…)

Maria had become so angry she grabbed Johnny and dragged him out of bed and grabbing her leather belt beat his back bloody and slapped him in the face numerous times until the boy stopped screaming and begging her to stop. Bloody and hurting Johnny grabbed his clothes and ran from the shack toward the one place he knew she would never find him. A small cave a few miles out of town. Where he stayed healing his wounds the best he could with the water from the now flowing stream that ran through the cave. Johnny didn’t go back to that shack until the day a man killed his mother in a fit of rage. That day Johnny left Chihuahua and never shed a tear for the loss of his mother. Two years later he gunned down the man who killed her, only because she had given birth to him, not because she was his mother.

Johnny woke up screaming and gasping to breath. Looking around he finally came to his senses and remembered where he was. Getting up he walked over and stirred the fire and an\dded some wood to it so he could heat the coffee from last night up. After taking care of his screaming bladder Johnny walked over and checked his beloved Palomino.

“ Lo Siento my compadre.” Johnny said as he pressed his face into the neck of the stallion. Barranca sensed something was wrong and bent his head around pressing it into Johnny’ back and neighed softy.

Johnny couldn’t help but smile as he started rubbing the horse’ face.

“ The ol’ man say’s the past is just that amigo….but what would he say if he knew just what kind of past I really had?…Would he still want me as a son?….Or would he be so disgusted in me that he would run me off or try to shoot me down?” Johnny asked his friend. Barranca neighed and blew his nose before shacking his head.

“ Guess maybe we should give him a try…..What you think friend?….would you like to stay in a plush nice barn every night and have plenty of grain and hay to eat every day?”

Barranca whinnied loud and shook his head up and down causing Johnny to laugh again.

“ Okay amigo…let me get some coffee in me and we’ll head back and give this a try.” Johnny said as he  patted the horse before walking over to pour a cup of coffee. An hour later he had Barranca saddled and turned south, back to what he hoped would be a new start to a new life, a life not guided by a gun. A life of not having to go to bed hungry and cold. A life that now included a brother and a father he so desperately had wanted and needed when growing up.

Scott stopped at Johnny’ room and opened the door hoping that maybe his little brother had come home in the night but found that he had not. Going downstairs he hoped deep down inside that Johnny would come back and become the little brother he had always wished he had. Walking into the kitchen Scott seen that Murdoch was already sitting a the table drinking a cup of coffee.

“ Good morning sir.” Scott said as he sat down.

“ Son…….How did you sleep?” Murdoch asked as he set his cup down.

“ Good sir…..The bed is quit comfortable.” Scott stated. He wasn’t about to tell his father he had hardly slept at all worried about his brother and if he would come back.

“ Good……I want you to help some men repair fence today if you don’t mind.”

“ No sir……I don’t mind……What about Johnny?……Do you think he will come back sir?’

“ I don’t know son……Your brother….your brother well…..”

“ Look sir I read the Pinkerton report  and I think you need to read it also sir….all of it….especially the last page and what the agent said in his notes about Johnny sir…….I know and fully understand how you could feel the way you do sir  but Johnny has had…”

“ Scott…your brother has had a life that I cannot accept that he decided to have…..Your brother chose to live by a gun and to me that is the wrong choice for any boy to make.”

“ With all due respect sir…you don’t know a thing about Johnny…….It seems to me that you chose to ignore what is right in front of you…….You obviously didn’t see the look on his face when he left he yesterday…..You know my Grandfather never told me I had a little brother…..I didn’t know that till I came here…….and I must say I was shocked at first to find this out but I will do whatever I have to do to get the chance to know him……..and you……I am after all willing to give you a chance to be a father to me…..Why can’t you do the same and give Johnny a chance to be the son you say you lost all them years ago?”

im and you

“ Because Scott….that is not my son…….That boy is a gunfighter and nothing more…BUT I am willing to try and have him become the son I wanted him to be but it is up to him if he wants to do that and to do that he has got to be willing to accept all the responsibilities that go along with it……I won’t have him using foul language in this house…I will expect him as well as you to be on time for dinner every night at six and breakfast at seven every morning.” Murdoch stated firmly as he poured another cup of coffee.

“ Sounds to me sir like you want this place run in a military fashion.”

“ No son…I don’t but there are rules and I expect them rules to be followed…..No excuses…..and I will not tolerate him going into town whoring around like I know he does…….That brothel is off limits to him and you when you are working for this ranch…..and that is six days a week, church is on Sundays and I will expect you both to attend.”

“ Well I hate to disappoint you ol’ man….but I don’t go to no church……never had a reason to go before and I sure don’t plan to start now just cause you say so.” Johnny said as he walked into the kitchen and sat down. “ As for the whoring I do.” He started as he looked at Scott. “ What I do on my own time and who I do it with….well ya see that’s my business….not yours. I have a healthy appetite for sex and well as long as there are whores around I’m gonna fuck them.” he said firmly as he poured a cup of coffee and started piling eggs on his plate.

Murdoch set his cup down with a clang and Scott cringed because he had a gut feeling that his newly found little brother just challenged their father and that was something his father wasn’t going to stand for.

“ As long as my name is on the deed….and I am your father…you will do what I say John….and you will obey the rules of this ranch……if you can’t do that then maybe this isn’t for you.” Murdoch said firmly as he stared hard at his youngest.

Johnny didn’t back down and wasn’t the least bit intimidated by this man.

“ Just because your blood runs through my veins old man……that don’t give you the right to call the tune with me………I’ve been takin’ care of myself most of my life…no thanks to you……You remember what I said to you just before I was shot?……I told you I was goin to stay and claim any and all that is my birth right….so don’t think for one second you can run me off this place and deprive me of what is rightfully mine.”

Murdoch’ face was red as his anger rose to a boiling point. Standing up he threw his napkin down on the plate. “ I think you better explain just what you mean young man bu a comment like that….I had nothing to do with your upbringing and manners…or should I say lack of because if I had raised you you would have respect for people….I don’t give a damn what lies Maria told you about me…..It’s in the past but in my house you will not wear that gun at my table or past that front foyer is that understood?”

Johnny stood up as Murdoch walked over nearer him. Before Murdoch or even Scott could breath or even blink Johnny drew his colt.” This gun goes where I go old man…this gun is what has kept me alive and ain’t no man gonna tell me I can’t wear it. Tienes otra cosa viniendo si usted cree que me puede dejar de usar mi arma maldito viejo.” ( you got another thing coming if you think you can stop me from wearing my gun you fucking old man ) Johnny said firmly as he reholstered the colt. Before he could sit back down Murdoch grabbed him by the arm and jerked him away from the table. Scott stood up immediately.

This is my home and you will not use that kind of language in this house…..is that clear?…….if it’s not then maybe you think you’re man enough to take me on outside?….You ever pull that gun on me or anyone else who works for me on this ranch and it will be the last time you ever do….I promise you that.”

Johnny tried to jerk his arm free but Murdoch just tightened his grip. “ If you want to keep breathing you better take your hands off me….right now!” Johnny said angrily.

“ Sir…this is getting out of hand and I think we should all just calm down before it gets any more out of hand and either of you say or do something you will regret.” Scott said as he put a hand on Murdoch and looked at Johnny. Neither his brother nor Murdoch would give though.

“ You know I swore I would kill the next man that laid a hand on me so don’t think I won’t kill you.” Johnny said calmly as he glared at Murdoch hard through is Madrid blue eyes. Something in Murdoch told him to remove his hold and he did. Standing there a minute looking into the eyes of death he remembered seeing that day he first seen Johnny in Morro Coyo gun down a man. Turning Murdoch grabbed his hat and gun and left the house.

Johnny sat back down and began to finish his breakfast. Scott stood there in shock at what had just happened before turning and going after his father. When he walked outside he seen Murdoch talking to a hand and walked over and waited for his father to finish.

Murdoch turned and faced his oldest. “ You still think he can be a responsible member of this family?”

“ Yes sir I do…..I think from what I have observed sir…I think Johnny is a lot like you….all pride and cut from the same mold and neither one of you will give an inch….I think with the little I know about Johnny sir…I think he is trying in the wrong way to reach out to you……..Ithink more than anything he wants to be a part of Lancer…..But more than that I think he wants to be your son…..it’s just going to take time….Like he said sir he has raised his self so he needs guidance……The two of you are gonna but heads that’s clear…I think you sir will need to understand it though from Johnny’ point of view.”

Murdoch looked past Scott and seen Johnny walking toward them. “ I don’t think he will change.”

“ So what you want me to do for work old man?”

“ Johnny is it to hard for you to show our father some respect and call him Pa or even Murdoch as opposed to old man?” Scott asked as he stepped near his brother.

“ Well ya see Boston…a man has to earn my respect before I call him by his name or a friend.”

“ Respect has to be earned that you’re right about but it goes two ways Boy…you and your brother ride out to the north range and fix the fence out there….You’ll find the post and wire has already been taken out there.” Murdoch said before walking back to the house.

.

Chapter 12

Scott rode alongside his brother deep in thought as to how to get to know a person who clearly had no intention of wanting people to know him. Remembering what he had read in the Pinkerton report Scott thought about maybe asking his brother about his past and why he was a gunfighter, but thought against that also. Then it came to him…… Rules ‘ rules seemed to be something Murdoch had a passion so to speak about being followed. He could live with the rules, hell he had to in the Army when serving in General Sheridan’ Calvary unit during the war between the states so why should here be any different. He could understand his father wanting the ranch run in a professional manor. He could  also understand wanting to keep the Lancer name in good standing, after all a mans reputation meant a lot when it came to business. Having two new found returned sons could strengthen or destroy that reputation. Every town had it’s gossipers and Scott was sure Morro Coyo had it’s share of them. He could also understand where Johnny was coming from with the life he has lead so far. With the proper guidance Scott was sure he could turn his brother around. Sighing he knew he had a real job ahead of him and silently vowed that no matter what he would do whatever it took to get to know his brother, but more than anything he wanted to earn his respect. He was brought from his deep thoughts by a slap to his left arm.

“ Hey Boston….you in there?” Johnny asked as he reined Barranca up.

Scott stopped his horse and looked at his brother. “ Sorry Johnny, I guess I was lost in thought. What did you say?”

“ I was just wonderin’ what you think of that son of a bitchin’ ole man and all that crap about offerin us a third of this ranch.”

“ You don’t give the old man to much credit do you?”

“ Well I’ll tell ya…I don’t give anybody to much credit…..Saves a lot of  disappointment.”

“ You don’t think the offers real do you?”

“ You talkin’ about that piece of paper he showed us?….Let me tell ya somethin’ about paper….Touch a match to it an it burns up.”

“ Why you find it so hard to believe he’s on the up an’ up Johnny?”

Why…why because I learned my lesson Boston…the hard way. Growing up in border towns I got it from both sides you see. Me bein a half breed an all I learned real quick that ya gotta do it to them before they do it to you……He threw me and my mother out when I was only two …I didn’t grow up not wanting for a fucking thing like you…I didn’t go to bed with food in my belly every night…or get a fancy education and fancy clothes like you…not until I got this.”  Johnny said firmly as he pulled his colt 45 out. “ This is the only friend I have other than Barranca…this gun is what has kept food in my belly…clothes on my back and the respect I deserve….This gun has kept me alive for nine years…nine years of not getting….” Johnny dismounts and checks his cinch. And offers no more.

“ I seen the scars….How could your mother….”

Johnny shot Scott a deathly cold look before swinging in the saddle and spurring Barranca off at a full run leaving Scott standing there bewildered.

Scott watches stunned at what brother said and clearly didn’t say. Remembering the Pinkerton report their father had he had a feeling deep down in his gut that his little brother had more than beatings and torments done to him… by the one person he should have been able to Trust. Scott silently prays he is wrong but his gut tells him he isn’t and he knows that his brother will never ever talk to him about it. He also knows that from now on he will have to be careful about how to talk to his brother about his mother. Spurring his mount Scott takes off after Johnny and finally catches up to him at the fence line their father wants them to fix. A wagon was sitting there loaded full of fence post and four rolls of wire lay next to it on the ground. Scott dismounted and led his horse over and tied it in the shade next to Barranca. Looking over at his brother, who had already started digging a hole Scott decided to not approach the unfinished subject about Johnny’ mother again, At least not on this day. Loosening his cinch a little Scott walked over and after putting on his gloves started taking post out and laying them out every thirty feet along the string line that was already down.

After a couple hours Scott noticed Johnny pushing hard. Walking over to his horse he took his canteen down and walked over to Johnny and held it out for him. “ Here Johnny why don’t we break for lunch?”

Johnny stopped and took off his gloves, he took the canteen and took a good swig before pouring some over his face. “ Thanks.” was all Scott got as Johnny handed the canteen back and went back to work.

“ Johnny…lets stop for lunch.”

“ I’m not hungry…You go ahead though.”

“ Well at least take a break brother….You know this section doesn’t have to be done today.”

Johnny ignored Scott until he felt a hand grab his left arm. “ Johnny…please.”

“ Fine…if it will stop you nagging me.” Johnny stated as he threw down the shovel and walked over to his horse. Taking a bottle of Tequila out of his saddle bag he walked over a sat down in the shade next to Scott. Scott watched as Johnny took several long draws on the bottle before offering it to him.

“ Drink?”

“ No thank you.”

“ Whats the matter Boston am I not good enough to drink with?”

Scott could tell by the tone of Johnny’ voice that he was still upset about earlier. “ No…I just don’t think Murdoch would be none to happy if he came out here and found us drinking on the job Johnny.”

“ Yeah…well I don’t give a flyin’ fuck what that old man likes.”

Scott let out a sigh. “ You do have a way with words little brother…Tell me something….Are you gonna be like this all day?….I mean if your mad at me for earlier still Johnny I’m sorry……I was out of line and had no right to say that to you about your mother……I’m sorry.”

Boy Boston they teach you all them fancy manners back East?”

“ Yeah Johnny my Grandfather taught me as he raised me I….”

“ Yeah….well at least you was raised by someone who loved you……someone who didn’t throw you or your mother out because they decided they didn’t want a Mestizo around tarnishing their good Lancer name…..So if I don’t talk all fancy and have all them proper fancy manners like you got Scott excuse the fuck out of me…..I’m who I am and if you or that bastard Murdoch don’t like it…then to hell with you both and anyone else who don’t.” Johnny stated before taking another swig of Tequila before getting up and walking back over to his horse and putting it away.

.

Scott sat there dumbfounded by the outburst from his brother. Letting out a deep sigh Scott got up and put the rest  of their lunch away for later in case Johnny changed his mind and wanted something more than Tequila in his stomach.

.

After a couple hours and ten post later Scott stopped and decided to help Johnny string the wire. Picking up a new roll he carried it over and pulled the nail holding the end to the spool, not realizing he didn’t have enough tension on the end Scott found his left arm wrapped in the wire. Letting out a yelp drew Johnny’ attention to him.

“ Damn it Scott…what the hell are you doing unhooking a new roll of wire without keeping tension on it?……Even a jackass would know something spooled will let go suddenly if the tension is released.” Johnny stated harshly as he went over to help get the wire off Scott’ arm. “ You’re damn lucky it didn’t get around your neck Boston…..Hold your damn arm still will ya!…….Fucking este dandi…. que te va a tocar a ti mismo gravemente herido aqui si no te detienes a pensar…Yo no soy una ninera de mierda…..

Ay dios maldita sea Boston ya me dijo que qiieto.”

( Fucking eastern dandy….you’re gonna get yourself seriously hurt out here if you don’t stop and think….I’m not a fucking baby sitter……Ow God damn it Boston…I told ya to hold still) Johnny said harshly as the wire ripped through his left glove and cut deep into his hand. Johnny ignored it and continued to unwrap the wire from Scott’ arm. Once he finally got it off Johnny walked over to his horse and took the bottle of Tequila out and went back over to his brother.

What did you say to me a minute ago Johnny?…….I don’t understand Spanish and all I could get was Boston so I know it was me you was saying whatever it was about.”

“ Nothing Boston.” Johnny said as he poured some Tequila on Scott’ arm. Scott hissed from the burning.

“ Damn Johnny…You could have gave me a warning that you was going to do that.”

Well you don’t want it getting infected do ya?” Johnny stated.

Scott noticed the blood running out from under Johnny’ left glove. Grabbing his brothers arm Scott was ready for the resistance he knew he would get.

“ Look’s like I’m not the one who got hurt….Take your glove off Johnny….that’s bleeding pretty good brother.”

Johnny looked down at his hand and just stood there unmoving, staring at the blood running toward his elbow and across his wrist. Scott began to carefully remove Johnny’ glove and kept glancing up at his brothers face as he removed it.

“ Johnny are you alright?” Scott asked as the glove finally slipped off and blood gushed from the deep gash. Johnny continued to just stand there and stare at his hand. Scott thought maybe his brother was going into shock or something when Johnny finally looked up at him. The look he had on his face, especially in his eyes Scott swore he would never forget. He had seen a similar look on a childhood friend back in Boston once. The boy was afraid to go home because of a fight he had gotten into at

 school. Scott started to speak but couldn’t get the words to come out. Finally he could hear Johnny talking, but it was like he wasn’t aware he was saying what he was.

“ I was Thirteen….and….and me and my momma was livin’ in this little border town called Agua Prieta and there was these boys….five boys who didn’t like me…..especially the bigger one…He liked to bully the smaller kids……I was going home from working the stable when they cornered me and started calling me Mestizo…….Bastardo and anything else they could think of…….I tried to get away but five on one isn’t fair……The older one took out a knife and said “ Let’s see how the half breed bleeds….I want to know if a half Mex half Gringo bleeds two different blood colors since he’s not pure blooded.”  And he stabbed me. The other boys let me go cause they was in shock that he had done it and I dropped to the ground holding my left side tryin ta stop the bleedin’ when one of the boy’s said. “ Acebo mierda…que lo mato.” ( Holly shit…you killed him ) Before running off with the other three leaving me on the ground bleeding and this kid.” Johnny continued to stare at the blood on his hand. “ The boy started kicking me and after the third kick I grabbed his right leg and got him on the ground were I started beating the shit out of him….Some adults heard him scream and came and pulled me off him. Me bein a Mestizo an all I knew this wasn’t gonna be good. The boy did just as I thought he would do.

“ That half breed Bastardo attacked me……He tried to kill me with that knife of his…..I had no choice but to defend myself and was able to stab him.”

There was no doctor in that town and even if there was he wouldn’t have helped me. Several of the men took me roughly to the shack me and momma had just outside town an……….we was run out of town and my momma was…….she was real upset with me…..I tried to tell her it wasn’t like they said but she wouldn’t listen to me and even though I was still bleedin’ she ………One week later I was on my own cause a man…………” Johnny jerked his hand away from Scott.

“ Johnny that’s gonna need stitches little brother,  It’s deep.” Scott said as he went to his horse and too k out some bandage wraps he had in them and walked back over to Johnny. Looking  into his brothers eyes Scott could see he had a totally different look now. Johnny no longer had the look of a lost troubled little boy, no, Johnny looked like he wasn’t even aware of what he had just told his brother happened to him. Reaching out Scott took a hold of Johnny’ hand and started to wrap it up tight to slow  the bleeding down. “ We need to get you back to the ranch and get this cleaned out so it can be stitched up by the doctor.”

“ I don’t need no doctor Boston……..Been stitchin myself up for a long time without no doc’s help so I ain’t about to start usin one now.” Johnny stated as he jerked his hand away. “ Thanks.” he said as he turned to his horse and swung up in the saddle and headed for the ranch.

Scott put the unused bandages back in his saddle bags and mounted his horse. Still not believing what was just said to him he took off after his brother. He had a feeling Murdoch would probably find some way of putting this accident blame on Johnny and he wanted to be sure his father knew it was his fault, not Johnny’.

Two hours later Scott and Johnny rode up to the ranch and  dismounted. Murdoch came outside .

“ What are you boy’s doing home this early…..You still have four hours of daylight left you could work and that fence has got to get strung.

“ String it yourself then old man.” Johnny said  harshly as he walked past Murdoch and into the house.

“ What did you say to me  Boy?” Murdoch demanded as he went after Johnny and grabbed his  right arm and spun him around. “ You better start rememberin who it is you are talking to  BOY  and start showing some respect for people around here……Do…You…Understand…Me?”

Johnny jerked his arm free. “ Don’t ever grab me again ol’ man….like I said before….It will be the biggest mistake you ever make.” Johnny stated firmly before turning and going up stairs and slamming his door.

Scott came in just as Murdoch was going to go after Johnny. “ Sir….Johnny need’s the doctor….He got a pretty deep gash in his left hand out there and it will need stitched up.”

“ What the devil did that irresponsible boy do now?”

“ With all do respect Sir Johnny didn’t do it……I did……..I didn’t keep enough tension on a new spool of wire when I undid it and it got me….Johnny was just getting it off my arm when I moved wrong and caused it to cut him…..It wasn’t his fault sir and if you had bothered to notice when we rode up…..You would have seen his hand is wrapped…….But   No you rather pick a fight with him…….Give Johnny a chance why don’t ya…..He’s here….and he’s tryin to be the son you want him to be.” Scott said before walking past Murdoch and heading up the stairs to his brothers room.

Knocking on the door Scott got no reply so he slowly opened the door. “ Johnny?” Scott  said as he walked in. He found Johnny sitting on his window sill in the afternoon sun . Walking over Scott could see what he was doing. Johnny was stitching his hand up and as the sweat ran off his forehead he never said a word or let on any sign of pain as the needle went through his skin.

Scott cringed as he watched his brother stitch his hand up, consciously  flexing it into a fist and out as he watched.

“ Told ya I don’t need no doc Boston.” Johnny stated as he poured tequila on the wound then dried it.

“ I guess not…Let me wrap it up for you John!” Scott stated as he took the roll of wrap from Johnny’ hand. Standing there Scott wondered if after what Johnny had told him today…..He wondered if he would  ever really know his little brother.

“ You know Johnny……when I was seventeen, right before I joined the Army I got in a fight with this kid who easily out weighted me by sixty pounds….he swore I stole his watch and well…..after that fight we became very good close friends.”

“ What happened to the watch he said you stole?”

“ His brother took it and pawned it so he could as you say ‘ get laid ‘ It seems it was a dare put up by his little brothers friends .”

“ A dare?”

“ Yeah.” Scott said as he  cut and tied the wrap around Johnny’ hand. “ A dare to lose his  boyhood shall we say?”

“ You mean get fucked for the first time?…….Damn Boston you gotta learn to speak the language out here…..Thanks.” Johnny said as he stood up.

“ You do have a colorful way of putting things into perspective little brother………I still want to know what you said out there in Spanish today Johnny.”

Johnny took a swig of the  Tequila and told Scott what he had said.

“ Well I’ll tell ya what little brother……You don’t kill anyone…especially our father in the next month and I promise I won’t do something stupid like that again.”

Johnny looked at his brother not believing what he just heard.

“ Are you serious Scott?……And what am I supposed to  do if I’m in town and I get called out?”

“ Called out?”

JESUS Scott……..I’m fucking Johnny Madrid  a gunfighter who will always have someone come along thinkin he is faster than me and try and shoot me down………Scott…..Madrid don’t back down and Madrid sure as hell don’t run from a fight either….so you better get used to having a gunfighter for a little brother.” Johnny stated before turning and  heading to the door.

“ Johnny wait…….The boy who stabbed you….whatever came of him?”

“ I killed him two years ago in Santa Fe….He called me out and lost Scott…….I’m gonna go check on Barranca…..See Ya.” Johnny said then was gone leaving Scott again standing there stunned at what his brother said.

.

Things went rather smoothly for Scott and Johnny for the next two weeks until the day Johnny decided he wanted a beer and something more. Only problem was, it was the middle of the week and the old man only gave him Saturday nights to do what he was craving.

That morning  Murdoch had Scott ride up and check on  the condition of a bridge they would be moving the cattle across in the fall to winter grazing. Johnny was to clean out a wash that had become badly over grown and had several large downed trees and stumps in it. Using Barranca Johnny was able to remove all but one tree,it’s roots still deep in the ground. Tired and having had his fill of the back breaking hard work Johnny mounted Barranca and headed to town. “ Come on boy…..I need a beer and a woman.” Johnny said to his friend. The Palomino shook his head as if he was  understanding Johnny. Knowing what  his friend wanted Johnny gave Barranca his head and off they took at a ground  covering hard run. Johnny let the stallion run until he was almost to town before he slowed him to a walk.

Murdoch rode  out to  see how Scott was doing but was met by his oldest. “ Sir.”

“ Son…How’s the bridge look?”

“ It has a couple support beams that will need replaced and the  planks should be also. Most of the are dry rotted and well a horse or cow cold fall through and break a leg….. A man too for that matter.”

“ Okay right up a list of what we will need and we’ll get the supplies in Green River next week…..Let’s ride over and see how your brother is doing cleaning out that wash.” Murdoch said as he turned his horse and headed to the wash Johnny was supposed to be cleaning out. When they arrived thirty minutes  later Murdoch and Scott found the wash was not cleaned out and Johnny was no where to be seen.

“ Scott you go on back to the ranch……I know where your brother is at and………”

“ Sir…..may I make a suggestion?”

“ Go on.”

“ Instead of confronting Johnny in town about this…….Why not wait till he comes back to the ranch….. That way no one in town hears what is said between the two of you.”

“ Fine….when your brother comes home Scott….we are going to get this settled once and for all……I will not have him tarnishing the Lancer name by being seen in the company of those…….I won’t have it.”

“ I understand sir.” Scott said as he turned and headed toward the ranch with his father. “ Johnny….little brother…..I sure hope she’s worth it cause you are in a heap of trouble.” Scott said to his self.

Chapter 13

Johnny walked Barranca into Morro Coyo watching any and all people on the street and boardwalks.

Riding Barranca to the house at the end of town Johnny dismounted and walked Barranca up to the trough to get a drink. When the horse was done he walked on over in front of the house and wrapped the rein around the post rail. “ You rest Amigo…I’m gonna go get my self cleaned from the inside out buddy.” Johnny said as he rubbed the stallions face.

Walking into the house Johnny could see the same woman as a couple weeks ago was at the bar. Looking up she seen him and Johnny could see a small smile curl her lips up in the corners. Looking around the room Johnny could only see one other man and he was clearly a well seasoned old timer from the tanning of his skin and calluses on his hands. Walking over to the bar Johnny took of his hat and sat it on the bar top.

“ Back for some more Madrid?” the owner asked.

“ Yes ma’am……I’d like one of your ladies for a couple hours Ma’am……If that’s alright with you?”

“ A couple hours huh?……..You got that kinda money on you Madrid?”

Johnny pulled out a leather pouch and took out four silver eagles and laid them on the bar top.

“ Oh yeah……..I got the money ma’am and I intend to get my money’ worth fucking one of your girls.”

Picking up the money and putting it between her breast. “ So you want the same girl as last time?”

Johnny remembered how the girl last time talked and he really didn’t care for her again but she was a good fuck and that’s exactly what he wanted.

“ Yeah…yeah if’n she be available for a few hours.”

“ Oh she is Madrid……..She told me and the girls about you and I must say…….for someone as young as you are……..you do know how to fuck  a girl…….Why she even said you know how to take a girls breath away when you kissed her also.” she stated as she walked around the bar and up to Johnny. Putting her hand on his chest she slowly ran it down stopping only briefly at his belt. Before Johnny knew it he was rock hard and could feel her hand rubbing his cock through his leather concho pants.

“ How about a woman older and more experienced this time Madrid?” she asked as she rubbed harder.

Johnny felt like he was going to explode right there and reached down and grabbed her hand stopping himself from cumming just yet. “ More experienced huh……You sure you’re up to a couple hours of none stop sex Ma’am?”

“ Only one way you’re gonna find out…but I’ll tell ya what Madrid…..if I can’t handle you then it’s on the house…..sound good?”

“ Oh yeah…..that sounds real good….lead the way Ma’am.”

“ It’s Dulcie….Madrid…as opposed to ma’am.” She said as she took his hand in hers and led Johnny to a room behind the bar.

Opening the door and waving her right arm she motioned for Johnny to go on in. Once inside Dulcie closed and locked the door and started taking off her clothes. Johnny stood there watching her undress and was amazed at the body this older woman had hidden under her clothes.

“ Looks can be deceiving handsome…..you plan on keepin your clothes on for this romp?” Dulcie asked as she dropped the last of her under garments to the floor and stepped out of them and over to Johnny.

“ No Ma’am……I don’t.” he said while undoing his gun belt. Reaching to undo his pants belt Johnny suddenly found another pair of hands helping him and was soon standing in front of Dulcie as naked as the day he was born.

“ You like to be in control of this Madrid?…….or do you like the woman to be?”

“ That depends on just what all she’s willin ta let me do to her.”

“ Anything you want any position you want……..why I even like it rough if that’s what ya want to do……My girl told me how ya did her up against the wall a bit…..why don’t ya do me that way……cause I promise ya, ya won’t be disappointed Madrid…..besides you look like you’re all pent up and frustrated about somethin so give it to me rough and get it out of the way so we can fuck.”

Johnny stood there a second before he stepped closer to Dulcie and grabbed her hair and started kissing her neck and running his tongue up to her earlobe. Sucking and biting on it as his hands groped her breast and squeezed bringing a moan from Dulcie’ lips as she to was kissing and nipping at his chest before swirling her tongue on one of his nipples causing it to harden and stand out. Biting it Dulcie ran her right hand down between Johnny’ legs and over his balls gently squeezing them as his shaft throbbed.

Johnny ran his left hand down and reaching behind her he picked her leg up just enough so he could enter her while she stood there at his mercy on her left leg. Penetrating her was easy as he walked her backward to the wall. Once against it Johnny picked up her other leg and started thrusting in her hard, slamming her back against the outer wall of the room hard. Moaning Dulcie reached down and brought Johnny’ mouth to hers and plunged her tongue deep inside his mouth causing him to moan as he felt his climax start to build. After a few more very hard, very aggressive slams into the wall Johnny released his seed deep inside Dulcie. When the last of his spasms stopped and he was still deep inside her Johnny turned and walked with her still around his waist over to the bed and fell to the mattress on top of her and started thrusting again as he picked her legs up and laid them on his shoulders so he could penetrate her deeper. Bringing his mouth down Johnny began attacking her breast vigorously with his mouth. Sucking and biting and pulling on the nipple as he thrust into her. Dulcie moaned louder as her climax started and she reached for Johnny’ waist to pull him in tighter to her.

“ Oh my God Madrid……Oh my God.” Dulcie practically screamed as her climax started. Johnny stopped thrusting so he could feel her muscles spasm around his shaft and delved his tongue deep in her mouth for a few seconds before he felt himself start to release again. This time Madrid came harder and slamming his hips into her hard Johnny again released his seed in her. Finally feeling himself soften Johnny collapsed at Dulcie’ side breathing hard as the sweat ran down the side of his face. Dulcie turned on her right side and brought a leg up to his mid section as her left hand began to rub his chest.

“ You are really something in bed Madrid…….I don’t think I have ever had it that good before…..you sure know how to pleasure a woman.” Dulcie stated before she started kissing his chest again.

Johnny laid there enjoying the feeling he had inside ‘ Yep…cleaned from the inside out ‘ he thought but knew he wasn’t done with this woman just yet. Laying there Johnny let her play and touch him for a spell before he started hardening again.

“ Turn over on you stomach.” Johnny said as he rose up on his left side. Dulcie pulled him down into a hot wet kiss, their tongues twirling around each other as Johnny ran a hand down between her legs and slid a finger inside her. Dulcie moaned with pleasure and when Johnny slid a second finger inside her and started thrusting them in and out of her Dulcie about came off the bed. Johnny continued to work his fingers on Dulcie until he knew she was close to climax again. Stopping he rose up and got on his knees.

“ Oh Johnny don’t stop…..please.”

“ Roll over on your stomach.”

Dulcie knew then what Johnny was going to do and was more than eager to take this man’s shaft inside her at that angle. Positioning herself for him Dulcie waited for what she knew would be the best fuck and orgasm ever.

Johnny got behind Dulcie and reached between her legs to make sure she was still hot and wet before he slid his engorged cock into her wet portal. Putting his hands on each side of her hips Johnny started thrusting feeling the tightness around his cock. Taking his left hand he reached up and grabbed her hair and pulled her up against his chest as he thrust into her. Dulcie turned her head and their mouths came together in a hungry furry. Both hungry for what was coming. Johnny reached down and started rubbing Dulcie causing her to moan in his mouth. Johnny knew she was close, so was he and with all he had left he thrust as deep as he could up into her as he kissed and sucked on her neck. Reaching up and grabbing her right breast with his right hand Johnny squeezed it hard as his climax started. When he was finally done they both collapsed forward onto the bed fighting to get their breathing under control.

Johnny rolled over onto his back trying to get his breathing under control as Dulcie rolled onto her left side to face him.

“ You Madrid are one hell of a man in bed…..You can come here anytime you want cause honey you just made this woman feel young again….Thank you.”

Johnny looked into Dulcie’  eyes as he turned onto his right side to face her.

“ Why thank you Ma…Dulcie………I’ll surely keep that in mind…cause…..well as you could tell I do love a good romp between the sheets but it’s getting late and I need to be goin.” Johnny said as he got out of bed. Dulcie got up too.

“ Just a minute stud.” she said as she walked over and poured some water in a basin and dipped a cloth into it. Wringing it out Dulcie walked over to Johnny and started cleaning him off. Johnny could feel what she was doing was getting him aroused again and before he could do anything Dulcie brought her mouth to his as she dropped the cloth and started working his shaft in her hand. Moaning Johnny stood there feeling himself get hard again. Dulcie started kissing her way down his chest as she worked his shaft. Dropping to her knees Dulcie looked up at Johnny.

“ This one is my way of thanking you for the past three hours.” Dulcie stated right before she took his shaft in her mouth. Johnny put his hands on her head and worked his fingers in her hair as he laid his head back sucking in a deep breath before moaning aloud.

“ Oh man….Madre de dios…….Oh yeah that feels good……..Yeah…..suck me harder Dulcie…….let me shoot in your mouth……aye me madre d……….” Johnny thrust his hips back and forth as Dulcie sucked and worked his shaft with her hand.

“ Cum for me Madrid……..Let me taste you………let me feel you release your seed in my throat.” Dulcie begged as she swirled her tongue around his tip tasting his juices start releasing before she took him all the way in her mouth and sucked as hard as she could.

Johnny moaned and held her head firmly as he thrust two more times before crying out in pure ecstasy  as he released deep in her throat. When Dulcie finally stopped sucking on his shaft Johnny stood there on trembling legs for a minute before moving to the bed and sitting down.

“ I….must..say Dulcie…….I think that was the …best suck off…..I have ever gotten.”

“ Yeah……well after what you gave me It was the least I could do for you……I don’t do that for just anyone Madrid………I only do that for a real man that I like and honey……you are all man….now get the hell out of here Madrid before I want to keep you here all night.” Dulcie half heartedly ordered as she got up and went to clean herself up before going back out to her night customers.

Johnny got dressed and walking over to the door after putting his gun on Johnny kissed Dulcie hot and feverishly one last time.

“ Just something to keep you until next time.” he said smiling before opening the door and walking out.

Forty five minutes later Johnny was on Barranca and headed back to Lancer. He figured he would just make it in time to clean up for supper as he let Barranca choose the pace he wanted to run. Riding in under the arch Johnny slowed Barranca to an easy canter to the yard. Swingin down from the saddle Johnny walked Barranca into the barn and gave his friend a good rub down and brushing. After putting hay and an extra amount of grain in his stall Johnny headed inside to clean up

Walking into the great room Johnny noticed Scott and Murdoch was both already seated.

“ Johnny.” Scott said. As he quickly glanced at their father as Johnny sat down. Scott knew what was coming and he knew Murdoch wasn’t going to be easy on Johnny for this. Deep down inside Scott hoped that maybe Johnny had ridden into Morro Coyo to get his wound checked and not for what Murdoch suspected.

“ Boston……Hey ol’ man.” Johnny stated as he sat down glancing at Murdoch and clearly seeing the disapproval on his fathers face at his choice of words to him. Johnny also knew that his father was not pleased that he continued to wear his gun in the house and while at the dinner table.

“ Johnny.” Murdoch said loudly. “ I told you Boy to not wear your gun in this house nor at the table.”

“ Yeah I know ya did Murdoch but you see……as I told you me and this here Colt are one so basically where ever I go my gun goes with me.” Johnny stated as he reached for the potato’s.

“ Is that so.” Murdoch said more than asked. “ Well in that case Johnny I guess you can just take your meals someplace else because I call the tune in this house and I will not have a gun at MY dinner table…..IS THAT CLEAR?” Murdoch firmly asked his youngest.

Johnny just ignored Murdoch and stabbed a piece of roast. Scott sat there watching and listening wondering why Johnny insisted on goading their father on the way he does.

Murdoch stood up and threw his napkin down on his plate. “ Get up John…….NOW.”

Johnny looked at his father then Scott. Madrid had clearly took over Scott could see.

“ Murdoch……..Johnny why don’t…….”

“ Stay out of this Son.” Murdoch said firmly to Scott as he walked over to his youngest and grabbed him by the collar and yanked him up out of his chair before Johnny could do anything.

“ I told you to do something BOY and you will do as I tell you in MY house……..Now get out of here.”

Murdoch bellowed as he shoved Johnny toward the front door. “ Go eat with them Whores you just needed to ditch your work for to be with today.”

Johnny hit the front door and stood there starring hard at his father a few seconds before glancing at his brother.

“ Yeah…….I know all about your little side trip to town this afternoon BOY……..Me and Scott rode out to see if you needed any help and you wasn’t there and the job I gave you to do wasn’t done……I offered you a third of this ranch and you accepted it when you signed that document so you will hold up to your agreement or you can get the hell off this ranch right now and not come back…….The choice is yours.”

Madrid was pissed and he clearly wasn’t going to take this from a man he didn’t know just because his blood flowed through his veins.

“ Fuck you old man…….I’m not one of your hired hands you can order around and treat like a dog. I’m……” Johnny never got to finish what he was saying due to the fierce slap Murdoch gave his left cheek.

“ Don’t you EVER use that language in this house again AND don’t you ever talk to me like that again…….YOU will show me the respect I deserve or we can finish this outside right now.”

Johnny rubbed at his cheek before reaching for the door only to stop. “ That’s the last time you will ever touch me old man.” he said before turning and going upstairs and slamming his door shut.

Scott sat at the table with his head in his hands wishing his brother and father would just get along. Murdoch came back over to the table as Scott stood up.

“ Where are you going?”

“ Upstairs to my brother Sir.”

“ Leave him son…….That boy is going to learn to respect me or else.”

“ Because you call the tune right…….Did you ever stop to think why Johnny is the way he is toward you Sir?”

“ Because he had no proper up bringing and he doesn’t care or feel a damn thing.”

“ Doesn’t feel…….Sir Johnny does feel…..Do you know he was stabbed when he was Thirteen by a boy who wanted to know what color his blood was……….You know his mother beat him for defending himself against that boy!”

“ Let me guess…..he killed that boy?”

“ No Sir…..he didn’t…..He beat the boy up and because he is a half……..he was punished by the town and his mother for it…….That same boy called Johnny out two years ago in Santa Fe……..You really don’t have a clue to or about Johnny Sir…….If you would just loosen the reins on him a little and try to understand from his point why he does what he does then maybe the two of you could get along.”

“ I understand all I need to understand about that boy son…….Johnny is irresponsible and reguardless of what you say he doesn’t care…..especially when it comes to that gun.”

Scott knew it was futile to argue with his father about this. Tonight he had learned that unless Murdoch got a good eye opener about Johnny…H            e would always see his little brother as the killer Johnny Madrid and never as Johnny Lancer.

“ Excuse me.” Scott said as he left the table and went outside leaving Murdoch at the table alone.

Scott walked out to the corrals and just stood watching the horses in the moons glow as it crept up over the mountains to the east. After about an hour of standing there Scott headed back inside. His father was at his desk.

“ Scott…..come here please.”

Scott walked over to the desk. “ Sir…”

“ Since you think so highly of your brother and don’t think he did any wrong tonight or this afternoon I…….”

“ I never said that Murdoch.”

“ I want you and him working together……the Chicken coops need repaired and the hog pen also…..It should take you both three days to get it done.”

“ You want me and Johnny to fix the hog pen and chicken coops……..so this is your idea of punishing Johnny for taking off……and me for standing up for him and……..’

“ I call the tune on this ranch and that is what you both will be doing for the next three days…… Maybe when done you and your brother will have learned a lesson.”

“ Excuse me Sir but ……..It’s you who needs to learn a lesson…….YOU need to learn how to be a father to a son who never had one.” Scott said before turning and heading up to bed before Murdoch could respond.

For three days Johnny and Scott worked side by side,the hog pen needed a total make over so both boys by the end of the third day were dragging when they came in the house. Johnny hadn’t eating dinner with his brother or Murdoch since that night Murdoch ordered him away from the table. Inside Johnny knew how Murdoch felt and could even understand why he didn’t like his son wearing his gun in the house. Heading up to his room Johnny heard Murdoch tell Scott dinner was in ten minutes.

Scott looked at the back of his brother go upstairs and heard his door close but no slam this time as before. Sighing Scott went over and sat down at the table with his father.

“ So I take it you both got the pen rebuilt son?”

Scott cleared his throat. “ Yes sir…we did…..We’ll get started on the chicken coops tomorrow sir.”

“ That’s alright son……you don’t need to do the coops…….Johnny can do them alone……….I want you to ride to Green River with me tomorrow and look over a couple bulls that are for sell.”

