The whole of Bart’s life had been spent preparing for this moment. As the dust swirled around his boots and spat in his eyes, his father’s words echoed in his head to the pulse of the undertaker’s count.
“I’ve taught you boys all I know, and now it’s time for you to make your own way.”
Lewis was a good-for-nothing drunk, but he was still their father.
They hated what he was, yet they wanted to be like him.
How could he send them away, Bart at 17 and Cody, only 12?
The weight of responsibility had nearly buckled Bart’s legs in those first few steps away from home.
“Just remember boys,” their father had stopped them one last time.
“The honorable man doesn’t turn until ten.”
“But the man who wants to live turns on nine.”
Bart jammed his heel into the gritty earth and pivoted. His six-shooter flashed in the midday sun as he whipped it from his holster.
He locked eyes, for just a beat, with his mirror image, 18 paces between them. Two brothers reunited through circumstances and their father’s wisdom, echoing across the years.
One a lawman.
One an outlaw.
Neither one honorable.
How had they lost their way?
Two shots shattered the town’s uneasy silence.