Excerpt from TAME A WILD WIND by Cynthia Woolf
Copyright 2012, Cynthia Woolf, all rights reserved.
***YOU MUST BE 18 AND OLDER TO READ***
The time had come.
Ten Years Ago
They was about to hang his brother.
Harry’s stomach roiled with nausea. From the alley next to the saloon, he watched the Ranger, Sam Colter, march Frank up the gallows steps. Watched the hangman put a noose around his brother’s neck and ask if he had any last words. Watched, helpless to do a damn thing about it.
It weren’t Frank’s doin’ that Colter’s wife and kids had died in that fire. They’d only wanted to have a bit of fun with the woman, make a little money, that was all. They hadn’t wanted to see her and those girls die. That was never the plan.
Fool woman. If only she’d waited. Her father would have paid the ransom. A bank president could afford it. Instead, she’d broken loose. Thrown that lamp at his head, trying to kill him and killed herself instead.
The fire had been fierce. It moved so fast like the house was made from kindling. He rubbed the puckering skin on his arm, feeling the sting of the flames all over again as his flesh charred. He couldn’t have saved them, not and gotten himself out in time. Harry clenched his fists. It wasn’t his fault. And it wasn’t Frank’s either. It wasn’t. She was to blame. Frank shouldn’t have to die for something she’d done to herself.
He had to stop this from happening. He had to save Frank.
Harry shifted away from the gloom of the alley and his brother looked at him from the gallows; met him square in the eye and shook his head. He didn’t want Harry to die too, trying to save him. He’d always been like that. Always looked out for him. Even when it could have saved his own life, he hadn’t given his little brother up. Swallowing hard, Harry slid back into the shadows, his heart pounding.
Time slowed as the hangman stepped up to the lever and gave it a sharp pull. His brother dropped through the trap door, kicking and struggling, his neck not broke clean. Fear strangled Harry, like he was on the end of the rope, trying to breathe, trying to live. Hot tears tracked down his cheeks and bile rose into his throat as his brother’s face turned purple and then his eyes bulged out, legs thrashing wildly at the air.
This weren’t right. None of it was. Damn Colter. Damn him to hell.
The bile in his throat burned all the way to his stomach. He barely got himself hid behind a pile of old beer barrels before he threw his guts up into the mud. Minutes later, shaking and sweating, Harry wiped the vile stuff from his chin. Fury and grief gripped him, making his chest hurt. His brother was gone. Dead. And Sam Colter was to blame for it.
He forced himself to look at Frank’s body, spinning almost lazily now from the end of the rope. He never wanted to forget what had happened today. He wanted to hold onto the icy hatred settling over him like armor–let it protect him and keep the awful feeling of helplessness away. He wanted revenge.
“I’ll get even for you Frank,” he vowed quietly. “Colter will pay for what he done today. He’ll pay for hangin’ you.”
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