“ Why don’t you take Johnny instead sir……I’m sure he would like to get away from here…..he has been working…….”

“ Because your brother is being punished……besides I don’t think it would be very good for business if I rode into that ranch yard with Johnny Madrid with me.”

Scott shook his head, he couldn’t believe what his father was saying. “ Well then sir I’m sorry but I won’t be going with you…..You was very adamant about what me and Johnny was to do the other day and I’ll stay here and  finish that assigned chore you gave us.”

“ Scott…son you did a good job on the pen and I thank you for realizing it would be better to rebuild it than repair it….”

“ I didn’t do that sir…..Johnny did…..and I think it is him who you should be thanking……not me.”

Just then Johnny walked into the Great Room and sat down at the table and began to dish up some food.

“ Don’t hold your breath on the old man ever payin me a compliment for a good job or somethin like that Boston cause you’ll be old or dead before that ever happens……Just like the way he’s wasting money on feed instead of growin his own.”

Murdoch noticed Johnny wasn’t wearing his gun when he sat down and had started to say something but didn’t……that is not until the comment about the feed.

“ And just what would you know about expenses and how much I spend on feed?”

“ Well ya see ol’ man……..I never was much good at sleepin so I came down here the other night and had me a look at them books ‘ yours and I gotta tell ya……you must really like throwin away money Murdoch because from what I seen goes out every year in grain alone could buy the material for another big barn to store feed in……You got prime hay and grain field acres in the south pastures.

You could sink another windmill and have enough water to keep the hay good through summer so you got three if not four cuttings a year. The grain would get the water it needed till it was time to let it dry…See right now you’re growin Corn for feed and that is twice as expensive as wheat is to grow…let alone buy the seed to plant…….But hey who am I to say……I mean I’m just a dumb gunfighter halfbreed and I don’t have no fancy education like Boston here…..I may not be all that good with the numbers but I do know when money is bein spent that doesn’t have to be.”

Scott sat there dumb founded by what he was hearing from his brother.

“ You see Boston…..It takes eight pounds of feed to put one pound of weight on them stupid cows and unlike horses a cows won’t scrap away snow in the winter to get to food beneath……That’s why you have to supplement the food to them so’s they don’t starve to death………You take them Mustangs that run free on Lancer…….They don’t get food brought to them and they survive winters in better condition than them cows do come spring…..”

“ That’s enough Johnny……….You had no right going through my books and you don’t…….”

“ No right……..Did ya hear that Boston……….Here we are part owners of this ranch and he’s sayin I got no right to look at the books……….Well let me tell ya somethin old man……..I as well as Scott have every right and you are wasting Five thousand dollars a year on feed……..But hey you go right a head…..You just make damn sure it comes out of your third of this ranch.” Johnny glanced at his brother then back at Murdoch. “ Look at him Scott…….He knows I’m right but because it’s me suggesting it he doesn’t want to admit it to me or  you…..God forgive him if the great Murdoch Lancer admitted when he was wrong or agreed to something he or someone without an education came up with.” Johnny got up and took his plate of food and headed to the kitchen to eat.

Scott had had just about enough of the way his brother was being treated. This was the the match that lite the dynamite. Standing Scott walked over to Murdoch’ desk and grabbed up the ledger and opened it.

“ Put that down son.” Murdoch ordered but was ignored by his oldest.

“ Why…….you want me to not see that Johnny’ right about what he just said?”

“ No Scott…….he’s not right……Do you really think I would spend that much money on feed a year…..and it would cost to much to grow our own feed like he is saying….It would require building fence around it strong enough to keep the cattle out….and the watering wouldn’t work.”

“ Why……It would work if we built a channel  and ran it down from the lake and irrigated the fields. That lake never dries up due to the river and springs on up running into it.”

Murdoch looked at his oldest. “ He knows nothing about what he  was talking about son….but you do….You draw up a plan and a rough estimate of cost and I’ll see about doing this.”

“ Look…..with all due respect Sir this was Johnny’ find and Johnny’ suggestion…….Don’t you think you should be asking him to do this?”

“ Do you really think that that boy would know how to do something like that Scott?……..No I want you to do this…….Either it’s you or forget the whole thing.” Murdoch said before walking over and pouring himself a stiff drink.

Scott stared at his father perplexed at what he was hearing. The more his father belittled his brother, the more angry he became.

“ You know SIR Johnny may not have an education like me but doesn’t mean he is stupid……He took one look at that hog pen and knew that it would be useless to repair it….Me I would have done like you said and before the month is out it would have had to be done again……..Why don’t you you try to be a little more open minded to him and stop seeing Johnny as Madrid……Take him with you….Give him a chance to show you he’s more than a gunfighter.”

“ I told you Scott….I want you going with me and Johnny is staying here and doing the chicken coop…. By his self and that’s final!” Murdoch stated firmly as he slammed his glass down on his desk.

“ You don’t give an inch do you……All pride and Johnny is cut from the same mold.” Scott said before turning and heading upstairs.

Murdoch picked up his glass and walked over to the sideboard and poured himself another drink. Walking back over to his desk he sat down and opened the ledger. Could his oldest be right? Could it be that Johnny, just because he grew up in the border towns did know more about ranching than he was willing to give credit?  Hell when the boys signed the contract he didn’t even know if his youngest even knew how to read let alone right his name. Could he be all pride and not want to see what or who Johnny really was. Pushing the ledger aside Murdoch opened the bottom drawer and took out the Pinkerton report and opening it he started reading it.

Scott walked up to Johnny’ door and knocked. Getting no response, he slowly opened the door.

“ Johnny.” he said softly. Still getting no response Scott stepped in and from the glow of the lamp he could see his little brother sprawled across his bed sound asleep with his shirt open. Picking up Johnny’ boots that had clearly been taken off in frustration Scott sat them down next to the bed before taking a quilt from the chest and as he started to cover his brother up Scott noticed the scars on his brother. Sighing and letting out a deep breath Scott covered his brother up and blew the lamp out before heading to his own room. It was as plain as day is to night that Johnny had had a rough life growing up.

Stepping into his own room Scott couldn’t help but wonder just what all he had had the privilege of having when growing up, that his brother didn’t. Did Johnny get to celebrate the Holidays? Did he even get to celebrate his Birthday? One thing Scott knew for certain, Johnny wasn’t stupid like Murdoch was so determined  to believe. Johnny was a survivor. He had survived and been through more than any man his age should ever have too. Johnny was both a Man and a Boy. The man in him is what has kept him alive and the boy in him is so desperately crying to come out. Crying for the love and respect a boy wants from a father. Scott just hoped his father realized this before it was too late and lost the son he claims he has searched for and wanted back home for all those years.

The next morning Scott woke from a restless couple hours of sleep night and noticed it was still dark outside but the sun was not long on the horizon. Standing and stretching his tired sore muscles Scott walked over and poured some water in the basin and splashed some on his face. Rubbing his jaw he decided today he wouldn’t shave. He was going to help his brother with the chicken coop anyway, regardless of what Murdoch had said last night. Dressing and  heading to the door he wondered just how well his father had slept last night. He hoped the man had done some serious thinking about what he said to him about his little brother. Seeing a low light coming from under Johnny’ door Scott knocked lightly.

“ Yeah”

Scott opened the door and stepped in. He found Johnny standing in front of his dresser shaving. A towel draped around his neck.

“ Hey Boston….You’re up bright and early this mornin.” Johnny said as he wiped the excess shaving cream from his face as he walked over and sat down on his bed to put his boots on.

Scott couldn’t help but stare at the scars on his brothers back and it pained him so deeply inside he had to fight to keep his stomach from churning.

“ Yeah well I………I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night brother.”

“ Oh yeah…..why not?…..I slept like a baby……Thanks for coverin me up last night Boston.” Johnny said as he stood up after putting on his boots. He noticed Scott tryin not to star at his scars.

“ Not a pretty thing to see is it?”

Scott’ head shot up when he realized with Johnny’ statement that he had been staring at his brother.

“ How’d ya know it was me last night?”

“ Easy……..I know the old man isn’t about to waste any time doin somethin  like that for me…..so you see Scott I know it was you…….Thanks again.” Johnny said as he took his blue shirt out and put it on.

“ Johnny!…” Scott had to know. “ Who……who did that to you?”

“ Take your pick brother…..just about every man my momma brought home used me for a punchin bag or punished me……Hell I remember this one time Boston………I was asleep and suddenly I was grabbed and yanked out of bed and thrown against the wall hard just because I came in the house out of the weather. I got busted real good with a belt, buckle side out for that one.”

“ Why Johnny………why…..”

“ Well ya see Boston…….I wasn’t supposed to come in the house…if ya want ta call it a house when my mother had a man over night……..I’m starved and we got a chicken coop to do today so let’s go eat so we can get started.” Johnny said as he walked past Scott leaving him standing there a few seconds stunned.

Johnny headed down the back stairs into the kitchen and was taken aback when he found his father up and sitting at the table drinking coffee and what was clearly the Pinkerton report spread out on the table. Scott came down about twenty seconds behind his brother and seen what had brought Johnny to an abrupt halt at the bottom of the stairs. Stepping around Johnny Scott walked over and poured two cups of coffee and handed Johnny one. Johnny took the cup and staring at his father he sat down across from him and could clearly see what his father had been reading. Reaching across Johnny took the page Murdoch held limply in his hand and  turned it around to read it. It was the final report from the Pinkerton’ about how they themselves felt about Johnny Madrid, How other people worship him because of how he helped the little man and always did the right thing. When he read about how they had told how he would sometimes take a job just for a roof over his head or food in his belly Johnny let the report fall to the table and stood up and walked over to the stove.

Murdoch looked up at his son as he walked away from the table. Scott knew his words last night to his father had hit a nerve and was glad his father had read the report fully. Murdoch stood up and started to step toward Johnny but stopped when Johnny sat his coffee down and walked past them to the front.

“ I’m not hungry any more Scott……I’m gonna go start on that chicken coop.” he said over his shoulder as he left the kitchen.

“ Johnny.” Murdoch said as he reached for his son but Johnny jerked his arm away and continued to the front door leaving Murdoch standing there. Scott could clearly see the hurt on his fathers face as he sat down and took a sip of his coffee.

“ So….you finally decided to read the Pinkerton report I see!” Scott stated smugly.

Murdoch turned and glared at his oldest for a second before sitting back down.

“ Tell me something sir…..which part of that report do you want to use against my brother now?……You still think he’s just another hired gun?……..A cold blooded killer?…….Someone who has no morals?… No feelings for another human being……Perhaps you still see him as someone…….”

That’s enough son.”

“ NO SIR……no it’s not enough…….You said Johnny isn’t a responsible reliable person……well let me tell you something Sir…..Johnny is a responsible person….He’s responsible for every dirt poor farmer he helped keep what little they possessed and their lives……You read it……Right here in black and white Murdoch……The son you are so bent on running off or banishing from here has been a man more than he was a child…….Johnny has sacrificed his body and damned near his life to help people and all for just a roof over his head or food in his stomach……That still make you think of him as a cold blooded killer?………Does the last incident get through to you as to just what kind of Man my brother is?”

Murdoch just sat there silent for a few minutes before standing up. “ Stay here with Johnny and help him with the chicken coop son……when you get that done the two of you can ride out and check were you think would be a good place to get ready to plant the feed.” he said before heading up stairs to his room.

Scott walked to the front veranda and waited for his father to come back down stairs. He had one more thing to say to the man in Johnny’ defense and he was going to say it to his father like it or not. Looking up he heard Murdoch’ door close and a few seconds later he was staring at his father at the bottom of the stairs.

“ Sir…..if you have any morals at all…..if you want any chance at all at redemption with Johnny……then go out there and tell him what you just told me in there sir……….after all It was my little brother who suggested this….Your youngest son.” Scott emphasized on the latter. “ Drop that damn stubborn Lancer pride and make the first move toward doing this with him Sir because I’m going to tell you right here and now that if Johnny leaves this ranch because of you, then I too will leave Lancer.” Scott said before opening the front door and heading out to help his brother.

“ Scott” Murdoch hollered as he walked after his son.” Son….would you take my saddle bags and put them on my horse for me and tell Paul I’ll be along in a minute?”

Scott smiled and took the bags from his father. “ Yes sir….I will.”

“ You know son…..that Eastern education you have I think just taught this old man a valuable lesson….. Thank you.”

“ You’re welcome Sir……You lost him once to none of his doing…….Don’t lose him again.” Scott said before walking away toward the barn.

Murdoch swallowed his pride and headed to the chicken coops to a son he finally realized he did want, A son he needed, A son who also needed him as a father just as badly.

Johnny was carrying boards into the chicken pen when he noticed his father walking toward him.

“ What’ the matter old man….you come to make sure your dumb son knows how to do this job?” Johnny said with sarcasm. Murdoch cringed at the harsh words coming from his sons mouth.

“ No John……I didn’t….I came to talk to you.”

Johnny stopped and just stood staring at his father a few seconds. “ Talk huh?……Talk about what old man?…Talk about how you don’t want me here?…….Talk about how I’m just a half breed dumb ass who don’t know nothing…..even when it’s in plain black and white right in front of me……No let me guess…..YOU want to know how many men I murdered RIGHT?”

Murdoch grabbed Johnny’ arm. “ No son I don’t…….I don’t care about your past…….I never should have……..I……”

“ Well you better care old man……because my past could show up here at this ranch…..A man could ride right in here and call me out.” Johnny said firmly as he jerked his arm free and grabbed more boards.

“ Johnny…please Son…..I just came here to tell you that when you and your brother are done with the coop you can ride out and see just where a good place would be for them fields to grow feed in……I’ll leave you alone now.” Murdoch said and turned to leave.

“ Murdoch……..You mean it…..You really goin to do it?” Johnny asked as he stepped toward his father.

“ Yes Son I do…..I’m riding over to Green River with Paul to look at a bull, We will be back tomorrow night.” Murdoch said before walking away. Johnny stood there stunned at what just happened between him and his father. Johnny was still standing there when Scott walked over.

“ You okay little brother?”

“ Yeah…….yeah Scott I’m fine.” Johnny said as he grabbed more boards. “ Lets get these chickens a house that don’t leak. It should only take us about four hours to do this and I’d really like to take Barranca out on a run this afternoon.

Five hours later the coop was built and new bedding was in the nesting boxes. Johnny had even built a ramp for the birds since this coop was higher off the ground so the snakes couldn’t slither in easy.. He also made the door wider so it was easier to gather the eggs and less chance of dropping them before they made it to the basket.

Saddling Barranca Johnny was leading his beautiful stallion out of the barn when a girl with long dark brown hair came walking up to him.

“ I would like to go for a ride hand……would you be so kind as to saddle my horse for me please?…It’s the Bay in the end stall with the white socks.”

Johnny stood there looking this girl up and down from head to toe, taking in her every curve and fine figure.

“ Why yes ma’am….I’ll just do that.” Johnny said as he dropped the reins to his horse and walked back inside to saddle her horse. A few minutes later he walked out with her horse trailing behind.

“ I was just gonna take Barranca here out for a run and well…..It’d sure be nice to have a female companion along…….Especially one as good lookin as you are ma’am.”

“ Teresa….my name is Teresa….as opposed to Ma’am.” she said as she climbed on her horse.

Johnny handed her the rein he was holding. “ Johnny” he said as he gave her his Madrid smile.

“ You have beautiful Blue eyes Johnny….and  quit a smile.” she said before turning her horse and galloping off to the north. Johnny swung up on Barranca and let the stallion have his head as he chased after this girl. “ This is gonna be a good afternoon Amigo.” he said to his horse.

Scott watched from the front veranda and couldn’t help but laugh out loud. He laughed because he could just see his brothers face when he was told by either his father or the girls that she was off limits.

Scott just hoped his little brother didn’t get carried away and stood there wondering if he should go after them and put a stop to what he knew was going to happen. Deciding not to Scott turned and walked back into the great room and  after choosing a book he settled down on the couch for some much deserved relaxation.

After a couple miles of galloping Johnny and Theresa slowed their horses to a walk so they could cool down.

“ I know a place not far from here Miss Theresa we could take the horses and let them get a good drink and cool down for the ride back.”

Teresa looked at Johnny and smiled. “ Is that so?….Well lead the way.”

A short time later Johnny had both horses staked out and there saddles off them. Walking back over to where Theresa was admiring the view of the land. Johnny came up behind her. He could tell by the way her breathing changed when he did so that she was nervous and maybe a little scared.

“ Do I  scare you Teresa?’

“ No…No you don’t scare me Johnny….If you did I wouldn’t have come out here alone with you……Have you worked for Mr. Lancer very long?” she asked as she turned around to face him.

“ No……not really….why?”

“ Oh no reason….I was just curious was all..I’ve never seen you around before…….You’re younger than most of the men he hires……It’s nice I guess you could say to have someone my age around who is willing to ride like the wind.”

“ Is that so?…….Well Barranca and me that’s the only kinda riding we like to do.”

“ Can I ask you something Johnny?”

“ Sure.”

“ Please don’t let me seem to forward but I was just wonderin just how old you was?”

Johnny took a step closer and again noticed Teresa’ breathing hitch. “ I’m Nineteen…Why….how old are you?”

“ A gentleman never asks a lady that.”

“ Yeah well then I guess I’m not a gentleman now am I…….I’m what you could say a wild sometimes bad boy.”

“ Really?”

“ Yeah…really.” Johnny stated as he put his hands on her shoulders and pulled Teresa to him and kissed her.

Theresa was taken aback by the sudden move and when Johnny let go she slapped him. “ How dare you.” she said as she tried to turn away from him but Johnny grabbed her and again kissed her this time sliding his tongue in her mouth. Teresa started to fight him but then melted into his kiss and put her arms around his neck and moaned into his mouth as his tongue took pleasure in tasting every inch of her mouth. After a few seconds of this Johnny stopped and fully expected to be slapped again and was ready for it but instead Teresa came at him again and this time right before she forced her tongue in his mouth she said. “ I like bad boys.” Johnny slowly lowered himself to the ground as Teresa continued to kiss him. His lower body started waking up and Johnny was more than willing to oblige this girl if this was what she wanted. It wasn’t the first time he was came upon like this after a short meet and he was quit sure it wouldn’t be the last time either. His sexual urges getting stronger Johnny started roaming his hands over Teresa’ body as he laid her down in the grass. Looking into her eyes Johnny asked. “ Just how far you willin to let this go?”

“ Until I decide to stop you Johnny…….Touch me……..let me feel what it’s like to have a mans hands on me.” she said as she pulled his mouth down to hers.

Johnny ran his right hand down and when he touched between her legs he knew by the way she arched up into his hand what she wanted. Getting up Johnny took off his gun and laid it close by. Teresa started undoing his shirt and running her hands over his chest as Johnny reached down and did the same to her.

“ You gonna keep your clothes on for this?” he asked as he shucked his shirt off.

Teresa took her blouse off and unbuttoned her undergarment that allowed Johnny full access to her breast. Johnny reached down and ran his hand between her legs again as he sucked on her breast. Feeling himself fully hard now Johnny rolled on top of Teresa and pressed himself into her as he sucked on her right breast. “ This is a dangerous game you’re playin missy.” Johnny stated as he claimed her mouth again.

Teresa wrapped her legs around him as she felt Johnny press his hardness into her.

“ Once this happens…there is no goin back.” Johnny so desperately wanted inside her but he also knew this girl was at the age when sexual desire was starting to run hard. That the urge was growing and if it wasn’t him to do this it would be someone else. But still for some reason Johnny couldn’t bring himself to continue this any longer. Johnny decided he would give her one very special moment from this and she would still have her virginity in tack. Forcing his hand down in her riding pants Johnny found what he wanted and a short time later Teresa gasped and writhed as she climaxed for the first time.

Twenty minutes later Johnny was saddling the horses back up. His sexual want still very strong and very hard. The ride back was not going to be a comfortable one for him but when they finally did reach the ranch Johnny took Teresa’ horse and watched her walk away. She had told him finally on the ride back that she was Paul O’ Brian’ daughter and had been raised on Lancer her whole life. Upon learning this Johnny was glad he didn’t go where he so badly wanted to go with her next to that stream. After taking care of the horses Johnny headed to the house. Scott was still on the couch reading when he walked in and poured a stiff drink.

“ I see you met our foreman’  daughter Johnny….did you have a good ride?”

“ Yeah Scott…..we did……..Look I’m gonna go get cleaned up for dinner k.” Johnny said as he downed the shot and headed upstairs.

That night Johnny had trouble falling asleep. He could still feel Teresa’ lips on his and feel the way she bucked when he brought her to climax.

“ Madrid……you’re an ass……….you was ready to do an innocent girl just to satisfy yourself…..You have got to stay away from that girl Madrid…..she could get you in the kind of trouble you don’t want.” Johnny said as he decided to pleasure himself since it wasn’t going to go away and let him sleep.

Tomorrow Johnny would make sure him and Scott stayed out most of the day checking on land to grow the hay and wheat on with adequate water to water the fields. He knew that if his father or even Teresa’ father found out about today he would be in for one hell of a chewing out and probably warned to stay away from her. That suited him just fine. Course he never did tell her he wasn’t a hand, that he was Murdoch Lancer’ youngest son. ‘ Let her find out on her own’ he thought as sleep claimed his tired body.

.

Chapter 14

Johnny and Scott spent the day checking the south pastures and found the perfect flat area with not one but two channels from above to provide adequate water supply.

“ you know Scott….the grain it ain’t gonna need as much water as the hay will….That is if’n the stubborn ol’ man wants to get two cuttings a year off it…….The Don’s in Mexico could get three cutting a season so with this area here we do it right we could also.”

“ You uh…..You have a good ride yesterday brother?” Scott asked as he watched his brothers face.

Johnny turned away from his brother and walked over toward a stump. “ Yeah…..It was good……Barranca loves to get out and run….Why?”

“ Oh no reason particular…..I was just wondering…….So what’s Theresa like?” Scott asked and could tell even with his back to him that Johnny and Theresa had something starting between them. “ She’s about your age brother…….and I must say….she is pretty.”

“ Yeah…….Yeah she is Scott……She thinks I’m a hired hand here.” Johnny said as he walked over to his horse and checked the cinch before swingin up in the saddle.

“ Hired hand huh…….You didn’t tell her who you are?”

“ No…….not my last name.”

“ Why?”

“ Just never got around to it…..We……”

“ We what?……..Johnny did something happen between you two yesterday?”

“ We should head back Scott…….I want to get cleaned up for dinner before the old man gets back.” Johnny said as he spurred Barranca into an easy lope.

Scott held his horse back a few smiling. He knew now for sure that something did happen between the two and was actually happy for his brother. Inside Scott felt that his brother wanted a woman in his life but Johnny was young and did have a past…….A dangerous past that came with him. Did Theresa know or if she found out would she stay away and not see past the Madrid side of his brother like he was so trying too do himself. On the outside these few weeks he and Johnny have been getting to know each other Scott picked up real fast that Johnny don’t trust anyone but more than that he knew that his brother the man was also still a boy inside. Johnny, even though he would never say or admit it so desperately wanted to be loved. Loved by his estranged father and loved by a woman. Spurring his mount Scott took off after his brother.

Johnny and Scott rode under the Lancer arch and slowed their horses to a walk as they came into the yard. Dismounting Johnny started walking Barranca toward the barn.

“ I thought you wanted to get cleaned up Brother before our father came back?” Scott asked as he followed Johnny into the barn.

“ I do….but I need to take care of Barranca first……You go ahead Scott and I’ll take care of yours also. Just make sure yur done by the time I’m done.” Johnny said as he took Scott’ horses reins.

“ Thanks brother.” Scott said before turning and walking out.

Johnny stripped the saddles off both horses and took care of Scott’ horse first because he liked to spend extra time with Barranca.  Talking softly to his compadre Johnny heard someone walk into the barn and without turning around assumed it was Scott.

“ You done getting cleaned up already brother?” Johnny asked as he continued to brush the golden stallions back.

“ No.”

Johnny turned around fast hearing the voice.

“ You have a brother who works here also huh?” Teresa asked as she walked up closer to Johnny but staying out of reach of the stallions teeth.

“ Yeah……I do…..What are you doin here?”

“ Oh I thought I’d meet my father when he got back with Mr. Lancer.”

Johnny finished brushing Barranca and came out of the stall. Closing the gate he walked over and scooped out a good amount of grain for his friend, “ There ya go Amigo……You earned it buddy.” Johnny said as he patted the horses neck before turning and walking to the hay pile and pitched some into both stalls. He tried not to look at Teresa and keep his distance from her as well but when he walked over to put the brush away Teresa followed him and caught when he turned around Johnny found himself too close for comfort in such a close space, Not to mention anyone could walk in and even though they couldn’t be seen directly from the barn entrance someone could catch them.

“ Johnny…I thought about you all day. Teresa said as she walked up and put her hands on his chest. Johnny looked into her brown eyes and that was all it took. Leaning down he claimed her mouth with his and delved his tongue deep inside as he pulled her as close as he could to him. Feeling her press her body to his in just the right place Johnny moaned and pressed back.

“ Johnny……I want you…….and I know you want me.”

Swallowing hard and taking a deep breath Johnny tried to slow his breathing down amongst other things. “ I do want you Teresa……but not here……We could get caught.”

“ I need to ride over to a friends next week……I’m gonna ask if you could take me, my father and Mr. Lancer insist I have an escort  when riding.”

Johnny stepped away from her. God she was beautiful. Ripe fruit prime for the picking of becoming a woman and she wanted Johnny to be the one to pick that fruit. This wasn’t a Bordello or saloon girl…….This was a young lady wanting to become a woman and even though Johnny had helped take many a girls innocence he couldn’t explain the feeling inside this one was causing him to have. It wasn’t lust…..It wasn’t a sexual urge……. well it was but yet it wasn’t….Could what he was feeling be the start of love? Johnny knew that there where many kinds of love and even though he had never been lucky enough to get it much when growing up from his mother or the men she bed, Johnny still knew. He knew this was a love different from the love he had for his horse, different from the love he would possibly eventually have for his brother or father and definitely not the love his mother said a son shows his own mother to show he loves her. Johnny sighed and grabbed Teresa’ hand and pulled her back into the corner into the dark more and claimed her mouth with hunger.  Running his hands down her shoulders onto her breast he squeezed and felt her moan into his mouth as he hungrily sucked her tongue and bit at her bottom lip.

“ You really shouldn’t wear a dress around me Teresa.”

“ And why not Johnny?”

“ This is why.” Johnny said as he pulled it up and found she had no bloomers on underneath the dress making it a whole lot easier for what he was going to do to her. Johnny silently prayed that noone came into the barn right now because undoing his pants to relieve the pressure he had Johnny kissed Teresa and dropped down on his knees and taking her by total surprise Johnny put his mouth between her legs and sucked and licked as Teresa’ juices flowed and she moaned.

“ Oh my Johnny……You…….” was all she could say as she felt her climax start and grabbed Johnny’ head and pressed herself into his face more.

Johnny knew she was cumming and sucked as hard as he could as Teresa thrust her hips forward into his face and arched her back moaning as her juices flowed. When Johnny knew she was done he came back and claimed her mouth more roughly than he had intended.

“ Touch me Teresa.” Johnny said as he took her left hand and ran it down to his engorged shaft. Standing back just a little. Teresa took his shaft into her hand and Johnny showed her what he wanted her to do.

“ It won’t take long….I promise.” Johnny said as he moved his hips back and forth. Watching Teresa’ hand work his shaft drove Johnny over the edge and feeling his climax start Johnny took his shaft and finished as Teresa watched his cum shoot out into the hay on the floor. Breathing hard Johnny again claimed Teresa’ mouth with hunger.

“ Oh man girl……I want you in bed so bad.” Johnny said as he did his pants back up.

Teresa stood there watching Johnny fix his gun belt and button his shirt back up.

“ I just hope your father and mine let you be the one to escort me next week Johnny……..I don’t think I can handle much more of this between us.” Teresa said as she walked up and wrapped her arms around Johnny’ neck and kissed him passionately stopping when she heard the sound of a wagon outside.

“ Father” Teresa said before walking away from Johnny leaving him standing there trying to get his body under control. Walking over to Barranca Johnny rubbed the stallions face.

“ Amigo……I think I’m in love.”

Barranca blew out softly and laid his head on Johnny’ left shoulder. “ Yeah I love you buddy….But Teresa…….Its a different kind of love buddy…..The kind of love a man deserves from a beautiful woman…….I’ll see ya in the morning Amigo.”  Johnny said as he headed out of the barn.

The lone figure standing back in the shadows stepped out and smiled from ear to ear.

“ Hey Murdoch……Paul, did you get the bull?” Johnny asked keeping his eyes away from Teresa.

“ Hello Johnny….yeah the bull will be delivered next week…..where is your brother Johnny?”

Just then Scott walked out of the barn. “ Right here Murdoch……..I was in the barn.” Scott said as he looked at Johnny then Teresa.

“ Well Teresa……I hope my two sons have been treating you right.”

“ Two sons?”

“ Yeah…..Scott my oldest son, Catherine’ boy and Johnny my youngest.”

“ Youngest………you’re Johnny Lancer?………..I thought you was a hired hand.”

“ Well technically I am…….I just happen to be part owner of Lancer also.”

Johnny looked at Scott and wondered just how long he had been in the barn and what all he seen or heard.

“ Well boys I hope you enjoyed your time off and are ready to do some hard work starting tomorrow?” 

Murdoch said as he started toward the house. “ Paul you care to have supper with us?”

“ Why yes I would Murdoch….Thank you.” Paul said as he soon followed inside leaving Teresa, Scott and Johnny standing there.

“ You be surprised what you can see in a barn little brother.” Scott said as he stepped closer and lowered his voice. “ The way I see it…you owe me little brother because if that had been Murdoch or Paul I have a feeling you wouldn’t be feeling anything right about now.”

“ You gonna tell them?”

Scott smiled. “ No….in fact I think you two are a good match…..course Teresa your father may not see it that way though.” Scott said before walking inside.

Johnny stood there staring at his brothers back as he walked away.

“ Johnny I’m sorry.”

“ I’m not…Look Teresa I meant what I said and what I feel toward you I………..”

“ Teresa…” Paul called as he stepped out onto the veranda. He didn’t like his daughter being alone with Johnny. Even if he was his best friends son, he was still and always would be a gunfighter and not the kind of man he wanted his innocent daughter around especially alone.

For the next week Johnny and Scott worked with a crew getting the fields ready, removing tree’s and stumps, rocks and everything else the plows dug up. It was grueling hard back breaking work and both boys had a hard time staying awake just to eat dinner. Johnny thought about Teresa and that day in the barn a lot. Scott never said any more to him about that day and Johnny was grateful for it. When he did see Teresa they would share a quick smile or look that only the two of them knew meant when others where around.

At breakfast on the day Teresa said she was to go to a friends Murdoch asked Scott to escort her and Johnny’ heart sank a little. He had been looking forward to being alone with her again and this time truly alone.

Scott looked at Johnny and could see the disappointment in his brothers eyes.

“ Uh Sir….I was going to start working with the crew on the channel…..Johnny can escort Teresa to her friends….Besides he’s been working harder than me and I think he deserves a break from the work.”

Murdoch looked at Johnny. “ Would you mind escorting Teresa to the Monroe’ Johnny?”

Johnny cleared his throat and wiped his mouth with his napkin. Looking at Scott Johnny smiles just enough that told Scott ‘ Thank You’.

“ No sir…..I don’t mind at all……I haven’t really been able to ride Barranca that much these past days and he could use the ride.”

“ Alright….Teresa will be riding so after breakfast you can saddle her horse as well as yours….After you get her to the Monroe’ on the way back I want you to check on the damn and wash in the Northwest pasture…….I want to move the cattle there late summer to graze because the grass is good.” he said before standing and heading out to give the men there duties for the day.

Johnny sat there playing with his food. “ Thanks brother.” he said softly.

Scott barely heard him. “ Just remember Johnny….You owe me for this little brother and don’t think I won’t collect.” Scott said as he stood up and walked around to Johnny. “ Just be careful and Johnny…

have a good time.” he said patting his brother on the back. “ Oh and Johnny….in case you’re wondering Teresa’ father will be working with me today.” Scott said with a smile before walking out.

Scott was gone by the time Johnny got to the barn and saddled the horses. He was leading them out when Teresa walked up. Johnny couldn’t help but smile. Teresa was wearing jeans and what looked like a mans shirt but the way it showed the curves and fullness of her breast Johnny didn’t care.

“ You ready to go Miss Teresa?”

“ Why yes I am Mr. Lancer.” Teresa said with emphasis on the later.

Johnny smiled. “ You never asked and well…..you had already assumed I was a hired hand……You need help mounting or can ya do it yourself?”

“ No I don’t need any help…..I’ve been riding horses all my life.” Teresa said as she grabbed the reins and mounted. Johnny swung up in his saddle and the two rode off.

After a couple hours Teresa stopped her horse and got off. Johnny stopped Barranca and sat there looking down at her.

“ You gonna just sit there Johnny…or are you gonna get down here and kiss me?”

Johnny smiled at Teresa before swinging his right leg over Barranca’ neck and sliding down into her arms. “ Yes ma’am…That’s the best offer I’ve had in a long time.” Johnny said before he covered her mouth with his and hungrily devoured hers. Sliding his tongue inside he couldn’t help but moan aloud as he pulled Teresa into his chest and ran his hands down onto her buttocks and pressed against her.

Teresa pressed right back and reached up and  unbuttoned his shirt so she could run her hands in on his chest  causing Johnny to moan into her mouth. Sensing that she was on the right track Teresa decided to take her right hand and run it down between Johnny’ legs and rub his hardness driving him even more crazy.

Johnny stopped kissing Teresa and threw his head back a little as he became even harder as Teresa took  his left nipple in her mouth and started gently biting and swirling her tongue over it. Johnny was teetering on the edge of losing all control when he reached down and grabbed Teresa’ hand.

“ This isn’t the place Querida……Someone could ride along and catch us.”

Teresa brought her mouth up to Johnny’ and started gently biting his bottom lip. “ Then were Johnny?”

“I know of a line shack not far from here and nobody will be using it. It has good shelter for the horses and is fully stocked.” Johnny told her as he desperately tried to remain in control of his body.

Teresa slid her tongue in his mouth and pressed her pelvic into Johnny’ hardness and that was all he could stand.

“ Damn Querida.” Johnny said as he undid his gun belt and concho belt and dropped to the ground pulling Teresa down with him. There was no way he was going to be able to ride the few miles to the shack as hard as he was now. He had to have release and knew just how to get it and still save the best for once they were at the shack and he had Teresa naked beneath him as he spilled his seed into her.

Laying Teresa down Johnny started undoing her pants and Teresa laid  there letting him as she breathed  in the sexual musk in the air. The sexual urge,need and drive that she knew Johnny had.

Getting her pants undone Johnny started pulling them down so he could do what he wanted. Teresa reached down and helped push her jeans down to her ankles. Johnny undid his conchos on both sides so his pants would just fold down in front and allow his hardness freedom. Positioning himself between Teresa’ legs Johnny rubbed his hardness against her mound as he retook her mouth with a wild hungry desire. Thrusting a couple times against her Johnny felt his climax start and was so tempted to force himself inside Teresa before he released it took all he had to just stay outside her. Getting up on his knees Johnny took his shaft in his right hand and worked it vigorously before he threw his head back and moaned.

Teresa knew Johnny was climaxing so she reached up and scooting down took him in her mouth and sucked as hard as she could as Johnny’ seed spewed into her mouth.

Johnny totally taken by surprise at this grabbed Teresa’ head  in both his hands and thrust into her mouth as his seed released.

“ Oh dulce madre de Teresa querida… oh si oh que se siente tan…Quiero liberar mi semilla dentro de ti tan mal.” ( Oh sweet mother of…dear Teresa…oh yeah…oh that feels so….I want to release my seed deep inside you so bad ) Johnny said as he threw his head back  as Teresa sucked his shaft.

When Johnny knew he was done he put his right hand under Teresa’ chin and gently lifted her face to his. “ Thank you querida….you didn’t have to do that but I’m sure glad you did.” Johnny said with sincerity  as he claimed her mouth again. Helping Teresa to stand up after  Johnny found his legs quivering a little but the feeling inside, the feeling he was having in his chest, the feeling that got stronger every time he looked, kissed, touched or talked to Teresa, That feeling was the one that had him confused.

“ Johnny I’m not gonna be able to take much more of this…….I want what you said just then.” Teresa stated as she went to her horse. Johnny walked over to her and kissed her again before helping her into the saddle. Walking over to Barranca and swinging up in his saddle Johnny felt a drop in the temperature and looked to the west. The sky was black and the wind was picking up.

“ Teresa we gotta ride and ride hard to that line shack look.” Johnny said as he pointed to the west.

Teresa looked and knew that storms from the west that came in this fast could be dangerous for both of them. Kicking her horse Teresa followed Johnny.

Scott and Paul had about a quarter of the channel base done on top when Scott decided to stop for lunch. Sitting there eating Scott couldn’t help but wonder about Johnny and Teresa and how the ‘escort’ to Teresa’ friends was going. He knew what was going to happen between the two and couldn’t help but hope his newly found little brother was careful. He wasn’t ready to become an uncle just yet and Scott was quit sure Murdoch wouldn’t appreciate becoming a grandfather that way either.

“ Scott…how come you didn’t escort my daughter to the Monroe’?” Paul asked as he stood up.

Scott was taken aback a little by the sudden question. “ Because I was needed here to help get this channel going….Besides Johnny worked harder than me on getting the fields ready and the fence around them so I figured he deserved a day off from work…Why?”

“ I don’t trust him…..and I’ll tell you something right here right now Scott…..If that half breed killer does anything to my daughter……If he touches her or dishonors her in any way……..I’ll kill him.”

Scott could feel the anger starting. “ Now wait a minute Paul…..You got no call talking about my brother like that…..Johnny’ not a killer….He did what he had to do to stay alive down in those border towns……And I  don’t much care for you calling him a half breed….Johnny is my brother and a good decent hard working man.”

“ He’s a killer no matter what you say Scott…….He killed people for money and he came here to kill Murdoch……I’m just sorry I didn’t kill him when I shot him that day…..My daughter is a good girl and I won’t have no half breed gunfighter soiling her or her good reputation.” Paul said before walking away.

Scott got up and went after Paul. Grabbing him by the left arm and spinning him around. “ Let me tell you something Paul……YOU  do anything to Johnny and you will answer to me. Is that clear?”

“ Don’t go thinkin you can scare me Scott with your threats……I bet I could find a lot of men eager for the reputation of killing that half breed bastard.”

Scott lost it then and hit Paul as hard as he could in the mouth. “ I mean it Paul…..I’ll kill you myself if you so much as do anything that causes harm to my brother…..You bring trouble to Lancer and I’ll see to it that you are fired…….Is that understood?”

“ You can’t fire me Boy…….I’ve known your father since before you was born…..You’re blind if you think that Murdoch wants that half breed bastard around here reminding him of the whore who forced him into marrying her to keep the Lancer name good, He doesn’t want that……” Paul never got to finish what he was saying because Murdoch was riding up.

“ You remember what I said Scott…..I’ll kill him.” Paul said softly as Murdoch stopped his horse.

“ Son…Paul….Looks like the channel is coming right along.”

“ Yes sir…It is.” Scott said as he gave Paul a hard look before stepping away.

Murdoch could sense the tension between the two. “ Is there a problem I should know about Son?”

“ No…..no sir there’ no problem….excuse me sir but I need to get back to work.”

‘ Uh just a minute Scott…..There’ a storm to the north I noticed when I topped the ridge back there……It looks pretty bad……..Did your brother take any rain gear with him?”

“ I don’t know sir……To tell you the truth I don’t know if Johnny has rain gear….Now if you will excuse me.”

.

Johnny and Teresa made it to the line shack just as the sky let loose.

“ You go on inside Teresa and get a fire going I’ll take care of the horses.” Johnny said as he helped her down and kissed her quickly before leading the horses to the lean too. Making sure both horses had plenty of hay and water for the rest of the day and night and was brushed down and dried Johnny headed for the shack hoping Teresa had a pot of coffee on. Soaked to the bone just about Johnny opened the door and got the surprise of his life. Teresa was standing there with a hot cup of coffee for him alright, but she was as naked as the day she was born standing there holding it. Johnny closed the door and took off his coat and stepped toward her and took the cup of coffee. After taking a sip he sat it down on the table and grabbed Teresa up in his arms and devoured her mouth with furry and hunger.

Teresa reached down and started undoing Johnny’ belt and pulling his shirt up. Johnny stopped kissing her long enough to take his gun off and lay it down on a chair next to the bed as Teresa unbuttoned his shirt and started kissing his chest as she slid his soaked shirt down off his shoulders. Johnny undid his silver concho belt and with a little difficulty finally got his soaked leather pants off and stood in front of Teresa just as naked now. Pulling her into his chest Johnny again claimed her mouth and hungrily delved his tongue deep in her mouth as he nipped and sucked on her lips and kissed her face and neck. Running his tongue up her neck to her left ear Johnny heard Teresa moan as he started sucking and gently pulling on her earlobe with his teeth.

Stopping just long enough to lay Teresa down on the bed. Standing there Johnny was mesmerized by the beauty of the girl who was soon to become a woman. The girl laying there naked as the day she was born willingly giving her body to him. Johnny had had other girls on their first time before but this girl, Teresa, she was different. The way she made him feel inside when he looked at her, the way she smiled at him, everything about her just knocked his heart and head crazy.

