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Fulton's Fury

A Predatory Excursion - To Ravage …. Fury
Spirit Run — Chapter Five
Written by Frank Charles aka weinerdawgy

The carriage wheels rolled over the streets of Dallas with little vibration due to a newly developed leaf spring suspension and rubberized wheels. The occupants were very glad for the ride once they advanced to the dirt road out of town. Four beautiful black Morgan horses drew the carriage four in hand toward the Greenwood Cemetery. This was the first stop on the way to the farm. Will and Ann followed along on Spirit and Flash. Owen rode along on his horse also. Sarah’s bodyguard, Turley, piloted the carriage up the gradual rise upon which the cemetery sat. The cool clear morning began to give way to mild winds as they approached a small group of headstones with a white picket fence surrounding the departed. Most graves were out in the open and several cows were nosing around eating what few plants would still grow this time of year. Lucas and Bat jumped out and assisted the ladies down. Spirit and Flash were tied to the back of the carriage and the group walked together to view the graves. Everyone held silent as Sarah went forward first to place some flowers upon the headstones. Then she motioned for Will and Ann to come forward to view the Fulton graves.

“William, this is the place where I thought would be best. I didn’t like how wide open this unfortunate place is, so I had this small fence put around. You just stay here as long as you want. Talk to them, they have been waiting to hear from you.

“Thank you Sarah. This is wonderful. I won’t be too long. I can already feel their presence in my heart.” Will knelt down on the rocky soil, took off his hat, and put his coat down for Ann to kneel on. The others stayed back and gave them time to pray.

Soon, Ann heard Will sobbing. She stood up and kept her hand on his shoulder. This went on for some time. Lucas came over and stood alongside. He finally put his hand on Will’s other shoulder. Lucas thought back to that moment at Margaret’s grave when he tried so hard to fight back tears. That was when he made up his mind to not be alone any more. He wished he could say something to ease Will’s pain, but this was a time that only Will could reckon with. More than ten years of feelings poured forth as he finally stood up and embraced Ann. They hugged as hard as they ever had.

 “All I can think of is how unfair this is. It’s not fair for us to have to be here right now, it wasn’t fair for Sarah to deal with a trial and this burial, it wasn’t fair that I ran away and haven’t come back until now. It wasn’t fair to anyone, you Lucas, I even held a gun on you, and now you are here still helping me.” Will turned and looked right into Ann’s eyes. “And you, my love, you waited for eight long years. That wasn’t fair to you at all. I didn’t even treat you fair when we first met, I had to lie. All I cared about was my anger and grief. And now that I look at these graves, it all crashes down on me. It wasn’t fair most of all to them!” Will pointed down at the headstones. “All of their lives they worked hard, we almost starved until they met Sarah. What is it with this world when a man like Carlson can exist? Almost everything isn’t enough? He had to harass and finally murder my dear sweet parents just to own a piece of land? Water rights couldn’t be enough. He had to go and brutally murder them and burn them and the house to a pile of ashes? There just isn’t any amount of time or reckoning that can take away the evil that came from Vernon Carlson. And how many other Carlsons are there? How many times do things like this have to happen before something is done? Well, this is one time where something will be done! I’m going to make sure of that.” Will paced around the graves trying to gather his senses. Ann rejoined the group while Lucas stood looking at the graves, not wanting to leave Will at this point.

It took Will the better part of an hour to reassemble his mind to the point that he could rejoin the group. They waited patiently by the carriage trying not to get impatient. Will came from the graves and walked up to Sarah. He hugged her as tight as he did Ann. He stepped back and looked over his friends for a moment. He was in disbelief that such wonderful and giving people could exist. The thoughts of Hank raced in his mind, that honest hard working people were stupid as sheep. How fair was it to rob and ruin the lives of innocent people. To think of those before him now, he wished he never knew his brother. He loved him, but he didn’t like him very much right now.

“God Bless all of you, just for being who you are. You don’t even have to think about it, you just do what you do like breathing air. I can see what that is all about now. My brother had no idea. He let his grief consume him before we ever came to Dallas. How can anyone expect him to know how to react to something like this? He hated the world and wanted to destroy the lives of others rather than see anyone else enjoy. I almost followed him down that path and yet here I stand among some of the finest people this world has ever known. Only God could have made this happen, I surely wouldn’t have sought any of you as we were running from the law that fateful day. Do you think Mark was hiking and got into a life threatening situation just so I could ride by and trigger my conscience to save him?” Will peered at Lucas for affirmation.

Lucas nodded. “You bet William, mysterious ways, valley of the shadow of death. We all must play our parts. Fair or unfair, we should make the best of what is set before us.”

