An exert from chapter 12 of ‘The Lives We Died Living – The Bullet & Cass Story”.
Sunset reached out with a last attempt to draw sweat from his back. Slowing his steed, Bullet eased grip on the stirrups. Patch needed no guidance now. They had shared this journey home more times than worth counting. A fresh line of Cedar saplings by the road’s edge marked the only change in the surroundings as the final bend in the road led them home. Men had come. Planted those tree lines. Promised their roots would hold the soil and reverse the signs of a land thirsting for rain. But dust continued to fill the air. Wishing to be a cloud of its own.
Splashed with a furious orange only seen when the sun screamed from the horizon, the house danced in the distance as though taken by fire. Bullet loved to return within this hour. Cass would sense him soon, walk to the porch with his whiskey in hand and prepare a wry grin for his arrival. She always did. She always knew. Yet only Bullet knew how the light danced across her cheekbones, possessing her eyes with a fierce unstoppable glow, washing away any strained lines the day’s work had marked around them.
Approaching the house, Bullet knew something was off. Not even Dart appeared to make his usual laps around Patch’s feet, biting playfully at the horse’s heels, wagging an eager tail. The front door made an unfamiliar sound, swinging on a loose hinge. Broken. Bullet leaped from the saddle to his feet without pause or breath. The air inside stung his nostrils. Cigar smoke. The sweat of strangers. The putrid scent of sickness. His stomach rolled as if taken by an ocean’s current. Furniture turned. Belongings torn and strewn. Cass had been taken.
Searching quickly for more signs. Nail marks scratched the floorboards. She had fought hard, of course. Always. He would hunt harder. Adrenaline gripped his chest. Old wounds burned as if torn afresh. Without hesitation, Patch took Bullet’s weight and broke speed. Blood would stain the families of any man that laid more than an eye upon her. There would be no sleep. No color in the world. Nothing. Until he brought his woman home.