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Two Of A Kind

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Two Of A Kind
by Keltic Dream

It had started out bitter air sky was heavy with the promised snow that would soon fall .Scott pulled his coats collar up tighter around his took a deep breath and felt his lungs chill. A hot cup of coffee might melt it ,maybe melt him felt like a ice sculpture. He looked at his brother,who rode beside seemed not as bothered by the cold. At least no outward sign. His eyes were searching the area, habit with his brother. If they could only reach the town before the snows fell.

" Johnny, how much further to town?"

His brother turned to him. His breath coming out smoky in the air.

" Its about a half hour 'll get there before the worse hits, and he smiled. I know you wont to get to someplace warm, that has good hot coffee."

' Well your coffee this morning took the skin off my tongue.'

'Well it was hot, not my fault you tried to swallow it all at one time."

Johnny speeded up, and Scott hurried to catch came into the town, just as thepromised snow started to fall. It came fast and heavy, as both brothers turned to the stables. Horses first,then themselves. Both dismounted as the old man came out of the barn. He smiled and looked the boys over.

An hour later, the brothers had entered the saloon,since it was the only place to get any food or drink. As they walked in ,Scott walked foward. Johnny stopped briefly in the doorway, his eyes adjusting to the darker room. He looked around, taking in the occupants. he followed Scott to the bar.

"Well what will it be boys? Food, drink or both?"

" Hot coffee for starters. Food too." Replied moved to the nearest table. He sat down, throwing his hat down on the table, stretching out his long legs. A smile brightened his handsome face. The bartender was bringing over two hot steaming cups. He could almost taste it. That is if he still had any taste buds ,that survived after his brothers coffee.

Johnny seated himself across from Scott. He pushed his hat off his head, and let it lay down his back. He looked at his brother, before he turned he smelled the coffee. Its aroma was over powering after the days in the saddle. The bartender put the coffee down. Returning to the bar.

"Well Johnny, we have a chance to rest up a did Murdock wont us to come all the way to Remming?"

"The stallion, must be something special. Wonts us to take real good care of it. Wouldn't it be something if it turned out to be a broken down old plow horse?" Scott smiled.

"Well I hope not. Murdock already paid for it. He should have had us check it out first.?" Scott stopped, raised the still steaming cup to his lips, drinking, enjoying the feel of it sliding down his throat. He lowered it, and grinned at his brother. Now that's a cup of coffee, maybe the bartender will show you how to make it. Johnny half heartily smacked at his brother.

Johnny drank a long swallow, thinking it wasn't that good. He licked his wet lips, thinking maybe he wonted sugar in his next cup. Two plates of food arrived. Scott looked at his plate.,he poked it with his fork. He waited, apparently for it to move, it didn't.

His brother was staring at his plate. He picked up his fork and knife, sawing at the meat. It had the appearance of shoe leather. " I wonder whose boots these came off of." He turned and looked around the room at the bar patrons boots, Scott watched him and laughed. They began to eat.

Outside the snow was still falling. It was beautiful to look at, as delicate as a butterflies wings, yet with the power to kill when greatly multiplied. Cully looked at the snow flakes, and wished it would go away. He didn't like the snow, soon his new boots would be all wet. He walked slowly down the street, checking all the doors and windows along the street. He finished one side of town, and began down the other. Mostly the town had turned in. With a few exceptions, like the two saloons, cafe, and hotel. He wonted to get this done, and then he was heading to the hotel, and his room.

Ringo was sitting in his office,looking at the newest fliers, that had come in on the stage today. As he went through them, he pictured all the strangers still in town, the past few days. Seeing if they matched, he found none. He tidied up his desk, then he stood, maybe he would go over to the saloon, have a whiskey. He stretched his body, and flexed the fingers of his right hand. Checked his gun, before grabbing his hat, and coat and heading out the door.

The saloon doors opened and in stepped Johnny Ringo. Neatly dressed, gun tied low. His handsome features, lite up, by the smile he wore. He looked around the room, sizing up the occupants. His eyes lite on a table, across the room. He stopped, liquid blue eyes met his. As the dark head looked up, he too froze. Ringo slowly started walking over to the table.

Scott saw the sheriff coming over to their table, actually to Johnny. He looked at his brother, seeing his expression, guarded, his eyes locked with the sheriff. Scott reached out a hand, placing it on his brothers arm.

"Johnny..... "

The sheriff stopped in front of the table.