“That is exactly right. And greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends. Well, I am here today and willing to lay down my life for any one of you. Each and everyone of you has certainly been willing to do that for me. I pray there will be no more tragedy like this one. There are plenty of better ways to do the right thing for each other than to exact revenge from the stupid people of this world. Let us be off to do the right thing now. Onward to the farm! We shall see what it is that will empower us instead of tear us down.”

Will took another look at the graves, maybe a last look. His eyes had seen enough sadness. He wasn’t so sure that Hank deserved to be in this graveyard. He was going to think about it for a while. The horses were glad to be moving again as they made their way to the farm. It was close to ten miles away and to the southwest from Dallas. The land was flat with only a few small rolling hills far from the road. Flat land and foliage was plentiful in all directions giving one the impression that farming would be good. But water had a way of dictating where success would come from. Floodwaters from the Trinity could destroy the dreams of a farmer just as much as drought could. In the spring, flowers and plants would be coming forth from what now was still mostly cold and gray. But there was a slight tinge of green where one could see the hillsides. Springtime was not too far away and the sun gave some green grass an early start.

As they neared the farm, Will began to recognize the woods and some of the buildings. They rode past where Beth Ann Harlan lived. Will gave it a glance and Spirit began a quicker stride. They could feel the anticipation of coming home. They came around a bend in the road and there was the field he grew up in. Spirit didn’t need a kick, he began to run and Will gave him a squeeze with his knees. They took off across the field and left the others as if they were sitting still. Sarah got out of the carriage and stood at the side of the road watching. She felt a warm heartfelt sense of relief and joy as she saw her dream come true. William Fulton was home at last. Will took Spirit up and down the fields, then off into the woods, he was like a boy under a Christmas tree romping around. Spirit stopped to smell the air as they came out from the trees. By this time everyone had gotten out of the carriage to watch.

“Isn’t it something to see this man’s life reborn?” Bat said to Lucas.

“That boy is growing up fast from so many years that he missed out on, this is truly remarkable. Not many get to have this feeling, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I am sure glad that he has it now!”

“Ah, the boy now becomes a man. I live for moments like this. Sometimes a man has it in an instant, others take a lifetime. Young Fulton maybe won’t be completely paid back from what he has lost, but I think he now realizes just what it is that he has been given.”

“And would you say that is us?” Lucas smiled and took his hat off to wipe his hair back.

“Not just us Brother Lucas, a love for people.”

“Well said Bat. I believe the word “Master” is in your name for a reason.”

“It took me a long time to realize it. But now studying human nature has become a lifetime passion. Moments like this make the danger I face worthwhile.”

“I know that feeling well. It’s what keeps me ticking after all I have been through. The world may have too much evil in it, but it makes us feel good to force it back toward the good. There is a great lesson to be had and it’s better to earn that lesson than to just be told. The world may never be fair, but we sure can try to make it right.”

“And there will always be another lesson lurking just around the next turn. Life is funny that way. Let us move on to meet that next lesson. I want to take a look at where that farm house once stood.” Bat motioned for everyone to get back into the carriage and they finished the short distance from the roadside to the wells and line shacks that now occupied the site of the old farm house. They were the only fixtures in sight, the rest of the property was plowed cropland.

Once they all came to a stop, Ann gave Flash a kick and they took off toward Will. They rode the property all over again. Will did not want to stop by the shacks and look at where the house once stood, not now. He didn’t need to relive that horrific moment that could never leave him. But he was gushing with joy as he looked over his stomping ground. Spirit knew just where he was. Sarah had some sandwiches and various other picnic items ready as they observed the rebirth of William Fulton. Ann came riding back to gather some of the food so they could ride into the woods to a little meadow that Will used to play in. This time, there was no danger of kidnapping or murder. They had a lot of lost time in the grass to make up for!

“Will, what is going to become of us? Do you think you would ever want to live here again?” Ann asked as they lay in the grass eating.

“I can’t answer that right now, I never want to leave you or North Fork. I am committed to you and your father, no matter what, Lucas too. Right now, all I know is that I feel better and I know where my life stands. We are free from my past Ann. Free.”

“I want you to know that I am willing to go wherever you go. Our ranch will always be there. If life should take you in another direction then I want you to be able to go. Don’t let us hold you back. This may only be a start of a whole new life Will, be willing to live it!”

“I understand, but you understand that I owe you guys my life. If I do see a new road before me I will only take it if we can go together. Just think of the horses, the events, more travel with Bat and Lucas, we will always have something to do, our lives will take shape no matter what becomes of this land.”

