SSS (Sadie’s Short Stories): Death scene of Reed Colt; a scene from a book written by me

Moving forward cautiously, I watched the trees along the roadside. I had a feeling of uneasiness, and I couldn’t place it. Why I felt so worried, I didn’t know. Maybe it was the fact that after riding days on end, trying to outrun the law, I was too spooked to keep my head clear. 

“Calm down Reed, you got this, keep your head clear,” I said to myself, rubbing my face with my grimy hands. I felt the calluses on my large hands scrape against my leathered cheeks and could feel the sand seeping into every pore on my face. I rubbed the dust out of my eyes, to get a better view of my surroundings. It was almost dark, the sun starting its descent over the horizon. I watched as the sunset, its heat diminishing quickly, too quickly. I got a chill that swept over me, sending my legs shivering. The heat at least provided some comfort. I didn’t know if the goose pimples on his arms were from the cold or the sense that someone was watching me. 

I swiveled around in my saddle, gripping the saddle horn tightly. I made a smooth, cautious movement with my hand, moving my jacket away from where my holster was strapped onto my hip. My heart gave a jolt when I saw my eyes. Just as quickly as the black eyes had appeared, they vanished, like a ghost. My hand moving to my rifle, I started to push my horse forward, scanning the treeline again, hoping I was only imagining things. 

As I went to kick the horse, I heard the twang of a bowstring and felt an arrow fly into my back. 

“AGHHHHH!!!!” crying, I felt the blood gush from my back. The pain that filled me was excruciating, making my whole body tense. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I fell from the horse, rolling from the saddle like a sack of potatoes. When I hit the ground, the arrow went farther into my body, and it went the rest of the way through the other side of me, coming out of my abdomen. The pain of it all made me vomit, and I knew I had to get that arrow out of me, or I would never survive. I grabbed at the arrow shaft, the wood splintering in my hands, and with much difficulty, I snapped the arrowhead off. The pain was beyond me, nothing like I have ever felt before. Of course, me being an outlaw, I’ve been shot once or twice, each time narrowly missing a vein or vital organ, but this, this was something new. With my life draining away by the second, with each gasp of breath I knew I had to get that arrow out. I wouldn’t die lying on my back in the dust with an arrow in me, I would die standing up, fighting and killing as many of those redskins as possible.

I rolled onto my stomach, feeling the shaft go back into my body, and I gasped and dug my fingers into the dust, groaning in pain. I knew that the Indians would be here within minutes, I could hear them coming closer, the hooves of their painted ponies vibrated the dust beneath my head. Putting my hand behind my back, I felt for the shaft of the arrow, and with a shot of pain, I felt the shaft, protruding from my lower back. I then readied myself for the pain about to come, breathed in, and then pulled as hard as I could as I breathed out. The scream ripped thru me, just as the shaft ripped out of my body. Blackness came to hover above my eyes, making me nearly pass out, but I held on. Blood flooded out again, but because of the dirt and gravel in my wound from falling on my back, it has staunched the wound enough that I hadn’t died within seconds of being shot. Rolling onto my back once again, I groaned as the dirt and dust rubbed into my open wound, I rubbed harder though, trying to stuff the wound as best as I could. The hoofbeats got louder, the yells and howls of the apache growing louder, like a mosquito as it comes circling around your ear.

I saw them come, a wave of Apache swooping down from the canyon walls, popping out of nowhere from the bushes and trees surrounding the trail. They came up out of the bushes as if the earth had just given birth to them. A few ran for my horse, stripping the saddle of all its goods, and grabbing the horse by the bridle. Their rifles and arrowheads glistened in the sun sun, the shrill cries of the redskins reverberating off the canyon walls. They came, circling me like vultures over a dead animal. Some stopped, others whooping and pointing their rifles at me. I felt the sun on my face, the sweat beading on my forehead, and sweat dripping down my back into my wound, making me want to cry out in agony, but I didn’t want to show weakness. One thing the Apache hated most was a coward or a wimp. They admired bravery, even in the face of death, even to death, a brave man who showed no fear was honored. Of course, I knew even if I didn’t show weakness, I would be killed anyway without remorse, for the Apache were on the warpath, killing any white man in his path, even an unlucky, unsuspecting cowboy like me.

They rummaged through my saddlebag, throwing the stuff they didn’t want at my feet. They laughed and shouted in excitement when they found my gold pieces. They shook the pouch, laughing heartily at the pain etched on my face. They continued, searching relentlessly through my things, while an Apache stood above holding a jawbone club above me, swinging it in anticipation. 

“AY, AY.” One of the Apache, the leader apparently, being the tallest and most decorated, pulled out the picture of my girl back in El Paso. They gawked at the tintype, waving it around in excitement. They must like how she looked, and I couldn’t deny that I thought she was beautiful as well. She had long blonde hair, golden in the sunlight. She had full red lips and glassy blue eyes. She was slender, but well-formed, making her look like an angel. We were to get married until I had to run from the Marshal because I had killed a man. If I made it out alive, I would go back to get her, but there was a slim chance I was getting out of this one. My luck had run out, leaving now as I lay bleeding slowly into the dust of the trail. 

They took one last appreciating look at the girl, then threw the tintype at me. It fell just within reach of my hand. I grasped it, my body weakening by the second. They had finished going through my things. 

The leader spoke harshly in Apache, signaling for the others to grab the horse and the saddlebags. I looked up into his harsh leathered face, his black eyes glinting in malicious hatred. 

“White man takes everything from Apache, our wives, our children, our lives, now we take yours.” He signaled for the Apache above me to end my life. The Apache grinned, nodding in approval. He lifted the jawbone, grinning maliciously. I looked up, my vision becoming black. I gripped the tintype, the cold metal biting into my skin. I looked into the Apache’s dark gleaming eyes and thought of my girl back in El Paso. 

“Goodbye my love, we shall ride once more together on the Great Plains on the other side of paradise.” I let out the breath that I held, and felt the club come down upon me. Everything became black, the last thing I felt was the picture of her, Gabriella, the metal against my flesh. 


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