The Holts… Chapter 30 (End)

Chapter 30, Reunion

Click here for Chapter 29

    Kelvin and Dan paused as they heard boots on the boardwalk outside. Each immediately picked up their pistols that they had out and sitting next to them. Dan checked his rifle, making sure it was in easy reach, and waited. The swinging door pushed open slowly by the barrel of a pistol, they aimed and waited until they saw Carlton looking around inside then ease on in to the saloon. He uncocked and holstered his pistol as he spotted the two in the balcony. Luke and Donni followed him inside.

    Kelvin dropped his pistol, jumped to his feet and yelled, “Donni!”, as he came running down the stairs, “You’re alive!”

   Carlton looked at Donni and smiled, “No. You couldn’t tell you two were brothers.” As he moved in behind the bar looking for any intact glass and something to drink.

    Donni winced as Kelvin slapped him on the shoulder. Kelvin stopped when he saw the blood on his hand, “You got shot!”

    Donni snarled, “You and fucking Luke can both go to hell!”

    Kelvin frowned then turned to Carlton, “Are you saying I’m stupid?” he asked.

    Carlton was pouring a whiskey, “If the boot fits…,” Donni laughed at Carlton’s quip.

    Kelvin gave them a sour look, “Well, Dan says that I’m almost as stupid as you are Donni!”

    Carlton sipped his whiskey, “That’s the pot calling the kettle black.”

    Dan leaned over the balcony, “I heard that, Carlton!”

    Carlton raised his glass, “Sorry Dan. Just stating the obvious.”

    Dan looked perplexed, “What’s that mean?”

    Donni grinned, “He means you’re stupid.”

    Dan looked satisfied, “Oh. Okay, no dispute. Hey `Nevada’, bring me up some more whiskey.  I am almost numb enough to try and get down from up here.”

    “Nevada?”, both Donni and Luke questioned at the same time.  Kelvin looked embarrassed and poured whiskey in another glass that Carlton had lined up on the bar.

    “I’ll tell ya later,” Dan yelled down from above.

    Donni looked down at the bodies, noting that three of them were his friends, “Shit! They’re dead!”

    Kelvin agreed, “Yeah they are.”

    Carlton looked at his brothers with amazement. “How can you two be so damned dumb? Someone must have gotten over the fence.” Donni and Kelvin looked hurt.

    “Well they are,” Kelvin said as he carried the whiskey up to Dan.

    Luke leaned weakly against the bar, “How about my leg, Carlton?”

    Carlton finished his whiskey,”We’ll take care of it. Just have a drink and shut up. You’re all giving me a headache. Besides making my side hurt.” as he felt his side.  It was leaking a little blood off and on.

    Dan spoke up, “That dead gunslinger said something about four other men and shooting it out with a badge.  Was that you or a ranger?”

    Carlton replied, “We found them down the street as we were coming back.  All dead. Looked like Don Mathers took out all four of them before he succumbed to his injuries.  He was a hell of a man, the territory will miss him and the other rangers.” as he fingered the badge still pinned to his chest.  Crap could he and his family be the only deputized law men in the area?  Nah, the sheriff was probably still hiding somewhere.

    Donni looked up at Dan, “What other gunslinger?” Kelvin ran back down the stairs and pointed at Clayton’s body, “This one! I shot him, dead as hell. In the head, too… just like you Donni.”

    Luke and Donni came over and looked at Clayton. Donni looked at Luke, “Must’uv been slower than we thought.”

    Kelvin became angry, “The hell with you! I outdrew him, fair and square!”

    Dan cleared his throat and looked at his whiskey glass.

    Donni grinned up at Dan, “What’d do… get him laughing?  Why don’t you come down?”, he asked just realizing Dan hadn’t moved.

    “Shot in the leg.  Let this whiskey soak in a bit and I will be down.”

    Kelvin set his whiskey glass down. He walked over to Donni, “You take that back Donni.”

    “Take what back?”, Donni smirked.

    Luke started laughing,”Watch out, Donni! I hear that Nevada’s a mean one.”

    Kelvin curled his hands into fists,”You shut up too, Luke. I can beat you up… take it back!”

    Donni knelt beside the body. He stuck his finger in the hole. “Doesn’t look quite right.” Luke looked sick.

