A Fierce Gang of Misfits – Extended Epilogue

Five years had passed since Alex and Erik ended their adventure with Clyde Roberts. During those five years, they had married their women, started businesses, and expanded to nearby towns, buying property to rent out for others to run businesses of their own.

They remained close friends and traveled together around California and Nevada, making Indian Springs their home base.

In the heat of the June weather, they found themselves heading back to Burlington to check on the property where they’d visited picked up a very important journal. The journal that would send Mayor Gabriel Duncan to prison.

The cabin that had once been owned by Clyde Roberts and occupied by Brad Roberts was on the market. It came with five acres of solid hunting ground surrounding it. It had been a popular area for the local hunters until the death of Clyde’s daughter, who had claimed the property after the death of her father.

Sheriff Cramer had been the one to get in contact with them about the property. He’d told them he wanted to give them first dibs to see if they were interested. Although Alex and Erik had never been hunters, they were indeed interested in the property and said they would come to discuss it with him.

Although the June weather was daunting, they traveled the deserted road, keeping several canteens filled with water and stopping whenever they saw a stream or a spring with healthy foliage around it.

Erik narrowed his eyes when he spotted a house in the distance. A surge of recognition made him stop his horse. “Look,” he said, pointing. “Isn’t that…”

He leaned forward to get a better look, as if the few inches would make much of a difference. He glanced at Alex, who was still moving on his horse, and pushed his heels into his own animal’s flanks to get him walking again.

“Yeah,” Alex responded, his eyes on the house. “That’s the couple we ran into last time we came this way. I wonder if they’re still there. Still alive and breathing and… looks like there’s people in front. What are they doing?”

Erik pushed his horse to go faster. His heart thumped in his chest, anticipating something bad. They rode up closer to the scene and he noticed the men in front of the house were turning their horses while they yelled at the front of the house. Two of the men slid out of their saddles and picked up rocks from the ground, which they threw hard at the house.

“What are they doing?” Alex asked angrily. Before Erik could respond or say anything, he had taken off, galloping toward the house and yelling at the men throwing the rocks.

Erik chuckled at the looks of astonishment on the faces of the men as Alex barreled toward them. He had whipped out his gun and was aiming but not shooting at them.

Erik couldn’t let Alex take all the risk. He yanked his Colt .45 from the holster and held it in front of him, not aiming at them as he never intended to aim at anyone he wasn’t planning to shoot. But he held it in his hand and it looked like Alex was taking care of the situation just fine by himself.

The two men on foot had jumped back up into the saddles and all four were riding off as fast as they could, sending jeers of disrespect over their shoulders.

Alex shook his head, frowning, his breath coming rapidly. “What was that all about?” he asked breathlessly as if he’d been the one running instead of his horse.

“Scoundrels. Bandits trying to get the old folks out of their home.”

“Let’s go check and make sure they’re all right.”

Erik silently hoped the old couple was still alive. Five years was a long time for people their age.

Alex rode up to the door and slid out of the saddle. Erik was right behind him. They went up the steps to the porch and crossed slowly. Erik’s nervousness made his hands shake. The last time they were here, the old woman had been ready to blow them away. After what had just happened, why would the couple trust two more strange men?

“Think they’ll recognize us?” he asked as Alex lifted his hand to knock.

Alex hesitated, looking over at him. He knocked three times and shrugged. “We’re about to find out.”

The door opened by a margin. Erik couldn’t see through it. It pulled open a little more and the barrel of a rifle snaked through the opening.

“Who are you?” demanded a man.

“Mike?” Alex said through the door. Erik figured he couldn’t see the man either.

The old man peeked around the door through the opening at them, squinting his eyes. He didn’t look a day older than he had the last time. Then again, they were in their eighties, so they already looked very old.

“Who are you?” This time, the man’s voice was less tense. “How do you know my name?”

“We stopped in here a few years ago when we were traveling to Burlington,” Alex continued. “You and your wife were very courteous to us. We’re traveling again and thought we’d stop in to see you, especially after we saw those men torturing you.”

“They keep comin’ around,” Mike said, pulling the door open further. He still didn’t seem to remember them, though, as he looked at them with cautious eyes.

“I’m Alex,” Alex introduced himself. He jutted a thumb toward Erik. “This is Erik. Do you remember us? Is your wife here? She might remember us.”

“Rosie’s upstairs takin’ a nap,” Mike said. Erik was extremely relieved to hear the woman was still alive. “She’ll be up in a half-hour if you want to come in and sit for a while.”

“That would be wonderful,” Alex said in a delighted, friendly voice.

His charm had worked once again. It was probably hard to forget Alex once he’d turned on that charisma.

Erik went into the house. It was warm inside, which was probably why the old man was wearing just a shirt and some loose trousers that tied at the waist. He had no shoes on. The inside of the house looked the way it had five years ago.

