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The Legend of Matt Hammer

When the West was Wild

By T.D. ZummackPublished 2 years ago 25 min read

The sun blazed down on the desert, baking the ground and everything on it. Even the lizards had tried to find some elusive shade. The man slowly plodded through the heat, his bare skin feeling like it was on fire. The war had ended, and he was now a free man. Freed by the soldiers from the north he had headed west in search of a better way of life. He had no family; his relatives had perished either on the boat on the way over or under the stress of the working conditions on the plantation. He had stolen a horse from a southern gentleman, and he had ridden as fast and as far as he could go.

He had chosen a new name for himself to symbolize the start of his new life. Matthew was chosen as his given name, it was his favorite book of the bible that his mama had read to him as a child. She had tried to teach him the best she could. She taught him to read, taught him to spell, and taught him how to treat people in the world. He wasn’t sure where she had learned, but he loved her for trying to teach him.

For his surname he wanted something that sounded tough, but also symbolized the freedom he now had. For that, he had chosen Hammer, a tough and useful tool and also the instrument used to release the chains from his hands and feet. Even now in the overwhelming heat, if he thought about it, he could still remember the way the cool breeze felt on that beautiful June day when the chains fell off and Matt Hammer was born.

He almost wished he was back there now, sitting in the shade provided by the branches of the large oak trees, eating a peach and drinking lemonade. He had only had lemonade once before, but he could remember the taste. The sweet and the tart combining as it washed over your teeth and gums, and how cool and refreshing it was as it washed down your throat. Thinking of it made his mouth water, but he had no saliva left as his body dried out in the sun. He had come so far, riding through the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana on his stolen horse, working odd jobs for meals and sleeping in old barns and sheds. It wasn’t ideal, not everyone was satisfied with the outcome of the war or what it meant for folks of his type, but the thought of getting west and starting fresh had kept him focused and calm. It wasn’t until he had crossed into Texas that trouble had started following him.

He had found a little town the folks had called One Hope that seemed to be the perfect place for him, after all, the ride to Texas was his one hope too. Unfortunately, news took a while to get west and the people of Texas were not all aware that the war had ended. Most did not look favorably upon him, but some were cordial. He had talked with Tom Wilson, the older man who ran the Livery and got himself a job tending horses and cleaning stalls. At over six feet he was tall and working the fields had given him a natural strength and chiseled physique. Tom took one look at him and decided that he didn’t give a damn what people thought, he could use a man like Matt around his business. Tom had also given him some space in a shed out behind the barn until he could get enough saved to get himself a room or place of his own to stay.

“It ain’t much, but it’s yours if you want it until you can find a proper place to lay your head.”

“Oh, this will do just fine Mr. Wilson, sir. I do appreciate your kindness.”

“It ain’t kindness. In these parts a man would be a fool to let a specimen like you get away. You can never have enough muscle around when you need it. Can you shoot, son?”

“Well sir, I ain’t never tried. Never held a gun before. Never had a reason.”

“Well you got one now. We’re gonna have to teach you how to handle a pistol.”

He was thinking back on that conversation as he kept trying to move across the desert one step at a time. That had been the start of all his trouble. Tom had meant well enough, he was trying to make sure that Matt could protect himself from those that felt he didn’t belong there, but the old adage had proved true. Any man that wears a gun, had better be prepared to use it. He studied his current surroundings as he dragged himself inch by inch across the bleached, hard, earth. His throat was dry and raw, his muscles cramping with every step, but he knew he had to keep walking or he would be dead for sure. There was a lone cottonwood up ahead in the distance, at least he hoped it was there and not a mirage. He focused his mind and concentrated on every step moving towards the cottonwood. The bastards that dumped him here had left him with nothing, not even a knife. They had even taken his shirt, hoping the sun would do their job for them. He finally made his destination and fell to the ground in the shade of the lone tree. There wasn’t much but he could feel the temperature drop as soon as he was curled in the shadow.

