A Favor

Copyright © 2015 Chris Schnaufer
The sun was reaching Noon when Jethro rode into town dragging a wooden frame that supported Jake. Reaching a house he stopped, walked up to the door, and knocked.

He waited, and knocked again.

“In know you’re in there Mayor,” he called. “Open up this door.” He knocked again.

The Mayor opened the door and stood there.

“Hello there Mr. Mayor,” said Jethro taking off his hat. “I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Hello Rev.,” answered the Mayor.

The sun was reaching Noon when Jethro rode into town dragging a wooden frame that supported Jake. Reaching a house he stopped, walked up to the door, and knocked.

He waited, and knocked again.

“In know you’re in there Mayor,” he called. “Open up this door.” He knocked again.

The Mayor opened the door and stood there.

“Hello there Mr. Mayor,” said Jethro taking off his hat. “I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Hello Rev.,” answered the Mayor.

Jethro waited.

“What can I do for you?” the Mayor finally asked.

“Well Jake here got injured last night and I need you to tend to him.

He got hit in the head pretty hard but we’ve got him bandaged up pretty good. I think he’ll make it though I don’t know if he’ll ever be the same again.”

The Mayor stared at Jake and finally said “Bring him in. Johnny, help the Reverend get his man inside.”

“Johnny’s my son,” he explained to Jethro.

A young man of about seventeen years came out. Between the three of them they were able to get Jake inside the house and onto a cot. Jethro then explained to the Mayor, his wife, and his son on how to treat the head wound.

On the way out the Mayor asked, “Where’s the rest of your men?”

“They went ahead,” explained Jethro. “I’m sure I’ll see them again someday, but not right now.”

If the Mayor was mystified by this strange response, he gave no indication.

Jethro got onto his horse and left the town behind.

Later that day the Mayor heard a pounding on his door. Recognizing the voice as one of his constituents he answered the door. A horse belonging to one of the Reverend’s men was found wandering about the town. None of the other horses were around, nor were any of the men.

A few days later people reported to the Mayor that they heard noises coming from the house on the hill. Armed with pistols, rifles, and whatever they could get their hands on, the Mayor and town’s men fearfully went up to the house. They found nothing until they entered the courtyard.

All of the Reverend’s remaining men were still sitting around, slumped over in death, with the uneaten food on their plates. The sun had burned them where it had touched, but otherwise they were unharmed by beasts or birds.

It took some doing, but the next day the Mayor got a crew together that buried the men. That same week Jake died from his wounds and was buried in the church graveyard next to the other men.

The Reverend Jethro was never seen again.

The town was completely abandoned soon after Jake died.

The house on the hill slowly fell into ruin as the leaves from the trees continued to fall into the dry, cracked fountain.

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