La Venganza

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Albert Doyle's wife is kidnapped by bandits he rides out to find her and the men responsible. His search for his wife and for revenge will change him forever.

Submitted: June 27, 2014

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Submitted: June 27, 2014

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Albert Doyle opened his eyes. He squinted in the harsh New Mexico sunlight. He tasted blood and sand. He sat up. He was on the dusty ground outside his house. He touched his jaw. It felt bloody and swollen. Then he remembered. Bandidos. Four of them on horseback. Despite the sun beating down a shiver went through him. What about his wife Sandra? He managed to get to his feet. On weak legs he staggered towards the house. The place had been ransacked and there was no sign of Sandra. Doyle stumbled back to the front door. Stared out across the dusty landscape. Where have they taken her? What have they done to her? He dropped to the ground as sobs wracked his body.

Still red eyed and in shock he mounted his horse and rode as quickly as he could. He arrived in town a short time later. He just hoped that somebody in La Inglesia would be able to help. Hopefully someone would know which direction the bandits were headed. The street was bustling as the townsfolk went about their business. Stagecoaches and horses went up and down the dusty street. People walked along the raised wooden walkways. The men all wore hats to keep the sun off and had six shooter pistols holstered on their hip. Even the most level headed and mild mannered men carried pistols. These were wild times and you never knew when you’d need your pistol.

He dismounted outside the sheriff’s office. Surely the sheriff would be able to help. He rushed into the office. The lawman was an overweight man in his fifties. He wore the Silver Star on his chest. When he saw Doyle’s battered features he jumped to his feet.

‘What happened, son?’

‘Bandits came to my house. They attacked me and have taken my wife. We need to go after them and get her back.’

‘Well, now, these bandidos could have gone in any direction. They could be just about anywhere.’

‘We have to go after her.’

‘I’m sorry for what’s happened. Sorry for your loss.’

‘My loss?’

He charged out of the office and out along the wooden boardwalks. Entered the saloon. Men sat around the tables, they chatted, smoked cigarillos, drank whiskey. Some played cards. Doyle went to the bar. He turned to face the room.

‘My name is Albert Doyle. Bandits have taken my wife. I need to know if anyone has seen them in town. Does anyone have any idea where they could be headed?’

He scanned the room. Most people just shrugged or looked down at their drinks. The card games went on as though he wasn’t there. He couldn’t believe the lack of support. He had tears in his eyes. He swallowed down the lump in his throat. He turned his back on the room. Slumped at the bar.

A whiskey was placed in front of him. He turned to see an elderly man with a grey beard. He waved for Doyle to drink. As he sipped the whiskey the man spoke.

‘The men you speak of were in here last night. I heard them say they were headed south of El Paso. They are headed for the town of Mieda. You should be careful though. Not only are the men you seek extremely dangerous but the lands around the Mexican border are perilous. And, to be blunt, chances are your wife is already dead.’

‘I have to try.’

The old man nodded. Doyle wiped his eyes.

 

The sun beat down as he saddled up and headed out of town. He rode hard, the sweat running down his neck. Headed for El Paso. As he drove his horse on he squinted at the horizon. He just hoped he could catch them up. Several hours later there was still no sign. Perhaps he had been knocked out for longer than he thought. Desperation and panic gripped him. He rode on as the afternoon turned into evening. El Paso was at least two days ride. He would have no chance of finding them once the sun went down. If he tried to push on through the darkness he risked getting lost or worse. He entered the town of Arroyo. As he rode along the mane street he sensed trouble. This was not a welcoming town like La Inglesia. He could feel eyes watching him, hands paused over pistols, waiting for him to put a foot wrong.

He checked into the hotel. The room was small but clean. Ten minutes later he walked through the swinging doors of the cantina. Again he felt eyes on him, trigger fingers itching. He went to the bar.

‘My name’s Albert Doyle. My wife has been taken by bandits. Has anyone seen or heard anything?’

The room held its breath. A second later a man spoke he had a thick moustache and wore his pistol across his belly in the Mexican style. He strode over to Doyle.

‘You shouldn’t go around asking questions, hombre. Get yourself into a lot of trouble.’

