Wanted: Dead or Alive

by Ace

Companion Stories

Part 1
"Inez, you think I should..." Samantha starts to say, but is interrupted by JD running into the saloon

"Mornin’ JD," Samantha says.

"I’m not here," he replies, ducking behind the bar.

"What did you do to Buck this time?" she asks, smiling to Inez.

"Shh," he responds.

"JD!" Buck yells, walking into the saloon.

"What did he do this time?" Samantha asks calmly, leaning back against the bar.

"Him and them stupid pranks just cost me a date," Buck responds.

"Mess up your plans did he?" Samantha questions, a mischievous grin crossing her face.

"You know where he is?" Buck asks, looking to Samantha.

"Just might, it all depends on how much you’ll pay me," she replies.

"I ain’t got any money on me right now, but I promise..." Buck begins.

"I was only kidding Buck," Samantha replies, as Inez hides a laughing smile.

"She tellin’ the truth?" Buck questions Inez.

"Si, Senor," Inez replies.

Buck gives them one last look, then turns around and walks out. JD slowly rises up from behind the bar, and begins to leave.

"Thanks," he says, walking to the door.

"Not so fast," Samantha says, holding her hand for money.

He turns around and sees this, then begins digging through pockets.

He drops a few coins in her hand, and then notices Inez’s hand outstretched and drops a few coins in her hand.

He then walks out and Samantha turns to Inez.

"We should do that more often," she states.

"Si," Inez replies, with a smile.

+ + + + + + +

Later that day, Samantha sits outside the jail with Chris and Josiah as the stage pulls up.

"Afternoon Judge," Josiah says, as the elderly man approaches them.

"Afternoon," he responds, "Chris may I have a word with you."

Chris nods his head and follows the Judge into the jail.

Samantha then turns back to the book she’s reading.

+ + + + + + +

"What do you mean warrant?" Chris asks.

"It’s right here," Judge Travis says, producing a piece of paper.

Chris takes it and begins looking at it intently.

"But she killed the man, because he killed her brother," Chris says.

"But they weren’t able to prove that that man killed her brother," Travis responds.

"But you pardoned her," he replies.

"She was pardoned for theft, but murder isn’t that easy to pardon someone on," Travis states.

"When are you going to tell her?" Chris asks.

+ + + + + + +

Samantha sits there reading as Chris and the Judge walk back out of the jail.

"Sam we need to talk to you," Chris says.

"What did I do this time," she says jokingly.

When their faces stay serious, her face turns somber.

"What’s wrong?" she asks seriously.

"Come with us," Travis replies.

She follows them inside the jail and they hand her the warrant. She looks at it carefully, then slowly looks up.

"Is this some sort of a joke?" she questions.

"No, I’m afraid it isn’t," Travis replies.

"They don’t believe Ty Roberts, the man you shot, was responsible for your brother’s murder," Chris states.

"What?! That man was responsible Chris. I know he did it, I saw him with my own eyes," she says, tears threatening to flow, "You believe me don’t you?"

"Oh course I believe you, but you don’t have much that will stand up in trial," he responds.

Samantha looks down at the warrant.

"Can you think if there were any other witnesses?" Travis questions.

"No sir, none that I remem...wait...Melissa Roberts, Ty’s sister was there. She tried to stop Ty, but it was no use. Last I saw of her, she was living just out side of the town," Samantha says, looking up.

"Are you sure?" Travis asks.

"Positive," she replies.

"Well, Chris you and the boys go with her and see if this Melissa will testify," Travis says.

"Yes sir," Chris nods, then he and Samantha walk out and head for the saloon.

+ + + + + + +

"Wanted dead or alive," Ezra reads from the poster.

"Five hundred dollars," JD says, running his hand through his hair.

"Boy, ‘tween you and Vin, that’s some money," Buck remarks.

"We leave at dawn," Chris states, changing the subject.

"I’m gonna go out for a ride, clear my head," Samantha says, turning to leave.

"Just be careful," Vin remarks.

"I will," she replies, walking out of the saloon.

Once Samantha leaves, Buck turns to the rest of the group.

"She avenged her brother’s death, now a few years later, she has a bounty on her head," he states.

"Somethin’ don’t seem right," Nathan remarks.

"I agree with you," Josiah says.

"She doesn’t deserve this," JD says.

The six turn to look at their youngest.

"She just doesn’t deserve something like this," he repeats.

"A lot of people don’t deserve the things the get," Ezra states.

"Yeah, but she deserves better, hell she deserves better than us," Vin says.

"Try convincing her of that," Ezra states.

"She’s a stubborn headed as a mule," Buck replies.

"I’ll take that as a compliment," Samantha says from the saloon doors.

The seven look up quickly as she walks in.

"I don’t deserve better than you," she says, walking over to the table, "You took me in, I would probably be dead by now if wasn’t for you."

"And that my dear is why we are going to clear your name," Ezra says, looking up from the cards he was shuffling.

+ + + + + + +

It takes two days to reach the town and Chris suggests that they stay just outside of town, while he and Vin go and talk with Melissa. The others agree and he and Vin head for the town.

They talk with the bartender at the local saloon and find out where Melissa lives, and then they head out towards her place.

As Chris and Vin ride up to the front of the house, Melissa walks out on the front porch.

"Mornin’ ma’am," Chris says, getting off his horse, "Name’s Chris Larabee."

"Morning Mr. Larabee. May I ask what it is you’re doing here?" Melissa asks.

