The Outlaw And The Ranger

by B S Barber

This is the story of a Ranger called Blue
And an outlaw named Gabriel.
It happened out West in a small Texas town
In the 60's, or so they tell.

Across the border in old Mexico
Was where Gabriel plied her trade.
Stealing from rich Don's and politico's
The money was easily made.
Then she'd run back to Texas and the arms of her love
The woman who'd stolen her soul
The fiery enchantress with dark eyes and heart
The dancer they called Callisto.
Their passion would flare, their love would flow
Gabriel would get lost in their sin.
Callisto would smile, her eyes would glow
The outlaw was hers once again.

Then Blue came to town, all leather and ice
Her six-gun hung low on her hip.
She'd just chased a gang from Abilene
And was in no mood for anyone's lip.
She rode her horse up to the stable.
Paid for a curry and oats.
Then headed straight for the only saloon in town
To find solace for her own dry throat.
She strode through the door, all eyes turned to her
She quickly surveyed the room.
Found a table, her back to the wall,
And settled herself in the gloom.

Gabriel came down the stairs with a frown
Pulling her hat down over her eyes.
She and Callisto had fought, once again.
Damn! She was so tired of the lies.
She'd lost her best friend in the raid yesterday
And was ready to let it all go.
But Callisto had wheedled, and raged in the end
When Gabriel had finally said "No".
She was tired of the gunfights, the pain and the fear,
The loss of her family and friends.
The running and hiding, the constant replay
Of the nightmare that never ends.
They had enough money to leave this dead place,
To buy Callisto's way out.
They could settle a ranch up Austin way.
All her dreams were shattered in one shout.
"No!" Callisto screamed. "You don't understand!
I don't care about settling down.
After what they've done to me here,
I want to bury this town.
Bring your men into town tonight.
We'll go on a murderous spree.
Maybe after we burn this place to the ground
I can finally be free."

Piercing blue eyes watched her descent,
Noticed the anger and pain,
The ebon-gripped Colts tied low to each leg,
The green eyes smoldering with flame.
When those eyes turned her way her breathe caught in her throat,
Her heart sounded loud in her ears.
Her blood raced fire straight through her brain,
Gods! She hadn't felt that in years!
The aching need to be held
To have someone to hold
To give herself to them complete
Heart, mind, body and soul.
Her mind screamed at her heart
"But this is Gabriel!
How could you possibly be in love
With an outlaw you're sworn to jail?"
Blue's heart wouldn't listen to her head
And she let the outlaw go.
Her eyes snapped back to the head of the stairs.
In the shadows there, stood Callisto.
Blue's hand instinctively went to her gun
At the rage on that beautiful face.
But when she turned those eyes on Blue
A seductive smile had taken it's place.

With the steps of a dancer she came next to Blue
And sat herself down in Blue's lap.
Brushed the dark mane from those gorgeous blue eyes
Then delivered a resounding slap.
"That's for the year I spent in jail
When you left me all alone."
Then she kissed her hard, their tongues doing a dance.
"And that's to welcome you home."
"I'm not here for you," Blue grimly replied,
Dumping Callisto onto the floor.
Then another movement caught her eye,
Gabriel stood in the door.

They had been friends once
A long time ago,
Closer than sisters,
Before Callisto.
They were so very different then,
Gabriel was an innocent those days.
Untouched by life's crueler sport,
And Blue loved her for her gentle ways.

Gabriel slowly surveyed the scene,
Her heart missed a beat or two,
When she realized those eyes she'd felt on her back
Had belonged to none other than Blue.
She was amazed the Ranger had just let her go,
Remembering the scar over Blue's right breast.
Remembered the shock she herself had felt
When her bullet had entered Blue's chest.
She remembered her panic and fear and Blue's pain,
The betrayal in those piercing blue eyes.
She'd ran from the room, and that haunting look,
Not knowing if her friend lived or died.
She didn't return for over two years,
Blue had left six months before.
The love she once had was buried and dead,
Lost to the guns she now wore.

It was Callisto then, that had torn them apart
Now she threatened to do it again.
She saw Gabriel, gave a soft evil laugh, then
Ran her hand up Blue's thigh with a grin.

Blue froze at that touch, staring at those green eyes.
Saw them close with a shudder of pain.
Shoved the hand from her leg, took two steps to the door.
When those eyes snapped open she froze once again.

"No," Gabriel moaned, stepping back from the door,
Lost and torn as to what she should do.
If it'd been anyone else she'd have killed them right there.
Yeah. But this was Blue.
The friend she'd loved, and lost, and tried to replace,
Had tried to forget then tried to hate,
That had stolen her heart,
Her one true soul-mate.

She stumbled from the walk out into the street,
Heard Blue call her name from inside.
Heard a scuffle, a slap, bootsteps to the door.
Then saw Blue, and just wanted to hide.
Pain, worry, and loss, love passion and fear
All flashed through those precious blue eyes.
Gabriel thought her heart would pound straight through her chest.
Why had she listened to Callisto's lies!

A soul-chilling scream came from inside the bar
Then Callisto appeared in the light.
A Colt 45 gripped tight in her hands,
Blue's back centered dead in the sights.

Gabriel screamed "No!" and went for her guns.
Blue's flashed from her holster as well.
Three shots rang out, suspended in time,
Then Blue and Callisto both fell.

Gabriel rushed to Blue, sliding down on her knees
To see where Blue had been hurt.
Her hand came away all sticky and red
Where she'd touched the back of Blue's shirt.

"It's just a scratch, I'll be ok,"
Blue muttered with unfocused eyes.
"You'd better go check on Callisto instead."
And in shock she struggled to rise.

Gabriel held tight to her friend and her love.
This time she refused to let go.
Stroking Blue's face, she said, tight and fierce,
"I don't give a damn about Callisto."
"You're the one that I love, and have all along.
With your heart so noble and true.
But I couldn't leave my dark side alone,
Even knowing that I would lose you.
It's been so long since I held you close.
By the Gods you can't die on me now.
I'll hang up my guns and give up this life,
We can work through this somehow."

Now Gabriel did what she promised that day,
Gave herself to Xena... er... Blue.
For as we all know, those of us who believe,
Not even death can separate these two.

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