Savage Redemption

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There are times in everyone's life when something constructive is born out of adversity... when things seem so bad that you've got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it. ~Author Unknown

Five Years Later

Jack felt a bead of sweat running down his tense back. Rolling over the muscles and scars before soaking into the waistband of his thick cotton pants. He blew out a breath watching as it formed a cloud in the cold air as it left his mouth.

He looked down at the five hostages shivering as they laid on their stomachs on the cold frozen ground. The six other gang members including his pa and brother were busy going through all the trunks and bags in the stage coach and the driver and shotgun man were lying dead on the ground in pools of their own dark blood.

"Are you going to kill us?" a small voice asked from the ground and Jack's eyes went to a young girl in a bright pink dress. Her lips were purple with cold and her teeth were chattering. Jack felt a sense of déjà vu as he looked down at her dark innocent eyes. He pushed the feeling away and shrugged.

"Not if you do what you're told." he lied. He knew these people were more than likely going to die either way. The girl let out a choked sob and laid her face back on her hands as her mother scooted closer to her and tried to comfort her.

"No touching each other." Jack scolded. "Stay still and don't move." he added, cocking his gun to increase the threat.

"Having trouble over there son?" John asked, poking his head around the trunk he was currently looking through. Jack shook his head.

"I've got it under control." he replied as he uncocked his gun and looked down at the hostages on the ground. John nodded and went back to the trunk.

Jack saw the young girl whispering to her mother and her mother shaking her head furiously.

'Don't do it.' he thought desperately. 'Do not try to run.' He let out a growl when the girl leapt to her feet just as he had feared she would and in doing so signed her own death certificate. Jack holstered his gun and said nothing, hoping the girl would make it into the forest before anyone noticed her but her own mother gave her away.

"Katie, no!" she screamed as she too jumped up. Gunshots rang out and bullets filled the air and Jack watched as Katie's pink dress became red and she fell to the ground. Jack ran to her ignoring the gun shots sounding behind him as the other hostages met the fates he had known they would.

He stopped and stared down at the girl lying on the frozen dirt. Her eyes were open wide with fear but the light had gone out of them as they stared off into nothing. She looked young, no more than thirteen and she looked so innocent. Jack didn't notice the cold wind as it blew hard and whipped his long black duster coat around his legs, his mind was a state away and nearly six years in the past as he saw a young girl with dark hair and a pink dress looking scared to death as she tried to make her way through a crowded train station in Helena.

"Jack!" John yelled, jerking him from his memories. Jack looked up at the devil he called pa.

"What?" he asked through the nausea that was swimming around in his gut.

"Is there a reason you let that girl run?" John demanded. Jack looked over at the other hostages but they were all lying in growing pools of blood as the other gang members loaded their newfound treasures into their saddlebags.

"I won't shoot an innocent girl." Jack replied, his voice cold and void of any emotion. John shook his head and spit in the dirt.

"Five long years boy! Five long years I've been waiting on you to grab hold of your potential and run with it and five long years you've been disappointing me. When will you show me some kind of proof that you really are my son?"

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