Shadow's Grasp - Parts 41 to 45

Author: MMW

Disclaimer: See index


Out at the barn did Nathan's throw
Go to where it had to go
And cut the rope to the door
Which slammed against the earthen floor

Then with a speed lightening quick
The two ran down and then they split
Each man to secure a half
And cut off the escape path

Of the servants of the man
Who was the target of their plan
They'd place all these under arrest
Until they figured what was best

For to walk them all to town
Was a thought that made Chris frown
For the seven were but five
No mater how Buck and Vin did strive

To convince them all that they were fine
And needed not the healing time
But the rest knew that wasn't true
And their riding wouldn't do

So calling Nathan to consult
Chris explained his current thought.
They would ask Millicent
Who was here when she went

And who was new to work the day
For those they'd have to send away
And bring just those who had done
The Goat's bidding and had fun

For Evil must be purged complete
For Good to reclaim proper seat
And like a wound filled with pus
Removing the minions was a must

For just one with Evil's taint
Could with their corruption the landscape paint
And reign more awfully than right now
Though Chris could not imagine how

So setting Nathan to stand guard
Chris then sprinted 'cross the yard
To check on Buck and on JD
How they were doing for to see

But as he ran toward the home
A sight shook him to the bone
For a ways just up ahead
He had caught a flash of red

But the red was on the ground
And Chris looked caref'ly all around
But not seeing any threat
Went to see the fate Ezra had met

And cautiously he moved beside
The man whom leaves did almost hide
And found him breathing and alive
Though his state just didn't jive

And glancing 'round once more again
Chris could not find a foe or friend
Though he saw into the shack
And recognized Josiah's back

But he had no time to wonder
As he slid his hand under
Ezra's shoulders to move him 'way
Far from the field of play

Once they were in a safe place
Chris did tap on Ezra's face
And try to rouse the Southern man
Who reached and swatted Chris' hand

And then did eyes of emerald green
Did with annoyance brightly gleam
But 'e're either could speak a word
The sound of firing gun was heard


After calling out the sign
JD ran in behind
The already charging Buck
Hoping they would not get stuck

And caught in cross-fire live and hot
For JD was ready but Buck was not
For the man had stood and swayed
Even after resting most of the day

So JD went to cover his back
And prayed it didn't come to that
But as he stepped inside the home
He saw something he'd never known

In the mirror's image shone
A stooped and aged, wizened crone
Approaching close the woman and child
With a knife and look quite wild

Buck was laying on the floor
Having passed out just before
JD had entered to the room
And saw Millie's coming doom

In shock he stood and watched the move
But soon his mettle he would prove
For the thought of not fighting back
Was one the Easterner did lack

And moving quickly 'cross the way
JD opened his mouth to say
A warning to Buck's new found friend
A warning about her coming end

But 'e're he could the warning voice
The crone turned and stole his choice
By utt'ring a curse most foul
And said a rescue she'd not allow

But JD said Oh yes she would
If she knew what was good
But the crone came ever near'
Causing JD to slightly fear

For shooting a woman at close range
Was something that brought back the pain
Of the accident with Ann
And this wasn't in the plan

But lifting gun and praying hard
He knew he could only play one card
And told her then to drop the knife
If indeed she liked her life

But the crone did laugh again
And asked, "Who'd kill me, your unwell friend?"
And with a twist and with a lunge
Did JD's life try hard to expunge

But as she moved in for the kill
A shot was fired then all was still
As she fell with widened eyes
She stopped breathing then she died

And turning 'round saw Buck in pain
But consciousness he had regained
And JD rushed o'er to his side
His worry writ large in his eyes.

Buck read eas'ly his concern
But had not extra words to burn
So smiled upward at his friend
And then fell asleep again

And as JD went to get him help
He stopped dead and let out a yelp
For in the door stood ready Chris
With gun pulled out, not at his hip.

"What happened?" came the curt demand
As in his place JD did stand
And begin then to recite
A brief rehearsal of the fight


In the cabin face to face
Did Josiah and Goat find the place
Where they would fin'ly have it out
And one would win without a doubt

For though he worked the side of right
Josiah would not lose this fight
And he would ensure Goat did die
And didn't try to reason why

Though norm'ly he would arrest
And allow the Judge to try and test
In this case he would not bend
For his own nightmare he had to end

So setting 'side his moral code
He turned to walk down Vengeance' road
And slay the nightmare from his past
And be released from shadow's grasp

But Goat did chuckle, quite insane
As he was consumed by Satan's flame
And with a knife both long and sharp
Did seek to cut out Josiah's heart

And as he lunched to reach his goal
With a frenzy only madmen know
Josiah reached to stop the fiend
Who had more strength than Josiah 'd dreamed

And to the fight he lent his strength
And the two did struggle quite at length
With neither gaining upper hand
As nose to nose the two did stand

With deadly point of the blade
Seeking where it might be laid
To rest in one heart or the other
In the madman or in another

