The Posse

Two days of hard riding with nothing to show but parched throats and dust. Now the red rock of the wall loomed ahead, the perfect spot for the Cheyenne Kid and his gang to pick off the posse. Marshall Briggs pulled up hard on his reins as a figure materialized out of nowhere. The slim woman didn’t flinch as the horse skid to a stop an inch away She looked tired and worn.

“Thank goodness you caught up. They know you’re here and won’t give up their prize lightly.”

A prize. That’s all Kate was to them. Marshall pulled his hat off and raked his wiry hair with enough force to pull some out. He pretended to scan the hills as Kate continued, restraining the urge to respond by grinding his teeth. Only he could see her astral projection. It wouldn’t do to be seen talking to himself. If anything happened to her. . .

“There’s a spot to rest just over the next rise. We need to act now or they’ll kill everyone.”

Seemed the Kid’s gang only understood one language. Marshall dismounted, signaling the rest of the posse to gather around. “I’ll scout ahead.  Wait here for my signal.”

Sunshine faded as Kate led Marshall to the hiding place. A moment later Marshall’s spirit slipped from his body and followed her into the Kid’s camp. Kate’s body lay curled in a ragged ball, ropes bound tight. Dirt stained her torn dress. The Kid knelt next to her, running a filthy hand over her cheek. Anger tightened Marshall’s chest and his vision wavered.

Energy swirled around Marshall and he grabbed the Kid by the throat with and icy grip, flinging him across the clearing. The Kid’s eyes widened. All he saw was a freak zephyr spinning across the camp. Five of the gang fell from the cliff. Three more froze to the rocks, no more than human icicles. Even the toughest outlaw has a weakness, and weird stuff didn’t suit the Cheyenne Kid. He screamed and dropped his gun as the ground under his feet rippled, swallowing him to the hips before solidifying.

“Marshall.”

Kate’s voice broke through Marshall’s rage. He saw the Kid struggle and scream in his half grave, even more so when fire leaped to a nearby bush like a living animal. He was hardly a threat in his present state.

“The posse should be along soon, Marshall. I’ll be fine until you get here.”

“I’m sorry I took so long,” said Marshall. He turned away, and then paused. “I love you, Kate. Always have.”

Kate smiled. “I know. Now go back to your body before you dissipate.”

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About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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