Before diving into another riveting *wank motion* chapter, I want to direct your attention here to my good buddy Chris Sakamoto’s and Sammy T’s new music video. Please give it a watch and vote for them on Twitter. Danka.
Now, without further ado *yet another hand wank*, Red Valley, chapter cinco.
West hated working in the fields. It was a slow go and he had little patience for it. If only he’d been smarter with his money when he had it. But then again, if he’d been smarter there wouldn’t have been any money at all.
Mary and Ellie made the work tolerable. Mary would sing hymnals and Ellie would hum along. The songs put West at ease. He could listen to their voices all day long, and some days he even found himself looking forward to the field work.
“Just as I am – without one plea,” Mary sang, “but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bids me come to thee, O lamb of God, I come!” Mary didn’t know if she believed in god. Her whole life she’d been taught to, of course, and she did quite like the whole heaven bit, but something in her gut warned her against believing in happy endings. If there was a heaven, she thought, West would be the last one they’d allow in. And she’d be damned if she let that happen. “Juas as I am – though toss’d about, with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come!”
“Why do you sing that song, mommy?”
“She sings it for me, little darlin’,” answered West.
“Well… For my soul.” Ellie thought the answer over in her mind for a moment and it seemed satisfactory enough so she went back to humming. Mary looked over at West and the two looked at each other the only way a couple who’ve shared a valley’s worth of life together can look. And West smiled.
Ellie added to the moment by slinging a mud pie at West’s shirt. Mary tried unsuccessfully to hold back a laugh and this gave Ellie permission to giggle.
“Oh, now you’re gonna get it, young lady!” Ellie let out a squeal and started to make a run for it and West chased her around the field. “Come ‘ere!” Mary laughed. Watching West with Ellie had always been her favorite.
West approached Ellie with caution. She was holding a mud pie in the firing position. “Ellie Crowley, I’m tellin’ you right now, don’t you dare throw that mud–” But it was too late and the mud pie splattered across West’s face. Mary got a kick out of the whole thing and Ellie shrieked with delight. “Alright, alright. I’m goin’ to the creek to wash off, but when I get back, you’re in for it, missy.”
Down at the creek West washed his face. The cool blue water was a baptism and he stared down into it at his reflection. In the distance he could hear Mary’s voice singing one of her hymnals. He sat back on a rock and looked out over the view of the creek and let himself smile. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back and swayed to the melody of his wife’s voice. Suddenly Mary’s singing turned to screaming. He could hear Ellie screaming as well.
West scrambled up to the fields as fast as he could and called out to his girls.
“Mary! Ellie! Mary!” But there was no response. Still he tried, “Girls..!”
West heard a groaning noise, like something dying and he was afraid to look. When he did he saw Chief bleeding out, a bullet to his side. He put his hand on the dog and continued to search for the girls. He called their names several more times but no one responded.
“Oh no…” Mary’s body was near where he had left them. Her clothes were torn and blood-soaked and her throat was slit across. She’d been propped up against a wagon, and written across the wagon in her blood was SANCHERO. Behind her, their home was in flames. West ran over to her and fell to his knees and he held in her arms and rocked her back and forth. He’d always assumed it would be the other way around. He buried his face into her and he held her tight.
West’s mind turned to Ellie. He gently rested Mary’s body back down and called out for his daughter. Like before, Ellie didn’t call back. West retraced his steps and combed over the fields. Ellie wasn’t there, nor was she in the home or the barn. West took a breath. Panicking was no good. They’d killed his wife and now they had his daughter. He didn’t know them, but he knew they’d use live bait. He darted inside for an old oak trunk he’d sworn to Mary he’d thrown away and he hated himself all the more. From the trunk he pulled two pistols and a large buck knife and he grabbed the rifle off the mantle.
Bobby started down the path to the Steel farm. He was approaching the fields now and he was beginning to wonder where everyone was and why he could smell smoke. “Mr. Crowley! Mrs. Crowley! Ellie!” Nothing. He continued on until he heard wheezing and when he turned he saw Chief in his miserable state. The boy petted the dog in his final moments and then he summoned all the courage he had and ran deeper into the fields. He stopped when he saw Mary’s body and the wagon and the bloody scribble, and he was startled when he saw West emerge from the flaming house armed and cloaked in death.
West noticed Bobby and the two shared a look of recognition. There was no time to for explanations or comfort so West didn’t bother. He began loading up his horse when Bobby approached him.
“I’m coming with you, Mr. Crowley.”
“I’m coming –”
“You’re staying here. You’re gonna take care of your ma. That’s an order, Bobby.” He mounted his horse and took one last look at Mary’s body. He was sorry that he wouldn’t be able to bury her but time was running out and he knew she’d understand. He looked down at the boy who was both terrified and in awe of him and he nodded and the boy nodded back.
He gave his horse a little kick and they started off down the road and Bobby couldn’t help but think that Mr. Crowley looked an awful lot like one of those cowboys from the dime novels.