"Sheriff.....: said Scott. The sheriff didn't take his eyes off Johnny, as Johnny slowly came to his feet, facing the sheriff....

 

 

Two Of A Kind pt 2

Both men stood facing each other, men around the room, scraping chairs, trying to get out
of range, and others moving away from the bar. The bartender, in the middle of cleaning a glass
with a rag, stopped and watched.

Scott looked from one man to the other, he knew he couldn't stop what was to happen.

He moved away himself, out of range, but close enough to his brother. There was dead silence in
the room, as the last sound of the piano died. Excitement was in the air, as the men, waited to
see Ringo, in a gunfight with a fellow gunslinger.

"Madrid, you dare come into my town?" His voice deep and dark.

"I go where I wont Ringo, you know that."Spoke Johnny in his soft steely voice.

Both men went for their guns, stopping in mid motion, and smiles broke out on their faces. Both moved closer and began to shake hands, and slapping each others shoulders. Scott breathed a sigh of relief.

"Its good to see you Johnny, I haven't heard anything about you in awhile. Glad to see you
still alive."

"Well I have been busy on my families ranch. Didn't expect to find you as a sheriff."

"Well I got tired of the other life, now I use this gun, only to uphold the law. A rancher did you say? You Johnny Madrid a rancher? Never thought you would give up the life."

"Well I found my family, and a home. I am Lancer now."

"Well Johnny let me buy you a drink, and lets get caught up." Johnny saw his brother, and grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him forward. His smile brightened, and there was pride there as well..

"Johnny this is my brother Scott." Scott smiled and shook hands with Ringo.

"Pleasure to meet you sheriff."

"Same here Scott, its good to see that my old friend here has a family, he always wonted one." The three men sat down at a table, as the rest of the room went back to normal, shaking their heads, at the two gunfighters.

" Now Johnny tell me about this ranch of yours."

"Well Ringo it's the most beautiful place anywhere. It has rolling hills, and mountains, and the clearest streams. The house is larger than a hotel. Its is something to see. So much land and
cattle. Even the air is special, there is nothing like it."

Scott smiled at his brother, how proud he was of his new home, and Scott felt the same.

"It sounds like paradise, Johnny, good for you. Do you miss the old life?"

"No, I like being a rancher, and a part of me will always be Madrid, its just not all that I am. I still have men coming after me. I doubt I will ever have a chance to let Madrid go all together."

"I know what you mean, as a sheriff, I thought that I would have it easier, and the past could be forgotten. It didn't work out that way for me either."

The men picked up the drinks put before them, beers. Johnny wished for his usual, but didn't speak up, not this time. Scott sat back listening to the two he would learn something new about his  brother. He looked at the sheriff, the tall well built man, a little older than him, was well dressed. He seemed to be well read, and intelligent, not like most lawmen, or gunfighters. Except maybe Doc Holiday.

'Last time we ran into each other, was out in Laredo. During that little war. "

"Yes, it was a bad one, so many of the little ranchers were burnt out, before we got there. Then we faced some of the most famous of our kind. I remember you getting laid up, with a bullet in your thigh, and one in your back., and that pretty little lady who took care of you."

"Yeah, well you got shot too, and was the worse patient."Said Ringo.

"That's my brother alright, he can't stand to be in one place too long, even bed."

" Well I don't like being stuck in bed, and having people fuss over me."

"Yes, we know, and that time you were worse. You gave the doctor a hard time, you dressed and  went out after everyone went to bed, you spent hours playing cards at the saloon, then returned just before breakfast. He hid his medicine under his pillow, he also had a bottle of tequila under his pillow." Johnny smiled at the memories, Scott watching him, smiled, nothing had changed in that.

Later that night in their room, Scott and Johnny were in their room, lying on their beds.

Johnny lay with his hands under his head, his brother lay on his side facing his sibling.

"Johnny? That sheriff Ringo, he seems like a real good man. This time you ran into a real friend instead of a enemy." A slow smile touched Johnnys lips.

"Yeah, he is a friend. We didn't start out that way. We were on opposite sides in the conflict. But Ringo changed sides, after several families were killed, including children. He couldn't stay on that side. That's how he got shot, he went up against them when he saw what they were doing. I was there, too but on the other side, it was me that brought him to our camp. We became friends. He is like you Scott, he's smart, educated. "

" You and he seem to be unique in the kind of men you are,compared to the usual gunfighter."

