Heart o' Tarnished Gold5. The GravediggerHeart o' Tarnished Gold by MeadowMaiden
The pre-dawn starlight found the corpse covered in flowers. They covered his lap, sat in his hair, and filled his hands so that the entire man was brimming with color. Sarah Jo sniffed and placed the last of the flowers over his hands. It had taken her the entire night to gather them, but she had succeeded in her duty.
“¡Oye, chica!” Don Santo called as he came into the pre-dawn light. “What are you doing?”
Sarah Jo stiffened. She squared her shoulders and stood straight, and she turned sharply toward him and looked him dead in the eye.
“What you’ve done is evil, Don Santo,” she called back, as loud and clear as a bell’s peal. “You’re gonna pay for it, and I’m gonna be there to make sure that everybody knows just how many crimes you’re paying for.”
Don Santo grinned. He took a pistol out of his belt and aimed. The girl
Heart o' Tarnished Gold4. The GunfightHeart o' Tarnished Gold by MeadowMaiden
It was some time before noon that he raised the brim of his hat. There was a cloud of dust gathering on the horizon, and four dark specks could be seen within it. The drifter stood up as Miss Maudie and Sarah Jo came to the window.
He went to his horse and drew the rifle out of its scabbard on his horse’s saddle, and he loaded it and set the barrel across the seat and squinted down the sight. Miss Maudie covered Sarah Jo’s ears and backed away from the window slowly.
“What a fool,” she whispered, and she noticed that her hands were trembling. “He’ll never make a shot like that. It’s too far.”
The drifter took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Gently, even tenderly, he squeezed the trigger.
There was a loud crack through the air, a report of thunder on a clear day, and one of the figures on horseback snapped his head back and dropped.
Miss Maudie stared in shock as the drifter spun
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