Shadow's Grasp - Parts 11 to 15

Author: MMW

Disclaimer: See index


A scream suddenly split the air
And four of the five were filled with fear
For the voice that cried was JD’s
So to him they quickly fleed

Fear reached out and clenched each heart
Causing ears to perk and eyes to dart
Seeking out the unknown foe
Seeking what they did not know

Almost as one the four arrived
And saw JD was horrified
Looking at the gruesome sight
They feared more Buck and Vin’s plight

But anger soon did take control
Of the leader and made him bold
His cold voice laced with fury’s note
Chris demanded, "Who’s this Goat?"

Josiah shivered but he knew
The time had come to tell tale true
Of when he was but JD’s age
And sought knowledge to be wise and sage

He told the tale of innocence lost
And swore if he had known the cost
He would have sought the Goat long ‘ere now
But he assumed that Crow had kept his vow

And killed the Goat when he had not
Brought Josiah nor had caught
The man that he’d been charged to kill
A thought that caused each soul to chill

For if a Goat was still alive
The crow was dead, yet evil thrived
And the others were tools in revenge
For each was known Josiah’s friend

With the tale done and words complete
With fear and anger they were replete
But knew a mission lay before
To rescue friends and be complete once more

"Bury them," did Chris command
As upon JD’s shoulder he laid a hand
"JD you can come with me,"
He ordered that JD would no more see

And the two made way back to camp
With Chris controlled and JD’s eyes damp
Upon reaching their resting place
Chris sat and turned to JD’s face

He spoke the truth in soothing tones
And though he worried to the bone
He did ease JD’s fears
As the others did appear

"‘The job is done," did Ezra state
As Chris acknowledged and looked to Nate
But the healer looked away
And Chris knew there was nothing to say

For it had been a nightmarish sight
Even in the shadows of coming night
But more than that, Nathan would know
The pain each felt before their life did go

Looking ‘round at faces grim
Josiah knew the cause was him
And vowed that he would make it right
And snatch his brothers from their plight

Ezra looked at each face
And could their depression easily trace
Taking things into his hands
And volunteered first watch to stand

But Chris ordered all to rest
So they might do what they did best
Each man the order did abide
Knowing ‘ere dawn, they would ride.


As night was born and darkness grew
The sky did fade to black from blue
The noise outside did increase
Disturbing the prisoner’s fragile peace

The hope they’d felt with ally gained
Left them now with worry’s strain
For noise of horse and cart did find
The way into their worried minds

And locking eyes did both men know
That they could not physically go
And execute the new-hatched plan
They’d have to go, not make a stand

Their strength was slowly coming back
But full health did they sorely lack
So for tonight against their will
Remaining calm, remaining still

For they could not let others know
That they had plans to up and go
Each man said a silent prayer
That the other five would meet them there

Before they came Vin whispered, "Buck,"
Write a message in the dirt and with luck
The others will find and read it."
He watched Buck write and complete it

Buck thought a moment of the note
He would write about the goat
And of what they did know
About the new place they would go

For thought they knew not very much
They could relay what she’d said and thus
Hopefully the five would find
Their wayward friends in nick of time

Just as Buck did finish writing
The door opened and they had a sighting
Of the twisted, black-cowled figure
Which in their souls did fear trigger

Whatever this vile creature was
Was from below and not above
They’d seen the bodies from before
And wished the safety of closed door

His sneering face did make them ill
And vow to never do his will
But burly guards did as bid
And the two their note kept safely hid

The two were bound both hand and foot
And then with blindfold their sight took
The evil minions for their master
And Buck and Vin then feared disaster

For what if their room was searched
And their secret message was unearthed
But their fear did calm and soothe
When past them their ally did move

Then Buck and Vin were lifted bodily
Using other senses since they could not see
They determined their whereabouts
And did their best to fight fear and doubt

As they were slung into the cart
And the people prepared to depart
And leave behind this refuge small
Taking everything all in all

Shifting in their new found jail
Vin searched for something to leave a trail
For he wanted only to leave a clue
For the other while their captors fool

Then he felt around beneath
And nearly sighed with relief
For he found the material that he sought
Straw he could leave as sign, tied in knot


As night was born upon the wings
Of Morpheus anxious to give dreams
The five saw the blood-red moon
That bespoke a coming doom

A chill did reach out to each soul
And all the five did long to know
Of who’s doom the moon bespoke
As on troubled seas their thoughts did float

The chill their fears did inspire
Would not be warmed by the fire
Of the kindling they gathered near
But by the return of their friends so dear

And as a coyote howled alone
It seemed that all their hope had flown
Along the winds of that mournful sound
That did echo all around

Josiah searched for words to comfort
And into the tense silence insert
A touch of hope, a touch of peace
That they would be once more complete

But words did fail that learned man
And in despair he did stand
And make to wander in the night
Until he could find the light

But JD did speak at last
And to his words they all held fast
For the man spoke of destiny
And that their faith would be the key

To returning the wayward to their ring
And together the defeat to bring
To the foe unwillingly known
And stopping him cold as a stone

For Buck and Vin would rely
On their friends to come and try
To deliver them from their gruesome fate
Before they found it was too late

With their purpose reaffirmed
While their fire crackled and burned
Each man surveyed the other’s face
And felt a calming of divine grace

Knowing that they were in the right
And had only to wait the night
Before setting out anew
And doing what they had to do

To bring down this evil thing
And let him feel the Seven’s sting
For together with Buck and Vin
The Magnificent Seven were sure to win

Then the coyote howled once more
And the sound did crack the door
Of the fear they’d lately left
But it could not leave them of hope bereft

Still each man did realize
That the one and true prize
Was not defeat of evil’s plot
But their friend’s souls intact not bought

For when each man did close his eyes
One scene over did they espy
The sight of the bodies from the clearing
With darkness’ message ever nearing

This madman that their friends did hold
Was as insane as he was bold
And the message he did leave
Was one each man had received

This bedlamite had made it clear
For their lives and souls each man should fear
For Goat did carry all darkness’ power
And was gaining more with each passing hour.


