The fabulous Erin M. Hartshorn has allowed me to decorate her blog with a photo essay I call The Freshwater Fishmen of Tucumcari, New Mexico. And y'all, seriously - if you need an editor or just some damn fine fiction, go smell what Erin's cooking over there. I promise you haven't seen it before!
In the meantime, Sil has made a break for the border, leaving his stunned partner and a dozen horses in his wake.
Elim tightened his hold on Molly's rope, realization dawning brighter with every non-starter that occurred to him. Couldn't leave the herd to go tearing after him: there was no guaranteeing they'd still be here when he got back. Couldn't go tearing after him with the herd; it was as good as inviting a wreck. Couldn't just whip out his rifle and nail the little runt at fifty yards, tempting as that was.
Couldn't show up home again without him.
"Well, shit." Elim's grip slackened along with his outrage. Sil no doubt figured it was a clever plan, and Elim would be the first to admit as much – just as soon as Sil felt he'd made his point well enough to come back and settle down to business.
But Elim and Molly watched in vain as Sil dwindled to a black spot in the distance, and then disappeared.
Elim sighed. "Well, Miz Boone, I expect we'll have to fetch him before he mislays himself."
Molly mouthed her bit, and raised no objections.
So Elim obligingly collected the purse and the papers, assembled his troops, and then set himself astride his big bay mistress to start her out at a sensible jog.
It was an orderly, sustainable gait to use for leading their little posse out of town, a natural choice for any reasoning fellow.
Now, what you'd use to catch up a snotty, arrogant, spoiled son-of-a-bitch, clock him clean off his horse, turn him over your knee, and then heat his frail hide one lick for every mile he'd ridden you out along his damn fool way - that would be a whole different gait.
And Elim felt mightily keen on trying it out before Sil made it to the river.