“ God you’re so beautiful Teresa.” Johnny said as he got on the bed and straddled her waist and rubbed his hardness on her belly as he leaned down and delved his tongue deep inside her mouth moaning with pure pleasure as he ran his hands over her breast and squeezed them gently. Teresa ran her hands up and down Johnny’ back feeling the scars from the beating s he had gotten as a child and shuddered inside at the thought of it happening. Raising back up Johnny played with both of her breast and watched Teresa’ face as he pinched and pulled on her nipples before finally bringing his mouth down on  the left one and sucked on it like a newborn child would do, Switching to her right breast Johnny played with the left one as he sucked and pulled on the right nipple. Teresa moaning aloud drove him crazy. Running his right hand down between her legs Johnny rubbed her mound and between the delicate folds of skin as he started kissing his way down to Teresa’ stomach.

Teresa was feeling feelings inside her stomach and whole body like she never thought she would feel before. Arching her mound up into Johnny’ hand when he touched her she gasped and pressed her head back into the pillow as she put her hands on his head.

“ Please Johnny…..Do to me what you did in the barn……Please.”

Johnny had every intention of having Teresa climax like that again as he slid two fingers inside Teresa.

‘ I plan to.” Johnny said just before his mouth claimed her mound and his tongue slid in where his fingers where. Teresa bucked and moan out loud as Johnny sucked and worked his tongue on the one spot he knew would cause her to climax. Feeling himself ready to explode Johnny reached down with his left hand and worked his shaft as he sucked on Teresa’ mound.

“ Oh Johnny……Oh my God Johnny it’s happening……….Johnny…….”

“ Cum for me Querida……Let me taste your juices.” Johnny said as he sucked harder and felt his own release start. Sucking as hard as he could Johnny had to let go of his shaft and hold on to Teresa as she started bucking and rolling her hips as her climax exploded in his mouth. Looking up Johnny could see Teresa had her head pressed down hard into the pillow biting the corner of it to stifle a scream of pleasure. He could feel her body trembling, not from cold, but from pure sexual pleasure.  Kissing his way back up to Teresa’ breast Johnny couldn’t help but smile before he started sucking on the right breast again for a few seconds before kissing his way one up to Teresa’ mouth and claiming it again. Delving his tongue into her mouth Johnny pressed himself between her legs and rubbed himself against her mound to get hard again.

Teresa finally able to stop quivering Took a deep breath. “ Johnny…..Lay…….Lay on your back and let me do to you what you just did to me.”

Johnny raised up on his hands and looked down into her eyes. “ I want inside you Teresa…..I want to feel my cock sliding in and out of you.”

“ I know and I too want to feel you inside me Johnny but I want to do this for you…..I want to do better than I did earlier.”

Johnny rolled over onto his back and laid there as Teresa now straddled him and took control, Kissing, biting and sucking on his neck as she worked her way lower. Johnny laid there and ran his hands up and down her back until he couldn’t reach any longer. Teresa took his shaft in her hand and Johnny could tell she wasn’t really sure what to do so taking his right hand he placed it over hers and started working it slowly till he was sure she knew just how to do it. Once he was hard Teresa slid his shaft in her mouth and swirled her tongue around it. It was now Johnny’ turn to moan in ecstasy  as he raised up and watched Teresa bob her head up and down. Johnny couldn’t help but thrust his hips up in rhythm with her mouth. Feeling himself ready to explode again Johnny grabbed Teresa’ head and held her as he released his seed down her throat. Dropping back onto the bed Johnny tried to get his breathing under control as Teresa  continued to suck on his shaft till he was no longer hard before kissing her way back up to lay on his chest. Johnny brought his left hand up under her chin and brought her mouth to his and with passion and furry he kissed her for a long time before finally  just wrapping his arms around her and holding her to his chest.

“ Teresa….You need to know whats going to happen when I penetrate you……Look at me sweetheart…..It’s gonna hurt Teresa…I wish it didn’t but there is no way around it…..I promise I will make it as painless as possible for you but it will hurt you.”

Teresa laid there looking into Johnny’ aqua blue eyes and smiled.” It’s okay Johnny……I know it will hurt a little but……it will be pain of love and I know you wouldn’t do anything to deliberately hurt me… Johnny I want this….I want to give this part of myself to you and only you”

“ Are you absolutely sure Teresa?…..cause once I do there is no going back…….You can’t get back what I’m gonna take from you……What most women wait and give their husband on their wedding night.”

“ I have never been more sure of anything before Johnny than I am of this……I love you Johnny Lancer so stop stalling and make love to me.”

That was all Johnny needed to hear. Rolling Teresa over on her back Johnny ran his right hand down and started working two fingers in and out of her as he passionately kissed her again. Working his fingers until Johnny was sure Teresa was wet enough he positioned himself between her legs and pressed the tip of his shaft against her entrance and with all the restraint he had Johnny slowly pushed his tip inside a little then withdrew it. Repeating this several times until he felt his tip touch the barrier and stopped and just stayed inside Teresa letting her get used to it. Finally withdrawing almost all the way out Johnny looked down at Teresa and smiled. “ Are you sure?” he asked.

Teresa wrapped her legs around Johnny’ and brought her mouth up to his and slid her tongue inside as she moaned. Johnny thrust hard and felt Teresa tense as he broke the barrier. Stopping Johnny stayed still as he let Teresa’ body get used to him inside her. “ I’m sorry.” he whispered in her ear as he started to move slowly in and out of her. After a minute or two Teresa started thrusting her hips up to meet Johnny when he thrust down. Speeding up his thrust Johnny raised up on his hands and looked down and watched his shaft slide in and out of her. “ Look at it Teresa…Look at the two of us becoming one Querida.” Johnny said as he moved his hips in a circular motion so he could rub Teresa’ special place and have her climax while he was inside her.

“ Oh my Johnny…….Oh Johnny that feels so good…..I think I’m gonna …….Oh……” Teresa said as she climaxed hard. Johnny felt her muscles tighten and wanting to do the same he thrust as hard as he could slamming into her so he could cum with her. “ Oh Teresa I’m cumming Querida…..I’m gonna give it to you…….Oh Teresa.”


 Johnny gasped as he pumped as hard and fast as he could, driving them both over the edge. Quivering and totally  exhausted  Johnny rolled off Teresa onto his back and laid there trying to get his breathing under control. Teresa rolled over onto her left side and put her right arm across Johnny’ chest and laid her head on his shoulder.

“ Lift your head up.” Johnny said as he raised his right arm. “ I want to hold you.”

Kissing the top of Teresa’ head Johnny held her tight. “ Are you okay Teresa?” he asked as he gently ran his hand up and down her right side.

“ Yeah Johnny….I’m fine.”

“ I didn’t hurt you to bad did I?”

Teresa raised her head and looked into Johnny’ eyes and smiled. “ I’m fine Johnny……..It will get easier the more we do it right?”

Johnny smiled and kissed her forehead. “ Yeah……It will sweetheart.”

“ I kinda feel like I’ve been in the saddle all day.”

Johnny couldn’t help but laugh at that. “ Well….I guess if I made you feel that way then I must be your stud?” he said as he claimed her mouth and pulled her on top of him. Teresa pressed her wet mound down onto Johnny’ shaft causing him to moan with pleasure. “ You’re gonna get me hard again you keep doing that.”

Teresa  looked down at Johnny and smiled. “ Can you think of anything better to do on a rainy afternoon?”

“ No Ma’am.” Johnny stated as he took her left breast in his mouth and sucked hard. Pinching the right one as he felt himself getting hard again. “ Oh boy Teresa…….You’re gonna wear me out girl.” Johnny said with a smile as he pressed up into her. “ Want to really climax hard Teresa?….lay on your stomach for me…..please.”

Teresa did as Johnny asked and before she could say anything she felt Johnny behind her straddling her legs and raising her up to him. “ Reaching around Johnny started rubbing Teresa’ mound with both his hands before he put the tip of his shaft at her wet entrance. “ Once I’m inside you all the way Teresa I want you to raise up and back into my chest….I’ll hold you up querida.” Johnny stated as he thrust inside her bringing a gasp from Teresa as he did. Teresa raised up and Johnny wrapped his right arm around her middle and thrust as hard as he could while he took his left hand and continued to play with her folds and button. “ This is how I like to do it Teresa…..This is gonna drive you crazy……..Oh my…..

you are so tight.” Johnny said in her ear before kissing and sucking on her neck.

All Teresa could do was bring her arms up and around the back of Johnny’ neck and hang on as Johnny thrust so hard into her it felt like the bed was moving.

“ Oh Johnny, Don’t stop……..Please don’t stop.” Teresa gasped as she clung tightly to Johnny’ neck.

Johnny reached up and pulled Teresa’ head around and kissed her with fire and hunger as his climax started. Pushing Teresa down Johnny slammed into her as hard as he could as his seed spilled into her.

Sweat running down his face Johnny pulled out of Teresa and laid back on the bed pulling her back with him.

“ I can’t go any more querida….I gotta rest.” Johnny said as he wrapped Teresa in his arms.

Soon they where both sound asleep as the storm outside raged on.

The next morning Johnny woke to the smell of Coffee. Rolling over onto his right side he watched Teresa as she was cooking breakfast. Laying there Johnny thought about what had happened between them the afternoon before and how he was feeling about Teresa. Knowing now for sure that he was in love with her Johnny knew he had to come clean and tell Teresa who he was before Lancer. He knew that telling her about Madrid could very well cost him, but he also knew that not telling her and having her find out from someone else could also. Sitting up Johnny sighed and reached for his pants that were now dry. Slipping them on Johnny walked over and poured himself a cup of coffee.

“ Hey sleepy head…..It stopped raining…..breakfast will be ready in a few.”

“ k…Teresa I need to talk to you……I need to tell you something querida….something about me that you may not like hearing.”

Teresa removed the pan of beans from the stove and turned and looked at Johnny and could tell by the look on his face he was serious. “ Okay.” she said as she walked over and sat down at the table next to him.

Johnny sighed and took her hands in his. “ I need to tell you something about my past…..You know I didn’t grow up at Lancer…….I was born there but when I was two my mother took me away from Murdoch in the middle of the night….Teresa I grew up in the border towns in Mexico and……and being a half breed down there wasn’t easy….especially a half breed with blue eyes. I got it from both sides…. I know you seen the scars on my back.” Johnny looked down at his coffee. “ I got tired of being beat on and when I was twelve my mother was killed and I…….I picked up a gun and for a year I practiced with that gun until I thought I was ready and I tracked the man down that killed my mother and I killed him. I was Fourteen Teresa……I got really good with a pistol and soon had a reputation and hired out…….I killed men for money….at first I didn’t care about anything other than being the fastest……..The better you are the more money people would pay for your gun, soon I realized some people needed help but couldn’t afford me……I would hire my gun out to help these people sometimes for just a roof over my head or food in my belly.” Johnny stood up and walked over to the window and looked out. The rain had stopped. “ I got the reputation I wanted Teresa…and along with it I got others calling me out wanting to kill me so they could have the reputation of killing………Teresa I didn’t go by Lancer……I’m known more and sought as Johnny Madrid.”  Johnny turned and looked at Teresa and could see the shock on her face at what he just told her. “ I should have told you before now…..and I wanted too….Teresa I’m falling in love with you and…….and I should have told you before we made love…I just couldn’t get the words to come….I’ll understand if you don’t want to see me anymore.” Johnny said as he sighed and turned back to look out the window.

Teresa sat there a minute before standing and walking over to Johnny. Putting her hand on his left arm she turned him to face her. “ Which are you more Johnny……..Madrid or Lancer?”

“ Lancer.”

“ Really?”

“ Yes…….I don’t want to be Johnny Madrid…good at my trade any longer but…….Teresa you need to know that my past, even though I want it to go away….it wont. I can be called out at any time and one of these times someone faster than me will and……”

“ Johnny…..I appreciate you telling me the truth……really I do……..It’s in the past and I only see the now and hopefully future with you Johnny Lancer and if I have to take Johnny Madrid to have Johnny Lancer then I will.” Teresa said before she kissed him.

Johnny sighed and moaned into her kiss and hugged her tightly.

“ Come on…..lets eat some breakfast before we head back to Lancer.” she stated as she took his hand and led him back to the table.

Johnny pulled Teresa away from the table and back to the bed. “ Later.” was all he said before Johnny made love to Teresa again. A couple hours later they was both mounted and headed back to Lancer.

.

Chapter 15

Murdoch and Paul was standing in the yard talking to a rider when  Paul noticed two riders approaching. He could tell who it was and anger stirred inside him as he watched his daughter ride in with Johnny.

“ Excuse me Murdoch.” Paul said as he walked toward his daughter when she came into the yard.

Teresa and Johnny stopped there horses and got off. “ Teresa I thought you was going to the Monroe’ for a few days?”

“ Father…….I was but a storm blew in from the west and it rained so hard we couldn’t cross the river so instead of waiting it out I rode back with Johnny.”

Paul looked hard at Johnny. “  Where did you stay last night then?”

“ I took her to the north line shack to get out of the weather Mr. O’ Brian……it finally stopped raining this morning….I didn’t think you would want your daughter out in the storm so……”

“ I’m not talking too you…..I’m talking to my daughter………Teresa go to the house and get cleaned up… I’ll talk to you again later about this.”

“ Father there is no reason for you to be rude to Johnny……He was just telling you…….”

“ I told you to do something and I expect you to do it…….now!”

“ I’ll take care of your horse Teresa.” Johnny stated as he took the reins from her and started to walk away when Murdoch walked over.

“ Is something wrong Paul……..Johnny?”

“ Your son is the problem Murdoch.”

“Madrid……Johnny Madrid!”

Johnny stopped and knew what was coming. Dropping the reins he turned around slowly.

“ I hears in town you was still alive Madrid and workin for Lancer so I came to see if the rumor was true and low and behold here you are…….Boy it’s my lucky day.”

“ I don’t know you mister…….and I don’t have any qualm with you so why don’t you just ride on out now while you can.”

“ Oh I’m gonna ride out Madrid…..right after I kill you.”

“ Why you in such a hurry to die mister?”

“ Simple Madrid…..As long as you’re still alive I can’t make any good money hiring my gun out cause you see….everyone want’s you So I figure that once I kill you and have that reputation then I can make good money.”

Good money.

Reputation.

How many times Johnny had heard them same words from the ones before this one that also tried to kill him. A life was going to end and all for money and reputation.

“ Ride out…….Ride out now and forget about this Mister……I don’t want to kill you.”

Paul pulled Teresa behind him to protect her when the shooting started. Looking over at Murdoch Paul could see Murdoch was worried.

“ Mr. Lancer…I’ll be glad to take Madrid here’s place for whatever you hired him for after I kill him.”

“ You’re not killing anyone here Mister……..I want you to get off Lancer now……Johnny is my son and I’m not gonna let this happen.”

Stay out of this old man.” Johnny ordered.

Murdoch remembered months ago watching his son kill a man in Morro Coyo and knew this man didn’t stand a chance against his son.

“ Mr even if you did manage to kill him……You won’t ride out of here alive……MY men will cut you down.”

“ Well well well……so you got a rich daddy huh….Well he can watch ya die Madrid.”

“ Whats your name Mister?”

“ Doug Weston!”

“ Well Doug at least we know what name to put on your headstone.”

SHUT UP MADRID AND DRAW…..or are you a coward?”

Johnny saw the split second change in Weston’ eyes and drew his colt a split second before Weston.

Weston felt the bullet enter his chest and knew he was dead before he hit the ground.

Johnny stood there a few seconds looking at the man laying on the ground before holstering his gun.

Looking at Teresa he could see the shock on her face. He hated taking another mans life, especially in front of her but he had as all the others, gave them ample opportunity to walk or ride away alive. Every time he took another’ life a small part of him died inside. Looking from Teresa to Murdoch Johnny sighed before walking past Murdoch and in the house up to his room.

Scott had watched the whole thing from the corrals  with a couple of the hands. When Johnny walked inside Scott headed toward the house.

Scott…let him be.” Murdoch said firmly as he checked Weston’ body and found a bullet hole right through the mans heart. “ Walt….go into town and get the sheriff.”

Scott ignored his father and went into the house after his brother. Teresa stood there still in shock at what she had just witnessed the man she loved do.

“ Teresa….go on to the house.” Paul said as he walked toward Murdoch.

.

Scott knocked on Johnny’ door and got no answer, Opening the door slowly he stuck his head in and found his brother laying on the floor unconscious. Scott quickly went to his brother and rolled him over onto his back and found his right side soaked in blood. Going to the window Scott hollered out to his father.

“ Murdoch….Johnny’ been hit.”

Murdoch hurried inside along with Teresa and Paul. When they entered Johnny’ room they found Scott removing Johnny’ shirt.

“ Teresa go down to the pantry and get the basket with bandages in it.” Murdoch ordered as he went to his sons side. “ How bad is it Scott?”

“ Looks like the bullet grazed him…….It’s deep and may have hit a rib sir.” Scott stated as he pressed Johnny’ shirt to the wound causing Johnny to moan as he started to regain consciousness. “ Easy

 brother…..Your alright Johnny…..Just lay still Johnny…the doctor will be here soon.” Scott said as he held Johnny down.

Johnny moaned and opened his eyes and felt the fire in his right side. Trying to sit up he was met with a stabbing pain and dropped back down grabbing for his side.

Teresa came back with the bandages.

“ Johnny…I’m gonna sit you up so we can wrap your wound until Doc gets here……Do you understand?” Scott asked.

Johnny looked at his brother and sucked in a breath and just nodded.

“ Teresa when I get Johnny up enough I want you to…….”

“ I don’t want my daughter touching that killer.” Paul said sharply.

Murdoch glared over at his friend. “ Give it to me Teresa…..I’ll do it.”

“ Teresa go down stairs Now!” Paul ordered drawing a hard cold look from both Murdoch and Scott.

Johnny looked at Teresa and the look he gave her said all that was needed said.

Murdoch pressed a bunch of bandages to the wound and Scott held them as Murdoch started wrapping some around Johnny’ chest to hold them.

Johnny threw his head back in pain and sucked in a deep breath as Murdoch pressed the bandages to the wound.

“ Easy Johnny….try taking little breaths brother……..I know it hurts.”

Murdoch finished and standing up looked at Paul. “ You got him Scott? I want to talk to Paul downstairs ……..Now.” Murdoch said as he walked past Paul and headed downstairs.

Scott helped Johnny lay back after putting pillows behind his back. Noticing Paul heading toward the door when he straightened up. “ Paul…..You’ll do good to remember what I said yesterday morning……I meant it.”

Paul stopped and turning to face Scott. “ So did I Scott.” Paul said firmly before turning to leave but stopping and turning back to face Johnny. “ Teresa is my only child…..and I will not have her hanging around or be seen alone with………”

Paul don’t.” Scott said loudly.

“ A halfbreed killer…….You may have the Lancer name as last boy but all you are is a good for nothing halfbreed killer…..Hell your father doesn’t even want you here…….”

Paul that’s enough.”  Scott said louder as he stepped around the bed and up to within a foot of Paul.

“ The only reason he married that whore of a mother of yours boy was so the good Lancer name wouldn’t be tarnished with a Bastard halfbreed running around…..hell we still have a Bastard halfbreed running around the only difference now is that Bastard halfbreed is a killer.….You stay away from my daughter Madrid cause if you don’t…..well lets just say I can promise repeats of today guaranteed.”

Scott grabbed Paul and slammed him against the wall. “ You son of a bitch…….You got not right talking to my brother that way……Get out of here and stay out.” Scott fumed as he released Paul and stepped back.

“ I’ll kill you Madrid if I catch you with Teresa.” Paul stated before walking out.

Johnny laid there and didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “ Thanks brother but I can fight my own battles……have been for a long time.”

“ Yeah well little brother I’ll be damned if I’m gonna stand by and let someone talk about my brother like that.”

Johnny started playing with the corner of his blanket. “ You think what he said is true Scott……about what Murdoch was supposed to have said?” Johnny asked with hurt clearly in his voice.

“ NO Johnny…..NO I don’t think our father would ever say something like that about his own son…………or feel that way Johnny……I don’t know the particulars with your mother Johnny beyond what Murdoch said on how they met……”

“ He got her pregnant Scott……my momma told me that that was the only reason he married her….I didn’t want to believe that but it’s true……..I am a bastard halfbreed Scott.”

“ Damn it Johnny…..NO YOU’RE NOT.” Scott said as he ran a hand through his hair. “ Johnny you are my brother Johnny Lancer…..yeah I know Johnny Madrid is in there also but you are a Lancer by blood little brother….Paul……..”

“ I fucked her Scott…….me and Teresa yesterday afternoon and night at the line shack…….That’s almost  all we did was fuck……She wanted me to be the one to make her a woman and…..”

Scott walked over and closed the bedroom door and locked it, then walked over and sat down in the chair next to Johnny’ bed. “ I know Johnny…….I’ve been watching the two of you and how you look at each other……I’ve seen how you brighten up and smile when Teresa is around Johnny……Listen brother…….I hope you was careful while with Teresa….I mean she’s not going to be with child now from this is she?”

Johnny looked up from playing with the blanket. “ I don’t know Scott……She could be………if Teresa is carrying my child Scott I’ll marry her.” Johnny laughed. “ I guess like father…..like son huh?”

Scott  slapped his brothers  leg. “ I am too darn young to become an uncle Johnny and You little brother are way to young to be a father……..You know what I don’t understand Johnny is Paul….. he works with the Vaquero’s and gets along with them and I have never heard him…….”

“ That’s because they aren’t a Halfbreed killer Scott.”

“ You are not a killer Johnny……You gave Weston a chance to ride out as did our father……which reminds me Johnny……You heard what Murdoch told Weston out there……That he wasn’t going to allow him to kill his son.”

“ Yeah I heard him say that Scott…….Don’t mean he meant it none though.”

“ Do you love Teresa Johnny?”

Johnny looked up at Scott and was going to answer when a knock came to the door. Scott went and before opening it looked back at Johnny. “ Well?”

“ Yeah brother I do……I don’t understand the feeling I’m having inside Scott but…….yeah I’m in  love with Teresa.”

“ Good…then fight for her Johnny.” Scott said before opening the door and finding the doctor standing there. “ Scott…….I was told Johnny was shot again.” Sam said as he walked into the room.

“ It’s just a good graze doc……just need some stitchin up from ya is all.” Johnny said while looking at his brother.

“ Did I interrupt something boys?”

“ No Sam……..me and little brother was just having our first brother to brother talk.”

“ I see.” Sam said as he set his bag down. “ Let have a look at your wound Johnny…..The sheriff is downstairs talking to Murdoch about what happened…….You two’s talk wouldn’t have anything to do with the heated words I heard coming from Paul and Murdoch when I got here would it?”

Johnny looked at Scott then Sam. “ Maybe Sam……Hard to say for sure.”

Sam didn’t press the subject any further. He could tell just from the way Johnny was acting that something pretty bad was said to the boy. Sam’ heart went out to Johnny so easy because even though some knew him as a tough gunfighter Sam could tell that deep down inside was Johnny Lancer just begging to come out and do the things Johnny Madrid never got to do when growing up.

Murdoch was at the side board pouring a stiff drink when Paul walked in.

“ You mind telling me What the Hell was that all about Paul?……..Why did you say such a thing like that to Teresa about MY son?” Murdoch demanded as he slammed down half the drink he poured.

Your Son….Your Son Murdoch is just what I said up there…..He is nothing but a cold blooded Killer and I will not have my daughter around him.”

“ He is my SON Paul…….You just seen how he practically begged that man to walk away because he didn’t want to kill him…….How in the blazes can you think that?…….A killer doesn’t do what Johnny just did Paul.”

“ Madrid is a killer…..He killed for money and would again in a heart beat……..I’m sorry I didn’t kill that Halfbreed Bastard when I shot him.”

Murdoch threw his glass against the wall. “ I have known you a long time Paul but hearing what you are saying now…..I don’t think I do know you.”

“ You kn ow me Murdoch……..I told that killer just what you really think of him.”

“ You what…….what the hell are you talking about?”

“ I told him the truth. I told him how you didn’t really want him here at Lancer…….How you only married his whore mother when she got pregnant to keep the Lancer name good and not have that Bastard  Halfbreed ruining it.”

“ Get out……..Get the hell out of my sight Paul……I want you off Lancer by the end of the week…..Johnny is mt son and I will not have you telling him lies to cause him to leave me again……….I will not lose him again Paul.”

“ Fine Murdoch…..Me and Teresa will be gone by the end of the week…….and you might want to keep this in mind……A lot of men will be looking to kill that Bastard once word gets out that he is here…..Also If he comes anywhere near Teresa……I’ll kill him myself.” Paul said before turning and walking out just as Sam and the sheriff walked in.

“ Johnny’ upstairs Sam…Scott’ with him…..Sheriff I supposed you want to know what happened?”

“ Mr. Lancer…I already know what happened. Several of your hands told me…How bad is Johnny hurt?”

“ The bullet grazed his right side…I didn’t even know he was shot till Scott found him unconscious in his room afterward….You want a drink?”

“ No thank you Mr. Lancer…….Tell Johnny I’ll need him to fill out a statement on the shooting when he is up to it……I’m gonna take the body into town.”

A week later Sam was back out at Lancer checking Johnny’ wound and removing the stitches.

Now Johnny I don’t want you doing any heavy lifting or riding for at least another week….This is healing up real good and I want to keep it that way.”

“ Sure Sam…..Can I ride?”

“ Yes…BUT…….not hell bent for leather Johnny…….I know you son and you’ll have that horse of yours running full out and jumping fences and tear that wound wide open again.”

“ Alright Sam alright…….I promise you I’ll take it easy for another week.”

“ Good….Now I have another patient waiting for me….. The Johnson’ boy fell out of a tree and broke his arm.” Sam said as he picked his bag up and headed to the door. Scott came in.

“ How is he Sam?”

“ He can do light things Scott….I removed the stitches and I told Johnny he could ride but not…….”

“ Hell bent for Leather.” Scott finished for him.

“ That’s right Scott.”

“ Well don’t worry Sam…..I’ll go with Johnny and make sure he takes it easy.”

“ Boys.” Sam said as he walked out.

“ You ready to take that jittery stallion of yours out brother?”

“ You better believe I am brother.”

Murdoch was sitting at his desk when the boys came down stairs.

“ Johnny…….Sam told me what your restrictions are son…….Have a good ride.”

 Johnny stopped and looked from Scott to Murdoch. “ Thanks Murdoch……I will….You ready Boston?”

Scott sighed…..Johnny hadn’t called him that all week and had hoped he wouldn’t any more. “ Yeah little brother I am.”

.

Johnny and Scott was busy getting their horses ready to ride when three riders came riding into the yard. Murdoch had just come outside when the men rode up. A bad feeling grabbed at his gut at the remembrance of the words Paul had said before leaving Lancer. Murdoch walked over to the men and relaxed some when he noticed one was wearing a Marshals badge.

“ Marshal……..What can I do for you?”

“ Are you Mr. Lancer?”

“ Yes……..I’m Murdoch Lancer.”

“ Mr. Lancer we’re tracking a murderer and a man and his daughter we ran into said this man is here at Lancer working for you…….He’s about five foot six…….. a hundred and sixty pounds or so….. dark hair and blue eyes.”

Just then Johnny and Scott walked out of the barn and Johnny was met by three guns pointed at him.

“ Don’t try anything Madrid…..Just stand there and keep them hands away from your gun…..You take his gun out and bring it here.” the Marshal ordered Scott.

“ Now see here Marshal….What is this all about.”

“ Jake……get the cuffs on him….me and Cliff will keep him covered.”

Marshal I asked you a question.”

“ Madrid here is wanted for Murder……He killed a man in Utah……A very wealthy rancher he hired out his gun too.” the Marshal stated as he reached into his saddlebag and pulled out a wanted poster and handed it down to Murdoch.

Murdoch read the poster and a sickly feeling started deep down in his stomach.

.

Wanted Dead or Alive

Johnny Madrid

 For the brutal murder of Clive Harper. Surviving family is offering  $5,000 for the capture of Madrid.

Height    5’6”

Weight    160

Hair       Dark

Eyes       Blue

Age        18 or about ‘.

Madrid is a dangerous man and is very prolific  with a gun and should be approached with cation. Contact Marshals office in Salt Lake City or nearest law if seen or captured.

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Murdoch handed the poster to Scott and looked hard at his youngest. He had seen his son kill not once but twice. The first time not knowing it was his son, but both times Murdoch could attest that Johnny had given both men a more than fair chance to walk away, that he didn’t want to kill them. Knowing from the Pinkerton report he had and having only just recently finally read all of it, the name Clive Harper did not come to mind, Nor did anything saying his son had even been in Utah.

“ Just when was this murder supposed to have happened marshal?”

Cliff jerked Johnny causing a sharp pain in his side,

“ Take it easy……my brother just got stitches removed from his right side and the wound isn’t all the way healed up yet deputy.” Scott said angrily as he got between the deputy and his brother.

Cliff…..I won’t have you treating a man in my custody like that……….You rough handle Madrid again and you’ll find yourself out of a job when we get back……Is that clear?”

“ Yeah Marshal……real clear……….real clear that you want to coddle this damn killer.”

“ Mr. Lancer I was told you had a guard house here…….I would like to keep Madrid locked up in it till morning….our horses need a rest.”

“ I asked you Marshal when this murder was supposed to have happened.”

“ Three….almost Four years ago.”

Murdoch looked back at Johnny. “ You mean he killed this man when he was just fifteen Marshal?”

“ Madrid started making a name and reputation for himself long before that from what I’ve learned. He was twelve when he killed his first man. Sought him out after tracking him for over a year and from what I found out he found this man in a small Border Town in a saloon and walked in and ordered a drink……witnesses say that he then turned and walked up to the man. What happened next I don’t know if I want to believe it or not but they all say the same, all that seen it.” the Marshal said as he followed Murdoch into the barn.

“ Mr. Lancer…..what I was told by the bartender and I quote…is this.

“ What do you want boy?”

Johnny put his hands on the table and leaned forward a little and smiled. “ You.”

“ Bartender get this BOY out of here before he gets hurt.”

“ You know……you should really learn to pay closer attention to someone you knock around…..especially when you murder that someones mother.” Johnny said in a low voice.

Manuel looked up more into Johnny’ eyes and it hit him then. “ I remember you now halfbreed your mother died screaming like a stuck pig when I got done fucking her good……..I enjoyed cutting her throat and I’m going to enjoy cutting yours also.” Manuel said as he stood up.

Johnny straightened up and that’s when Manuel noticed the Colt on Johnny’ hip.

“ You don’t have the balls boy to pull that gun and you sure the hell can’t beat me.” Manuel said as he went for his own gun.

Johnny drew so fast that Manuel’ gun never cleared leather. Hell he never got his hand on it and Johnny had his out and fired. One shot right in the heart. Manuel was dead before he hit the floor.

Johnny stood there holding the Colt and after a few seconds he heard a noise and spun around and pointed the gun at the bartender.

“ Easy boy…..I ain’t gonna do nothin to ya…..none of us is….I just want to know who you are?”

Johnny stepped toward the door. “ Madrid, Johnny Madrid.” he said before walking out and riding off.

“ Every witness I could find in Cordova all said the same thing Mr. Lancer…..I’ve heard good and bad about Madrid down there and I don’t know what you know about him but I do know he is a killer plain and simple……He is the highest paid and fastest killer out there.” the Marshal stated as he walked into the guard house and checked it out. “ This will do for the night.” the Marshal said as he walked outside. “ Bring him in here Cliff.”

“ Marshal…….I would like to speak to you in my study this evening after dinner if we could.” Murdoch said as Johnny was brought in and Cliff shoved him into the room.

Johnny noticed Murdoch didn’t say anything about how he was being treated by this deputy. Standing there he looked at Murdoch and stepped toward the door. “ You believe I did it don’t you?”

“ I don’t know Johnny.”

“ Is that what you really think of me old man?……That I would murder someone?”

“ I don’t know what to think of you.”

Johnny was angry and hurt inside. Hurt that the man he was starting to think of as a father would have so little regard to his own son. Course he wasn’t really surprised since his father wanted to believe the Pinkerton reports and most of what that said was wrong.

“ Think what you like then…..You’re going to anyways….What I say won’t matter to you in the least bit… You never really wanted me hear so now you won’t have to worry about it cause I’ll be gone in the morning and dead in a month.” Johnny said harshly as he turned and walked over and slid down in a corner and put his head on his knees.

Murdoch stood there stunned at the harsh words his son had just said.

“ Johnny……Johnny I……..”

Johnny didn’t look up, he just wrapped his arms around his legs.

“ Just get out……get out and leave me the fuck alone.” he spat.

Murdoch sighed. “ I’ll have your brother bring you supper when it’s ready.” he said before turning and walking out.

Scott was standing just outside the barn  and heard what was said between the two.

“ Sir.”

Murdoch stopped and Scott could clearly see the pain in his fathers eyes.

“ Make sure he has everything he’ll need for the night Scott…..Bring him his supper when it’s ready.”

“ Yes sir….Sir……You don’t think Johnny did this do you?”

Murdoch didn’t say anything, he just sighed and walked to the house.

Scott walked into the barn.

“ Jake you got the first watch…..Cliff will relive you at eight….Cliff go take care of the horses and get something to eat and some rest.”

“ Marshal….I’d like to talk to my brother if that’s alright?” Scott said as he looked in the small window and could see Johnny sitting in a corner on the floor with his head down.

“ Let him in Jake.” the Marshal ordered.

Jake opened the door and Scott stepped inside. Johnny didn’t move as the door was closed and relocked.

“ Go away Boston.” Johnny said softly.

“ I can’t do that brother….I’m not going to leave you alone on this Johnny….you’re my brother and I want some answers……I think you owe me that much at least.” Scott said as he stepped over and sat down on the bed.

“ Owe you……I don’t owe you or anybody else a damn thing Scott….So just get the hell out of here and leave me alone.” Johnny said harshly without looking up.

“ Look at me Johnny!” Scott said loudly. Getting no response he stood up and walked over in front of Johnny. “ I said look at me brother.”

“ I ain’t your brother…….I ain’t nobody’ brother….just like I ain’t nobody’ son……”

Scott reached down and grabbed Johnny by the arms and jerked him up to his feet.

I said look at me damn it!”

Johnny brought his hands up and tried to get Scott’ off him but couldn’t because of the cuff ‘s.

“ Leave me alone Scott.” he ordered.

Scott pushed Johnny back against the wall harder than he had intended but he was angry.

You….You look me in the eyes Johnny and tell me you killed that man in cold blood…….Look me in the eyes and tell me that….and I’ll walk out of here and you will never have to worry about me again.”

Johnny couldn’t do it, instead he looked down at his feet and started to shake a little. Bringing his hands up Johnny shoved Scott back and walked over to the bed and sat down on it. He couldn’t do it……Not to Scott…..not to anyone. He couldn’t look his brother in the eyes and tell him he did it.

“ I’m not worth it Scott….Like the old man believes…..I’m just a worthless Halfbreed killer.”

No you’re not Johnny…….I don’t believe that and neither do you…….I may not have known you all that long but I know you are not a cold blooded killer Johnny.” Scott said as he walked over and sat down next to his brother. “ Johnny do you remember what you told me that Teresa asked you?…….Which are you more…..Madrid or Lancer….and you said without even thinking about it you told her you was Lancer and I believe that.”

“ Teresa…….Scott I need you to be the one to tell her this…….I don’t want her hearing it from one of the hands.”

Scott got a sick feeling inside. Johnny with being shot when him and Teresa came back hadn’t been told yet that Paul had left Lancer and taken Teresa away with him.

“Uh Johnny……I hate to be the one to tell you this brother but………”

“ What Scott?”

“ Johnny Paul and Teresa left Lancer four days ago……It was Paul who told the Marshal you was here…..Him and Murdoch got into a heated argument about what Paul said when you was shot and…..”

“ And what Scott……What did he say?”

“ Johnny……he told Murdoch that he didn’t want Teresa around…….”

“ Around a Halfbreed killer right?”

“ I’m sorry Johnny…….Paul said the same thing and some more to me that day you and Teresa left…..The man……..”

That how he got the bruise on his face Scott?…….You hit him for what he said?”

“ Yeah I did…..and I would have done more except Murdoch rode up.”

“ Did you tell Murdoch this?”

“ No I didn’t Johnny…..I probably should have then but…….”

“ It’s okay Scott…….I know now how the old man really feels about me….Hey don’t sweat it Scott…..you now own fifty percent of this ranch…….Remember I told you I don’t give anybody too much credit…….That it saves a lot of disappointment in the end……That that piece of paper he had us sign could disappear if you light a match to it……..Well that’s what the old man did today Scott, he lite a match to that contract and burned it up right in my face…..I was a fool to think that he would or could ever be the father I wanted when growing up…That what my mother had told me was lies.”

Scott could hear the pain in Johnny’ voice and the crack at the end.

“ Listen to me Johnny…..I don’t know what happened between your mother and Murdoch when you was a baby…..But I do know that if he didn’t love you and want you at Lancer he wouldn’t have spent all those years and money looking for you, and I know you deep down inside don’t believe that he doesn’t want you here.”

“ Teresa Scott…….What if she’s carrying my child……..what if I got her pregnant?”

“ Johnny I don’t know where they are…..Nobody knows the whereabouts of either of them……Look I’m sure that if Teresa…….If you did get her with child Johnny……..I promise you I will do whatever I have to do to bring her back to Lancer…….Right now though brother getting you out of this Murder charge is more important…..Listen I’m gonna go get you your supper.” Scott said as he stood up and walked to the door. “ Deputy.”

Scott.” Johnny stated as he stood up. “ Barranca………I want you to have him Scott…….He’s a good horse and I don’t want him going to no stranger who might abuse him….he’s been abused enough.”

“ Johnny……Barranca is and always will be your horse…..I’m gonna get you out of this mess little brother and me and you are gonna come back here and claim together what is rightfully ours….and that includes that ornery stallion of yours.” Scott stated as the door was opened and he stepped out.

Johnny sat back down on the bed and leaned back against the wall, crossing his legs he started playing with the beaded bracelet he wore on his right wrist. It and the ring he wore on his left middle finger was the only two things he had left that belonged to his mother. Sighing Johnny knew Scott would take good care of Barranca for him after he was dead.

 Johnny had accepted death a long time ago. He knew that when he made the choice to wear the Colt and kill the first man, the man who killed his mother when he was twelve, he knew then and every day after that he strapped the gun on that one day he would die because of it. He just figured he would die from a faster draw, not a rope around his neck.

The thought of dieing by hanging brought a shiver to Johnny. He had seen men hung and knew that it was the worst way a man could die. He had seen how men Piss and shit in their pants when the door is sprung. He had also seen men who weren’t so lucky and the rope didn’t break their neck and they hung there fighting as they slowly suffocated. How afterward’ people would poke and prod the dead body with sticks

“ Live by the Gun…Die by the Gun Madrid” he said to himself as he heard the door being unlocked again. Scott came back in with a tray of food and coffee for him.

“ Hey….I got your supper here….Pot roast,,,potato’s…carrots and some coffee.” Scott said as he sat the tray down on the bed for Johnny.

“ Thanks Scott……Scott about earlier…….I’m sorry for the way I talked to you…..I guess I’m still not used to having an older brother…..or someone to care about me.” he said say the last just above a whisper.

“ Well get used to it brother…Eat up cause we have a long ride ahead of us tomorrow.”

Johnny looked up at Scott. “ You’re going with us…..all the way to Utah?”

“ I told you Johnny that I was going to get you out of this mess and I fully intend to do that.”

“ What’s the old man say about you leaving?”

“ I haven’t told him yet…..and quit frankly Johnny I don’t care if he likes it or not……I am not going to let you be hung for a murder I know you didn’t commit…..I’ll see you in the morning.” Scott said as he turned and walked out. He could tell by the look on his brothers face when he walked in that Johnny was thinking about what lay ahead for him. That if he did go to trial and was found guilty, Scott knew that a hanging was the worst way to kill a man. Worse than being gut shot. Scott had seen men hung while in Libby prison during the war between the states and he would be damned if his little brother was going to die that way.

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Scott walked into the house and found his father and the Marshal in the great room at his father’s desk talking. Walking over to the sideboard Scott poured himself a stiff shot of whiskey.

“ Mr. Lancer I know this is hard for you with this being your son but the law’s the law and I’m just doing my job.”

“ I know that marshal….I also know that I don’t know Johnny……He was taken from me when he was two and I just recently got him back a couple months ago……..I don’t know a thing about him or his past.” Murdoch stated as he looked at Scott.

“ So what you are saying then Mr. Lancer is that you believe your son…….Madrid did commit this murder.”

“ Madrid is not my son……..my son is Johnny Lancer…NOT Johnny Madrid.”

Scott couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His own father was denying Johnny was his son. Slamming down his glass Scott turned to leave the room.

“ Something wrong son?” Murdoch asked.

Scott couldn’t believe this. “ Wrong Sir…..What could possibly be wrong…..My brother is facing a murder charge and may end up being hanged…….My own father is standing there talking about MY BROTHER  like he is just another……….”

Madrid is not my son.”

Scott  quickly stepped up to within a foot of his father. “ Johnny Madrid is Johnny Lancer…whether you want to accept it or not SIR Johnny is your son and he is my brother and I don’t appreciate you talking about him the way you are……Johnny did not commit this murder………I fully intend on going with him to Utah and I will do whatever I have to do to prove his innocence….. I guess it’s safe to assume that you will not be trying to help keep MY BROTHER…YOUR SON  from being hung.”

Murdoch stood there getting angrier by the minute as his oldest vented his anger at him.

STOP IT…..RIGHT NOW SCOTT…..” Murdoch bellowed as he turned away from him.

