A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 21: Order

“I suppose you kept your side of the bargain, so I’ll help arrest Springwater. We have the evidence, like that salt in your crop fields and we just need to find him. Where does he live?” Judge said in his office, instructing a recovering Bill Burton from his injury with Murdoch.

“I’ll show you the way, just bring Elroy and Svenson, he has loads of henchmen.” Burton responded, in approval.

“Yeah, I’ll bring the boys with me, anything else?”

“No, so let’s get going! He should be working busy in the day, so hopefully we can intercept him.”

“Yeah! Let’s round ’im up!” Svenson said excitedly.

And so the 4 lawmen rushed off to Springwater’s ranch to arrest him. When they arrived, it was run down, and all of the horses seemed to catch some sort of flu and were unable to function. They stormed in, guns blazing and found no one in his house, the dining room empty.

After this, they found him in his lounge, sitting with another gentleman. With the 3 deputies pointing and waving their guns to the two men, Judge exclaimed,

“You are under arrest for land exploitation and blackmail to other land owners.”

“Fine, I’ll come quietly, but if I can mention…” The other gentlemen sitting next to him, with the name Lou Peterson, adds on,

“There is a treasure that can solve all of our problems; if you let us go we’ll tell you where it is…”

“That is pure shit!” Judge responded. Svenson then said after,

“Just come quietly! I’ve missed shooting people, especially you, damn nigger!” With a sigh, Jackson replied,

“Fine… but just take the treasure map here…” While Peterson was shocked that he gave a piece of the treasure map away, he said,

“Why? We can’t get anywhere without that!”

“We’ll find another way, Lou. I’ll try to get out…”

“To hell you won’t! Elroy interrupted. Just as Jackson was about to be put away by the deputies, he questioned:

“Matthew, is that you? Why did you bring your son to all of this? Don’t you remember we worked together?” With a shocked expression, Judge looks down in shame towards Burton. With a worried expression, Judge said to Burton,

“I can explain everything…”

“Don’t, dad. If that really is you… don’t!”

Although finding out that Judge is actually Matthew Burton, Bill’s long lost father, Bill Burton quietly just follows the lawmen and stayed silent for the entire journey back to the sheriff’s office. Peterson was left behind at the house, back at the beginning with finding someone to scour treasure with.

At Judge’s office, they are quick to notice that Terrence Cain escaped confinement, and were shocked to see that one of the bricks came loose and he easily crawled out of it. Whitby then said what happened,

“He escaped, Judge! He did!”

“We know…” Elroy replied with a dull expression.

Dumbfounded, the lawmen look on in awe of their vital mistake. Little did they know, Terrence Cain was about to start his traitorous move towards Murdoch and the Trigger sons. Little do they also know, Cain was dead and Murdoch has an even bigger surprise in store for the lawmen.

Sipping their drinks in unison at the Vulgar Vulture, the lawmen stayed quiet until Bill spoke again, still shocked by the truth about his father.

“Why did you do it, father? I struggled when you left! You won’t believe it, but I was still too young at the time to find out what I was doing, I only followed you!” Judge stays silent and doesn’t make eye contact with his son. Impatient for a response, Bill continued on,

“Judge, come on. Silence can be criminal too, you know.” His face sinking into his hands, Judge comes to the point where he snaps and can’t take it anymore, not even from his own son. Responding angrily,

“What do you expect? I did you a favour! While you were busy shitting your pants I cooked and cleaned for you! During the winter nights, I made sure you were tucked in my bed whilst I was freezing my balls off in the cold. I taught you things you would have never even wanted to learn when you grew up, and not to mention, your mother was a tart and I’m glad she died.

“What…? Father… what the hell? I never even knew her name and now you tell me she died?”

“Agnes died giving birth to you, that’s what. She was left an estate by her uncle’s will and when were married I was to take it all. That was, until you were growing inside her before I tied the knot. Thing was, not only did she die in childbirth I never got that estate and it was given to her sister after her death.”

“So then, you turned to drinking and tried to become a part of the law to forget about it? And besides, my mother wasn’t a whore, why do you say that?”

“The Burton name for you is adopted. Your mother was already 2 weeks pregnant when she wanted that kid with me, and as far as anyone knows, I am not really your father.”

A shocked expression and ashamed look on Bill’s face, he looked down in disbelief as he uncovered the truth. Entering the saloon enters a shadowy Eliza Cunningham, scouring around for treasures to take. No one notices her or saw her as a threat, so Judge doesn’t take in what she may be plotting.

When all the patrons are busy chatting or drinking their sorrows away, she slips an apothecary into someone’s drink. This ‘someone’ is a familiar face, by the name of Samuel Armstrong, the notorious traitor of Jackson Springwater’s horse ranch. The reason currently unknown, Eliza is caught unnoticed, attempting to put the blame on Springwater, as she leaves the saloon.

After drinking his ale, at first looking well and regular, this feeling is immediately intercepted as Armstrong begins to cough up blood. He then observes his hands and sees his scarlet palms trembling with shock. His eyes lay still; for Eliza has successfully poisoned him, hoping that Springwater loses his ranch and that it is up for sale.

Judge examining the scene while all the patrons look on in silence, the fingers are pointed at an innocent Jackson Springwater, who is still locked up in his cell. Unable to solve the case, the hope of finding out the killer is abandoned, until the lawmen find out what has happened in Springwater’s cell…

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