Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Now playing: Night Riders
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Episode Two concluded with:
He walked around the barn to where his plow awaited him and stopped. Five men on horseback were tying ropes to his fence posts. They were going to pull down the fence with Tantrall’s herd grazing less than two miles away.
“Damn Elijah Tantrall!” he whispered to himself. “The man thinks he’s king, doesn’t even bother to do his dirty work at night anymore.”
Jared ran back to the front of the barn and grabbed the Winchester he kept inside by the entrance. This time the king has made a serious mistake, Ashley thought. Tantrall would pay in blood.
Ashley ran back to his field. He was barely in range of the five intruders when he fired his first shot at them. They laughed! The invaders didn’t even bother to shoot back at him. All five of them now had ropes tied to one of his fence posts. They all spurred their horses at the same time and the fence came down. They laughed again, mocking how easily the fence had collapsed. They were dealing with some poor sodbuster who couldn’t even put up a fence right.
Rage coursed through Jared Ashley. He ran closer to the four riders and fired again and again missed. This time one of the riders returned fire. Dust spurted near the homesteader. For the first time, he noticed that all five men had hoods over their heads.
They began to ride directly at him. Jared’s rage was replaced by fear. He realized how little he had ever used a gun. There was never any need for one in Cleveland. His body trembled as he began to lever another shell into the Winchester.
Jared Ashley never got off a third shot. A bullet burrowed into his chest and he went down. All five riders stopped near the fallen homesteader. One of them dismounted, grabbed the rifle and held onto it.
“He ain’t dead yet. Soon will be,” the rider who had dismounted spoke. Jared heard the voice through a buzzing in his ears.
“Come on!” We ain’t got much time!” The second voice sounded more distant.
The thugs rode off in the direction of his cabin. Jared silently cursed himself for his stupidity. When he had spotted the outlaws, his first move should have been to protect Stella and Becky. The homesteader struggled to his feet. He staggered toward the cabin. Maybe he could still warn them.
Jared struggled to maintain consciousness. He could hear loud yelps coming from the direction of his home. Smoke could suddenly be seen rising over the barn. “Stella…Becky…” Jared’s voice was a raspy whisper.
The homesteader managed a few more steps. He could now hear gunshots roaring over the sounds of the fire. Screams came from both Becky and Stella. They were being brutally slaughtered.
Jared Ashley collapsed. His wife and child had been murdered. He had failed horribly: failed to protect his own family. “I’m not fit to be called a man.” He whispered to the ground. Those were his last words.
Tomorrow: Episode Four of Night Riders