The Measure Of A Man

Marshal Brandon Hix reclined on his front porch, oiling his revolver. The setting sun illuminated the approaching messenger in blood red hues. As he approached, Hix could make out the wiry frame of Billy Goodall, the local blacksmith’s son.

Billy reined his horse in and jumped off. Hix read the news on his face. “They ain’t coming are they?” Hix asked, returning to his pistol.

Billy rubbed his neck. “No sir, on account of the war. All the soldiers are committed.”

“That a fact?” he sighed. “No point wasting time then.” He stood, dusting off his jacket. Billy watched in reverence as Hix holstered his gun. Mounting their horses, they rode off toward town. As they crested the hill, Hix took one last look back at the home he’d built with his own hands, the sinking sun throwing its shadow to the base of the dune.

“You can’t take ’em all, can you, Hix?” Billy asked, his eyes tearing up.

Hix was quiet for some time. “No,” he managed, his voice catching in his throat. “But I aim to take as many with me as I can.”

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