Scott grabbed his father’ arm and spun him back around.

DON’T YOU DARE TURN YOUR BACK ON ME……You may call the tune when it comes to running this ranch but I very clearly remember you telling Johnny AND me that what happened in the past stayed in the past…….That it was done and you didn’t care about it…..was that all a lie?…OR was you just saying that because it was convenient for you to not face what you obviously don’t want to face about Johnny’ past?”

“ I am not going to stand here and justify what I said to you SON…….HE is a killer…….you seen it for your self right here……”

“ What I seen SIR was my brother trying his damnedest TO NOT kill that man…..YOU was there also…you heard him try and get that man to not draw on him….That he didn’t want to kill him….

WHY can’t you  accept that Johnny did what he had to do to survive in them border towns?…. Why is it so hard for you to accept that he so desperately wants to put that past behind him and become the son you want and the brother I always dreamed of having?”

“ BECAUSE HE’S A KILLER……and you need to realize that before it’s to late for you.”

Scott knew it was hopeless having this argument with his father, but a part of him deep down felt that his brother deserved someone finally standing up for him.

“ Sir….MY brother….your son has never had a chance to be a son……He has never had a chance to care about someone….He has never had someone care about him beyond beating him or trying to kill him…..

If you would just open your eyes and see beyond that Damn Pinkerton report and the stories you have heard you would see that….AND one other thing……..If you would open your eyes you would also see that Johnny is desperately crying out to you in the only way he knows how.”

Crying out to me for what?……..To tell him I’m proud of him for being a cold blooded killer?”

“ NO SIR……..For a father to love him……Love him as a son and help him put the past behind him.”  Scott said before turning to head upstairs. Stopping at the bottom of the stairs.

“ I will tell you this Murdoch…….IF you don’t try and help Johnny…..IF you let him hang for a murder I know he didn’t commit……..Then YOU SIR will also lose me…….IF Johnny does hang for this then I will not come back here because quit frankly SIR I am ashamed to have you as my father.”

Scott said before heading up to his room and slamming the door.

Murdoch went to the sideboard and poured himself a shot and downed it quickly. Anger and hurt boiling inside him he threw the shot glass into the fireplace and went to his desk and dropped in the chair. Putting his head in his hands he sat there trying to get his anger under control. Finally raising his head he opened the bottom drawer of his desk and took out the Pinkerton report he had on Johnny and turned to the last page, specifically the last paragraph.

‘ Proven to be a true oddity among gunmen….Rumored reports Mr. Madrid is not the cold blooded killer some say he is….Accepting jobs for little or no pay because it was the right thing to do.’

These words reached out to Murdoch and as the tears began to fall Murdoch sighed and came to realize what Scott had said was True…..He wasn’t being a father to Johnny….He was being blind to what was right in front of him. The damage between the two he doubted could never be repaired. Johnny would never Trust him again or try to be his son………’His son’ Murdoch opened the top drawer and pulled out the only picture he had of Johnny as a baby and leaned back in his chair and looked at it

.

Johnny heard the deputies outside his door as they switched shifts. Dozing off Johnny was soon awakened by the door opening and finding the deputy called Cliff standing there with his gun aimed at him. Johnny scooted up and into the corner on the bed as Cliff stepped inside.

“ You know Madrid……Your not gonna make it back to Utah for this murder charge against you……I’m gonna kill you before then and that Marshal and other deputy won’t be able to stop me.”

“ WHY?……Do I know you?” Johnny asked as he kept an eye on the pistol aimed at him.

“ You don’t remember me?…..Well maybe you will when I tell you my last name…..Hunter.”

Johnny sat and said nothing for a few seconds then it came back to him.

“ Seth Hunter……Two years ago…….He called me out in Cordova thinking he was good with his gun and eager to get a reputation…….He called me out and I killed him…..Plenty of witnesses seen it happen including the sheriff there.”

“ I don’t give a damn who seen it Madrid……..You killed my brother and I am going to kill you once we get you out of here and you won’t know when it’s gonna happen…..and that brother of yours if he tries to interfere I’ll kill him as well.”

Johnny knew he shouldn’t have but he stood up quickly. “ You touch Scott and it will be the last thing you ever do!”

Cliff took his pistol and swung it at Johnny’ face and busted Johnny hard on the right side knocking him to the floor stunned. Grabbing his hair Cliff jerked Johnny’ face back. “ I’m gonna make that brother of yours watch you die Madrid.” he said firmly before shoving Johnny hard forward and then kicking him in the ribs before walking back out and closing the door.

Johnny laid on the floor gasping to get air in his lungs. The pain in his right side screamed and he could feel the blood running down his side. Cliff’ kick had landed right on his wound. Crawling over to the cot Johnny managed with some difficulty to crawl onto the bed and curled up in a tight ball on his right side as he bunched up some of the blanket and tried to stop the bleeding.  Laying there getting the pain to subside a little Johnny knew he had to try and keep Scott from going with him, but he knew that would be a lost cause. Finally Johnny closed his eyes and let the darkness claim him.

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Chapter 16

Scott woke and laid there as the night before came back to him. He had said some awful hurtful things to his father, but his father deserved it a part of  him felt. The man had turned his back on his youngest son. Scott couldn’t help but wonder if it was true, that he had thrown Johnny and his mother out when Johnny was two. Throwing the covers back and swinging his legs over the side of the bed Scott stretched his arms above his head and yawned. Standing up he walked over to the window and looked out, it was still dark out but the day would be starting soon. Getting dressed Scott headed downstairs, when he got to the bottom of the stairs he was surprised to find his father sitting at his desk. The man looked like he hadn’t been to bed at all. Scott stepped into the room.

“ Sir……have you been down here all night?”

Murdoch looked up at his oldest and Scott could tell the man had been crying. His eyes were red and puffy.

“ I’ve lost him……….I’ve lost him again and this time I don’t think I can get him back….I don’t think I can save him.” Murdoch said as he again looked down at the picture.

Scott walked over behind his father and looked down at the picture his father was holding.

“ Is that Johnny?”

Murdoch shook his head. “ It’s the last picture I had taken of him before his mother left….He was almost two……I don’t know what to do.” he said more as a plea than a statement.

“ I do sir…..why don’t I go make some coffee and you take some to Johnny and try and talk to him sir…..Talk to Johnny…Ask him about his past, about this murder he is being accused of….. Try being the father he never had….Sir even though I have only known my brother for a few months I know Johnny wouldn’t have done what he is being accused of…….and you should too.” Scott said as he headed to the kitchen to make coffee, leaving his father to think.

Murdoch stood and stretched his stiff back muscles and walked over to the french doors and looked out toward the barn the guard house was in. Hearing a noise behind him Murdoch turned and found Scott setting a tray of coffee down on his desk.

“ I also brought some biscuits from last night…It will be awhile before breakfast is ready and I thought maybe Johnny might be hungry.”

Murdoch walked over and looked down at the tray. Sighing he picked the tray up and headed to the door. Scott followed and opened the door for his father.

“ It will be alright Sir……I know you have pride but one thing I learned while serving with General Sherman Sir is that even the best man can drop his pride when he chooses too.”

Murdoch gave Scott a small smile and walked toward the barn. Looking over toward the corrals he could see the Marshal and one of the deputies was packing up their gear. They would be taking his son away from him this morning and this time Johnny might not be able to be saved. Walking in the barn he was met by the deputy called Cliff and right away he got a bad feeling about this man, even though he couldn’t explain it, something about this deputy just didn’t set well with him. Being a former lawman himself when younger Murdoch remembered and knew that some lawmen were bad and some did care. The Marshal seemed to care about the treatment of his charges and had proven so yesterday when this deputy rough handed Johnny while cuffing him.

“ You come to see that killer son of yours before we take him away to hang Lancer?” Cliff said snidely.

“ My son hasn’t had a trial and been found guilty yet……I was a lawman once so I know that until that time a man is presumed innocent until found guilty by a court of law…..Open the door.”

Cliff stared at Murdoch hard before moving to open the door. “ Yes Sir Mr. Lancer Sir…….You know I’m sure gonna love watching a rope stretch that Halfbreed killers neck.” he said as Murdoch stepped in and he closed the door.

Murdoch sat the tray down on the table next to the cot. Johnny was on his right side facing away from him. He knew not to touch his son to wake him up……..He had done that once and got a pistol in his face upon doing so. Even though Johnny didn’t have a gun now Murdoch still couldn’t and wouldn’t shake his son awake.

“ Johnny………Johnny…son wake up…..I brought you some coffee and biscuits…….I would like to talk to you Johnny.” Murdoch got no response.

“ Johnny!”

Johnny finally stirred a little but didn’t move. He couldn’t, his side hurt like hell and his face he knew was swelled up good from the pistol whipping.

“ Johnny….come on wake up.” Murdoch said with concern in his voice this time. Still Johnny didn’t move so Murdoch took a chance and shook his son gently on his shoulder.

Johnny swung his left arm at Murdoch and immediately regretted the move and tried to stifle a cry from the pain.

Murdoch heard his son’s cry and putting his hand on Johnny’ left shoulder he rolled him over onto his back. He could see with the little light from the moon coming in that Johnny’ wound was bleeding. He then noticed Johnny’ face when he turned Johnny’ face to him.

“ My god Johnny…what did you do?…….what happened?”

“ Nothing…..just leave me alone.” Johnny said harshly as he tried to roll back over away from his father.

“ I’ll be right back son.” Murdoch said as he went to the door. “ Deputy open this door now.”

Cliff got up and opened the door and let Murdoch out. “ Did you know my son was laying there bleeding?”

Cliff didn’t answer and Murdoch stormed out of the barn to the house. Cliff stepped into the room and over to Johnny. “ To bad you didn’t bleed to death last night Madrid…….But then again that just means I still get to have my fun with you……you say anything and that old man and brother both could loose their lives.”

The Marshal was headed to the barn with his other deputy Jake when Murdoch stormed out and practically ran him over.

“ Whoa…whats going on Mr. Lancer?……Whats wrong?”

Murdoch stopped. “ Johnny’ wound it’s been opened and he looks like he’s been bleeding most of the night from it…….He also looks like one of you took a pistol to his face.” Murdoch angrily declared.

“ Scott……….Scott!”

Scott heard the frantic call for him from his father and came running out of the house.

“ Whats wrong Murdoch?”

“ Johnny….his wound is bleeding….get one of the hands to ride to town and get Sam out here now then come help me get Johnny into the house.” Murdoch said as he turned and headed back to his son. When he got to the room he shoved the deputy out of his way and went to his son’s side. “ Johnny….come on son.”

Scott came in and seen that Johnny’ shirt was soaked with blood on the right side. He also noticed the wound on Johnny’ face.

“ What the hell happened?”

The Marshal and Jake came in and helped Murdoch and Scott get Johnny up. “ We need to get him in the house were it’s more clean.” Scott said.

Cliff blocked their way cocking the rifle. “ He ain’t going nowhere…….He’s a prisoner and he’s gonna stay right here.”

Cliff….put that gun away……Madrid isn’t going anywhere……get out of the way so we can get him in the house for so the doctor can take care of his wound.”

“ Why……..save the good decent folks of Grafton money if ya just let the killer bleed to death right here….”

Murdoch reacted before anyone could stop him. He slugged Cliff so hard it knocked the man back on his butt hard.

  My son’s name is Lancer…….and he is not a cold blooded killer and if I hear you talk about him like that again deputy….we can finish this.” Murdoch stammered as he went back to helping get Johnny in the house.

Scott looked at his father and knew without a doubt that what he had said to his father last night had done the good he had hoped for.

Two hours later Sam finished restitching the wound in Johnny’ side and was drying his hands. The Marshal had cuffed Johnny’ right arm to the headboard and Sam sighed. ‘What had happened since he removed the stitches yesterday?’ he asked himself as Johnny moaned and started to open his eyes. The cut to his face had required three stitches to close it and the swelling and bruising he knew was painful to the boy.

“ Johnny.” he said as he sat down on the bed next to him. “ Johnny here…..drink this.” Sam said as he put a hand behind Johnny’ head and lifted so the boy could drink. When finished he set the cup back down.

“ Thanks.” Johnny said as he closed his eyes to the throbbing in his head.

“ Johnny what happened?…….Why is a Marshal and two deputies here?…..Why are you in handcuffs? But more importantly Johnny…….Who did this to you?”

Johnny opened his eyes and looked at the doctor he was starting to like.

“ I…..nothing Sam.”

“ I’m not some spring chicken Johnny……the bruising on your side tells me along with that wound on your face that you was beaten and or kicked in your side and hit with a pistol.”

“ I fell Sam…..that’s all.”

Sam knew better and he had learned real quick that Johnny wouldn’t come right out and tell him or anyone else what happened to him last night. Standing Sam walked over to the door after picking up his bag.

“ If that’s the way you want it Johnny….Fine……I as your doctor though am going to tell that Marshal that I don’t want you on a horse for at least three days……You lost a considerable amount of blood and are weak….I’ll have Scott or someone come up and give you some broth.” Sam stated as he opened the door and walked out.

Murdoch and Scott was waiting for him when he came downstairs.

“ Sam…how is he?” Murdoch asked anxiously.

“ I restitched the wound and had to put three stitches in the wound on his face…….would someone like to tell me why Johnny is in cuffs and WHO the hell beat that boy?” Sam said angrily as he slammed his bag down on the table.

“ Beat?……Doc are you sure Madrid was beat?…….How do you know that he didn’t just get dizzy and hit his wound or face when he fell?” the Marshal asked.

Sam looked at the man not believing what he was hearing.

“ I sir have been a doctor for almost Forty years……I know a pistol whip wound when I see one and Marshal I can also tell by the bruising on Johnny’ ribs around that wound that He did not fall.”

The Marshal stepped toward Sam. “ How long ago would you say that wound was opened up doc?”

“ From the bruising I’d say late evening….He’s been bleeding at least for six hours Marshal.”

Scott handed Sam a drink.  “ Is he awake Sam?”

“ Yes Scott he was awake when I came down…..I asked him what happened and he told me he fell.” Sam said in such a way that both Murdoch and Scott knew he didn’t believe that for one second, nor did they.

“ I think I will go up and talk to him.” Scott said as he headed for the stairs.

“ I would like an answer to my other question…….Why is Johnny wearing cuffs?”

“ Madrid is under arrest doctor for murder.” the Marshal stated.

“ Murder……..And who pray tell did Johnny murder Marshal?”

“ A rancher back in Grafton Utah about four years ago…..Look doc how soon can Madrid ride?”

“ He can’t….not for at least three days Marshal and I would prefer it was longer……Johnny could develop an infection in that wound since it went so long untended.”

The Marshal sighed. “ Well I’ve been looking for Madrid for near on four years now…….I guess we can wait a few more day’s to get him back to Utah to hang.”

Murdoch slammed his drink down hard. “ My son Marshal is innocent until proved guilty……..You might want to keep that in Mind.”

“ Yes sir I know that……I also know that if given the chance Madrid will………..”

Lancer…..my son’s name is Johnny Lancer.” Murdoch bellowed in anger.

“ Madrid…Lancer…..I don’t care what last name you chose to call him by……I know that if given a chance he will run and I assure you Mr. Lancer that if he does escape and run I will run him down and kill him…….That SIR you have my word on.” the Marshal said firmly before turning and walking out followed by his deputy Cliff.

Murdoch looked at Sam in disbelief at what they both had just heard.

“ Murdoch……I know Johnny has been out of your life almost all of his but do you really believe that that boy laying up there could commit a cold blooded murder?”

“ NO”  Murdoch said so fast even he was a little surprised. “ Sam…..I don’t think they intend on Johnny making it back to Utah alive……..One of those men did that to Johnny last night Murdoch and………Johnny won’t say anything or who did it…….Why?”

“ Do you really have to ask that Sam……Johnny has been taking care of himself for so long he feels that this is something he should take care of himself……even if it means dying….and I for one do not intend to lose that boy again…..It’s about time I start being the father he deserved to have when growing up….The father who protects his children no matter what.” Murdoch stammered as he headed to the stairs to his son.

“ Murdoch……Johnny and Scott have become close……Give Scott some time with him…….maybe he can find out what is going on and who did this to him.”

Murdoch stopped and letting out a sigh he knew what Sam just said was true. His son’s had become close and confided in each other, both of which Murdoch himself wished his son’s would do with him. Walking back into the Great Room Murdoch walked over and starred out the window at the mountains.

Sam walked over to the side board and poured his friend a stiff drink. Murdoch took the drink but didn’t drink it.

“ I can’t Sam…….I can’t lose that boy again……I don’t care if I lose this ranch I will not lose that boy.”

Scott walked up to his brothers room and knocked  lightly on the door. Just as he was about to open it, the door opened and the deputy Jake stood there.

“ I would like to talk to my brother deputy…..If that’s alright?”

Jake moved aside as he opened the door more so he could step out and Scott could go in. “ Sure…I’ll just go downstairs and get some coffee and let you two talk.” he said stepping out. “ Lancer….I think I know who did that to your brother…..I think Cliff did it to him……I give you my word that I never laid a hand on him and when Cliff took over at ten last night Johnny was fine.”

Scott only looked at the deputy before turning and walking over to his brothers bed. Jake closed the door behind him. Madrid wasn’t going anywhere, he was cuffed to the bed and to weak to try anything.

Scott walked around and pulled a chair up close to his brother so he could talk to him without anyone outside the door hearing and yet be able to see if someone came in the room.

Johnny opened his eyes. “ Hey Boston.”

“ Johnny….can I get you anything brother?” he asked noticing that Johnny’ right arm was cuffed to his headboard.

“ Yeah you can Scott.” Johnny stated as he looked to make sure the door was closed and they were alone. “ I need to talk to you Scott and I mean really talk to you……brother to brother.”

Scott was taken aback by what his brother said. Twice he had called him Scott instead of Boston so he knew that this was going to be serious. He just wasn’t prepared  for what his little brother was about to say.

“ Scott…..you know I’ve pretty much raised myself down along the border…….I did what I had to do to survive……When I chose to stay alive by the gun at first it was because of the respect I seen gunfighters get….After about a year……” Johnny tried to sit up but because his right arm was cuffed to the headboard above his head he couldn’t due to the pulling on his side.

Scott stood up and went to the other side of the bed and got up behind Johnny a little and gently pulled him up. “ Better brother?”

“ Yeah…Thanks.” Johnny said softly as he stared at the metal around his wrist.

“ After about a year what Johnny?”

“ Huh?….Oh yeah sorry Scott….I began to realize it wasn’t respect Scott…..It was fear….I didn’t want that….I didn’t want people afraid of me……….I mean yeah I wanted a reputation but as a gunfighter but I didn’t want to get it that way…So I started hiring my gun out to the highest bidder……” Johnny faintly laughed. “ Again I thought being a gunfighter was all about reputation and money Scott…It wasn’t…….People who needed the real help was most the time them that had little or no money and what little they did have someone richer and bigger per say always wanted to take that from them…..Scott I rode to Grafton Utah to meet with Clive Harper but I never got there……I was shot in the back riding through a canyon south of Grafton…..I never seen who shot me.”

Scott could clearly see the hurt and pain in his brothers eyes. He knew from the war that every man he killed even though it was a war took a part of his soul with him. How many men had his brother killed?

How many lives ended because he defended himself? He remembered reading in the Pinkerton report that all reported killings by Johnny Madrid had been in self defense not cold blooded murder. Not once did a report say he had murdered a man.

“ Johnny…you rode out of there with a bullet in your back…….where did you go?”

“ I rode toward Arizona……I guess it was a day or so later that I ended up at this house of this widow woman and she found me in her barn……I was near dead and she nursed me back and took care of me… I was there about four weeks before I could ride again.”

“ Do you remember the town Johnny or the woman’s name?”

Johnny laid there thinking…trying to remember but couldn’t.

“ I can’t Scott Even if I could she might not even be alive still.”

“ Johnny this woman can clear you of this murder charge….Try.”

“ Look Scott I got another more serious problem than this murder charge against me…..That deputy Cliff Hunter…..He did this to me last night Scott…..He fully intends on killing me before I reach Utah.”

“ Killing you….Why?”

“ Two years ago in Cordova I kilt his little brother…….he called me out and Scott I tried to talk him out of it I could tell he wasn’t much younger than me but he drew and I had no choice. It happened right in front of the law and I was cleared…..I told Hunter that but he don’t care……..All he cares about is I killed his little brother and he is going to kill me for it……He said that he would kill you if you interfered and the Marshal and that other deputy…..Scott I gotta get out of here…….I can’t let them take me from here……I don’t want innocent people getting kilt or hurt because of me……I’m asking you to help me…..Help me get away from here Scott….Sam wants me down for three days….that’s three days to plan something out so I can…..I know a place we could meet up at and go and find out if this widow woman is still alive.”

Scott stood up and walked over to the window. Looking out he could see the Marshal and deputy Hunter standing next to the corrals. Turning back around Scott looked at his brother. A brother that he  didn’t even know existed a couple months ago. A brother who was now wanting to put his life in  “his” hands.

“ Johnny……If this doesn’t  work…….that Marshal and them two deputies will shoot you down…….That poster said dead or alive Johnny……I don’t want to watch you get killed right here on the ranch……or anywhere for that matter but.” Scott walked back over and sat down on the bed next to Johnny. “  How do you think this is going to affect Murdoch Johnny?…..Have you even gave that any thought?”

“ I heard what he said this morning Scott to the Marshal in the barn and I also know that he doesn’t really want me here…..I’m not the son he want’s here……But you are……Scott you’re smart, educated, you can read and write…….I can barely add sums and I know how to write and read but think about it Scott……..If he had to choose between me and you when it came right down to it to run this ranch when he can’t no more………It ain’t gonna be me he’ll choose Scott……and you know it.”

“ I don’t know that Johnny and neither do you….I had it out with him last night Johnny about you….he was coming out to you this morning to talk to you……talk to you like a father should talk to his son……to ask you about this murder charge and…..”

“ He made it clear to me yesterday Scott how he feels about this murder charge…..I’m guilty of it in his eyes.”

“ No you’re not!”

Both Johnny and Scott’ heads turned toward the door. Neither boy had heard their father come in and Johnny couldn’t help but wonder just what all his father ‘had’ heard of their conversation.

Murdoch stepped into the room and closed the door.

“ Johnny….son I have been a complete fool when it came to you………I have been blind to you……I was seeing you as the person I heard you was…….I wasn’t wanting to believe anything else about you……Not until last night when your brother said what he did to me……Johnny the little time you have been here at Lancer I have not been the father to you I should have been…..It’s not easy for me to admit when I’m wrong son…..or tell you how I feel…about either of you boy’s……..and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I could even have thought you would murder someone in cold blood….I’m going to do whatever I can son to help you prove you didn’t do this. If you will let me.”

Both Johnny and Scott sat there listening, Johnny with not being able to trust easy didn’t know what to think of this man who’s blood ran through his veins. Looking at his brother before dropping his head.

“ I’m not the kind of son a father deserves Murdoch……You deserve a son like Boston here……Not a mestizo gunfighter.”

Murdoch walked around and sat down next to his son.

“ Johnny……look at me son….I wish I could take back all the hurt you have been through….I wish I could have found you sooner and brought you home so you didn’t have to become Johnny Madrid……I tried son but it didn’t happen….You are my son Johnny Lancer but you are also the man that kept you alive for me the last five years Johnny Madrid…..I realized last night that if I want my son Johnny Lancer then I am going to have to accept Johnny Madrid also.” Murdoch looked at the cuff on his sons right wrist. “ I’m going to talk to that Marshal about keeping you chained up like this son……you are not an animal and I will not tolerate them treating you like this……I also Johnny would like to know who hurt you and don’t tell me that story you told Sam.”

Johnny looked up at Scott and let a slight smile come to his lips.

“ All I ever wanted when growing up was……” Johnny dropped his head back down. “ All I wished for was an older brother that would protect me and a father to love me………My momma never told me I had a brother…..All she ever said was that you kicked us out and didn’t want a halfbreed for a son……. With every beating I got, every time I went to bed hungry, every time my momma………” Johnny drew his legs up closer to his chest and wrapped his left arm around them. “ When I came here I fully intended on killing you Murdoch…….I hated you so damn much for what you caused me and my mother to go through…….You with this fancy ranch and food in your belly every night and clothes on your back, shoes on your feet……Then you said one thing that made me not able to do it………You told me I had an older brother……That I had one of the two things I so desperately wanted when growing up.” Johnny looked up at Scott again and winked. “ There is something you need to realize Old man….I’ve been taking care of myself pretty much since I was about five……It’s not easy for me to trust someone and I sure as hell never had anyone care about me…….When I beat this murder charge I want to come back here to Lancer and try to be the son you want but you have to be willing to meet me half way Murdoch…..You halve ta be willing to accept that men will come and try to kill me whether here at the ranch or in town………Both of you need to realize that when I do get called out and you are with me that you can’t interfere you do and it will get me kilt for sure.”  Johnny looked up at his father and his eyes became cold. “ You seen me kill twice old man……and both times you seen me try my damndest to talk em out of it……..You look me in the eyes right now and tell me if you believe I murdered Clive Harper.”

Murdoch was taken aback by the sudden change in his sons demeanor. The cold hardness in his eyes. The firmness of his voice. Standing up Murdoch stepped away from his son.

Johnny knew what was going on with his father, he also noticed that his brother didn’t move.

“ Do I scare you old man……Is that what’s wrong with you?”

Murdoch spun around. “ NO……no you don’t scare me Johnny I…….”

“ BULLSHIT……you think I haven’t seen this before……….you think I haven’t seen the look you got on your face right now?……..Let me tell you something Murdoch….I’ve stayed alive as long as I have because I learned how to read people so don’t stand there and tell me I don’t scare you.”

Murdoch turned around and fought down the urge to yanked his youngest out of the bed and knock the crap out of him. “ I will not tolerate you talking to me in that tone young man…….I may not have raised you but by god you will respect me.”

“ Respect you……..You know what old man…….respect has to be earned  from me and so far you haven’t really done a damn thing to warrant me even remotely respecting you.” Johnny said harshly.

“ Now Boston here…….he’s on the right track and has earned my respect and it’s not just because he’s my brother……he’s earned my respect and I know I could trust him to watch my back…. I also trust ol’ Boston there to go with me to prove I didn’t commit this murder…..bet ya wish I could say that about you ol’ man?……But I’ll tell you what……You want to start earning my respect and trust……..then you get Teresa O’ Brian back here at Lancer by the time I come back a free man and you’ll have my trust and respect.”

“ Teresa……why?”

“ Well ya see me an’ Teresa…we kinda fell in love and……..I’m pretty sure she could be carryin’ my child.”

Murdoch reached for the chair and dropped down in it. “ You and Teresa……..you…….”

“ Yeah we did ol’ man…….in fact that’s all we did that day I escorted her to the Monroe’ and we didn’t get there because of the storm.”

“ You took advantage of an innocent girl just to fulfill your needs!”

“ I didn’t take advantage o’ nothin’…..Teresa was the one who started it and wanted it……I tried not to get involved with her……She knew who I was and what I was when “ she” initiated the sex……..I don’t turn a girl down ol’ man….if she is willin’ ta give it up and is old enough ta give it up…..I’m more than happy ta oblige em……But with Teresa just so you know…….It wasn’t about makin her a woman…..She made me feel in here.” Johnny touched his chest. “ feelin’s I never had before for a woman and I’ve been with my share o’ women since I was fourteen……I’m in love with her and I will have her back.”

The door opened and deputy Hunter walked in. “ Marshal want’s Madrid back in the guard house…He don’t want this killer having any chance of escaping.” Hunter said as he took out the key and tossed it to Scott. “ You unlock him and then I want him cuffed behind his back.”

“ Sam said Johnny needed to stay in here so he didn’t get an infection in his wound.”  Murdoch said firmly.

Scott unlocked the cuff and helped Johnny stand up. “ Take your time brother….Take your time.”

“ I can make it.” Johnny said as he swung his legs over the bed and stood up. Stepping around to the end of the bed Johnny was met by Hunter drawing his gun and cocking it.

“ Get the cuff’s on him behind his back now!”

“ Put that gun away deputy….My son isn’t going to do anything.”

“ Well actually ol’ man I could stand a trip to the outhouse.”

A little while later Johnny found himself back in the guard house but this time the cuff’s where left off.

Sitting on the cot Johnny thought about all that had been said earlier that day. A part of him deep down inside hated the way he had talked to his father. A part of him also worried and wondered if his brother would help him when he made his move to escape. All he could do was wait and see.

Four day’s later Sam came and checked Johnny’ wound’s and removed the stitches.

“ I don’t thin you are gonna have a very noticeable  scar on your face Johnny…unfortunately that’s not the case with this wound on your side.”

“ Yeah well Sam as I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s not my first scar and it won’t be my last…..Thanks though.” Johnny said as he put his shirt back on.

“ Johnny…..I want to ask you something and this isn’t as your doctor……I’m asking you this as the friend I hope I’ve become to you.”

Johnny smiled as he tucked his shirt back in and fastened his belt. “ Okay Sam….I wouldn’t be callin ya by yur name if’n I didn’t think of ya as a friend……..Whats on yur mind?”

Sam put his stethoscope  away and closed his bag up. “ I delivered you Johnny almost Twenty years ago in that house……”

“ Make yur point Sam.”

Sam didn’t like the rudeness Johnny showed.

“ Alright young man…..Your father is my friend and has been for a lot more years than you are old……I want to know what you plan to do…….Do you plan on hurting that man every day you are here?”

“ Well ya see Sam I got this murder charge hangin over my head right now and before you ask NO I didn’t do it……and I’m gonna enjoy watchin that Marshal and them two deputies when I walk out of there a free man…..I plan on comin back here to Lancer and I’m gonna claim what is rightfully mine…..I signed that contract with my brother as a third owner of this ranch and I am going to do just that Sam.”

“ Alright…..well I have a baby that can’t decide when it wants to be born….I hope to get to see you again Johnny.” Sam said as he waited for the door to be opened. “ I’ll let the Marshal know you can ride as long as it’s not hard riding.”

“ Hard riding Sam…….Hell I got a seven hundred mile ride ahead of me and some pretty rough terrain to cross.”

Johnny sat down on the cot and started playing with the beaded bracelet he wore on his right wrist. Scott hadn’t been around to see him at all since he was brought back to the guard house. The sun was now setting and Johnny knew that someone would be bringing him his dinner. The last two nights it had been his father. The Marshal had checked on him but not said a word to him. Hearing the door being opened Johnny turned over and sat up and found Scott standing there with his dinner. The deputy called Jake closed the door after Scott walked in.

“ Sorry dinner is late tonight Johnny.” he said as he sat the tray down on the cot.

“ That’s okay Boston.”

Scott sat down next to his brother. In a low voice he said. “ Johnny I’ve  been thinking about what you said and……there is a small canyon at the farthest north end of the ranch….You remember that lake we took a dip in when we was up there mending fence……I have food enough for a week hid out in that small cave we found there….I told Murdoch I wanted to check and make sure the fence was still good before we moved the cattle up there and I took provisions from the line shack and hid them there…..Johnny they are gonna take you out of here in the morning so whatever you are going to do it’s gonna have to happen in the morning…..Murdoch knows something is up…I didn’t tell him but he was talking at dinner about how he doesn’t want this happening…..Johnny it’s tearing him up inside and I don’t think he is gonna be sleeping much tonight…I don’t think either one of us will.” Scott said as he watched Johnny pick at his dinner. “ Are you still gonna do this?”

Johnny put his fork down and picked up the glass of milk. “ Yeah Scott I am….Tonight…..I’m gonna tell the guard I need to use the outhouse.”

Scott stood up. “ Okay……I’ll have Barranca saddled for you and tied to the fence at the south paddock waiting…I’ll have a rifle and ammo in the saddlebags…I’ll leave your pistol in the outhouse in the upper corner at the back….Brother I hope this works for you and you don’t get killed trying this.”

Johnny stood up. “ Scott…..keep the old man out of this and you stay out of it……I don’t want either one of you getting hurt.” Johnny said as he held out his hand.

Scott took it and gripped it tight as he shook it. “ I’ll catch up to you when I can.” he said before asking for the door to be opened.

Johnny went back and decided to eat his dinner. Knowing he would need the energy for what was going to happen in the matter of a couple hours. When he finished his dinner Johnny laid down and tried to sleep a little but couldn’t.

Johnny guessed from the way the moon was shining in through the small window that it was about midnight or just after. The full moon would help him and Barranca get to where they was going to hide. He could have asked Scott to leave another horse but with what he was going to do Johnny wanted a horse he knew he could trust and Barranca was just that horse. Sitting up and swinging his legs over the side Johnny let out a sigh and ran a hand through his hair. “It’s now or never Madrid.” he said standing and walking over to the door. “ Deputy…….hey deputy.” Johnny called, only it wasn’t the deputy who came over, it was the Marshal himself. “ Shit” Johnny said softly.

“ What do you want Madrid?”

“ I need to use the outhouse Marshal……I’m not feeling to good inside. I think dinner upset my stomach.”

“ Alright….Put these on then stand back.” the Marshal said as he passed the cuffs through the window in the door to Johnny. “ I want to hear them click.”

Johnny held out his arms and first the left then the right he locked the cuff’s on.

“ Step back away from the door Madrid.”

Johnny stepped back and made notice as the just where the Marshal put the key to the cuff’s.

“ Alright…let’s go…and don’t even think of trying something Madrid because I will shoot you.”

Johnny walked out of the room and toward the barn entrance. Opening the door he stepped out and walked casually toward the outhouse. Looking he could see Barranca tied to the fence in the paddock behind the house.

“ Hurry it up Madrid.” the Marshal said as he pushed Johnny toward the door. Johnny stopped before he went in and turned around.

“ You know Marshal…I don’t even know your name….or do you just go by Marshal?”

“ Burk….Marshal Jim Burk..”

Johnny went into the outhouse and after closing the door he reached up and found his old friend right where Scott said it would be. Strapping it on Johnny took the pistol out and twirled it on his finger then stepped to the door. “ I’m coming out Marshal.” Johnny said as he opened the door and stood there. The Marshal stepped closer to Johnny and when Johnny knew he was close enough he brought the Colt up and cocked it right in the Marshal’ face.

“ Don’t do anything stupid Marshal…..I don’t want to kill you so just reach down with your right hand and undo that gun belt and let it drop.”

Burk knew Madrid was serious so very carefully he reached down and undid the belt. “ You don’t want to do this Madrid……..I’ll hunt you down and kill you.”

Johnny stepped closer to the Marshal. “ I didn’t kill Harper Marshal and I’m gonna prove that to you but before I can do that I have to take care of another serious problem that you brought to me….You see Marshal your one deputy Cliff Hunter fully intends on killing me before I even get to Utah…..I bet you’re wondering why your deputy want’s to kill me…Well you see Burk two years ago I got called out by a kid about my age down in Cordova and I killed him….That kid’s name was Seth Hunter Marshal… Cliff’ little brother. I killed him in self defense right in front of the law down there but your deputy don’t care about that. I’m going to go to Grafton Marshal and prove I’m innocent but I’m not going with you.”

Johnny said right before he hit the Marshal and knocked him out cold. Turning Johnny headed toward the paddock and his beloved stallion.

Scott watched from his bedroom window as his brother got on Barranca and walked him away from the ranch toward the tree line and disappear. Going back to his bed Scott  silently said a prayer for his brother because come first light he knew that that Marshal and his two deputies would be tracking his brother.

Deputy Hunter came out of the bunk house and stretched his back as he stood on the porch. Looking he seen a man on the ground trying to get up. Hurrying over he seen it was the Marshal.

JAKE…..JAKE GET OUT HERE NOW.”  he yelled as he helped Burk up. “ JAKE GET OUT HERE NOW……THE PRISONER HAS ESCAPED.”

Murdoch and Scott came out of the house hearing the yelling and rushed to the Marshal’ aid.

“ Your son escaped Lancer….someone left a gun for him in the outhouse.” Burk said as he steadied himself. “ Cliff get the horses saddled now…..Jake help him out I want that killer caught by dark.”

“ Marshal let me help you in the house….you need to get that head looked at……Scott get one of the men to ride into town and get Sam out here.”

“ No Lancer….I’m fine…he didn’t hit me hard enough to do any damage……I want some of your men to help us track him down…….and since I believe your son here is the one responsible for putting that gun in the outhouse I want him to help us track his brother down.”

“ Marshal I assure you Scott would not have done such a thing.”

“ Well someone did.”

Cliff and Jake came over with the horses. “ Lancer I want them men now.”

“ I’m sorry Marshal but I will not have my men helping you track my son down.” Murdoch stated flatly.

“ Lancer your refusing to help the law catch a killer.”

“ My brother is not a killer Marshal and he will prove that to you.”

“ I suggest young man that if you know where your brother is that you tell me now or I will have you brought up on charges……your father also.”

Murdoch stepped forward. “ Marshal as I said no man that works on this ranch will help you hunt down my son.”

“ Jake…Cliff mount up…Lancer I know your boy is going to head south to Mexico……I promise you that I will catch him and I will kill him if he tries to get away.” Burk said as he mounted his horse.

Murdoch and Scott stood there and watched as the three men rode out. After a few minutes Murdoch turned to Scott.

“ You did it didn’t you?…..You helped your brother escape last night son didn’t you?”

“ We need to talk sir inside.” Scott said before heading into the house.

.

Chapter 17

Johnny headed Barranca northeast to the spot his brother said he left supplies for him at. By mid morning Johnny stopped Barranca and undid his canteen. Dismounting he undid the cap and took a good long swig of the tepid water. Barranca nudged him in the chest.

“ Yeah I know amigo. I just wanted to give you a quick breather buddy and see if we are being followed.” he said rubbing the stallions face. “ At least now amigo I have a reason to be wanted…. Me and you got some hard riding ahead of us boy……I got a murder charge against me that I didn’t do and a deputy Marshal bent on killing me for killing his little brother……Come on buddy lets go get them supplies big brother left me and head east cause if I’m guessing right that Marshal and them deputies think I headed south and the trail I left will help them think that.”

Scott sat there waiting for what he had told his father to sink in. He knew time was of the essence right now. He knew where he and Johnny was going to meet up at and if he wasn’t there Scott knew Johnny would go on to Utah alone.

“ Why didn’t Johnny tell that Marshal this Scott? He should have told him or hell he should have told me…..I’m his father.”

“ With all due respect sir but I think the why is pretty clear……My brother only trust me right now and if I’m not where we said to meet up he will go on alone and do this. If Cliff Hunter catches up to Johnny Murdoch he will try and kill my brother.”

Murdoch stood there looking out the window a few minutes.

“ Sir”

“ Alright son…..take what you need and go after your brother…and Scott…….bring Johnny home a free man and please be careful…both of you.”

Scott nodded and headed upstairs to grab his stuff he already had ready. Ten minutes later he was mounted and headed northeast after his brother.

Murdoch stood there and couldn’t believe how much had happened in the last two weeks at Lancer. Walking over to his desk  he sat down and remembered what Johnny had said about him and Teresa. Right under his nose and Paul’ his youngest and his once best friends daughter. Shaking his head Murdoch leaned back and closed his eyes and said a silent prayer that both his sons would come back to him. Both alive and free.

Scott stayed to the tree’s as much as possible just in case someone was following him. By late afternoon Scott reached the entrance to the canyon that led to the pond where he hid the supplies for his brother. It would be near dark by the time he reached the pond. Sighing Scott pushed his horse on up the canyon.

Johnny rested Barranca an hour while he packed the supplies his brother had left him. Securing his saddlebags on the back of the saddle Johnny took the other one and draped it over Barranca’ neck.

“ Sorry amigo but we’re gonna need these supplies boy.” he said as he checked his cinch and mounted up. “ I promise amigo…I’m gonna make this up to you when it’s all over with.” Barranca shook his head as if saying he understood and knew Johnny would. Johnny couldn’t help but laugh at the horse’ actions. “ Well amigo….let’s get going I figure we can be in Nevada by midnight boy and the moon even though it won’t be full will provide enough light for us to see buddy.” Johnny said as he reined the stallion east.

Marshal Burk stopped his horse. “ Hold up men.” he said as he dismounted.

“ Whats wrong Jim?” Jake asked.

“ I don’t think Madrid is going to Mexico…..right before he hit me last night he said something to me I completely forgot about till just now.” he said looking at Hunter. “ Madrid said he didn’t kill Clive Harper…….He said he was going to go to Grafton on his own and prove that to me…….He said that he wouldn’t make it to Utah alive with us…….In fact he said that “ You” Cliff was going to kill him before he got there.”

Cliff looked at the Marshal the Jake. “ That’s ridiculous Marshal…Why the hell would I want to kill that half breed killer when the law is going to hang him for the murder?”

“ Madrid said you had a little brother named Seth……..That Seth called him out two years ago in Cordova. That you didn’t care that Madrid killed him in front of the law there and it was clearly self defense.”

“ He’s lying Jim…….Don’t tell me you’re gonna believe that killer?”

“I don’t know what to believe Cliff……..I do know that I have been a lawman for a lot of years and ever since we found out that Madrid was still alive you have been pushing awfully hard to catch him…..I don’t much like your attitude toward him either……A man is innocent until all evidence is examined and a court and jury say’s he isn’t…….Why you so intent on catching him Cliff?”

“ Yeah Cliff….The way you treated him that first day putting the cuff’s on him….and that night when we switched out watch……Madrid was fine when I left him…….You’re the one who beat him aren’t ya?”