He rested, but only for a second. The ground was cool , but still hard. He gathered a rock and smashed it into the surface a few inches from the base of the tree. He did this two or three more times to break the surface of the ground and then he started digging with his hands. Even though it had been shaded the ground was still hard and his fingertips were being worn as dug deeper. He dug further down and then finally saw what he had been after, a small trickle of water started to fill the hole. He frantically made the hole larger and deeper and eventually had a little pool of water. He cupped his hands and brought some water to his mouth, careful to rub the water on his lips first and then taking small sips, making sure to not gorge himself. The water tasted like dirt but it was cool and soothed his raw throat on it’s way down. After taking enough water for now, Matt started to make the hole larger, one that he could lay inside. When he had finished, it looked like a shallow grave for himself which he found both slightly amusing and appropriate since he was nearly half dead by the time he was finished. He laid in the hole and tried to cover himself with the dirt dug from the hole. The ground felt cool on his sun-baked skin and he tried to relax while he let his body recover. Matt fell asleep and started to dream about the circumstances that got him here.

His mind went back to Mr. Wilson teaching him to shoot. They had practiced behind the barn with Tom giving him an old pistol and teaching him to fire at old jugs set up on the fence. Matt had been a natural and in no time at all was drawing quickly and hitting any target Tom set up for him. Matt didn’t want to wear a gun but learned quickly that it would be necessary. He and Tom were gathering supplies from the General Store when they were approached by two men. The larger of the two spoke to Tom. “What are you doing old Tom?”

“Just gathering my supplies Bruce. We ain’t looking for no trouble.”

“I think you just bringing that fellow around with you means your looking for trouble.”

Bruce stood on the sidewalk in front of Tom who was on the opposite side of the wagon from Matt. The second man had moved off the sidewalk and had moved to the end of the wagon. Tom was now caught in a crossfire situation. Matt wanted to speak but Tom motioned for him to remain quiet.

“Look Bruce, a man is a man, and this fellow is big and strong. I need that kind of help around the livery. He ain’t looking for no problems, he’s just here to muck stalls and brush horses. I don’t see why someone like J.P. Dunleavy needs to worry about the likes of us.”

Bruce chortled. “Mr. Dunleavy ain’t worried about you, he just wants to make sure that One Hope stays the same wholesome, clean town that it’s always been.” He looked at Matt as he spoke the word clean.

“The town is just fine. Matt here just wants to work and earn himself a living. There won’t be no trouble.”

“I know there won’t be no trouble cuz we’re gonna make sure you get the lesson the first time. Give him the lesson Joe.”

The man at the end of the wagon raised his pistol in order to hit Tom Wilson with the butt end. Before he could bring the weapon down on Tom, Matt had drawn and leveled his gun at Joe. The move happened so fast that it caught both of the men off guard.

“You heard Tom. We don’t want no trouble. Just back up and leave us alone and nobody needs to get killed here today.”

“Listen here boy, your likes ain’t wanted in town and your voice damn sure ain’t wanted in this conversation. I’m gonna count to three and if you ain’t put that gun down I’m…”

“By two you’ll have a nice new hole in your chest mister and by three Joe here will have one in his forehead. You want to test me, start counting.” Matt stared at Bruce with ice in his eyes.

“I ain’t getting shot over this.”, Joe slowly backed away as he spoke. Bruce looked at Matt with his face contorted into an angry smirk. Matt could feel the venom in his stare.

“It ain’t over boy. All you done now is step yourself into a whole heap of trouble.” Both men walked away down the sidewalk. Bruce threw one last look back over his shoulder.

“What was all that for Tom? Am I getting you in some kind of trouble?”

“Don’t you worry about it Matt. Those boys work for J.P. Dunleavy. He’s a cattle rancher around here, big one too. Also considers himself the steward of One Hope, wants the town to reflect the image that he’s chosen for it. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mr. Dunleavy takes to kindly to men of your…characteristics if you will.” He pulled himself into the wagon seat with a bit of a groan.