"It’s sort of a long story, but can we talk with you about your brother?" Chris asks.

Melissa nods her head and moves aside to let them in.

+ + + + + + +

"So, you saw Ty murder Dunnison?" Chris asks.

"Yes, he was upset. I begged him not to," Melissa says.

"Do you think you could come back to our town and testify about this?" Vin asks.

"I’m sorry, I can’t," she states.

"What do you mean, ‘you can’t’," Chris says.

"It wouldn’t be right to my brother," Melissa says.

"Sam will probably hang without your testimony," Vin states.

"I’m sorry," Melissa says.

"You’re sorry," Chris says angry, "Why won’t you testify."

Melissa sits there silently and Chris abruptly stands up and slams his fist on the table.

"Why!" he yells.

Vin places a hand on his shoulder to calm him, but Chris just shrugs it off and storms out.

Part 2

The six sit playing poker beside their campfire as Vin and Chris return. Samantha and the others look up as they ride back into camp.

"Any luck?" JD questions, as the two get off their horses.

Vin and Chris don’t say anything as they walk over.

"I’ll take that as a no," Samantha replies.

"She said it wouldn’t be right to her brother," Chris states.

"Figures, Melissa always had it out for me anyway," she responds.

"What do you mean?" Josiah says.

"When we were younger, if I caught the eye of a boy, she would do anything in her power to catch his eye as well. Didn’t matter what she had to do," Samantha states, poking at the fire with a stick.

"Well, I guess we’ll head back for town in the morning," Chris says.

"Yeah, I’m sure the trial won’t last long," she says staring into the fire.

"I’m sorry kid, we did what we could," Buck says.

"I know, it’s just...I guess fate will run it’s course. Josiah, do you think you could defend me in the trial?" she asks.

Josiah looks up and smiles.

"Yeah, I’ll defend you, but you know as well as I do we don’t have much that will hold up," he replies.

"I know," she says with a smile.

+ + + + + + +

"So, did she agree?" Mary asks, running up to them as the walk towards the jail.

Samantha shakes her head no, and continues walking.

"I’m sorry, there’s got to be something we could..." Mary begins.

"It’s alright," Samantha says turning back around, "Thanks for everything you’ve done."

She gives Mary a hug and Mary fights back tears.

"Tell Billy I love him," she states.

Mary nods her head and Samantha turns toward the jail.

Chris walks in to talk with Judge Travis as the others wait outside.

A few minutes later they walk out and Judge Travis hands JD a set of chains.

"I’m sorry, but the law’s the law," Travis states.

Samantha nods her head.

"I don’t think we have to...I mean she ain’t gonna fight," JD states.

"JD, just do it," Samantha says, holding up her wrists.

He begins to put them on her, but stops and hands them to Chris.

"I can’t do this," he states, then walks off.

Chris places them on her wrists and leads her into the jail. Once he shuts the cell door he looks to Samantha.

"I’m sorry," he states.

"It’s all right, you did what you could," she replies, trying to manage a smile.

"Travis said the trial’s in the morning," Chris responds.

Samantha nods her head in understanding and Chris walks out.

+ + + + + + +

The next morning Samantha is lead to the courtroom and sits there as Josiah tries his best to defend her. She doesn’t pay attention much throughout the whole trial, but she gives her testimony.

"I killed that man, because he killed my brother. Now some don’t believe that’s true, but I saw it happen with my own eyes, and if you are going to convict me for avenging my brother’s death, then so be it," she states.

The judge reads the verdict and all Samantha hears is, "Guilty."

She stands up and hugs Josiah, "Thank you."

She hugs JD and Buck as they walk over, then Vin and Nathan.

Chris and Ezra meet them outside and she hugs Ezra, then Chris.

"Thanks for everything," she states, then she is lead away.

She stands on the back of a wagon as they put a noose around her neck. She closes her eyes ready for whatever is going to happen. Then she hears a gunshot and opens her eyes as the rope from the tree limb falls to her feet. She looks surprised as Ezra comes riding towards her.

"Come on!" he yells, reaching for her arm.

He slings her up and on the back of his horse and takes off out of town. Vin quickly begins to make his way off the roof, from where he had taken the shot.

"Wait! Wait!" a woman yells, running into the street.

Chris turns and sees it is Melissa. Ezra pulls his horse to a stop and turns to see Melissa running.

"I’ll testify," she says.

Chris smiles as Ezra brings Samantha back.

"What?" Buck asks walking over.

"I’ll do it, I’ll testify," Melissa replies, "I’m sorry Sam."

Samantha looks down off the horse.

"Thank you," she says with a smile.

Judge Travis walks over and looks to the scene.

"What’s going on here?" he asks.

"Judge, this is Melissa Roberts and she’s here to testify that the man Sam shot did kill Sam’s brother," Chris states.

"Well, you were almost too late Miss Roberts, if it hadn’t been for these boys here, you would have been too late," Travis says looking from Vin to Ezra, "Good work boys."

Ezra and Vin tip their hats and smile.

"Well, lets get your testimony," Travis says, turning towards the courtroom.

+ + + + + + +

"Well, looks like you’re no longer wanted," Chris says, as Judge Travis climbs into the stage.

"Feels good to be free," she says with a smile.

"Well, Inez is preparing a celebration meal, so let’s go eat," Buck says with a grin.

Samantha smiles and turns to follow the others into the saloon.


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