"Well, there are bad and good ones, like in any job. I could have gone either way. But I made a choice, as did Ringo."Johnny pulled the covers up and turned over. Scott lay on his back, both men going off to sleep.

The next morning the two brothers were at breakfast. When Ringo walked in followed by a shorter dark haired, handsome man. They walked over to the table. Scott saw Johnnys eyes taking in the new comer, sizing him up.

"Morning Johnny, Scott. This is my deputy Cully. Cully, this is an old friend of mine. Johnny Madrid, and his brother Scott."He smiled at Scott and looked at Johnny.

"I've heard of you. You aren't here for trouble are you?" Johnnys' eyes were cool, he looked at the man about his in the gun strapped low on his hip, his stance.

"No, I'm not, here on business.I don't go looking for trouble."

"It just looks for you, huh?"Blue eyes hard and unfriendly.

"That's enough Cully, Johnny is retired like me from that. He's a rancher now. He's also a friend of mine."Ringo gave his deputy a look, that the younger man knew, and responded to.  

"I'll see you later Johnny, nice seeing you again Scott."

"Yeah later Ringo." He turned back to his breakfast, as the other two men turned away.

Scott watched his brother, who was playing with his napkin, deep in though.

"Johnny?" His brothers head came up, and looked him in the eye.

"Just thinking."

"About that boy Cully? He's just doing his job. Worried about the town I guess. He's young and just takes his job seriously. Ringo will straighten him out."

"I hope so, I don't wont trouble, espeally in Ringos town. Not with Ringos deputy, if I can help it, but he had better not push me."

 

 

Two Of A kind pt 3

After breakfast the two brothers stood outside the

Johnny stood lightly leaning against the post and drumming his fingers against the wood, deep in thought. Scott watched a moment and then tapped his brother on the shoulder.

"Going to stand here all day, or do we get a move on?"His brother turned and looked at him, and nodded, still thinking.

At the stable, as the two lead their horses out. Johnny looked around, seeing Cully watching him, Johnnys eyes grew icy as he stare back at the man in black. Cully looked on at him with dislike, Johnny didn't know why, he didn't even know the man.

Scott looked over and saw the look, and Cullys, he knew trouble was beginning to brew. Maybe he could talk to the sheriff, about his deputy, before things got worse. The two brothers rode out of town, towards the ranch of the owner of the stallion, Murdock wonted.

At the ranch the boys were watching the stallion prance around the corral. The older grey haired man watched the horse, with pride. Both boys were impressed with the stallion, who pranced and held his head high, and for all the world to see, he was a king. The boys could see he had a lot of spirit, and stamina, he had a broad chest, and was sleek, and graceful. A beautiful silky jet black coat, a small white star on his forehead.

"You wont find better boys."

"I agree Mister Caster. That is a fine animal. Scott. He turned to see Johnny going into the corral, towards the horse. He was talking softly to the horse .The horse ran from him, his brother waited patiently kept talking to the horse, and finally the horse stood still, waiting, his intelligent eyes watchful. Johnny touched his nose, gently rubbing it, the horse nuzzled him. He looked in the horses mouth, and then checked his feet, and legs. When he was finished he nodded to Scott.
"So, do you wont to take him now?"

"Well tell you what, how about if you deliver him tomorrow and we can give you a bank draft or cash then?"

"Alright young man, I guess you two young men wont to rest a little before starting out again on the long trip home huh?"

"Yeah, a little break."

Just before dinner, Scott was playing a game of chest with Ringo, and Johnny was in the middle of a game of poker with three other ranch hands. It was a quiet day, and Ringo was enjoying the peace, and getting to know Johnnys' brother.

"I don't often get to play chess , most around here don't have the patience or time for it." Spoke Ringo with his deep and yet soft had a quality to it, that made men listen when he spoke. It was deep and rich, and made the ladies smile, and wish.

"I play with my father sometimes. But that's all. I miss a good game, or a good book." Said Scott.

"I know what you mean Scott, I read as often as I can , don't get a lot of good books around her. But this badge doesn't give me a lot of free time."

"What about your deputy, he must be a be a big help." Ringo smiled at the man across from him.

"Concerned because he seems to have taken a dislike to Johnny? Well he is young, around your brothers age, and he's a hot head, and does things sometimes without thinking. He is a good man though. He is trust worthy, and fair. He just worries that other gunfighters coming into town will cause a lot of trouble, for me. He forgets I can take care of myself. I'm not dead yet. He is like a younger brother to me. I wouldn't wont to see anything happen to him. "

" I am a little worried, the look in his eyes when he looks at Johnny.....I don't wont anything happening to my brother either."

