Some say death is a lonely walk, but for one doomed man he made the walk with the ghosts of thirty men. Thirty men, a few deserving to die, but most merely men who had the misfortune of being in the way. Bank robbery sometimes involves the killing of folks who did nothing more than making the tragic mistake of going to work on the wrong day.
Yes, a man like John Wesley tries like hell to leave those dead souls behind, but those ghosts tend to reach up from the grave and seize the coat tails of a man's memory and they don't let go. And on this night, four more ghosts were added to that heavy toll, except these four ghosts stood before his cell, dripping rainwater on the floor and lighting up hand rolled cigars.
"Who are you?" John Wesley screamed.
All that this roused out of the four was a raising of their faces. These were the weathered faces of weathered men. They had the look of barns nearing their death, old and worn out, not much caring anymore if they stood or fell. They wore the stubble and the stench of being on the trail for far too long. They were leathery men, older than their years, but yet still raw bone tough. Their eyes were cold and ruthless, neither filled with fury nor filled with fear. If eyes were truly the windows of the soul, with these four horsemen, whoever once lived inside was long gone.
The tallest of the four gave a nod to the one on the far right. He in turn reached into his duster's pocket and pulled out the jail cell key. And as he did, the other two lifted their shotguns from beneath their coats.
As the key turned, John Wesley pulled back against the wall. No words exchanged. No pleading for mercy from John Wesley, no uttering of threats from the four, just a motion from the tallest to follow him.
And so, John Wesley was saved from the gallows that night, or at least it seemed. Back into the rain, the four plus one now walked. The four horsemen each remounted their steeds. The tallest of the four, stretched down his arm offering a lift onto his saddle. Sensing no choice, John Wesley reached up and was hoisted behind this ghostly horseman. And the rain kept pouring down.