The doctor did an exam of the body. Afterward he turned it over to the Hopi. He would receive a burial by their customs and traditions. No outsiders. The doctor said, “I put up one hell of a fight. Whom ever did this will definitely show some marks.” The next morning Daintree rode into town with two of his men. It was unusual to see him without the usual six or seven men that always rode with him. He rode by the gazebo and smiled then turned to one of his men and said something. The two started to laugh. Then he got a slight puzzled look on his face as he rode by the Chief’s store. He then took a turn and headed for my office.
He came in and looked around. I was there as well as two of my deputies Jack and James Fritz. He nodded to Jack and James and walked over to me. I didn’t receive the same nod. He said, “hey sheriff I’m here to get one of my boys. I heard he got into some trouble and tried to light a tepee up.” I looked to the cells then back to him and said, “I don’t know who you are talking about I have no one here.” Jack turned to me and said, “he may mean the dumbass that set himself on fire just outside the Chiefs shop.” Daintree walked over to the cells and considered all of them. without a word, he went to the door. As he left I said, “the man who order the death of the Chief’s son-in-law and daughter just might find a different place to be if he wants to live past tomorrow.” Daintree left the office. James asked me, “should we follow him?” I said, “why.”
Click read more to continue
After he left a man came out from the back. He was hiding. It was one of Daintree’s men. He was more than afraid. He sat down at my desk and said, “I need help. I was supposed to help Kyle set the Indian’s shop o fire but I got drunk and passed out.” I just stared at him. He continued, “Mister Daintree wanted the Indian out of the race. That’s why they killed the colored guy, his wife and their half breed children.” I said to him, “your friends missed the children.” He looked relived. I said, “you could have let us know about all of this and saved some lives.” He just gave me a confused look. I said, “if you testify against Daintree then I can protect you otherwise get out of my office.” He got up turned around and went for the door. He said to me, “dam you to hell.” I said, “you first.”
That night I stayed in the office just in case he returned. Around midnight the town was full of the people. All three nations were searching the town. as they went they blew out the streetlights. I went to go out and tell them to stop then I thought about it. I was one man with two six guns and a rifle. There was around fifty of the people outside. I went back and locked my guns up in a safe. I turned around to see one of the people at the door. He left, then the Chief came inside. He came over to my desk and sat down on the other side. I offered him some coffee he asked if I had anything stronger. I said, “you haven’t tried my coffee.” I grabbed two coffee mugs and a bottle of bourbon from back east. He looked at the bottle.
I poured two fingers of bourbon in each cup. He said, “the last sip of whiskey I had before this was also bourbon. The nations have been plagued by this liquid. I said I would never drink again.” With that he downed the entire cup of whisky. He picked up the bottle and went to pour some more stopping to ask if it was ok without asking out loud. I nodded and he poured. He said, “when old man Ilyas proposed this town I thought it was a mistake. It would never work. Over time I came to love the town and the people. This town stood by as my family was murdered.” I didn’t say anything. He was right. I should have realized Apple would be targeted because of his color. I just trusted in the town more than I should have. I thought that after the last two months we have become more than a town. The Chief got up without a word and went to the door with the bottle of bourbon. He turned around and placed the bottle back on my desk and said, “don’t tell my wife.”
About an hour later the people were gone and the streets were quiet again. The town had a feeling that could best be described as an approaching storm. With all the electricity and danger in the air. This storm could pass us by or wipe us out. In two days, the town votes. If Daintree wins any office then the town loses. I went home to my wife. I like how that sounds.
The day of the election my deputies and I spent closing the saloon and watching the ballot box. Everyone who registered voted except for Daintree’s men. It seems they were missing. I must look into that. Maybe next month. Daintree himself came in to vote. He was in a new suit with a new white Stetson hat. As he passed one of the town’s folk said to Daintree, “nice suit.” He turned and said, “thank you.” The person countered, “it will look nice in your coffin.” Daintree rode out of town. I think I just might not see him again. What a shame.
When the votes were counted Apple won. It was a landslide. His name was still on the ballot and his votes counted. The runner up was a dark horse. A woman named Debra Drake. She runs a hotel near the center of town. I don’t know her that well. She keeps busy with her business. I guess that will change. The Chief was elected to the head of the town council. I am not sure if he will accept it or have it go to the runner up. I hope he does then maybe we could rebuild the town’s relationship with the nations. Daintree had two votes. It was decided in a town vote that the job of sheriff would be controlled by the town council and not the mayor so the chief was my new boss.
The next day we had a wake for Apple on the town square. Everyone who mattered showed up. People spoke about how he was always there to lend a hand. How he was in many ways the town. Born in the south raise for work only to be freed to charter his own path. I said, “Apple taught me a lot. He showed me who I was and forced me to change my perceptions.” As I spoke the ghost of my dead brother came up behind the crowd. He was in his union army uniform with the black hat. I said, “it seems we are all surrounded by ghosts until we join them.” I stepped down and went to Candice. She said, “who is the union officer in the black hat?” I said, “shit you see him too?”
These stories will be based in the old west and an attempt at a modern western (later on).
PDFs are on new Story PDF page
If you like my stories then please give to the hat