“You’ve been nothing but nice to me Tom, I don’t want to cause no trouble. If you need me to go, then I’ll go.”

“Hell no, Matt. Did you not hear me talking to Bruce? I wasn’t saying those things just to get a breeze going. Look at the size of you man. I’d have to be a fool to turn down help from someone with the strength of you. Besides, if the rest of the country is changing, then I expect old J.P. Dunleavy can do some changing in his own right. Let’s head home Matt.”

Matt’s body twitched in his dream state while he lay in his underground cocoon. His mind flashed again to another point in time.

Matt walked down the sidewalk of town as he was headed to the general store. His head was turned as he stared at a ruckus happening in the street. Two cowboys were duking it out in the dust. With his head turned Matt bumped into a lady who was exiting the hotel as he walked. His hat fell off his head and he bent down to pick it up while speaking. “My apologies ma’am. I am truly sorry.” He raised his head and his eyes met squarely with the bluest eyes he had ever seen. Matt was taken aback and stuttered as he apologized again. “ very sorry ma’am. Totally my fault. I need to pay more attention where I’m walking.” His eyes never left hers.

She stared back into his eyes and then blushed a little when she caught herself doing so. “It’s no problem really. Accidents happen, it’s a crowded sidewalk. Thank you for apology mister…”

“Uh, Hammer, ma’am. My name is Matthew Hammer.” Matt had never seen a woman so beautiful before. Her porcelain skin was flawless, her eyes shining like sapphires from within it. Her dark hair was tucked up under her hat, but a few curls escaped and hung down around her cheeks, framing her face like a beautiful picture.

“Hammer? That’s an unusual name.”

“Yes ma’am it is, but it’s mine.”

“Well then Mr. Hammer, thank you again for your apology. No harm was done. Perhaps I will see you around town again.”

“Yes ma’am. Thank you, ma’am. Ma’am, may I have your name?” Matt asked sheepishly.

“Well, of course you may. It is Laura Dunleavy. It was nice to meet you Mr. Hammer.”

As she walked away Matt stared after her. At one point she turned around and took a last look at him. Matt gave a little wave and tipped his hat. She smiled and then turned around and continued on her way. Matt was smiling as he too turned around and was about to continue his errand. He caught the gaze of Bruce, Dunleavy’s tough ranch hand, staring at him from across the street. Matt stopped smiling, put his head down, and focused on finishing his task, thoughts of Laura Dunleavy still in his head.

His mind flashed forward again to a second meeting of Laura in the dining room of the hotel. She was seated, having a meal with a friend when Matt entered looking for something to eat.

“Mr. Hammer?”, she raised her voice and waved her hand a little to get his attention.

Matt walked over and removed his hat as he approached the table. “Good evening, Miss Dunleavy.”

“Are you meeting someone here?”

“No ma’am, just coming for some supper.”

“Well, won’t you please join us?” Laura asked brashly as her friend tugged on her dress sleeve. Matt noticed the tug and the wide-eyed look of Laura’s friend and although he wanted nothing more than to sit and dine with her, he politely refused.

“Thank you, ma’am, but maybe another time.” Matt chose a table where he could occasionally look up from his meal and see Laura as she dined with her friend. He had been warned by Tom, when he had told him of their chance meeting on the sidewalk, that Laura Dunleavy would come with a host of problems. She was the daughter of J.P. Dunleavy, who’s influence Matt had already had the pleasure of seeing up close. Tom had explained that J.P. had held an unusually tight grip on his daughter, regulating who she could and could not socialize with. He had gone so far as to have some of his men follow his daughter as bodyguards, steering her away from possible trouble or the company of strange men. Matt looked around the dining room. He noticed some men that could be Dunleavy’s, but he did not see Bruce anywhere.

Laura and her friend finished their meal and rose from their table. On their way out she stopped at Matt’s table. The two men Matt had noticed stood up from their table as well.

