Wednesday, June 15, 2005

McKenna Monday...Chapter 12: Gunslinger's Grave by McKenna


The stupid Mexican trash. 

Fury shot through me once again, creating black spots in front of my eyes.

I clenched my fist, trying to contain my rage so as not to scare my mother. She hated seeing me upset, and I knew showing any emotion would startle her. 

Ella’s father stood in front of us, looking heartbroken. His green eyes were red and puffy. I almost felt bad for him, what with him looking so pitiful. 

“How could she have been kidnapped? Why was she even alone with those men?” I asked, my voice hard. It just did not make sense. 

I shoved a hand through my hair, feeling my hand shake as I did so. The fact that another man believe he could take my fiancé made me angrier than words can explain. 

“I don’t know, Ambrose. Hannah and I were in town running errands when we heard that gunshot and we were distracted by the crowd…They must have left with her then.” Ella’s father said, his voice cracking at the end. 

My mother stared at him, saying nothing. She had been quiet ever since Seth arrived at our home. This was strange for her. Loretta Cassidy is known for her outspoken, sharp tongue. 

Seth swiped a hand under his eyes, tears finally falling. 

I felt disgust climbing it’s way up my throat. This man needs to get a hold of himself. Standing around crying would do nothing to bring Ella back from that Mexican savage.

The parlor suddenly felt stiflingly hot. I could feel sweat dripping down my back underneath the waistcoat I wore. 

My mother stood up, noticing my obvious discomfort. I watched as she put a cool smile on her face. 

“Seth. You should really get home to Hannah. We will figure this all out. She will come home,” My mother told Ella’s father, grasping his hand. “You need to take care of yourself now.”

“You…Yes, you’re right. She is probably out of her mind with worry…” Seth responded, trailing off. 

He sniffed, again wiping his eyes with his palm. I wrinkled my nose at the gargling noise omitted as he sniffed. 

Leave it to Ella to be kidnapped. The girl could not be trusted on her own, as was obvious. Now the wedding would be delayed, my business activities halted, and most of my time now would surely be taken up organizing search parties and leading them.

I was yanked from my thoughts as I heard the front door shut. My mother strode back into the room, her face expressionless. 

“Ella ran home as soon as that trash was shot in the street,” she told me, smoothing her green dress. Her light brown hair was pulled in an up-do so severe I was sure she must have a headache.

“She was probably frightened,” I responded, collapsing into a chair. I buried my head in my hands, leaning on my knees. 

“Leave, please. Now,” my mother said. My head snapped up, slightly shocked as to why she would be ordering me to leave.

But she was not talking to me. An Indian servant girl was silently sweeping the room, staring wide-eyed at my mother.

“Do I have to tell you again?” My mother asked, pointing towards the door. 

The girl wordlessly scurried from the room, obviously terrified. 

Confusion set in. Why was my mother opposed to having a random redskin in the room? 

Once she was sure the girl was gone, my mother sat in the chair next to me, leaning in. 

“I don’t want anyone around here knowing this, but I don’t think that fiancé of yours was taken,” my mother confided in me. “She ran right home. She looked scared. But I do not think it was for herself.”

I leaned back, processing this. 

As if Ella would have the brain to leave at her own will. The girl practically worshipped the ground I walked on. She would never voluntarily leave me, especially not with some brown badman. 

“No, I don't think so, Mother. She does not have the smarts to do this on her own…She has to have been taken. I remember the man who did this. I met him once, when I was visiting Ella…That son of a bitch,” I exclaimed, feeling the fury flare once more. I felt my fingers shake as I thought of the way he looked at Ella. The woman who belonged to me. 

My mother remained silent, watching me trying to contain my rage. I struggled to keep myself in control; Mother has no patience for emotional outbursts.

A little noise sounded from the doorway of the parlor. My mother’s face screwed up as she turned to see who was entering, obviously expecting it to be the Injun she just sent away.

It was Rebecca.

“What do you want, Rebecca?” I asked irritably. I had absolutely no patience to deal with her at the moment. 

Her face hardened, as it usually did when she was around family. Rebecca cleared her throat, raising herself to her full height.

“Can I do anything to help you, Ambrose? I would hate for you to be focused on anything but Ella. Given how much you love her, of course,” she said. The contempt in her voice was unmistakable. Her eyes glinted with something unrecognizable to me. 

I drank in her light blonde hair, her bright blue eyes, and her delicate facial features, trying to feel some tiny shred of love or sympathy towards my younger sister, but I came up empty. All I felt towards the tall girl in the expensive blue dress was disgust. 

My mother spoke for me. 

“Rebecca. Shut your mouth. Wake up and realize that your snotty little attitude will get you nowhere. Our family is hurting right now.”

“I offered help, Mother,” Rebecca said. Her face remained stoic, but I knew her. I could see the glint of hurt in her light eyes. She brushed a strand of hair from her face with a finger.

“Rebecca, your hair looks like garbage. Have you washed it today?” My mother changed the subject, resorting to her usual criticism of Rebecca. 

“Yes, Mother, as a matter of fact, I have. It looks like this because of the rain,” Rebecca retorted, patting her hair with a small hand. It did look rather stringy.

“I am sure, dear. Go wash it again.”

We watched as Rebecca spun from the room with such force that her hair and skirt swished.

“That girl gives me nothing but pain,” my mother said, the irritation evident on her face. “I simply cannot wait until the only person who has to deal with her is her husband.”

I knew that our reactions to Rebecca were extreme, she actually was attempting to offer me some support. This still meant nothing to me. I knew how she felt about me, her always being the forgotten child. The girl. Not once in her life has Rebecca Cassidy appreciated her family or what they have done for her, and I would never forgive her for this. 

“We need to get search parties. They only have half a day on us, we can easily catch up,” I spoke, standing up and striding to the door to go look for my father. 

I bumped into him just as I stepped through the doorway. He looked older than ever before. 

“Let’s go, Ambrose. I have a bunch of men ready. We think they are heading south. One in charge is Mexican,” he said, kissing my mother on the cheek.

Anger flared up again at the thought of him. Jesse Salinas. How could some stupid Mexican trash make off with her? Ella is mine. She belongs to me and nobody else, it made me sick to think that someone stole her from me. 

“Ambrose,” my mother’s voice sounded from behind me. 

“What?” I responded, turning around. 

“Do not forget what I told you. About her,” she said, her eyebrows raising knowingly. 

I ignored her and left the house, only to be met with a large group of men on horseback, my father already perched atop his horse. He held the reigns of my horse, Rebel, in his hands along with those of his. 

I strode to the horse and swung myself up, sharing a look with my father before we began riding. My saddlebags were bulging, so I assumed that someone had packed food for our journey.

I noticed that Ella’s father was nowhere to be seen in the group. He was most likely too grief-stricken to help us. Coward. I suppose it was a good thing, though, that he did not come. There was no room for blithering idiots on a manhunt. 

The rain lightened as we rode on to rescue my fiancé. 


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