Cliff hated this..He silently vowed that even though they knew now he would still find Madrid and kill him. “ So what if I did…..He ain’t nothing but a half breed killer……Men like Madrid hide behind the law or stay just inside the law killing……I’m sick and tired of men like him getting away with murder and HE did kill my little brother and with or without this badge I am going to find him and kill him for that.”

“ You’ll not do it wearing that badge Cliff……I’m relieving you of it now…take it off because you are no longer a deputy Marshal…When I get back to Salt Lake City Cliff I will be filing a report as to why I relived you of your badge and fired you.”

Cliff jerked the badge off and threw it down on the ground. He then spun his horse around and took off headed east. Now that he knew for sure which way Madrid was going he was going to catch him and kill him.

“ Jim….what are we gonna do…..Cliff fully intends on killing Madrid and…….”

“ And what Jake?”

“ And even though he didn’t come right out and say it Jim…….Cliff made it clear that he would kill anyone that tried to stop him.”

“ Let’s go Jake……We have a job to do and I’m not going to let a man who was in my custody get killed.”

.

Johnny looked up and judged by the position of the moon that it was after midnight when he came upon the place he told his brother he would wait half a day for him at. The stream had  plenty of good green grass for Barranca to eat. Dismounting he set about unsaddling his friend and rubbing him down with some long grass. When he was done he went about gathering some wood for a small fire. One thing he had learned through the years was how to build a fire so it wasn’t noticeable from a distance. Once the fire was going Johnny walked down to the stream and filled the coffee pot, setting it on the fire Johnny went back down to the stream and filled his canteens up. Barranca walked up and nudged him in the back almost causing him to fall in. “ Watch it there buddy…..I won’t be none to pleased if you get me all wet amigo.” he said standing and patting the stallion on the neck. “ You go ahead and get your drink and rest buddy.” Johnny said as he walked back up to the fire. If Scott wasn’t there by mid day he would head out. “ How about I pick up a pack horse amigo…so you don’t have to carry so much huh?” Johnny asked as he poured a cup of coffee and walked back over to his horse. “ Amigo I hated doing that to that Marshal but….I ain’t no cold blooded killer……I’ve done some things in my ‘ past ‘ that the old man don’t know about and will never know about but kill someone in cold blood…..I haven’t sunk that low.”

Barranca snorted and butted Johnny’ chest with his head before going back to eating. “ I’m gonna get a little rest amigo…you stay close.” Johnny knew the stallion wouldn’t leave him. The bond the two had developed was strong and would only grow stronger. Walking over to his saddle Johnny undid the bedroll and threw it out near the fire. Taking his gun off he put it just under the saddle within easy reach and laid down. Closing his eyes Johnny was soon asleep.

.

Scott rode hard once he left the canyon, finding Johnny had been there and found the supplies he left him. Coming down to the rolling hills Scott let his horse pick up the pace more until the terrain started getting to rocky. Not wanting to risk his horse breaking a leg Scott found a small stream and made camp for the night. Laying on his bedroll after taking care of his horse Scott couldn’t help but think about his brother and where he was right then. Looking up at the stars Scott smiled knowing his brother he soon figured out after there first night camping out that Johnny appreciated  things in life that he himself never really paid attention to. Growing up in Boston Scott was always to busy at night with a lady companion to notice the stars, sunrises or sunset’s. Now after Johnny one night pointed them out Scott couldn’t help but smile. His little brother the gunfighter so far never  ceased to amaze him. Who would have thought that someone who made his living and surviving, by the gun that people feared when he rode into a town  would appreciate those things.  Scott soon figured out that all his brother was really was a little kid at heart. Oh sure when he became Madrid, as he had seen that day at the ranch, Johnny was anything but. Scott knew that his brother never got the chance to be a kid when growing up, hell he had t grow up when he was twelve years old and killed his first man. Scott knew from the scars he had seen on his brothers body that he had a very bad childhood. He also felt deep down in his gut that something happened between his mother and him that shouldn’t happen between a mother and son. Maybe one day Johnny would trust his brother enough to share what he suspected with him. He doubted it but maybe one day he would. Sleep taking hold of him Scott closed his eyes and drifted off  thinking about his brother and what the two of them would be facing together as “ brothers” when he caught up with him.

.

Cliff Hunter pushed his horse hard back onto Lancer land on the east side Knowing that Madrid was headed to Grafton he knew he had roughly seven hundred miles to catch and kill him. When his horse stumbled Hunter cursed the animal and yanked him to a stop. Noticing by the light of the moon that the terrain was to dangerous to continue over Cliff dismounted and not bothering to unsaddle his horse he pulled his bedroll off and not wanting Marshal Burk or anyone else to smell a campfire he laid down and went to sleep cussing Madrid.

.

Scott was up before light breaking camp and getting his horse ready. When he felt the light was good enough he headed east figuring he should catch up to his brother by midday.

Johnny was still asleep when the sun broke over the horizon. Barranca looked at his friend as he tossed and mumbled in his sleep. Barranca walked over and started nuzzling Johnny as he rambled on. “ No…no momma please….It’s not right for me to do this…It’s wrong.” Johnny cried and the tears rolled down his cheeks. Barranca licked at the salt and doing so brought Johnny out of the nightmare that had been plaguing him these last few months. Laying there breathing hard Johnny looked up and Barranca nudged his face gently again. “ Thanks amigo….I’m okay.” he told the horse as he pushed his face away and got up. Barranca nudged his chest then laid his head on Johnny’ left shoulder and pulled him into his chest. Johnny had never had the stallion do this and reached up and wrapped his arms around the golden stallions neck and hugged him back. “ You know amigo….I love you too buddy……not real sure yet about that eastern dandy brother of mine but I reckon he’s not to bad…..Let me go buddy so I can take a whiz.” Johnny said as he let go of his friend and pushed him away.

A little while later Johnny picked up his saddle and walked toward Barranca and just when he started to swing the saddle up on his back Barranca bolted.
 

“ Damn it Barranca…….come back here.” but the stallion just stood there with his head turned back looking at Johnny. Dropping the saddle Johnny walked up to the horse only to have him bolt again but this time he knocked Johnny down and headed right into the middle of the stream.

“ Alright you cantankerous horse…..get out of there Barranca….Now.”

Barranca just stood in the middle of the stream pawing at the water splashing it on his chest and throwing his head up and down.

Johnny got angrier at his horse and stormed into the water and right when he reached for the halter Barranca  moved away. “ Alright horse…….I see what you’re up to know amigo….Johnny said as he started kicking water at his friend. A short time later two very wet critters walked out of the water.

“ I hope you’re happy now buddy cause I am soaked clean through.” Johnny said as he led the horse to a tree and tethered him to it. Grabbing some tall grass Johnny began rubbing his friend down.

“ Thanks amigo…I needed that.” Johnny said as he walked around to the front of the horse and rubbed his face.  Barranca again put his head on Johnny’ left shoulder and pulled him in to his chest and whinnied softly.

What Johnny and Barranca didn’t know was that their little play in the water didn’t go unwatched.

Scott sat up on a hill just inside the tree line and watched as his little brother and the golden stallion played like they were two little kids. Nudging his horse down the hill Scott couldn’t wait to see the look on his brothers face when he found out he had been seen.

Barranca jerked his head around and whinnied causing Johnny to grab his gun he had laid on the bank so it wouldn’t get wet. When he seen who it was he relaxed and went back to caring for his horse.

Scott stopped his horse and couldn’t help the grin he had on his face.

Johnny glanced at his brother and knew he seen the two playing in the water. “ What you grinning about brother?”

“ Oh nothing really……I actually was enjoying watching my hard core little brother act like a kid…..I bet the two of you would do the same thing in the snow.”

Johnny walked back around to Barranca’ head. “ You want to play in some snow sometime amigo?”

Barranca shook his head up and down causing Johnny to laugh. “ Figures.” he said as again Barranca pulled him into a hug and Johnny not caring if his brother seen it or not hugged the stallion right back. When Johnny stepped back Barranca took his nose and before Johnny could move helicked the side of Johnny’ face. “ Yeah okay amigo….I love you too.” Johnny said before kissing the horse back on his nose.

Scott sat there awstruck at the behavior he was witnessing between the two. Finally getting down of his own horse Scott couldn’t help himself. “ You know little brother…..If women knew you kissed your horse their lips would never touch yours again.” he said with a wide grin.

“ There’s only one woman I want kissing my lips anymore Brother…….an because of my past that ain’t ever gonna happen again.” Johnny said before reaching down and grabbing his saddle. “ Go ahead and rest up if you want.” he said as he saddled Barranca.

“ Naw I’m alright brother……We should get going.”

“Fine.” Johnny said as he swung up in the saddle. “ Bet the old man really hates me now…..Hell I bet he has every available hand helpin that Marshal hunt me down.”

“ Actually Johnny.” Scott started as he checked his cinch and remounted his horse. “ Murdoch told the Marshal that no hands from Lancer was going to help him track you down……After they rode out I told Murdoch about Hunter….I also told him it was Hunter who beat you up……Johnny our father wants Both of us to come home when this is over…He wants both his son’s working the ranch with him.” Scott stated as he reined his horse around to follow Johnny.

“ Yeah okay.” was all Johnny said as he moved Barranca out. “ We got seven hundred miles to cover Boston…..I know a town we should get to day after tomorrow……we can get supplies and a pack horse there…….I helped a rancher there once and he’ll help us out.”

“ You can trust this rancher Johnny?”

“ Yeah Scott I can.”

“ How did you help him out?”

Johnny stopped Barranca. “ I killed two men that was trying to rape his daughter.” he said before moving out again.

Scott sat there a minute soaking in what his brother had just said.

Marshal Jim Burke and deputy Jake Carter crossed into Southern Nevada three day’s behind Scott and Johnny. Stopping in a small town called Amargosa they found a livery and put there horses up for a rest.

“ Jim…how long we gonna stay here?” Carter asked.

“ A day or two….The horses need a rest and where Madrid is going we’ll get there just ahead of him.”

“ Jim…what about Hunter?”

“ Hunter is probably ahead of us to the North….That was a pretty good trick Madrid did laying down that false trail….Cost us a day back tracking but I know Madrid is going to Grafton…..One thing I learned about that Killer is he does honor his word.”

“ Wait a minute…If he did murder Clive Barker Jim…..why would he tell you where he was going?….Better yet why would he go back to a town were he is wanted for murder?”

“ I’ve been thinking on that Jake…..I’m sorting that out but……..Well you just can’t figure a gunfighter out and what he does or doesn’t do…….Madrid took a lot of jobs with little or no pay…..just food in his belly or a roof over his head………”

The Marshal got quiet for a minute. “ Damn it….of course.”

“ What?”

“ Madrid helped a rancher in Nevada.”

“ Helped him how?”

“ He killed two men that was trying to rape the mans daughter…….That rancher will be more than willing to help Madrid.”

“ Help Madrid…..Help him how?”

“ With supplies…a horse or whatever else he would need probably……One thing you need to keep in mind Jake…Madrid even though he’s a gunfighter he has friends out here that will help him and at the same time spit at our feet.” the Marshal stated as they headed to the run down saloon and hotel.

Johnny and Scott rode southeast once they left Archers ranch. They had a pack horse and enough food to get them to Grafton. Scott was lost in thought when Johnny reined in.

“ You even listening to me Boston?”

“ I’m sorry Johnny….I guess I was to deep in thought brother……what did you say?”

“ That could get you killed………I said day after tomorrow we will be in Paiute country Scott and you will need to be on the alert brother……..Paiute are about like Apache Scott…..they ain’t particular on killing a white man…..or a halfbreed.”

“ Paiute……I thought they was only in Arizona Johnny!”

“ They were but Utah and Arizona they don’t know no differences in the states you see…..Grafton when I was coming up from the south is about fifty miles from the Arizona line and well Paiute they like to comb the red cliffs for food or an unsuspecting white man. Trust me Scott Paiute are in Utah.”

“ So then you know the signs…..I mean you’ll…….”

“ Yeah brother I’ll know……here in Nevada we also got to worry about bandits because of the gold and silver mines bandits might think we was packing gold on this here pack horse instead of just supplies….. Guess that fancy Harvard education of yours ain’t gonna really be a help to you out here brother.” Johnny stated as he undid his canteen and took a swig.

“ Well little brother…the way I see it…I got something better than a Harvard education….I got me a little brother who is a better teacher than any teacher back east or even out here could ever be.” Scott said with a grin.

Johnny re hooked his canteen and swung down from Barranca to check his cinch. The feeling he got in his stomach at Scott’ words made him speechless and fearing his voice would crack Johnny elected to do what he was so good at doing when feeling a bit uncomfortable. He ignored it or changed the subject.

“ Did the old man say anything Scott about me and Teresa dancin between the sheets?”

Scott dismounted and checked his cinch. “ No…not really Johnny…..I think he was surprised by it though…….I mean couldn’t you have found a better way of telling him Johnny?”

“ NO.”Johnny said more harshly than he intended. “ Look Scott……Madrid don’t run from nothing alright………..Okay let me ask you something brother…….If Morro Coyo had ten men ride in and take over the town and say I was sheriff of Morro Coyo……..How many of them good decent law abiding folks do you think would help me……….None……know how I know that Scott?”

“Tell me little brother…How.”

“ Cause I seen it before…..They want their town and good citizens safe and when there is no trouble they shun men like me…….I’m lower than dirt in their eyes brother……But the minute trouble comes ridin in it’s men like me that they come to to save their sorry asses.”

“ Tell me something brother…..Was you born this cynical or did you become that way with time?”
Johnny walked around Barranca and faced his brother. “ I learned my lessons Scott……….The hard way…..I gotta take a piss.” Johnny said before walking off to a clove of mesquite.

Scott stood there watching his brother walk away. The brother he so desperately wanted to know once again had told him about his past but yet didn’t tell him about his past. “ Learned his lessons.” Scott said aloud. “ What lessons brother……..What makes you turn so bitter brother when something from your past comes up?”

Johnny finished his business and walked back to his horse, checking his cinch he swung up in the saddle and looked behind him for a long time. Finally moving Barranca foreward he turned to his brother.

“ We got company brother.” he said calmly.

Scott turned and looked hard but saw nothing. “ Where?”

“ About a mile back……I’d say five maybe more……their keepin to just below the ridge line in a straight but I sure the hell am not gonna wait around here to ask them what they want line.”

“ How do you know that they’re  following us Johnny……Maybe they are just headed in the same direction we are.”

Johnny stopped his horse. “ LOOK BOSTON…….” Johnny said sharply. “ I haven’t managed to stay alive all this time by not knowing what is around me……..I told you we could run into trouble……chances are those riders think that pack horse of ours is carrying gold……Now I don’t know about you BROTHER…..but I don’t plan on waiting around here to ask them what they want…….YOU CAN if you want too.” he said before spurring Barranca on.

Scott looked again and seen the riders had also stopped when they did. “ So what do we do BROTHER?” he asked spurring his horse to catch up.

“ We keep moving…….It’ll be dark in about three hours….most likely they will try something then.”

“ Yeah…..well it don’t look to good a country to find a place and fight it out.”

“ To you maybe……..I know of a place but we need to pick up the pace if we want to be there before dark.”

“ Ah  ha and this place Johnny……just what is it?”

“ A cave…….It’s big enough the horses can stay in the back……it has a small stream running through it……nothing big mind you put the water is cold and it pools up.”

“ A cave….and just how would you know about this cave?”

“ You gotta know about everything don’t ya Boston.”

“ Look….STOP calling me BOSTON Johnny………my name is Scott OKAY?”

“ Sure thing…….Boston.” Johnny said with a slight grin when he looked at his brother. “  Look………I was coming back from Colorado when I got caught in a spring snowstorm………I held up there for just over a week before it finally moved out and me and my horse could go on…….I was glad I found it too because I was half froze and my horse wasn’t doin to good either.”

“ Colorado……….What the hell was you doing in Colorado Johnny?………..I know it’s none of my business right?”

Johnny turned Barranca north in a wash to head up into the mountains. “ I was going back to Mexico from a job I did up by Cortez……I……”

“ Johnny……..the Pinkerton report said that most of the jobs you took you did for little or nothing brother…….Colorado is a long way from Mexico brother….Must have been good money for that kind of miles.” Scott said and hated it as soon as the words came out of his mouth. “ Johnny I’m sorry….I”

“ I didn’t go for money Scott……I did it as a favor for a friend and that’s all I’m gonna say about it.”

“ What made you do it……..Switch sides and start helping the peons Johnny?”

Johnny was quiet for the rest of the afternoon. Just about dusk they reached the cave entrance and Johnny dismounted and handed his reins to Scott. “ Take the horses into the back…..I’m gonna go cover our tracks……..Don’t start a fire brother unless you know how to make one  that don’t smoke.” Johnny said before taking off back they way they had come.

Scott had a fire going and hot coffee and food when Johnny came back just after dark.

“ Well I am impressed brother……I didn’t think you had it in you……..Guess you eastern tenderfoots ain’t as dumb as they say.” he said grinning as he walked back to Barranca. “ Hey amigo.”

“ Thanks brother…….That damn horse of yours tried to bite me when I was taking the saddle off.” Scott said as he walked up with a cup of coffee for Johnny. He watched in aw as his brother checked every inch of the horse’ body, cleaning his hooves out and checking the legs. “ You check your horse over good Boston?” he asked as he stood up straight and took the cup of coffee when done. “ Thanks.”

“ Yeah I did…….unlike this stallion of yours my horse don’t try to bit me when I come near him.” Scott said as he turned and walked back to the fire.

Johnny smiled and walked over and sat down. “ They won’t find this place……and anyone who does try to come up here in the dark is askin for a broken leg or worse on the rocks.” he said as he spooned out some beans on a plate. “ You can stand the cold you can take a bath in that spring.”

“ No thanks…I don’t really care to freeze off my……..”

Johnny couldn’t help but laugh catching Scott off guard.

“ What?”

“ Nothing brother……Tell me something Scott……they got whorehouses back in Boston?”

“ Yeah Johnny they have ladies of the evening palaces back in Boston.”

“ You ever go to them?”

Scott cleared his throat. “ Yeah…..I went with some college buddies on my twenty first birthday and Graduation……..Why?”

“ Graduation huh…..you mean to tell me that you ain’t been laid since then?”

“ You know brother……..my night activities is really my own business.”

“ Easy Boston…..damn you don’t have to go getting all defensive on me……..I was askin cause well I want to get laid and I know of a bordello in Tonopah……The ladies there is real good and will be willin to do whatever ya fancy for the right amount on money and I mean anything brother……why you can have two or even three ladies for an hour of even all night if ya want.”

“ What I want brother is a hot bath and a soft bed and something that resembles meat to eat….You can have all the sex you want……..You never did answer my question earlier today brother.”

“ And what question was that?”

“ Why you switched sides?”

Johnny sat his plate down and poured himself and his brother some more coffee. “ I was riding with this group of men……we had been together a while and we took this job on the American side in Arizona…….Anyways this rancher hird us to get rid of some homesteaders that moved into the area…… He was payin good money and I thought we was just gonna scare them off……The leader Pardee killed the farmer and……….what they did to the mans wife and daughter was sick Scott…..she couldn’t have been more than thirteen……They brutally raped her and the mother then cut their throats…..I rode out of there with the worst sickening feeling in my gut ever……Pardee he came back to camp a couple hours later and……..” Johnny stared into the fire and was silent for a few minutes.

Scott could see the hurt and sadness in his brothers eyes and wished now that he hadn’t asked.

“ He walked up to me and before I knew what was happening I was hit in the back of the head and went down to my knees……Pardee grabbed me up and two of his men grabbed my arms and held me while he beat the shit out of me……..Then he took out his knife and stabbed me twice in the side before hitting me again and knocking me out………When I came too later I made it to my horse and rode out of there…..a Navajo Indian medicine man found me and nursed me back to health…..I was about dead when he found me.”

“ Jesus Johnny.” Scott said realizing he said it out loud. “ How long was you with Pardee?”

“ We rode together for just over a year….That was three years ago…..I’m gonna go take watch……you get some sleep brother I want to make it to Tonopah by tomorrow night.” Johnny said as he picked up his rifle and turned to his brother. “ I sure hope you’re as good as you say you are with that long arm brother……cause you may have to kill come daybreak.”

Scott stood up. “ I hit what I aim at Johnny…..I was in the war you know!”

“ Yeah well that was war……this is survival……ain’t no fancy dressed Generals around here gonna tell ya what to do…….you fuck up and hesitate for a split second Boston and you and me will both be dead……and even though I’ve accepted death Scott………I don’t plan on dying with a false murder charge against me.” he said before walking out of the cave.

Scott just stood there unable to speak as he watched his brother walk out into the night.

Johnny came back to camp before first light and woke his brother up.

“ Get up Scott……..we gotta move out now!” he said as he poured the coffee out and stamped on the fire. “ No Scott…….Get your ass up and moving now.”

Scott jumped up and glared at his brother. “ What the hell is the matter with you Johnny?………It isn’t even light out yet.”

“ Look Scott……….I don’t have time to spell it out for you or use fancy words your used to hearing okay………The men trailing us are Comanchero’s Scott they kill for the hell of it…….The steal and murder anyone who gets in their way……I’ve never known them to come into Nevada but they’re here.”

“ And just how brother do you know they’re Comanchero’s Johnny?” Scott asked firmly as he grabbed his brothers arm and spun him around.

“ Because I was at their camp last night Scott……They camped about two miles back from us…..our coming up to this cave threw them off our trail but you can bet they’ll pick it back up come daylight.” Johnny said firmly as he jerked his arm free and went to saddle Barranca.

Scott went to pack up the pack horse and was stopped by Johnny. “ Leave him……..Take all the gear and halter off him and let him go Scott……….We have to ride hard and he’ll only slow us down brother….Take what you can in the saddle bags he wont die here Scott.”

Scott stripped the rest of the gear off the pack horse and went and grabbed both his and Johnny’ saddle bags and put what food he could in them. When he was done he grabbed the canteens and filled them up and secured the on the horses.

Johnny handed Scott his reins. “ Trust me Scott…..We need as much ground as possible between us and them.” He said before walking Barranca out of the cave and swinging up in the saddle.

Johnny let Barranca chose the path down to the flatland until it was light enough to pick up the pace. Once down he spurred his horse into a ground eating lope with his brother at his side. After a couple hours Johnny slowed Barranca down to a walk so the stallion could cool down. The desert was starting to heat up and around mid morning it felt like an oven almost. Stopping his horse Johnny got down and took his canteen off the saddle and took a drink before removing his hat and giving the stallion a drink. Looking over he seen his brother do the same thing. “ Stay here Scott……I’m gonna go up there and see if we lost them.” he said as he loosened Barranca’ cinch. “ Loosen yours brother and let him breath.” he said before heading up the hill. Barranca took a couple steps to follow Johnny but Scott grabbed his reins and stopped him. The stallion wasn’t happy and paced around nervously until Johnny came back.

“ I don’t see them but lets not take any chances and get moving.” he said as he tightened his horses cinch.

“ He didn’t like you leaving him Johnny……….He tried to follow you and paced nervously until you came back.”

Johnny rubbed Barranca’ face. “ Yeah I know amigo……you smell them mares don’t you boy.”

“ Mares…….what mares Johnny?”

Johnny looked at Scott and smiled as he pointed to the east. “ Mustangs Scott……Barranca here is getting a whiff of them mares and want to breed them…..It’s not me he’s pacing for Scott…..Easy boy…I know you want them and I’m sure they know you’re here buddy but……” Johnny said as he swung in the saddle. “ Them mares you can bet already have a stallion with them amigo and I don’t want you getting in no fight with him…….You haven’t been wild for a long time Barranca.” Johnny said as his horse started prancing and fidgeting around ignoring Johnny. The only thing keeping Barranca somewhat under control was the bit biting into the back of his mouth. “ DAMN IT BARRANCA…….knock it off.” Johnny said as he reached up and slapped Barranca on the side of his jaw. The stallion snorted and pranced a little more before finally settling down. Throwing his head up and down Barranca whinnied.

“ I’m sorry amigo but I need you to stop this……..I know you want them boy but…………” Johnny looked toward the mustangs and could see a lone horse galloping toward them. “ Oh shit.” he said as Barranca again let out another whinny, this one longer and louder. Johnny forced his horse south trying to move away from the stallion and mares. Barranca again let go a loud whinny and this time both Johnny and Scott heard the other stallion respond back. Johnny spurred Barranca hard and made him take off at a full run south. He kept that  hard run for at least two miles until he slowed his stallion down. “ Damn it amigo…….I’m not gonna lose you to that stallion just because you want them mares…….”

“Johnny……we have a lone shadow following us.” Scott said as he stopped his horse.

Johnny stopped his horse and looked. Barranca whinnied again and the lone trailing horse returned the call.

“ Is that the stallion following us Johnny?”

Johnny couldn’t believe it. “ No Scott it’s not a stallion……It’s a mare and my guess would be that she broke free from the heard and has decided on Barranca here as her stud.” Johnny said as Barranca pushed his head into Johnny’ back shoving him forward. “ Stay here Scott.” Johnny said as he and Barranca walked toward the mare, stopping not thirty feet from her. Johnny could tell what the mare wanted by her posture so he removed his saddle and tied his rope to Barranca’ halter. “ Go ahead boy…

she wants ya and you deserve it.”

Later that afternoon the mare was still following them, trailing just behind when Johnny stopped again.

“ Johnny…….how many times you gonna let Barranca do this?”

“ Scott…….what’s the matter brother you getting jealous or somethin?……..Okay boy we gotta go so this is the last time.” Johnny said as he for the third time that day let Barranca cover the mare.

“ Don’t look at me like that brother……who knows maybe now there will be little Barranca’ roaming across Nevada.”

“ Just like little Johnny’ brother?” Scott said with a grin.

“ Hell no brother……..I ain’t never got no woman with child and I don’t intend to.”

“ So all those whores you’ve been with……….you got none of them pregnant?”

“ Not that I know of Scott………and even if I did…..they know the risk when they let us fuck them……..Hell a man can pull out or stand a blow job for so long before he wants to release inside the woman.”

Scott shook his head. “ You do have a funny way of putting things into perspective little brother but tell me something……..If one of them whores you been as you like to say……fucking in Morro Coyo became pregnant with your child you wouldn’t do what’s right by her?”

“ Hell Scott she would damn sure have to prove to me that it was my kid she was carryin…….Lets go….all this talk about whores is makin me want one bad and we ain’t but six hours from Tonopah now.” Johnny said as he swung back up on Barranca. “ Sorry girl but he can’t stay with ya.”Johnny said as he and Scott rode away and the mare just stood there.

.

Chapter 18

Cliff Hunter rode into Tonopah and dismounted at the livery. The owner came out of a stall in the back.

“ Help you?”

“ Need to put him up for the night…….Give him some grain and hay.”

“ It’ll cost ya four bits……in advance.”

Cliff threw the man the money and grabbed his rifle before walking out.

The owner looked at the horse and could tell the animal had been riden hard. Removing the saddle he gave the animal a good rubdown  and extra grain. “ Some men just don’t care.” he said as he patted the horse before leaving the stall.

Cliff walked over to the saloon and after receiving his beer asked the bartender if a man fitting Johnny’s  description had come in in the last day or so.

“ Mr……Madrid…….I heard of him…he runs down along the  border never known him to come this far north.” the man said before turning to walk away.

Cliff grabbed his arm and pulled the man across the bar some. “ When Madrid does come in here you will let me know cause if you don’t.” Cliff grabbed the mans right hand. “ You’ll only have one hand that works.” he said harshly before shoving the man back hard.

Turning around and leaning against the bar Cliff  looked around at the other patrons. Four men were engaged in a game of poker,another was passed out. One of the girls looked him over and walked up next to him.

“ Buy a lady a drink cowboy?” she asked as she moved closer.

Cliff turned toward her. “ When I see a lady I will.”

The woman stepped back.” Well if you want a lady of that type then there is an establishment at the other end of town.”

Cliff turned to the bartender. “ Give the…….lady what she wants and give me another beer.” he said. After the drinks were brought he walked with the woman over to a table and sat down.

“ I got a room upstairs if you want something more.” the woman said as she reached over and ran her hand up his leg to only have it grabbed and twisted. Crying out in pain the woman stood up.

“ Let go……….Let go of my arm now damn you!”

The bartender grabbed the scatter gun he kept under the bar and walked over to the table and pulled back both hammers. “ I don’t care who you are…..You don’t let go of that girls arm I’m gonna plaster you all over the wall boy.”

Cliff turned and looked up at the bartender. “ You got some nerve pointing that scatter gun at me old man……..You don’t put it down right now I will snap her arm in half.”

“ I don’t think so!”  A voice stated firmly from the door as a rifle cocked..

Cliff turned and found himself facing a Rifle aimed right at his chest. “ Sheriff…..I was just havin a little fun……no harm intended.”

“ You okay Susanna?”

The woman looked at the sheriff. “ Yeah Micah I’m alright now……..Thanks….You too Stu…….Thanks.” she said before walking away.

“ Stu put that scatter gun away…..This man isn’t going to bother you or anyone else in my town.”

Stu looked from the sheriff back to Cliff before uncocking the shotgun and going back behind the bar.

“ What business you got in my town boy?”

“ I’m waiting on a man is all sheriff.”

“ He said he’s looking for Johnny Madrid sheriff….Asked me if I had seen Madrid in here today.”

“ Is that so……..Now why would you be looking for Madrid in Tonopah boy?……Everybody knows Madrid works down along the border….and last time I checked Nevada ain’t nowhere near Mexico.”

“ That’s my business sheriff….Not yours.” Cliff said standing up.

“ Yeah…..well let me tell you something Boy……If Madrid is coming into My town I wont tolerate no gun play here…….I’ll guarantee you will be thrown in jail if you do……Besides from what I hear Madrid has beat the best of them in a fair fight…….Why I hear that he is so fast that he beat two men to the draw once and neither of them got to clear leather so do yourself a favor if’n you like to breath and stay clear of Madrid…..Oh…..” Micah stated. “ You put your hands on another woman in my jurisdiction roughly and Madrid will be the least of your worries.”

Cliff looked at the sheriff then downed the last of his beer. “ Think I’ll find a nicer establishment sheriff…..You recommend one were I can get a good drink and meal?”

“ Yeah…the Mustang club down at the end of town…..But I warn you……..I mean what I said earlier.”

Cliff walked out and headed toward the end of town. He figured Madrid would be riding in here for supplies in the next day or so so he wanted a place where he could watch for him and not be seen

Johnny and Scott stopped their horses and looked down at the lights of a town.

“ That Tonopah brother?”

“ Yeah Boston….that’s it.” Johnny said as he nudged Barranca down the hill.

“ So after we get the horses taken care of little brother what you want to do?”

“ Well Boston…..we could get us a good  hot bath and meal and a fine woman for some relaxation after.”

“ You know Johnny I think I will take you up on that offer of a fine woman’s company.” Scott said with a smile.

“Yeah?” Johnny asked as he reined Barranca to a stop in front of the livery and dismounted.

“ Yeah brother.” Scott said as he to dismounted.

“ Evenin gents….what can I do for ya two?”

“ We’d like to put em up for the night with grain and hay.”

“ Two horses…That’ll be six bits.”

Scott handed the money to the man as Johnny walked past with Barranca to a stall on the end.

“ I can do that for ya young man.”

“ What’s yur name sir?” Johnny asked as he unsaddled Barranca.

“ Jeb…Jeb Miller.”

“ Well Mr. Miller sir Barranca here don’t like strangers….he can be a might testy.” Johnny said as he started grooming the stallion.

“ He’s spoiled rotten Mr. Miller.” Scott said with a laugh as he handed his horse off to the man.

“ He is a fine piece of horse flesh…….best I seen in a long time.”

“ Where’s a good place for a hot bath?” Scott asked.

“ Well if you just want a bath there be a public bathhouse down the street, but if you want a personal bath well that you will find at the end of town at the Mustang Ranch.”

“ Personal bath?”

“ Yeah brother personal baths are given by ladies….and I must say brother they can be quit good.”

“ I bet they can brother but you see I want to take a long luxurious hot bath and wash my own body……on the outside that is….Then I’ll see about being cleaned on the inside.” Scott said as he headed to the door.

Johnny finished with Barranca and walked out to catch up with his brother.

Cliff couldn’t believe what he was seeing coming out of the livery. Moving to the shadows so he wouldn’t be seen Cliff watched Johnny and Scott head to the bathhouse. Once inside he moved to a spot closer and set up to watch and wait.

“ Aah now this is heaven little brother.” Scott said as he poured himself a shot and leaned back.

“ Yeah it’s okay.” Johnny said as he finished up and was getting out.

“ What you done already Johnny?”

“ Yeah Scott…I want me some company and well…..You ain’t what I want Boston.” Johnny said as he pulled his pants on then his gun.

“ I’ll meet ya at the Mustang brother…Enjoy.”

Johnny walked out onto the porch and stood there looking down the street. Stepping off the porch Johnny heard the unmistakeable click of a hammer being pulled back.

“ Don’t you move Madrid…….You do and I will blow your head clean off!” Cliff said as he stepped from the shadows. “ I want you to take your left hand and take your gun out and toss it away, real easy like.”

Johnny thought for a second knowing Cliff was just off to his right about ten feet. Then he heard steps before he felt the pistol in his back. Reaching over slowly with his left hand Johnny took his pistol out by thumb and index fingers only and tossed it out in front of him.

Cliff walked around to the front of him and held out a pair of cuffs. “ Put them on Madrid and I want to here them click.” Cliff said as he tossed the cuffs to land at Johnny’ feet.

Johnny slowly bent down and picked the cuffs up. Deep inside he was hoping his brother didn’t walk out of the bathhouse right now because he knew that Cliff would probably kill him and Johnny had accepted death a long time ago but he didn’t want his new found brother dying because of him. Holding out his wrist as he snapped each cuff in place Johnny watched Cliff’ eyes and what he seen in them he knew without a doubt that tonight one of them was going to die.

“ Move real easy toward the livery Madrid.” Cliff ordered. “ Now.”

Johnny started walking slowly and Cliff jammed the pistol in his back. I’m gonna have me some fun with you Madrid once we get out of town…..That brother of yurs is gonna find a dead body and that’s all if he comes lookin for you……move.”

Johnny walked up to the livery and stepped inside. Jeb came walking out of the back.

“ You come ta check on that….” Jeb started to say when he noticed Johnny was cuffed and Cliff had a gun on him.

“ Saddle my horse and his now old man.”

Jeb saddled Cliff’ and brought him out. “ That stallion of yurs gonna let me saddle ‘im son?”

“ Yeah…Barranca ‘ll let ya saddle ‘im Jeb.”

Jeb went and saddled Johnny’ horse and led him out a few minutes later. Handing the reins to Johnny before turning and walking away. He didn’t want involved in whatever the boy was cuffed for. Not seeing a badge he figured the man was a bounty hunter and Jeb had seen enough of them to know that they can be nasty.

“ Move it Madrid outside.” Cliff said shoving Johnny. Barranca pinned his ears back and Johnny spoke easy in Spanish to the stallion.

“ Amigo facil no dar la razon a un hijo de puta que duele  companero. Te voy a necesitar esta noche posiblemente, para salir de esta vida.” ( Easy amigo don’t give the bastard a reason to hurt you buddy. I’m gonna need you tonight possibly to get out of this alive)

“ Shut the fuck up Madrid and mount up.” Cliff ordered as he snatched the reins from Johnny’ hands. Barranca snapped at his arm just barely missing the man.

Johnny figured they had rode about five miles when Cliff ordered him to stop in a canyon. Johnny could tell from the light of the full moon that this canyon could be deadly in the dark, even with the moon a man could break a leg. Getting off Barranca Johnny also knew that only one of them was going to come out of this canyon alive.

Scott came out of the bathhouse and headed to the saloon to get a drink. Walking up to the bar he ordered a beer and when Stu brought it to him he paid the man and when he turned to walk over to a table Jeb the livery stable man came in and walked over.

“ Young man wasn’t that your brother ya rode in with tonight?”

“ Yes it was Mr. Miller…why you ask?”

“ Let me have a beer Stu……Oh I was just wonderin how come you didn’t ride out with him and that other man is all.”

“ Other man…..What other man?”

“ I don’t know who he was exactly….he rode in here a couple hours before you two did and about an hour ago he left with your brother…..ceptin yur brother was wearing cuffs around his wrist.”

“ What did this man look like Mr. Miller?”

“ Oh I’d say about your age, brown hair, about your height also I reckon……Didn’t see no badge on ‘im so I reckon he ain’t no law.”

Stu was listening to what Jeb was telling Scott. “ Yeah he was askin in here this afternoon if’n I had seen Johnny Madrid…….he roughed up one of my gals and the sheriff Micah ran him out.”

“ Mr. Miller do you know what way they went?”

“ North young man….toward Cougar canyon.”

Scott took out a silver dollar and tossed it to Stu. “ Buy Jeb here whatever drink he wants.” he said as he hurried to the door.

“ I already have your horse saddled for you young man…….When you head out of town you will be able with the full moon to see a trail that will lead you to Cougar Canyon….Be careful though cause even with the moon light it can be deadly.”

Scott thanked the man and hurried to his horse and out of town. “ Hang on brother, hang on.” he prayed as he set out at a gallop.

Johnny took a couple steps forward dropping Barranca’ reins. Cliff dismounted and came up behind Johnny and hit him hard between his shoulders bringing him to his knee’s.

“ I told you Madrid that I was going to make you feel pain and suffer before I killed you.” he said right before he kicked Johnny hard in the back.

Johnny gasped as his face went into the dirt and he felt the sting of the small rocks cutting into his skin. Spitting out dirt he rolled over onto his left side just as Cliff was going to kick him again. Striking out with his own feet Johnny swiped out with his and brought Cliff down hard. Pushing up as fast as he could Johnny was on top of Cliff hitting him in the face.

Cliff remembered Johnny’ wound on his left side and slugged Johnny as hard as he could in his ribs. Then pushing Johnny over onto his back Cliff proceeded to beat Johnny in the face several times before wrapping his hands around his throat.

Johnny screamed out from the pain when Cliff hit him in the side. Giving Cliff just enough time to push him over onto his back. Trying desperately to block the blows Johnny knew his strength was dwindling. When Cliff wrapped his hands around his throat Johnny grabbed a hold of his arms the best he could with the cuffs on and tried desperately to remove them. Gasping for air and feeling the burning pain in his lungs as they screamed for air Johnny felt his life leaving him. His grip weakening on Cliffs arms Johnny tried to buck up and get him off his chest but just didn’t have the strength left.

Cliff could tell that a minute or two more and Madrid would pass out from lack of air. When Johnny’ hands left his arms he let go and got up and kicked Johnny hard in the side as he reached for a knife.

Get up Madrid….you son of a bitch…..get up cause I’m gonna cut you up real good before I shoot you.”

Johnny gasped and tried desperately to suck air into his screaming burning lungs. Pushing up to his knees Johnny fought back the bile that threatened to rise from his stomach.

“ Get up you half breed bastard…….Get up and fight me.”

Johnny made it up onto his shaky legs and turned to face Cliff. Coughing he spit blood and dirt from his mouth.

“ I only enjoyed killing a man once in my life Deputy.” he said coughing. “ And that was the man who killed my momma……..But you are about to become the second.” Johnny said as Cliff lunged at him with the knife. Both men went down hard and rolled several times until they came to an abrupt stop when they slammed into a boulder. Johnny felt the rocks cut into his back but ignored the pain his body was having as he held onto Cliff’ wrist with the knife just above his face. Madrid clearly in control of his body Johnny pushed with all he had to try and get the knife away from his face.

Cliff used all his strength and pushed the knife down and cut Johnny’ left cheek. Bringing the knife back up he now had it over Johnny’ chest and slowly brought it down to within an inch of plunging into Johnny’ heart. Smiling as he looked into Madrid’ eyes.

“ Give it up Madrid……You can either die from this knife or a bullet.” Cliff said as he rose up and brought his body down to plunge the knife in Johnny’ chest.

Johnny ignored the pain when the knife cut into his cheek, Knowing that if he faltered just the slightest the knife now above his heart would plunge into his heart. Shoving as hard as he could when Cliff rose up Johnny was able to pushed the knife to his right just as Cliff brought his weight down and the knife buried deep into Johnny’ right arm. Screaming out in pain Johnny felt Cliff twist the knife just before pulling it back out.

Cliff got up and kicked Johnny hard again in his side before he walked over to his horse and took his canteen off the saddle and unscrewing it he took a swig and spit the blood and dirt from his mouth before drawing a long drink. Looking over he seen Madrid roll onto his right side away from him and curl up in a ball. Laughing he put his canteen back and took Johnny’ gun from his were it was draped over his saddle horn. Standing there he watched Madrid struggle.

“ You just don’t know when to die Halfbreed. Most men would be dead or begging to be dead about now.”

Johnny clasped his left hand on the wound trying to stop the flow of blood as he got up to his knees. The cuffs hindered his efforts some. His wrist were swollen and deeply bruised. His face hurt and was swelled up on the left side from the cut and being hit. Blood ran down his cheek and mixed with the blood from his split bottom lip and ran from it down his chin and dripped on down to his chest. Johnny sat back and brought his legs out in front of him and laid his head on his chest as he fought to keep the bile from rising again.

Cliff had seen enough and walked over and took his pistol out and put it behind Johnny’ right ear and cocked it.

“ Get up Madrid……I’ve decided I’m gonna face you…..I’m calling you out Madrid.” Cliff said as he dropped Johnny’ gun in front of him then stepped back.

“ Get up Madrid and face me…….Lets see if you can kill me like you did my little brother you fucking bastard……….GET UP MADRID NOW.”  Cliff yelled as he shot into the ground in front of Johnny.

