Felicia loaded the Winchester 1873 carbine lever-action rifle while blood dripped into her eyes. She wiped off what she could, hurrying in the process. The blood was thin running, mixing with her fear and heat sweat, fear of what lay outside and inside this burning hole of damnation that was on fire. She was not a cursing, blasphemous woman, but at this moment every one of those words she ever heard her daddy utter in his drunken stupors came to her lips.
Jacob and his men had been waiting for them. Hank had fought off Jacob’s advances for the land as long as Felicia fought off Jacob’s attention, well, actually longer. It had been unwanted attention all the way back since they were kids. Slimy sonofa’ then, more so as her grew up. She knew he wanted her, and she knew it was the only reason she was alive now. Hank..”damn…Hank..” she sobbed, wasn’t.
“Felicia, y’all come out. Now Felicia. Your home is burnin’, and I’m not comin’ in to git ya. I’d rather ya didn’t burn up and join Hank… in a real unpleasant way.”
She heard his men laugh at that. Two left, plus Jacob. Hank had killed two of them before the others killed him, and she was sure Jacob finished the job. There was that one last shot as Hank pushed her through the door of their home. She bolted it immediately as shots hit the wall, the door, and broke one of the window panes, the glass flying fast and cutting into her forehead. She did the locking without knowing she did it, blood and sweat and tears all one. As she found the Winchester and bullets, one of their torches came bursting through the side window, and started the inside inferno.
The chamber filled with the .32-20 cartridges, Felicia was finally glad her daddy taught her how to hunt. Drunk or not, he was a hunter, and he showed his only child how to take care of the table. Hank was a mite unsettled by that, in the beginning, her being a better hunter then he was, but that passed soon enough. Now, not much of that mattered anymore.
Coughing from the smoke, Felicia yelled out “I’m coming out. Let me be, Jacob.”
There was no answer, just the crackling of the flames, eating away at everything she and Hank had owned. She unbolted the door, hid the 20 inch barrel carbine down and to the back of her skirt, opened it up, and stepped out and to the side.
One of Jacob’s men, the one with the scar down his ruined face, was off to that side and got the scar blown off. The other man raced over towards her and took two in the gut, going down, and then a third put him out of her misery. Felicia looked around for Jacob and saw him racing through the horses (who started to panic a mite) and try for the trees.
He didn’t make it. On the ground, holding his leg where Felicia got him, he turned over and shot at her as she advanced. One of his bullets passed through her skirt, off side, and did nothing more then create a hole she would never repair. She kicked the gun out of his hand with that last bullet, and raised the rifle towards his head.
Begging, with snot sliding out of his nose as he whimpered, “Felicia..please. I just wanted..”
“I don’t care what the hell you wanted Jacob. This is what you are getting!” With that, she emptied the rifle into the slimy sonofa’, and clicked and clicked way after the bullets had left the barrel and found their new home inside of what was left of Jacob.
Felicia ran back into the house, getting what little she could, a cloak, more ammo, a hat, the little bit of money they had hidden by the door, and ran back out. The house was too far gone at that point to get anything else.
A shovel was off to the side, by the plantings that would have been ready in a few months. No more. She spent the next while digging a hole by the tree in the back, and buried Hank as best she could. She’d already done such a service for her daddy, so…
She took what she wanted from the saddlebags of the slime who attacked her and killed her husband, and their weapons and ammo. Putting on the cloak and the hat, and reloading the Winchester, she got her horse and collected the others. She could sell them along the way if there was time, or leave them if she had to.
No matter what, she wasn’t going to wait around for Jacob’s father, Dylan, to find her here. Being the hot headed louse of a Sheriff that he was, moving on was her only solution to living.
She intended to live.