The Lily of the West

A new novel in progress:

 

1881

 I pulled the soft comforter close around me against the late October chill, woken by angry voices in the yard below, and only then realized I was alone in the bed. I sat up, blinking at the sunlight that streamed through the thin curtains.  Christ, it had to be past noon.  How much whiskey had we drunk last night? Voices, strident, drifted in through the open window.

“I’ll kill them sonsabitches this time, Ike, I swear to God I will.”

“Tom, you got to calm down. I don’t even have a gun. Them bastards took it.”

I threw off the covers and walked over to the window.  Four men stood below with a couple of horses, and I recognized all of them. Cowboys.

Movement up the street caught my eye. Three men dressed in black strode purposefully toward the corral, their boots kicking up little puffs of dust.  I dropped the curtain and with shaking fingers fumbled through some of the buttons on my dress.

When I pulled back the curtain again, a fourth  man, one I knew well, came around the corner, his long black duster doing little to disguise the shotgun in his right hand. He joined the other three and they stood in a line, motionless, poised like dark avenging angels.

I heard the first shots as my hand closed on the doorknob. Hell had come to Tombstone, and I was riding on its coattails.