Johnny didn’t flinch as the bullet spewed dirt up at him. Looking down at his swollen wrist.

Cliff fired another shot into the dirt in front of Johnny.

“ Get up you bastard or so help me I’ll kill you where you are.”

Johnny slowly struggled to his feet and felt a wave of dizziness and closed his eyes trying to will it away. Standing there swallowing hard to keep the bile down Johnny had never wanted to kill someone so bad before as he did this man. Spitting blood from his mouth Madrid turned toward Cliff.

“ Takes these off me and I’ll fight you.”

Cliff stood there looking at him a few seconds before he reached into his pocket and took out the key to the cuffs and tossed it down at his feet next to Johnny’ pistol.

“ Just the right one Madrid.”

Johnny looked at him hard before bending down and picking up the key. Just as he he did Cliff fired another shot causing dirt to fly up into Johnny’ eyes. Ignoring he unlocked only the right one he staggered a little as pain wracked his body.

“ Throw the key back.” Cliff ordered with his pistol cocked and aimed right at Johnny’ head.

Johnny tossed the key back and stood there trying to get his pain under control. Willing Madrid to take over all the way now. Rubbing his wrist and ignoring the pain in his right arm from the knife wound Madrid stood there. “ Live by the gun….Die by the gun.” he said softly.

“ Pick it up and put it on Madrid…….Now.”

Johnny slowly bent down and picked up his gun and put it on. Fastening it around his slender hip Johnny then looked up at Cliff and it was clear now that Madrid was in full control. Steel cold blue eyes stared hard at Cliff as Johnny turned and faced the deputy full on now.

“ Tell your brother Hi when you see him in hell you bastard.” Johnny said coldly.

Cliff holstered his gun and stepped back a few feet.

“ It’s you that’s going to hell Madrid…..I’m gonna do what no one else  has done to you yet Halfbreed…

I’m gonna be known as the man who killed the mighty Johnny Madrid.”

“ I accepted death a long time ago……..So I’m not afraid to die Deputy…….Are you?”

Johnny stood there looking at Cliff using every ounce of energy he had to stay focused on the task at hand and not the pain in his shoulder. He could feel the blood running down his arm and dripping off his fingers  and knew that it would affect his draw speed but he had to put it aside if he was going to stand any chance of killing this man. Always staying on the right side of the law Johnny had never done harm to a lawman before now.

“ At least now when I kill you that Marshal will have a reason to hang me.” he said as his balance wavered some.

Cliff seen him waver and chose then to draw. Clearing leather he fired and knew he hit Madrid but at the same time he felt a sharp pain in his chest and looking down Cliff seen a dark red stain spreading across his chest as he fell to his knees. Cocking his gun again Cliff fell forward dead before he hit the ground never getting his second shot off.

Johnny seen Cliff move and pulled his colt and fired, knowing he hit his mark dead in the chest. Feeling a white hot pain in his right side Johnny knew Cliff’ bullet met his flesh. Standing there he watched as Cliff slowly fell to the ground dead.

Scott heard the shots echo through the canyon and even though it was dangerous to do at night in unfamiliar terrain, he urged his mount on faster. When he heard the next two shots almost as one Scott’ heart stopped. Figuring he was getting closer now Scott slowed his horse down,coming to a wide spot in the canyon Scott could see a man on the ground and the other slowly walking away from the dead man. Scott could tell it was his brother who was still alive and he watched in horror as his little brother collapsed to the ground. Jumping off his horse Scott hurried to his side.

“ Johnny.”

Johnny looked down at Hunter laying there dead at his feet before he slowly turned and started to walk away toward Barranca. Going only a few feet his strength finally gave out and Johnny dropped to his knees as he heard someone call his name. Before he could go all the way to the ground he felt his brothers arms around him.

“ Scott…….”

“ Yeah Johnny…..it’s me little brother…….I got you Johnny.” Scott said as he helped lay Johnny down on the ground.

“ What…….took…………you………so long………brother?”

“ Shhh take it easy Johnny…..I’m gonna take care of you little brother.” Scott said as he took his coat off and put it behind his brothers head. “ I’ll be right back Johnny…I’m……”

“ No Scott……Don’t leave me……Please….I ….I need you…..I need my Hermano.” Johnny suddenly rolled on his left side and no longer able to stop it everything he had in his stomach came rushing up and out. Clinging to Scott’ hand Johnny trembled and shook as the heaving finally started to abate.

“ Lo Siento….Scott……Lo Siento…….Aaah……” Johnny said before crying out in pain as the heaving hurt his already hurt ribs.

“ It’s okay brother……It’s gonna be alright Johnny…….I got you Johnny…….I’m gonna go get my saddlebags so I can treat that wound in your side.”

“ ‘k’” was all Johnny could say before he passed out.

Scott hurried to his horse and grabbed his saddlebags and went to Barranca and grabbed his brothers also.  Grabbing the canteen as well Scott knew he had to hurry to cut down the risk of infection to the wounds. Johnny moaned as Scott cleaned the wounds out as best he could. Once he had the shoulder wound stopped on bleeding Scott set about starting a fire to help see and give his brother warmth his body would need from the blood loss.

“ Little brother……you got serious trouble now…….You’re gonna need a miracle Johnny to get out of this murder charge.” Scott said as he glanced over at the dead deputy Marshals body.

.

Just as the sun started to break on the horizon Scott was awakened by his brother tossing and turning from a dream. Moving over next to him Scott could tell what his brother was dreaming about. Even though some of it was in Spanish Scott’ heart broke at what he was hearing.

“ Lo Siento, mama…por favor, no megolpearon por favor… no quiero hacerlo…por favor no me hagas esto mama.” ( I’m sorry mamma…please don’t beat me please…I don’t want to do it please…don’t make me do this momma.)

“ No, no esmi padre…me dejes solo que cochino…mama detenerlo…no dejes que me hagas esto por favor.” ( No you’re not my father…;eave me alone you filthy pig…momma stop him…don’t let him do this to me please.)

“ No yo no soy una puta…por favor mama me duele hacer que deje por favor.” ( No I’m not a whore…momma please it hurts make him stop.)

Johnny was starting to toss around more as Scott took a gentle hold of his left shoulder and tried to wake him up. Johnny screamed out and shoved Scott so hard he fell backwards.

“ Take it easy Johnny………Johnny look at me….It’s Scott Johnny…your brother……you’re safe….open your eyes for me Johnny.”

Johnny felt someone touching him so with all he could he lashed out and connected fully with Scott’ jaw.

“ Damn it Johnny…OPEN your eyes.” Scott ordered as he slapped his brother hard across the cheek.

That did it…Johnny’ eyes shot open and he stared at his brother not saying anything as he tried to get his breathing under control.

“ It’s alright Johnny……..I got you……Your mother and whoever the man was can’t hurt you any more.”

“ Scott……”

“ Yeah brother it’s me.”

Johnny realized his brother was talking about what he never wanted another person to know happened to him. Shame griped him hard as he tried to sit up.

“ Easy Johnny……The bullet went clean through your side and I got it and your arm stitched up.”

“Water.” Johnny asked as he tried to find a position that didn’t hurt as Scott got the canteen.

“ Just a small amount brother…….I don’t want you throwing up again and tearing them stitches out.

Still feeling shame Johnny couldn’t look his brother in the eyes as he took a drink. The water was cool and felt good as it ran down his parched dry throat.

“ So much for getting a good fuck tonight.” Johnny said with a slight smile.

“ You do have an uncanny way of putting things little brother……and I must say…A colorful way with the English language.”

“ Yeah well……..I didn’t go ta no fancy school brother so what ya see is what ya get.”

“ Yeah………well in that case since I finally get to be a big brother I guess I’ll just have to keep ya around and teach you.”

Johnny laughed a little and immediately regretted it as pain shot through his ribs.

“ Yeah well didn’t they teach you brother back at that big fancy school that ya can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

“ You’re not old brother and yes I have heard that phrase a time or two back in Boston.”

Johnny looked at his brother this time. “ I’m old Scott…….for a gunfighter to have lived as long as I have………I’m old…………..You know Scott…..I’m gonna hang for sure now ain’t no way out of this one.”

Scott was shocked at his brother saying he was old, hell he was all of nineteen, still just a kid but Scott knew from what he read in the Pinkerton report that Johnny aged ten years when he put on a gun and killed his first man at age of twelve.

“ Scott……you still with me?………..How’d you know I was gone?”

“ Yeah Johnny….I’m with you………The livery owner was the one who told me what happened when I went to the bar to get a drink and wait for you.”

“ Yeah a few people seen him walk me out of town with the cuffs on.” Johnny said as he sat up more. “ Listen Scott…….I want you to leave me and go back to Lancer…….Go back and be with the old man…..He deserves to have one son with him on the ranch……..A son who isn’t a disgrace to him and the Lancer name.”

Scott stood up and walked over and poured a cup of coffee. “ Sorry brother but I’m afraid you’re stuck with me no matter what happens I’m with you little brother till this is over.” he said as he walked back over and handed Johnny a plate of food. “ Try to eat some of this……you need to get your strength back.”

“ You’re a fool Boston.”

“ Yeah…..well that comes with the job of being a big brother.” Scott said with a grin. “ Besides you need someone to watch your back and take care of you brother. And I know you’ve been taking care of yourself for a long time……Now you have someone to help you.”

Johnny smiled a little as he tried to eat some of the beans Scott gave him.

“ Thanks brother.” he said as his voice cracked.

Scott looked at his little brother and smiled. “ Eat some of that and get some rest.” he said but Scott could see that his brother was already falling asleep. Walking over he took the plate of beans away and pulled the blanket over his brother after checking the wound. Johnny shouldn’t ride for at least a week  but he also knew that they had a dead Deputy Marshal and would need to get away as soon as Johnny was strong enough to ride.

.

Chapter 19

Murdoch Lancer stood in the shade atop the hill looking down at the two fields being readied for planting in the spring. One would grow wheat and the other alfalfa for the stock on the ranch. Remembering back to what his youngest son had said, the man still couldn’t believe he had missed such an outgoing expense like he had, especially since he always took adamant care in the balancing of his book. Standing there he couldn’t help but wonder where his two son’s were at. Had Johnny been caught by the Marshal? Did Scott catch up to his brother? But most importantly Murdoch wondered if his two son’s were even still alive. Four weeks his boys have been gone, four weeks of not knowing or able to sleep well at night. The day his youngest son had come home to Lancer and Murdoch walked into his study to find his son pointing a gun at him, he had  had mixed emotions for the ‘ boy ‘ even when his youngest was fighting for every breath of life after being shot. Then his oldest son shows up a total surprise and with neither boy knowing about the others existence Murdoch was surprised the two had become close like brothers should. He couldn’t help but wonder standing there if he would ever get the chance to be a father to either boy, could his youngest ever trust him and say one day love and let his father love him like his son so badly needed?

After his son’s and the Marshal had left Murdoch sent a telegram to a friend he knew was still the sheriff in Leeds, Utah asking for word if and when his son’s arrived in his town. Knowing that Grafton, Utah was no longer a town thanks to the Paiute Indians Murdoch knew the Leeds would be the closest town to hold a trial. His friend had answered back telling him he would send word just as soon as he knew anything on either boy. Murdoch sighed as he looked toward the setting sun and decided to head back to the ranch for another evening of loneliness and heartache. Loneliness and heartache that would only disappear  when both his son’s came home to Lancer.

For three days Scott stayed by his fevered brothers side nursing him as best he could. A stream close by helped as he desperately tried to keep his brothers body cool. For three days Johnny was delirious and said things in his fevered state that made Scott boil with anger. Some of the things Johnny said was in Spanish but Scott could tell it was his mother Johnny was begging too. On the fourth day about mid morning Johnny’ fever broke and he opened his eyes. Scott was just coming back from getting more water when he seen his brother trying to sit up. Hurrying to his side Scott quickly put his hands behind his brothers back.

“ Easy Johnny…….you got stitches in you brother and I don’t really care to have to sew you up again.”

Johnny smiled slightly as he tried to clear his parched dry throat.

“ Water” he asked barely above a whisper.

Scott reached for the canteen and took the cap off. Helping Johnny to sit up more he brought the cool liquid to his brothers dry lips.

“ Easy….not to much at once brother….I don’t want you throwing up and pulling those stitches out of your side.”

Johnny enjoyed the feeling of the cool water as it ran down his dry throat. Hating when Scott pulled the canteen away Johnny tried to pull it back.

“ More…..Please.” Johnny said as he looked up at his brother through pale blue eyes.

Scott let Johnny drink a little more water before helping his brother to lay back again.

“ You’ve been pretty feverish the last three days brother……A couple times I was scared you wasn’t going to make it.”

Johnny looked over at his brother who was pouring water into a pot on the fire.

“ Scared…..why?”

“ Why……..because little brother I just got you and I don’t want to lose you……..besides that’s what big brothers do, they worry about little brothers.” Scott said as he went about cutting up some rabbit  he had caught in a snare trap that morning.

“ I’m not worth it Boston……You should have let me die cause they’re just gonna hang me for killing that deputy.”

Scott threw the rabbit into the pot sloshing water over the sides into the fire and stood up angry.

“ I don’t even want to hear you say that again Johnny……..YOU are not worthless…..YOU are my brother and I……..”

“ You what Boston…….you want to hang with me cause last time I checked big brother the law hangs a man for killing a lawman.”

“ Damn it Johnny……….I would give my life for you…….do you understand me?……..You had no choice but to kill that……..that….”

“ Piece of shit.”

“ Yeah that piece of shit deputy…….He had no intention of taking you back alive and he used the law and a badge to try and avenge his brothers death……..A death his brother chose when he called you out that day in Cordova……..So little brother you better get used to me being with you because I think it’s high time you had someone to watch your back and that is what I fully intend on doing.” Scott stated firmly as he walked over and knelt down next to his brother. Putting his hand on Johnny’ forehead.

“ Your fever is down quit a bit……Why don’t you rest some and I’ll wake you when the rabbit stew is done so you can have some broth.”

Johnny smiled at his brother. “ You’re worse than an old mother hen Boston…….and a real pain in the ass…..but……..I guess if I’m gonna have someone watching my back……..I’m glad it’s you……..Thanks Scott.”

Scott smiled back at Johnny and gave his left shoulder a slight squeeze. “ I guess like you have to get used to and accept me watching your back……..I’m gonna have to accept you calling me Boston huh?”

“ Yeah….Bost…..” Johnny said as he drifted off to sleep again.

Two days later Johnny was up and moving around better. His fever had stayed away the last day and he was starting to get restless.

“ We need to get moving again Scott…….If we push it we can make Pioche and sleep in a real bed and I won’t have to eat anymore of your so called rabbit stew.” he stated with a grin as he walked past his brother to his beloved Palomino. “ Hey boy….I hope you’ve been a good boy for my eastern tenderfoot brother.” Johnny said as he rubbed the stallions face and scratched behind his left ear. Barranca put his head on Johnny’ left shoulder drawing him into his chest.

Scott walked over and smiled at the love his brother and horse shared. “ You know little brother….I don’t think I have ever seen a horse love someone the way Barranca clearly loves you.”

Johnny reached around Barranca’ neck with his left arm and hugged him back before stepping away.

“ Yeah……he trust me and I trust him….don’t ya boy?” Johnny said rubbing the stallions face.

Scott stepped closer and reached to pat the horse and Barranca turned his head and barely missed biting Scott’ arm. “ Yeah well I guess now that you’re better he don’t want me touching him.”

“ Thanks for taking care of him for me Scott…..an’ me too.” Johnny said as he turned and walked back to the fire. “ We should leave out at first light.”

“ Johnny…….I don’t think you’re strong enough to ride yet brother…….you should rest a couple more days……That fever took a lot out of you not to mention the blood you lost.”

“ I’m fine Boston…….I need to get there and get this over with because ‘WE’ need to get back over the Sierra’s before the snow falls.” Johnny said as he sat down and took his gun out to clean. Glancing up at his brother when he walked by and sat across from him. “ Look……….I’m not real good at this brother stuff Scott…….most of my life I have been alone and taken care of myself……I don’t mean no disrespect brother but…….”

“ But you can take care of yourself right?”

“ Yeah Boston….I can and have been since I was twelve.”

“ Okay brother…..then let me ask you this………..what did you do when you got a fever from a bullet or beating?”

Johnny looked up and stared hard at Scott. “ Nobody…….I would dig the bullet out myself and cleaned my own wounds.”

“ Not those on your back brother…….those are from a strop or whip and your not going to tell me you took care of those by your self Johnny………I’m not the fool you think I am little brother.”

Johnny finished cleaning his pistol and put it away. Pouring a cup of coffee he sat back and stared at his brother across the fire.

“ Boy Boston…….you sure are full of yourself……Tell me somethin’……..they teach you all that fancy knowledge and such at that fancy college you went to……Harvard was it?”

“ What’s that got to do with what we are talking about Johnny…….I don’t…”

“ Hell……you can’t even answer me without going into some logical explanation or something……I bet the ladies back there in Boston found you a real bore brother.”

“ I had no problem with the ladies Johnny…….At least I can say the women I’ve been with was ladies.” Scott said and hated it as soon as the words left his mouth. “ Johnny……..I’m……”

“ What………forget it Boston……You grew up not wanting for a damn thing……..Fancy clothes and women to woo where me……….I grew up with a whore for a momma and whores to fuck………..I ain’t never had me a real lady to fuck before so I guess if that makes me less of a man than you Scott than so be it because I’ll tell ya………I’ve seen a few real ladies and from what I have seen a man would lose interest in fucking her by the time she got all them clothes and such they have on off.”

Scott threw his head back and laughed. “ Now just how is it you know what a lady wears under her dress?”

“ I told ya………..I seen me a real lady once…….And my momma told me about them once also before she………..”

“ Before she what Johnny?”

“ Nothing Scott……..Forget it.”

“ Johnny…..”

“ I said forget it Boston……..I don’t want to talk about it any more.”

“ Johnny I didn’t………”

“ Damn it Scott……Drop it.” Johnny yelled before getting up and storming off to the brush.

Marshal Jim Burke  and Deputy Jake Carter rode into Pioche just as the sun was setting. After seeing that their horses were taken care of the men walked over to the hotel.

“ Even gents……Uh Marshal…..What can I do for ya?” the clerk asked.

“ Need two rooms for the night.”

“ Sorry Marshal but I only got one room left but it has two beds in it……..if’n you and your deputy don’t mind sharin.”

“ That alright with you Jake?”

“ As long as the beds soft Jim I don’t care.”

“ The law gets half price Marshal so it’ll be two dollars for the room…..the dinner is open till nine across the way or you can get a steak at the saloon down the street.”

“ How about a hot bath?” Jake asked.

“ Bathhouse two doors down deputy…….real nice place…….room four top of the stairs Marshal.”

“ Thanks…….Uh have two younger fellows come in here in the last day or so……..One tall blonde…..the other a half Mex with blue eyes?” Burke asked as he took the key.

“ No Marshal……..nobody fittin that description has come in here…….You a huntin them men Marshal?”

“ Just the Mex.”

“ Blue eyes then he must be a half breed……….What ya want him for?……..If ya don’t mind my askin?”

“ Murder.” Burke said as he turned to head up the stairs.

“ And assault.” Jake added.

The clerk took the money and put it away and took notice of the two men’  names in the ledger as they went up stairs. “ Uh hey Marshal………..Whats this halfbreed’ name?”

“ Madrid…..Johnny Madrid.”

The clerk tried to swallow the lump that came to his throat. He had heard of Johnny Madrid but all the stories he heard Madrid was down on the border……..not up here in Nevada. If Madrid was this far away from the border then he was running from the law or a possible job brought him to the area. The clerk had heard enough to know that Madrid’ gun didn’t come cheap…..He had also heard that Madrid never killed a man in cold blood……That he always tried to talk a man out of it when called out so hearing the Marshal say he was wanted for murder just didn’t make any sense but then again……a man especially a gunfighter could change and become a cold blooded killer.

“ You think Madrid will stop here Jim?……I mean we don’t even know if he came this way.”

“ He’s coming this way…..One thing I’ve learned about Madrid Jake…….he may be a killer but from what I have found out about him…..lying is one thing he don’t do.” Burk said as he threw his saddle bags on the bed. “ Whats say we go get a hot bath and a good meal.” Burke stated.

“ What if Madrid rides in while we’re in the bath?”

“ Madrid likes whores…….whores and helping the little guy are his two weaknesses if he comes into town tonight we’ll hear about it and we can take him and his brother.”

“ Brother…..you think his brother is with him?”

“ I’d bet my badge on it Jake……Scott Lancer is with him and he will be under arrest also for helping his brother escape custody.”

“ So you think it was him that put that gun in the outhouse?”

“ I know it was….Madrid could have killed me….why he didn’t is beyond me but it don’t change the fact that he’s wanted for murder and I will bring him to Leeds to stand trial for that murder and if he tries to get away again I will kill him….He’s not gonna make a fool of me again.”

Johnny and Scott left out at first light. Scott watched his brother closely to see if he was ready for this ride. Late that afternoon Scott noticed Barranca was slowing his pace. Looking at his brother Scott reined his horse to a stop.

“ Johnny we’ve been pushing it pretty hard….I think we should give the horses a rest and pitch camp here for the night.”

Johnny stopped Barranca and looked at his brother. His right side was hurting as was his arm.

“ The horses are okay……we need to keep going.”

“ Johnny….” Scott dismounted. “ Brother you need to rest……I can tell from looking at you that you’re hurting.”

“ I’m fine Scott…If we keep going we can make it into Pioche by midnight.” Johnny stated as he took a swig of water.

“ You really are one stubborn fool brother.”

“ Yeah well……I’ve been called worse Boston…Let’s go.”

Scott stood there a minute as he watched his brother ride off. Remounting his horse Scott shook his head. The life his brother has had Scott could understand why he was being stubborn but what he couldn’t understand and doubted he ever would was why his brother was being so reckless with himself? Why was his brother not really caring about his health or the fact that he now had someone to look out for him and people who did want to care about him.

About midnight Scott and Johnny rode into Pioche. At the livery Scott dismounted went and helped his brother dismount.

“ You stay here Johnny….I’ll take care of the horses.” Scott said as he took the saddle bags off and sat them on the ground.

Johnny removed his rifle and leaned back against the fence as Scott led the horses inside the barn. Ten minutes later Scott came out.

“ Lets get you into a bed brother.” he said as he picked up the saddle bags.

Twenty minutes later both boys was in a room. Scott helped Johnny into bed and pulled his boots off. After helping Johnny remove his coat  Scott noticed the wound in Johnny’ arm was the one bleeding.

“ I need you to take your shirt off Johnny….I need to check your wounds brother.”

Johnny just laid there exhausted. He mumbled something Scott couldn’t understand as he reached up to try and unbutton his shirt.

“ Just lay there brother I’ll do it.” Scott said as he pulled Johnny’ shirt tail out of his pants as gentle as he could. When he got the shirt undone what he found he didn’t like. Johnny’ arm wound was bleeding and had been for a while. The stitches had been pulled out at the top of the wound and it was infected.

“ Johnny you need a doctor to tend this wound…It’s infected again and you didn’t tell me it was bleeding damn it.”

“ I’m okay Boston.”

“ Like hell you are….I’m gonna go see if they have a doctor in this town….I’ll be back…..you stay put.” Scott ordered as he covered his brother up. Standing up he went to the door and opened it. “ I’m gonna lock this door Johnny…I’ll knock when I get back so don’t go passing out on me.”

Marshal Burke and his Deputy walked out of the saloon and Burke put out a hand to stop Jake.

“ Well well well…….I told you Madrid would come here…….That there is his brother.” Burke stated as he pointed to Scott heading back to the hotel they was staying at with the doctor. Leaving the saloon Burk and Carter followed Scot,once inside the lobby Burke called out.

“ Lancer…….Don’t do nothing stupid or I’ll put a bullet in you.” he stated as he stepped to the stairs. “ Wheres Madrid?”

Scott froze and turned to face the Marshal. “ He’s upstairs Marshal…..He’s been hurt and I went to get the doctor here to help him.”

“ Hurt huh……take that gun out of the holster real easy like and toss it down here.”

Scott did as he was told. “ Look Marshal all I care about right now is getting my brother some medical help.”

“ Yeah well you just lead the way to your room….and don’t even think of tipping him off….Move.”

Scott led the way and stopped outside their room. Knocking on the door. “ Johnny it’s me….I have the doctor with me.”

Scott stood there a minute before he heard his brother get up and unlock the door. When the door opened a little the Marshal pushed Scott out of the way and shoved the door open hard. The force of the door sent Johnny back causing him to fall hard on the floor.

“ Go ahead Madrid…..try it and I’ll blow you away.” Burke said as he hurried in and grabbed Johnny’ gun from him. Tossing it to Jake Burke grabbed Johnny and flipped him over onto his stomach and took his cuffs out.

“ Marshal don’t……I told you he’s been hurt.” Scott stated firmly as he went to his brothers side. “ He’s not going to do anything….let the doctor take care of him please.”

Marshal Burke ignored what Scott was saying and jerked Johnny’ right arm back behind him causing Johnny to call out from the pain it caused in both his arm and side.

“ Marshal please…..you’re gonna rip the stitches out.”

“ I don’t give a damn what you say Lancer……Madrid here isn’t getting a chance to pull another stunt on me like he did.” Burke stated flatly as he cuffed Johnny’ hands behind his back. Standing up he grabbed Johnny by his left arm and yanked. “ Get up Madrid.”

Johnny got to his knees and with Scott’ help was able to stand. The doctor noticed the blood on his right arm and set his bag down.

“ Marshal this young man needs my attention…..would you mind if I take a look at that arm?”

Burke looked from Madrid to the doctor. “ No doc….you go right ahead….you try anything Madrid and well…….”

“ Sit down on the bed young man and let me look at that arm.”

Johnny stepped over to the bed and sat down with Scott’ help.

“ Marshal these cuffs need to come off……he’s not going anywhere and having his hands behind him like this is only hurting that arm more.”

The Marshal pulled his gun out and aimed it at Johnny. “ Jake go ahead a undo the cuff on his right wrist.” he said as he handed the keys to his deputy.

An hour later Scott thanked and paid the doctor and sat in a chair next to his brother watching him sleep. The doctor gave him Laudanum so he could clean and restitch the wound.

“ Tell me something Lancer…..Why does is your brother the way he is?…..I mean…I’ve met and delt with plenty of gunfighters in my days….but non like him.”

“ Because Marshal…..even though I haven’t known my little brother very long…one thing I did learn from reading the Pinkerton report on him……Johnny cares……He has a soft spot for doing what he feels is the right thing to do and tries to help the little man out the best he can….He’s compassionate Marshal

he may have hired his gun out and killed men but one thing my brother is not……..is a cold blooded killer.”

“ So what now Jim…….doc said he needs a day of rest before riding out.”

“ I guess we can let Madrid rest a day…..The horses could use it anyway.”

The next morning Johnny started to stir about mid morning and Scott who had watched over him most of the night helped his brother to sit up so he could get a drink of water. Johnny looked at it suspiciously.

“ It’s just water brother.”

“ Glad to see you awake Madrid.” Jake said.

Johnny looked from his brother to the Marshal back to Scott. “ Thanks Boston.” he said as he swung his legs over the bed. “ Mind if I take a piss Marshal…..or are you gonna shoot me?”

“ No….I don’t mind…..There’ a chamber pot under the bed.”

Scott got it out for him and helped Johnny stand up, his brother was still a little woozy from the Laudanum.

“ I got it.”

The three men turned their backs so Johnny had some privacy. When he was done he stepped over to the table and sat down. “ Don’t suppose I could get something to eat could I Marshal….I mean my brother here makes what he claims is rabbit stew and does a lousy job of that and I’d kinda like some real food in my stomach.”

“ Yeah you can eat Madrid…..We’ll all go down to the diner and eat and Madrid……”

“ I know Marshal so you don’t have to say it.”

Scott helped Johnny get a clean shirt and his boots on. Thirty minutes later the four men sat at a table in a corner waiting on their food.

“ Who did that to you Johnny?” the deputy asked.

Johnny looked from Scott to the Marshal then at the deputy. “ Your other deputy Cliff.”

“ Cliff?”

“ Yeah Marshal…he caught me in Tonopah and took me to Cougar Canyon and while I was handcuffed he beat me and stuck his knife in my arm…….said he now had a chance to kill me and……”

“ Why’d he want to kill you Madrid?” Burke asked as he leaned forward.

“ Because Marshal…..Two years ago his little brother called me out in Cordova and I killed him…..Plenty of witnesses seen it including the local law down there…….I killed him in self defense and tried to talk him out of it…….but like all the men who have called Johnny Madrid out…….He wanted the reputation of killing me.”

“ So Cliff wanted revenge against you for killing his little brother?”

“ Yeah.”

“ So what happened?”

“ So after your deputy beat me he gave me my gun and called me out……..I killed your deputy Marshal….so now you have a reason……a real reason to take me to Grafton to hang.”

The Marshal looked at his deputy as he reached for his coffee. After taking a sip and setting it back on the saucer he leaned back in his chair.

“ Grafton……..what gave you the idea I was taking you back to Grafton?”

“ Because Marshal that is where you said my brother committed murder.” Scott said somewhat forcefully.

“ No…….I never said I was taking him back to Grafton…….Madrid is going to Leeds to stand trial………..Grafton was attacked by Paiute Indians in sixty six and is all but a ghost town now. Leeds is a good sized town and has a sheriff and a good strong jail I can keep you in……..You Lancer should consider yourself lucky……..I know it was you that put his gun in the outhouse that night and helped him escape……..I just can’t prove it….If I tried real hard I could easily get you sentenced to five years for that.”

Johnny sat and listened to the Marshal.

After breakfast the four men where headed back to the room when they all heard what Johnny hated to hear.

“ MADRID ”

Johnny stopped and slowly turned around as did his his brother, the Marshal and deputy.

“I heard you was kilt down in Mexico…….That the Rurales got you.”

“ Guess you heard wrong Colter.”

“ Jure que te mataria la proxima vez que te vi….Supongo que Madrid hoy es mi dia de suerte. ( I swore I would kill you next time I saw you Madrid…..Guess today is my lucky day.)

“ Eso va a ser dificil para usted hacer es como que estoy aqui con un Marsical y su adjunto….Asi que a menos que quieras la reputacion de mator….me enfrente sin armas de la ley y  luego seguir adelante.”

(That’s gonna be hard for you to do seein’s how I’m here with a Marshal and his deputy….So unless you want the reputation of killing me….unarmed in front of the law then go ahead.)

“ Hold it……I don’t know who you are mister but Madrid here is my prisoner and I’m not gonna let you gun down an unarmed man so I suggest you back down now and go on about your business while your still breathing.”

“ I can’t do that Marshal……..That Perra ( bitch ) cost me three years in jail and he’s gonna die for it.”

“ Three years for what……What did you do three years for?’ Burke asked as he stepped in front of Johnny.

“ He held up a stage I was on and shot the driver. Your lucky the man lived and they only gave you three years for a first offense Colter.” Johnny said with a slight grin.

Before anyone knew what was happening the man Colter drew and Marshal Burke drew and killed him.

Johnny never flinched, he seen the tall tale sign many times before in the mans eyes and knew he was going to draw. Seeing the Marshal’ speed Johnny couldn’t help but wonder if it came right down to it and they faced off, which one of them would walk away alive.

“ Jake take Madrid and his brother back up to the room…….I’ll take care of this mess.”

“ Sure thing Jim….Let’s go Madrid…Lancer.”

“ Marshal….. if you had let him kill me then your troubles would be over.”

“ Madrid……I want a court of law to kill you…….not some disgruntled ex con.”

“ Yeah well……Thanks……. that’s the first time I ever had the law stand up for me.”

“ You’re welcome Madrid….Go get some rest cause we leave for Leeds at dawn.”

Johnny and Scott walked ahead of the deputy up the stairs back to the room.

.

Chapter 20

At dawn the next morning Johnny was mounted on Barranca and the Marshal had his hands cuffed in front of him. Scott was mounted and took the pack horses lead that the Marshal had gotten the afternoon before. Mounting up the Marshal took Johnny’s  horse’s  reins and started out. Shop owners who woke early to get ready for the day’s business looked on as the four men rode past and out of town. Some having heard about Madrid the day before had woke just to see with their own eyes that the gunfighter was in fact in their town and more importantly under arrest.

Johnny could here some whispered talk as they rode past. When Barranca stopped Johnny looked ahead and seen that the doctor was standing in the road.

“ Marshal…….I want to give you these things for Madrid’s wounds……It’s fresh bandages and a salve for that cut on his face….The sun can cause that cut to get to dry and not heal proper.” the old doctor stated as he handed the small bag to Scott.

“ Much obliged doc. I’m grateful to you for helping my brother out….I’m just sorry you had to do it in the middle of the night like that.” Scott said as he took the bag and tied it to his saddle horn.

“ Lets go.” Burke said as he spurred his horse forward.

Johnny looked down at the doc as Barranca walked past. With a slight smile he said. “ Thanks.” soft enough that only the doctor heard him.

Early afternoon Scott noticed Johnny was slumping forward in his saddle some. Slowing his horse till Barranca was next to him.

“ Johnny……” he said putting a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “ Johnny….you all right?”

Johnny sat up more in the saddle and looked at Scott.

“ Yeah….all things considered I am!”

“ Marshal……my brother needs to rest!” Scott somewhat ordered.

The Marshal stopped and turned his horse to look at his prisoner.

“ What’s the matter Madrid…..you getting soft?”

“ Marshal……My bro…….”

“ No I’m not Marshal….Boston I’m fine……Let it be.”

“ The hell I will…….You need to rest Johnny.” Scott said as he got off his horse and walked around to help Johnny down. Hearing the unmistakable click of a pistol being cocked both Johnny and Scott turned to the Marshal.

“ Let him be……We keep moving…….I’m not putting up with these delays from you any more Madrid.”

The Marshal said as he turned his horse back around and started out again.

“ If my brother dies Marshal……I’m gonna personally see to it that you lose your badge.” Scott stated firmly as he went back to his horse and remounted.

.

 Catching up to his brother Scott kept a close watch on him. Taking the salve out of the bag that the doctor gave him Scott opened it and put some on his finger tips and as careful as he could he reached over and put some on the cut on Johnny’s cheek.

“ Thanks……Look Scott I’m sorry I got you in this mess…….You should have left me to die back at Cougar Canyon like I told ya ta do.”

“ I’m not going to have this conversation with you again little brother……….I told you that I wasn’t going to leave you……That I was going to help you know matter what and I meant it so you might as well forget about me leaving you……..Both of us are going to ride back to Lancer together understand?”

“ Yeah okay Boston.”

“ Hey Madrid I been meaning ta ask you…….How come you call him Boston?”

Johnny looked at his brother and smiled. “ Are you really that dumb Marshal or are you just playing dumb asking me that?”

Burke yanked his horse to a stop and spun his horse around causing Barranca to stumble. Johnny almost went down over his horse’s neck but Scott grabbed him. Burke moved his horse back next to Johnny and grabbed him by the left arm. Barranca sensing trouble for his master lashed out and bit the Marshal hard on his left thigh. Screaming out from the pain the Marshal hit Barranca hard in the face with his fist causing the stallion to become even angrier.

“ Barranca no.” Johnny yelled as the Marshal again hit his horse. “ Marshal don’t hit him……you’re only making him angrier!”

The Marshal took out his gun and was going to shoot Barranca when Johnny kicked his horse hard in the sides making him leap forward away from the Marshal.

“ Jim don’t.” Carter said loudly.

Barranca stopped when Johnny told him to about twenty feet from the Marshal. Scott was at his brother’s side to help him down. Johnny immediately went to Barranca’s head and started soothing the horse as he rubbed his face.  Looking at the Marshal who was holding his leg Johnny stated.

“ He’s been abused Marshal……..I rescued him from a man who mistreated him badly……Don’t you ever hit him again because if you do……I’ll kill you.”

Scott swallowed hard at what he was hearing his brother say. “ Johnny don’t!” Scott said angrily as he grabbed his brother and spun him around. “ What the hell’s the matter with you Johnny…….You just threatened to kill a United States Marshal…..and for what…….a horse…….Jesus Johnny.” Scott ran a hand over his face. “ You need to think before you speak sometimes little brother because one of these times…..”

Johnny jerked out of Scott’s grip. “ Don’t  tell me what to do Boston……I have put up with men like him abusing me all my life…..and that’s fine…….But any man ever lays an abusive hand on my horse or any other animal around me and I will kill them…….You have no idea what it’s like to be beaten and kicked around and starved because you grew up in that big fancy house of your Grandfather’s back east…….You…..” Johnny shoved at Scott. “ None of you know what it’s like to go to bed hurting so goddamn bad from the welts on your back……You don’t know what it’s like to go to bed night after night with a pain in your gut because you haven’t ate anything for several days…..” Johnny was getting angrier now and Madrid had clearly taken over. “ Think before I speak Boston……..Fuck you……..I’ve been thinking and taking care of myself since I was twelve……You Mr. high and mighty rich boy…You never did a day’s hard work in your life till you came out here to Lancer……You and your fancy education……You know what Scott……I don’t need you.” Johnny swung both fists and caught his brother hard on his jaw and sent him sprawling backwards to the ground hard. “I can take care of  myself so just stay the fuck out of my life.”

Burke grabbed his deputy’s  arm to stop him when Jake went to stop Madrid. “ Let them go.”

Scott had had enough of his brother’s ranting. Getting up Scott swung and hit Johnny hard knocking him down. Grabbing his brother and pulling him back up Scott hit him again. “ You think I had it easy…You think I don’t know what it’s like to be hungry or beaten little brother……I was a prisoner for one year in Libby Prison.” Scott said harshly as he grabbed Johnny up again and forcefully held him by his arms so he couldn’t move. He didn’t care right now if he was hurting him or not, enough was enough and Johnny had pushed him to the last straw. “ You had it rough as a kid and I would give anything to take what was done to you away Johnny………But I can’t…..Nobody can……..It’s in the past…I know what it’s like to be starved and beaten because I was done both in that hell hole……I watched men I fought beside go crazy…starve to death…….or kill themselves because they couldn’t take the abuse any more so they did the only thing they knew would bring them peace. I’d wake up in the morning and find they had hung themselves during the night……Maybe my abuse only lasted a year Johnny compared to yours lasting most of your life but don’t you ever….ever say I don’t know Brother because I do know more than you think……I too have scars Johnny…..and nightmares……I still see the faces of the men I knew that died in that prison.” Scott was so angry now at his brother he pulled him up so Johnny was mere inches from his face. “ You don’t need me……You want me to stay out of your life…..Fuck you Johnny……I’m your brother and like it or not that’s something that neither of us can do a damn thing about so I believe the colorful phrase you like to use so much is…..fuck you…..well little brother…..Fuck You.” Scott said before shoving Johnny backwards into the rocks. Grabbing his canteen Scott took his horse and walked over to some shade and sat down. He had never lost his temper like that to anyone and to do that to his brother just now had him hurting inside.

Jake went over and helped Johnny up. “ You okay Madrid?” he asked sincerely.

Johnny just looked at his brother as he walked away. He knew deep inside he had crossed the line saying what he did to Scott but Madrid had taken over and he just couldn’t let the pent up anger he had been holding inside for so long stop.

“ Yeah……I’m okay…….Look……I’m sorry Marshal…..Deputy……My brother’s right I…..”

“ Forget it Madrid….We’ve all been under a lot of stress these past few weeks…..That damn horse of yours sure is protective of you that’s for sure.” Burke said as he rubbed his left thigh.

“ Yeah he is……….I’m sorry he bit your leg…….Is it okay?” Johnny asked as he walked over to the Marshal but continued to look at his brother.

“ Johnny……give him some time and you two will be back to being brothers again.”

“ Yeah….We didn’t know about each other till a few months ago…….He grew up in Boston is why I call him that Marshal……I was out of line earlier saying what I did to you and I am sorry about that.”

Scott sat in the shade and listened to his brother apologize to the Marshal. Shaking his head he still couldn’t believe he had just treated his brother the way he did…..So desperately wanting to know his younger brother and about his past, especially the nightmare that kept plaguing  his brother Scott knew that he had just damaged the relationship they had been building. Leaning back against the rocks Scott took his hat off and wiped the sweat from his brow and neck. Walking over he loosened the cinch on his horse to allow the animal a breather before taking the bag the doctor gave him and walking over to his brother.

“ Your wounds need checked and the bandage changed on your arm Johnny.” Scott said solemnly as he set the bag down on a rock next to where Johnny was standing. “ Is that all right with you Marshal?”

“ That’s fine Lancer….Maybe I’ll put some of that salve on my leg!”

Scott walked over and handed the salve to the Marshal. “ I’m sorry about earlier Marshal…..Me and my brother haven’t known each other all that long and well….I guess you could say we just had our first fight.”

“ Yeah I think it’s safe to say that……..Listen Scott don’t beat yourself up over this….Madrid says he’s innocent of this murder charge and can prove it……I got a feeling you know how he’s gonna do that but I know you won’t say…….least wise not yet…..What I’m tryin to say Scott is…….when the two of you ride back home to Lancer get to know each other….If it takes a knock down fight to get the past flowing from him.” Burke said as he hooked a thumb toward Johnny. “ Then do it….Just make sure it’s in an area the two of you don’t get hurt in from rocks and such…..I got a feeling that you was real close to getting him to open up more when you walked away……..Something is bothering your brother and it’s something from his past from when he was growing up.”

“ Yeah I think so to Marshal…I think I know what it is but…….”

“ I know from the dream he had last night……I know Spanish and what Madrid was saying made me madder than hell for something like that to be done to a boy.”

