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Reclamation: A Western Flash Fiction Story

“So you thought you could double-cross your own brother and get away with it!”

It was a voice Sam Laramie hadn’t heard in more than twenty years, and it growled dusty and dry from the darkness.

“Billy?”

It couldn’t be!

“Who else?”

Metal glinted in a moonbeam that traced its way through the dense overhead foliage, and Sam felt a cold barrel slide along his neck. The gun was real enough.

“I didn’t double-cross you, Billy.”

“Is that so? Well … way I remember it, you left me there in the street behind the bank to face a posse of lawmen — alone — while you ran into the night. With my money.”

That was true, but Sam had paid dearly for that night. And so had Billy.

“And then what happened, Billy?” Sam prodded. He still wasn’t sure this was his brother. “And why don’t we step out in the light so I can see you better?”

Billy grunted and spun Sam around, poking him along with the gun.

When they had cleared the trees and stood in the open prairie, the brothers faced each other.

Sam gaspedĀ  — Billy was thin as a skeleton, and skin hung over his skull like an old gunny sack. There was a hole in his forehead, and clumps of patchy hair clung to his scalp.

Billy scowled at his younger brother. “Why you look so old?”

“Twenty years in jail will do that to a fella, Billy.”

Billy was confused, and shook his head. Dust clouded the air.

He pulled the lever on his six-shooter and aimed it at Sam’s chest.

“It don’t matter. Just tell me where you hid the money, Sam.”

Sam motioned toward a wooden cross at the base of a giant oak tree.

“There, Billy. I buried it in your grave.”

 

Published inFlash Fiction

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