Shadow's Grasp - Parts 16 to 20

Author: MMW

Disclaimer: See index


And while dawn awoke the five on the trail
The two found themselves bound to a rail
They were held captive in a clearing to see
The fate that awaited and what it would be

For Goat had discovered Vin’s knotted straw
And smiled evilly at them but laid down no law
Just ordered them tied to a post to view
The “punishment” both graphic and cruel

Of the soul he’d been torturing the day before
When Buck and Vin had been behind closed door
For the fear and terror it would inspire
Would reveal in what the two were now mired

And the horror that would dance in their eyes
Would let Goat rejoice and promise the lie
That they would freedom once more enjoy
If for Goat’s pleasure their talents employ

He’d play just a game to see how far they’d go
To win both their freedom and how fast or how slow
The truth would then dawn on their pain-clouded minds
And realize that with Goat they’d be three of a kind

For games such as these amused the dark soul
But the gleeful joy that he felt he did carefully stow
For now was the time he needed to reserve
So his darker desires he could then serve

His eye then caught the form of the fair Millicent
A woman unparalleled whom he found magnificent
His work on her to make her his bride
Would cause most people to run and hide

But Millicent worked for fear of her son
Not knowing what he had already done
And what he had not to that young soul
But it was for him, alone to know

As for the boy, he was happy, content
And for his care much money was spent
For he was watched day and night by one wizened crone
Who was pleasant enough, but had a heart of stone

The only thing wanted was his mother beside
But as to her whereabouts he was told lies
He thought her away on a grand tour
But knew she’d return in a few days more


As they watched their souls did weep
As from their eyes their tears did seep
For the man whom Goat did whip
As from him his battered soul did slip

Inhuman though his actions were
No pity in Goat’s heart did stir
For the creature crying out
For pleas with Goat held no clout

And Vin and Buck were forced to view
The horrid sight from morning dew
Until the sun stood overhead
And they prayed the man would soon be dead

For the torture didn’t end
And the two wished for their friends
As Goat began a torture new
Causing them to despair anew

How much pain could one man take
And what deal could they make
To stop the suffering of the man
Who cried for mercy once again

But Goat just laughed, an evil sound
That seeped from Hell and wandered ‘round
The clearing then stole all light
And left in its wake the hand of fright

For fear did steal ‘way their breath
And let them feel the wisp of death
That lived close by Goat’s own soul
And lent his eye an insane glow

They watched the twisted, evil thing
And the pain that he did bring
And desired this thing’s quick demise
For him did their very souls despise

With break for lunch he did taunt
Buck and Vin and then did flaunt
His expertise with knife and club
As the two prayed to the powers above

Then breaking from his victim again
To Buck and Vin a glare did he send
And then a taunt and whispered lies
Did his sickened mind soon devise

Creeping up to increase their fear
He whispered black hope in their ears
Promising them freedom each
If they allowed him his ways to teach

Then he would let them practice on
The tortured soul ‘til he was done
And if they both did well indeed
Then both of them would be freed

But through Goats plan did both men see
And knew like him they would never be
For first would be the pain wracked man
Then each other would fit the plan

But Buck and Vin were not naive
And would not Goat’s desire relieve
To see the friends turn on each other
For their bond was that of closest brothers

Though neither man wanted to see
What Goat’s punishment would be
They would not fall in with Goats plan
And chose to make a moral stand

But Goat’s quick consuming rage
Was supplanted by this evil sage
And though he’d mourn her, yet he’d use
Millicent to get the two to each other abuse.

Know the men would not permit
The senseless beating of Millicent
He would sacrifice his queen
Knowing the ends justified the means


Two hours lacked dusk when finally
The poor tortured man’s soul did quietly flee
And Goat made order to move again
For he feared the approach of Buck and Vin’s friends

In all of the time he’d had to prepare
He had become increasingly aware
Of the need to meet Josiah first
Upon the comfort of home turf

And to get there they needed to pack up and go
Before Josiah and his friends decided to show
And with haste and efficiency all was soon packed
And the two captives were in the wagon’s back

All they’d received for a day in the sun
Had been two swallows of water – one for each one
Dehydrated and hungry they fought off exhaustion
But could not and sleep they soon were lost in

And with afternoon light the wagon did rumble
Causing the men to jostle and tumble
Oblivious to all that went on around
As they were dragged on over rough ground

Goat he did flee for his stronghold secure
Oblivious to the trials and dangers that were
Awaiting ahead in the clearing he claimed
Unaware that his evil soon would be tamed

For with a note of her own had Millicent left
Hope for five men who’d been hope bereft
And left them a message to meet them at last
At Goats target goal where she’d been in the past

Though her son was not held as a captive there
She couldn’t allow the two with whom she shared
A hope of salvation to pay the high price
And suffer the torment of one of Goat’s rites

So taking a chance she had left them a map
And encouraged them to go there just like that
And await the arrival of Goat and the three
Who were depending on them to set them all free

For now Millicent could only hope
That the five would arrive and defeat Goat
But not a moment before he revealed the spot
He held captive her son then he could rot

At the moment she worried for her friends new
Who needed water though there was nothing to do
Until she could speak with Goat and make plea
For food and for water that more lively they’d be

For Goat loved a challenge and loved cries of pain
And with each she witnessed the woman felt stained
By the dark nightmarish thing that controlled her son’s fate
And rejoiced in reminding her of her low place

