Bridge between West working with Gaskells and Campbell accosting him and West clobbering Tom.
Some something of West getting more & more agitated?
Campbell dogging him, or more info about Maldad getting on his nerves?
A bounty that makes him look more bloodthirsty?
Maybe that $300 bounty here?
West and Josephine.
Josephine & Tom.
Without West clobbering Tom?
“You feeling up to a run? Mud’s still a foot deep, but if I don’t get at least a mile away from this town, I ain’t answering to what happens. I got me a pile a’wool I need to stop gathering.”
He led the horse out of the stall and tied him at the door of the livery, intending to bring the rest of his tack out and saddle the horse there. But he saw Sheriff Campbell come out of the telegraph office, just a few yards down the street, and Sheriff Campbell saw him. He glared at West and West glared back.
Campbell deliberately walked towards him and West stepped out to confront him. He was not going to run from Campbell. He stood his ground even when Campbell walked up to him so close West could feel his breath on his face. When he spoke, his voice was low and lethal, a whisper meant for West alone.
“Took me a while, but I finally figured out where I know you from. You are from San Augustine, aren’t you? Or you were. You grew, you musta grown – what? – good couple of feet in five years?”
West learned from a young age to keep his tongue and he didn’t answer and he didn’t drop his glare. He made sure to hold his gun hand at the ready.
“You didn’t talk much then, either, did you?” Campbell kept on, in his accusing whisper. “’Course, your Ma used to hide you away when decent folks came around. But she had to, didn’t she? She knew what you were then – does she know what you are now? Last time I saw you, you were neck deep in blood and guts, weren’t you? With that wild look in your eyes. You had murder in your eyes then, and you’ve still got it now. Anything happens to that preacher I saw you with, I’m gonna know who to come after.”
West swallowed and it felt like he was trying to swallow a ragged knife. He kept his glare focused on Campbell.
“I guess I’m just gonna have to have a word with the Sheriff here. Let him know what kinda fella he’s got skulking around his jail.”
West still didn’t say anything. Campbell seemed annoyed by his silence. (SHOW)
“Maybe I oughtta just check and see if this ain’t a horse you made off with from somewhere.” Campbell threatened. He put his hand out like he was about to grab hold of the horse.
“You keep your hands off my horse!” West barked and shoved Campbell away. “You touch him again and I’ll –“
“You’ll what?” Campbell asked, mocking West. “Gut me? Skin me? Leave me for the buzzards out in the sand? I know how you’re bent, boy. Just you remember that.”
“Problem here?” Sam, the livery owner asked. He stood taller than Campbell and had twice as much muscle as both of them put together.
“Just admiring his horse,” Campbell lied smoothly. “Fella here took exception to it.”
Sam folded his arms and squinted at Campbell.
“Y’don’t put your hand on another man’s horse if it’s a hand you’re fond of,” he said. “Not in my livery.”
“I’ll remember that.” Campbell sneered.
Just then, Tom and Sheriff Curran walked into the livery yard.
“Busy place.” Sheriff Curran said. He stood to the side of West, but face to face with Campbell. “Sheriff Campbell, didn’t realize you liked our little town so much. What is it that keeps you here?” He asked, and West thought Campbell had to hear the warning in Curran’s voice.
“Waiting on some telegrams.” Campbell said, in that clenched jaw way he had of speaking when he was annoyed.
“Well, I hope you get ‘em soon.” Curran said. “Wouldn’t want to keep you here longer than needed.”
Campbell let out a breath than sounded like a hiss. He turned to West.
“You tell them about your Pa?” He asked West. “You ever tell them exactly how much a’your Pa there is in you?”
West plugged Campbell good and hard right in the jaw, driving him backwards, then charged him, knocking him down flat and landing a few solid blows before someone grabbed hold and pulled him off.
He turned his rage on the man who held him and felt his knuckles connecting with the man’s face.
Then someone grabbed him again, someone stronger who pinned his arms and pulled him away and kept hold no matter how hard he struggled.
The world swam back into focus as West kept struggling. He heard heavy breathing from himself and sharp curses from someone else and he blinked sweat out of his eyes and saw a horrible sight.
Tom, his face bloody and swelling, was halfway collapsed to the ground. Only Sheriff Curran’s grip under his shoulders seemed to keep him upright.
He’d flattened Tom with a single whallop.
“Leave me be, let me go,” West whispered to Sam, who was the one holding him back. “Please, let me go.”
West saw Sheriff Curran nod, Sam must’ve been asking his okay. As soon as he was free, West untied his horse from the rail. He grabbed a handful of the horse’s mane and swung up bareback and galloped away from there.
He thought he heard Tom call after him, but he thought it might’ve only been because he wanted to hear it.