This story is an orphan – that is, the writer has not been active in the fandom for a long time, and the story has been rescued from the old, defunct Yahoo groups. So that we don’t lose the story entirely, we’re storing it here.
However the original author still owns this story. Should they reconnect with the fandom at some point, we will naturally respect whatever they want to do with their story.
Part of the Brother’s Drabbles
A series of 55-Word stories by Juanita
The crack of splintering glass stops my heartbeat.
I didn’t notice he was here.
“… bastard!” I’d said. No way to undo.
His look treats me with contempt, … piercing.
My oldest follows him upstairs.
His voice, … provocation.
The silvery jingling of spurs, dying away in the night, cuts through my soul.
Emptiness has crept into my heart, nearly throwing me off balance now.
A sleepless night, sitting on my brother’s deserted bed.
He doesn’t take along much, … not even that 20 dollar goldpiece, lying on the dresser.
Everything around is exuding him, … his smell still lingers around.
A slip of paper, … Johnny’s handwriting.
“¡Barranca es tuyo!”
Translation: “Barranca is yours!”
I ride toward Lancer, escorted by gunslingers. Men beyond redemption like myself.
They won’t recognize me.
The past, … gone?
It’s always with me.
Torn between that past I hate and that future I don’t want, … soon it will be closed.
For the last time, I hear the alarm-bell ringing.
I’m not scared.
I remember another ride over these fences before Pardee’s bullet hit my back. This time it’ll hit my chest.
Lancer wanted my blood on his land, … now, he’ll have it.
The impact tears up my heart.
I hit the ground, … it still hurts.
The world is sinking.
Someone kicks me. “Wake up, Mestizo! You’re dreaming!”
Days and miles have passed and Scott remains silent, … still.
“In the stall,” the Mexican says. “Tried to defend himself, futilely.”
There he lies, doubled over, … motionless.
Dark brown patches scattered on his white shirt sticking to the deep gash on his side.
I fall to my knees.
“God, what have I done to him!”
To see my brother in such a shape takes my breath away.
His face ravaged by blows is bathed in sweat. His flesh, …
scarred, … raw.
“John?” Murdoch whispers, clasping his shoulder carefully.
Johnny tries to reach for his gun, … he’s too weak.
“Don’t touch me!” he moans, … black eyelashes glistening with unshed tears. “Never again!”
Water, … just enough to moisten my dry throat.
Something wet cools my face.
“Shhh, little brother!”
I hear a snort. Something amazingly soft grazes my cheek.
Warmth blows across my face. Smells sweet like … hay.
“Easy!” … in Scott’s soothing voice. “And now …” He helps me
reach for something … silky?
My eyes flutter open.
“Ya got something to say, Ol’ Man?”
“¡Lo siento!” Murdoch says, dropping his head. “¡Perdonamé!”
I look at him, unsure.
“¡Vienes a casa, hijo, … por favor!” he pleads.
Candor gleams in his tired eyes. “¡Te amo!”
I nod. “Only wish … those things wouldn’t … hurt me … so much.”
“I know, Johnny. But some wounds never heal!“
“¡Lo siento!” – “I’m sorry!” / “¡Perdonamé!” – “Forgive me!” / “¡Por favor!” – “Please!”
“!Vienes a casa, hijo!” – “Come home, son!” / “¡Te amo!” – “I love you!”
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