Caught in a Murderer’s Trap – Extended Epilogue



“That’s the last we could find,” Kenny told Talia as he sat down to lunch. “So, I guess I can let everything go.” 

“You shouldn’t be carrying it with you anyway,” Talia replied. “I told you the past is in the past, and it’s best to leave it there.” 

“I just couldn’t sleep at night knowing there were people out there who struggled because of what Hal and Jake did. What I did,” Kenny explained. 

“I know, but now that you’ve paid everyone back, maybe you can move on from it? There’s no reason to be feeling guilty all the time for a mistake you made. Especially since you’ve changed.”

“You’re right,” Kenny agreed. “I don’t want you to feel like you married someone who’s too hung up on the past to let it go.” 

“Exactly,” Talia said. “And with the wedding coming up, I would rather we just put it all behind us. Once and for all.” 

“We can do that.” Kenny smiled. 

It had been a crazy year. 

He had found a small house to live in just outside of Moonstone, and he’d been dating Talia ever since that day they came back to town. They took their time with their courtship, getting to know each other entirely before Kenny asked her to marry him. 

By the time he asked her to marry him, he felt she knew each and every one of his secrets, and that he was doing what he could to fix the wrongs he’d done in the past. Talia, for her own part, had told him about her rough childhood and the way she’d been so headstrong before, letting him know she had also done things she wasn’t proud of. 

But they were both willing to forgive each other for the mistakes they’d made in the past, and both wanted to move on to live a life that was as good as they could be. They fell deeply in love, and by the time Kenny asked her father for permission to marry her, her father had just laughed. 

“I don’t think there’s anything I could say that would keep her from you,” he’d replied. “But yes, I give you my permission and my blessing.” 

Now, the wedding was only few months away, and Kenny was counting down the days to when they would move into the house he and the doctor had built for the Kenny and Talia to live in once they were married. 

It wasn’t too far from the barber shop, and Talia fully intended to work with her father as much as she could while taking care of her household as well. She didn’t know what she would do when the children came along, but that wasn’t anything to worry about right now. 

For now, she could do both without feeling overwhelmed, and her father was grateful for the help. He often said he would hire someone to help around the place when Talia finally did marry Kenny and moved out of their home, but he was taking his time in doing that. 

Mostly because Talia herself wanted to keep helping around the barber shop as much as she could. 

Kenny would often come to the shop to share lunch with Talia. It was one of their favorite times of the day. They were able to talk about how their days were going, and what they were doing that afternoon. 

There were some evenings when they would see each other again, then other evenings Talia would stay home with her father and Kenny would tend to the odd jobs he did around town. 

He had a steady job working for one of the ranchers who lived close to town, but that wasn’t all he did with his time. He wanted to save as much money as he could for their new lives together after the wedding, but more than that, he also wanted to pay back the people he’d hurt. 

As well as the people who suffered because of Jake and Hal. 

It had taken him several months to come up with the names he could find for the people who were close enough for him to make amends with. 

Slowly but surely, Kenny was determined enough to write to each and every one of them with an apology for what happened, as well as a promise to pay them back all the money that was stolen from them. 

Even if he wasn’t the one who had taken their money, he knew there were people out there he had hurt himself he’d never be able to apologize to, and the best way he could make peace with himself was to pay back everyone he knew who had been affected by Hal. 

It had taken nearly a full year of him working almost every day of the week, but with time, Kenny was able to give everyone back the money he owed. 

A large portion of that came from the money he had gotten for his part in capturing Jake and Hal. Without that, he might have had to work for twice as long as he did. But, with the money paid back to each of the families, he felt he had done just the right thing to make amends, and he could finally move on with his life and not feel bad about the things he had done when he was younger. 

Now, he could focus on what he was doing with Talia and the life they were building together. He didn’t have to stress out about the mistakes he’d made or wonder what he would do if he were to run across one of the victims he’d harmed in the past. 

It had been difficult for him to swallow his pride, but he knew it was the only way for him to truly let go of what he’d done. 

And now, with the debts paid in full, he felt free. 

After lunch, Kenny headed out of town. He was going out to the ranch to help with branding some of the calves when suddenly, two men jumped him from the ditch next to the road. 

He cried out in surprise, unable to reach his gun in time before one of the men struck him with the butt end of his rifle, knocking him from the saddle. Kenny tried not to panic, but he was ready to fight all the same. He flew to his feet with his fists swinging, ready to do anything he had to to keep from being beaten as badly as he had been before. 

But, recognizing the two voices who were talking to him caused him to calm down, and he looked at both men with wide eyes. 

“Hal? Jake? What are you doing here?” he managed. “I thought you were both sentenced to be locked up for a long time.” 

“We were, but they didn’t do a good job with security in that jail,” Jake said. “It didn’t take long for me to devise a way out of there, and Hal here, he thought it would be a good idea to pay you a little visit. You know, we heard you were out here making amends for all the faults you’ve done, and we figured you would want to make amends to us for what you did to us.” 