"Or do I, Scott. Your brother is a very old and good friend of mine. I will keep an eye on both of them. If they start trouble, why I will have to send them to their rooms without supper."Both men smiled. "Now, I am going to beat you, in my next three moves."

Cully came into the saloon, he didn't see Ringo, his eyes were on one man, only. He walked over and stood watching the game.

Johnny spoke without looking up. "Wont something deputy?" His voice holding that dangerous quality to it.

Culllys' eyes narrowed. "Yeah, for you to leave town, before something happens. You may be a friend of Ringos, but you are still trouble."

Johnny lay down a card and was delt another one, he picked it up. He spoke softly and didn't bother glancing up. "I leave when I wont to, not when you say. Ringo hasn't ask me to leave either."

"Well Madrid I am telling you, that it would be good idea for you to leave."

"Now for Ringos sake, I am going to ignore your "friendly" advice. Now go away, I wont to get back to my game."

Cullys' eyes flicked to the other men at the table, who were watching him. He moved back a step.

Johnny slowly got to his feet, as he placed his cards face down. He turned and faced the other man. His expression that of the gunfighter, Madrid. His eyes bore into the blue ones of the deputy. His stance easy and relaxed, while Cully stood more stiffly.

Cully didn't like any gunfighter. He conveniently forgot that his hero, Ringo was an ex one. Both men  stood facing each other. The other men began to whisper.

Ringo hearing the commotion, from across the room, got up along with Scott, they went around the room and to the right, on the other side stood the two men, the sheriff and older Lancer boy was discussing. Ringo moved fast towards them.

"Stop it right now!" His voice hard, and cold.

" Now what is this about? " He looked at his deputy and then at Johnny, as Scott walked over. Cully kept his eyes on Johnny, who sat down on the edge of the table.

"I ask Madrid here to leave town, and he refused."

"You did what? I didn't ask you to do that. If I wonted him out of town, I would have told him myself. He hasn't given you any reason to do this."

"Not yet, but with his reputation, and all, well sooner or later we'll have to..."

"That's enough Cully, you are not to start any more trouble with Johnny, got it?"

"All right for you Ringo. But I'll be watching him."He turned and walked away.

Ringo turned to Johnny.  "Sorry about my deputy. He gets carried away. Have you met before,he sure seems to have taken a dislike to you."

"I haven't met him before. Maybe we should leave in the morning,." Johnny looked at Scott, and saw him nod.

"I won't have you leaving because of this. You are welcome in my town. Besides we haven't had the chance to practice together."

Johnny smiled at that. "Trying to see if you could take me, old friend."

"Oh, I could, with my eyes shut." Ringo smiled and clapped his friend on the back.

Scott watching the two wondered if it could  come to the two friends facing off. Maybe they should get out of town. Ringo and Scott went back to their game and Johnny decided to go for a walk. He walked along the walk, looking in the windows, and he stopped at the mercantile store, seeing some bright red apples, he bought one, and thinking for a moment he bought a second one too. He left the store eating the apple. He walked over to the livery stable. He had just given Barranca the apple, when he heard a shot, he ran out gun in hand
.
Cully was in a shootout with two men. They had him pinned down. Johnny smiled. Watching for a moment. The man had a bullet hole in his right arm, and he was trying to use his left. The two men kept up the firing, and Johnny made his decision. He ran out, and fired, first at the portly man to the left, standing by the saddle shop, hitting him in the thigh, and then in the hand, effectively ending his shooting at anybody. He turned as dirt kicked up at his feet, and another bullet whistled by his ear. He dropped, rolled, and fired, hitting the man in the chest, and came up to his feet, as the other fell, and lay still, blood running out from under his body. His eyes open and staring.

Cully stood up, and looked in surprise at Johnny. just looked back. Ringo ran up, Scott on his  heels. "Cully you all right?"

"You all right Johnny?" Ask Scott, looking his brother over, as Johnny dusted himself off.

Johnny smiled at him, and looked over at  Ringo, who was checking out his deputies arm.

Cully looked past Ringo. "Thanks, Madrid, I owe you one." He even smiled at Johnny, though his eyes held pain.

"Yes, I owe you one Johnny, thanks for helping this hard head out." He turned to Cully." You see, Johnny here, can be a big help,  he can be a very good friend or a very bad enemy. Do you really wont to be his enemy?"

