The Wild West
My father sprung from the porch and swept me up in his arms. At first I was not alarmed, as a young girl I thought for a moment he was playing with me. But as he picked me up and I giggled he gave no equal response.
I looked up, his face was stern with worry. His eyes gazed into the horizon as the sun started to sink behind the short cascade of desert hills. I then looked over as well and there in the distance like walking shadows, were six men riding horses.
We often got visitors at our home. We were near a central road for travelers. Which we often gave them a place to rest as long as they respected our rules. But these visitors, if you could even call them that were not the usual kind.
My father rushed me into the house and told me to lock the door in stay inside. I was then overcome with fear. My father shut the door and I locked it. As he shut it I saw him reaching for his pistol that was slung over his chair on the porch.
I then ran over to the window to see what was going on. The men were then close enough to start seeing characteristics of their clothing. They all wore blue jeans and red button plaid shirts. Each had a different color bandanna covering their faces.
I had no clue as to who they were or what they wanted. I was merely a young daughter onlooking the situation. My father stood with his hand rested gently on his pistol as it hung from his waist. The men on the horses approached my father and began to talk.
I could no discern what they were saying. My father was defensive with his posture and kept pointing south. South led to the next town, about ten miles. I could vaguely hear my fathers voice start to raise in tone.
The sun had finally been engulfed by the fading horizon. The sky lit up with stars and the moon was glowing red. I remember looking at the moon and feeling a strange cold breeze over come me. I shivered for a quick second as I looked to it.
Then looked back and the men had dismounted their horses. My father took a few steps back and gripped his pistol firmly. I started to become frightened as the men started to surround my father. One of the men had a shotgun while the others only had pistols like my father.
They closed in on my father till they were only about five feet from him. My father kept to his position and would carefully swivel his head keeping an eye on the men as best he could. My father then tried to back away from the circle of men.
But one pushed him back into the middle. I remember them laughing as they did it. They then all started to join in. I started to cry as they bullied my father. My father was a good man and a strong man, the men were weak in stature but there were more than my father could fight alone.
Then, as they pushed my father around the man with the shotgun jabbed my father in the face with the butt of the gun. He fell to his knees and let go of his pistol and then raised his hand as if to protect himself. For a few minutes they just stood around him talking.
I could see my father was speaking as well. Probably trying to talk his way out of it. But the men were not having it. They started to kick dust at my father. Then, the one who seemed to be the ring leader, who wore a red bandanna, pulled out his pistol and aimed it at my father.
He stood right in front of my father, the pistol was gold, with a dark wood grip. I remember I started to pound on the window as I cried. I remember they looked over keeping the pistol aimed at my father. They saw me, my father turned and yelled for me to go hide.
I listened, sort of. I darted from the window and ran to my father's room. I then heard the men walking up to the door. Their spurs jingled with each step like a small collection of dull bells. I dove under my father's bed.
They tried to open the door but they quickly learned it was locked and kicked it in with only a few attempts. They then poured into the room with weapons drawn. There were four of them, I could see them from under the bed.
My father's room overlooked the front door. The men started to search, they tried to call me out but I remained silent. Then, one of the men stepped to my father's room and stood at the entrance for a moment while the others searched the rest of the house. Upstairs and down, I waited till I heard three of them upstairs.
That's when I made my move. The man that stood at entrance to my fathers room had no idea what was about to happen. My father always kept a shotgun under the frame of his bed. I had grabbed it the moment I swung myself under the bed. I can still remember the feeling of the wood grip and cool metal trigger as I clasped the shotgun in my hands. I aimed it at the right foot the man. I carefully placed my finger on the trigger like my father taught me.
I took in a breath and slowly released it till there was a pause. The man took only a single step into the room and I took the shot. The shotgun kicked, spitting out a single slug, penetrating the mans right foot, blood shot out and his foot lay mangled like meat battered by hammer. He fell to the ground howling in pain.
When he hit the ground we made eye contact, he yelled out to the other men where I was. My heart was beating insanely. I had never felt what I felt on that day. Adrenaline became my friend in that moment, I scurried out from under the bed with the shotgun and ran out the back door from my father's room.
The men upstairs ran down to find me. I hurried to the side of the house and slowly peered around the corner to see the front where my father was. I remember my ears ringing violently from the blast of the shotgun. I was completely focused on finding my father. I was hoping he was going to be okay.
I looked around the corner, my ears still ringing, I could not hear the men inside the house. When I looked around the corner, I saw the man in the red bandanna lying on the ground motionless. I then saw my father scuffling with the other man.
Then, from behind I felt a hand grab my shoulder. I panicked and turned around quickly with the shotgun ready to go. It was my older brother and my mother. He told me to be quiet. He asked me what was going on.
I told him in a hushed and hurried tone. He grabbed the shotgun from me and racked it back. The other men were trying to help out the guy I shot. My brother then walked into the room as my mother held me.
Then, suddenly, I heard two shots go off in the house. I jolted in shock and my mother grasped me tighter. We waited to see what the outcome was, luckily my brother stepped out from the house covered in spatter of blood.
My mother then grabbed my hand and we ran over to my brother. She hugged him for a moment and then we quietly walked to the edge of the house. I peered around the corner again with my mother and saw we my father fighting. But then he and the man scuffled off out of our view. After that, all we heard was three shots go off.
My mother told me to wait as she went to look. I then heard another shot go off. My mother came back running around the corner. Then, after a minute or two, our father came around the house with his hand on his stomach. Blood had soaked his white shirt near the bottom of his abdomen.
My mother came to tears and ran over to him and helped him in the house. I then walked along the house and stuck to the side of house to look. Laying there in the front yard, I saw three bodies lying on the ground. I ran over and saw one was my brother, who had ran off to help our father during the chaos of it all. And I will never forget seeing his face mangled from a pistol shot.
The man in the red bandanna was on his stomach. I could see a trail of blood from where he was. He had multiple knife wounds in his back. A few paces from him just behind me, was another man, his throat was cut with a bullet wound in his chest.
Two days later, my father died from an infection from his wound. Now it is just me and my mother and my little brother who was kept in the carriage during all this. And just like that, our brother and father were taking, all because my father would not allow bandits to rest in our home.
We never know when we may have to defend ourselves. The enemy will always come with an army and we must do the same.
We can only fight for what we have prepared for,