“I didn’t do anything to you!” Kenny hissed. “And I don’t want a damn thing to do with either of you, either!” 

“Not so fast,” Hal put his hand on Kenny’s chest to stop him from getting back on his horse. “You said you were a changed man, right? That’s what I heard from some of the people we talked to while we were looking for you.” 

“That’s right,” Kenny said. “And I don’t want to get involved with either of you. I don’t think I can make that any clearer.” 

“How about this?” Hal asked. “Since you’re changed and all, you can give us a hand and make your amends to us that way, but you also don’t have to do anything yourself. It’s a way you can win all around.” 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I really don’t care to,” Kenny tried, but Hal and Jake refused to let him get on the horse without agreeing to help them first. It was quickly becoming evident to Kenny they weren’t going to let him leave until he told them what they wanted to hear, and since they were in town, Kenny knew they would follow up with him on the deal, too. 

“Well, why don’t you listen to this?” Hal suggested. “Since you’re changed and all, you can go convince one of your new friends to come into the barber shop where you spend so much of your time. When you get in there, you can have your woman get them in the chair, and when they’re good and comfortable, we’ll come through the door. You can bet your britches that they’ll be more than willing to hand over their money when they see we have guns and they don’t.” 

“Don’t you dare bring Talia in on this,” Kenny warned, but Jake held up his hand. He had seen how upset Kenny was about the thought of Talia getting involved, and he took that to the next level. 

“How about we give you more motivation?” he asked. “Either you do this, or we’ll get Talia herself to help us.” 

“You won’t get her to do a damn thing for you.” Kenny laughed. 

“It’s amazing what you can convince someone to do when you have a loved one they want back,” Jake shrugged. 

“If you mean to tell me you’re gonna try to hold me captive, I’ll warn you know that’s not a good idea,” Kenny announced. 

“Not you,” Jake said. “Her father.” 

“No! Don’t you dare,” Kenny nearly shouted. 

“Then you better make sure you make this happen,” Jake growled. “And let us know by tonight.” 

“Fine, I’ll do it,” Kenny said. “Let me talk to Talia, and I’ll meet out behind the saloon tonight. Alright?” 

“Good, I knew you’d come around,” Jake grinned, and Kenny wanted to punch him in the face. But he held back. He didn’t know how he’d get through this, but he knew he had to do something. He couldn’t let them get close to Talia or her father. 

But he couldn’t bring himself to join them in anymore of their schemes, either. Never in his life had he ever felt so trapped, and he didn’t see any way out of this. He knew he had to talk to Talia. 

If there was anyone who’d be able to think of a way out of this, it would be her. 

“And remember, don’t you dare go to the sheriff over this, or you’ll be sorry,” Jake warned. “We got out of prison once, and we’ll do it again.” 

“I won’t,” Kenny said. 

They shook hands on it, and to his relief, the two men went back to the ditch. 

He changed his mind about going out to the ranch, and instead rode right back to the barber shop to speak with Talia. He didn’t have a minute to waste. Not with the threat of her father being taken captive by those men. 

Kenny didn’t go to the sheriff, either. He knew he had to talk to Talia before going to anyone else. 

She would tell him how they’d get out of this, and once they had a plan, he’d make the next step. He just prayed she wouldn’t be upset when he told her what was going on, and they’d be able to come up with a plan quickly. 

He had to meet them behind the saloon that night, and he knew they were expecting him to go with the plan. 

There was no other option. 

“Are they coming?” 

“Yes, I told them to come in just before noon, and we’ll have them hide in the back. I really hope this works,” Kenny replied. 

“Me too,” Talia said. “I’m confident it will. We just have to stay calm.” 

“Right.” Kenny nodded. 

He and Talia worked quickly to prepare inside the barber shop for Hal and Jake’s arrival. Kenny was surprised with how well Talia took the news of the two men’s escape, and how ready she was to form a plan to catch them again. 

She hadn’t even hesitated when Kenny told her what happened on his way to work, and instead she told him to bring them to the barber shop himself. She’d insisted the best way to catch them was to have them inside a closed building—a place where they weren’t able to get on their horses and ride if something went wrong. 

And for them, something would go terribly wrong. 

“How do I look?” she asked. “Sheriff Dobson will be here any second.” 

“You look like a princess,” Kenny told her, and she grinned. 

The plan was simple. She and the sheriff would both wear disguises and pretend to be a wealthy couple passing through town. From a distance, Talia looked like a well-bred woman who came from money, and as Sheriff Dobson walked through the door, Kenny felt he was passable as a rich man, too. 

And he’d keep his hat low enough to prevent Hal or Jake from recognizing him as he walked into the barber shop that afternoon. 

Then, when the two came rushing into the shop to commit the robbery, both Sheriff Dobson and Talia would pull out pistols and aim them at Hal and Jake. Kenny, too, would draw two of his own weapons and make sure the men were entirely covered. 

