The Only Sound Within the Room is the Falling of Each Tear
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They say that opposites attract. That must be true because Flo is as pretty as a carnation back east and I'd lose a beauty contest with a desert cockroach. Flo could seduce a bandit into handing over his gun and going straight, I couldn't buy a pack of Murratis without someone looking at me like I'm dirt. None the less, we love each other. Have ever since I played piano in the old saloon, and she splayed out over it and put on a show just to keep me from going hungry. I returned the favor, treating her right and not throwing her out when she forgets herself.

I still play the piano at Davies, she still dances. We're the perfect team. Even when we're off, I drink and she heckles, I play cards and she cheats. At night, we lay together in the dusty house she inherited and cuddle up. It gets wet in the rain, but Davy lets us sleep in the saloon hotel rooms.

By the time the cold dripping woke me up, Flo was gone. The washed-out dirt roads stuck to my boots, nearly pulling me into the wet earth twice. When I finally clambered up the wet stairs of Davies Saloon, the mud stuck to the waist of my long johns. The rain-slicked porch creaked under my hard leather boots. Pushing through the saloon doors, thunder sounded behind me. Inside the tavern lay a single customer, a tall white man dressed in day clothing, a ranger's badge, and a revolver larger than my foot. The stranger tipped his hat.

"I've seen drier fish than you, good sir."

I managed a smile, despite the cold of the early morning mixed with rainwater.

"Well, I've can't say I've had a wetter night!"

The Ranger chuckled, taking another sip of whiskey.

"He's upstairs."

With a polite nod, I turned to walk upstairs to the bathing and sleeping areas. As I rounded the staircase, a sound echoed down the hall. One familiar to me, one deeply disturbing to hear here. I drew my revolver, terrified of the scene I would enter into. The bedroom door flung open, revealing the better of the scenes I'd anticipated. Davy holding Flo in his arms.

White-hot with rage, I flung davy to the wall.

“You dar’ make a cuckold o’ me? I’ll show you, you double crossin’ bastard!”
Spittle flung from my mouth as I drew my revolver to his chin. “Tell the devil what you did.” A gunshot. A mark of the devil. A mark of lust, of treason. A mark the size of a dollar coin on one side and a pear sized hole in the other. Blood. Brain. Bone. I slumped down the weight of what I’ve done pushing down on my shoulders. Shaking, I rose. “Traitor.” A second shot. A second mark. Running was the only chance I had to get away from Johnny Law and run I did. The Ranger at the table was still sipping whisky, the rain still pounding, Flo and Davy still with matching bullet holes. I watched in fear as the Ranger finished his drink, and nearly slipped on the porch in my flight. The Ranger drew his revolver. Mine, still in my hand, had a mind of its own when it pulled the trigger. His head exploded. My foot exploded with pain. I could barely limp away in terror.

Everything is washed away in rain. My blood, his brain, my sin. The dusty road, turned to slick mud in the rain, stuck to my hands and clothes. The bullet wound I'd just received to the foot stung, mud seeping through the boot and into the wound.

"Well, pardner, it seems you done got done and dusted."

The Ranger stretched out his hand to pull me up. The revolver lay discarded to the side. His hat was knocked askew, revealing the chunk of head knocked aside by a bullet. Flakes of pale white skull, embedded in the flesh blown away, gleamed in the rain. I'd killed before, seen heads blown apart before, seen it a half hour ago. But this wasn't human. Wasn't possible. Humans don't live when you can see a quarter of their brain on their hat. The Ranger smiled.

"Tree'll heal me up, 'pecially with your filthy blood."

That's when it hit me: This man was absolutely insane. We were alike in that, sane men don't kill sane men. But even I could realize that he was talking of the old hanging tree outside of town and that he believed the legends. Most importantly, he was going to hang me. The rope over his shoulder said it all.

"I-I-I I didn't do nothing! He'd one who beefed 'er, I was jus getting her vengeance!

"Don't care a continental. You've damned yourself, and now you're gonna go up the flume."

The string of flesh holding his eyeball in place snapped, dropping it down into the road.

"Time to die, little man."


“An’ that’s how I swung. How bout you, Red?”

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