‘I don’t want any trouble. I’m trying to find my wife.’

‘You go around alone and ask questions. People will be trying to find you, entiendes?’

Before Doyle could reiterate that he really did not want any trouble a man called out from across the room.

‘Except he aint alone.’

Doyle and the Mexican turned to see a tall man walking towards them.

‘You got a quarrel with him then you got a quarrel with me.’

The man stared hard at the Mexican. He was around thirty years old, had a few days growth of beard on his chin and piercing blue eyes.

No hay problema.’ The Mexican said.

The Mexican returned to his table. Doyle thanked the man. He just shrugged.

‘Name’s Will Coogan.’

‘Albert Doyle.’

‘Let’s you and me have a whiskey and you can tell me what happened.’

Doyle nodded. Ordered whiskey. They took a table in a back corner of the cantina. Doyle noticed that Coogan chose a seat facing the room, not wanting to turn his back. He took a sip of whiskey then with tears returning to his eyes he explained what happened.

‘The leader, what did he look like?’ asked Coogan.

‘He’s Mexican. He has scars on his neck. Even though he is a young man his hair is completely white.’

Coogan’s eyes widened.

‘Who is he?’

‘His name is Miguel Dorada. He’s a very bad man. Even by the standards of the other bandidos, he is wicked.’

‘And the chances of finding my wife alive?’

‘Not good. But meet me out behind the church tomorrow morning and I’ll give you a bit of help.’

‘What kind of help?’

‘I bet you’ve never even fired that pistol on your hip.’

Doyle shook his head.

 

The next morning. Doyle found the church at the far end of Arroyo. He followed the white building around to the back. As he turned the corner he saw Coogan standing way out in the dusty countryside. He had his back to the church. Doyle took a deep breath and approached. Coogan half turned.

‘Come on.’

They walked out across the sand. It was only early in the day but it was going to be another hot one. Suddenly Coogan spun on his heels. Eyes locked on Doyle.

‘Draw.’ he whispered.

Doyle fumbled with his pistol. Managed to yank it free. Looked up. Coogan had his pistol aimed at him.

‘You’re dead. Gotta be quick. The draw should be one fast movement. Watch.’

He slipped the gun back into the holster. His hand hovered a few inches from the butt of his pistol. A second later he snatched the gun and aimed it at Doyle.

‘Try again. It’s one thing having the sand to go up against Dorada but you gotta have the skills to back it up.’

They spent the morning going through the techniques that Doyle would need to pursue the Mexican. He learned how to shoot a moving target, something that was far away. As they went through the drills Doyle couldn’t help wondering how many men Coogan had killed. He was a killer. Doyle could see it in his eyes. As they ate beef and potatoes in the cantina Coogan talked to him in a hushed voice.

‘When you walk into a cantina like this you can’t walk in all meek like you did. Next time you walk into a cantina you walk in like you own the place. Shoulders back, eyes staring straight ahead. You don’t look anyone in the eye but you don’t look away either.’

He continued with the advice. Doyle tried to take it all in. And the afternoon was spent back out in the sun practising, taking on imaginary opponents. He knew this time would be lost in his pursuit of Dorada and his wife, but he decided he would need the skills that Coogan was passing on.

 

At dawn the next morning Doyle left his hotel. Coogan shook his hand, wished him luck. Doyle thanked him for everything. He mounted his horse. He turned to thank Coogan once again only to see him heading back along the boardwalk. He spun his horse and spurred him out towards the town of Mieda.

The morning progressed into afternoon. Doyle rode hard. The sun turned the dust track into an oven. He wiped the sweat off the back of his neck. Late that afternoon on the outskirts of a small town he noticed what looked like a bundle of rags by the road. He slowed his horse. Dismounted. Upon closer inspection the bundle was something else. It was a body. He rolled the body over gently with his boot. He recognised the face instantly. The recognition hit him like a physical blow. The dead eyes that stared at the cloudless sky were those of his wife Sandra.

