[mc, mf, fd, hy]
((the following was written for a challenge I hosted in February 2014. It was entitled Silver Bullets and it revolved around western-themed stories.))
Sharon Montague sat in her bedroom, by the mirror, with a silver comb in hand. To the petite, green-eyed brunette, not many things in life were as satisfying as making sure her hair was always perfect. She loved feeling pretty and, better yet, she loved feeling pretty for the half-naked man that shared her dreams and her bed since the beginning of the year.
His name was Trevor Dawson and, up until recently, she was sure they would always be happy together. However, even the most adamant of resolves can be easily overthrown by acts of cunning cowardice. One of those now loomed over their lives, endangering her ideal of happiness, and she was far from pleased. After finishing her beauty ritual, she moved next to him, rubbed her right hand on his back and said:
“You know… it’s not too late for you to change your mind and put an end to this charade.”
“Yes, it is,” Trevor declared, and something fierce reflected off his eyes. “I’ve accepted the responsibility and I’ll see it through!”
“Honey, you know I love you, but seriously?” Sharon protested. “You know as well as I do you’re just an Alfalfa Desperado…”
He shifted his body weight away from her, slightly taken aback by her remark.
“That’s not what the star says, Sharon.”
Yes, the star, the symbol of law enforcement he had been bestowed less than twenty-four hours ago. Sneaky Pat Hutchins had conveniently renounced its Sheriff position in his favor upon hearing that William St. Peter was coming to River Gulch to expand his collection. Now, the old crone was nowhere to be seen and the love of her life had a shiny death sentence to contend with.
“St. Peter is going to pluck that thing out of your dead body! Don’t you get it?” Sharon vociferated.
“I wish you had a little more trust in me, dear,” he sighed.
Sharon wrapped her arms around him, almost on the verge of tears. . “It’s not a matter of trust. You can’t expect me to sit idly and smile knowing that a criminal is about to come into town to take you away from me! I’m sorry, but I can’t and I won’t accept this!”
“So what are you going to do? Pout hoping things go your way?” He gave her a loving smile. “Not this time, sweetheart. I finally get to be someone important in River Gulch, and I’m going to do my job and show you and everyone else that I’m not just a farm boy! I’m the Sheriff! St. Peter is going down, tomorrow!”
Sharon resented his stubbornness above his poor choice of words, whilst admiring his unrelenting courage at the same time. Trevor was a real keeper and she knew she had to protect him in any way possible, even if that meant resorting to an old bag of tricks. She kissed him softly on this left cheek, then on the lips and, sooner than later, they were dripping in pools of sweat and ecstasy.
When tiredness took hold, he fell asleep with his head buried between her taut breasts. Sharon, on the other hand, remained awake, for she was a woman with a plan and it was time to set it in motion.
* * *
It was about 11 a.m. when William St. Peter rode into town in his trusty grey steed. As usual, he travelled alone and that was never going to change. His mistrust of others was the stuff of legends and anyone who tried to double-cross him was guaranteed a one-way trip to the nearest bone orchard.
The funny thing is that he didn’t seem like a natural born killer at all. He was rather scrawny, and had a somewhat innocent smile always plastered in his face, kind of like a child, really. He was the classic textbook of how appearances can be deceiving and the only thing that gave away his façade was the fiery glow in his eyes. Yes, the wrath contained in them enjoyed making itself known and, the more fear he inspired, the more it grew.
The first thing he did upon arriving was have a drink. Inside the saloon, no one dared to meet his gaze, and the bartender was more than pleased to offer him a bottle of his finest liquor. His satisfaction was even greater when the outlaw finally walked out of his establishment and he had the chance to go clean himself up before anyone noticed his indiscretion.
River Gulch’s main street soon became deserted, although prying eyes could be seen in the shadows everywhere. William St. Peter rolled up a smoke and made his way to the sheriff’s office. He wasn’t a man of fancy duels. No, killing a man was something raw, primal, and the heat of the moment was more important than needless preparations.
