William gazed out the window of the train jostling its way along wintry prairie tracks. He unscrewed the cap of his flask, taking a long pull of liquid fire.
A tow-headed boy, no more than seven, scampered into the bench across from him, and smudged the window with his hands and face. “Wow!” the kid breathed.
William pulled out his spectacles to see what fascinated the child. A moment’s glance revealed a buffalo, fur covered in snow, lying down in the middle of a passing field. “What’s wrong with that buffalo, mister?”
William cleared his throat. “Well, when an animal gets old or sick, sometimes it’ll just lie down and die. It keeps the herd strong and gives predators an easy meal, rather than having them chase the young.”
“Oh.” The boy thought on that for a moment. “Makes sense, I guess. My name’s Frank.” He stuck out his small hand. “Where you headed, mister?”
William shook Frank’s hand. “I’m William, and I’m headed out to see my grand-daughter in Kansas. Someone’s giving her trouble out there, and I aim to fix it.”
Frank’s eyes widened as he noticed the Colt on William’s hip for the first time. “Are you going to kill somebody?” the boy whispered.
William smiled hard. “I expect not. Most likely they’ll kill me.” He leaned forward. “But killing me will bring down the law on them.”
“Sometimes the old have to sacrifice themselves to the predators so the young can live.”
Word Count: 250
For Indies Unlimited’s Flash Fiction Challenge. The prompt is the photo above, along with a written prompt on the site. Head on over and check out some of the other entries. Entries are accepted until Tuesday 5:00 p.m. Pacific. Winners are collected along with the photos and included in an anthology at the end of the year.
Hope you enjoy.
Happy Reading and Writing!