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by Kenneth Mark Hoover

Copyright 2011 by Kenneth Mark Hoover

Published by Argo Navis Publishing at Smashwords

The wind moaned out of the desert and banged wooden shutters, swept puffs of dust down the center of Front Street, and tore gaping holes in men’s souls.

I need your help, Marshal,” Ellis Bell said. He had come into the office with a gust of wind swirling around his slumped shoulders. His brown eyes held the echo of empty rooms. “Cathy came back last night and I don’t know what to do.”

I put down the Winchester rifle I was cleaning. “How’s that, Ellis?”

Cathy, my wife,” he said. “She came back last night. She tapped at the bedroom window but went away before I could get it open.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. He was upset, that was clear. I couldn’t blame him. I don’t know what I would do if Magra left me forever.

I would probably leave Haxan forever, too.

But I wasn’t doing him a favor pretending what he had seen was real. “Ellis, Cathy is gone. She died last week when her wagon turned over on her. I was there when you buried her.”

He looked like I had slapped him. He brought his hands up to his face. I helped him stagger to a chair.

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