The old western frontier where drifters roam the [[railroad towns.]]You find yourself in a familar spot- [[the saloon.]]Haze from the heat and smoke tint your sight as you enter..
You gauge the room and proceed to
[[Join a game of poker]]
[[Sit in the corner and look... pensive]]You sit down at a table full of chips, grimaces, and whiskey.
[[Buy in to the game]]A few hands flop by: a few chips exchange across the table.
Your newest cards are dealt: the lovely queen of hearts and her son Jack flash before you.
A good hand, but there could be better.
what's left to lose?
After a few rounds of something dark, your mind starts to wonder.
[[Hum a song]]
From this valley they say you are [[going.]]We will miss your [[bright eyes]] and sweet smile.For they say you are [[taking the sunshine.]]That has brightened [[our pathways]] awhile.Come and sit by my side, if you love me.
Do not hasten to bid me adieu.
Just remember the Red River Valley,
And [[the cowboy]] who loved you so true. As the last words floated off into slience, a lady comes up to you and says,
are you singing that song [[for someone?]]
I remember her auburn hair gleaming in the morning when we first rode west. That was [[ten years ago.]]You push the table to make an early choice as to if they want to raise the stakes.
While most do not rise to the challenge,
[[the sharp eyed stranger]] across from you takes you on.
An air of intensity is shared at the table now. You gaze around this mysterious figure across the table, not yet making eye contact.
The dealers turns over three cards: queen of spades, queen of diamons, and ace of spades.
Your risk has paid off so far.
The money you are throwing does not weigh heavy in your hand. The sharp eyed stranger considers this bet. He calmy raises you double the amount you put in.
He is bluffing, you think to yourself.
[[Call.]]The dealer turns over the next card- It is an ace...
[[You check to the stranger]]The stranger bets a considerable sum.
You still feel that he is bluffing.
[[You call the bet]]The last card is turned over and it is an eight of hearts.
You look a bit at this card. It doesn't change much. You still feel that you are winning this pot, but you want to see what the stranger will do.
[[You check again]]
The stranger waits a moment and then pushes you all-in.
[[You take a breath and call.]]In a blur of motion both of you turn over your cards and then a pile of chips amass before you.
[[You take your winnings and leave]]She was a proud woman,
but [[Cholera]] will undo even the strongest.
When she died. Father took to drinking. No earthly means could mend that [[broken heart.]] Sister and I sat in slience for a few days [[after mother left.]]
Sister was still so young. But the stranger meets you in dusty road before you can leave.
You look upon him in the eyes and they gleam with [[vindiction.]] Just singing for the sake of the song, [[I suppose.]]She looks over you interested and says,
[["Sing another for me"]]You sing another one and [[she smiles.]]Father died not long after, which came to us as not a [[surprise.]]
His soul had left before his body.I haven't seen sister in three years, I ought to go find her, [[one day.]][[Hum a song->Hum a song]] You know [[a duel]] is upon you. I cannot help but to think about [[Momma->Upon Momma]] I'll see you again cowboy, she says as [[she walks away.]]A bloodshot sun is setting and neither a word is spared from the stranger or you.
You see the [[fatal intent]] in his eyes. Your right hand hovers over the side of your hip.
[[You feel numb]]
as beads of sweat roll down your face from the heat.
The heat seems to bother you more than the loaded guns.
[[Wait for the stranger to make the first move.]]
[[Draw...]]The hand of death took only a moment to take a soul.
Such an instance flew by you,
and for a second you thought it might have been you who
[[lie limp on the ground.]] [[You]] hardly heard the blast.You gather your senses and walk to your horse.
[[Saddle up]]You [[ride west]] towards your lonely house. Before you reach home, you ride to a [[canyon.]]You arrive and spend the remaning daylight staring at the layers of rock.
Somehow, the ground feel less stable as you observe
[[the large scars in the earth.]]You depart from the canyon, [[listlessly.]]You return home and empty your pockets of your spoils. Yet, you remain full of [[dread.]]and your soul stained with [[blood.]]You did not see [[him]] flash his gun. You lay in dirt and quick thoughts of your life come over you before death overtakes [[your soul.]]
You remember your father's jaded look at the end of it all.
I wonder if I look the same? How could I? He died in a pool sorrow, and I, blood.Mother...
will you greet me when [[I close my eyes]]?
You never got [[her name.]]A familiar feeling comes over you when she has left.
Her presence was near ethereal. Oh but, you know not of such delicate things.
You look to your [[coarse and callous hands.]]For the rest of your time at the saloon you imagine her [[an angel.]]
You've known a few angels in your day. With much of the night spent counting off the glasses and hours,
you rise from your seat and pace for the door.
[[You return home.]]
You lay your head down as you have done so many times.
But this time,
In an exhale
A few [[minutes]]In a blink
some [[hours]]In a subtle turn of on your head,
[[Seasons shift]]Your golden locks hath turned silver by [[the passing years.]]You have almost entirely forgotten that strange woman.
A few lifetimes have passed: [[you sense your time is fleeting.]]It is near time for you to depart from earth,
but each night you feel a strange feeling.
A vague echo from a time [[long since gone.]]You cannot seem to recall where this feeling is from.
Though it fills you with life everytime you try to remember.
[[You even get as close as a smile.]]
"Is it my mother or sister calling for me?
No. Something else"Almost in a frenzy of emotion, you remember.
[[With what breath you have left to spare, you sing]]From this valley they say you are going...Each creaking embrace of your foot to the wooden floor reminds you of how silent the house is.
Once there were voices that filled these dusty rooms.
[["What is one more loss of life?"]]
It would've happened either way.He is the lucky one!
[["Mother, do not frown down upon me..."]]You can hear the sound of boot steps and feel a hand search around your pockets.
A rush of some strange feeling you have only ever anticipated floods into you.
[[The closing remarks of your senses.]]I feel the wind
[[It almosts whispers to me.]]Nearer, my God, to thee Your son was never meant to be a killer.
You sit on the veranda and take in the stars.
But the names of the [[shining jewels,]]
you've long forgotten.