“Would you care to perhaps walk me back to my home Mr. Hammer?” Laura asked.

Matt stared up at her. He would love to walk her home, but he noticed the men moving forward. “I think you already have some walking companions ma’am.” Matt motioned at the men as he spoke.

“Those are my daddy’s men. They do what I tell them.”, she insisted.

“I would like to spend some time with you ma’am, but I’m thinking this evening may not be that time.”

Laura lowered her voice. “Very well then. Meet me tomorrow, down by Morgan’s River. Say three o’clock? And please Mr. Hammer, call me Laura.”

Matt looked at the men, thought for a moment or two, and then looked back at Laura. “Alright ma’am. Three o’clock at Morgan’s River. I will be there.” He nodded slightly.

“Good. Glad to hear it. Until then Mr. Hammer.” She turned and exited with her friend. The two men followed her out, staring at Matt with hard eyes as they left.

His mind raced forward again to their meeting at Morgan’s River. He rode in cautiously as he saw her sitting on a log staring out at the river. He hadn’t seen any of Dunleavy’s men around and he wondered where they might be. He stopped and stared for a minute, taking in the breathtaking sight of her in the sunlight. As he approached, she turned around and looked towards him. A large smile came across her face and her eyes lit up as she saw him.

“How do you do ma’am?” Matt tipped his hat as he spoke and then dismounted.

“Mr. Hammer, how many times do I have to ask that you call me Laura? I’m glad that you could make it.”

“I will call you Laura if you promise to stop calling me Mr. Hammer.”

“Very well Matthew, please sit with me.”

“Where are your father’s men? I don’t see them.” Matt asked suspiciously as he sat himself down on the log beside her.

“Sometimes a girl needs some time to herself. Do you wish they were here?”

“Not at all, but I am curious as to why I’m here.”

“You interest me Matthew, and when someone interests me, I like to get to know them.”

“Well I’m afraid that you’re father doesn’t share that same interest.”

“My father would like to see me with some neanderthal like Bruce or the like. No thank you. Could you imagine? Can we talk now? You can talk can’t you?”

There was a condescending tone in her voice that Matt did not appreciate. He stood up to walk away. “Have a good afternoon, ma’am.” He tipped his hat.

“Oh, please stay. I’m sorry. I’m just nervous. Please sit.”

“Nervous? You? I doubt that Miss Laura Dunleavy.” Matt sat again.

“What, you don’t think I can be nervous?”

“I think you are very confident. I think you are beautiful, and you know it. I think you know that that beauty opens some doors for you, and I think you use it. I think that people know who your father is and that opens some doors too. I think that you use that as well. But most of all, I think that you just want people to see you for you more than anything.”

“And what am I?”

“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on and if I’m not mistaken you have a mind and a heart that is as open as all the plains of Texas.”

“Why would you say that?”

“If your mind was as closed as your father’s, I wouldn’t be here.” Matt said softly.

Laura paused, a little taken aback. “Matthew, you are like no one I have ever met.”

“I reckon that’s so.” He smiled a little.

She slapped his arm. “Not because of the obvious, shame on you. The men I see everyday are all ruffians and overgrown children. They’re always fighting to be the king of the castle. They never look at you, they just want you as their trophy. It’s so tiresome.”

They sat silently for a while, enjoying each others company. Suddenly, there was a furor as a group of four men came riding fast towards the pair. Matt rose to his feet and reached for his gun, but the initial shock of seeing the group slowed him down just enough that as he grabbed for his holster, he received a boot to the face from one of the riders, knocking him to the ground. As he rolled on the ground trying to gather his senses Matt was attacked by the group. The men punched and kicked at Matt, attempting to subdue him, while Laura screamed frantically. Finally, the men held Matt on his knees with his arms stretched out at his sides. They removed his gun belt. Three men held him while the fourth moved his head and forced him to look at a fifth rider that had come after the fray.

