When Honor Prevails – Extended Epilogue

It had been a long time since she had seen it, but as Alison rose up over the hill, she recognized the buildings that told her she had arrived.

“Wow,” she said to herself.

She turned to Jaime, who came up beside her on Trigger’s back, his face cast in the orange light of dawn.

He slipped a hand into hers. “Been a long time, hasn’t it?” he said.

Alison nodded.

It had. Jaime returned regularly, but Alison hadn’t wanted to. Her brother’s day at the gallows had been stalled, again and again, but now even the sheriff had given up on him.

For months now, the man had been working to save her brother from this fate, trying with all his might to overturn the judge’s orders. He had summoned churchgoers, put Jacob before politicians, anything he could.

It was as though it was his mission to do so.

Alison had heard all this through Cassidy; the sheriff had a clear understanding that it was not her place anymore. She didn’t want her brother to die, but Alison had never once thought that letting him go wasn’t the right choice.

She and Jaime walked down the slope, laying eyes on Hal’s ranch and the path up to town, which was still just as it had always been, littered with cactus and red sand. It was a strange feeling to know that when she got to town, her brother would no longer be there.

After many months, she had been upset to hear that even the sheriff had given up. Jacob has become more and more furious as the proceedings continued; her brother was becoming more and more strange. His belief that a devil had him was becoming an obsession.

She shivered.

In the end, the sheriff had let him go. He was set to retire, and was moving to the country to live out his days away from the desert. Saving Jacob was supposed to be his last good deed, and he had no choice but to let him go.

The hanging date was set, which coincided just a day before Alison and Jaime’s wedding.

This brought great sadness to her, but she refused to cancel it.

Jaime had urged her to reconsider—after all, the church back at home hadn’t been finished yet.

We can wait a few more months,” he had said. “Whatever you need.

Alison had refused. She didn’t want to wait anymore. She was done with letting her brother interrupt her life. And she had always wanted to get married in town. It had been her grandmother’s wish.

The service, they kept for Mexico, and Alison sincerely hoped she could drag as many people over as they could.

“Hey,” Jaime said.

His blue eyes seemed to catch her, and he smiled. By now, the Mexican sun had given him an even deeper tan, and his work on their small farm had made him even more rugged. She was a lucky woman; she knew it.

“You alright?” he asked.

Alison nodded as they took the horses up the path, crossing past the saloon.

“I’m alright,” she said. “I want to stop looking backward, and start looking forward.”

Jaime nodded. “I understand,” he said. “Well, don’t worry missy, we got a wide open future to look forward to.”

Alison smiled. He always knew just what to say.

The two arrived back in town, and she was surprised to see that everything was just as she remembered it. Strangely, she had imagined that everything could be different, as though in just five months the entirety of the town could be completely overhauled.

They crossed up a street, and Alison knew they were almost there.

“It’s nice to be back,” she said. “Everything is just as I remembered it.”

They turned on the street, and her face dropped.

At the end of the long dusty road, a black, charred structure stood where the church had been—the one that Alison had attended her whole life.

“No,” she said.

A small crowd had gathered outside it, all resting, buckets that had been full of water lying on their edge.

The fire had long since gone out, but the smoke that fizzled into the air was still thick with its smell.

Riding atop Dixie’s back, Cassidy came bolting toward them, his entire body covered in soot.

“Dad!” Jaime called, and they rushed over to him.

His face was low, his eyes wide and expressionless. He must have been up all night. Jaime reached for him and wrapped his arms around him.

“What happened?” He asked, shocked.

Jaime looked at Alison, as though he could not understand for the life of him what had transpired, but Alison knew it was written on the faces of the townspeople, the embers around the church, and the marshals gathered around the jail.

Jacob—it all spoke of him.

Jaime’s father approached them, spluttering, his eyes full of fear.

“He-he…” He cleared his throat. “Jacob got out.”

With a gasp, Jaime turned to look at Alison, who hadn’t moved a muscle.

“What do you mean, got out?” Jaime said, flabbergasted. “He escaped?”

Cassidy whipped the hat from his head, looking down at the dirt. “I was about to get a telegram to you,” he said. “Since early morning we been putting out the church.”

Jaime couldn’t stand still. “How did he get out?”

