Goodbye to a Stranger

"I'm sorry I haven't been down here for awhile. I can hardly believe it has been this long already. We should have had so much more time together my love, so much more time. " Adam slowly lowered his hat from his head while bowing his head. His hand found support on the granite headstone while his knees found comfort in the soft green grass that surrounded the lone figure in his time of release. "So much more time" and with those words, the pain of torrent opened up for the first time allowing Adam the chance of peace he has longed for since that dreadful morning he awoke to this nightmare. It felt like hours had passed since the first droplets of saline found release from their tight hold until the sockets were drained of every bit of moisture. Adam wearily sat in the emerald colored grass collecting himself together as he drew his hands down his face in a futile effort to clear the signs of loss. Taking a deep breath he began again, "We got him you know, that bastard." Adam clenched his fists tightly the anger he felt for the man that took his loved one from him on what was supposed to be the beginning of the rest of their lives was core deep. "I was happy to see him swing. I wanted to kill him with my bare hands for what he did to you, for what he did to us."

Adam could still see the scene of the hanging just two weeks ago. The entire family was there with him and it seemed most of the town showed up for the event as well. It always amazed Adam how people reacted to a hanging. There were those that felt disgusted by the barbaric act of ending another's life while there were others that seemed to enthrall in delight over seeing how each person came to an end. Usually Adam found no delight in the end of one's life, though he did understand that there were times that it was a necessity in order for others in society to be safe. Today's hanging though made Adam question himself. For the first time he was feeling anticipation and even a sense of enjoyment to watch this man that had caused him so much grief finally meet his maker. So it was little surprise that as Jed was lead to the gallows Adam was standing in the front row ready to meet his eye when he left this earthly world. He barely felt the added support as his brothers and father each seemed to find a place on his shoulder to grasp. His full attention was still riveted on the man that took so much from him so quickly. He heard the words of the bastard yell to him of the joy he felt in seeing Christy's blood splatter across the Ponderosa land and only wished all of Adam's could have joined hers. The next few moments seemed to spin together as he felt the three levels of support tighten considerably and then the noise of screeching hinges before the soft sigh of the rope snapped to it's length. He stood there watching for a few minutes as the crowd that was so mixed earlier was over the excitement for the day and went on with their lives. His father's soft words asking if he was alright comforted him, he responded only with a simple nod and moved forward towards the body that was still swaying slightly from left to right.

"The lucky bastard broke his neck on the hanging. For him death was easy. I just don't see how it is fair that his death was easy when he caused everyone else's to be so hard. He killed those guards that were transporting him and Charlie to prison. We're pretty sure he killed Charlie to get them to stop and that was how he escaped. Roy got a wire about a week after we lost you about the prisoners never making it. It was pretty simple to figure out who was responsible after that. We didn't even have to track him very far, seems he stuck around Virginia City area.

"Pa I'm fine!" He knew he was being short lately but really who could blame him with just losing a wife the same day you married her? The doctor had given him the okay a week ago to start back on a light activity level, well to Adam that meant it was time to find that bastard responsible for the death of Christy that everyone in Virginia City seemed to have missed. Okay so he was shot twice but the bullet just grazed his arm, nothing serious just hurt when he used it at first. Now it was much better, besides he was right handed, now if he were Little Joe maybe it would be a different story. It was the shot to the head though that was giving him his most concern, as well as his family, and at this moment his over protective father. While the damage to the surface was minimal he had been left with major migraines, some even causing his vision to be disturbed. While their number had decreased they still would pop up at the most inopportune times, like now when he really didn't want to have an argument with his father about his health. So Adam did the only mature thing he could with a splitting headache that could make the conversation end, he left. He was pretty sure that wasn't the response his father was expecting, especially with the stunned look on his face as he watched horse and rider gallop out of the yard. Adam didn't even know where he was going to start looking for Jed. It had been almost three weeks already and Adam knew the chances of ever finding him were pretty slim. He sighed in frustration and slowed Sport to a walk as he took in the meadow that he and Christy had raced through just a few weeks ago. Feeling the pounding in his skull start to increase he spotted a shady spot to lie down for awhile, within moments he was fast asleep. He wasn't sure what alerted him but he ever so slowly loosened his gun from its holster and quietly waited a moment to catch up with the world around him. The sight that greeted him though was surprising to say the least, who ever would have suspected Jed to be lying in wait for Adam to come out of the ranch house. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as he watched Jed aim his rifle and then he heard the loud sound of gunfire before the world went black.

"It was a good thing Pa sent Hoss and Joe after me that day, otherwise I would be resting beside you today. I don't think you would want that for me until my time came naturally. I guess I pushed myself too hard that day I would be dead if Little Joe wasn't such a great shot. Hoss told me he shot the rifle clear off his shoulder without causing a mortal wound. I suppose my little brother knew how much it meant that I be present for the last breath that bastard took. He's a good kid my brother. I know he thinks we don't get along or even sometimes that I hate him, but I don't, I love him. I guess it is just because I want so much for him that I put so much pressure on him. I think I am also a bit envious of the relationship he holds with our father and brother. Sometimes I just feel left out in this family, but I always know that I am loved. I'm sorry I wasn't by here sooner but saying goodbye to you has been very difficult for me. A piece of my heart and soul is forever missing. Until we meet again my love."

Thank you everyone for your patience with this series. It has been very difficult for me, as in the event of this last part I have lost many friends and family. It has been a giant hurdle of sorrow.

In loving Memory: Nana Wheezy, Grandma Pat, Aunt Sharon, Javier my dear sweet man, & Jamie my friend