The fifth man was different from the others. He had a commanding presence and he was dressed better and didn’t have the look of a cow hand or a gunfighter. Laura had gone quiet. Matt stared at him while the man slowly lit a cigar and took a long drag before speaking. “You know who I am boy?”

Matt said nothing and the man spoke again. “My name is Jameson Phillip Dunleavy, you may have heard of me. Some folks call me J.P. This lovely lady is my daughter.” He paused and took another pull on his cigar. “I’m not entirely sure what you think you’re doing out here, but I can assure you that you have made a costly error in judgement. I’ve tried to send you the message once before, One Hope is my town and if I don’t want you in my town I damn sure don’t want you with my daughter.”

“Daddy, no! Don’t hurt him. It was my idea, I asked him here.”

“Hush up! I will deal with you later. Right now, this boy and I have some business to attend to.”

Matt struggled in his captors’ grasps. He wasn’t able to free himself.

“Now then boy, this will be your second and hopefully final lesson. Get out of One Hope. Bruce, take this trash out of here and dump him somewhere. Laura, get home.”

“Yes sir, Mr. Dunleavy. Get him up boys.”

A rope was wrapped around Matt, tying his upper arms to his sides. Another tied his hands at the wrists and a third was used to wrap around his wrist bind with the other end tied to the pommel of Bruce’s saddle. Matt was made to walk behind Bruce’s horse and when he couldn’t keep up he was dragged over the ground. They rode out to the desert plains with Matt alternating between walking and being dragged. The more he was dragged, the more it took out of him, the less he could stand and therefore the more he was dragged.

By the time they got to where Bruce felt was far enough, Matt could barely stand. He was wrested to his feet by the other men. The sun was hot, his mouth was dry, and he could hardly move.

“This is your stop boy. Cut him loose.” Matt’s hands and arms were freed.

“Give me your shirt boy.” Bruce growled.

“Like hell.” Matt’s throat cracked as he spoke.

“Give me that shirt or I’ll have Bob over here use that whip to tear it off you.”

Matt removed his shirt and threw it at Bruce. His sweating chest glistened in the sun.”

“We don’t care where you go boy, just don’t come back to One Hope. One thing is for sure, wherever you’re going you’re walking. Good luck.” Bruce laughed loudly as he said it and he and the men rode away.

Matt’s body twitched hard and he woke up as he heard the laughter from Bruce in his dream. That was how he ended up in his current situation. It took a minute for him to remember where he was. It was night in the desert now and his body twitched violently again as the cocoon that had saved him from dying in the heat was now freezing him to death. He unearthed himself and tried to stand very slowly. His joints were stiff and his limbs were weak from his ordeal. The full moon and bright stars provided the only light for him to see with. He rubbed his arms and chest and stomped his legs to get some blood flowing and bring back some feeling. He was going to have to get moving. Night was the best time to walk the desert, you could avoid the searing heat, as long as you didn’t freeze. He dug one more hole, helped himself to some water again, and started walking.

He headed back towards One Hope. He knew he had been warned and being caught meant certain death, but he was a free man now and wasn’t about to let no rich, white man, tell him what to do anymore. He was angry and that was good. The angrier he was, the faster he walked. This allowed him to cover more distance and also brought circulation and feeling back to his body. He would make Dunleavy pay for his unseemliness, but first he wanted Bruce.

After walking for what seemed like forever, Matt finally saw the town in the distance. The moon had dropped, and daylight started to creep over the horizon. Matt carefully worked his way around the outskirts and came up behind the livery. He crept into the barn, grabbed an old horse blanket, and laid down in some hay up in the loft, where he could warm up and get some much-needed rest. He dare not go back to his shed in case Bruce and the men went there looking for him. His skin had blistered, and the hay scratched and irritated the sores. In spite of the pain he managed to fall asleep. This time, no dreams came.

