The first ray of sunlight struck the cowbell that hung from the longhorn’s neck as she meandered through the dust, calf at her flank with Jake Moon astride a sorrel horse not far behind. Moon was a thin-made man with gunmetal eyes and a beard that rimmed his jaw like a wreath of wire. In the saloon the day before, Moon listened as a drunk rambled on about a man named Pitts and his pregnant wife. The pair had leased ten acres of land just out of town. Pitts quit his job at the bank to try his hand as a farmer. That and to get away from the endless blather about his wife, Clare and her idiot sister—a rail-thin girl of nineteen who was the butt of every joke in town. The sister had taken sick with scarlatina and after the fever broke she just walked about in circles with her palms to the sky, clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth.
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Special thanks to Rope and Wire Magazine Editor, Scott Gese for publishing this piece.