“What the hell happened to your back?” Chris asked when he noticed his first outburst caused Ezra to cringe and pull back in fear. He was taken by surprise when he walked into their room to find Ezra already awake, but his surprise was quickly changed to anger when he got the first glimpse of the bruising covering Ezra’s back.
He watched the changing emotions cross quickly through Ezra’s eyes before resignation finally took hold of the child’s features.
Ezra sighed to himself, he no longer was able to keep up the front that there was nothing wrong in the wake of his brother’s anger and concern. “I, um, I could no longer avoid the inevitable confrontation with my uncle.”
“What happened? Did your uncle cause this?” Chris was seething inside but he worked hard to contain the anger so he could get everything out of Ezra.
Ezra quickly nodded his head, “Uncle informed me that it would be in everyone’s best interest if I were to expound upon the virtues of living with my ever loving aunt and uncle.”
“When did this happen?” Chris unconsciously opened and closed his fists to try and contain the mounting rage.
“Yesterday, after you left to take care of the robbers, Uncle found me in the livery. I was unable to avoid the meeting though as I never heard him arrive, otherwise I would have been out of there post haste.”
“How did you end up with the bruising all over your back?”
“The livery wall was not very forgiving.”
“He threw you into the wall?”
“Well no, he never actually let go, more like tested it’s soundness a couple of times.” Ezra was amazed how easy it was to tell his brother about what happened. He was listening to him and he had yet to see any expressions of disgust or anger towards himself.
“What about your side, how did that happen?” Chris had quickly noticed the deep bruising to the boy’s side and was curious how that had occurred.
“Oh that wasn’t by Uncle Matt. That happened later with Aunt Olivia.”
Chris narrowed his eyes as he realized that Olivia Standish wasn’t innocent at all in this abuse. What had Maude been thinking to consider leaving her child with these vial people? “What did she do?”
“Oh when I got back with Vin, Aunt Olivia caught me unawares on the street and pinched me. I don’t know why they were able to catch me so unawares twice in one day.” Ezra continued on thinking aloud, “usually I’m pretty good at avoiding them I’ve had plenty of practice, though the last time mother left me with them Uncle was able to practice his whip skills but I blame that darn shoulder my inability to find higher ground.”
Chris listened in growing fury and disgust. When he realized the injuries that Ezra had come to town with were caused by the same people vying for his permanent custody he was just unable to keep the vehemence from bursting out. “Finish getting dressed Ezra, than I’m going to take you over for Nathan to check out before I go have a nice little conversation with your Aunt and Uncle.” A nice little conversation that starts with my fists and ends with a well placed bullet in the son of a bitch.
Nathan was surprised to find Chris and Ezra knocking on his door. “Hey Chris, Ezra, what’s going on?”
“Need you to take a look at Ezra for me.”
“Sure thing Chris, what’s the problem?”
“Ezra’s got some bruising over his back.”
“Come on over here Ezra and take off that shirt so I can get a look at it.” Nathan whistled in surprise at the massive bruising on the boy’s back. “How’d this happen?”
That had Nathan’s head up in a flash. “He cause that pinch mark on the side too?”
“No that was courtesy of Olivia Standish,” Chris snarled, “and they were the home that Ezra stayed at prior to coming to Four Corners.”
Nathan instantly put the meaning together and his countenance darkened on the thoughts of what those people had done to the child sitting on the bed watching their byplay with deep interest.
Ezra finally caught the anger seeping from his brother and had a feeling that talking was not on his brother’s priority list for his aunt and uncle. Of course he would have no problems with the couple getting their just rewards but he didn’t want any legal consequences to befall his brother.
“I’ll be back, watch Ezra for me.”
“Sure thing Chris, you going to find those people?” The quick nod and sardonic smile was enough to convince Nathan that the couple better pray that he never found them.
Ezra watched with growing concern the lust for vengeance grow in his brother’s expression before he strode out of the room. “Nathan, you don’t think Chris will kill them do you?”
“Now don’t you worry none about those people Ezra, they’s gonna get what they deserve coming to ‘em.”
Ezra thought about that before his eyes widened and he quickly took off out the door to stop his brother from murdering his aunt and uncle. His voice called loudly in the street to catch his brother’s attention, oblivious to his shirtless appearance. “CHRIS…CHRIS WAIT. DON’T KILL THEM. CHRIS.”
His loud calls quickly caught the attention of the other peacekeepers and they all converged on the gunfighter and his little brother.
Buck easily identified the murderous expression on his oldest friend and wondered what had put that on his face. “Easy there big dog, now what’s all the fuss about?”
“Outta my way Buck, I’m gonna rid the world of some vermin.”
“Well now that sounds right nice, but what’d this vermin do?”
“Seems the loving Matthew and Olivia Standish like to hurt little children,” Nathan added to enlighten the other men.
Ezra squawked in outrage, “I’m not a little child!” However the others ignored his exclamation and listened in rapt attention as Chris quickly filled them in about the events from yesterday and the connection to their first meeting with him. His eyes widened in alarm as Vin pulled his mares leg and met the predatory gleam in Chris, Buck and Josiah’s eyes. He looked quickly to Nathan but was dismayed to see him wiping his long knife against his pants leg. He flinched a bit when he felt JD’s hand lay across his shoulder but caught his eyes with growing concern. He looked back to the other five but they had already started to spread out across the street in search of his aunt and uncle. Uh Oh I think I just made things a whole lot worse, now I have five of them ready to commit murder.