Matthew eyed the black stallion. A lasso in his left hand and a pistol in his right, he began walking towards the towering beast. A gentle breeze carried through Hawthorne Ranch, tossing Matthew’s golden blonde hair to and fro. His father, Shiloh Walker, stood up against the fence, watching with a keen eye.
The stallion reared up, colossal legs swinging through the air. Matthew hushed it and moved closer. The stallion gazed at him, taunting him with snorts from his nostrils.
“Get up on the side boy.” Yelled Shiloh.
“I know what I’m doing!” Matthew yelled back.
Shiloh looked him in the eye for a long second, then nodded.
Matthew was five feet away from the stallion, adrenaline beginning to seep through his veins. He breathed in great heaving breathes, sweat trickling down his forehead.
The stallion bucked it’s hind legs, shooting sawdust from the square arena into the air. Matthew dodged to the left, narrowly missing a hoof to the temple.
“Watch it boy, he’s excited and bound to knock your head over your ass.” Shiloh said.
Matthew Walker laughed. He felt confident, and his father’s heckling brought him no discouragement.
The lasso twirled in his hand. He jumped to the left side of the stallion and threw the loop around it’s neck. The stallion snorted and swung it’s head to the right. The movement was fast and Matthews hands were sweaty, the rope slipped out of them and swung freely through the air.
“Jump, jump on ‘im boy!” Exclaimed Shiloh, his arms waving in the air.
Matthew leaped onto the ground, grappling for the rope with both hands. The rope slithered up his right hand, his fingers grasping at the end. Putting his full grip on the rope, the stallion began to rear up.
Hoofs came crashing down onto Matthew’s legs. A scream echoed through the valley.
Shiloh was by his side before the stallion had a chance to kick him again. In seconds the pistol was in Shiloh’s hand, three rounds fired in quick succession.
The Stallion bucked a final time, then dropped to the ground. It let out a gentle whine, and exhaled it’s last breath.
Shiloh knelt down and put his hand on Matthews shoulder. The boy began to weep.
“I should’ve stayed back further.” Matthew said.
“Aye, you should’ve son. This creature died for you to learn, don’t you forget about that. Now clean up and get ready for supper.”
Shiloh pushed the butt of the gun into Matthew’s hands, and then proceeded up the dirt path to the ranch house.
Matthew thought about his father’s disappointment. He didn’t have what it took to be a gunslinger, his hands were slow and his eyes were dull. He cleaned up the mess and climbed up into the hay loft. He sat there, as he often does, and pondered the many ways there were to die in the wild west, wondering which gruesome fate would ultimately befall him.