“Going somewhere?” asked a voice from behind him as he approached the front door.
Somewhat surprised, he turned around to see a dark-haired woman standing proudly in the middle of the street. She wore a ruffled, long, blue dress, with a very clean and feminine cut, but also boots, a holster around her waist and a Stetson just like a man. She also exhibited the Sheriff’s star, although it was hanging from her neck like a pendant.
“Is this a joke?” the outlaw asked, frowning.
“Quite frankly, the only joke I see around here is you,” Sharon replied with a confidence that was unlike anything he had ever seen.
“Shut your big bazoo, woman! Do you even know who you’re talking to?”
“Hmmm… let’s see… William St. Peter, the coward? Yes, I know exactly who you are.”
He spat at her insolence, but resisted the urge to draw his gun on the spot.
“And you’re the Sheriff, is that that it?” He was trying so very hard not to laugh.
“I am, today.”
“It’s a shame, really. I never killed a woman before, but there’s always a first time for everything, right?”
“Indeed,” and she looked at him with a very uncanny expression. For a few seconds, their gazes interlocked. She saw the pillars of fire raging within his pupils, and he caught a glimpse of a crystalline coldness capable of quelling anything that tried to oppose it.
Immediately, he reached for his six-shooter and tried to pull the trigger…
… but his fingers froze, and so did the rest of his body. The glimpse of before had suddenly turned into a fixated gaze.
Sharon continued to look at him, her strange magnetism locking him in place. Though nothing could really be seen, it was as if the green of her eyes was expanding like a spider web, wrapping him senseless. A hint of drool fell from the criminal’s dry lips.
In that moment, she could have easily killed him, but what would be the point? Instead, she just raised her own pistol and fired two rounds. The first hit his trigger finger, leaving him unarmed, and the second grazed his most intimate parts, a simple way of telling him who in fact was the powerful one of the two.
“Anyone want to help me put this scumbag in the calaboose?” She shouted to the hidden bystanders, all of them too surprised to even breathe properly.
Eventually, a couple of figures stepped into the light, followed by some more, until the whole town was cheering and the warm sun smiled upon them all. Of course, many were the ones looking for some sort of explanation as to what had happened and Sharon promised she would give them all the answers soon enough.
“Town meeting inside the church in half an hour,” she said. “I want to see everyone there, understood?”
She didn’t have to ask twice. After the fearless spectacle, the awe factor was persuasive enough, and everyone rushed into church to know more about the miracle they had just witnessed.
As soon as the last man entered, Sharon locked the church doors on the inside and rose to the stand, her green eyes glimmering once again.
“Now then, let me tell you a story….”
* * *
Later that day, she returned to her bedroom, mentally exhausted, but feeling quite happy. The first thing she saw upon entering was Trevor lying in bed, still adrift in the peaceful trance she had induced upon him as he slept. Soon, it would be time for him to wake up, feeling fresh and renewed and with the distinct memory of having captured William St. Peter despite all the hardships. The same memory was now deeply ingrained in every River Gulch local. That would be her gift to him, and the farm boy would finally be the man he always wanted to be.
As she saw him breathe gently in her bed, the love she felt grew beyond measure. What she had done was dangerous and would eventually have some repercussions down the line, but it had definitely been worth it. She kissed his forehead, and finally allowed herself some rest.
* * *
And so it came to be that, in the months that followed, River Gulch became a haven of peace. However, since everlasting peace is nothing but an illusion, one day came along a nasty rumor to disrupt it all: The Wilcox Gang was heading their way and, wherever the Gang went, chaos was sure to follow.
As the rumor spread until it morphed into an inevitable certainty, everyone looked up at the young Sheriff who had already delivered them from St. Peter’s twisted idea of Heaven, and he promised to deal with the new threat swift and mercilessly.
Sitting in her bedroom, by the mirror, with a silver comb in hand, Sharon Montague made the same promise.