He was awakened from his sleep by a disturbance in the barn below. He quietly crept to the edge and peered over. Tom was there, talking to a distressed Laura Dunleavy.

“Have you seen him?”, she pleaded with Tom. “I don’t know what Bruce had planned, but I’m sure it wasn’t good.”

“I don’t know where he is ma’am. Matt’s a tough man, if they ain’t killed him, there’s a chance he’s still alive out there somewhere.”

“I hope so. He’s a good man.”

“He is. Much too good for friends like you.”

Laura was shocked at the comment. “What do you mean?”

“You know your daddy ma’am, and you know his feelings. You know that taking up with a man like Matt was gonna lead to trouble.”

“I hadn’t taken up anything. He interested me, he’s not like any other man I’ve known.”

“And that interest may have gotten him killed. Is that price worth it?”

Laura looked embarrassed and shamed. “Nonetheless, if you see him, please let him know I hope he’s ok.” She turned and left the barn.

“You were pretty tough on her old man.” Matt said from his perch.

Tom was startled but composed himself quickly. “You ok, Matt?”

Matt came down from the loft. Tom couldn’t believe his eyes. “Damn, they did a number on you son. You gotta go see the doc.”

“No doctor. I can’t be seen. You got anything here to patch me up?”

Tom didn’t have much, but he cleaned the blisters with water and bandaged over them. He also brought a clean shirt from Matt’s shed for him.

“Any idea where I can find Bruce and his men?” Matt asked as he struggled to put on the shirt.

“They’re probably down at the saloon, but you can’t go there Matt. You’re in no shape to face those guys right now.”

“He thinks he’s taken care of me, thinks he can just impose his will on me. I had men do that to me for years and I’m not gonna have another one do it to me now. He needs to face the music.” He tucked in his shirt and straightened himself. “Do you have a gun I can borrow?”

“Matt, just rest. Please. You can always face them later.”

“A man needs to stand for something, and I’m standing for this. The gun?”

Tom went to a cupboard against the barn wall. He came back with an old looking revolver that he handed to Matt. “It don’t look like much, but it shoots straight and works well. It won’t jam. I wish you would rethink this.”

Matt took the gun. “Thank you. For everything.” He walked to the barn door and slowly took a look outside. When he was satisfied that the area was clear he left the barn without a sound. Tom looked around his barn and spoke softly to himself before grabbing the rifle from his saddle and leaving the barn after Matt.

Matt had quietly watched the saloon from across the street. He had a good idea of what he would be facing inside and decided that a fight indoors would strengthen the odds against him. He decided on his strategy and fired his gun into the air as he walked into the middle of the street. Men came pouring out of the saloon to see what the commotion was. Bruce followed the first crowd of men and paused in the doorway when he saw Matt standing in the middle of the street.

“What the hell are you doing here boy?” Bruce growled.

“I’m here to face you, Bruce. I ain’t runnin’ from no man no more.”

“You ain’t too smart are you boy? You see all these men here? You gonna take us all?”, Bruce laughed as he said it.

“I don’t need to take them all Bruce, just you.”

Bruce’s laugh stopped short. “What you got in mind?”

“An old-fashioned duel. We line up back to back, ten paces each, turn and fire. Best man wins.”

“Alright boy, you got it.” Bruce walked down the stairs into the street. “Let’s do this.”

The two men lined up back-to-back and a man in the crowd started calling paces. Bruce took each step with his nerves growing every boot fall. When the man yelled ten, Bruce wheeled and was shocked to see Matt standing directly in front of him. Matt took advantage of the surprise and knocked the gun from Bruce’s hand with his left while landing a hard blow to Bruce’s stomach with his right.

