Chapter Twelve

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Tim heard the screams and quickly raced to the top of the hill overlooking the farm.

"Oh my god…." he said as the scene below brought his lunch quickly up into his throat. There was a man on top of Samantha clearly raping her as she screamed in pain. Another man stood watch over them. Tim knew he hadn't been seen yet and pulled his rifle from its scabbard. He might not carry a revolver because he was no good in a shootout but he had plenty of experience hunting with a rifle.

Shooting these sons of bitches would be no problem. He aimed at the man on top of Samantha and pulled the trigger.

The mans head snapped back as the bullet slammed through his forehead. Blood splattered across Samantha's face as he fell dead atop her. She could hardly breath beneath his weight and struggled to free herself.

"What the hell!" Maxwell shouted. He jumped on his horse quickly and took off like a bat out of hell to get out of there. He had no idea where those shots had come from but he wasn't going to hang around to find out.

Tim aimed at the man who was quickly riding out of range and pulled the trigger. He saw the man slump in his saddle but continue riding. He knew he had only wounded him but had no time to worry about that now. He galloped quickly down the hill and jumped from his horse quickly pulling the man off of Samantha and gathering her up in his arms.

She was crying hysterically and her face was bruised where she'd been struck. Tim was so thankful that she was alive and didn't seem to be mortally injured.

Samantha felt the cramps starting low in her belly and her eyes widened in shock and fear. She doubled over in pain holding her stomach.

"The baby! Oh God no I'm losing the baby!" she yelled. Tim felt grief tear at his heart. He thought of Zachary and what this would do to his friend. He didn't know what to do for Samantha. He simply sat down on the ground and held her tight, gently rocking her back and forth as she cried against him.

He didn't know how long they had sat there like that when finally her sobbing stopped. He looked down at her and saw that she had fallen asleep. He knew they needed to get away from the house before the man that had run away came back. He laid her down in the back of the cart and went in the house.

He saw the dead body of a man at the bottom of the stairs. Looks like Samantha had at least killed one of the sons of bitches. Then he saw Jake laying there dead and quickly turned his head. This was going to destroy Zachary and he had little hope that Samantha would be the same again. He found paper and quickly wrote a note for Zachary telling him not to panic and to come into Paco when he got back. He stuck in on a nail in the front door. He grabbed a blanket from the bedroom and walked back outside. He covered up Samantha's sleeping form, hooked the cart up to his horse and headed for Paco.

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Four long days Zachary had been without Samantha but he was almost home now. Just one more hill and he'd be able to see the house. It was almost dark and he wondered if Samantha would still be awake or if she would already be curled up in bed with Jake. He smiled when he thought of her and that pup. Zachary had said no when the pup had first climbed into bed with them but Samantha had simply laughed at him and cuddled up to the puppy.

He thought about the quilt in his saddlebag and hoped that Samantha wouldn't get upset with him for buying the baby a gift this soon. It was a light green quilt with yellow thread designs of bears sewn into it. He topped the hill and felt his heart drop into his chest. He could see the vultures circling the place. The livestock didn't look healthy… They looked they had been several long days without food and water.

He rode closer and quickly jumped from his stallion and ran as fast as he could to the house when he saw the dead body of a man in front of the porch. He didn't recognize him and could tell that he'd been dead several days. He ran up to the front door and saw the note.

His heart couldn't seem to beat as he pulled the note off the door. His mind kept replaying that day five years ago when he had come home to find his family dead…

"Please God let them be okay… Somehow let them be okay." he prayed aloud. He read the note. It was from Tim telling him not to panic, that Samantha was alive and that he needed to come into Paco as soon as he got back. Zachary had to look in the house though just assure himself that Samantha was not in there. He opened the door and stepped in, immediately gagging at the scent. He pulled his bandana from his pocket and used it to cover his mouth and nose.

There was another body of a man at the bottom of the stairs. He didn't recognize this one either. He let out a ragged moan when he saw the dead pup at the bottom of the stairs as well.

Who the hell would have shot the pup? It couldn't have done any damage to anyone if it had wanted to. His feet felt like they had boulders tied to them as he walked up the stairs to the open door at the end of the hall. His mind raced back to the day he'd walked in that room to find his sisters. He pushed the memories from his mind… Samantha had to be okay.

He walked in the room and saw the rifle laying against the far wall. The knife he'd given Samantha for protection was laying on the ground with blood dried on the blade. He could see a blood trail on the ground leading back out of the room and he could only pray that it didn't belong to Samantha. He breathed a sigh of relief, satisfied that Tim's note had been real and that Samantha was okay and in Paco waiting for him.

He walked over and picked up the rifle from the floor. He picked up his knife as well and tied it back on his leg. He walked back outside jumped on his horse and raced as quickly as he could for Paco.

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