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Friday, August 8, 2014

SEVEN VALES


This short story is all here and not continued!  Hope you like it !
Some crimes called for Hanging

I was raised in west Texas, as far west as you can be without being in east New Mexico.

It was about 10 thousand of us living in Morganville proper and another 10 thousand on the out skirts and on ranches.

The year was… well it had just turn into the 20th century about year four.

I grew up half on a ranch and half in town so I had the best of both worlds such as the best was. I was one of the few who got passed the eighth grade and was proud of that. After I got my learning I was hired as a deputy sheriff.

It didn’t pay too well but I got to push a lot of people around. The drunks on Saturday night would usually pay me a fee for taking them home instead of jail and that more than doubled my salary so I wasn’t hurting.

The sheriff knew about my little arraignment and didn’t mind cause he did the same thing. I liked to use my Billy club on guys that got too rowdy. I got so good with it that one tap on the side of the head and they were out for the night.

The county got all of the fine money from that action but it helped to pay my salary. I would spot all of the belligerent ones and wait until they were loaded and then arrest them. Of course they would start to fight and that would cost them a lot extra so we made sure they started swinging.

I used to have my way with most of the low-down women in town. There was a few the sheriff kept for himself so it was hands off when it came to them. I didn’t have a regular girlfriend for I didn’t need one but the time came when I met this fine looking young women.

I didn’t know her and she said she had been away to school most of her life and had just graduated. She was now living at home. One night I had a few too many drinks and I forced myself on her.

I tried to find her the next day after I sobered up but she wasn’t anywhere to be found. I spent several restless weeks worrying about what I had done.  

Just about the time I forgot about it I saw her.  You could see she was with child.
There is a Warrant
for Your Arrest

When I checked in at work, the sheriff said there was a warrant for my arrest on a rape charge. He said he would forget he saw me but he would have to arrest me if I came around again.

I didn’t know what to do. I saw her walking by an alley and I pulled her in with me. I tried to tell her how sorry I was and asked forgiveness.

She seemed not to hear anything I said but then she said; “Do you know who my father is?”

I thought on that but realized, “No I don’t know who he is.”  Up to now I didn’t care who he was, but for some reason all the sudden I felt I should find out.”

When she told me who her father was, I was drained of all my energy.

He was the most powerful man in the state.  She said, “Do you know why the sheriff didn’t arrest you when he told you about the warrant?”

I said, “No I thought he was just being nice to me.”

She said, “My father told him he would see to it that you were brought in. He has these huge thugs who are looking for you right now and when they find you your life will be over and not in a very pleasant way either.”

I couldn’t believe that I could be in so much trouble over an evening of drinking. I told her how sorry I was about her predicament once again and said, “I’ve got to hide out somewhere.”

She said, “It won’t do you any good for these men always get their man.”

I thought, “Not this time they won’t.”  

I ran all the way to the livery and saddled my horse.  Then I knocked on the back door of the general store and got me everything I would need for several days and charged it to the sheriff’s office.  After watering my horse I was on my way.

I stayed off the beaten path and was in territory I had never been in before. The further I went the deeper I went into unknown valleys.

I laughed and thought they will never find me for I don’t even know if I could find my way out of here.  After three days I still hadn’t seen anyone and just about when I was going to give up on finding anyone I saw it.

There it was a town and the sign as you entered said; “Seven Vales.”

I couldn’t believe it. As I rode into the center of it I could see it had everything a town should have. There were several different stores a livery, Restaurants, saloons, and even a doctor’s office.

I had quite a bit of money with me so I decided a restaurant meal would go good right now.

When I walked in the man who was waiting on tables stared at me for the longest time and then whispered to several other people.  He asked me what I would like to eat and then told me what they had.

Two of the men left their food half eaten and departed in a hurry. Before I was finished with my steak a man with a badge came and sat across from me.

Then he and the man with him just sat and stared at me.

I continued to eat but was increasingly feeling uncomfortable.  After what seemed to be an hour the two men looked at each other and nodded then got up and left.