"Any time Ringo, he needed help, and I was there." Ringo turned to Johnny a thoughtful look on his face.

"Johnny, I was wondering if you would help me out?"

"Sure Ringo, what with?" Ringo held out a badge.

"Be my deputy for a few days till Cully heals up."

Johnny looked at the badge in Ringos hand, and then at Scott. He stilled for a moment.

"Alright, sheriff, you got yourself a deputy,....for a few days....only." Ringo smiled. Alright, deputy, first off take that prisoner to jail.

 

 

 

 

Two Of A Kind pt 4

Johnny stood at the bars, looking at the man in the cell. How had he gotten himself into this? Him a deputy, that was one for the books. His old friends would really laugh at him about this, so would Murdock. He looked down at the badge stuck his shirt.

Scott was sitting down at a table in the saloon, when in walked his brother.

He looked up and smiled, and saw the look on his brothers' face."Take a load off, have a seat."He motioned to the seat across from him.

"Next time I do something that stupid, and offer to be a deputy, shoot me."

"Well I don't know little brother, you might grow to like the job."

"That isn't funny Scott, I don't intend to stay one. I never liked them, and now I am one. I must have fell out of bed this morning and hit my head." Scott smiled at him, feeling a little sorry for his brother. He knew Johnny hated rules, and especially following them.

Both men looked up, at the sound of Ringos'voice. Johnny turned as the older man sat down. He pushed his hat back, and looked at Johnny.

"Well old friend, you look good in that badge. Good thing too. Cully, will be laid up for a week. Now I could get someone else, to help me, and I guess I could handle it alone. But I could use someone who can handle trouble, with or without a gun." Two sets of eyes met, and held for a moment. Then Johnny sat back, against the back of his chair.

"Well Sheriff I guess you have yourself a deputy, until Cully, gets better."

With that Ringo smiled, and started to rise.

"I couldn't have chosen better, Johnny. You can start first thing in the morn- ing,' He turned to Scott, and nodded.

After he left, Scott turned to his silent brother, who was playing with his whiskey glass. Oh well it looked like they wouldn't be leaving for a week. He certainly wasn't leaving Johnny here, alone. Besides he wouldn't miss this for the world. He would wire Murdock in the morning and tell him, why they would be delayed. Johnny looked up at him, and shook his head, he must have guessed what he was thinking, thought Scott.

Next morning Johnny was out on the streets, as the sun began to rise. He walked the walks, and checked on doors, and windows, and around at the alleys. He moved with the assured, cocky walk he was known for. It was not Johnny Lancer, who paroled the streets, it was Johnny Madrid, the gunfighter. The change was a thing that Scott knowtested when he saw his brother coming towards him. He could feel the energy, that was his brother.

"Morning brother, feel like joining me for breakfast?"

"I think I can find the time, I just finished checking the town. Now big brother, I hope you are paying cause I am hungry, for a big breakfast." Scott put his arm over his brothers' shoulders, and led him toward the cafe. Johnny smiling, placed his arm around his brothers' back.

"I think I can pay as long as you only order toast and water." Both men laughed and walked on. Eyes from the hotel window, watched their movements, with great interest.

Later in the day as Johnny was walking down the street, he spotted a very pretty girl, coming down the street toward him. He smiled and tipped his hat. The girl smiled and stopped in front of him. She was a dainty little thing, and was wearing a blue dress the color of her eyes.

"Hi, you must be a new deputy, I haven't seen you before."

"Well, Miss...,I am just helping out Ringo."

"It's Miss Cathy Hughes."

"Well Miss Hughes, I'm Johnny Lancer." He took her hand and kissed it.

"Well Johnny, I hope you decide to stay on, there's a dance tomorrow night. I was wondering if you would like to go with me?"

"I would enjoy that very much Miss Hughes." She smiled at him, a dimple showing in her cheek, and hurried on down the street.

Johnny watched her go, as Ringo walked up to his new deputy. Ringo put his hand on the younger mans' shoulder. Johnny turned, and looked up at his old friend.

"Well I see you are busy getting to know the residents of my town."

"Yeah, they seem real friendly, Ringo."

"All right Johnny, lets go over to the office, and let me fill you in, on what you need to know who's on the posters to check out too." The two lawmen walked down the of the three pairs of eyes watching them from the livery.

