There was nothing left to the day, and Abe was as spent as the sun winking out over Riggins Ridge.
It had been more than ten years since he last saw that sunset.
“Harvest is in.” Allen’s voice was gravelly and tired behind him, but also tinged with hope.
Abe kept walking toward his horse.
“Yep,” he said as he planted a boot in the stirrup and kicked his other leg over Whisky’s back.
Allen’s footsteps sounded faster in the draping darkness as he hurried to catch up.
“Hold up, Abe,” he called. “Hold up just a minute.”
Abe hesitated, sighed. He wanted to ride off into the night, never look back. But something pinned him in place.
“What is it, Allen?” he said, exasperated.
“I just…well, I just wanted to say thank you. We couldn’t have brought in everything without you.”
Lantern light flashed behind Allen, and Abe looked past him to the shadow in the doorway of the cabin.
“This place means a lot to me, Allen. Still.” Abe sat up in the saddle, picked up the reins.
Allen shuffled forward. “Wait! Wait!” he said.
Abe stared into the black desert.
“I thought, well, I thought maybe you could come around sometime. Have dinner with us,” Allen said.
The light from the door gleamed stronger and Abe realized it was moving toward him. In spite of his best efforts, he turned to look.
Mary’s eyes glimmered in the orange glow, sparking with sorrow and kindness and fear…and love.
Abe cleared his throat and looked away.
“We’ll always be brothers, Allen, and I won’t let you flounder,” he said. “But we aren’t friends any more. Haven’t been for a long time.”
He flipped the reins, and Whisky carried him into the night.