His father spluttered, and Jaime crossed toward him. Cassidy pulled a handkerchief and coughed into it.

“By force,” he said. “He clubbed a guard with a chair leg and stole his weapon. He shot a man or two before running right out—”

His story was interrupted by a long coughing fit.

Jaime walked toward him. “And the church?” he asked. “Why?”

He took Cassidy under his arm and walked him to the side of the street where they both sat. Alison couldn’t sit. She looked around, her eyes frantically searching, as though her brother could turn up at any moment.

“He told the priest it was something about the devil,” Cassidy said. “He’s not in his right mind.”

“He did it to get us back,” Alison said.

Both the men turned to look at her. Alison felt a fire within her.

“He knows what he’s doing,” she said. “He wanted revenge, and he got it.”

Jaime looked up at her from the ground. Cassidy lay back, taking a deep breath.

“The new sheriff sent some men out after him,” he said. “They went out to the desert, to Hal’s ranch; some even went toward you guys. I’m surprised you didn’t run into them.”

Alison slipped her hand into her dress, pulling a pistol, which made Cassidy’s eyebrows rise up. She had brought it with her just in case something like that happened.

“He ain’t going that way,” she said. “He’s running. I know exactly where he’s going.”

***

Jaime and Alison whipped through the red dirt, riding as quickly as they could.

“Alison!” Jaime shouted over the wind. “Slow down.”

She shook her head and kept riding.

She wasn’t sure what she would do when she found him. All she knew was that she was full of rage, uncontrollable rage that had been building for a long time.

Again, Jacob had stolen her life from her, and now, he was set on running. She wouldn’t allow this to happen, not after everything he had taken from this world

Jaime seemed afraid, as though she was becoming another person, and he and Trigger didn’t seem to be able to keep up. Alison didn’t want to slow down. She would not let him get away, she would not let him win.

She kept her eyes set on the horizon, the endless sand broken by a long black line that broke the untouched nature.

“The train?” Jaime yelled over the wind. “Where do you think he’s going?”

Alison looked at him.

“It’s not where he’s going,” she said, “it’s where he’s getting away from. He never wants to step foot in the state again. I think he’s trying to get as far away from this part of the world as he can.”

Jaime nodded. “How come you know that?”

Alison smiled. “Because he’s scared of me.”

She gripped the reins and sped like an arrow. With every step the small town by the station was coming closer and closer.

The town was small and mostly unoccupied. It seemed like a mining town of some sort. It probably had sprung up around the station. The trains were changing things faster than anything she had experienced.

When they reached the station, they both spent a moment getting some air, and Alison leaped from her horse, hand near her pistol.

She felt an arm grab her.

“That gun,” Jaime said. “Why’d you bring that gun?”

Alison chewed her lip.

“You knew this was going to happen?” Jaime said. “Didn’t you?”

She felt a tremble. “I-I…” she said, “I hoped not, but I wanted to be safe. Why?”

Jaime nodded, his eyes slightly distant.

“I just didn’t realize he was still so close to your mind,” Jaime said.“You never speak much about him.”

Alison broke their eye contact and turned toward the station. “Come on,” she said.

Jaime caught her step, standing close to her as they rose up the steps. He wasn’t going to let her out of his sight, and she knew it.

She smiled, squeezing his hand. She had been looking forward to this day her whole life, and the thought that he had taken it all away from her filled her with even more rage than ever.

When they came to the station, Alison was ready for anything, and she was shocked to see that there was no one around.

A single lone figure stood, a broom in hand, and jumped when he saw them.

“Oh, boy!” he said. “You two scared me.”

They approached him, Jaime taking the lead.

“Terribly sorry, sir,” he said. “We came down here looking for a fella, got reason to believe he might done skipped out on us… Sometime after dawn.”

The man shook his head. “Can’t be,” he said, “ain’t no trains come through so early… I reckon you got a few more hours ‘fore one do.”

Jaime and Alison looked at each other, and she wilted slightly.

“Thank you for the help,” Jaime said. “Guess he ain’t here…”

Alison felt a shiver, and the two turned back to the stairs. As they were walking away, giving up, the guard suddenly spoke.

“Only thing around here still open at this hour is the saloon…”

Jaime and Alison looked at each other.

