Vin stood at the entrance to the saloon, the doors in front of him and the dusty road behind him. He was at an impasse. If he moved forward he would find himself faced with the prospect of committing himself, of leaving his fate in the hands of others. Not that they werent capable hands. If he stepped back, he could get on his horse and ride out into the horizon, forever going nowhere and content to do so, for it meant that he could only put himself at risk.
He had faced another bounty hunter that afternoon on the road back to Four Corners. He had been able to dispose of the threat quickly and efficiently, probably because he only had himself to look out for, his own neck to save. It mattered less. If he had been caught that would have been the end. No more worries, no more looking over his shoulder. If someone he was beginning to care about had been hurt, or killed, or used against him... He didnt know how he would react, didnt know what decision he would make.
No, that isnt true. He would have chosen against himself, no matter the case. And that would hurt them too. Better he left. No one would get hurt, not because of those who were after him or the decisions he might have to make. It would be better if he got on his horse and rode out after that elusive horizon. So why was he still standing outside the saloon? Still looking in but not moving one way or the other?
He could hear them laughing.
He hadnt truly laughed since he was five years old, and here he was, wanting to join in just because he could pick out their voices, knew that the joke was funny just because one of them found it funny, knew that made it good enough for him. And if they were yelling, or mourning, or fighting, then he would feel compelled to do that as well. But that wasnt fair to them.
He fingered the slats of the doors and kept his head lowered, knew they could see him from inside if they looked. Probably they had already looked, and said nothing, unwilling to interfere with his decision...unless they knew what it was, and then they would be there in a heartbeat, and he knew he wouldnt be able to refuse them. And that wasnt fair to them either. And what wasnt fair to them would most likely get them killed. He couldnt raise his head, couldnt bring himself to risk meeting any of their eyes. He lowered his hand and turned around.
His heart told him that leaving wasnt fair to him. He knew better though, knew that watching them die would be worse, and then the decision wasnt difficult at all. He grabbed his reigns and pulled himself up onto his horse, turned it towards the horizon, but didnt go. The sun was setting, and he watched it drop, felt like it was dropping onto whatever chance of happiness he might have had, and knew he would chase it for as long as it took, knew it wouldnt do any good because he was chasing the very same thing he was running from.
Where ya off to, Cowboy? Chris voice, from the boardwalk within arms reach.
Jist after th horizon, Pard, maybe someplace where th sun dont set.
He felt Chris nod, knew he was looking at the same setting sun that Vin was so fixated on.
Sounds like quite a trip.
How long ya going for?
Could be some time. Not quite a lie. He knew Chris was looking at him now, but couldnt bring himself to meet his eyes.
Well, hold on then, the boys and mell just grab our horses.
Vin looked down at him then, and knew that Chris knew...all of it.
Taint fair, Cowboy.
Chris grunted in acknowledgment. Reckon I know a place in Texas the sun might not set on. Place they call Tascosa. Maybe ya heard of it?
Could be th sun aint never even been there.
Might just have to go and find out. One way or the other, could settle things some.
He was still staring at Chris but he felt the others filter out behind him and nodded once. Best git ready then.
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