“I believe that, I really do. But I also believe you must take some time to realize what this farm really means to you. I love it already, just seeing you light up has brought me so much joy. Nothing in this world can take that away from us, no tragedy, no criminal, no illness, nothing! We have love, the only thing that matters. I am as happy as I have ever been in my life right now.”

“I’m glad you can feel that way Ann. You’ve made me that happy from the first day until now, no difference. I’m that happy always. This is a joy to behold after so long, and it makes me sad to think of what it could have been. It’s not that I’m here again that makes a difference now, it’s what this land can do for us in the future.”

“What did Sarah say to you in private last night at dinner? I know I can figure what most of it was about, but I saw something come over you and I didn’t want to pry until now.”

“Alright, I do need to tell you. I was going to wait and talk with you once we settled down from today. She is going to give me this land free and clear. She also wants the proceeds she has saved from the lease to go toward our ranch development. That is a huge amount of money. I told her she didn’t have to offer this, but she insisted. She is one great lady. We can all work together now, I can give back to those who have given so much to me! This land is set to pay off for years to come.”

“That is wonderful! I know that means so much to you, it can free your mind from the worries of the day and a lifetime. But promise me that money will not change “the you” I am looking at right now.” Ann sat up and gave Will a stern look.

“I promise, as much as I can promise, that I can love only you. That is what I meant back at the graveyard. That this time I was going to make sure something was going to be done about this tragedy. That “something” is going to be giving my life for my friends. Everything I do from now on is going to be dedicated to my parent’s memory and my love for you. That means Lucas and your father, Mark, the men on the ranch, and the horses too!”

“Oh Will, I feel as if I am going to float into the air, this is too good of a feeling! Now we really have to think hard about what we can do to show Sarah our gratitude.”

“I did promise her one thing. This might keep your father busy for a long time though.” Will cracked a smile and saw a look of confusion on her face.

“I can’t imagine what that might be, Daddy?”

“Yup…… she wants Porterhouse steaks, a whole bunch of them! I’m going to have to learn how to butcher from an expert to keep them coming!”

“Why, I never thought about that, can’t they get good beef here? Look at all of the cattle we saw on the way.”

“Evidently she is not happy with the texture of the local beef. We can send ours by train and she can enjoy what we are able to give the best of. Maybe the longhorn’s meat isn’t as tasty as our breeds. At least it’s something we don’t have to go looking for. I’m sure they do have good beef here, just look at Dallas and you can tell they get the best of everything. But I know there will be other ways to show her our love, it will take some time to get to know her and see what we can do.”

“With that dinning room of hers, she knows where to get the best beef. She must be asking you to do that because she knows it is something you can do. How does she know about those steaks anyhow?

“Well, she asked me how I met you. That led me into telling her about that first night back when you cooked those porterhouse steaks and then gave me back my Spirit.”

“She is one crafty woman. I think we will get along just fine. She knows how to gather the bits and pieces then put them together for the best. The beef will be something that makes you keep in touch with her. I like that. We’ll have to telegraph Daddy and have him ship some down here right away!”

“A great idea! Have him send enough for us to put on a dinner in her honor!”

“Good as done Dear.” Ann leaned over and kissed Will. They remained in an embrace for quite a while. Spirit and Flash took advantage of the situation and wandered across the meadow to find some tender grass. Finally, Will looked up to see them and memories of the last time this happened came to mind.

“We better get back, we’ve been gone a long time. Look at those two, Flash has been a bad influence on Spirit. He didn’t always wander like that!”

“At least they get along. Most stallions can’t be in the same field with each other.”

“That’s right, but these are high class horses with an expensive education!” Will let out a whistle that would rival a train. Spirit’s ears perked up and he came running. Flash took a moment to eat another mouthful before catching up as they reached Will and Ann.

“That’s my Flash, has to do what he wants to first. It’s a good thing that he likes to win!” They laughed as they packed their things into the saddlebags and got started back to the carriage.

As they approached the others, Will took a moment to ride over the area where the house once stood. There wasn’t even a mark on the ground. The shacks were brown and very plain. He got down and walked Spirit kicking the dirt around for any evidence of the former structure. Not even a splinter of wood or fragment of brick could be found. He decided right then to harbor no more sad memories from this place. The coming days would determine if he even wanted to visit any of his old friends. Nobody but this small circle knew what was going on. He could just leave it alone from now on if he wanted to. And that seemed like a better idea the more he thought about it. The big question now was, did he want any publicity from his story to influence what was going to happen with the gun show?

Fulton’s Foray — The New Deal

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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