“ What Marshal?……What is it Johnny says in Spanish?”

“ Sorry Scott…….. but like you I’m not gonna betray him telling you that…..But I will tell you this much Scott……If he does tell you….You’re gonna have to be ready to be a brother in a way you never imagined being.” Burke said before walking away and leaving Scott standing there wondering about what he just said.

Johnny stood up when Scott walked over to him. “ I’m fine Brother.”

“ Johnny I’m sorry for the way I just treated you…I’m…”

“ Save it Boston…..cause when this is over you and me are gonna settle this and my hands won’t be cuffed and I won’t be nursing no wounds……..I’m gonna flat kick your sorry ass brother.”

“ Fine Johnny…..If that’s what you want to do but until then sit your ass down and let me change the bandage on your arm……Now.”

Johnny stared hard at his brother and knew he’d met his match with him when it came to tempers.

“ Fine.” Johnny said as he sat down and let Scott take care of his arm. Johnny had a slight cut on his upper lip and a black eye starting from were he had hit him.

Hell Scott knew  his jaw was going to be bruised good by morning. His little brother packed a pretty powerful punch that Scott was sure of.

Later that evening the Marshal stopped to camp for the night next to a stream. Getting off his horse he handed the keys to the cuffs to Scott. “ Take the cuffs off your brother so he can take care of business if he needs to Lancer…..Jake you go with him if he needs to piss.”

Scott dismounted and went over and took the cuffs off Johnny’s wrists. “ I’m sorry I hit you Johnny.” Scott said in earnest as he saw the deep bruise on his brother’s face. “ I really am…….I’ve never lost my temper like that before Johnny…..I’ve never lashed out at someone before like that and……” Scott looked away for a second and took in a deep breath. “ Johnny I couldn’t talk to my Grandfather about Libby or anything else really for that matter…….Unless it had to do with social standings….I’d like to talk to you though……That is if you can ever forgive me and trust me again.”

“ Trust you Scott…….Trust like respect has to be earned with me brother and I reckon I had that coming to me…….We are gonna get some things settled though before we get back to Lancer …..That I promise you.” Johnny said before heading toward  the brush with Jake following behind a few feet.

That night Scott slept restlessly as memories of Libby that he thought he had suppressed came back to haunt him.

Johnny watched his brother toss and turn and mumble in his sleep. He knew his brother was dreaming about his past. ‘ Guess we both got a haunting past brother’ Johnny thought as Scott started to settle down to a more restful sleep. Closing his eyes Johnny drifted off to sleep as he wondered if his brother would still want to be his brother if he knew what had been done to him.

Three days later the four men rode into Leeds mid morning. People on the street stopped and watched as the four men rode up to the jail there.

Deputy sheriff Amos Osgood came out of the jail and looked at the four men dismounting. Noticing the  Marshal’s badge and cuffs on Johnny he stepped forward.

“ Marshal……..What can I do for you?”

“ I need the use of your jail for Madrid here Deputy!” Burke said as he walked around his horse to Johnny and motioned for him to walk inside the jail. “ Come on Madrid.”

“ Madrid?……..As in Johnny Madrid  the gunfighter Marshal?”

“ Yeah he is……….I have a warrant here for his arrest for the murder of Clive Harper in Grafton in sixty five…….Where’s your sheriff?”

“ Sheriff is Frank Evans…….he rode out to take care of some business and should be back in a couple hours.” Osgood said as he followed the Marshal into the jail. “ You can put him in the back there Marshal……it’s empty so whichever cell ya want him in is okay.” he said as he got the keys and went over and unlocked the door.

“ You got a telegraph in this town?” Scott asked.

“ Yeah just down the street.”

“ Johnny………I’m gonna go wire Murdoch and let him know we’re here…….I’ll see about bringin the doctor back if they have one to check your wounds.”

“ Sorry but our doctor retired three years ago.” Amos said as he watched Johnny walk past him and into the back into a cell.

Burke followed him into the cell and took the cuff’s of him.

“ Might as well make yourself comfortable Madrid.” Burke said before he turned and walked back out of the cell. Locking the door he looked at Johnny. “ This is going to be your home till they hang you.”

Johnny stepped up to the bars. “ Marshal…….You a betting man?”

“ I play poker on occasion…..Why?”

“ Cause I’ll bet you one hundred dollars I don’t hang…..That the judge lets me go free.”

“ Hundred dollars huh……..Madrid I’m gonna love taking that hundred dollars from you and watching you hang.”

Johnny smiled at the Marshal before turning and going to the cot and laying down. “ I don’t think so Marshal.” was all he said before closing his eyes.

Burke walked out into the office and gave the deputy sheriff the keys back.

“ We’re going to go get cleaned up and checked into the hotel……Let me know when your Sheriff gets back.” Burke said as he headed to the door. “ Oh……You might want to see about feeding Madrid, he hasn’t eatin anything since yesterday afternoon.”

“ Sure thing Marshal…..I’ll have the cafe fix him up some sandwiches.” Amos said as he walked toward the Marshal. “ Marshal……..Madrid being here…….well…..”

“ Get it said Deputy!”

“ Well this is a peaceful nice town and when word gets out that Madrid is here……even if he’s in jail…Marshal a lot of men want the reputation of killing him…..It’s just me and the Sheriff.”

“ Look Deputy……Madrid is my prisoner until he hangs.    You just keep this door closed and locked and don’t let no one in but me, my Deputy or the Sheriff and all will be okay…….Oh and Madrid’s brother Scott Lancer.” Burke said before leaving.

Scott walked into the telegraph office. “ Morning…….I need to send a telegram to Morro Coyo, California.”

“ Yes sir you just write it out and I’ll send it.” the clerk said as he stepped up to the counter.

Scott picked up the pencil and wrote.

 ‘ Murdoch arrived  Leeds,Utah…stop….Both okay…stop….will wire again when Johnny is either freed or sentenced …..stop.’

Scott reread what he wrote before handing it to the clerk. After it was sent he paid the man and walked out onto the street. Standing there he thought about getting a room and bath but decided to wait till after he had the horses taken care of. He knew Johnny would want his beloved horse taken care of and could see Barranca was still waiting outside the jail with his own horse but the pack horse and Marshal and his Deputy’s horses were gone. Walking back to the horses Scott patted Barranca on the neck.

“ Hey boy…lets go get you taken care of….Both of you deserve a good rest and grain.”

Barranca pinned his ears back but made no offer to bite Scott when he untied him and  headed to the livery.

Late that afternoon Sheriff Frank Evans rode into town and noticed a small group of people gathered outside his office. No one had come and got him so as far as he knew there had been no trouble while he was out.

“ It’s trouble plain and simple.” someone said.

“ Yeah we don’t need his kind in this town…….I heard he’s a cold blooded killer.” another man stated.

Upon hearing this the sheriff was really curious about what was going on.

“ Sheriff are you going to allow that Marshal to keep that gunfighter here in our nice little town?”

“ Mr. Porter…..what gunfighter is that?” he asked as he got off his horse. “ I was out of town for a bit so I have no idea what you men are talking about.”

“ Madrid sheriff……..That killer is here………A Marshal brought him in this morning.”

“ Well Mr. Porter since this is obviously law business and not bank business why don’t you go on back to your bank and mind your own business…….The rest of you men also……Go on about your business.”

Frank said firmly as he went to open the door but found it locked. “ Amos…..open up!”

Deputy Amos Osgood opened the door with a scatter gun in his left hand. “ Man am I glad you’re back Frank…..We got us a real problem here.”

“ Yeah I heard…..why don’t you put that scatter gun away Amos and relax.”

“ Relax….Frank we have Johnny Madrid in there………Why he’s a …….”

“ A man in our jail…….you know Amos you’ll find someday it’s best to not believe all that you hear about someone cause I’d be willin to bet that most of what ya heard about Madrid is just gossip or lies.”

A knock on the door ended  their conversation. Amos walked over and saw it was Scott and opened the door. “ Yeah Lancer….what you want?”

“ Well Deputy I would like to see my brother.” Scott said as he stepped inside the office.

“ Lancer…….Your name’s Lancer?” the sheriff asked.

“ Yes it is sheriff……..Scott Lancer.’

“ You any relation to Murdoch Lancer?”

“ He’s my father…….Why?”

“ Well I will be damned…..So you’re Scott Lancer…….Murdoch wrote and told me about your mother Catherine……..Said she died in birth…….I’m real sorry son.”

“ Thanks sheriff……..how do you know my father?”

“ I’ve known Murdoch since fore you was born……..What you doin here in Leeds?”

“ Marshal said he’s Madrid’s brother?”

“ Madrid’s brother……..You mean Johnny Madrid is Johnny Lancer?…….the same Johnny Lancer that his mother took away from Murdoch when he was two?”

“ Yes sheriff my brother is…….look he did what he had to do to survive growing up sheriff.”

“ Easy boy……Boy I bet Murdoch was really shocked to find out his youngest son is a notorious famous gunfighter.”

“ Look sheriff can I see my brother?”

“ Yeah sure.” Frank said as he got the keys. “ Amos why don’t you go find this Marshal and bring him back here.”

Amos stepped to the door. “ You sure you want to be here alone with the two of them sheriff?”

“ Go on Amos……I’ll be all right.”

Johnny heard the door open and sat up noticing it was the sheriff and not the marshal with his brother. Standing up Johnny stepped over to the bars. “ Hey Scott……You look a lot better than earlier…….smell better too.”

Scott smiled. “ Yeah thanks brother…..I got Barranca settled in the livery for you.”

“ Thanks!” Johnny said as he looked at the man. “ You must be Sheriff Frank Evans?”

“ I am….and you’re Johnny Madrid!” Frank said more as a matter of fact than question.

“ Yeah I am Sheriff.”

“ It seems little brother that the Sheriff here knows our father and has since before he met my mother.”

“ Yeah that right Sheriff…….you knew our old man back then huh…….I bet……….”

Marshal Burke walked in and Johnny stepped back to his cot and sat down.

“ Sheriff Evans!……I’m Marshal Jim Burke!”

“ Marshal……on what charge is Madrid here being charged with?”

“ I have a warrant for his arrest for murder Sheriff.” Burke said as he took the warrant out and handed it to the Sheriff.

“ Clive Harper……..I remember him…..He was gunned down just over four years ago while on his way home from town.”

“ Yeah by Madrid here!”

“ What proof you got Madrid here did it?”

“ Harper’s daughter…..she said her father hired Madrid for something and he came to see him and they got in a heated argument and the daughter said Madrid said Harper was a dead man before he rode out. The next day Harper was gunned down. A hand found him on the road when they went looking for him cause his horse straggled in without him.”

Johnny just sat there and listened to what the Marshal said. Looking at his brother Johnny was surprised at the look Scott had on his face.

“ Did the daughter or anyone else see Madrid shoot Harper Marshal?”

“ No…….no one seen him do it Sheriff. Harper was ambushed and the daughter……”

“ So based on what the daughter said she heard you arrested Madrid for his murder?………..Tell me something Marshal……This happened over four years ago……….why’d it take you so long to arrest Madrid?”

“ Because he was hard to track down below the border and then he was hiding  under another name Sheriff!”

“ My brother was not hiding Marshal…….and my brother is Johnny Lancer!”

Sheriff Evans looked at Johnny. “ What you got to say about this Johnny?”

Johnny was surprised by the kindness of the way the Sheriff asked. “ Well Sheriff.” he said as he stood up and walked back over to the bars. “ As I told the Marshal here back in California…….I can prove it wasn’t me that shot Clive Harper.”

“ How?”

“ I’ll tell you Sheriff……..But only you and my brother….not the Marshal here!”

“ Well all right…..Marshal it seems that you need to leave……..Madrid here has that right and since he is in my jail.”

“ Go ahead Madrid…..Go ahead and have your fun cause like I told you I’m going to enjoy watching you hang.” Burke stated before turning and walking out.

The Sheriff closed the door after the Marshal had left the jail.

“ Okay Madrid…..what proof you got you didn’t do this?”

“ Sheriff…Do you know a woman named Cora Clemmons?”

“ Cora Clemmons……yeah she has a ranch about ten miles from here…….Very nice woman….widowed about seven years ago…….Why?”

Johnny looked at his brother. “ You bring her here and she will tell you why I didn’t kill Harper.”

Evans ran a hand over his face and shook his head. “ You want me to bring this distinguished well respected woman here and she will prove you didn’t murder Harper…….that what you’re wanting Madrid?”

“ You just bring her here  Sheriff and  to prove I’m not lying ask her about the day Harper was murdered in front of the Marshal out there in your office…..then bring her back here to identify me.”

Scott stood there with a slight smile on his face because he knew his little brother was telling the truth. He just hoped the Sheriff would do this.

“ All right Madrid…….It’s too late today to ride out there to her ranch but you’re in luck because she usually comes in to get her mail and such on Fridays so she will be in town tomorrow.”

“ Sheriff…….I don’t think you should say anything to your deputy about this……for my brother’s sake!” Scott said firmly as he looked at his brother.

“ All right……We’ll keep this between the three of us……For your sake Madrid I hope you’re telling the truth but more than that……..I hope Cora remembers you.”

Johnny smiled as he looked from his brother to the sheriff. “ Oh trust me Sheriff……She will.”

Scott tried his best to keep from  laughing out. He knew what his brother had meant by that statement and hoped that the Sheriff didn’t.

That evening after dinner Johnny was laying on his cot when he heard a ruckus outside. Getting up he could make out some of what was being yelled.

“ Killer…….Halfbreed……..Devil.” Johnny had heard it all before from people like those saying it now. He didn’t have to see their faces to know them. He knew because it was the same in every town he rode into as Madrid. People hated gunfighters but the same people didn’t hesitate to use a gunfighter if it was to their benefit.

“ String him up now Sheriff……..That halfbreed killer don’t deserve a trial for killing Clive Harper……We want him out of our town now!” Johnny heard a man yelling. He hoped his brother had the good sense to not be out there with the sheriff because people like these could do something to Scott and use him to get to Johnny.

“I’m only going to say this once……..You people go on home….Madrid is locked up in my jail were he is going to stay  until the Judge says otherwise……..Now go home!”

Johnny heard glass shatter and jumped up from his bed. If that mob got past the sheriff and his deputy he knew he was a sitting duck. Hearing a shot brought him to the bars.

“ I’m Marshal Jim Burke……I brought Madrid here to stand trial and hang for the murder of Clive Harper and that is exactly what he is going to do……..If any of you try to bust him out to lynch him I won’t hesitate to shoot……Now go on home like the Sheriff said and leave Madrid to us!”

“Marshal…..If that halfbreed for some reason is found innocent and set free…….I’ll kill him!”

“ Mister I don’t know who you are but I promise you that if Madrid does walk away from this free……You won’t be fast enough to kill him.”

“ Yeah well we’ll see about that!”the man said before turning his horse and riding out of town.

The Sheriff and Marshal stood there until all the people had finally left and either went back to the bar or home.

“ Some town you got here Sheriff…..Real nice law abiding folks.” Burke said as he headed inside the jail.

“ Yeah…normally they are nice folks Marshal……I’ve never seen them so riled up before.” the Sheriff stated as he put the scatter gun back in the gun case.

“ Sheriff I want to see Madrid.” Burke said in an ordering manner.

Sheriff Evans looked at the man hard and didn’t like the feeling he was getting from this man.

“ Marshal….Madrid may be your prisoner but I’m gonna tell you something and you better take heed of what I say…….You mistreat Madrid in any way and I will have your badge…..Is that clear?”

“ I have no intention of harming Madrid Sheriff……..I just want to talk to him that’s all.”

“ I got the impression earlier that Madrid don’t want to talk to you Marshal……So why don’t you just wait out here and I’ll go ask him.” Evans said as he unlocked the door and went into the back to Johnny’s cell leaving the Marshal standing there.

“ Sheriff what’s happening out there?”

“ Nothing now……Just some of the town’s folk tryin to stir things up…..Nothin for you to worry about though.”

“ That’s easy for you to say……you’re not the one they want to lynch.”

“ Yeah well I’ve never lost a prisoner before and I’m not about to start now…….especially with my oldest friend’s son………Listen the Marshal wants to talk to you about something…….Do you want to see him?”

Johnny went back over and sat down on his cot. “ Not really……….I have nothing to say to him.”

“ I couldn’t help but notice that wound on your face is fairly new….did he do that to you?”

“ No……..he didn’t.” Johnny said as he laid down. “ His rogue deputy did.”

Sheriff Evans could tell that Johnny didn’t want to talk about it so he turned to leave. “ I’ll tell the Marshal you don’t want to see him……Cora comes into town usually about mid morning.”

“ Thanks Sheriff….Oh hey…..you think you could maybe tell me a little about my ol’ man when this is over?” Johnny asked after turning onto his left side.

“ I could Johnny but uh…don’t you think you should be asking Murdoch about his past?”

“ Yeah I could but you see…..he made it clear that the past is just that…..The past……unless your name happens to be Johnny Madrid!…….Thanks anyways Sheriff.”

Evans walked out and closed the door. “ Sorry Marshal but Madrid don’t want to see you or anyone else the rest of the night.”

“ Is that so?”

“ Yeah Marshal……He said he had nothing to say to you so I reckon you best go get some sleep, Me and my deputy can handle things here tonight.”

“ See that you do Sheriff!” Burke said angrily as he opened the door and left.

The Sheriff and Johnny talked well into the late night hours before both men called it a night..

Murdoch Lancer was headed into the house from the barn when he heard the rider approaching. Looking he saw it was Pete the telegrapher.

“ Mr Lancer you asked that if a telegram came for you from your son to get it out to you fast so I brought it out tonight.”

“ Thanks Pete……get down and come in for a drink.”

“ No thanks…….I need to be getting back for supper…Millie don’t like me late.”

“ All right…….Thanks again Pete.” Murdoch said as he headed inside to read the telegram.

 He was glad his oldest had wired him. Leeds, Utah. Murdoch knew his sheriff friend Frank Evans would take care of the boys. Putting the telegram in his desk Murdoch went to eat yet another meal alone.

Your brother was just here and I told him that you was  still asleep.” Evans said as he brought Johnny a cup of coffee the next morning.

“ Thanks……can you at least tell me how you met my old man Sheriff?”

Evans sighed as he handed Johnny the coffee. “ I met your Pa in Arizona……We was both tracking the same killer and we teamed up together cause this gunfighter was bad, real bad…..anyways we tracked him down to Cordova.”

“My old man was a bounty hunter?”

“ Well I wouldn’t call him a bounty hunter…….He had a hate for killers back then……..Told me once that he had no use for gunfighters Johnny, that they was the……….”

“ They was what Sheriff?”

“ Look Johnny your Pa has changed since back then.”

“ Gunfighters was what?……What did he use to think gunfighters was Sheriff?”

“Your Pa used to think gunfighters was the scum of the earth…..That they was no better than the devil and that all of them deserved to be shot down like the animals they was.”

Johnny turned and walked back over to his cot but just stood there.

Evans hated himself for saying what he did before he realized what he was saying.

“ Look Johnny…….I know Murdoch don’t feel that way about you.”

“ Yeah……..care to bet a year’s salary on that Sheriff?”

The front door opened before the sheriff could answer and  Deputy Osgood walked in.

“ Sheriff Clive Harper’s daughter is outside…..She wants to see Madrid.”

“ Damn I bet one of our good town folk hurried out to tell her Madrid was here…….You want to see her Johnny?”

“ She’s the daughter of the rancher Clive Harper I’m accused of killing and she wants to see me?……Don’t you find that a little odd Sheriff………That she would want to talk to the killer of her father?”

“ Yeah kinda…….but that girl ain’t been right I guess you could say since her Pa was kilt…..Why if it weren’t for her husband who was a hired hand at the time…….If it wasn’t for him some say she would have gone crazy maybe.”

“ Go ahead and let her in Sheriff……..I’ll see her.”

“ You sure Madrid?”

“ Yeah….yeah I’m sure.”

“ All right…..Go ahead and bring her back Amos.”

A few minutes later Amos escorted a woman back and grabbed the chair the Sheriff sat in earlier and placed it for her in front of Johnny’s cell.

“ So this is Johnny Madrid……….the person responsible for my father’s death?”

“ I’m Johnny Madrid Ma’am….but I didn’t kill your father.”

“ Sheriff……could I speak to this man alone?”

Evans looked at Johnny and saw the slight nod Johnny gave. “ Yes ma’am Mrs. Thomas…..you just knock when done and I’ll open the door.”

After the sheriff and deputy walked out the woman’s face became colder than Johnny thought a woman’s face could become. He didn’t even think Madrid could turn that cold.

“ I don’t know why or how you are still alive Madrid.” she said in a low voice. “ But I promise you this, You’re a dead man if you think you’re going to ride out of this valley a free man……I will see to that.”

“ Well Mrs. Thomas you see I accepted death a long time ago and bein locked up in here I can’t help but wonder…….Who would stand to gain from your Pappy’s death and framing me for doing it huh……I kept asking that same question over and over in my head last night and you want to know what answer I got?” Johnny knew he was playing a dangerous game with this woman, that she was most likely still involved with the man who did kill her father but to Johnny more importantly the man who shot him in the back. “ Nothing to say huh…..well that’s okay cause I’ll tell ya…….You Mrs. Thomas….you stand to gain from your Pappy’s death……Now I haven’t figured out the why or what but I’d be willin to bet it has something to do with a mineral found on your Pappy’s land…..See that’s why he was bringin me in to run off or kill some homesteaders who was on his land……..Homesteaders who found this said mineral and made the mistake of telling your father about it……..I bet you just saw all kinds a dollar signs didn’t ya?”

Shut up….you don’t know what you’re talking about Madrid.”

“ No…..well I’ll tell you what…….why don’t we have an assayer come out to the place in question and check that land.”

“ You are in no position Madrid to be trying to negotiate with me….I have several men who are very good with a gun just waiting for you to get out of this jail.”

“ Yeah……well I hope they’re real good lady cause when I do get out I’m coming after you.”

Mrs. Thomas stepped to the bars and grabbing a hold of them with both hands. “ You’re dead.” she said before stepping to the door and knocking. “ Dead”

Johnny stood there and just smiled at her as she walked out when the sheriff opened the door.  After the sheriff closed the door Johnny sat back down, he had some serious thinking to do about how to approach his brother about this new finding. First thing he had to do though was get cleared of this murder charge this morning.

Scott came out of the hotel and was headed to the jail when he was approached by a couple of men dressed in suits.

“ Gentlemen…..can I help you?”

“ Word has it that you are the brother of that halfbreed killer Madrid over in the jail!” one of the men stated.

Scott not liking the attitude these two men had toward his brother chose to ignore them and went to walk past when his left arm was grabbed and he was spun around.

“ We asked you a question boy.”

“ Mr. I don’t know you….either one of you but if you don’t take your hands off me right now…..You’re gonna know me!”

“ I’m Mr. Jenson…I run the bank and this is Mr. Cotter……we don’t want that halfbreed killer……or you in our nice little town.”

“ That’s right…Madrid is a killer and isn’t fit to even be breathing…..let alone us good citizens having to pay for his keep with meals and such while he’s alive.”

“ Gentlemen I’m gonna say this one time and one time only……If either of you or anyone else in this so called ‘ good ‘ town try to hurt my brother or me you will have more trouble than you care to imagine come down on this little town.”

“ Is that so?…….You threatening us boy?”

“ No…I’m not threatening you…..I’m telling you………Murdoch Lancer will make your life a hell if…..”

“ Murdoch Lancer…….of the Lancer spread out in California……that Murdoch Lancer?”

“ The one and same…..you see he is our father and I assure you that between him and my Grandfather Harlan Garret of Boston……”

“ Come on Mr. Cotter.” Mr.  Jenson said as he grabbed the man’s arm and led him away.

Scott stood there and watched the two men walk away. Smiling he headed on to the jail. When he got there he noticed a nice carriage outside and wondered who it belonged to as he walked in.

“ Lancer………I see you met our banker and mayor.”

“ Yeah….we had a nice little chat……I think I changed their minds though on how they feel about lynching my brother.”

“ Murdoch?” was all Evans said.

“ Yeah.”

 “ Seven hundred miles away and  my old friend can put the fear of God in a man just like the old days.” the sheriff stated with a grin.“ Well I expect you’re here to see your brother but he has a visitor with him right now….want a cup of coffee?”

“ No thanks……A visitor huh……who?”

“ The daughter of Clive Harper.”

“ The daughter of the man Johnny is accused of killing?………..Why would she want to see Johnny?”

“ Don’t know……..Fact is it has me a little baffled also Lancer.”

Just then a knock on the door was heard. The Sheriff walked over and opened it and let Mrs. Thomas out.

“ Is everything all right Ma’am?” the Sheriff asked.

“ Everything is fine Sheriff.” she said as she walked past and left the jail.

Scott and the Sheriff stood there looking at each other a few seconds.

“ Go on back…..I bet after that visit your brother could use you.”

Scott nodded and headed back to his brother’s cell.

After the door closed Scott sat down in the chair next to the cell.

“ Boy even behind bars little brother you have pretty ladies calling on you.”

Johnny looked at his brother before turning and going over to his cot and sitting down.

“ That was no lady brother…….A whore is more lady than her.”

Scott was taken aback some by what his brother just said. “ Is that so?………What did she want Johnny?”

“ Nothing really except to tell me I’m dead if I do get found innocent and try to ride out of this valley.” Johnny said as he stood up and walked back over to the bars. “ Scott…..I think I hit a nerve with her….I think she had somethin to do with her old man’s death!”

“ And I suppose you confronted her on this?”

“ Yeah…….I did.”

Johnny then proceeded to tell his brother what all was said between him and the daughter. When he was done he stood there waiting for his brother’s response when the door opened.

“ Cora Clemmons just come into town Johnny!” Evans stated.

“ Scott I want you out there when the Sheriff brings her here to talk to her.” Johnny stated firmly.

Scott nodded and stepped toward the door. “ Johnny…..about the daughter?”

“ Later Scott.” was all Johnny said as he turned and went back to his cot and laid down.

.

Chapter 21

Sheriff Evans walked out of his jail and looking down the street he could see Cora Clemmons was stopped at the general store. Walking down to the store he noticed he was being watched by both the mayor and banker. Stepping up onto the walk Frank waited for some people to pass before heading inside.

“ Why hello Sheriff…..Isn’t it a glorious day today?” Cora asked.

“ Why yes Mrs. Clemmons that it is.”

“ Mrs. Clemmons is it…….why Frank Evans we’ve known each other the better part of fifteen years….You was with my Charlie when he passed.”

“ Yes um….Uh Cora I need to speak to you in private over at the jail.”

“ The Jail?”

“ Yes ma’am.”

“ Well alright Frank……..Stu would you see that these things get put in my wagon please……It’s just outside.”

“ Yes ma’am I will.”

Cora walked over and took the sheriff by the arm and together the two of them walked back over to the jail. Opening the door for her Evans let her enter first before following and closing the door. Marshal Burke and his deputy Jake was both there with Amos and Scott.

“ My my so what is it you need to talk to me about Frank?”

“ Cora this is Marshal Jim Burke from Salt Lake city and his deputy Jake Carter………..Cora they arrested a man for the murder of Clive Harper…….Harper was killed four years ago late August…..He was ambushed on his way home from Grafton and a ranch hand found his body the next day.”

“ Yes I remember it well Sheriff……but what does his murder have to do with me?”

“Well…….”

“ Ma’am the murderer says he didn’t do it……he says he was with you when Clive Harper was shot.” the Marshal blurted out.

“ Cora…..this man says you had him at your ranch nursing a gunshot wound to his back……..That he was almost dead when you found him in your barn….Do you remember him?”

Cora took her shawl off and sat down. “ Late August you say four years ago……..Why yes Frank….Marshal I did find a man in my barn shot then….Could I get a drink of water please?”

Amos got Cora a cold glass of water.

“ Thank you Amos…..Now where was I……oh yes I found this man in my barn in a stall unconscious with a bullet in his back…..I don’t know how I did it but I managed to get him to the house and went and got ol’ doc Weller and he removed the bullet.”

“ How long was he at your place Cora?”

Cora remembered the last week Johnny was with her and how he had made love to her and made her feel like a woman again. “ I think it was about five weeks or so……I told him winter was coming on and he was welcome to stay but he said he needed to be moving on.”

“ Cora……..This is very important……Do you remember the mans name?”

“ Why yes I do Frank…..It was Johnny Madrid…….I will never forget those piercing blue eyes of his.”

Marshal Burke was fuming on the inside…..Sure that Madrid was the murderer.

“ Cora would you mind looking at the prisoner I have in the back and tell me if it is him?”

“ Why not at all Frank.”

Cora stood up and her the Sheriff and Marshal stepped inside the back after Frank opened the door.

“ Madrid stand up.” Burke ordered.

Johnny stood up and when he saw Cora a smile came to his face.

“ Hello Mrs. Clemmons.” Johnny said as he stepped over to the bars.

“ Marshal if you arrested Mr. Madrid here for Clive Harper’s murder I hate to tell you but you arrested the wrong man……This is Johnny Madrid and he was fighting for his life when Harper was shot.”

“ Marshal I can tell you that when the judge hears Mrs. Clemmons statement he will dismiss the charges against Madrid……She is a very upstanding pillar of the community and her word is as good as gold.”

Marshal Burke glared at Johnny before turning to leave.

“ Oh hey Marshal……..I believe you owe me a hundred dollars!’ Johnny said with a smile.

Burke stopped and turned back to Johnny. “ Excuse me ma’am but Madrid you can go to hell.” he said before leaving.

“ Well I never.” Cora stated.

Scott walked in after the Marshal left. “ Brother I think you ruined his day.”

“ Yeah I guess I did brother……..Scott I’d like you to meet Mrs. Cora Clemmons…She’s the lady who saved my life four years ago and again today.”

“ Ma’am…it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Scott said as he took her hand in his and gently kissed the back of it.

“ Why aren’t you the proper gentleman.”

Johnny couldn’t help but laugh at her remark.

“ Why thank you ma’am I do try to be………So Sheriff when can my brother be let out?”

“ As far as I’m concerned he can go right now…..but the Marshal is the one who has to see the judge and get the murder charge dropped on him.”

“ Is the judge here?” Scott asked looking at Johnny.

“ No he’s not…….come to think of it he wont be here till Monday.”

“ Great……you mean I gotta stay in here till Monday?”

“ Sorry Madrid but it’s not my call it’s the Marshal’s…….I’d let you out but…..”

“ Yeah I understand Sheriff.” Johnny said as he turned and walked back to his bunk.

“ Frank……what if you was to release Madrid to my custody?”

“ Cora I would but I can’t……he isn’t my prisoner and right now I think the Marshal is a little upset that Johnny is innocent.”

“ Well then I guess I will just have to bring you some of my good home cooking you liked so well when you was healing up.” Cora said with a smile. “ Could you gentlemen leave us for a few minutes?”

Scott looked at Frank then Johnny who had turned back around.

“ Sure Cora I’ll just be in the other room.” Evans said as he walked out the door.

Scott stood there and could see by the look on his brother’s face that something was going on between these two.

“ Well brother I guess I’ll go send a wire to Murdoch and let him know whats happened…..I’ll see you later……Ma’am.”

“ Thanks Boston.” Johnny said as he stepped back up to the bars. When the door closed Johnny smiled.

“ You look good Cora…….Just as pretty as you did four years ago.”

“ And you have filled out some more…….You’re still skinny but you got more meat on your bones.”

“ Yeah some….So how ya been?”

“ Oh I’ve been getting along…..I keep busy with things I do around town for folks……..I sold  off all but five acres of my land…I didn’t need it and as long as I have the house I’m alright……You know Johnny when you get out of here I sure hope you come by and visit me before you leave.” Cora said as she took a hold of the bars

Johnny reached out and put his right hand on hers. “ I plan to…..You saved my life a second time and I’d like to thank you for it.”

“ Like last time?”

“ Better than last time.” he said with a grin as he took her hand and kissed it.

“ I think I best be going now Johnny I have some things I need to do in town still.”

“ Cora……..You taught me a lot in those days we spent together.”

“ I’ll bring by some good home cooking later on this afternoon or evening.” Cora said as she knocked on the door.

Johnny just smiled as he watched her leave. Going back to his cot he laid down and let his mind take him back four years to the arms of an older woman who was desperate to be loved and feel loved again and the lessons in love that she taught him.

Rebecca Thomas stopped her buggy outside her home and climbed down. Jesse Thomas, her husband was in the parlor when she came in.

“ I thought you killed him?” she asked angrily.

“ Killed who love?”

“ Madrid that’s who!”

“ Madrid…….I killed Madrid four years ago Becca!”

“ Yeah well if you killed him four years ago then how is it he was brought in here very much alive mind you by a United States Marshal and his deputy yesterday?”

Jesse stepped closer to his wife. “ It must be a mistake…..I shot Madrid dead in Virgin Canyon when he was on his way here to see your father.”

“ Oh it’s no mistake Jesse……..I talked to him and he knows…….he knows I had something to do with the death of my father!……..Talk around town is that he can prove he didn’t do it and will be let free today.”

“ Look you need to stay calm……Madrid can’t do anything to us……..He don’t know why your father was bringing him here……Just stay calm and if he is set free he’ll probably ride on out of here as quick as he can.”

“ Are you sure of that?”

“ Yes……..and if he don’t then this time he will be dead……..Madrid isn’t going to mess things up for us Becca……You’ll see…….I promise.”

“ Madrid won’t get out of town alive if he is set free……….I have two men watching and waiting.”

“ Two men…….Becca are you a fool……..Madrid will cut them down…….Look the only way to kill him is ambush, the man is to fast.”

“ You ambushed him and he’s still alive…….Look I killed my father and I’m not going to go to prison because you didn’t kill Madrid.”

“ You’re not going to go to prison my love……just like we are not going to lose this ranch and what we have on it.” Jesse said as he took Rebecca into his arms and held her. “ Madrid is a dead man and he won’t find out what is going on here.”

Marshal Burke slammed down a second shot of rye when his deputy Jake walked in and came over to the table.

“ Jim…….you gotta let him go…….I know you thought Madrid did it but……….”

“ Four years Jake……four years I wasted tracking him down……..four years the real killer has been out there.”

“ I know Jim.” Jake stated as he sat down. “ Listen to me…….Whoever shot Madrid in the back is probably the same one who killed Harper……Why don’t you put your anger you seem to have for Madrid behind you and ask him about why he was even going to see Harper……..Whoever shot him knew he was coming and……”

“ Bartender……give me another and a drink for my deputy……..I know that Jake…….You know deep down inside a part of me knew Madrid didn’t do it………The four years I tracked him I learned a lot about him……..Killing someone in cold blood just isn’t his game……Hell every time he is called out he tries to talk them out of it…You seen it your self in Pioche.”

“ Yeah I did…..look Jim the sheriff said the judge wouldn’t be here till Monday…..are you gonna make Madrid stay in jail all weekend?”

Burke looked at Jake as the bartender  brought over two shots of rye. “ Thank you….No I don’t recon I will……Madrid’ been cleared.”  Burke said as he downed his shot and stood up and headed for the door.

Jake downed his and threw some coins on the table as he stood up and followed the Marshal.

Stopping out on the boardwalk Jake and Burke noticed the mayor hurrying over to them.

“ Marshal….deputy……Marshal is it true that Madrid didn’t kill Harper….That you’re going to let him go free?” the mayor asked.

Burke looked down at the man. “ Mr. Mayor Madrid was proved to be someplace else when Clive Harper was murdered…..a very reputable witness verified that so yes…..I’m going to let Madrid go free and the murder charge is dropped against him……now if you will excuse me.”

“Marshal I wouldn’t let Madrid out of that jail…….innocent or not there are a couple of men just waiting for the chance to kill him.”

Burke stepped down off the boardwalk. “ Well Mr. mayor the way I see it you have two choices…..One you can tell these men whom I suspect you know that it would be for their better judgment to forget about trying to kill Madrid or Two…..you can get ready for a gunfight in your supposedly  friendly little town!”

“ Now see here Marshal……Our town was friendly till you brought that gunfighter here…….his kind is nothing but trouble and no good.”

“ Let me tell you something mayor….you and others like you in this town have made no attempt to show me, my deputy or Madrid that this is a friendly town……..Just because Madrid is a gunfighter doesn’t make him a bad person…..and personally mayor with the attitude you have toward people you don’t deserve to be Mayor.” Burke stated firmly before pushing past the Mayor and heading toward the jail.

Scott walked into the telegraph office and  the same clerk who worked the day they arrived was behind the counter.

“ Afternoon…..I need to send another telegram to Morro Coyo.”

“ Sure thing Mr. Lancer.”

Scott wrote it out and  slid the paper to the clerk.

‘ Johnny cleared…stop…leaving Leeds soon…stop…will be home before snow…stop.’

“ Thanks.” he said before walking out and heading back to the jail. From where he was Scott could see the Marshal walk to the jail. He knew his brother was going to hate being in that jail till Monday but there was nothing that either of them could do about it.

Marshal Burke walked into the jail with his deputy and was greeted by the sheriff.

“ Marshal……what can I do for you?”

“ Sheriff……….I want you to let Madrid out……he don’t need to stay locked up till the judge gets here Monday.”

Frank picked up the keys and handed them to the Marshal.

“ Why don’t you let him out Marshal since he’s your prisoner.”

Burke took the keys and opened the door to the back.

Johnny was laying on the cot facing the wall, when he heard the door open he turned over and seen it was the Marshal and not his brother like he had hoped.

“ Madrid…..get up……..I’m gonna let you out if you give me your word that you will stay in town until the judge gets here Monday.” Burke said as he unlocked Johnny’ cell door.

Johnny got up and stepped to the door. “ You’re gonna let me out………why?”

“ Because an innocent man don’t belong locked up, besides Madrid you’ve lost enough of your freedom.”

Johnny stepped out of the cell and looked at the Marshal. “ Thank you Marshal.”

“ Madrid there is something you need to know….go on out front because the sheriff needs to know this also.”

Johnny walked out into the sheriff ‘s office just as Scott walked in. “ Hey brother.”

Scott was both surprised and pleased to see his brother out of the cell. “ What’s going on?” he asked.

“ Marshal here let me out…..says he has something I need to know.”

“ Marshal.” Scott said as he stepped over to his brother.

“ Lancer…..Sheriff your good Mayor informed me that two men in town are waiting to kill Madrid here. Now I’m assuming he knows who these two men are sheriff…..I told him he could do one of two things. One he could tell these two men to forget about trying to kill Madrid here and go on breathing or two get ready for blood shed in his supposedly friendly town!” Burke said as he handed Johnny his gun back. “ I have your word you will stay here till the judge comes Monday?”

Johnny took his gun and strapped it on around his slender hips. Taking the pistol out he checked the cylinder, spun the colt on his finger then slid it back in it’s holster.

“ Yeah Marshal…..I give you my word.” Johnny said as he put his hand out to shake the marshal’s.

Burke shook his hand firmly. “ That’s good enough for me then…….Oh Madrid……after we see the judge Monday and before you head back to California I would like to have a talk with you…..man to man.”

“ Sure Marshal…..buy you and your deputy here a drink?” Johnny asked as he stepped toward the door.

“ Hold on Madrid!” the sheriff said firmly as he stepped from behind his desk. “ I don’t want any trouble in my town….and I don’t want innocent people getting hurt…….if two men are waiting to gun you down do you think it’s smart for you to go to the saloon?”

“ Sheriff……I never run from a fight and I try my damnedest to stay out of trouble……If these two men want to try and take me down and they call me out I’m not going to run and hide…….and I’m not going to hide behind a badge.” Johnny said as he put a hand on the Sheriff’s shoulder. “ I’ve been taking care of myself most of my life and been on my own since I was twelve so don’t worry Sheriff.”

Scott couldn’t help but feel anger inside hearing what his brother was saying. No child should ever have to go through what his brother had growing up, and no child should have to grow up and become a man at such a young age. Scott could remember how when he was twelve back in Boston he with his friends was wondering when they would have to start shaving and the such that lucky kids who had parents who loved them wondered about at that age. Scott couldn’t help but wonder if his brother had ever had a birthday party or even celebrated the holidays for that matter. He knew Johnny was catholic because of the medallion he wore around his neck, but did Johnny attend church. This like many other questions Scott knew he would eventually find out about his little brother.

.

Johnny the Marshal and deputy walked across the street to the saloon. Johnny’s hackles went up and he was on full alert. He could feel eyes, unfriendly eyes watching him from just down the street. Stepping up onto the boardwalk Johnny turned and looked down toward the livery. Scott noticed Johnny had stopped and looked in the direction he was looking. Jim and Jake also looked and seen two men standing along the corral fence.

“ Johnny….you know those two men?” Scott asked as he stepped closer to his brother.

Johnny turned and stepped just inside the saloon and made a fast scan before moving to a table to the back and sat down so his back was to the wall and he had a clear view of who came and went.

Scott and Jake went to the bar and ordered four beers and a shot of tequila for his brother. He knew Johnny would probably want a shot. Paying the bartender they walked over to the table and sat the drinks down. Sitting down in the chair on his brothers right Scott slid the shot over to Johnny.

“ I thought maybe you would like something a little stronger than beer.”

Johnny smiled ever so slightly but never said a word as he watched the door.

“ Johnny……you know them two men down by the livery don’t you?” the Marshal asked as he took a sip of his beer and looked at Scott.

Johnny picked up his shot of tequila and downed it and set the empty shot glass down. Picking up his beer he looked at the Marshal.

“ Yeah I know them Marshal…….I know them and trust me they ain’t the sort you want hangin around a town.” he said before taking a long swig of his beer.

