Between the three of us, we got Joshua to the house, and the Widow Throckmorton began tending to his injuries. His face was so puffy that both his eyes were closed. His nose was broken and still bleeding. He was unconscious, but after a few moments of his mother’s labors, he stirred and moaned.
Caleb said, “Thank God for that.”
He looked at me and solemnly declared, “Thank you for saving us. I believed they’d a killed us, if you hadn’t showed up.”
The spike in adrenaline was wearing off. I was starting to shake. I just looked at him and nodded. I didn’t trust myself to try and speak.
Caleb looked at the barn, shivered, and in a low voice said, “Well, I guess we better to see who those blackhearts are.”
I stammered, “I’ll go with ya.”
Caleb looked at his mother and asked, “Will you be okay staying with Joshua?”
Caleb reassured her, “We won’t take long.”
We opened the barn doors wide to allow as much daylight as possible for illumination. Then we surveyed my handy work. The two men were quite dead.
The first man to go down had been hit square in the heart and must have died instantly. The second man had been hit in the right shoulder and also took two bullets in the chest from my second volley. After the brief examination, I was surprised that I felt nothing for the men I had killed. It was as if I had exterminated rabid dogs.
I began to wonder if all my life I had really been a sociopath that was too afraid to react violently to any injustice for fear of legal reprisal. For some reason I knew that these killings wouldn’t precipitate an official inquiry in this 19th century.
The dead men’s hats were still on their heads. Also, they still wore scarves they had used to hide their faces. So I pulled the scarf off of the last man I had killed. I didn’t recognize him.
However, when I pulled off his hat, I actually jumped back and gasped in amazement. Then I uttered, “Oh, my God.” The dead man had a white streak in his hair.