(Last chapter! Very short.)
"I'm sorry about your daughter, Mr. Cratcher." Gil told the old man. They had arrived back at the blind man's ranch after gathering the herd and burying what was left of Jennie Cratcher's body. Several of the drovers had taken the rustlers prisoner and were taking them on ahead to the town that lay ahead of the drive.
Jed Cratcher shook his head sadly. His eyes were filled with tears as he spoke. "No, Mr. Favor. I'm sorry. I'm sorry because I knew Jennie hadn't been herself for a long time. It happened when her little sister died. Jennie just seemed to disintegrate." He shook his head again. "That wasn't my girl who died out there. My Jennie died with her sister."
Gil Favor mounted his horse and nodded to Rowdy and Pete, who sat on their horses next to him. Rowdy and Pete nodded back and rode off to where the herd was being held. Ramirez shifted uncomfortably beside Jed Cratcher. "Mr. Cratcher, I…I'd like to join Mr. Favor's drive. I mean, I can stay if you need me. If you-" Ramirez was cut off by the old man.
"I've been thinking about it a long time, Ramirez, and I want to move into town. I've got a sister there and I'm getting' old."
"But, Mr. Cratcher-"
"No 'buts', boy. I ain't completely crippled. I can take care of myself, you know." The old man smiled. "Now go on."
Ramirez smiled and thanked the blind man. Favor brought up an extra horse from the remuda that he'd been leading after Ramirez told him of his plans of joining the drive. They thanked Jed and rode off toward the herd.
"I never properly thanked you for savin' me, Ramirez." Favor told the young man. "So…thanks."
Ramirez smiled and they rode the rest of the way in silence. When they reached the herd, Ramirez took up his position on drag and Favor looked over the herd. They had only lost one steer in the stampede. The one that had been shot by a ricocheting bullet and caused the rest of the herd to stampede. The only injuries accounted for among the men was a sprained wrist that Pete had gotten when he dived out of the way of the stampeding cattle.
"Mushy! How many times have I told you to tie them barrels down better?!"
Yes sir, everything was back to normal.
"Head 'em up! Move 'em out!"
(A/N: Sorry it took so long to finish this story. Hope ya'll liked it!)
Thanks to AllTrekkedUp for your reviews and for encouraging me in my writing! ^.^
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