Second Look

By Cindy Carrier 

A High Riders WHI quadruple drabble


“There it is…the most beautiful place in the whole wide world – Lancer.”   

Johnny slowly rose to greet it, commanded again by its allure.  It spread itself before him with longing, its sweet, succulent voice whispering in the breeze against his cheek.  <<Welcome back…>>

Two years ago…He’d stood here that late afternoon day, all fury and arrogance, planning his ride through that white arch, tiny from this distance, and right up to the big heavy door.  Anticipating the reaction to what a mistake looked like all grown up and held together by a Colt strapped lowed on the hips.  He knew of Lancer – at least in name.  A name his mother made him promise to keep.  Well, he’d kept it all right, shoved deep down in his gut where it couldn’t move.

<<Remember me, old man?  The one you kicked to the road?>>

He’d watched that house, fighting against that view and the rest of his faded past.  It tormented him, luring and jeering, fingering his indecisiveness.  <<Who are you?>> it taunted.  <<Come down …>> But he’d turned away from its soft pleas.  He didn’t need Murdoch Lancer to know who he was.  No commitments, no attachments.  He came and went as he pleased, and no one would tell him different. 

Two years…fury and arrogance turned to confidence and passion.  If he hadn’t been on his way to Hell he might’ve reconsidered the offer.  He didn’t like being obliged to anyone, let alone the man who’d done no more than sire him.  But it was only an hour, and the money was welcome.  And the way he figured it, Murdoch Lancer needed Johnny Madrid, not Johnny Lancer.  There was no Johnny Lancer, anyway. 

He slowly sat again, but that view would not be refused.  The house, the hills, the grass and the dots of cattle shimmered in the sunny breeze, engulfing him.  <<Lancer, Lancer, Lancer…>> it mouthed to him in a sultry voice that made him shiver.  He shifted uncomfortably and glanced at the other man sitting on the seat, his own gaze intent upon the vista.  <<Lancer, Lancer…>> 

The voice sang down through his veins, reaching, reaching deep…No, it wasn’t his.  It belonged to the man passing time in that big house down there, and to the new half-brother of his.  He was Madrid, not Lancer.  No commitments, no attachments.  Free money.  <<Lancer…>> 

The mistake all grown up.

<<Welcome back.>>



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