Muerte de Chivato
Hey Patty Garrett
That's what I used to call you.
You say that you want me
But I hear they've got you
And made you a lawman
With a badge made of silver.
Paid you some money
To sell them my blood.
There was a stir of a breeze, blowing in a dust cloud from the west. Rounds had sounded off earlier, not unusual this close to the fort. The commotion that proceeded it had been abnormal, rushed and anxious.
It was too quiet, the entirety of the Earth holding its breath, awaiting an outcome, bloodshed.
Faint hoof beats pounded across the soil, striking in time with every rotation of the wooden spoon in the mixing bowl, until the motion ceased, leaving just the rhythmic beat to draw near. A sigh rose from the air, blowing past in faint torment. Someone had breathed their last.
Perhaps an outcome had already come and gone. Maybe the stillness was shock, disbelief, for it was too charged to be celebratory. It was a worrisome tenseness, anticipation and elation it couldn't be. There was no outward indication of victory nor valiance nor even justice, not in the West. Mother hoped it wasn't as she knew it would be: death. The young woman and the gang of men couldn't smell it, but she could. Copper blood seeping and mixing into the dust.
Black boots stirred the dust freshly settled upon the porch, faltering towards the dust cloud. Horses were hardly visible, the dark garbed riders astride them not at all.
They were coming from the fort. From Pete Maxwell's.
The boots stopped short, dust clouding past as caught by the bursts of wind. Spoon and bowl hit the dirt, spilling its innards unto the dry, barren soil. She froze to the spot, realization hitting her harder than any bullet.
"Dear God… Billeh…"
With those words, she broke from the hope that held her captive when she recognized the steed at the head of the pack. It was Pat. She fled towards him, praying and not receiving any hopes or respite.
Each step increased the ice passing through her heart, thrusting any lingering hope to fragment and land behind her in the dirt, decaying and dead. It was the desecration of her life for the past few years. Every stumble, every grasping bramble caught at her long skirts, trying to drag her down into the unseeing darkness.
She felt a successful strike that she could not see, the dusty ground reaching up to contain her. She couldn't escape the imprisoning walls.
The band encircled the fallen woman, the sheriff dismounting to help her up. She heard them, scrambling to her feet before assistance could be offered. She can't recognize the face of the man she knew, it looks too hard and foreign. The man can not be Pat Garrett. But she knows, and he knows that she knows.
Fear and despair melt away when she can finally see him, blood-red anger taking their place. Anger at Pat, anger at Governor Lew Wallace, anger at the lawless justice of the West. He continues to approach her, but he's the Reaper to her.
"Abrea…" he tried again, reaching for her, hands shaking slightly.
She ran to him, striking his chest with her fists, knocking him back slightly as he grunted in surprise. Some of his posse looked at each other, readying their shotguns and revolvers in case this woman harmed their Sheriff.
"God damn it Pat!" she struck him again, "God damn you!"
Sheriff Pat Garrett didn't say anything, he only reached for her again.
"How could you Pat? How could you?" Abrea broke down in tears, grief overcoming her, washing out the anger that had been there.
He pulled her to him, not even trying to fend off the final feeble strikes. He let her get her anger out on him, let her weep her sorrow, just rocking her in his arms, not speaking. He pressed his scratchy cheek to the top of her untidy russet hair, eyes drifting shut as she shuddered with each distressing weep.
None knew how long they all remained so, posse watching the exchange, Pat Garrett holding on, and Abrea Chesimard shivering. The July evening in Santa Fe slowly dying, dawning into July 14th.
Pat Garrett turned, nodding to his men, dismissing them home. They went, leaving their Sheriff to tell their wives or lovers about the night's events.
"Abrea, let's get you inside."
She let him help her mount the horse, slipping her arms around his waist as he followed, urging the steed towards the solitary house. Tears streamed back, falling for what would seem like an oblivion.
She didn't remember anything, not arriving home, slipping into bed, nor talking to Pat. She just awoke early as the sun was hardly breaking the horizon. Pat was beside her, eyes wide, staring at the wooded ceiling of the bedroom.
"Pat?" her voice was timid and hesitant.
"Hmm?" his eyes rolled over to glance upon her face.
"Why? He was your friend."
He sighed, eye sliding shut again. "I don't know."
"It wasn't the money? You wouldn't take blood money, I know it. It couldn't have been justice. He was just a boy. Hardly even twenty-one. That ain't a man."
"He wasn't expecting it. I was talking to Pete when he came in. I don't think he recognized me. At least not right away."
He turned to face her, drawn and tired eyes met pleading ones. "He cocked his revolver and said, 'Quien es?' I think he knew a second after he said it, which is why he didn't shoot me. He could've killed me and escaped. It ain't like he never killed a lawman before."
Tears came anew. She huddled into the quilt.
"I killed him. I looked into his haunted eyes and shot him. He died instantly."
She shivered as he said that, thinking of what a sweet rouge Billy the Kid had been. Now the Kid was dead.
He cocked an eyebrow at her.
"Promise me you won't let anyone kill you. I don't want to see you six foot under."
His smile gave her goose bumps. "His funeral's tomorrow. I want to pay my respects."
She nodded. The only thing she could do for the Kid now was pay respects and regret. Regret she couldn't stop Pat from going out and hunting Billy, regret that Pete Maxwell was in on the ambush, regret that she didn't get the chance to bid him good-bye one final time.
Regret that Billy hadn't killed Pat Garrett when he had the chance.