Kyle Standish

by Jareth Reznor

Sequel to Joys and Disappointments

The early morning air began to heat up as the sun took its place in the sky. The town’s people moved in the streets like any other day. The young sheriff looked out the window to see his father walking towards the building. He knew his father had mixed feelings about him taking the job, but he supported his son nonetheless. The older man entered the jail, a place were he once was kept for bail jumping.

“Well my boy, you seem to be doing a fine job. Why, I don’t hear a word of complaint from the prisoners, Ezra joked.

Kyle shook his head, “Dad, there haven’t been any prisoners in here for three weeks. I don’t remember the last time Four Corners has been this slow.”

Ezra thought long and hard on that one, “Years ago, you were about ten, the team went for a whole month without any problems from criminals. But of course it was non-stop the next month.”

The young sheriff sighed and looked over to the empty cells. They didn’t really seem that empty to him; he just thought about all the people who had spent their last days in them and figured their ghosts must still be somewhere in there. “JD told me the other day that he arrested you on his first day, that true?” Kyle wasn’t ashamed, he was more interested.

Ezra let out a small laugh, “Yes Kyle, Mr. Dunne placed me under arrest within a minute of becoming sheriff. You see, Judge Travis had just arrived in town and offered the job of sheriff to anyone who would take it. So of course, Mr. Dunne stepped up and took the responsibility upon himself,” Ezra took a seat and continued. “He was so excited and called to me to tell me the news. Well, Judge Travis had been a judge at Fort Laramie and knew that I was wanted for bail jumping. He made Mr. Dunne arrest me on the spot.”

JD came in the door, “I didn’t really want to, but it was my job. I have to say that your father was one of the most enjoyable prisoners I had ever had.”

“Why thank you,” Ezra almost seemed proud of that fact.

“So, how’s the job treating you kid?” JD asked.

“Hey, I’m still alive,” Kyle smiled back.

The day passed by uneventfully, but by night five riders had entered town. All five men stopped in front of the saloon and tied the horses up. One by one they entered the saloon, Kyle watched them and his gut feeling told him that something was wrong. One of the men stood about six feet tall with shoulder length black hair; he approached the bar and struck up a conversation with the bar tender. Kyle wasn’t the only one who felt odd about these people.Vin nodded to Buck and then motioned to Kyle that they felt the same way. The stranger at the bar began to laugh and reached for his gun. Soon, the place had become a war zone. Kyle had been shot in the shoulder and in the gut, but continued to shoot back. Vin and Buck were taking cover behind an over flipped table and were firing at three of the strangers. Ezra and JD soon joined them, and with a few minutes they had the situation under control. Kyle put his jacket on, hiding his wound from the others. Two of the strangers were dead and they gunslingers escorted the other three to the jail.

Once the doors had locked them in Kyle grabbed his shoulder, “I need the doctor,” he spoke as passed out. Buck and Ezra rushed to the sheriff’s side and brought him to the clinic.

Doctor James Lee opened his door and instructed the men to place him on the second cot down. The doctor had rrived in town a few years ago and Nathan decided that it was time to retire. Nathan’s hands had become very sore and he knew that his mind was beginning to forget things that he needed to know. He had been the town’s healer for over twenty years, and everyone agreed that he deserved the break.

Doc Lee examined the wounds. “This doesn’t look too good. He’s lost a lot of blood, and the bullets are still inside of him,” he spoke to the two men but never took his eyes off Kyle. The young man lay asleep on the cot . He was still bleeding. Buck knew that he had to get Ezra out of the room. The man had held his dying wife in his arms, and he didn’t need to watch his son bleed to death too.

“Come on pard, let’s see if anyone else was hurt,” he suggested.

Ezra shook his head, “I want to stay with him.” Ezra was a determined man who rarely gave up without a fight.

Buck realized that he couldn’t pull his friend away, “Okay, I’ll be down at the saloon if you need anything.” He patted Ezra’s back and left the room.

+ + + + + + +

Vin and JD had interrogated the men and discovered that Kyle had arrested two of their brothers four months ago. The group had been formed by Dan Martin, the brother of Chris Martin who was hung by Judge Baker after Kyle had arrested him, and Jack Lawrence, whose brother was also hung by Judge Baker after Kyle arrested him. The other three men were just a group of outlaws who liked the idea of killing a sheriff.

+ + + + + + +

Buck and Nathan helped clean the bar room up. Amazingly no one else had been shot. There were a few cuts from broken glass, but nothing more. Nathan looked over to a spot on the floor where Kyle had been, “Is he going to be alright?”

Buck looked away, “I don’t know, the doc says he lost a lot of blood.”

“How’s Ezra handling this?” Ezra wasn’t Nathan’s favorite person on the planet, but he still cared very much about the gambler and his son. He was a friend of Kat, Ezra’s late wife, before she died.

“Not sure, he wasn’t saying much. He’s with Kyle now.” Buck lifted up the table that he and Vin had taken cover behind and set it on its legs.