The blow dropped the large man to his knees and Matt landed a sharp left to his chin. Matt felt Bruce’s jaw break with the force of the blow and blood spewed from the big man’s mouth as he lay in the dirt. Three quick kicks were landed to the man’s stomach while he laid there and he gasped for any breath he could find. Matt bent over, grabbed Bruce by his hair and lifted his head. Staring him in the eyes he said. “I ain’t leaving. This is my home. Get on your horse and get out of town. If I see you here again, I will kill you.” He threw another hard right to the man’s face and knocked him to the dirt again. Matt stood up and turned to walk away. Bruce crawled to his dropped pistol and tried to aim at Matt. At the sound of the hammer cocking, Matt wheeled around and fired at Bruce who died without getting off his shot. Matt looked around the crowd. Bruce’s man Joe raised a pistol and aimed at Matt. Matt stared at him. A shot rang out and Joe’s eyes got wide, and his mouth fell open before he fell to the ground. There was a growing spot of red on the front of Joe’s shirt. Matt looked around and saw Tom across the street with his rifle aimed at where Joe had been standing.

“Thought you might need some help. You started it, now finish it. Go find J.P. Dunleavy.”

Matt nodded his head and left the crowd staring at the men in the street as he went to find Dunleavy. He approached the man’s front yard and stopped outside his gate. He yelled towards the house. “Dunleavy! Dunleavy! Come and meet your maker.”

The front door opened, and J.P. Dunleavy emerged onto the front porch. “What the hell are you doing here, boy?”

“I’m letting you know that I ain’t leaving. I ain’t being pushed around no more.”

“Get the hell out of here before I have Bruce and his men finish the lesson this time.”

“Bruce is dead.”

Fear flashed quickly across Dunleavy’s face before he composed himself. He lit a cigar and puffed on it once. “I suppose you want to kill me? Let’s see what we can work out.”

“There’s nothing to work out Dunleavy. You want me gone and I ain’t leaving.”

Dunleavy left the porch and started walking towards Matt. “Come now, there’s always something to work out. If Bruce is gone then there’s a spot open working for me. I could use a man of your size and strength. I’ll pay you top dollar.”

Matt looked past Dunleavy as Laura emerged from the house and was now standing on the porch staring intently at Matt. “I’ll never work for another man like you. I’m a free man now, I’m not slaving no more.”

“You see, that’s why your type will never make it. You don’t have the common sense to know a good thing when you hear it. I said I would pay top dollar.”

“Not gonna happen.”

“Well that’s too bad…for you!”, Dunleavy pulled a derringer from his vest pocket and aimed at Matt. Matt drew quickly and shot as his left shoulder was smashed, knocking him to the ground. Dunleavy dropped his cigar and had a look of surprise on his face as he grabbed his chest and then fell to the ground.

“Daddy!”, Laura yelled and came running towards her father. She fell to the ground beside him and was crying as she cradled her father’s head in her lap.

“Oh daddy. What did you do?”, tears ran down her cheeks as J.P. Dunleavy stared at her one last time before he closed his eyes and passed away.

Matt rolled on to his side and then groaned as he tried to sit up. He saw Laura crying as she held the man he had just killed. He grabbed at his shoulder which was bleeding from the bullet lodged inside it. “It had to be done. He drew on me.”

Laura stared at Matt and then asked quietly. “Are you alright?”

“I’ll live. I need to go see the doc. I’m not sorry he’s dead, but I am sorry that he was your father and I’m the one that killed him.”

“I’m glad you’re alright Matthew.” She managed a little smile.

“I don’t have much, but whatever I have I would like to share with you.” Matt spoke as he stood up.

“I would like that.” She spoke softly.

“Then I will be back, and I will start to courting you Miss Laura Dunleavy.” He tipped his hat and walked away.

Laura stared after Matt as he walked away. “You are one of a kind Matthew Hammer.”, she said to herself. “You truly are.”

She smiled as she watched him walk until she couldn’t see him anymore.


About the Creator

T.D. Zummack

I'm a 48 year old aspiring writer who has finally taken the time and put in effort to make the dream come true instead of just keep wishing it. I currently have 2 books available on Amazon, 'Amazing Grace' & 'The Brand of Brotherhood.'

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