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High Winds
   Continued

 

Part 3

Chris sighed as he looked across the room at Ezra.  He sitting in a chair, with his head in his hand and his elbow resting on his knee.  His eyes were closed, and his breathing was staggered.  Chris looked over at Buck, who looked over at Ezra and gave Chris a forlorn look.  He looked down at the ground and sighed again.  This was all too familiar to him.
 
 Nathan entered the room from his makeshift examining room, and everyone stood up.  Ezra looked hopefully at Nathan.  "So?"
 
 Nathan looked at the ground.  "She...she's dead, Ezra."

 Ezra's face fell and he covered his mouth.  "Oh Lord," he croaked.  He turned around slowly and closed his eyes again.  Chris bit his lip and looked at the floor.

 "JD, why don't you take Ezra to his room," he suggested.  JD walked up to Ezra, but Ezra shook his head and looked at Nathan.
 
 "I want to see her," he said softly.  Nathan nodded and Ezra walked into the other room and shut the door.
 
 "Anything else you didn't want to say in front of him?" Chris asked.  Buck and JD walked over, curious as to what Nathan would say.

 "Well," he started, "I was pulling out the bullets, and Gabrielle, she must have known that she wasn't going to make it though, and she...she told me not to tell him, she was afraid he wouldn't be able to take it.  She was...pregnant."

 "Dammit," Chris breathed. #This is hitting too close to home.#  He heard a creak and everyone looked up to see Ezra with a disoriented look on his face.

 "She..." he started, "Oh, no.  No..."
 
 "Ezra..." Chris started, but then saw him start to shake.  "Nathan.  Nathan!" he yelled.

 Ezra tried to get away from them all, back to Gabrielle.  He turned around and staggered into the room.  He tripped and hit his head on the corner of the wall, and welcomed the quiet and blackness that came.


 Ezra slowly opened his eyes and squinted at the bright sunlight shining through the windows.  He started to sit up, but a sharp pain in his head made him lay back down.  He looked around, and realized that he was in his own room.  This time, he got up slowly and opened the door.  He saw no sign of anyone in the hallway, so he wandered out of the boarding house.  When he got outside, Ezra didn't even notice how late it was.  He looked to the right, toward the simple cemetery, and saw two men digging a fresh hole into the ground.  His vision blurred as the hot tears welled up in his eyes, but he just continued on his way, not bothering to wipe them away.

 Mary glanced out of the window of the Clarion News office and caught sight of his form walking down the road.  She opened the door and called his name, but he either didn't hear her or chose not to hear her and kept his pace.  Mary knew she wouldn't be able catch him, so she trotted into the saloon and looked around for Chris.  She found him standing at the bar, so she sighed and walked up to him.

 "Mr. Larabee?"
 
 Chris turned around and looked at her.  "Yes, Ms. Travis?"

 I knew I...I saw Mr. Standish walking down the road, and I heard of his ordeal and injury, and I, I tried to get his attention, but he either didn't hear me or didn't want to-"

 Chris cut her off by walking swiftly out of the saloon.  "Dammit," he said to himself as he broke into a jog down the road.  As he turned the corner, he saw the orange glow of a cigar in the livery stable.  Chris broke to a walk and entered the stable.  Ezra had his arms through the bars of one of the stalls, stroking the white Arabian mare's forehead.  His head was against the bars, his hair disheveled, his eyes bloodshot, and his cigar hanging loosely from his lips.  Chris took a step toward him.  "Ezra?"

 Ezra looked up at Chris with his eyes so full of anguish, Chris had to look away.  "She...she still has...has blood on her shoulder..." he managed to say, not trying to hold back the involuntary sobs.  "Who caught her?"

 "Josiah caught her," Chris answered quietly.   Ezra nodded slowly and looked back at the horse.  "Ezra, are you okay?  You had a bad fall, and you're..."

 Ezra's head snapped up.  "I'm what, Chris?  Suicidal?  Driven mad by grief?! Are you going to tell me that it will get easier?  Wha-" He was about to say, what would you know about how I feel?, but Chris looked at the ground and Ezra looked back at the horse.  "Damn him..." he whispered.  Chris looked up.

 "What?"

 Ezra shook his head.  "I'll rip that rotting heart right out of his chest.  That bastard!!  I'll hunt him down and shoot him like the dog he is."

 "You got a clear look at the person who did this?"  Chris asked, amazed.

 "Yes, I did, Mr. Larabee.  It's just a matter of where he is located now.  And from what I've heard about him, he's not far.  He revels in watching the sufferings of the people left.  He's somewhere close."  Ezra explained.  Chris could make out the pure loathing in his voice.

 "You know who it is?!"

 "That I do."

 "Ezra?"

 "Yes?" Ezra answered wearily.

 "Tomorrow afternoon.  We're going to the closest city to Four Corners to hunt this man down.  We'll bring him to justice."

 "This man deserves to be shot in the street, but I'm not sinking to his level."  Ezra looked up at Chris with a new hope in his eyes.  Chris gave him a small smile and patted his shoulder.

 "Go on, get some rest."

 Ezra gave the mare one last pat and walked out of the stable.  Chris watched him as he dropped his cigar in the dust and ground it with his boot.  As he walked away, it was visible to anyone the emotional strain that he had been through.  Instead of walking with his perfect posture, Ezra's shoulders were hunched, like a man who just wanted to curl up and die.  His steps were slow and dragging, instead of the graceful, light step that suited him so well.  Chris sighed and looked over at the Arabian mare.  The horse nickered and walked up to the bars on the stall, waiting for Chris to pay attention to her.  He reached out and stroked her forehead and sighed again.  This was too much for Chris.  It was too similar to what he had already experienced.  He was worried for Ezra, what he might do to himself.  When he lost Sarah and Adam in that fire, all Chris wanted to do was join them.  He went out looking for death, not caring what happened to him.  Maybe he could give Ezra some support, help him through this, since he already knew how it felt.  Chris sighed, shook his head, and walked to the boarding house.
 

Part 4

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