-"Momma... momma... oh God, no, no, no..." mumbled Marlene as she tried to wake Wyatt up. She slapped him a few times, but to no avail. "Please, please, Wyatt... don't do this..."
The galloping came to an end. A gush of dust and sand flew around Marlene's face, forcing her to close her fine eyes. She felt a warmth next to her, as if Wyatt had come back.
-"Ma'am, please stay back" said a deep, strong voice upon her. "He's a dangerous man, and we need to inspect him"
-"What? Who... who are you? What do you want?" asked Marlene as her tears reached the ground.
-"Sheriff Ira Madsen, miss. Please, back away from the body and put your hands up. We do not want to hurt you" said the man.
-"Please... he didn't do anything, I swear! He's innocent!" said Marlene, standing up according to the man's orders. She had been sitting on a puddle of blood, staining her clear blue dress.
-"Oh, trust us, he did. This man had been avoiding us for a couple of days now. Good thing we got him" said the man, climbing down from his horse. "Now, please, slowly step away from us. This a strictly confidential matter"
-"No, no! You've got the wrong man, dammit! Listen to me! He didn't do shit!" said Marlene, flinging her arms at the sheriff.
-"Miss, you better shut your mouth. We get that you're afeared, but this is way above your bend. Trust us" said the sheriff, ducking towards Wyatt's cold body. "Now, please, if you're hiding anything from us, you'd better 'fess up. This ain't gonna bring you anything good"
-"Sheriff, trust me... just look at him, dammit! He isn't fit to commit a crime! He can't outrun you! He's weak! He wouldn't do all the stuff you're accusing him of! Please, think about it!" cried Marlene.
-"Lady, are you deaf? He told you to go up against the wall, dammit! Listen to him!" said a man behind the sheriff.
-"Reeves, keep your manners. We gotta follow the procedure" said another man.
-"Aw, procedure my ass! She's a fuckin' alfalfa desperado! She has to listen!" said the second man, pointing at Marlene.
-"I... I will. Just... please, please listen to me. Look at him. He's a sloppy, fat mess. He ain't fit enough to do all that shit! He can't run more than a mile!" said Marlene, crying her eyes out.
-"Look, lady, no one's asking you. Let us do our job, please. Stay back and lay against the wall, or else we'll be forced to put you down" said the sheriff, inspecting Wyatt's pale corpse.
There was a rumble around the other end of the house. It didn't deafen as the galloping did, but it sent an unnerving echo around the small wooden cottage.
-"Mom... what's going on? What's with all the noise?" asked Jed, shaking.
-"I... I don't know, sweetie. Just keep your head down. It'll be over soon" said Fiona, ducking below the dinner table. Althought she knew Marlene and Wyatt were in danger, she wasn't risking her own life because of them.
-"And... where's Marlene? Where'd she go?" asked Jed.
-"She'll be okay. She's just... outside"
-"Well, mom, if she's outside, then that means she's in danger. We'd better go help her"
-"No. No... just... stay here with me. She'll be okay, just like us"
The rumble became a strong knocking. It made the door shake as it covered the whole household in a continous hammering sound. The entire flooring roiled as the hammering kept going.
-"Oh, sweet Jesus! Leave us alone, please! We ain't done anything!" screamed Fiona, covering her ears.
-"FIONA! Open the door, for fuck's sake! PLEASE! HELP ME!" cried a voice on the other end. Whoever was there began to tweak the doorknob, almost at the point of breaking it.
-"Wait... what? No, no... this can't be... L-Leander?" stuttered Fiona.
-"Who? Who's Leander?" asked Jed. "Who's there?"
-"Stay back, Jed. Please. I'll handle this, hon" said Fiona, standing up and puffing her chest.
She slowly drew the door, making the hinges creak as the cold air entered the house. The roars and howls of the sand and the air pelted down on the house's outside. As the door opened, Fiona faced a rather lanky man, with long arms and a thin body. A scruffy beard hung from his face, and his eyes were lost in Fiona's face. He ripped a smile as the warm atmosphere of the house touched him.
-"Leander? What... what the hell are you doing here? Oh my God, they must be looking for you... sweet Jesus, no... why are you doing this?" cried Fiona, as tears rolled down her cheeks.
-"Who is it, mom?"
-"It's... it's okay... I... I know what I got myself into..." said the man, slumping into the house.
-"How did you get out? No... this has to be a dream, you- you can't be here..." said Fiona.
-"I... I ran out with... a few others. I don't know where they are, but... I'm here. It won't be for long, but... I got here" said the man, smiling.
-"And... oh God, you're bleeding... no, no..." said Fiona, touching a wet spot by the man's stomach.
-"Mom, who is he? What's he doing here?" asked Jed, standing up from the floor.
-"He's... he's..." muttered Fiona.
-"It's Leander. I've... known you since you were a baby. I missed you, kid" said the man, extending his arms towards Jed.
Jed smiled and dashed towards the man, embracing him around the waist. Leander shed a precious tear as the child wrapped his arms by him. "Ow, ow... please don't... don't touch that part" said the man, distancing himself from Jed. "It hurts like hell..."
-"Look, I'm at sea here. I have no idea of what's going on. How did you get out? Why do you have a red spot on your shirt? What the fuck are you doing here?" asked Fiona, sniffing.
-"It doesn't matter, honey. Not at all. I'm here, and... I'm with you. I know the sheriff will come knocking. And when he does, I gotta run for the damn hills. But... now, we're all together. Alright?" said the man, smiling. "Where's Wyatt? Marlene?"
-"They're... uh... outside" stuttered Fiona. "I think they're... busy"
-"Oh... shit. Alright, look... the sheriff has to be around. I hear the galloping outside. I don't have much time. I know I'll wind up dead. Just... tell them I love 'em. Now, listen to me, Jed"
-"Promise me, son, that you'll never do the things I've done. Walk away from trouble if you can. It don't mean you're weak just 'cause you turn the other cheek. I hope you're old enough to understand, and I hope it's the right time for me to tell you. You don't have to fight to be a man. My life is over, and it's a mess...but yours, Jed, has just begun. Please, take care of your mother and your sister. I know you're brave"
There was a dead silence around the house. Fiona's tears simply slid right by. Leander's cries and wishes brushed away with the howling outside. A deaf scream shook the scene up. "Shit, it's him! GET HIM!"
The knocking came back stronger, shaking the entire house up. It felt like the galloping and the rattling they'd heard before were just a preparation for the noise at that moment. It joltered and jumped around their ears, interrupting Leander's pleas and goodbyes.
-"Fuck... fuck... they're coming. Jed, remember what I said. I know you can do it. Please, for your own good, don't make the same mistakes I..."
Leander was interrupted by a sharp whistling, followed by a burning blast. He hit the floor as soon as the door creaked open, making an unnerving shattering sound. Ira held up his pistol proudly, as smoke piped out of the barrel.
- Marlene Chisholm
- Fiona Chisholm
- Jedediah Chisholm
- Ira Madsen
- Wyatt Chisholm (Corpse)
- Leander: Shot in the head by Ira.
- First appearance of Ira Madsen.
- First appearance of Reeves.
- First and last appearance of Leander.