    Kelvin gave Donni a superior look, “Oh, I suppose now you’re going to do that tracker shit and tell me something about how he was shot?”

    Donni grinned, “Look’s like a Winchester wound to me.”, thinking about Dan in the balcony.

    Kelvin laughed, “Hah! You’re not so smart! It was my derringer!”

    Carlton paused in his drinking and looked at Donni. Donni grinned and straightened.

    “Fair and square, eh?”, he asked.

    Kelvin looked flustered, “Well, he was faster!”

    Carlton stared at Donni, “Did you figure that out all by yourself?”

    Donni looked at him dumbly, “Figure what out?”

    Carlton nodded, satisfied, “Thought so. Too good to be true.”

    “Can we find a doctor?” Luke said and wiped the sweat off of his face.

    Donni looked at him, “Bear and the others are laying here dead and you’re whimpering about a little leg wound.”

    Kelvin chimed in, “Yeah you don’t hear them complaining!”, immediately wishing he hadn’t  said it.  Everyone else ignored the comment.

    Dan spoke up, “Well I’m complaining. Get me a damn doctor!”

   Carlton shook his head, set his whiskey down, held up his hands, and left the bar.

    Kelvin looked after him curiously, “Where’s he going?”

    Donni shrugged, “Probably to get a doctor.”

    Outside Carlton paused and looked at his horse, still alive, still tied up in front of the saloon. He could just mount up and keep riding. He heard laughter from inside and with a heavy sigh he shook his head and went to find the doctor.  They are family.  Besides he needed to get his side looked at too.

    Dan slowly made his way down the stairs, leaning heavily on the banister. Kelvin had righted a table and some chairs and sat down, pulling out his cards. Luke sat down by Kelvin and shakily poured himself another whiskey. Dan fell into a chair beside them and reached for the bottle.  “What the hell is the name of this town anyway?”, Dan asked.

    “Hilldale,” Luke replied.

    “Not anymore,” Donni smirked as he checked his guns, flexed his shoulder a little, the pain was pretty much gone and no bleeding.  He grabbed another bottle of whiskey and headed for where he had hung up his coat so long ago it seemed. After pulling on his coat and straightened his hat he headed toward the door.

    “Where’re you going?”, Kelvin asked.

    Donni smiled, “I think someone needs to go tell the Gatlins the good news.”

    Kelvin sneered, “Right. Don’t get shot anymore.”

    Donni left, whistling a Mormon hymn.

    Kelvin shuffled the cards and looked after Donni, “Probably thinks that wound is gonna get him some sympathy from that girl.”

    Luke grinned,”Probably right.”

The Holts… Chapter 29

Chapter 29, Gunslinger

Click Here for Chapter 28

    …Kelvin squatted by Dan watching as he tightened his crude bandage, Dan grunting and cursing under his breath. Glancing up at Kelvin he said.  “What the hell you lookin’ at?”

    Kelvin shrugged, “Don’t know. I was just thinking. I mean. Does it hurt much?”

    Dan grimaced from the effort and question, shook his head more to clear his eyes from the pain and replied, “No. I get shot in the leg all the time.”

    Kelvin looked surprised, “You do? I’ve never seen you shot before!”

    Dan spat and chuckled a little. He closed his eyes and laid his head back, “You’re almost as dumb as Donni, Kelvin!”

    Kelvin looked offended, “Donni’s not that dumb, Dan.”

    Dan groaned, “Whatever you say.”

    Kelvin stood up and fidgeted nervously about the balcony. He was coming down from the excitement of the gunfight and he just didn’t feel like sitting.  He looked down at the ruined barroom.  It would take a lot of work to get it up and running again, if ever. Then he saw the body of the bartender/owner again and wondered who would do it.  Bodies and broken glass were everywhere.  He should be happy to be alive and unhurt. Just relax, but he couldn’t, “When’s Carlton gonna get back?”

    Dan opened his eyes, wearily. “Give him some time. He’s only been gone a few minutes.  There is probably a lot of things to find out.”

    “OK, ok, I’m going to go down and get a whiskey, if there is any left down there. You want me to get you something.”  Dan just blinked at Kelvin for a second and then waived him on.

