The rest of the night we all sat in the most uncomfortable silences I had ever been apart of. It was exactly what I did not need right now, to be left alone with my thoughts…my ideas. Even Steve wasn't talking much. Just spitting that damn tobacco. It seemed everyone was slightly anxious. They could feel the amount of discourse and confusion in the air.
All I could do was inwardly fume. I wanted to run out into the desert and crawl up into a pathetic ball. All of this time I thought I was filled with bitterness and hatred towards everything, but I was wrong. That was only a small taste of how I feel now. I am emotionless. I am dead to those around me. I felt so betrayed and infuriated, it's like my body overloaded. I think in those moments when I was sitting around the campfire, my emotions became so intense that my body just shut them off.
This maddening idea fueled me and gave way to far more darkening contraptions. I felt like the most selfish of God's creations and I embraced it. Nothing I do will kindle the heart of another. I felt like living only for myself.
When this ends and Brady is dead, I will part with the others and live my secluded pathetic life as a murderer. Hopefully one day the law will hunt me down and kill me.
"Your actin' awfully quiet, Molly." Charley said absentmindedly.
As my villainous inner monologue suddenly ceased, I felt every eye turn on me, that is, except Chavez. He was staring deep into the campfire, just as I had been.
My dark thoughts were absurd and fueled by an anger I didn't know how to deal with. All I could was be angry. Because thinking was being as it always is for me, far too complicated, and yet I still thought. My damn mind worked around me, tearing my self esteem to bits.
If I was to be honest to myself, then I needed to admit that I really miss Doc right now. I need someone to talk to. Goddamn that stupid Asian woman.
Eventually the silence broke with a crude joke or two and Billy, Steve, and Charley were back to normal. If only they could see the strong grip Billy had on them.
My entire body was numb. The apathy I was feeling worried me to no end, but I embraced it anyway. I felt downcast within the deepest chasms of my mind, but it's what I'm used to doing. Pondering over and over again what to do. The longer I sat and thought. The longer I realized how uncomfortable I was here. I realized how out of place I truly felt now.
Chavez didn't want me. It was obvious now, and I wish I had truly realized it long ago. So I wouldn't have foolishly pulled my own heart strings. Intense hatred burned in my veins.
My fingers absentmindedly played with my knife. It gave my fingers something to do. The dirt rustled around my boots, as I threw my hat on the ground rummaging my fingers through my short hair, like I usually do when I'm stressed and thinking.
Charlie's words rang in my head like a bell in an empty cathedral.
I am quiet. For the first time in my life, I think I will be quiet. Another crazy idea entered my head, an urge more like it.
Everything seemed pointless. I was maddened by what had happened to Tunstall and I felt every fiber in my being calling out to kill those Irishman. But I knew I couldn't do it here, not with them. Not with Chavez distracting me because of my damn feminine emotions. Really, I had always been alienated from them all. Chavez, Tunstall, and Doc were my only real connections. Tunstall was dead. Doc was in love and probably running of with that Asian woman and Chavez…Chavez would be leaving to California. I angrily convinced myself that I wouldn't want to go to God damn California even if that son of a bitch invited me, I'd rather stay in the mountains or on the plains. A sharp pain went to my chest as I thought of him. No, Molly, you've got to stop. Don't think about him. You can't cry here. You can't cry in front of them. I was right for once, I couldn't think about that now. The time for tears would come later, but how much longer would later be? I don't think I could stay here much longer. What to do….
I exasperated every option in my brain for what seemed like hours until I came towards an odd conclusion. Setting Sun. I could just leave here and run away towards the mountains where his reservation was. I could learn about my people. My purpose. Somehow I would make it up to Tunstall. I'd kill every damn bandit I saw on the way there. Tunstall would approve of that. I could make him proud that way. I could take up bounties to make money. Go by another name. Murderous Molly did have certain ring to it. I could leave all of this madness behind and start anew. Find a new place to belong, since I wasn't wanted here save for my skills with a rifle and pistol, which isn't really the worth of a human life. And I certainly didn't want to die after having barely lived much of one. God damn, I'm so miserable here.
I glanced up, gazing at each of their faces. Chavez had walked off into the darkness somewhere, but Billy and the others were staring into the campfire. The fire lit their faces. I could tell that Charley and Steve were terrified, but Billy looked madly eager. I didn't care about them. Not really. Not enough to die for them. Chavez and Doc perhaps, but Doc had left...and Chavez would probably leave in the night of to damn California. They wouldn't miss me too much, just my gun. I thought of my alternative again, my invitation.
Setting Sun, hopefully he wouldn't enforce a ridiculous marriage on me. That moron would take me in. Besides, something about a man who shows such kindness to someone he doesn't know at all is intriguing. If his people taught him that….if my people taught him that. Then, maybe there was something to Chavez's madness. I needed to find my own path. And my path wasn't here any longer. God, that sharp pain again. Behind all of my thoughts I heard myself screaming in the background, but I kept pushing it aside.
Suddenly, I stood up from the fireside, completely resolute in my actions. Billy jumped and pulled his gun on me.
