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 Defensive Position

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Lana Coombe

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Posts : 33
Join date : 2013-09-27
Location : UK

20140303
PostDefensive Position

Defensive Position

It was a stance he knew so well.  He had lost count of the number of times he had witnessed it but it never got easier.  Each time he went through the same emotions – anger, frustration, pride - to down right scared.

He knew the signs.  There was a glacial glaze in the eye, set in a poker straight face, the conciliatory, cool words and the feigned calmness.  When things went further and there was no option, he would watch as his partner assumed the position, arms hanging loosely at his side, fingers flexed, hovering near the butt of the gun, waiting for the first indication that the opponent was going to make his move.

As a myriad of thoughts and emotions gushed through him at this point, he knew his friend would have only one concern and that was the actions of the man before him.  There wasn’t time to be distracted by thoughts, which would divert his attention.  As he watched, his mouth went dry, the palms of his hands became sweaty and his chest constricted chest over the pulsing muscle of his thumping heart.
 
Time seemed to stand still at this point, as the world slowed, all attention focused on the developing scene before him.  He watched, as keenly as his partner, for the first flicker in the adversary’s eyes, or twitch of a finger.  He knew as soon as that movement was detected then all hell would break lose.

He knew the process so well he had assumed he would know what to do, but now he stood in a street, facing the antagonist before him, he was aware how little he really knew about what Kid faced whenever he was called out.  He didn’t even have the luxury of his partner being there to back him up.  

Why couldn’t he have just let it go?  But letting go of money – especially the substantial amount, which had been in the pot at the poker table – was something that didn’t come easy to Hannibal Heyes.
 
It was then Heyes realised the real skill of his partner – it wasn’t the speed with which he swiped the gun from the holster, it wasn’t the smooth movement he had perfected over the years.  It wasn’t even his ability to notice the smallest of indications that the other man was going to draw. Kid Curry’s expertise came from his ability to push all other thoughts from his mind and to totally focus on the task in hand.  Heyes suddenly realised his lack of ability in this department as his attention was suddenly drawn to the swift movement of the man across the street and he realised the other man was about to draw.  The thunderous boom, which erupted, causing a him to spontaneously react.

O-O-O-O-O

When Kid Curry rode into town, a short while later, he immediately noticed the gathered crowd outside of the saloon.  Through the band of people he could just make out the prone body on the ground.  It was then he noticed a familiar black hat, with silver band, lying to one side.  His throat went dry and his palms began to sweat.  His chest constricted about his pounding heart but his expression remained impassive, so as not to draw attention to himself, as he stepped down from his horse, with slow deliberation.

Elbowing his way through the huddle of people, he looked down at the man lying in the street.  The nausea he had been feeling abated as he looked at the blank stare of a stranger.  It was only then he noticed the dark haired man, sitting on the board walk steps to, gun hanging limply from his fingertips.
Dark eyes met blue and the hollow look Heyes afforded him told Kid exactly what his partner was feeling – he’d experienced it enough times himself.  

The sheriff approached and spoke to Heyes, exonerating him of any guilt as there had been witnesses to testify that the dead man had been the one to instigate the fight.  Kid walked over and stood calmly looking down at his friend.  Leaning forward, he placed a gloved hand under Heyes’ upper arm and gently pulled him to his feet.

“Let’s go get you a drink,” Joshua,” he said softly.

Nodding his reply, Heyes let his partner guide him towards the saloon.

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