West Justice Chapter 19

When West woke up again, the shadows were climbing the walls on the other side of the room and the room was too warm to still be morning.

Lucy was sitting near the bed, with her hands full of sewing . She smiled when she saw that West was awake.

“I’m making this for you,” she said, and held the rough spun shirt up to show him. Pepina and Dora took in sewing for money, but Lucy was never part of that. Maybe it was her one eye, maybe it was something else, she didn’t sew well enough for other folks, her seams weren’t straight, her buttonholes tended to fray, but West loved every single thing she had ever made for him.

“Thanks, Lucy,” he said as he pushed himself upright on the bed. “I been needing me a new shirt for a while now. You know I only wear the ones you make me.”

She smiled and went back to sewing.

“How you feeling?” West asked her.

She shrugged. “Still alive,” she said, sounding like it was the best thing in the world.

“And I’m glad of that.” West said. He grabbed his hat and holster and went out to the yard where Tio was nailing a board onto the chicken coop. His rifle was near to hand.

“Somebody was tired.” Tio said with a smile.

West shrugged that off but couldn’t think of a dodge. “I rode all night t’get here.” He said. He nodded at the work Tio was doing. “Let me do that. Let me earn my keep.”

Tio barked a laugh. “Earn your keep? Chiquito, you already earn all our keep. You could stay here for a year and do nothing, and you’d still be earning your keep.”

West scuffed the dirt at his feet. “I don’t reckon that’s true. I just do what I can.”

Tio didn’t say anything to that. He kept nailing. “We should talk about what we need to do if he’s in town.” He said.

“I need to kill him, that’s what I need to do.” West said. “Nothing else to talk about.”

“Is that what Padre would want you to do?”

The question sent spikes down West’s spine. He turned to look at the horizon. “I been on the far side of what Padre would want for a long time now,” he said quietly.

“Not that far. Not as far as you think.”

“I’m gonna head into town. See if he’s around. See if he’s been around.”

“You should still be in bed.”

“I can take care of myself.”

If you see him coming. You haven’t even seen his shadow in five years, you don’t know if you can even recognize him anymore.”

“I’ll recognize him.” West said. “Keep that rifle close. I’ll be back.”

Tio clapped him on the shoulder as he finally headed for the barn. “I hope the good Lord doesn’t tire of our prayers.”

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