The Outlaw Healer

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic
The second poem about John Deacon, US Deputy Marshal. He finds himself in a bad situation with the only help coming from an unexpected source.

Submitted: December 14, 2016

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Submitted: December 14, 2016

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A John Deacon Tale

 

The Marshal had been riding long and hard

without a drink to quench his thirst.

Before him was the only water source for many miles

If the pack of wild men didn’t kill him first.

 

He squared off against them, six in all,

And prepared to make a fight.

He knew that his time was up either way;

He nor the horse could make it another night.

 

He fought hard and fought with skill,

But you just don’t beat the odds.

Bleeding and beaten he hit the dirt;

He knew today he’d meet his God.

 

When he woke up and breathed once more,

He was strapped to an old wooden stake.

He looked around for the wild men

But they’d left him there to bake.

 

It wasn’t a kindness, he thought,

He’d seen men die this way before.

So he tried to make himself comfortable

Lying there on the desert floor.

 

The night came on and the ground was cold

But he tried to stay awake all night.

But, consciousness left him often

And there wasn’t much left in him to fight.

 

So he closed his eyes one last time

And prayed without a sound.

“Lord, if you see me down here at all,

I sure would appreciate being found

 

Before a coyote or a wolf takes me off

To make a meal of me this night.

And I’m not picky, mind you,

But could you take me before that first bite?”

 

Silence closed in and he drifted away

And his thoughts faded out as well.

He no longer felt the pain of the body

He could not see nor feel nor smell.

 

He awoke to the feel of cool water

Being dripped down his throat with care.

He couldn’t see clearly yet due to the sun,

But he knew someone else was there.

 

He tried to speak but he could not

Make much of a sound it seemed.

So he smiled at the blur above him

And hoped it was not a dream.

 

“Go easy, friend; not so much at once.

You’re lucky I found you when I did.

Hell, I almost didn’t see you;

They tried their best to keep you hid.”

 

He tried to speak once more

But made only a whispering sound

His savior just smiled beneath his mustache

And eased him back onto the ground.

 

“No, you’ll not be up and going;

Not for some time at least.

Which way was you heading;

I figure you were heading East”

 

The Marshal just shook his head;

He had indeed been moving that way.

But he’d been caught in a storm

And that had set him off his path’s way.

 

He pointed to the star he wore

On his belt with pride.

Probably didn’t matter much;

He knew he’d saved his hide.

 

But he wanted him to know

Who he was and that he was a good type.

The other man just smiled and nodded his head

And then just set back and lit his pipe.

 

“Oh, I know who you are, Marshal,” he said,

“I’ve known for quite a while.

You see, I’m the guy you’re hunting;

You’ve had been on my trail for miles.”

 

“We both got caught in that twister

But I found me some shade.

I guess you got blown around a bit more;

Then the Indians; I thought I had it made.”

 

“Then I came across your body;

Hell, I thought you were dead!

And I seen it was you there in the dirt;

And I thought about just moving ahead.”

 

The Marshal choked up some dust

And of water took another sip.

“What made you come to my aid?”

He said as he wiped blood from his lip.

 

“Aw hell, Marshal, I done a lot of bad things.

But leavin’ a man to die like those wild men?

I couldn’t do that and rightly live with myself

Even if that meant I ended up in the pen.”

 

For days they sat there;

The outlaw tending the wounds.

The Marshal healed quickly and knew

That he had a decision to make soon.

 

“Tell me, lawman,

Did I make a mistake?

Will you just haul me off

Or give me chance to take?”

 

“First, said the Marshal, I’m in no shape

To make you do anything at all.

But, my gun hand’s still good

Should you decide to make me draw.

 

You did what was right by me;

And I’m grateful for that now.

But that doesn’t make up

For the bad… no way, no how.”

 

“But I’ll make you a deal,”

He said with a grin.

“You go on now and run;

I’ll just sit here a spell and mend.”

 

“I’ll not chase you now;

At least not right away.

Take a nice long head start;

I’ll just lay here in the hay.”

 

With that not another word was uttered;

The outlaw gathered his things with a smile.

He left the Marshal a horse…

Up the road about a mile.

 

He’d be up on his feet soon enough,

And the chase would be on again.

And he’d see him again; he knew that.

But not as a foe this time; as a friend.


© Copyright 2017 Mac Buckner. All rights reserved.