"Shit, girl don't scare me like that."
I stared at him for a moment and then sat back down. He watched me as I looked back at him. That kid was a sharp as an icicle. Instantly, he could tell I needed to talk to him. So, he rather publicly announced that he needed to relieve himself and left. After a moment I followed.
I grabbed his arm and looked him square in the eye. "You're not going to like this."
"Shit. I knew it." You'd think he'd accidentally found out about his surprise birthday party.
I explained, "I've got to go."
"Man, don't give me that bullshit, Molly. You want Murphy dead just as badly as I do." He said exasperatingly.
"More than you do." I looked at the ground unable to meet his gaze.
"Don't leave just because of Chavez." Even Billy wasn't as blind and stupid as he appeared to be. It was all apart of his grand façade, I suppose, and made him all the more dangerous.
I let out a deep sigh at his remark.
"I'll die if I stay here."
"We'll probably all die, Molly." He said with his devious grin.
"My death will be worse…" He couldn't understand what I meant. I saw it in his confused blue eyes.
"Stop being so selfish, Molly. For Christ's sakes we need you!"
"Yeah, you do and I won't be able to do anything."
Billy glanced over at Chavez.
"Molly, please stay." He said. He had manipulated Chavez to stay, and that had made me so angry. Yet, here I was trying to convince him to let me do the same without him pitching a fit. I reach new lows everyday.
"I'll be a burden and a distraction."
He didn't look pleased, but he would have to accept this even if he couldn't understand it right now.
"Alright. But where are you going?"
I couldn't believe that Billy was seeing slight reason. My shocked face, made him immediately remark on it.
"Now, don't look at me like that. I reckon the idea of you not being killed isn't so bad." He gave me that infamous grin.
"Write me when this is over with. Tell me what happened and then give me a place where I can write you. That way if you ever do need me, I'll only be a letter away. But if he is there, don't tell me to come."
He nodded and I gave him instructions and a name of the town nearest to the reservation Setting Sun lived.
"When are you leaving?"
"I'll wait until everyone is asleep. That way it won't cause much of a ruckus from the boys."
This is the only way. I have to remember this is the only logical thing to do. I have to separate myself from that which will cause me pain, knowing that Chavez would have left me to go and find a nice Indian woman to settle down with and start a god damn tribe, it would have crushed me if I had sat there and watched it happen. I owe it to Tunstall to kill Brady, but I'm already positive that Billy will do it for me.
I knew that later I'd feel horrible for leaving without saying goodbye, but my mind was too numb to comprehend the consequences. In the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping, I rose and called to Hurricane.
She was jumpy because a full moon was out. For some reason it always made her hyperactive, she became sensitive with the slightest touch. I was frightened she would be noisy as we left. Gently, I rubbed her nose and whispered in her ear to keep her calm. Then, I got that eerie feeling on the back of my neck. The feeling you get when you know someone is watching you.
No. It couldn't be.
"I hope this makes you happy." Chavez said behind me.
What an ass. Of course he'd want me to be happy, that way he wouldn't have to feel guilty once he found his stupid Indian squaw.
Here is your chance, Molly. This is your moment to be cruel and stick him with the worst of your words. To leave him feeling guilty and hurt as you leave.
"What you want means nothing to me." I turned slightly to look at him, hoping my words had pierced deeply. But in the end, as I turned to see his face unmoved in the slightest by my words, I realized I was only hurting myself. I was the only one who felt the dagger, he was just a vacant spectator.
I saddled Hurricane and looked at him once more.
That buffalo skin was still hanging around him. The light from the moon etched pale shadows across his dark features. His beauty stung even more as I gazed in that half second. What hurt was knowing he didn't think or feel the same. Knowing, when he looked at me he saw a friend he knew he shouldn't be around. Someone he did care for, but knew he didn't want to. That hurt more than anything else, I think. I knew somewhere inside of him he desired me, but he didn't want to. That only infuriated me.
Then, I noticed his eyes. I saw through his lie. In those dark coals I was too scared to look at for ages, I saw something horribly familiar. Rage. And it was directed right at me. Rage and utter disappointment. His words seemed like a gentle whisper compared to the screams coming from his eyes. I'd seen him give that stare to countless people before, but never this. Never to me. Never this intensity.
Now, I understood. Really, he was disgusted that I was leaving. In his head, he was right. He was absolute. I was wrong. I needed to deal with it. I needed to deal with my pain. I needed to put my feelings aside and think of everyone else. I wasn't strong enough. I wasn't good enough. I just wasn't enough for him. Considering I was too much for myself, I don't see how I could be anymore for him.
I could practically hear his stern chastisement.
It's amazing how many thoughts can go through your head in half a second.
Because I was gone in a flash. Riding as far away from everyone as I possibly could. The wind beating around my face. Hurricane's rough breaths beneath me. The bitter tears flowing. She was ecstatic with the thrill of running so fast. Good. I hope she runs us off of a cliff.
And for a year, that was the last I saw of Jose Chavez y Chavez.