Without stopping for a moment, they thanked the guard and headed down toward the street, where, at the end, they could already hear the jangling down of the harpsichord awaiting them.

“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” said Jaime.

As they crossed down toward it, a gust of wind blew dust up in the air. It was a rotten little town, the windows all replaced with old rusted sheet metal, wild dogs roaming and abandoned carts lying on the side of the road.

Alison knew they would have to keep their wits about them.

As they approached the saloon, she felt a hand tug at her back.

“Let me,” Jaime said.

She shook her head and tried to walk again.

“No,” Jaime said. “You’re too angry at him.”

His eyes were wide and serious. He looked down at her weapon.

“Let me,” he said, “let me try.”

As they came up to the decking, they heard the sound of shouting within, and a man came rushing through the door with a look of fear on his face.

“Don’t go in there,” he said. “Some lunatic in there is causing a stir, and he’s armed.”

The man broke off and Alison and Jaime met each other’s gaze.

Without another thought, Jaime kicked his way in, holding the weapon raised. Alison was right behind him in hot pursuit.

They gasped.

Jacob was hardly recognizable.

His body was bigger, stronger, and the bruises and gashes had turned into scars that pulled and distorted his face, causing his left eye to have a permanent wink.

People around him stood in shock with their hands held high. Jacob was holding a shotgun, waving it around wildly.

“Jacob,” Jaime said sternly, “drop the weapon. Don’t be foolish now.”

Jacob laughed, a deep, dark fearsome laugh.

“Well, well,” he growled. “Looks like you wanted to come join the party.”

Click, click!

He loaded the shotgun, and all the people went screaming at the corners.

In the dusty bar, among the tables that were tipped over, it was just the three of them.

“I said drop the gun, Jacob,” Jaime said.

“My name ain’t Jacob no more…” he said, spluttering as he inhaled a shot of whiskey to his curled-up lip. “I ain’t been Jacob for a long time. He died that morning, at the corral.”

Jaime stepped forward. Jacob kept his gun aimed right at him, his eyes milky and demented.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jaime said. “I think you need to calm on down.”

Then, without a word, Alison swept by him, holding her pistol.

“Drop it.”

“Sister,” Jacob purred, his face twitching, “I hope you’re not upset with me, for my little parting gift.”

Alison took a deep breath, stepping forward.

“Alison, be careful,” Jaime begged, not moving his weapon.

The bar was full of quivering men, crouched in the corners, shivering with fear. With every step Alison took, they yelped.

“I’m taking you back, Jacob,” she spat.

He smiled. “Sister,” Jacob said, “I disagree,”

He pointed the weapon at her.

“No!” Jaime called, and he stepped forward, ready to dive.

Alison shook her head. “Don’t call me sister,” she said.

Jacob laughed again, in such a way that the room was sure to know he was not to be trifled with.

“Come, meet your fate,” Jacob said.

Alison walked farther in, not flinching. Now, the shotgun was aimed right at her chest.

“Alison!” Jaime screamed. He swept his weapon right at Jacob’s head. “If you fire, I won’t hesitate…”

“I’ll do it, sister,” Jacob said.

Alison didn’t feel an ounce of fear. “Then do it,” she hissed.

Jacob tightened his grip on the shotgun, smiled and then—

…nothing.

The gun trembled in his hand.

Jaime sighed a breath of relief. “Thank the lord.”

Jacob laughed again. “Look at us,” he said quietly. “We’re stuck… I’m not moving, but I won’t shoot you, and I know in my hear that you won’t—”

Bang!

Jacob’s eyes bulged. Jaime shot forward, but then he realized what Alison had done.

She trembled, blowing the smoke from the barrel of her weapon and slotting it back into her belt.

Alison took Jaime and pulled him to his feet, unable to look at the patch of blood swelling at Jacob’s stomach.

“Goodbye,” she said flatly.

His eyes bulged with fear, his fingers trembled, the weapon clattered to the ground as he began to roar with pain.

As she turned to the doorway, Alison turned to the nearest local.

“Call your sheriff,” she said. “This one needs to get back to prison.”

***

Alison looked at herself in the mirror, elated to see how she looked. She had tried her best to dress the part, but she felt strange.

It had only been a few weeks since she had caught Jacob again, and she was beginning to feel things were getting back to normal.

