In Wolf’s Clothing
The trip back to town was anticlimactic for the peacekeepers of Four Corners. They arrived back to the small dusty town with no major events unfolding. However there was quite a stir when they made their way into the town with a young rangy wolf following in their tracks.
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
“Ezra would you shud’dup already!” Vin had been growing more and more terse on the trip back with Nathan’s near constant attention. The healer just wouldn’t let up with his worry about Vin hitting his head. He had kept his horse closer to the tracker, much to the black clad leader’s mirth.
“Vin I think you should at least spend the night up in the clinic. I know I didn’t find no bump on your head, but you expecting that mangy wolf to answer you back has me real worried bout ya.”
Mangy! I’ll admit I may not be in my best fashion at the moment, but I don’t think you can call me mangy! Ezra was in an awful mood, the quick pace of the horses had left his paws tender and sore. He was certain the pads on his feet would be cut up and streams of blood would be oozing from them. He even found himself looking back over the ground he had covered for any sign of blood he may have lost. Now Vin was mad at him because the worry wart healer wouldn’t leave him alone. OOOWWWWWW!
“Damn’t Nathan I’m fine and now you hurt Ezra’s feelings with your mangy comment. If anyone needs to be up in your clinic it’s him, ain’t shut up about his feet since we started heading back to town.”
Chris listened with growing amusement the argument just behind him. He was about to interrupt when the sound of a shot gun blast brought his attentions quickly to the sight of one of the townspeople taking aim at the wolf that followed them back to town. Shit! “Damn it put that gun away before I break it over your head!” Chris had quickly dismounted and snatched the gun from the man’s hands.
“But, but Mister Larabee that’s a wild wolf, it needs to be destroyed before it harms anyone” the nervous man pleaded his case to the dark gunslinger.
“He’s harmless,” he raised his voice so the rest of the town could hear “and anyone even thinks of taking a shot at him will have to go through me first.” With that he shoved the shot gun back into the man’s hands and made his way over to the others that encircled the young wolf at the sound of the gun blast. Seeing a small pool of blood he grew concerned, “he alright?”
Ezra could feel the concern pouring off the dark clothed man. It was such a novel feeling that he felt decidedly drawn to the man. His attention was quickly pulled away when he felt a sharp pain and yelped before instinctively lashing out towards the source. His near bite was stopped before he could grasp the healer’s probing hand. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, he whined to the tracker that had kept him from making a dire mistake.
“Shh, it’s okay Ezra I know you didn’t mean no harm,” he crooned to the young wolf before turning his attention to Chris’ question. “Ez just got a bit of glass in his paw.”
“Now just hold still a minute Ezra and I’ll have this piece of glass out.” Nathan carefully pulled the piece of glass from his paw and tried to ignore the small whimper of pain from the wolf. “Hmm may need to put a couple of stitches in that. Help me get him up to the clinic and someone help Vin up there too.”
“Aw Nate, I’m fine,” but the tracker was ignored as he felt himself helped along behind the others.
“Leave it alone Ez,” the tracker grumbled for the umpteenth time for the day at the wolf trying to remove the bandage from his paw.
But it itches. Ezra sighed and returned his attention to the tracker and his current game of cards in the saloon. The two of them had been told to stay off their feet and Ezra thought it was quite ironic that they both had injured their feet. He had heard of sympathy pains before, but really this was a bit ridiculous. He looked at the other three players, all strangers to the small town from what Vin had said earlier. They had all arrived in town together and seemed a rough sort. The largest of the three could rival Josiah in size but Ezra could feel a strange darkness in the man’s spirit that would warn others away quickly if they were privy to its existence. He felt decidedly uncomfortable in the man’s presence especially when his cold eyes focus greedily onto him. He wondered if Vin had picked up on his unease with the man’s presence. The other two men had arrived on the stage earlier that day to stay in the town for the night before leaving on the stage in the morning. They reminded him very much of JD, both full of energy and a zest for life. He watched as the two quickly bowed out of the game good naturally, and with good sense he thought. Neither of them were good poker players and it seemed they were both well aware of their lack of skills. He watched the two men leave the saloon and shivered as he felt a greater disturbance in the strange man’s gleam on him. Vin didn’t seem aware of his growing unease of the man he was playing poker with, focused instead on the game that continued between them. Ezra eased himself closer to the tracker and kept a closer eye on the man across from them.
Vin focused on his cards thankful that Ezra had stopped trying to pull the bandage off his paw for awhile. He was uneasy of the man left playing cards against him. The man had arrived earlier in the day and quickly arrived in the saloon. He had started up a poker game with the three fellas traveling through town when the boredom of sitting in the saloon all day had left him itchy for escape. Now a few hours later the other two men had bowed out of the game and he was left with the mountainous man across from him playing cards. The other peacekeepers had been scarce for most of the day due to his scathing remarks with the cajoling that they had done at his expense. Ezra though had stuck close to him, still unsure about his safety loose on his own in the town, but more so because of his own injury keeping him confined or ensuring the healer’s wraith. Vin looked back at his cards again wondering if he should play the hand out of fold and end the game.
He’s bluffing but has something up his sleeve, of that I’m certain.
Vin looked sharply wolf sitting by his side with his gaze watching the man warily from his position next to him, much closer than he had been before. Vin looked at the king high full house in his hand and decided to play it out. If Ezra was wrong then he would be out some money, but if not than he would take the substantial pot between them. He smiled when he called the other man, his hand easily beating the pair of tens the other man held. He decided he had played enough for the day and reached to collect his winnings never noticing the eyes darken. The next moment was a blur as he heard Ezra shout out his name before seeing the red blur cross in front of him and the sound of a gunshot was heard.