My stomach was feeling queasy from the men staring at me but I decided to have another cup of coffee and some pie.  When the waiter brought my dessert two other men came in and sat across from me and did the same as the first two men did, first stared and then looked at each other and nodded and left.

I must tell you this was making me nervous.  

Just as I finished my meal three women came in and stood at the door. They were whispering among themselves and after a minute they looked at each other and nodded yes.

I was packing my Six shooter and I took a hitch at it just to feel of it and to adjust it.  I received a little comfort from being assured it was still there.

I walked out on the wooden sidewalk and people were gathering in clumps and talking and nodding yes.  As I walked by them they gave way so I could pass until I got to the jail.

The sheriff and four deputies with shotguns stopped me and relieved me of my gun and told me to enter the jail for a conversation.

I had no choice so I did what they asked.  Back home when I was a deputy, I had done the same as they were doing so I knew the drill.

They told me to sit in the chair which I did and all of the men surrounded me. The sheriff finally said; “Will he do?”

The deputies said in unison, “He’ll do.”

So far I hadn’t said a word but I had to ask what this was all about.

The sheriff looked at the deputies and said, “The prisoner wants to know what the charge is. Murphy you better tell him and then put him in the cell.”

I couldn’t believe what I heard for the next minutes.  It seems that a stranger had came through town and got in an argument with a local merchant and killed him.

I was dumbfounded for a while. No matter how I tried to make sense out of the situation it just wasn’t real. Here I am accused of a murder that happened a year ago and I only arrived here an hour ago.

A man came in and said he was my lawyer. He didn’t look too sharp so I asked if I could have another attorney to defend me. My lawyer spoke up and said not to worry he had a perfect record. That made me feel a bit better until I found out his perfection consisted of losing every case he was involved in.

An hour after I was arrested I found myself in a court room of a sort where the judge was wearing dirty overalls. He asked how I plead and my lawyer spoke up and said; “guilty your honor.”

I said, “Wait a minute, I don’t know what I’m supposed to have done.”

My lawyer whispered, “Murder, be quiet, you’re only going to make things worse.”

I asked, “How much worse can it be?”

At that point he said; “Much worse.”

The judge said since the defendant pleads guilty I will pass sentence.

I could only stand there with my mouth open with nothing coming out.

He said, “Death by hanging in the morning… early, that way we will save on the cost of a breakfast for him.”

Upon hearing that, I started yelling until they put a gag in my mouth.

Then the judge said he fined me fifty dollars for disturbing the court.

The next case was someone had accidently ran over a chicken and the jury spent the rest of the day deciding the matter.  I considered that to be iniquitous.

Spending less than a half hour on a capital offense and almost a day on a chicken getting ran over.

True to their word they got me up at four in the morning and had me on the gallows before five.

I asked, “Why so early?” and they said the hangman had to get to his plowing and wanted to get to it early.

It looked like the whole town was there for the hanging. The preacher said do you want to say any words asking for forgiveness for your dirty deed?

I asked him what was it I was supposed to have done will you please tell me?

He said, “Actually nothing but there was a stranger who did.”

I was even more confused and said, ‘Why should I have to pay for what someone else did?”

As he put the rope around my neck he said, “Somebody has to pay and everyone agreed you would do.”

He is all yours he said to the hangman. I heard the hangman approach the pins to release the trap door and felt myself plunging downward and the quick stop… the next thing I knew the bed I was in seemed to be spinning.

A few minutes later I was awake. My heart was racing and I was covered with sweat as slowly I came to myself.

I had been dreaming. I was back in my home and it was 2014 and not 1904.

That was a horrible dream for I never ran with loose women, I never raped any young woman, I never did any of that stuff and didn’t intend to.

What a joy to get back to normal again. I had something to tell my friends and I’m sure they will be glad to hear all the details of my dream.

I needed a shower for I was still covered with sweat.

As the water began to cover my body, I felt a stinging sensation on my neck and the towel made it sting worse.

I looked in the mirror and saw this raw ring around my neck.

An abrasion that could only been done by a hanging ropes noose…

Finish

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