The whole town had pitched in to build the church up again. Alison and Jaime had stayed with Cassidy to help—she had experience in that department, after all.

She hadn’t felt strange while staying in her grandmother’s old house. It was hard to explain, but since she had shot Jacob, she felt no part of her missing him. She knew she had really let him go this time.

Everyone in town kept telling her not to worry, that her brother would never see the light of day again. Alison kept telling them she wasn’t scared, and it was the truth.

As she finished bringing the comb through her hair, she let the thoughts float away. Today was not about her brother—today was about Jaime and her.

The door creaked open, and Alison saw Cassidy arrive.

“Wow,” he said quietly, “you look just fantastic.”

Alison thanked him, looking at his Sunday bests that he had put on.

“Speak for yourself.” She smiled.

Cassidy looked down at his outfit and threw his hand back through his long hair.

“How’s he going?” Alison asked with a smile.

He laughed. “Nervous,” he said.

Alison felt a pang of distress. “Hopefully not too nervous!”

Cassidy smiled and shook his head.

“Come on,” he said, “let’s go. I can’t wait to officially call you my daughter.”

He smiled, and Alison felt a wash of happiness come over her.

The service was full of energy, and every pew was full of familiar faces. Many people had made the trek over the border, and Alison saw them all smile when they saw her coming.

She couldn’t believe she was about to walk down the aisle, and the man of her dreams was waiting for her.

Then, she laid eyes on Jaime.

In his Sunday bests, the man looked simply dashing. His fine shirt fit him like a glove, completely dissolving his usual laid-back style.

Her heart bloomed with love as she caught his big blue eyes looking back at her, and with every step she felt as though she was drifting high up into the sky.

As she reached him in the pew, he took her hands and smiled.

“Well, hello there,” he said, his eyes wide. “You look amazing,”

“Speak for yourself, cowboy,” Alison returned with a wink.

The priest began to speak, and Alison was buzzing so hard she could barely hear the words, for she knew that everything was about to change. She was about to be married.

The priest continued, and time seemed to melt as he spoke. Alison stared deep into her love’s eyes.

“Do you take this woman to be your wife?”

“I do,” said Jaime.

“And you, Alison,” he continued, “do you take him to be your husband?”

Alison took a deep breath. “I do,” she said.

Jaime smiled. “Are you sure?” he joked.

The church burst with laugher, and Alison just smiled, seeing her love’s face lit up with the color from the stained glass all around him.

“Silly boy,” she said. “Of course I am.”

She leaned forward and kissed Jaime, wrapping herself around him. Full of love, Alison closed her eyes, excited.

This would be the first day of her new life—her and Jaime’s new life, one they would forge together, as always.

THE END


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25 thoughts on “When Honor Prevails – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Hello Derek,
      I really enjoyed your book. I am an avid book reader and sometimes write a few things but never got far enough to get published. Guess being an RN the mother of two who went through a divorce from my children’s father and now at 78 years of age living with my second husband far away from my birthplace in Australia. My only son died in Australia of Hep C a few years ago and his older sister will be visiting us in New Hampshire over Xmas . We are living in Texas at present and we are all packed to move in several months. Thank you for your very enjoyable book.
      Robin.

      1. Thank you so much for all your kind words and support, Robin! I am so sorry for your loss.

        I wish you every luck on your new beginning and I am so glad you enjoyed the story!

    2. Thank you again for a fine story. I have enjoyed all of your books very much. Looking forward to the next one.

    1. A truly great western, found it very hard to put down! I us he usually read at night when I wake and can’t go back to sleep! Had a very hard time putting it down when the melatonin kicked in! I grew up in west Texas ann and New Mexico. I know all about those blinding sand storms! At 77 now I live in east Texas, but wish I was back in Kermit!

  1. I love your books. Have read quite a few of them and will most likely continue until I’ve read them all. I’d love to help you as proof reader. Somehow I think it is my calling. Am an avid reader. Probably go through 6-10 books a week. Let me know if I can help. Have a wonderful life. And a great weekend. Arnita W.

  2. Just finished reading it but the epilogue was confusing. Before they moved Jacob was found guilty and hanged and buried. In the epilogue he returned and they had to find him again. Very confusing
    I really enjoy your books and hoping to read more of them
    Larry G

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