Chapter 13: To reap what you sow
Meanwhile at Bill Burton’s shack, there was a silent feel in the air. Bill himself was preparing for harvest in his garden. To his shock and surprise, he saw a bad harvest… too bad to be natural.
He tried all those techniques to ward away pests and vermin, but a few faded footprints near his soil shown that someone had been here. And also to his observation he saw a mysterious white powder nearby that had been sowed with his crops.
After a sniff and a taste, he found it his soil had been sown with salt to destroy and render his crops of no use. Before he could speak, he already knew the culprit, and that he wasn’t pleased at all with his arrival.
Rushing quick, Bill grabbed his horse hitched on his back fence and rode off to Jackson Springwater’s estate, but before he could do that, a similar and nostalgic person appeared looking over his back. It was the same man that Bill met when he was at his door trying to take what was his.
“I… remember you…” Bill said, puzzled. The man said,
“Former manservant to Jackson Springwater? Yes, you are right my friend. The truth is I don’t work for that scumbag anymore. I am too underpaid these days, and he takes the biscuit. Oh wait the entire box of ’em.”
“Sorry to hear that, mysterious stranger. What was your name again?”
“The name is Samuel Armstrong; all you need to know. I have to dash with my darling wife, or rather his, and quickly fetch a noticeable item of yours to keep him off your back. That land claim from our ’earlier’ visit will do nicely.”
“How am I supposed to know you’re not a double agent?”
“Relax. RELAX! Springwater is already infuriated when running off with his Mrs, so do we just make up in a flash? Here, I’ll make it worth your while.” While he said this he slowly put a dollar bill in Burton’s pocket. Gobsmacked, Burton replied,
“A dollar! How cheap! But, it is better than nothing and I need something for my dinner tonight because of your adversary’s deeds…”
“Very well. Good day to you, sir.”
Samuel left with a slight tip of his cap and exited his house. He got into his stagecoach and shouted out to the driver, “Whitelock stables, please!” He seemed in a hurry, but even so he made a quick visit. Burton shrugged from his visit and went back to scrap the leftovers.
A peculiar thought entered Bill Burton’s mind. He considered leaving to get to the bottom of his bizarre turn of events. But from Townspeople, bandits and shifty market vendors, he believed that the shack was his only safest place to be.
Bill had no food left in his stock, and his meagre farm plot spoiled; he went back to his previous thought. For the first time in nearly 10 years, Bill Burton returns to town; for a chance of catching Springwater.
He continued his previous task; unhitching his horse to ride off and see civilisation once more in 4 months. After his strokes and light mannered feeding, his horse galloped away to Serenity, the small and calm town his father took him to once in every blue moon.
Although it was a while since his last journey, he never forgets his path along the stretching lands. He saw nothing except the dusty landscapes and the lonesome tumbleweeds which followed at his wake.
‘I better be in the right direction.’ Is what Bill thought, but when he saw a water tower and telegraph poles in the distance, he needed to not worry anymore. As his gallant horse came to a standstill, it was hitched on a nearby post next to the saloon. Compared to Serenity’s citizens, he looked very unlike them.
The men were all wearing cotton shirts or waistcoats, while he was in his creek brown coat and black deer hide shirt. His yellow ragged shoes and torn pants were his main giveaway of a different lifestyle.
Finding what was going on with Jackson’s madness, he needed a hero in need. With no other choice, he had to ask the locals. “Excuse Me, Ma’am!” He said to a nearby passer-by.
“Yes.” The woman said, not troubled by Bill’s appearance. Her style was similar to everyone else in Serenity, in a red tartan cowgirl shirt, with a small violet necktie.
“Do you know anyone in this town who can help my issue with a wild scoundrel?”
“Why, yes! You should check the Sheriff’s office! I’m sure he’ll help you out if his deputies are lazing off again! I know a few people in the area. Who is this ‘scoundrel’?”
“He is a horse breeder, a middle aged Negro by the name of Jackson Springwater. He lives in the saddle grounds less than a mile from here, I think.”
“Oh yes, he is a little well known. But what has he done? He repaired my old sturdy saddle many weeks back!”
“Long story, but it is nothing serious, I think…”
“Ok sir, glad I had been of service to you! But please be careful. Judge can’t do much to a powerful man with a love for horses!”
Before he whizzed off to a long conversation, Bill approached the Sheriff’s office. ’What was his title again, ‘Judge’? Sounds like a legendary hero…’ Bill was thinking, as this man may be the answer to all his problems. After looking at the Sheriff’s door, he pushed the door slowly and entered Judge’s office…