Brocade: The Mire of Providence

Ndio Mitchell has written a Brocade using the emotion words Hate and Worry in connection with the photo below.

Hands trembling, Genta picked the spent casing out of the sixgun and fiddled for a new one on his belt. Twenty paces away laid a lifeless form face down beneath the palo verde tree. His blood glimmered like a portal of crimson ready to swallow the man up and pull him down to the lower tiers of earth whence he came.

“Bastard knew this day was coming.” Genta stowed the cylinder back into the frame and tucked away his revolver. The chill of dusk blew through him and the absolute silence shook him from his brooding. The man’s hair was braided tightly for an affray. He was wearing a Russian officer’s coat that he’d bought for a dollar and twenty cents in San Francisco, the owner dead from drink. It was single-breasted, with a shawl and red collar that gave even a bereaved, mix-breed gunman like him a kind of authority. People did not know what to think when Genta the vengeful rider passed by. A group of Mormons marching defile on foot had even removed their hats and called him “sir.” He’d said nothing.

He kicked the dirt at his feet idly and realized he did not know what to do. It took him several minutes to note his mount was still tethered half a mile away and it would be dark before then. “I don’t plan to spend the night out here with him but-” he cut himself off. His mind would flush with giddy rage each time he thought of the corpse. He’d almost forgotten in those brief moments. And then again came the worry. He looked a touch insane, a man that didn’t know what to do with his hands. They just moved about looking for… something. He used one to right his hat and the other tunneled into a pocket while he yelped in anguish, almost piteously.

And then he heard footsteps. He pivoted with grace while falling to one knee and already his gun was glinting in the dusklight. There was nobody. And then he saw a dark form against the still darker horizon opposite the sunset. It was Constable, his horse, trotting on over and wholly oblivious to her brush with death. He realized that his dismounting was so frenetic he’d forgotten to actually tether her to the tree.

Now truly trembling, he grabbed the animal’s mane and put his forehead to hers. “I promise to weep for you when you are gone, you foolish, loyal thing. But, I’m… glad that isn’t today.” In the strange place between laughter and tears, he whispered “You’re the only beast I’ve met that runs toward gunfire. When we meet in the next life, tell me why that’s so.” The mare looked back at him with those big empty eyes. He tucked away his iron and hopped on her back without grabbing the reigns. He ventured a glance at the tree and the rage was still there, but less so. He gave Constable a pat. “You came this far. Show me where you’re headed.”

And they were gone from that place.

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