Word Count: 400
Two days ago, he and Barranca had been camped in the freezing rain. Another row with his ol’ man and he had fled the house with nothing but the clothes on his back. The rain started moments after he rode out under the Lancer arch.
Cold heavy rain forced him to stop under some trees that provided limited shelter for them. He pulled off the poncho that had been rolled and attached to his saddle, and had tied it between the trees high enough that he could build a fire underneath. Barranca had sidled over where he could get his head under the tarp.
The rain had not let up, trapping them in their misery all night long, and most of yesterday. He spent most of the time leaned back against his saddle, shivering, as his wet clothes had not dried from the deluge the day before. With Barranca’s head near his, he passed the time drinking coffee and sharing some molasses cookies, stolen from the kitchen, with his faithful companion.
Feeling the hairs on his neck stand up, his Colt drawn, before he opened his eyes to the danger he felt. Disoriented from his sudden awakening from the unintended nap, he rubbed his eyes when he saw the poncho clad monster in front of him. The monster called his name, “Johnny.”
He knew then it was his father. “Murdoch? What the hell are you doin’ out here?”
His father bore the saddest look he’d ever seen on his face.
“I’ve come to take you home.”
Despite his miserable situation, Johnny’s pride wouldn’t let him budge his position. “No, Ol’ Man, I ain’t goin’ back.”
“Son, I’m sorry. I was wrong.”
Johnny, thunderstruck by this statement, almost peered out from under his shelter to see if lightening would strike. ‘Murdoch Lancer admitting he was wrong? He must have a fever and be hallucinating. Murdoch couldn’t really be here and he never would admit that he was wrong about anything’’
It had not been a fever. His father’s presence was real, and he had sat under that makeshift shelter with him and Barranca, eating cookies and drinking coffee. They had a good talk before he conceded to come home with his father.
His father, a man who had more than once, brought him out of the storm and into the shelter of love and warmth.