Nineteen-year-old budding gunslinger Ben Wylie sparks the interest of Cal Decker, the real thing, when the older man keeps the younger from a needless killing. Smitten, Cal attempts to reel in the hotheaded Ben, only to be drawn into such an extent he assists the kid in escaping after a shooting. Even as Cal sees Ben as the worst kind of killer, the kind looking for more, he cannot resist Ben’s youthful attributes. Cal uses his years of experience to outwit the law, but can these men have a life together on the run? Cal is willing to try.
NOTE: This story appears in the anthology, "Cowboy Roundup" edited by Drew Hunt, available in e-book and print formats. Buy the collection and get 16 great gay cowboy stories in one awesome anthology!
When I emerged from the hotel, I considered Ben Wylie gone. He’d declared himself ready to leave and I pictured him rushing headlong down to the livery, mounting up, and riding north like he’d said. I went to the Oriental Saloon, figuring to get drunk. I was well along in this endeavor when shots were heard. Gunfire is common in Tombstone, yet I sprang to attention. Ben, I thought, as I rushed outside.
A man staggered across the street, light from a store showing us the red blotch at his middle. He looked down, as if he couldn’t believe himself struck, and he put a hand to the wound, trying to stop the flow of blood. Standing not ten feet away was Ben, pistol in hand. The shot fellow managed to speak and Ben replied, but, of course, it was too late for words. Ben was soon going to claim five lives instead of four. When the fellow dropped to a heap, Ben ran and I passed but a couple seconds before I did too. My action was foolish, but a driven man cares little on judgments, even those issued by himself. I couldn’t let Ben get away.
He ran toward the livery where his horse stood ready, and I followed, though my animal was standing about at leisure, unsaddled, the things he usually carried -- bedroll and saddlebags -- in my hotel room. I couldn’t light out after Ben without fetching my possessions, yet still I ran, as if I’d go without. When I reached the livery, there came Ben flying by, horse at a gallop. I watched him ride off, then told the liveryman to saddle my horse and I hurried to the hotel to get my belongings. I did manage to slow myself to a brisk walk as I didn’t want to be seen tearing after a fellow who’d just shot a man. Nor did I want to be seen chasing a nineteen year old and me thirty-two. Still, my blood rushed like I’d pulled the trigger.
The walk back to the livery, saddlebags slung over my shoulder, bedroll under my arm, took an eternity as all the while I considered Ben on the run. Knowing how such pursuit feels, I felt akin to him, but maybe this was anticipation as I’d soon be the one chasing him. The law would likely get up a posse, but I’d be ahead of them, having no idea what I was about. Catch him and then what?