Buck did sigh and turn to Vin
As the Tracker did bump him again
It was then he saw pain’s frozen mask
And cursed that gagged that he couldn’t ask

What had pained his younger brother
And caused Vin to grunt and mutter
But a moment later he saw a sight
Mad more ghastly by moon’s light

Around the bonds at his hands
The sight of blood did clearly stand
Against the pale glow of flesh
Until it did with cloth mesh

But though bloody and causing pain
He watched Vin’s movements and did strain
To understand what Vin did do
And marveled as he saw the clue

That Vin had so well created
That their friends might be aided
In tracking them to their new jail
That they might succeed where others did fail

Raising head and looking ‘round
Buck saw the straw fall to the ground
The looked up and cursed the sight
Of clouds covering the moon’s light

For rain they did not need now
Since with it he did not see how
The straw trail would not wash away
And no more be visible in the day

And closing eyes he said a prayer
That the rains would hold ‘til the five got where
They could rescue Buck and Vin
And let the Seven be whole again

Then glancing ‘round at least once more
He wondered what was held in store
For the soul he saw behind
Praying to them fate would be more kind

The echoes of the earlier cries
Did his mind compromise
And reveal that this tortured soul
Was suffering a fate they might soon know

And chill of darkness raced along
The spine and did terror spawn
For Buck had seen what man could do
When there was no one to answer to

Feeling the awful hand of despair
He knew that evil ne’er fought fair
And he and Vin would have to fight
To overcome their fancy’s flight

And not give in to terror’s grasp
For if they were true they’d win at last
And buy their freedom from this thing
And ensure it felt righteousness’ sting

Then his eye fell on their friend
And knew they’d have to see to end
Whatever nightmare they were living
For Buck’s heart was ever giving

And the thought that this one
Would ne’er again see her son
Did not sit well in his heart
And he knew they’d have to play their part

And stay alive ‘til truth laid bare
The location of the dark thing’s lair
Where he held her little boy
That with her soul he might toy

And drag her into evil’s way
And not allow her chance to say
That she did not desire
To live within Satan’s fire


‘Ere gray of dawn did five arise
To find the trail and seek the prize
Josiah cloaked in silence grave
Did long his younger friends to save

And Chris with Vengeance’s sword prepared
Watched silently with diligence and care
While Ezra with quiet wrath did rise
His swirling emotions unmasked in his eyes

And JD with nervous energy ran
Feeling more like a boy than a capable man
Nathan watched all with silent concern
Wondering what lesson they were to learn

Of evil, injustice and worry he knew
For he above all knew what man could do
When he was given unlimited power
And so Nathan’s dread grew with each hour

But along with his dread grew his resolve
And a peace filled his soul as his plans did evolve
Arising and gathering all his things near
A calm claimed his heart as all became clear

Emotions and anger would garner them naught
Instead they would need dispassionate thought
Supported by love of brotherhood’s bond
To overcome Goat before another night dawned

A battle, he knew, was stirring the air
And they could not control the who what or where
But the when of the battle belonged solely to them
And with day on their side, they’d put to an end

The strain of not knowing the fate of their own
And the dark terror of Goat that others had known
With a final check of his bags and a quick eye around
Nathan soon felt a smile turning his frown

Together, he knew, they’d overcome those
Who set themselves up as enemies and foes
With a nod to the leader and a wink to JD
He glanced at the horizon to see what he’d see

“We ride now,” he started, locking eyes with each man
“And we find them, release them, and then make our stand.”
The others, enheartened, all did agree
And mounting, their campsite soon they did flee

With knowledge that they could all overcome
With wit, with knowledge, with knife and with gun
They soon settled on a challenging pace
The sooner to see Buck and Vin face to face

Each man felt Nathan’s confidence grow
Within their hearts and minds as they rode
For terror and fear just could not survive
Where love and where brotherhood did live and thrive

The finger of doubt still did its work
And in each mind leave a vague aching hurt
But in the growing light of day’s brilliant window
It was hard to remember the fear of night’s shadow

And as JD led them through trails anew
They’d rode but an hour when the five drew
To the center of a small building group
Dismounted and through each building did troop

A crow sounded out from Ezra’s throat
And the others flew thence fearing the Goat
Had acted his evil upon their dear friends
And that lingering fear did speed to their feet lend

And bursting upon the red-coated con
Each man re-holstered the gun they had drawn
“A message,” said the man usually verbose
As he waved in the direction of the hastily scrawled note

Each man quickly read the dust-written missive
And considered the information it did give
Beneath Buck’s quick note was one from another
Which each to look from brother to brother

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Email: MMW