The hour is late; the hacienda at rest, the surrounding
night reassuringly still. Moonlight peeks in through the open
window, banishing midnightís shadow with its silvery glow.
Iím tired, my body aches but sleep wonít come. Amidst
the calm I toss and turn and silently curse the wakefulness that
grips me. Strange isnít it? How you can climb into bed, unspeakably
weary, fit only for sleepÖ only to find your mind at its most
rebellious, the thoughts it contains intent on being aired. One will
take prominence and instantly all hope of slumber is gone.
Tonight I find myself brooding over something that
confuses and scares me. Right now itís got me all tied up in knots.
I see and sense it all around me, but I worry that itís not really
there or that it will be cruelly snatched away.
I gaze through the window and up at the distant milky
orb. It hovers expectantly, waiting patiently to hear my woes. Me
and the moon are old friends. Heís a good listener, the silent sage
I turn to when my heart is burdened. No one knows me better than he.
He knows how my past haunts my soul, how it will surely trespass on
my future. He alone knows how very much this second chance means to
meÖwhat Lancer means to me. But Iím struggling, sinking, drowning in
doubt and shying away from the lifelines being thrown to me.
Why canít I just accept what is and believe in those
that believe in me?
The answer hangs at the side of my bed, never far
from my side, always within reach. For so many years it was the only
thing I dared put my trust in, the only thing I could be sure
wouldnít let me down. It replaced some of the things missing in my
life, but as much as it has afforded me it has equally stolen from
meÖand that Colt is all some people see when they look at me,
something soulless and deadlyÖa killing machine. Thatís why
itís so very hard to believe that the decent and the good could ever
want to lay claim to me. Iím the black sheep, the bad appleÖthe bad
It hurts knowing it didnít have to be this way. Fate
damned me and every road I took led me further astrayÖ
It seems the man in the moon has no time for self
pity; heís taken refuge behind an obliging cloud and is lingering
there. I stare at the muted glow; its eerie beauty has a strangely
calming effect. I heave a sigh and feel the tension ebb away.
Iíve never been able to look back on those lost years
without anger and bitterness burning me up inside. But it seems I
canít move on until Iíve laid the past to rest, I have to forgive me
my mistakes, learn to like who and what I am. Not an easy thing to
do considering the path I chose to take.
I was alone and living on the streets by the time I
was ten years old. Mama had died and my stepfather had quickly found
someone else to share his bed, he didnít want me around and I sure
as hell didnít want to be around him. I ran into the empty night,
hungry, scared and so very alone. That needy kid told himself he
didnít need anyone, that he could make it on his own and after a
while he actually believed it.
I lived off my wits, found work where I could and
stole when I had to. I did what I had to do to survive. Then I
picked up a gun and I taught myself how to use it. I was good, real
good and suddenly I was no longer an unwanted, worthless half-breed,
I was Johnny Madrid, Gunhawk. Good at my trade.
My reputation grew, infamy distancing me still
further from what I unknowingly craved. I made friends along the way
but not one of them knew the real me. I found solace in the arms of
whores and fell for those who could never have feelings for me. I
expected nothing more from life believing love wasnít for the likes
Not that I knew much about love, it was something Iíd
had little experience of, by the time I came to Lancer Iíd all but
forgotten what it was.
That first day here anger and hatred seethed inside
of me. There was little room for much else, just enough space for
curiosity to embed itself and how quickly that curiosity grew! I
looked at Murdoch Lancer and somehow I knew he wasnít the callous
bastard Iíd grown up believing him to be. Iíd seen something in his
eyes, something that inexplicable reassured me. Now there were two
men I wanted to get to know, we shared the same blood, despite what
I said to Scott the next day that fact did mean something to me.
It was hard at first, strangers trying to become
family. Three stubborn men under one roof was a sure fire recipe for
disaster, and with so much hurt and mistrust to add to the mixÖwell,
it was inevitable there would be fierce arguments and stony
I came real close to leaving so many times. My old
life beckoned; it was after all restriction and responsibility free.
I wasnít used to living by the clock or to taking orders and when
the old man came down on me my tongue would bitterly fire back. I
saw hurt flash in his eyes but even then there was that something I
couldnít identify, it remained constant, always burning bright.
At times I wished I was more like Scott, able to keep
a lid on my temper. Heís never argued with Murdoch; in fact I donít
think Iíve ever heard him raise his voice to the old man. Me and him
have had words though, Iíve ranted and heís reasoned and somehow
heís always managed to talk me down off whatever mule or high horse
I happen to have been riding at the time.
I didnít know what to make of him at first, first
impressions and all. That Dandy sure was a sight for sore eyes! I
scornfully called him a tin soldier, not realizing at the time that
he truly was made of metal. But Scott possesses more than strength
and courage, heís compassionate and caring, honest and true. I got
me a fine brother, got me a best friend too and I who once trusted
no one now trust him with my life.
I wonder at times how he sees me; Iíve tried to be a
brother to him, to be what he is to me. But he drew the short straw;
Iím nowhere near as worthy. Yet, when I look in his eyes I find the
same reassuring light that I see in my fathers. It wasnít there that
first day but itís there now, nothing seems to diminish it. No
matter what I say and no matter how badly I mess up it continues to
shine in both menís eyes.
Thatís whatís keeping me awake; I just donít
understand it and I canít reason it out. My head aches trying to
make sense of it all. How can they accept me, accept what Iíve done?
How can theyÖhow can they love me?
The fact is they do and I should just accept that
He up there obviously agrees, heís taken centre stage
again, once more illuminating the sleeping earth below, reaching
into my room to reassure me.
I bask in the pale light and soon my eyelids grow
heavy. Sleep opens her arms but before I fall into them I whisper to
the heavens ďUntil next time old friend. Goodnight.Ē