    Kelvin walked down the stairs. He carefully stepped over the bodies and made his way to the bar. He found a couple glasses that weren’t shattered and a bottle of whiskey.  Taking one of the glasses and the bottle he poured himself a whiskey and downed it quickly, then closed his eyes and leaned against the bar. Feeling the liquid burn a little in his throat and stomach. The question, ‘Why was everyone trying to kill his family?’, went though his mind again. A lot of his friends got killed and all they were doing was what was the right thing, right…??? Carlton said so. He spun as he heard several gunshots from outside and headed quickly towards the front door.  Carlton was out there…

    “Slow down, partner,” he heard a cold voice from behind and the back of the bar.  As he slid to a halt, a cold clammy sweat came on in the pit of his back.  Someone must have snuck in from the back door.

    Kelvin turned slowly with his hands out from his sides to find Clayton Forrest standing there with his guns drawn. Kelvin looked at Clayton’s guns, well oiled and clearly well maintained, very lethal tools of his trade.  He then looked into the man’s eyes. He was a killer, that much was obvious.  Easy to read, even without his poker skills.

    “You must be a Holt,” Clayton smiled slowly.

    Kelvin felt a surge of anger. Stupid bastard. Why was everyone always trying to shoot him and his brothers?  “Where’s Carlton?” Kelvin demanded.

    Clayton shrugged, “Don’t know. Probably dead. I got four men out there shootin’ it out with one of them badges. You ready to die, boy?”

    Kelvin frowned. What kind of stupid question was that? “No,” he said.

    Clayton holstered his guns and lowered his hands to his sides. “I’m gonna give you a chance. I like your grit, boy.”

    Kelvin kept his hands up and out from his sides, not lowering them anywhere close to his pistol.  Kelvin frowned again. This guy was younger than he was. Where did he get off calling him a boy?

    Clayton flexed his fingers slowly, one hand absentmindedly caressing the butt of one of his pistols.  His instincts in high alert for movement from Kelvin, “Anytime you’re ready, Nevada.”

     Kelvin smiled that’s more like it, “I like that. `Nevada’ Holt… it’s got a nice ring.”  Still not moving his hands.

    Clayton shook his head with admiration, “You got guts… for a dead man. Nobody’s going to remember who you are.”

    Kelvin held up his finger on his left hand while moving back closer to the bar, and reached out for the whiskey bottle saying, “Mind if I have a drink first?”

    Clayton smiled and nodded, “Sure. Seem’s a decent last request.”

    Kelvin poured a whiskey then pulled the second glass over and filled it, “Join me?”

    Clayton smiled as he moved closer to the bar and Kelvin. Making it easier to keep track of his actions, “You drink’um both. Hell’s a mighty dry place from what I hear.”

    Kelvin shook his head slowly in distaste, “That’s sounds like something Zebediah Smith would say. And you know what?”  Kelvin said as he eyed Clayton in what was left of the mirror behind the bar.

    Clayton raised an eyebrow, “What?”, he asked.  This was getting exasperating, time to just kill this Holt.  Even if he never went for that gun at his side.

    Kelvin flexed his right hand and the derringer up his sleeve slid smoothly into it. The right arm he had never let fall to his side, where his pistol sat in its holster, straightened slightly.  The arm already leveled at the gunslinger.  Kelvin quickly cocked the derringer and fired in a well practiced motion. Clayton’s mouth disappeared as the .45 slug hit him in the face, nearly removing his head from his body as he fell backward. Clayton’s gun went skittering across the floor.  He had almost gotten the gun up before he fell backwards.

    “I always wanted to kill that self-righteous bastard, Smith. ‘Specially since he ran off Donni.” Kelvin put his derringer on the bar and picked up a whiskey with his left hand, drinking it down smoothly. “Stupid gunfighters.” Kelvin looked up at the stairs, “You want a drink, Dan?”

    Dan lowered his rifle and uncocked it, “Sure could use one.” Kelvin brought the bottle and a couple glasses up the stairs. He sat down and poured Dan a drink as Dan fished a deck of cards out of his pocket and dealt.

    “Why didn’t you shoot him?” Kelvin asked.

    “I can always tell when your feedn’ someone a line of bull or bluffin. Pair of Tens.” Dan announced as he laid down his cards and pulled in the pot with out even looking at Kelvin’s hand. Ten minutes went by as they continued drinking and playing cards, before they began to wonder what happened to the others.  Kelvin was finally calm.