“How long have those bandits been bothering you?” Alex asked, planting himself in a chair by the large window. He leaned forward, his eyes intent on the old man. “I don’t like that they’re coming out here doing that to you. You don’t have anyone to defend you.”

“I got Betsy,” Mike replied, holding his rifle out in front of him abruptly. “This is my defense. Don’t need nothin’ or no one else.”

Alex shook his head. “Still, I don’t like it. I’m going to find out who those men are and put a stop to it. Have they been here when Rosie was awake? I’m sure they’ve terrorized her, haven’t they?”

Mike nodded, an angry look taking over his wrinkly features. “They’ve scared her right good, young man. And I’ve come to the end of my rope. I’m gonna have to start shootin’ ‘em.”

“Why haven’t you already?” Erik asked curiously.

Mike grunted, jutting out his jaw. “They ain’t shot at me yet. Afraid if I shoot at them, they’ll all shoot back at once, kill me and Rosie, destroy our house. I don’t know why they’re comin’ around here tormentin’ us, anyway. We never go nowhere or do nothin’ to anyone.”

“I know you don’t.” Alex sounded angry. Erik understood the feeling. “And you don’t deserve to be tormented. How long you say this has been happening?”

“I reckon it started about two months ago. They come out here every week but not on the same day. Sometimes twice a week, or even three times.”

“We’re going to stop them from coming back,” Alex vowed, standing up. “We’re going to end this torment for you.”

Erik looked up at him. “But we aren’t gonna do it right now, Alex. Sit down and relax. Rosie slept through it this time. She’s not even scared. She’ll wake up feeling relaxed and happy. And she’ll be even happier when she sees we’ve come to visit.” He looked at Mike. “Do you think she’ll remember us?”

Mike snorted, setting his rifle against the wall by the fireplace. “Woman has a mind like a steel trap. Once she’s seen ya, she ain’t gonna forget ya.”

“Really? Even though…” Alex stopped himself, his cheeks flushing.

Mike grinned for the first time since they’d arrived. “Even though she’s as old as Methuselah? Yeah, you want to say that, don’t you?” He shook one thin, wrinkly finger at Alex. “Don’t you worry, young man. She knows she’s old as sin and she’s enjoying every minute of it, you’d better believe it.”

“You’re talking about me again, aren’t you?”

All three men stood up when Rosie came shuffling into the room. Erik was impressed by how good she looked for eighty-seven. Or almost eighty-seven.

“Rosie, my dear, did you get enough sleep?”

Rosie rolled her eyes, coming over to Erik first, since he was the closest, and giving him an impromptu squeeze, which he gently returned, looking down at the top of her head. She moved to Alex and gave him a hug before approaching her husband. Mike bent and gave her a kiss on her cheek when she turned it to him.

“Hello, my dear,” she said. “I didn’t sleep a wink, unfortunately, with those bad men out there making all that noise.”

“Oh, no. I’m sorry you heard them. I thought you were sleeping.”

Rosie sighed, casting a forlorn glance at Alex and Erik. “No, I wanted to go down there and force them all to leave but I’m just a little old woman.”

Erik couldn’t help chuckling but quickly stopped himself, clearing his throat.

Rosie gave him an amused look. “It’s okay to laugh, sonny. I know I can’t take on those boys. I just wish they would leave us alone.”

“We’re going to stop them,” Erik stated firmly, wishing she would come back and give him another hug. It made him feel like the little boy he had once been. It was a feeling he longed for.

Rosie gave him and Alex each a long look. “You know, I do think you will. I truly do. Sit yourselves back down. Tell me what you’ve been doing with yourselves. It’s been how long since you were here?”

“Five years,” Alex responded, taking his seat again. Erik noticed the look on his face reflected how Erik was feeling. They both had great affection for Mike and Rosie. He could see himself and Laura being like them someday, but not living in the middle of nowhere. Laura and her florist shop would never survive without any neighbors or customers.

“You’ll have to stay for dinner, and the night if you can,” Rosie said. “We don’t have many visitors. Except the wrong kind.” She rolled her eyes again, something that amused Erik to no end.

“We can stay the night, right, Erik?” Alex asked, turning hopeful eyes to Erik as if it was his decision alone.

He shrugged. “I don’t see why not. I’d love to stay and chat with the two of you for a while. And I’ll tell you what, next time we’ll bring our wives and children. Alex here has a little girl of two and I have two, a boy and a girl, one and three.”

“That sounds like a lovely time!” Rosie exclaimed. “I can’t wait to meet them!”

THE END


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6 thoughts on “A Fierce Gang of Misfits – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Great book with a wonderful ending. The bad guys got what they deserved and so did the good guys. Many thanks, Johnnie

  2. I have enjoyed your books.
    I was glad I could download this extended epilogue. I was not able to do so for “A Daring Detective Duo.”

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