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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Western · #2252880
It can all change in an instant ... and forever
The night was pitch black and so stinking hot Dewey thought his skin might burst into flames.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been cowering there in the inkiness of old man Wilson’s barn when he heard the first crackle in the paddock, but he recognized the sound of a heavy boot mashing sun-crunched grass in an instant.

The Keller boys had tracked him to the farm.

Dewey would have to face the gang — you don’t break the heart of a girl like Luanne Keller and not have to pay the consequences. He always knew that.

At least he had moved the reckoning away from town, so no one else would get hurt.

“Come on out here, Larson!” Butch Keller’s husky voice barked through the darkness. Wally, Farmer Wilson’s horse, neighed in his sleep and shifted on his feet. “We have you surrounded!”

Dewey took a deep breath. His heart slammed against his ribs like hooves pounding on the range.

“We have somethin’ to tell you,” Pete Keller boomed in the night.

Dewey stepped toward the voices. It was time.

“Do you think he’ll make it, doc?” Butch asked. His voice was dry and raspy now. He stooped over the bed, looking down.


Doc Hanson frowned and studied Dewey. The old man rocked his head back and forth on the pillow, soaked with his sweat. His eyelids fluttered.

“Well, he’s moving a little now,” the doctor said. “That’s good. Think the fever broke.” He pointed to the younger man standing near Dewey’s head. “You try.”

Davey Larson nodded and squeezed Dewey’s hand.

“C’mon back, Dad,” he said. “We need you here awhile longer. Mom can wait a bit to see you again.”

Dewey’s eyes twitched open, and he smiled at his son.
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