With heaving sobs he grabbed a blanket from his horse. He carefully wrapped her up, placed her on his horse. Telling her he would get her buried right, he rode on into town. He laid Sandra to rest in the cemetery of Santa Louisa. He wept for her and for the life they had shared as the grave diggers shovelled dirt on top of her plain wooden coffin. His vision was blurred by tears. He stared at the wooden cross marking the grave. He had been too late to rescue his wife. Too late. That was something he would never forgive himself for.

He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. But he would avenge her. The man responsible would be made to pay even if it cost his own life. After one last look at the grave he left the cemetery.

He mounted his horse and headed for Mexico.

 

The sun was high in the sky as he approached the town of Mieda. From a distance it appeared to be a huddle of white buildings. On the outskirts of the town was a small cantina. Doyle tied his horse up out front. Walked into the cantina. It took a second for his eyes to adjust to being out of the sun. He scanned the room. He was looking for one man. Miguel Dorada. The white haired Mexican was not in the room. He went to the middle of the cantina. The local gunslingers watched him like eagles watching their prey.

‘I’m looking for Miguel Dorada. Any of you know where I can find him?’

One barrel chested Mexican nodded. He didn’t move from his chair.

‘Miguel is mi amigo.’

‘Where is he?’

‘I can’t say, hombre.’

‘Well, you can give him a message from me.’ said Doyle.

‘What message?’

Doyle drew his pistol. Fired a shot into the Mexican’s head. He toppled out of the chair. Crashed to the floor. Pistol still in hand Doyle glared around the cantina, dared anyone to make a move.

 

Doyle waited in the cantina. Men with pistols dragged the dead man’s body out. The whole room watched him. He told the barman to give him a bottle of whiskey and a glass. The man did so without a word. Doyle tossed sliver coins onto the bar, then took a table facing the room. And waited. He had the whiskey glass in one hand and his pistol in the other.

Ten minutes later Dorada came crashing through the doors. His white hair flailing, his expression one of fury and disbelief. Another man was by his side. Both men had pistols drawn. They saw Doyle and stopped.

Quien es?’ asked Dorada.

Doyle said nothing. There was a flicker of recognition on the Mexican’s eyes.

‘You see, you are still out numbered. Two of us, one of you. I have nothing else to take from you. Except your life.’

Doyle didn’t move. He kept his pistol aimed in their direction. A man appeared in the doorway. He clutched a rifle.

‘He aint outnumbered.’

Will Coogan strode into the room. His rifle was pointed at the two bandits. Dorada shrugged.

‘So, what happens now?’

Doyle grinned. Waved his pistol in the direction of the street. With Coogan ensuring he wasn’t shot in the back Doyle strode out into the middle of the dusty road. He holstered his gun. Pointed to the street ahead of him. He squinted in the harsh sunlight as Dorada slid his pistola into his holster. His spurs jangled as he stepped out onto the street. The town of Mieda watched as he paced slowly across the dirt to face Doyle.

Doyle breathed in and out slowly. Tried to keep his temper. If anger got the better of him then he would die that day. He went over what Coogan had told him out in the desert. Doyle’s trigger hand hovered a few inches from his pistol. Dorada did the same. Doyle studied his opponent’s eyes, not his hand. It was all in the eyes. A split second before the hand moved the eyes would twitch slightly. The eyes.

The sun beat down on the small town. The only sound was the rustling of the wind. Neither man moved. Time seemed to pause. Trigger hands danced over pistols. A bird of prey screeched from high in the cloudless sky overhead.

There was a flicker in the Mexican’s eyes. He went for his pistol. In one sharp fast movement Doyle snatched his pistol. Fired three times. The shots rang out across the town.

Miguel Dorada stared at him. Pure shock on his features. He dropped to his knees. Tried to speak. Doyle fired once more. The bandit slumped sideways to the dirt.

Doyle and Coogan watched as Dorada’s men took his body away to be buried. Doyle was surprised that none of his so-called amigos tired their luck. Maybe, he figured, they had eyes on his position, or maybe the bandit had been feared but not necessarily liked all that much.

He turned to Coogan only to see the gunslinger climbing on his horse. He nodded to Doyle. Doyle tipped his hat. Watched as he rode out of town.

Doyle mounted his horse. Took one last look around Mieda. And headed North.


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