Revenge is about Davy Reece

Revenge is a story from the youth of Davy, the main character of my novel The Cowgirl Murders, which is set a decade later than this short story. It may help you understand the character. Or you might just enjoy it as a short read!

The picture of a cowgirl on the cover of The Cowgirl Murders

The picture of a cowgirl on the cover of The Cowgirl Murders

REVENGE

Omaha, Nebraska, 1859

A young man in his late teens strolled into a saloon and sat drinking a whiskey as he read a somewhat out-of-date newspaper. He was of about average height and build, with a dark complexion and dark hair. He had a big droopy moustache and wore a bowler hat, a black coat and a striped waistcoat. A heavy colt revolver rested in an army-style holster with the flap buttoned down on his lefthand side.

Two men at a table on the far side of the room kept glancing anxiously this young man. They were both about ten years older than him and were dressed in tattered work clothes: cloth caps, check shirts, thick levis and brown coats. After an hour, they left and a half- hour later Sheriff Case entered. He was a thickset man in his forties with a weatherbeaten face. He sat opposite the young man, tipping back his Stetson and letting his waistcoat fall open to reveal the tin star on his shirt.

“They say you do a lot of shootin’?”

“I ain’t shot nobody. Just practising on bits of wood and stuff.”

“You been practicing a lot?”

“I guess.”

“Why? Fixin’ on shootin’ someone?”

“No point having a gun if you can’t hit anything.”

“I heard you never miss. Not even at a long range. Not even at a movin’ target.”

“I used to miss a lot but I’m getting better.”

“You been botherin’ anyone lately?”

“Nope.”

“How ’bout them two fellers that was sittin’ over there earlier?”

“Nope.”

“You been threatenin’ them?”

“Nope.”

“You say you was gonna kill the pair o’ them?”

“Nope. Never spoke to either of ’em.”

“Then why do you think they’d say that if it weren’t true?”

“Guess you’d better ask them.”

The sheriff sighed. “I did. They say you got some notion they killed your pa back when you was a kid.”

“Why?”

The sheriff wondered if he meant ‘why did they kill him’ or ‘why do you think they did’ but answered, “They don’t know.”

“Did they say they didn’t kill him?”

“Well… not exactly. They just think you’re followin’ them around and lookin’ real mean. Like you got somethin’ against them.”

“Like what?”

“Like you reckon they killed your pa.”

“Is it a crime?”

“What? Of course it’d be a crime if they did kill him.”

Now the young man sighed. “I mean, is it a crime to look mean?”

“Well, I guess it ain’t. But are you followin’ them around?”

“I been a few places they been. Is that a crime?”

“I guess not.”

The sheriff looked frustrated as he tried to think of another question.

“Is your name Reece? Davy Reece?”

“Yep.”

“How do you suppose they know your name?”

“Mebbe because they knew my pa and all my family.”

“You fixing on stayin’ long in Omaha?”

“Can’t say.”

“You be careful. I think them two might try to kill you afore you get around to killing them. Oh – don’t you worry none – I’ve told them, like I’m telling you, I don’t want no killin’ in this town. No sir! I’ll see whoever starts anythin’ like that gets to hang. So don’t you go startin’ nothin’.”

“No sir! I sure won’t.”

As Sheriff Case made for the door, Davy Reece muttered, “I aim to finish something.”

The bartender called out, “Not stoppin’ for a drink today, Justin?”

 

That evening, Davy went for a stroll around the town and, as on the previous three evenings, he became aware of being followed. He stopped on Main Street to look behind. Two figures dodged out of the light cast by a lantern outside the saloon. Davy walked on around a corner up a street devoid of illumination save that provided by the moon. Two sets of footsteps some hundred yards behind him, almost covered the sound of murmuring.

Davy stepped into an alley between a store and a stable, where he waited in silence until one set of footsteps came close. The silhouette of their maker was just visible in the moonlight as he passed the alley. A minute later, a voice called, “I’ve lost him! Do you see him?”

The reply came from fifty yards behind. “He ain’t doubled back.”

Davy stepped out of the ally, cocking his revolver, and returned to the shelter of the alley with impressive speed and agility as two bullets whizzed past him – then a third.

“BANG!”

“BANG!”

“BANG!”

Silence.

Davy stepped slowly out of the alley to inspect the two corpses. One had a single bullet hole in his chest. The other had one in the stomach and one in the face.

Heavy running feet heralded the approach of Sheriff Case. “Hold it, Reece! Right there. You didn’t listen, did you?”

“Dunno what you mean. These two musta fallen out. They just shot each other.”

“Expect me to believe that?”

The sheriff examined each of the bodies in turn, which was difficult, as he was reluctant to take his eyes off Davy. He collected their guns and stuck them into his belt.

“All right! Lemme see your gun.”

At once, he remarked, “I’ll be darned! It’s stone cold and there’s six live rounds in the chamber. Can’t have been fired for hours. Seems you were right. These two guns have both been fired just now.” He took his hat off and put it back again. “I won’t ask what you was doin’ in the same street as them two. I guess you’re free to go. Say, do you really reckon they killed your pa?”

“Oh, yes. They sure did.”