Chapter 44

Short chapter this week.  Maybe that is a relief after what I put you through last week.  Do you remember?  (Prior chapters can be found here.)  After you’ve caught up, feel free to read on to see what happens next.  (Not like I could stop you anyway.)

…..

The trio stood motionless, and then Scar crumbled to the ground.  Emmalou followed immediately after and Brig sprinted over to check on her.  In his heart he knew he had been too late though.  He knew what he would find when he reached her side and pulled her into his arms.  His gut told him that Scar’s shot had found her and he had learned to never doubt his gut.

You know what you should do.

The thought that he should turn and fire into the unconscious body of Scar’s gunslinger companion nagged at his conscience as he approached Emmalou.  The man he had been before Wyoming would have done that to cover his back and make sure there was one less person gunning for him.  But, Brig wasn’t that man anymore.  He never had wanted to be that man in the first place.

Brig slid into his knees as he reached Emmalou’s side, his right hand tucked the revolved into the belt at the base of his back, and his left hand reached for her neck to feel for a pulse.  His eye scanned her body for any sign of the wound he was certain he would find.

She has a pulse…  And I don’t see a wound.

Brig bent down over her body and pressed his left ear to his chest so he could hear and feel if she was breathing.  His eye scanned the bodies of the two men to make sure they weren’t moving.  Scar, he knew, would never move again, but Scar’s accomplice would wake up soon enough and need to be dealt with.

With that thought in mind, Brig released Emmalou’s neck with his left hand and reached over to where Scar’s gun had fallen from his dead hand.  Brig added the gun to the growing collection at his back, tucked into his belt and then returned his entire focus to Emmalou.

He could hear her lungs working and could feel her chest rising and falling.  She seemed okay.  He lifted his head and returned to scanning for any sign of an injury while his ears strained for any sound made by the downed gun men.

Nothing.  His eyes couldn’t detect any injury.

Nothing.  His ears didn’t detect any sound.

”Miss Marsch?”  His voice was timid at first, it cracked a little too, as he spoke barely above a whisper.  He was afraid his voice would open some hidden wound and dash away the hope that had started to spring up within him; the hope that maybe his gut had been wrong.

His right hand reached out and caressed her brow.  “Miss Marsch, are you okay?”

“Emmalou?”

There was no response.  Why isn’t she responding?  Did she faint?  Is there an injury I can’t see.

Brig’s hands twitched as they longed to search her body for a wound but he refused to let them touch her.  If she wasn’t injured he didn’t want to cross that threshold without her permission.  Then again, if she is injured I could be losing valuable seconds.

His right ear picked up the sound of stirrings from where the second gun man had fallen and Brig’s body reacted.  His right hand withdrew the gun from that side of his back.  It was cocked and aimed at the man in an instant.

You blinked, that’s why you missed it.

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