+ + + + + + +

Ezra had taken a seat next to his son’s bed. Doc Lee had finished with him, but said that Kyle was in a coma and only time would tell if he would be all right. Tears began to flow from his eyes as he stared down at his son. “Come Kyle, you’ve got to pull through. There are still plenty of ladies out there who have yet to be graced with your charm.” Kyle had turned out to be a ladies man like Buck. He was tall, brown haired; he had his father’s green eyes and Buck’s charm. Ezra didn't understand it, but was happy for his son. As hard as Ezra tried to get his son into poker and dealing, the kid always lost his concentration when a lady walked through the door.

Ezra fell asleep in the chair and quickly fell into a dream.

Ezra was walking through a field that he had walked through many times before. He felt a sense of peacefulness wash over him as he saw Kat. She was picking some truly beautiful flowers and singing the song “Aura Lee”. Ezra remembered how much she loved that song. He sat down next to his wife and smiled at her.

“He is strong, but he needs you to be there for him. Stay with him, talk to him. He can hear you.” She spoke softly and ran her fingers through Ezra’s hair.

“What should I say?” Ezra asked and took her hand in his.

“Tell him stories, about your life, about me, about anything you can thing of. Just let him hear your voice so he knows you are there with him.” She leaned forward and gave him a kiss.

The sunlight shown brightly through the window of the clinic. Ezra opened his eyes and stretched his body out, he was very stiff, but still felt peaceful from the dream. He loved those dreams. He looked over to see the doctor check on his son. “How is he?”

“Still the same. I’m sorry, I wish I could tell you more.”

Ezra nodded and waited for the doctor to leave before talking to his son. “Hey Kyle, its Dad. Your mother came to me last night in a dream, I know that sounds crazy, but it happens often. She was a very beautiful lady, and I loved her very much. I know I tell you that a lot, but it’s very true.” He thought for a minute. “When she died, I was left to take care of you by myself. You gave me a reason to get up I the morning, to stay here, to keep on living. I am truly sorry that you were never given the chance to know her, and I wanted to be the best father I could so you would grow up happy, and not bitter. I must have done something right because you turned out to be the best son anyone could ever hope for.” Ezra began to cry again and held his son’s hand.

“I remember when you were only five, it was your first day of school. You came home telling me how you were going to marry a girl from school; her name was Beth. I told you that you were a bit too young to get married, but the next day you asked her anyway. Well, that Beth girl didn’t like it too much and sent you home with a bloody lip. You might not have had a way with the ladies then, but Beth sure thinks highly of you now. I see the way she and her friends look at you when you walk by and tip your hat. You could have any of them in a heartbeat. You know how to treat them, how to talk to them. You make half the guys in this town envy you, hell, I think you even making Buck jealous,” Ezra chucked and there was a knock on the door.

Ezra walked over and opened the door to see Beth standing there with breakfast. “Hi Mr. Standish, I brought breakfast for you. I heard what happened. Is Kyle going to be okay?”

Ezra let her in and she moved to Kyle’s side, “Yes, he’s going to be just fine. It may take awhile, but he’s a fighter.”

“Now Kyle, you best be getting all better really fast, you hear? Things just aren’t the same around here, all the girls miss you, even me." she whispered in his ear and gave him a kiss on the cheek before leaving.

“Thank you Miss Beth,” Ezra said and smiled to her. He waited until after the door had closed to speak to his son again. “See boy, you’re in a coma and the girls are still after you.”

+ + + + + + +

Two days had past and there had been no change in Kyle’s condition. Ezra was beginning to get worried. He was also running out of stories to tell. “I don’t know if you remember this, but I doubt I’ll ever forget the time you called Chris Larabee Uncle Chris at the saloon. You were only three but you almost killed all of us with laughter. Mr. Larabee didn’t mind, and from that day on you always called him Uncle Chris. I miss him; it’s hard to believe that he died. Chris and Josiah seemed almost immortal, but they weren’t. It was a hard loss for the town, I just pray that they don’t lose you too.”

Kyle’s head moved slightly and he moaned. He tightened the grip on his father’s hand. “Kyle?” Ezra asked and squeezed his hand back. His eyes fluttered opened. He was awake but he wasn’t responding to anything. Ezra yelled for the doctor.

“Well this is an improvement Mr. Standish. It looks like your son will be okay after all. He may not respond for awhile, but I expect him to make a full recovery.” Doc Lee said as he checked Kyle’s vital signs.

“Thank you so much Doc, for saving my son’s life.” Ezra extended his hand to the man.

“Well, your son is strong and he put up a good fight.”

+ + + + + + +

The next day Kyle found his voice, “Dad?”

Ezra awoke instantly, ‘Yes?”

“I saw mom, she was in my dream. I see her a lot. I don’t think you’re crazy,” he smiled and closed his eyes again. He was recovering quickly but he still needed his rest.

Ezra smiled back, “Sleep well my boy.”


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