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Weakness: A Western Flash Fiction Story

“You can’t never outrun The Past, son. It’ll hunt you down like a dog ’til the day you die.”

Those had been the final words Johnny Shotts uttered to his son before closing the door on the boy. At just 14, Waylon was on his own on the Oklahoma frontier.

It all seemed for the best.

Johnny was a weak man who always had a bottle in his hand and shifty, darting eyes. He was a coward, too — wouldn’t even defend his family. Didn’t mind raising his hand to Martha, though, and it was his mother’s scream that stopped Waylon cold that October morning.

It was only a matter of time before Johnny killed Martha, so the boy did what he had to do. The battle was brief but brutal, and Johnny died with the shock of recognition in his eyes.

Martha and Waylon hid the body as best they could, then Waylon cleaned up and told Martha goodbye. He needed to leave, she said.

A mile down the road, Waylon knelt on the bank of Razor Lake to quell his wooziness. His pale reflection made him angry. Right then and there, he promised the boy in the water that he’d never be weak like his father.

And so he hadn’t.

Over the years, Waylon left a trail of dead bodies and broken hearts in his wake as he grew into a ruthless businessman.

He was strong and rich.

And, as it turned out, alone as he sat in the tavern nursing a whisky on the night of his 40th birthday. Behind him, the bat wings creaked open.

“I’m lookin’ for Waylon Shotts,” a young man’s voice called out.

Waylon stood and turned to face the boy he hadn’t seen since Razor Lake.

The Past had come for him, too.

Published inFlash Fiction

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