Dying wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to a man.
Ask Jericho Cane.
He felt as though he’d traveled over six hundred miles of bad road and his soul was weary of the journey.
Jericho laid down the oily cleaning rag and began putting his Colt back together piece by piece until it was a lethal weapon again.
Wiping down the barrel, he pondered his need for vigilance and with that need, his close association with the devil.
Or so some claimed and it probably held more truth than not. A man who entered the world on Friday the thirteenth could expect to be more sinner than saint.
Small justification for his surly mood.
A sudden curse rent the stillness, bouncing off the walls inside the house at the edge of Genesis, Texas.
God must be having quite a laugh at his expense!
A genesis, a beginning? It was more like the end, a living death, a purgatory. Definitely not a start to anything good.
Nope, there was nothing funny about Genesis. Or his life.
Snapping the loaded cartridge wheel of the .45 shut, Jericho Cane laid it on the table and dropped his head. He’d seen the aftermath of Texas twisters and compared the chaos to his life. Once a strong, sturdy oak, now his roots had been ripped from the earth to lie naked and bruised.
The truth threatened to burst from him as though bullets from his Colt and scatter like seeds in the wind.
Damn the bastards!
They would destroy him without a flicker of remorse. And his enemies weren’t satisfied to riddle his security.
They wanted more.
But not before a fight.
The muscles in Cane’s jaw tightened as he glared at his surroundings. The cleaned and ready six shooter never far from reach. The worn leather holster hanging from the back of a wooden chair. He wouldn’t leave the house without them.
The loud tick of the clock crept toward noon. It was hours before night fell and he could go out.
The room seemed to shift and her face faded. He fought the sensation, but couldn’t stop the invasion of the past. He was a boy again and the worn out form of his mother lay on the bed.
He scuffed the toe of his worn-out boots in the dirt as he neared the front door. He was late and she was going to be mad, ‘cause he’d been fighting again. It wasn’t his fault, though. Darn that Billy Jenkins anyway, making fun of Mama that way.
He shoved open the door, his excuse practiced and ready. But she wasn’t in her usual chair by the window. “Mama?” The kitchen was empty; so was the backyard. Heading down the short, shabby hall, his steps slowed. Something was wrong. He eased open the door of her room. She lay all stretched out on the bed, wearing her Sunday dress and her best shoes. The blue bottle she always kept close was lying on the bed, the white liquid pouring into a puddle by her side.
“Mama!” He shook her, but she wouldn’t wake up. He ran to the neighbors. Mrs. Harrison would know what to do. But she didn’t. The old woman tried to send him for a doctor, but Jaret refused to leave. The doctor wasn’t going to come to their house when they had no money to pay him. Instead, he’d stayed by her side and fought for the life his mother no longer wanted.