gunfighterThe younger man looked up at the older man with his dusty leather pants and an almost empty ammo belt slung across his chest and wonder if he had an ammo belt he most likely had a gun and if he had a gun. . .

“Do you plan on killing him when you find him?” The younger man asked, now regretting that he came down to the river that morning, wishing he would have stayed home and shawed his horses instead.

“That’s my business.” The older man answered back with a rough voice, his faded blue eyes the color of ice found in the high mountains never leaving the horizon, as if waiting in a constant vigil for his prey to suddenly appear. And yet he seemed to be aware of the younger man as well, and his every movement.

“He is very bad mister. I hope you have come well armed, for it might take a small army to stop him.”

“Then you have seen him?” The older man asked, taking his eyes off the horizon to look at the small, young boy that started to rise nervously before him as they stood there on the banks of the Mishaw river.

“He came through at the beginning of summer, took over the town, claimed the largest house as his own and even took some women as his, women that were already married.” Reaching down, moving in slow motion, never taking his eyes off the old man for fear he might turn violent and kill him if he turned away, the boy picked up a small leather satchel that held his fishing bait from his perch above the snaking river.

“Sounds like my boy.”

The boy’s eyes widen with fear or surprise, the old man couldn’t tell which.

“No harm will come to you boy, just tell me in which direction he went.

The boy pointed to the west as he grabbed his pole before he took off at a healthy run down the bank of the river into the lush green farm valley below.

The old man turned and looked in the direction that the boy had pointed, towards the setting sun and the high mountains know as the hounds teeth, a mountain range filled with solid rock slabs that were thrust from the deepest recesses of the earth ages ago, still showing their youth in the tall granite pillars that had yet to be ground down by the high blowing wind of ice and snow of the high country.

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