Around lunch time, Johnny met his brother for lunch. Scott sat sipping his coffee. Johnny sat, across from him, and took his hat off, putting it on the table. "Well brother how goes the new job?"

"Not bad, I guess, I have been looking at posters, and learning about these good people of the town, from Ringo. I'll be glad when this job is over, but until then I plan to do it right. Can't let Ringo down. Besides if Murdock ever fires me, I can always get a job as a peace officer."

"Yeah, the way you and Murdock argue, that could be when we get home."

"He's going to wonder where we are."

"I already took care of that. I sent him a telegram, told him we would be late."

"You didn't happen to tell him, why did you..., yes you did, you scalawag you. I may have to throw you in the jail for that."

"I'm sure Murdock will have stopped laughing time we get home."

"Thanks a lot, brother."

The two brothers were half way through their lunch when they heard gun-fire. Johnny shook his head at his brother and dashed out. Gun in hand ready for what ever it was, he heard another gunshot and ran to the left, and down the walk. He stopped as he came upon another man shooting at Ringo, the man was busy, and concentrating on his target. He kept yelling insults at Ringo. Johnny came up behind him, and hit him with the butt on his gun, the man slid to the ground. Ringo came over, he looked down at the man at their feet.

"Not bad Johnny, you didn't shoot him, thanks. Now lets get him over to the jail. Both bend and picked up the man, and carried him to the jail. Scott watched from the cafe.,he smiled. Johnny was good at protecting those he cared for, not surprising he was a good lawman too.

At the corral stood four men, all mean looking. all looked like gunfighters, killers, not a smile among them. they had watched the incident. The leader looked at the other three. He knew they would stand by him, and get the job done, they were hired to do a job, and they would.

"Now, we had only Ringo as our target, and now it seems we have a surprise. Some of you know his new deputy, He's Johnny Madrid, he's got to go too. No mistakes, we take both of them out. We got five more coming to join us, if we can get this done, before they get here, it's more money for us. Now here's the plan...

 

 

Two Of A kind pt. 5

Ringo was sitting out front of the jail, watching the citizens of his town, as they went about their business, he also watched his friend and deputy. Johnny walked about the town, checking, and doing the job as though he had done it all his life. He had that cocky, assured walk, and the way he moved spoke of the fact he was dangerous. The gunfighter was back,at least for now. Good backup for him, if needed.

Scott came up to Ringo, and smiled at the sheriff. He tipped his hat up, and looked to where the sheriff was looking. Ringo was leaning back in his chair, only two legs on the floor, he was relaxed. A cup of coffee in one hand. "Well Sheriff, how does my brother rate as a deputy?"

"It's Ringo, Scott. Your brother, is a fine deputy. A natural, I guess us old ex gunfighters, has the knack for it."

"I would never have believed it of him, he usually is ready to fight or shoot anyone. Maybe he's learning from your example."

"That boy, is not the usual gunfighter. He has a heart, and a conscious. He knows what's right. He would make a fine sheriff, of course, but he can't have my job." Ringo smiled up at the other man, and motioned to the chair beside him, Scott settled himself into it.

Johnny was down the street out of sight of the two who burned his ears. He felt that someone was talking about him. He figured Scott was talking to his old buddy, and maybe finding out more about his dark past. He turned down by the livery, and he had heard the horses. He came up to the corral, and one of the horses was pulling at the rope around his neck. Not just any horse, but Barranca. A tall, wiry man stood, pulling on the rope, and turned as he saw Johnny.

"Get your hands off my horse, and do it now." words spoken softly, but they held the ring of authority to them. The man turned, smiled, and let go of the rope.

"I am sorry, I was told that I could take one of the horses out here. The man that runs the livery didn't say which one."

"Well that isn't it, that is my horse, and nobody rides it but me." He whistled and the horse ambled over to the fence near Johnny.

Johnny was watching the man in front of him, when he felt a sudden pain in his head, and found himself falling until the ground caught him. He felt the velvet blackness, closing as he saw brown boots, in front of his face. Then all faded away.

When his deputy didn't show after a twenty minutes, Ringo got up, and started down the street. Scott stood, and moved with him. They walked down the walk, and their long legs, eating up the distance. Both felt something was wrong. When they got to the livery and still hadn't seen Johnny, he began to look around the alleys. Behind the livery, they found Johnny lying on the ground, unmoving.

Scott rushed to his brother's side, and turned him over, seeing his brother breathing, he let out his breath, Ringo was looking around. Scott lifted his brother into a half sitting position, and patted his cheek with his hand.

