“… nine … TEN!”
Sheriff Franklin’s voice echoed off the buildings of Grist Falls and the distant walls of Cross Canyon.
Billy McCain planted a boot heel in the sandy dirt and drew his revolver as he spun to face the other end of the main street. He had a dead bead on Stanley Melton’s heart before the other man even started his turn.
Billy always beat his opponent to the draw. Always.
Stanley winced as he locked eyes with Billy and realized the man had him dead to rights. But when the outsider didn’t fire, Stanley flashed a wicked smile and took aim on Billy’s chest, then pulled the trigger.
The bullet found its mark and sent Billy sprawling onto his back. The onlookers gasped, and Sheriff Franklin rushed to the fallen man.
Had Stanley Melton really just felled Billy the Blessed? The man was a legend from Utah to Missouri, always showing up just as trouble erupted and always collaring the outlaw in a duel.
A bloodless duel.
Why, Billy had been shot as many as twenty times by some accounts but somehow kept getting up.
Franklin grabbed Billy’s hand and pushed up his sleeve to check for a pulse. The sheriff’s face went ashen just as Stanley walked up behind him.
Billy sat bolt upright and smiled at the two men, which sent the sheriff scrambling toward the jail and left Stanley Melton clutching his chest.
Billy pulled himself to his feet and walked toward the far end of town, confident the road to a new adventure had already been laid out before him. As he disappeared into the setting sun, he ran his fingertips over the thick, pockmarked book strapped to his chest under his coat.
A few more rounds, and he’d have to find a new Bible.
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