“ What do you mean Johnny?” Scott asked.

Johnny looked hard at his brother. “ Because Scott…….those two ride with a man who don’t have a conscious or soul.” Johnny stated. “ They ride with a man named Pardee…Day Pardee.”

Scott cringed inside as he remembered what Johnny told him Pardee had done to him.

“ This the same Pardee who left you for dead?”

The Marshal and deputy both leaned into the table more as they listened to Johnny.

“ Yeah Scott…the same Pardee…..you can bet it’s gonna be an interesting ride back to California.” Johnny said as he finished his beer.

Dakota Black and El Paso Kid walked slowly to the saloon and stepped up the the swingin doors. Looking inside they seen Madrid sitting to the back with the three other men.

“ Look Black this isn’t such a good idea……..I mean he’s sitting there with a Marshal and deputy.”

“ I can see that……you stay here if you want.” Black said as he stepped inside and walked toward the table Johnny was sitting at.

Scott noticed Johnny’s mood changed and looking toward the door he seen the two men standing just inside the door looking at Johnny.

“ Whatever you do Boston….keep your mouth shut.” Johnny stated firmly giving Scott an ice cold stare.

Scott looked at his brother and gave a slight nod letting Johnny know that the two didn’t know his brother was a Lancer.  Looking to the Marshal and deputy he hoped they too would understand what Johnny meant.

Dakota Black and El Paso Kid walked up to they table. “ Well as I live and breath Kid….Look who’s still alive…….You know Madrid I know someone who is gonna be awful sad to hear you’re still breathing.” Black stated as he glanced around the table. “ You taken to hiding behind a Marshal’s badge now Madrid?”

The other people in the saloon got real quiet and watched and listened but remained ready to move if bullets started flying.

Johnny pushed his chair back and stood up. “ No I ain’t……I don’t need to hide behind no badge…..you still playin gopher for Pardee?”

The Kid moved his hand down closer to his gun.

“ I wouldn’t do that Kid……..not unless you want to stop breathing.” Johnny said as he never took his eyes off Black.

“ Leave him Kid…….Pardee will want this and you ain’t fast enough so just move your hand away from your gun.” Black said.

“ You boy’s might want to rethink any notion’s ya all got about tryin to kill Madrid here.” Burked stated as he stood up. “ He’ll kill you before you even clear leather.”

“ We’ll be seein you real soon Madrid.” Black said as he turned and walked out followed by the Kid.

Johnny stood there watching the two walk out before he sat back down.

“ Who are those two Johnny?’ Scott asked.

Johnny looked at his brother. “ The big one is called Dakota Black………he likes to shoot people in the back……….the other one is called El Paso Kid…….he’s fast with a gun and has killed a lot of men just to see them bleed.”

“ He as fast or faster than you Madrid?”  Jake asked.

Johnny looked at the deputy. “ Maybe……like I said Kid like to shoot a man just to watch him bleed….he don’t call a man out for a fair fight…him and Black are well know down around the border for back shootin amongst other things.”

“ They gonna go to Pardee and tell him you’re still alive now huh?” Scott asked.

Johnny gave his brother a look that clearly stated what Scott already knew.

“ Well brother lets go get you a bath and cleaned up….then we can go and have the doc check your wounds and make sure you’re healing up…Marshal……Deputy it’s been a pleasure in some ways.” Scott said as he stood up.

Johnny stood up as well and held out his hand to the Marshal. “ I’m sorry for all the trouble you went through Marshal.”

Burke stood up and took Johnny’s hand firmly in his and shook it. “ It’s all right………It’s me who should be apologizing to you Madrid…….I would still like to have that talk with you if you don’t mind.”

“ Not at all…..just let me get cleaned up and say I meet you back here in say two hours?”

“ Two hours then.” the Marshal said as he and Jake followed Madrid and Scott outside.

Johnny went and checked on Barranca before heading to the bath house. The stallion was happy to see his owner and the livery owner watched the two from his office door. When Johnny went to leave the man stepped out.

“ That is one fine animal son……..it sure gives a man pleasure to have a horse like that in his barn…..you uh wouldn’t be interested in selling him would you?”

Johnny looked back at Barranca then at the man. “ Mister…….that horse ain’t for sale for no amount of money.”

“ I’ll give ya three hundred dollars for him.”

Johnny was starting to get irritated now. “ I said he ain’t for sale……..and if you can’t understand plain English mister……..then maybe I got something else you will understand.” Johnny stated coldly as his hand went to his gun.

“ Easy Madrid…..I hear ya loud and clear……He ain’t for sale and I won’t ask again.”

Johnny took a couple steps then stopped and turned back around. “ If anything happens to that horse while in your care……….”

The man put up his hands. “ Ain’t nothing gonna happen to him Madrid…….you have my word on that.”

“ Smart man.” Johnny said as he turned and walked out.

Two hours later Johnny was sitting at a table in the back corner of the saloon with the Marshal. Scott and the deputy was at the bar drinking a beer.

“ So what did you want to talk to me about Marshal?”

Burke cleared his throat. “ Four years Johnny……..Four years I tracked you because I was so sure you was the killer…….You know why I was so sure?”

“ I think I might Marshal.”

“ Jim Johnny……..call me Jim.”

“ Okay Jim.”

“ I was sure Johnny because of who you are……..or rather who you was back then……When I was tracking you down I learned a lot about you……about how you started doing wjat you did trying to help out the little people so to speak…….How you would take jobs against big ranchers for only a roof over your head or food in your belly………that’s ain’t something a gunfighter does…….I suspect  Johnny that you got more friends down below than you realize you got………I also know you got enemies there as well as up here from what I have witnessed.” Burke took a drink of his beer. “ Johnny what I am trying to say is this……..Chasing after you these past four years has got me to thinking…especially after we got here…..You remember what you said to me that night you escaped?”

“ Yeah I remember.” Johnny said as he picked up his beer.

“ One thing I learned about you Madrid is that you don’t lie…….and you didn’t lie to me that night……You told me you would meet me here and prove you was innocent but with me being a lawman and all I had to go after you……..I knew you went north Johnny….that’s why I went south…to give you a head start….I didn’t know about cliff and his motives until the day after when I fired him.”

“ You gonna arrest and charge me with his murder Marshal?”

“ No Johnny I’m not…..Cliff wasn’t a deputy any longer and the way I see it his death was the result of a foolish mistake.”

Johnny knew what the Marshal meant by that remark and leaned back in his chair some. “ But”

“ But…..I’m giving it up Madrid…..when I get back to Salt Lake City I’m turning in my badge and retiring……I lost the reason I wear this badge when I started tracking you Johnny and a man who wears a badge and does that is headed in the wrong direction.”

Johnny sat there and didn’t know what to say to what Burke just said.

“ Listen it’s getting late and I could use a good nights rest……I’ll get the charges dropped against you first thing Monday morning Johnny……..you and your brother have a safe trip back to Lancer and Johnny.” Burke said as he stood up. “ Go easy on that tender footed brother of yours…….he really does care about you…..I think the two of you need to do some serious talking on the ride back……you especially……maybe talk to him about that dream you keep having.”

Johnny stood up. “ Maybe I will Marshal.”

“ I know if I was your brother and I knew that was done to me I would hunt the bastard down and gut him.”

Johnny looked toward Scott standing at the bar with Jake. “ He may not want to be my brother after we talk and he learns some of what I’ve been through Jim.”

“ Don’t bet on that Johnny….I’ll see ya.” Burke said before turning and walking out.

Johnny and Scott loafed around Sunday in their room since the town was Mormon and all the businesses was closed up. The cafe didn’t open till after services. Sitting in the dinning room eating dinner Scott looked at his brother.

“ Johnny you gonna go see Mrs. Clemmons tomorrow?”

“ Yeah I am Scott……..why you got a problem with that?”

“ It’s just that…….”

“ Just what Scott?”

“ Johnny the woman is considerably older than you are is all.”

“ So………look Boston four years ago she saved my life and yesterday she did the same thing again now if you got a problem with me being with her then you can stay here in town and ride out Tuesday morning so we can head back to California.”

“ No little brother………I’ll ride out with you…….after all you said she was a mean cook and I’d kinda like to try that apple pie you said she makes so good.”

Johnny took a sip of his coffee and looked at his brother and gave a slight smile. Setting his cup down he stood up. “ I’m going to go check on Barranca then go back to the room.” he stated as he tossed some coins on the table.

Johnny walked into the livery and seen the livery owner was brushing Barranca and talking to him. Barranca knew Johnny had walked in and nickered as he turned his head. Smiling Johnny walked up to his horse’s head as he ran his hand along his side and up his neck to just behind his ear. Scratching that special spot that he knew Barranca liked.

“ I was just brushing him down.” the livery owner stated as he stepped out of the stall.

“ Thanks.” Johnny said as Barranca nudged him in the chest. “ Yeah I know buddy….we’ll be leaving here in the morning boy…….I know you want to get out and run but I can’t leave town just yet……You deserve this rest anyways.” Johnny said as he rubbed the stallions head. Barranca put his head on Johnny’s left shoulder and pulled him in toward his chest.

“ Well if that don’t beat all…….I don’t think I have ever seen a horse…especially a stallion be so attached to a man like that one is to you Madrid.”

“ I saved his life…….the man who had him before used to beat him and I came along and rescued him.”

Johnny stated as he wrapped his arms around Barranca’s neck and hugged him back. “ I’ll kill any man who dares to hurt him.”

The livery owner stood there a few seconds. “ You said you’re leaving tomorrow…….want I should put some new shoes on him and your brothers horse for ya before you leave?”

Johnny let go of Barranca and stepped out of the stall. “ Yeah that would be fine…..how much you want for it?”

“ No charge Mr. Madrid…….Like I said before having a horse like that here has been a pure pleasure for me to take care of……You know I know I offered to buy him from you but with what I just seen between you two I don’t think all the money in the world could separate you two.” the man said before walking to his office.

Johnny turned and walked back to Barranca. “ I’ll see you in the morning amigo…..you be good and let the man put some new shoes on your feet okay.”

Barranca shook his head up and down causing Johnny to laugh a little before heading back to the hotel.

.

Scott watched as Rebbecca Thomas came out of church and stood talking to some people. Walking over to her buggy Scott stood there waiting When Rebbecca came over to get in her buggy Scott stepped up.

“ Excuse me ma’am but are you not the daughter who’s father was killed by Johnny Madrid?”

Rebbecca stopped and looked at Scott with caution in her eyes. “ Yes I am…….why?”

“ Oh no reason Ma’am……it’s just that I’ve been hearing people in town talking about how they don’t like having that killer in there town.” Scott said with disgust inside at saying that about his brother.

“ Well I take it from your accent that you are not from these parts Mr.?”

“ Lancer ma’am….Scott Lancer and no I’m not….I’m from Boston.”

“ Mrs Thomas Mr. Lancer……..what brings you clear out here?”

“ Oh I’m on a business trip for my Grandfather……he’s thinking about buying into some silver mines.”

Johnny came out of the barn and stopped dead in his tracks when he seen his brother talking to Rebbecca. “ What the hell you doing brother?” Johnny said to himself.

Rebbecca seen Johnny come out of the barn and stop staring at her not knowing it was Scott he was staring at.

“ He should have died four years ago.” she said just loud enough Scott heard.

“ Excuse me…….you mean Madrid should have died four years ago?”

Rebbecca turned back to Scott. “ What?”

“ You just said he should have died four years ago.”

“ I did…….well I heard that Madrid was shot in the back by my father I assume when he gunned him down…….If you will excuse me Mr. Lancer but I need to get home.” Rebbecca stated as she got in her buggy and slapped the reins.

“ Mrs. Thomas.” Scott said as he watched her leave. Scott knew that only the law, Cora Clemmons and his brother knew Johnny was shot in the back four years ago. The only way Rebbecca Thomas could know that was if she was involved. Scott motioned with his hand for his brother to go to the hotel so he could talk to him in private.

Johnny followed Scott up to their room. Once inside he closed the door and turned around giving Scott a hard look.

“ You mind telling me what the hell you was doing talking to the daughter of the man I almost got hung for the death of big brother?” Johnny said sharply as he plopped down on the bed.

Scott removed his coat and poured some water in the basin to wash his hands.

“ Not at all brother I think you’re right about her……..when you came out of the livery she said something that makes no sense and to anyone else it wouldn’t.”

“ What the fuck you talking about Boston.”

“ Language brother language.” Scott said as he dried his hands. “ She said  ‘You should have died four years ago’.” 

This got Johnny’s attention. “ Oh she did did she?”

“ Yeah and when I asked her what she meant by that she said ‘ I heard that Madrid was shot in the back by her father she assumed as you killed him.’ ” Johnny I thought only us and the law knew about that?”

“ Yeah…….and Cora and I know she wouldn’t say anything.” Johnny stood up. “ Hey Scott……..she don’t know you’re my brother so maybe you could…….”

“ Wait a minute little brother………I think I know where this is going.”

“ Scott I learned that the man she is married to now was a hired hand back then……..He is probably the one who shot me while Rebbecca killed her pa.”

“ You know we just might be able to catch her Johnny but it’s risky and could get us both killed.”

“ How Scott?”

“ Well you can’t leave town so I’m gonna ride out to her ranch and have a talk with her husband and tell him that you want to meet with him.”

“ That won’t work Scott…..he isn’t gonna do it.”

“ He will if I tell him that you have proof that he is the one who shot you and that he’ll meet you if he likes his wife.”

Johnny looked at Scott speechless at what he was hearing. Pouring himself a glass of water and drinking half of it down Johnny thought about what Scott said.

“ It just might work………It’s risky brother.”

“ Johnny I’m prepared to do what I have to do to help you catch the real killer…….You’re my brother and that’s what brothers do.”

“ Alright…….have him come to our room and we can have the Sheriff and Marshal here…….he see’s them when he walks in the room that will shake him up and make him talk maybe.”

“ Why don’t we keep the law out of sight instead Johnny?”

“ All right brother….I’ll go talk to the Marshal I think he’s still in town and let the Sheriff know while you ride out there………..Scott you be damn careful.”

“ For you little brother I will be.”

Murdoch Lancer sat at his desk staring at the telegraph he received from Scott telling him Johnny was cleared off charges and they was coming ‘home’. Home his two son’s was coming home. His youngest was innocent and he as a father should have never believed otherwise.

“ How could I ever doubt you Johnny………how could I ever think a son of mine would commit cold blooded murder…….I promise you son when you come home I will do whatever I can to make this wrong doing up to you.” Murdoch said to an empty room. Then out of the blue he remembered something, something he used to say to his son when a baby.

“Cierre los ojos un poco y dormir. ( Close your eyes little one and sleep)

Y el sueno como los angeles te cuide. ( And dream as the angels watch over you)

Voy a tomar tu mano ( I will hold your hand)

Y cuando se despierta con la manana ( And when you wake with the morning)

Yo todavia estare aque ( I’ll still be here)

Tears welled in the big man’s eyes as he remembered these words he said to his son every night until that day his world seemed to stop and his baby son was gone. The few months Johnny had been at Lancer Murdoch could see that the boy was trying real hard to be a son and leave his past behind. He watched as Johnny and Scott became closer as brother’s and thought at times that it was like they was never apart. That they had grown up together instead of thousands of miles apart. Cringing inside Murdoch thought back to seeing the scars on his baby boys body. Scars that shouldn’t be there. Scars put there at the hands of people who hated an innocent child because of what his parents were. Murdoch knew his son was abused from both sides and all because of his beautiful blue eyes. Blue eyes he had gotten from  him and his grandfather’s. He couldn’t help but wonder if Maria also was abusive to the boy. It saddened his heart to think of the beatings his son had clearly been given. Beatings for whatever reason that should not have been. Opening the bottom drawer Murdoch took  out the Pinkerton report and opened it. Reading it page for page his heart grew so sad and heavy with grief when he read the last entry made.

 ‘Proven to be a true oddity among gunfighters. Not a cold blooded killer. Taken job’s for little or no pay because it was the right thing to do.’

Even though his son had become a gunfighter he couldn’t help but feel pride knowing his son had done the right thing. Killing a person for money didn’t sit well with the big man but thinking about it now he had a more clearer perspective of why his son had taken up a gun. ‘ Survival ‘ plain and simple. The times he himself had been in Mexico he had seen how hard it was to live and survival only happened if you was strong enough to survive. Sitting there Murdoch vowed to have or ‘ try ‘ to have a heart to heart talk with his son.

Scott rode through the gates of the Harper ranch and asked a hand where he could find Jesse Thomas.

“ I’m Jesse Thomas.” a man said as he walked out of the barn leading a horse. “ What do you want?”

Scott stayed mounted and looked down at the man, his insides clearly boiling as he was now face to face with the man who put a bullet in his brothers back.

“ I have a message for you.”

“ A message huh……a message from who?”

“ Madrid.” was all Scott said as he watched the color drain from the mans face.

“ Madrid huh……and what’s the message?”

“ He says to meet him in town at his room or he is going to take the proof he has to the law about how you shot him in the back in Virgin Canyon four years ago……..He said to tell you also that if you don’t come it will be the second biggest mistake you ever made.”

“ Second huh……and just what was supposed to be the first?”

“ Shooting him in the back and not making sure he was dead.” Scott said as he turned his horse to leave.

Jesse grabbed the reins. “ Hold on…….How do I know this isn’t a trap?……..Madrid is a cold blooded killer…….how do I know you ain’t setting me up?”

“ Well I guess you got only one way to find that out……He’s at the hotel…room six.” Scott said before riding out.

Jesse stood there a minute then noticed Rebbecca coming in. Reining her buggy to a stop.

“ What did Mr. Lancer want Jesse?”

“ He brought a message from Madrid……wants me to meet him in town. He stated as he swung up in the saddle. “ I’ll be back later.”

“ Jesse don’t go…..Madrid will kill you.”

“ I’ll be back later.” was all he said before spurring his horse and galloping off.

Rebbecca stood there furious. “ I’m gonna have you killed for sure this time Madrid…….If it’s the last thing I do.”

Johnny found the Marshal and told him and the Sheriff what was up. The three of them sitting in Johnny and Scott’ room.

“ You think Jesse Thomas is the one who shot you in the back Madrid?” the Sheriff asked.

“ Yeah I do……….I also think that Rebbecca Thomas is the one who killed her father.” Johnny stated.

“ Why……that man loved his daughter……why would she kill him?”

“ I think deep down you already know the answer to that Sheriff.”

“ Ore……they found some kind of mineral on that land…….I know old man Harper hated mining, said it destroys the land.”

A knock at the door silenced them.

“ Johnny it’s me.”

Johnny opened the door and let his brother in. “ Well?”

“ I told him just what we discussed and I think he is following me in now.”

The Sheriff went to the window and looked out. “ Yeah here he comes now….alone.”

“ Alright you three get out of sight.” Johnny said.

A few minutes later Jesse Thomas knocked on the door. Johnny opened it. His eyes bore icy cold as he stared into the face of the man who shot him in the back four years ago. Stepping aside Johnny let Jesse step in.

“ I understand you wanted to talk to me Madrid?”

Johnny closed the door and turned around. Anger was boiling to the top as Madrid took over completely. Grabbing Jesse and spinning him around Johnny drew his gun and held it to the mans head.

“ You give me one good reason why I shouldn’t blow your head off right now!”

“ Wait a minute Madrid…….”

“ Why……why should I……you shot me in the back and tried to frame me for murdering Clive Harper…..when you’re the one who killed him.”

“ I didn’t shoot Harper…….I shot you in the back yeah….I thought I killed you but you’re not pinning his murder on me.”

“ If you didn’t kill him then who did?”

“ Why should I tell you that?”

“ Because if you don’t you’ll hang for attempted murder.”

The Marshal,Scott and Sheriff stepped out of the back room then.

“ I would think real good about this Jesse…….You’re looking at swingin at the end of a rope…..is the person you’re protecting worth that?”

Jesse stood there looking at the Marshal then at Johnny.

Johnny lowered his gun but didn’t put it away yet.

“ Well?”

“ Rebbecca…….Rebbecca shot her old man…….there was a silver vein found and he refused to mine it… I shot you in the back Madrid but I didn’t kill old man Harper.” Jesse said with a slight quiver in his voice.

Scott stood there with anger welling up inside. “ You shot my brother in the back…..you shot a man in the back and all for a silver vein……You bastard.” Scott said angrily as he walked closer to Jesse. Before anyone could do anything Scott hit Jesse hard knocking him down.

“ Brother…….Madrid don’t have no brother.”

“ Lancer you……..his name is Lancer and he is my brother.”

“ Sheriff lets get him over to the jail and get his statement wrote out.” Marshal Burke said as he went to put the cuffs on Jesse.

Johnny stood there looking at his brother as the three left their room. After the door closed Johnny re holstered his gun and sat down on the bed.

“ You know brother….when I was healing up Cora told me about how Harper was set against mining the land and how it was reputed that a silver vein was  found on some land adjacent to his ranch….I think that’s why he was bringing me here……to run the people off the land.”

“ Bringing you here to run them off he could get the land and insure it didn’t get mined……is that it brother?”

“ Yeah it is.” Johnny said as he stood up. “ Listen Scott…….I’ve been alone most of my life……..never had anyone to care about me or……”

“ To watch your back?”

“ Yeah……you took a big risk today Scott.”

“ Well get used to it brother because that’s something I plan on doing for a long long time.”

Johnny couldn’t help but smile. Having a big brother now like he had always wished for growing up made him feel good. Having a father who would love and care about him Johnny still didn’t think would happen.

“ Come on little brother lets head over to the jail and put this past behind you.” Scott said as he slapped Johnny on the shoulder. “ Then I’ll buy you super.”

Johnny and Scott stood outside the Sheriff’s office later that evening as the Sheriff and Marshal rode in with Rebbecca Thomas. When she got down  from the horse and seen Johnny standing there she went up and slapped him. The Sheriff grabbed her arm and pulled her away.

“ Guess you think you’re so smart don’t you Madrid……..I should have killed you myself.”

“ Maybe you should have tried too.”

“ You go to hell.”

Johnny stepped up to within inches of her face. “ I’ve already been there.” he said before walking away.

Scott followed Johnny across the street as people stood looking. This was one town Scott was going to be glad to be leaving in the next day or two.

Monday morning Johnny walked out of the court house with Scott the Marshal and Cora. The judge had listened  to what Cora told him and after asking a few questions he dropped the charges against Johnny and ordered the wanted poster revoked.

“ I’ll have a notice sent out Johnny that the charges have been dropped.” Burke stated.

“ Thanks Marshal…..You take care of yourself and if you’re ever in California you’ll always be welcome at Lancer.” Johnny said as he held out his hand.

Burke shook his hand and bid the three goodbye and headed to the hotel to get his things and head back home.

Johnny stepped toward Cora and smiled. “ I sure could use a good home cooked meal if you was a mind to.”

Cora smiled at Johnny in such a way that even Scott knew what she was saying loud and clear.

“ I think that can be arranged as well as some home made desert.” Cora said as she stepped to her buggy. Johnny helped her up in before going to Barranca and untying him he swung up in the saddle.

“ Lead the way.” he said with a grin.

Scott mounted his horse and the three of them headed out of town. Scott knew that the rest of the day and night he would pretty much be by himself after dinner.

Arriving at Cora’s house Johnny swung down and helped Cora get down from the buggy. “ Why don’t I take care of the horses Scott and you can go in and maybe get to know Cora a little more.” Johnny stated as he took his brother’s reins then took the lead rope to the buggy horse and walked toward the barn.

Scott watched Johnny walk away before turning and holding his arm out to Cora. “ Ma’am.”

“ My my you sure are a gentleman Scott.” Cora said as she wrapped her left arm around Scott’ and they walked into the house.

“ Come into the kitchen with me Scott and tell me a little about yourself while I start dinner.”

Scott followed Cora into the kitchen and sat down at the table. “ What do you want to know?”

Cora took out a fry pan and started preparing chicken. “ Oh I don’t know…….how about where you grew up to start.”

“ I grew up in Boston……my Grandfather raised me….my mother died giving birth to me.”

“ Boston…….I know you and Johnny are brother’s and such but……how can that be if your mother died giving birth to you?” Cora asked as she covered the chicken in flour then dropped it in the fry pan.

“ Johnny is my half brother…….my father…….our father met his mother a couple years later and remarried…….I guess when Johnny was two she left our father and took Johnny to Mexico…….we didn’t know about each other till a few months ago.”

“ That I must say had to be a shock for both of you…..especially you Scott.”

“ How so?”

“ Well finding out you have a brother for one……and then finding out that that brother is a famous gunfighter…….How do you feel about that?”

“ Johnny is my brother and I guess you could say that I’m angry……..not at Johnny for being a gunfighter but for why he had to become one……I grew up not wanting for anything and here I have a brother being treated the way he was and not having.”

“ So you’re not mad at him for what he has done?” Cora asked as she sat down at the table across from Scott.

“ No……I want to get to know my brother……..I want Johnny to be able to trust me enough and let me be a big brother to him……I………”

“ You want Johnny to maybe tell you some about his past is that it?”

“ Yes ma’am.”

Cora got up and went to the cupboard and took down three glasses and sat them on the table, then took a pitcher of lemonade from the counter and poured her and Scott a glass.

“ The time Johnny spent here with me Scott I learned one major thing about him.” she said sitting back down. “ Johnny don’t trust easily…..you’re gonna have to earn that from him Scott.”

“ I realize that and I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to earn my brother’s respect.”

“ You know me and Johnny have been……”

“ Intimate?” Scott stated.

Cora looked at Scott and could tell he was bothered by this. “ This bothers you doesn’t it?”

“ That my brother has slept with an older woman when he was only fifteen?…….yes…..but I think what bothers me more is the fact that that older woman could sleep with a fifteen year old boy.”

“ Your brother may have been just fifteen then Scott but trust me Johnny was no boy……I had been a widow for a couple of years and was lonely…..Your brother made me feel like a woman again……..Johnny only did what I asked him to do Scott……He made me feel like a woman again…..made me feel what it was like to be loved by a man…….”

“ Johnny wasn’t a man Mrs Clemmons…..Johnny was a fifteen year old boy who you took into your bed.”

“ Yes I did Scott and I don’t feel ashamed for that one bit……I have no regrets what so ever for the week we spent in each others arms before he left……I don’t know how things are back in Boston where you grew up Scott but out here a widow is most likely to stay alone the rest of her life……Men don’t really want to take a woman who has already been married, they think she is damaged goods or in my case to old so they don’t take an interest and seein’s how this is Mormon country I don’t get a chance to fall in love again and remarry…..So when a fifteen year old man comes along and can make me feel love again….yes I will sleep with him for that chance to feel that love again.” Cora stated firmly before getting up to check the chicken.

“ You and my brother plan on sharing a bed tonight don’t you?” Scott said before taking a drink of the lemonade.

Cora turned and faced Scott. “ Yes we do, I have the spare bedroom made up for you down here but yes me and Johnny will be sleeping together tonight Scott.”

Scott stood up and walked over to the stove. “ You ever thought about what you would do if my brother got you pregnant?”

Cora glared at Scott hard for a few seconds before turning to turn the chicken over. “ Not that it is any of your business Scott but I can’t have children……I got the small pox when I was a child and it did something to me so I can never have a child.”

“ I’m sorry I was out of line saying that Cora…..Please forgive me…….Look it’s really none of my business what my brother does I guess….”

“ You’re damn straight it ain’t Boston.” Johnny said firmly as he entered the kitchen. He could see Cora was upset some and stepped over to them. “ Just what have you said to her Scott?”

“ It’s all right Johnny……we was just having a conversation and I told your brother something that was painful to say is all.” Cora said looking at Scott.

“ Cora you could say little brother set me straight on something is all…….Thank you.” Scott stated before going back to the table and sitting down.

Johnny walked over and put his arms around Cora and pulled her into a hug before he kissed her with just enough passion to let her know he fully intended to be with her that night.

Scott looked away as his brother so boldly kissed Cora  in a way that should be done in private. Getting up Scott walked to the entry to the living room. “ If you two will excuse me I think I will get cleaned up before dinner if that’s all right with you?”

Johnny put his chin on Cora’ shoulder. “ Yeah sure Boston.”

“ The wash room is just down the hall Scott, second door on the left.”

“ Thank you ma’am.” Scott said as he turned to leave the two alone.

As soon as Scott left Johnny turned Cora around and kissed her with passion as he pulled her close to him. Moaning he ran his hands up and down her back as he delved his tongue in as far as he could. Pressing his hardness into her Johnny moaned as he felt himself throbbing.

Cora melted into Johnny’s kiss and gave just as much passion back. Running her hands down his chest and back up around his neck. “ Oh my.” Cora said as she felt Johnny’s hardness against her abdomen.

“ We keep this up Johnny and you’re gonna be in a world of hurt until tonight.”

Johnny pressed against Cora more as he kissed and nibbled on her neck and ear. Stopping Johnny looked Cora in the eyes and smiled as he took her hand and reaching around her he moved the chicken from the stove so it wouldn’t burn before he led Cora into the pantry just off the porch. Reaching down Johnny started pulling Cora’ dress up as she undid his belt. Johnny stopped and undid his pants so they would slide down just enough so he could take her standing up. Lifting Cora up onto a wooden crate she had Johnny moved between her legs and thrust deep inside her hard and fast as he claimed her mouth with his once again. Thrusting as hard as he could Johnny delved his tongue deep into Cora’ mouth as he felt her moan in pleasure. Taking his right hand Johnny reached down and started rubbing Cora’ mound in just the right spot in just the right way so she could enjoy the same feeling Johnny was.

Cora wrapped her legs around Johnny when he lifted her up and meeting his tongue with hers she moaned in pure pleasure as Johnny thrust deep, hard and fast into her. When he reached down and started rubbing her Cora thought she was going to scream the feeling was so wonderful.

“ Oh Johnny please….please.” was all she could say as her climax took her over the edge and she bit into Johnny’s neck to keep from screaming out loud.

Johnny felt Cora’s muscles tighten around his shaft and thrust as hard and fast as he could as she climaxed. Feeling his own start Johnny really lost it when Cora bit into his neck causing him to release his hot seed deep inside her harder than he had ever released before. Leaning his head on her shoulder Johnny slowed his breathing down some before stepping back. “ Damn Cora……..I don’t think I’ve ever released like that before….when you bit into my neck .”

“ I’m so sorry Johnny….I didn’t want your brother knowing what we was doing I guess I should have just….”

“ No!” Johnny said as he did his pants up. “ That was wonderful Cora……..I’m not upset at you.”

Cora moved down off the crate and straightened her dress out. “ Really?”

“ Yeah…really.” Johnny said as he claimed her mouth once more. “ I can’t wait to get you in bed tonight and really take you.”

Cora smiled and put her left hand on Johnny’s right cheek. “ My lover of youth.”

Scott walked into the kitchen some time later just as Cora was setting the food on the table.

“ Excuse me but I think I will go wash up right quick.” Johnny said before kissing Cora on the cheek and leaving the room.

“ Sit down Scott…..do you prefer coffee or something else with dinner?”

“ Coffee is fine ma’am.” Scott said as he sat down. “ My brother seems to be in a better mood now….Did the two of you have a good talk?”

“ Why yes we did.” Cora said with a slight blush as she sat down.

Johnny came back into the room and seen Cora’s face was a little red. Looking at his brother as he sat down Johnny asked. “ Did I come back at the wrong time?”

“ No….No little brother I just asked Cora if the two of you had a nice talk while she cooked dinner is all.”

“ We sure did brother.” Johnny said with a grin. “ A real good talk.”

Scott had a feeling that something happened and it wasn’t talk as his brother said.

During dinner the three talked about each others life even though Johnny didn’t tell to much to Scott. Cora told how she started helping out the needy families in the area and around town. Scott told of a couple things back in Boston while in college that he did before going into the Army to fight in the war between the states. Johnny listened intently as his brother talked, eager to learn about him the best he could. When Scott asked Johnny about his line of work and what he had read in the Pinkerton report Johnny stood up.

 “ I don’t know what’s in that report Boston so I’m not at liberty to say…..But I will tell you this brother……..I never killed a man in cold blood or for the wrong reason…….I believed in what I was doing then and a part of me always will.” he stated firmly. “ If you both will excuse me I think I’m gonna go check on Barranca before I turn in.

Scott stood up. “ Johnny…….I’m sorry.” Scott said as he walked over to his brother. “ I never meant to imply that you did.”

Johnny smiled and put a hand on Scott’ shoulder. “ I know brother……I know.” he said before walking out.

Scott turned and looked at Cora. “ I didn’t mean it the way he took what I said.”

“ I know you didn’t Scott. You two have a lot to learn about each other. I was watching Johnny when you talked about Boston Scott and he is real interested in what you did back there.”

“ Yeah I noticed that…..I guess I gotta remember how I talk around Johnny so I don’t come across as a know it all Harvard educated spoiled rich kid.” Scott stated as he sat back down. “ I don’t know if my brother even has any schooling Cora.”

“ Scott Johnny has schooling but it’s not the kind of schooling you go to a school and get from a teacher……..Johnny’s schooling is the toughest a person can have!…..Do you know what that is?”

“ Survival.”

“ That’s right….Johnny had to learn how to survive on his own Scott…..and I can tell you that from the scars I have seen on his body when I was taking care of him that that brother of yours learned the hard way.”

“ Yeah….he learned in a way that no child should ever have to learn.” Scott said with sadness. “ Listen I think I will turn in now ma’am……I thank you for a wonderful dinner and the pie was as good as my brother said it would be.” Scott said as he stood up.

Cora stood up and placed a hand on Scott’ arm stopping him. “ Scott be patient with Johnny and when he wants to talk about his past to you be a brother and friend and listen……really listen to him.”

Scott took Cora’s hand in his and kissed the back of it and smiled. “ You’re the second person to tell me that Cora and I have every intention of doing just that……Oh try not to wear my brother out to much tonight, we have a seven hundred mile ride back to Lancer ahead of us.”

Cora laughed and bid Scott a good night. Johnny hadn’t come back in yet so Cora grabbed her shawl and headed out to the barn. She found Johnny brushing Barranca and talking to him is Spanish as she walked in.

“ My brother go to bed?” Johnny asked as he stepped out of the stall.

“Yes he did Johnny.”

“ Good.” Johnny said as he walked up to Cora and put his hands on her face and pulled her in to kiss her.

Cora dropped her shawl and brought her arms around Johnny’s waist and pulled him into her. Johnny started walking her backwards into a stall across from Barranca that was empty. He had a blanket already down on the straw he had put down to make it soft for them. “ I’m going to enjoy this.” Johnny stated as he started to undo the buttons on Cora’s blouse.

“ In the barn Johnny?……I thought you wanted me in bed?” Cora asked as she ran her hand down between Johnny’s legs and could feel his hardness.

“ I did but then I got to thinkin about Scott being in the house also and I want to hear you as I pleasure you.” Johnny stated as he pushed her blouse back and it slid off her shoulders. Throwing his head back in pleasure as Cora massaged his hardness Johnny reached up and started playing with Cora’s breast through her undergarment. Feeling himself ready to explode Johnny reached down and stopped her hand. Undoing his pants first Johnny then shucked his shirt before he took Cora and guided her down onto the blanket. Standing back up Johnny shucked his boots and finally his pants as Cora removed the rest of her undergarment and laid back waiting for Johnny to love her.

Johnny looked down at Cora and smiled before he knelt down and kissed her on the mouth before moving lower. Kissing her neck and sucking on her ear lobs before moving down to suck on her breast. Taking first her left one then the right one Johnny savored the taste and gently bit and tugged on the nipples as he slowly ran a hand down between Cora’s legs and started rubbing her mound before parting folds of moist skin and sliding a finger inside her. Cora moaned in pure pleasure when Johnny started working his fingers inside her. Kissing lower Johnny soon had his mouth over her and could feel the heat coming from her on his face. Removing his hand Johnny parted her folds and using his tongue he took Cora to the brink of climax but would stop before she could. Doing this several times Johnny watched Cora’s face as she would press her head back into the straw every time. Finally Johnny decided to really bring her over the top. Taking his right hand Johnny thrust three fingers inside her wetness as he devoured her with his mouth and tongue as Cora screamed out her pleasure and grabbed his shoulders and dug her nails into his flesh as she was wracked by spasms of pure ecstasy.  Johnny knew he wasn’t going to last much longer so raising above Cora he brought his tip to her portal and shoved inside her hard. Thrusting deep and hard Johnny claimed her mouth again as he started to release. Cora sensed he was and again bit Johnny on the chest causing him to cry out from the pain and thrust so hard he was shoving Cora down into the straw hard as their bodies  slick with sweat smacked together hard. Johnny thought he would never stop releasing his seed into her as wave after wave, spasm after spasm took his body to new heights.  Finally totally exhausted Johnny collapsed off to Cora’s side some and tried to get his breathing to slow down. Sweat ran off his face and down his chest. His arms were even sleek with the moisture, hell every bit of his body was covered in sweat.

After about ten minutes laying in each other arms Johnny spoke. “ Okay Cora….you didn’t do that to me four years ago…….what gives?” Johnny asked as he gently ran his left hand up and down her arm.

Cora turned and faced him. “ Well you see I was cleaning the doc’s office one day and I came across a book and uh…….well it explained these places on the human body that are focal points to direct pain to certain area’s so I thought I would try it on you and it worked.”

Johnny reached up with his right hand under her chin. “ Yeah it worked I have never felt pleasure like that before in my life when I released……You do know though that I now have marks from you biting me?” Johnny said with a grin.

“ I’m sorry Johnny…..I guess I did it a little to hard.”

Johnny rolled onto his side facing her. “ Yeah I guess you did……what say we try it again and see what happens?” Johnny said as he ran his right hand down between Cora’s legs.

Cora reached down and stopped him. “ Not this time Johnny……This time I am going to pleasure you.” Cora said as she started kissing Johnny on the chest as she ever so slowly moved lower.

Johnny remembered the last time Cora did this to him and being older and more experienced  than then Johnny knew what was coming and he welcomed it. The two made passionate love well into the early hours of dawn before heading into the house. Quietly the two headed to the bedroom where Johnny made love to Cora one last time before falling asleep.

Scott was up shortly after dawn. He had heard his brother and Cora come into the house as he laid there in bed. Deciding to let his brother get some obviously needed sleep Scott got up and started coffee brewing before heading out to feed the horses. When he came back in Cora was starting breakfast.

“ Good morning Scott….did you sleep well?”

“ Yes ma’am I did…..Johnny still asleep?” Scott asked as he poured them both a cup of coffee.

“ Yes he is……..I’m afraid I may have kept him awake to late.”

Scott smiled at Cora as he sipped his coffee. “ Well I don’t think it would hurt to let him sleep a little before we head out….I noticed your corral is in need of some repair I think I’ll go out and do that for you before breakfast ma’am.”

“ Why thank you Scott that is very kind of you……I’ll have breakfast done by the time you are finished.”

Scott stood up and headed to the door. Turning he looked at Cora. “ Thank you……..for the talk we had but mostly Thank You for what you have done for my brother Cora saving his life four years ago and last night.”

“ Actually Scott it’s Johnny who saved my life.”

Scott didn’t need an explanation to what Cora said, he fully understood what she meant as he headed out to fix the corral.

An hour later Scott was about finished with the corral when Johnny walked out.

“ Hey brother……you sleep well last night?” Scott asked with a smile.

“ I always sleep well.” Johnny stated as he leaned on the fence. “ Cora has breakfast ready.”

“ Okay I just have this one last board to fix and I’m done.” Scott said as he hammered in the last nail.

“ Johnny…….Cora……she’s quit a woman little brother.” Scott stated as he picked up the can of nails and set them and the hammer on a shelf just inside the barn.

“ Yeah she is brother.” Johnny said with a smile.

After breakfast Scott and Johnny walked out on the porch with Cora.

“ You take care of yourself Scott……….It was a real pleasure meeting you young man.”

Scott took Cora’s hands in his and kissed them both. “ The pleasure was all mine ma’am.” Scott stated before turning and heading toward his horse.

Johnny stood there looking at Cora a minute. Stepping closer to her he took her in his arms and kissed her passionately. “ If you’re ever out near Morro Coyo, California come to the Lancer spread.”

“ I just might do that some day Johnny…….say maybe in four years.” she said with a smile.

Johnny gently touched her left cheek before turning and heading to his horse. When he got there he looked at Cora one last time then at Scott.

“ You think the old man is going to want me back at Lancer brother?” Johnny said as he swung up in the saddle.

Scott raised a hand to Cora before he to swung up in the saddle. “ I think so little brother.”

“ You really think the old man is going to want a gunfighter for a son?”

“ Well Johnny all I can tell you is this……I don’t care if you’re a gunfighter or not you’re my little brother and I want you at Lancer.”

“ I don’t think you or the old man have any idea what you’re getting into brother.”

 Scott looked at his brother as he reined around to Johnny’s right side. “ You know Johnny you worry to much, Personally I think you are reading to much into this.”

“ You think so huh?……..Well let me remind you big brother……..I’ve managed to stay alive this long because I got real good at reading people and I don’t think the old man want’s me.”

“ Johnny if he didn’t want you he wouldn’t have offered you a third of the biggest ranch in California.”

“ Yeah right…….hell he probably didn’t expect me to sign that partnership agreement Scott………..hell he probably thought I didn’t even know how to write.” Johnny said as he went to head out.

Scott grabbed Barranca’s rein. “ Maybe but Johnny you did and you are…..You know a Professor told me once that Today’s Question’s are Tomorrow’s Answer’s Johnny.”

TBC in  “ The Journey Home ”

10/27/2011

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