With grunts of effort each man strove
Not to be the one that the blade chose
But neither seemed to overcome
The strength of the other one

And slipping foot Josiah had
And prayed it would not hurt too bad
But through the door he slipped and fell
And brought Goat out with him as well

The blade it flew out from their hands
And both men saw where it did land
And raced toward it to retrieve
The deadly weapon from the leaves

But both did reach at the same time
Both men claiming "it is mine"
But with two hands each struggling claim
Neither man's the blade did remain

But as they struggled and punches threw
Goat figured out what he could do
And moving 'round Josiah's side
His true intent the Goat did hide

And as he reached out behind
Josiah knew not what was in Goat's mind
Until a rock came crashing down
Upon Josiah's graying crown

And sent him to the forest floor
Causing him to lose the knife once more
But the knife did Goat regain
And seek to cause Josiah pain

But as he prepared the knife to plunge
There was the sound of firing gun
And then the sight of flowing blood
That showered Josiah from above

And Goat's life did fin'ly flee
As Josiah turned to see
From where had the bullet come
And he saw Ezra was the one


With panicked tread did Chris fly
And shoot a prayer up toward the sky
And asked that all would be quite safe
And that he wouldn't be too late

To save his friend and keep them whole
He said all the prayers he did know
And closed his eyes in relief
When healthy men his eyes did greet

And finding out the end had come
He stowed once more his trusty gun
And said that at the house they'd meet
To ensure this mission was complete

With nods that they both understood
They assured Chris that they both were good
And needed not his aid to stand
But that he should continue as they'd planned

So with a nod Chris headed off
Leaving with a tread quite soft
Ez and Josiah watched him go
As both with triumph almost glowed

And Ezra asked if Goat was done
Josiah glanced up at the sun
And smiled saying yes indeed
As from shadow's grasp he was fin'ly freed

And walking over to collect
The corpse that they'd worked hard to get
He dragged Goat by his booted feet
As to the house they went to meet

Chris then headed Nathan's way
For he had a lot to say
And fill in Nathan on events
That saw the release of Millicent

Then drawing gun, just once again
He nodded toward his loyal friend
And the two did lift the door
To let light in the barn once more

And found they faced a group of folk
Bowed beneath a heavy yolk
As they quickly did explain
The ending of the Goat's dark reign

And all the people cried and cheered
For they'd been released from their fears
That Goat would torture them anew
And order them awful things to do

For none had served out of heart's desire
But in their fears they had been mired
And now once freed could walk away
And live in freedom day to day

With thanks they rushed up to the men
To shake their hands again and again
And wish them well and offer thanks
As into their minds the knowledge sank

Chris and Nathan were overawed
As their greatness the people did laud
And ask if they could meet the rest
Of the men who'd come out best

So to the house they all did tread
And espy the Goat was dead
And the people cheered aloud
As they stood and formed a noisy crowd

As he stood to say his words
Chris heard the sound of a familiar bird
And looked over toward a tree
And a person he did see

For Vin had come to back them true
Though he wasn't supposed to do
Anything but stay and sleep
But always did their backs he keep


When Nathan spotted Vin aside
He went over with long stride
And scolded the injured long-haired man
For trying to do too much again

But Vin knew he understood
And knew the others also would
For though each man had played their part
They were ever seven in their hearts

So as the two came back to stand
On the porch they were giv'n a hand
And Chris did fin'ly quiet down
The cheering and the clapping sound

He told the people to go home
But not to walk the roads alone
And those who wanted to come their way
Could head out early the next day

For the sun had just set
And they had cleanup to do yet
But all the people did pitch in
Some with a smile, some with a grin

And soon all were ready for the night
And slept, exhausted, from their plight
But seven men did sit and watch
Knowing what might have been the cost

And thankful each that they were whole
And the pain of loss they did not know
But soon sleep did come and claim
Buck, Ez and Vin from their pain

And 'e're long left Chris and 'Siah
To sit and ponder by the fire
And even those did finally fall
In the hours wee and small

But with dawn's light did rise again
And were content to be with their friends
And ate well of the fare
That the people had prepared

Then taking horses and saddles too
The others knew just what to do
For the people would take the cart
And then they would all depart

Leaving the seven to go their way
And with goodbyes left to say
They each did speak with Millicent
And hoped that with God's grace she went

And she did claim she owed a debt
And would repay their kindness yet
But the Seven did dissuade
Saying with her smile they had been paid

And with farewells all said and done
The Seven stood and turned as one
And headed toward their waiting mounts
Know what did truly count

For Vengeance wasn't in their hearts
And down that path they wouldn't start
Or let another wander there
Not so long as they did care

But watch each other's backs they would
And do their best to fight for good
And overcome each enemy
Ones they knew and ones yet to see

And as one they set out to ride
All together side by side
For as one they were complete
And any evil they would defeat

And together people would often say
That God smiled on them that day
When he sent a gift from heaven
These humble men, The Magnificent Seven

The End

Back to parts 36 to 40 | Back to Index

Email: MMW