There are times when writing that I just fight the urge to work on one of my novels. Right now my characters are not cooperating and I think we need a little time apart so we can reignite our flame. In the meantime I thought it would be fun to write some shorter pieces. When the goal is typically to write an entire novel, a short story is a bit more intimidating than I would have imagined. But let’s see what I can do.

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: Moon  VERB: Promise  GENRE: Western

The sheriff slammed the door shut to the holding cell in the large room. He ignored the drunk reaching through the bars, trying to grab at the sherriff’s vest. The gun in his hostler and the key ring hitched on his belt jingled as he walked towards his desk. He hoisted up his pants by the crotch, adjusting himself and sat down. He kicked his feet up on the wooden behemoth he called a desk. He pulled his hat down, covering his eyes as he folded his arms to settle in for a spell.

Just as sleep began to work its way into his eyes, he heard a commotion outside the building. He waited for the overtly dramatic entrance that seemed to accompany anybody who set foot into the Sheriff’s Department. The door swung open, banging against the wall. The man in the chair didn’t flinch.  He was used to the urgency of the towns’ people as they barged in to declare another tragic accident had occurred.

He lifted his head just enough to catch a glance of the General Store manager flailing his arms. He didn’t need to listen to the man’s incoherent mumbles. There was only one reason anybody disturbed him. There was trouble.

He pushed his hat back on his head, revealing his three-day stubble and scar across his right eyebrow. He moved slowly, stretching as he clamored to his feet. He touched the revolver on his hip and sauntered towards the door, ignoring the man’s ramblings. He looked to the old clerk who was pointing down the road towards the edge of town. The sheriff pushed his hat firmly down on his head as he walked towards the edge of town. Was it bandits? A robbery? Perhaps a damsel in distress?

He paused as he saw a shadowy figure at the end of the road. He recognized the signature dust jacket flapping in the wind. It wasn’t merely a bandit; it was the bandit; the notorious Timothy Hale. The sheriff looked down to his shirt to make sure his badge suitably displayed his position. He gave the shiny piece of copper a brush of his sleeve as his other hand found comfort in the wooden handle of his gun. Before he could draw his…

The man looked up from the paperback he was reading. The small lamp in the hospital room dimly lit his pages. The full moon shining through floor to ceiling windows illuminated the small figures’ face in the hospital bed. The man leaned forward and brushed the hair off the young boy’s face revealing the all-to-familiar scar crossing over his right eyebrow. The man’s sigh was drowned out by the beeping of machines and oxygen being pumped into the kid’s nose. He leaned back and closed the book.

A weak voice spoke up. “What happens next?”

The man choked as he responded. “We’ll finish it tomorrow Tim.”

“But dad,” the voice wheezed,  “you promised…”