Meanwhile on the trail pushing the pace
Five men still rode hard, set grimly each face
For though they knew not the fate of their own
They would never abandon the two all alone

Buck’s note and a map that led to a place
They’d reach before Goat but just by God’s grace
To release their brothers from captivity’s plight
And draw them back in to their family’s light

And make the Goat pay for all his misdeeds
And for his vile useless live to beg and to plead
But mercy would be in the form of a trial
For murder and kidnapping and also sins vile

For Travis would try him and find him guilty
And then a public hanging is all that would be
Awaiting this thing, this procurer of hate
And finally the five’s revenge it would sate

But first the need that drove them along
Sent worry and fear as their blood’s song
And into the night they rode o’re land and o’re stream
Fighting the panic that in their minds screamed


As wagon rolled along the dark road
The shadows and moonlight masked all the holes
Which on this night the wheels seemed to find
With regularity at indifferent times

And as they all made way through the night
The wagon was last in the line to the right
On the left rode the Goat keeping an eye
On each of the forms until he did spy

A slip on the horse that Millicent rode
And with a quick motion his mount did he goad
Into moving ahead to ride by her side
And offer his services her horse to guide

Exhausted and sickened Buck jostled and groaned
As they hit another rut, he let out a moan
For his arms were stiff from being tied
And the lack of food and water left him empy inside

But it was glancing over to check on his friend
That he gaped in horror as o’er wagon’s end
The unconscious form of Vin fin’ly fell
And had he the voice he’d let out a yell

But parched as he was, he could not call out
Not with a whisper and not with a shout
As into the shadows Vin’s form was swallowed
In Buck’s large heart a small space did hollow

For fear for his friend did consume his whole being
As Vin didn’t move, didn’t run wasn’t fleeing.
The form of the Tracker just lay where he fell
And Buck knew right then that all was not well

Though they’d been beaten and battered and bruised
They had made a decision and then each did choose
To stick to the high-road they walked along
Because in the darkness they did not belong

Wracking his brain, he tried to find what
Had caused Vin to suffer a little too much
And recalled the cuts around the man’s wrists
Which just before leaving the Goat said he’d fix

And pulling a jar from in his dark cloak
He applied ointment in a thick coat
To the bloody abrasion on both Vin’s wrists
And not too long after Vin had been sick

After that came their swallow of water to still
Their empty stomachs, but help break their will
By off’ring a taste of what they needed most
A substance controlled only by Goat

But whatever was in that ointment did take
The fight from the Texan and in Buck did make
A worry anew for the health of his friend
And a prayer that one way or another this thing would end

But now as he watched his friend disappear
His heart was seized by a new fear
For himself he expected lashes that cut to the bone
But now, sick and hurting, Vin was alone

Another hole jostled Buck to the side
Of the wagon where he wished he could hide
But such a peace was not to be his
For now he had much more reason to live

For he alone knew the location of one
Who could track like no other and fire a gun
With precision not seen in most of the land
A man always willing with friends to stand

But too weak to rescue his friend fallen off
He prayed things would once more be as they ought
And the others would find him and free him real’ soon
And snatch vict’ry from the clutches of doom

As consciousness faded from the eyes blue
Buck knew in his heart, his friends would hold true
And time was drawing the ending quite near
And things were not as hopeless as they did appear


Into the clearing with tumbled shack
Rode five men to win their friends back
And put an end to the twisted thing
That seemed only to darkness bring

And though they worked by light of moon
And were exhausted their sense of doom
Did abate as they moved to action
Knowing soon they’d have satisfaction

For they’d free their friends taken ‘way
And make sure that Goat did painfully pay
For all his sins both small and gross
Before in Hell Goat did roast

With Chris leading from the ground
He placed the men where eas’ly found
Except for Josiah who did stay
And held Chris’ anger at bay

When he explained that he must meet
Goat face to face the man to defeat
For the cause of his friends’ pain
Was on Josiah’s soul a stain

And it’s relief did he desire
A sentiment Chris did admire
And bowing to Josiah’s need
He hid away with grace and speed

And waited with his brothers four
Knowing that soon they would be more
And once more be made complete
Their circle whole, their souls replete

But waiting was not easily done
As each man fingered their waiting guns
Wishing that the time would pass
And bring them Buck and Vin at last

But what none of them could know
Was that when the Goat did show
Of their friends they’d find just one
And their nightmare would not be done

For Millicent did bear the word
Of Vin and Buck as she had heard
To rescue her only son from Goat
That once more on him might she dote

But before they would rescue the boy
And Vin’s tracking skills employ
They would need to recover him
And locate the now lost Vin

But as the five did wait for Goat
A flunky shouted with a note
Of well-earned panic in his voice
When to alert Goat he had no choice

For he realized his burden lightened
And with no trace he cowered, frightened
For he knew of goat’s harsh wrath
And the painful way of death’s path

But one of the two coveted victims
Who had withstood Goat’s initial whims
Had disappeared from the cart
And needed recovery to play his part

Goat’s displeasure did erupt
And with a knife the driver did gut
But Buck he could not arouse
For the drug did Buck’s mind cloud

With curses loud and curses vile
Goat thought back o’er the miles
And the state of the lost man
And a smile displayed once again

For he knew the man would die
There was no hope of survival’s lie
For ‘tween drugs and lack of water
In a short time he’d be coyote fodder

Back to Parts 11 to 15 | Back to Shadow's Grasp Index | Forward to Parts 21 to 25

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