Calling to him softly. Johnny stirred and opened his eyes, found himself looking into his brothers' worried eyes.

"What happened Johnny?" Asked Ringo as he leaned over Scotts' shoulder.

"I got hit from behind.A man was trying to take my horse. Tall, rangy man, with long brown hair, dressed in jeans, and a brown shirt."

"We'll find him, and Barranca, he's gone too." Johnny sat up, and with his brothers' help he got to his feet.

"He took my horse, wait till I catch up with him." Scott looking at his brother, saw the brother he knew, the one who acted quickly. His brother started out and around the livery, looking.

"He's gone, Johnny, but we will find him. We will check the town for him, then go from there."

"Ringo, by the time we finish that, he'll be long gone with Barranca."

The older man could see his friend was getting antsy, and wouldn't wait too long. But he felt there was more to this than the horse.

Ringo and Johnny were leaving the jail, to join Scott as the Livery.

When nine men stepped out from both sides of the street, and lined the street. One of them, obviously the leader, stepped out and spoke. " Well we finally get to see who is the best, and I get my revenge against you for my two brothers, Ringo. I have been working to best you for the past five years."

"If that's all you wont, to face me,why bring all these others?"

"Cause, I plan to make sure you die. Your friend here. Well he picked a bad time, to come to town. I think that we will bury Ringo and Madrid side by side."

" I think that it's as good a day as any to die." johnny s' voice ringing like clashing steel. " I hope you have made your peace, for today you meet your maker."His eyes cold steel, and as deadly as a dozen rattlers. Ringo was quiet, and readied himself for the gunfight, at least he had the right kind of man at his side.

The leader, made a move for his gun, as Ringo, drew like lightning, and fired, striking the man through the throat, and turned firing at another man. He took another of the men with two bullets, going through the mans' stomach,  and shoulder. Johnny had drawn and firing, and took two of the men down in the blink of the eye, one through the eye, and the other through the heart.

He turned to the rest of the men left.

People ran for cover as they tried to also watch the gunplay in the street. Scott came running down the street, gun in hand, dodging behind a buck board, and firing.

Johnny, and Ringo stood their ground, shoulder to shoulder, firing, no fear in their eyes, or stance. They asked for no quarter and gave none. Death stood in the street that day to collect the souls of the damned.

Ringo turned and fired at one of the men, who ducked behind a barrel.

The man shot backs, A bullet whizzing by Ringos' shoulder, cutting the clothe of his shirt. Ringo fired, and hit a skillet hanging, it bounced off and struck the man in the side of the head, he fell with a surprised expression on his face, as he fell, his head into the water trough.

Johnny began to walk towards one of the men, and the man stood for a moment, and looked into the smiling face of Madrid. He began to backtrack.  But he couldn't take his eyes off of the man coming at him. He fired, Johnny quickly moved to one side, and fired at him, striking him in the chin, the man reached up and grabbed his injury, with the other hand he fired. He struck Johnnys' hat, sending it flying. Johnny fired, and took him down with a bullet, through his hip. The man fell, and threw his gun away, waving his hands in the air. Johnny kicked the gun away, and kicked the man in the jaw, turning out his lights, then returned to the fray.

Ringo was firing at the ugliest man, with all the scars, who held two guns. He was trying to use both to take down, Ringo. He caught Ringo in the lower left arm. Ringo fired rapidly, and the man jerked and twisted, as the bullets hit him, and burned away the life in him. He fell, eyes open and staring at the devil.

Scott came, up having finished one of the men himself. The three men came together in the middle of the street. The fight had been quick and deadly, and as the smoke cleared, only two of the men survived the fight. The rest lay dead in the street.

"Thanks Johnny, you are still the man to stand by my side. You too, Scott." Johnny looked around at the bodies, littering the street.

" Where's my horse?" He went over to the one man still alive and awake, he stood over him."Where's my horse?"

Several days later both brother's rode out of town, toward home. It had been a long eventful week. Scott had a lot to tell Murdock, and Jelly.

Johnny was quiet, as he rode.

"What's the matter Johnny?"

"Nothing, just thinking, about Ringo. He never gets a break from the gunfights, not really. At least I do. Well . . . at least once or twice a year."

"You thinking of being a lawman?"

"Who me? Not likely, I think I'll just stay a rancher. I get enough excitement as it is."

"You and me both brother."

 

THE END
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