They would be outnumbered with the doctor coming in with a rifle from the main part of the house, and they would have no choice but to surrender. 

Kenny locked the two doors the men could use as an escape route, then he rushed the sheriff and Talia through the inside of the house and helped them both climb through the back window. 

He then checked on the doctor before running back to the barber shop, reaching it just as the door opened and both Jake and Hal walked in. 

“Alright,” he said, “come quickly. You’re both going to hide back here in these closets. Be ready and keep a watchful eye out for anyone coming through.” 

“Where’s Talia?” Hal asked. “I thought you said she’d be here to assist our clients into the chairs.” 

“Forgive me for not trusting you with my fiancé,” Kenny replied. “I’ll be the one who puts them in the chairs. I don’t care to involve my bride in any of this.” 

“Fair enough. I don’t care who we have to deal with as long as we get our money at the end of the day,” Hal hissed. “Come on! Close the doors now, there’s somebody coming!” 

He gave a nod toward the glass storefront, and Kenny turned to see Sheriff Dobson and Talia making their way across the street and back to the barber shop. They looked like two rich people, from out of town, and Kenny was glad neither of the men with him recognized the sheriff or his fiancé. 

He closed the doors and headed to the front of the barber shop, smiling as he let in the sheriff and Talia. 

“Just a shave today. My wife wanted to join rather than staying in the hotel,” Sheriff Dobson said. “I hope you don’t mind.” 

“Not at all,” Kenny said. “I’ll fetch the barber for you directly. He’s in the house right now finishing with lunch, but if you will come over here and take a seat, and Ma’am, you can make yourself comfortable over here in on one of these benches.” 

Kenny subtly locked the front door, keeping the sheriff between him and where Hal and Jake were hiding so they couldn’t see what was going on. 

He then motioned for the sheriff to sit down, and once he did, he too his hat and placed it on the nearby chair. It was then that there was a shout from the closet, and Hal jumped out, his gun drawn. 

At the same time, Jake emerged from where he’d been hiding, both men crying out it was a robbery and to put their hands in the air. 

But, instead of the panic they expected, the three people who were in front of them pulled out their own weapons, pointing them directly at Hal and Jake. 

“What is this?” Hal roared. “Sheriff Dobson! It can’t be.” 

“It is,” the sheriff said, “and you boys are under arrest.” 

“How could you?!” Jake screamed at Kenny, but before Kenny had the chance to reply, the door behind him opened and the doctor stepped into the barber shop with a rifle aimed at the two criminals as well. 

“Drop your weapons,” he said. “Don’t give me reason to use this.” 

Seeing they were outnumbered, the two outlaws obeyed. But they were far from happy with being tricked into getting caught by the sheriff all over again, and they both continued to shout threats at both Kenny and Talia as the sheriff put them back in cuffs. 

“Save it, you two,” Sheriff Dobson said. “You’re well on your way to being in front of the judge, and I’m sure you won’t be happy with where you’re sent next.”

He then turned and thanked Kenny for his help. 

“I don’t think we would have caught them again so quickly if it hadn’t been for you,” he said. 

“And my family,” Kenny replied, putting an arm around Talia. “It was her idea, and the doctor just played his part perfectly, that’s all.” 

“Nothing to it,” the doctor said. “Sheriff, I’ll give you a hand getting them back behind bars.” 

“Much obliged,” Sheriff Dobson said. 

They left with both Jake and Hal in cuffs, the two outlaws cursing the entire time. 

Once they were gone, Kenny kissed Talia. 

“You were perfect,” he said. “I can’t wait to have you as my wife.” 

“And I can’t wait for you to be my husband,” she smiled in return. “I knew it would be wild marrying a bounty hunter, but I didn’t think it would be this wild.” 

“This is just the beginning.” Kenny laughed. “Just you wait.” 

“I can’t.” She laughed as well, then kissed him in return. 

They walked around, fixing the shop for more business that afternoon, and Kenny couldn’t stop smiling. He was the happiest he had ever been in his entire life, and with Hal and Jake locked up once again, he knew he had nothing to worry about. 

He’d marry Talia, and the two of them would go on to live happily ever after. 

He could hardly wait. 


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13 thoughts on “Caught in a Murderer’s Trap – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Enjoyed reading this novel. The unknown added spice to the story as “Ian” struggles to determine who he is after being beaten and left for dead. In his journey to find himself he meets Talia who plays a large part in his life. This novel should go far. I will continue to follow this author and read more of his books.

  2. One of the best stories i have read in some time. The suspence kept you turning pages to see what happen next.

  3. I skipped a lot of the book also. Just too much boring information and very little action. Certainty not the action of a good bounty hunter!

  4. I have read a lot of westerns, and this one was different, but in a good way. The story was interesting and depicted a different take on western life. I will definitely read more from this author. Thank you for the entertainment, Mr. Burns.

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