Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.
Part 5 can be found here.
Part 6 can be found here.
Part 7 can be found here.
Part 8 can be found here.
Part 9 can be found here.
Part 10 can be found here.
* * * * *
Caleb watched through the curtains as Roy’s men scattered and took cover where they could find it.
Obviously they had not expected to find men stationed around the property. They had ridden in brazenly, as if daring anyone to try and stop them.
Three lay outside the barn, where Nick and Josh hid in the loft, one at each end of the building. Two more were near the wagon where they had tried to find cover.
He ran his gaze around the area, picking up a movement behind the corn that stood tall in Lana’s vegetable patch. He watched it closely, unsure whether it was friend or foe.
When the man came into view, Caleb took in the black patch over one eye and the arsenal of weapons that he held in both hands. Definitely foe.
Caleb raised his rifle, took aim and pulled the trigger. The man paused, then fell where he stood, not moving.
He felt a moment of compassion for the man’s soul; but knew that this was necessary to protect his family and prayed God would forgive him for taking the man’s life.
When shots rang out close to the house, Caleb turned quickly and looked at Tom, who moved to the kitchen window and looked out.
Tom quietly eased the window up and lifted his Springfield rifle. He waited, moving the barrel to keep pace with the man’s movements outside. When he pulled the trigger, Caleb watched him nod silently.
Caleb did a quick calculation and figured there were at least seven of Roy’s men laying dead outside. No telling how many more there were.
He went to turn back to the window, but Lana’s quick movements in the hallway caught his attention.
He paused as she lifted the rifle and pointed it toward the girls’ bedroom. Watching her pull the trigger made a knot form in his gut.
He wanted to go to her, but as he stepped forward, another movement in Toby’s room had him bringing the Colt up as he yelled.
As Lana instinctively dropped to her knees, Caleb pulled the trigger and watched the red stain appear on the man’s shirtfront. He looked at Caleb in surprise before dropping to his knees in the doorway. He wobbled for an instant, then sprawled face first into the hallway, hands loosening their grip on the gun he held.
Caleb moved quickly to Lana, gripping her shoulders tightly as she stared at Roy’s lifeless body that lay halfway through the window. He felt the shudders that racked her slender frame and drew her into his arms.
“It’s okay. You’re alright.”
The children’s cries reached them and they moved together to the doorway of their room, gasping at the sight of the man that held small Toby close to his chest.
The boy screamed, kicking and punching at the man that had picked him up. When his fighting failed to loosen the man’s hold, Toby opened his mouth wide and sank his teeth into the man’s neck. The man howled in pain and flung the boy onto the bed.
Caleb pulled the trigger of his pistol at the same time that Lana shot the rifle. The man dropped his revolver, knees buckling under him.
Lana rushed to pull Toby to her as Caleb and Tom gathered up the weapons dropped by the intruders. Seeing the way the children stared at the dead man laying just feet from their hiding place, Caleb motioned for Tom to help him carry the body out into the hall.
As the two worked to get the dead men out of the sight of the children, they noticed the silence that now filled the area.
Jake’s voice came from just outside the door, and Tom quickly went to let his deputy inside.
“All of Roy’s men are dead.”
“What about ours?”
“Pat was shot in the arm, and Ned in the leg; but they’ll both be okay.”
Tom nodded and Caleb sent a silent prayer of thanksgiving and praise to his God in heaven.
Coming Friday: Part 12 – the conclusion
Part 12 can be found here.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012