A Piece Of The Fortune
(Old West)

by Rob

It was a scorching and boring day in Four Corners. Everyone seemed to have something to do except for the seven men hired to protect the town from any trouble. JD sat in the sheriff's office, daydreaming, Nathan was tending to his surgery utensils, Ezra sat inside the saloon, entertaining himself with solitaire and whiskey, and Chris leaned against a pole in the shade as he watched Buck, Josiah, and Vin meeting with the stage that had just arrived in town. Buck would be there to see if any new ladies were in town, Vin would be checking for news on the trail, and Josiah was probably just bored, Chris figured.

The stage contained two passengers. One plump, old man and a beautiful young blonde lady, dressed to perfection. Buck, of course, took it upon himself to welcome the visitors to the town, leaving Josiah and Vin to tend to the luggage. "Howdy folks, welcome to Four Corners." Buck beamed.

The old man merely snorted and brushed past Buck to recieve his suitcases and head to the hotel, but the young lady smiled and Buck's hospitality. "Ma'am, the name's Buck Wimington, and I'll be your guide to the town of Four Corners if you'd like the company," he said, helping her from the stagecoach.

"Thank you Mr. Wilmington. My name is Belle Packard and I'm on my way to Denver from Tuscosa."

At the mention of Tuscosa, Vin ducked around the stage to talk to the driver, leaving Josiah to fend for himself against all of the lady's luggage. "Buck, how about some help?"

Buck tipped his hat to the young lady and took a small package from Josiah. He then returned to Miss Packard and lead her to the hotel, once again, stranding Josiah.

"How's the trail?" Vin asked.

"Empty. Not a damn thing's out today. It's too hot." The driver paused, runing his hand across his forehead. "I need a drink."

The driver was right, no man in his right mind would be out today.


Nick York, a young man of twenty, apparently wasn't in his right mind. He'd been walking since an hour after sunup after he'd shot his horse when it had come up lame. Nothing was going through his mind now but surviving. The temptation to lay down and die was becoming stronger with every step he took, but the town of Four Corners was closer with every step he took. He could even see it on the horizon now.

Each step was a challenge and every step was a victory. Step by step, he made his way into the town. York was totally oblivious to the goingons around him. His only thought of was lying down and resting. The first building he recognized was the sheriff's office and he figured there would be a bed in the cell, so he plodded in and collapsed on the cot, ignoring JD's questions and odd looks. As soon as his body hit the cot, everything went black.


When York woke up, he was staring into the kind face of the doctor in town. Or so he presumed. A young man around Nick's age sat at a desk, talking to a man with long brown hair and another man clad in black. He looked frantically around and saw the bars of the cell and sat upright. "You got no call to keep me in here. I didn't do nothing."

The black man whom he'd waken up to put a hand on his shoulder. "Easy son, you haven't been arrested for nothing. You just passed out from heat exhaustion."

The man clad in black moved to the bedside. "What's your name son?"

"Nick York. Who are you?"

"Name's Chris Larabee. This healer here's Nathan." He indicated the other two men. "They're Vin and JD. How'd you end up on foot in this weather?"

"Horse came up lame."

"Why didn't you wait till nightfall?"

Nick began to tell him the truth, but decided against it. "Didn't know any better."

JD smiled in the background. "Even I know not to be walking in the sun on a day like today," he said to Vin.

Nick shot him a hard glance over Chris' shoulder, quickly silencing him.

"We got some water here for you. Drink up, but drink slowly," Nathan advised.

"Much obliged."

Chris wiped the sweat from his brow. "When you feel up to it, head over to the restaurant and get something to eat. I'm sure they won't mind feeding you."

York flinched. "I don't need charity, Mr. Larabee. I can handle myself."

Chris shrugged. "Suit yourself." He turned and left, the others following suit. As soon as they were gone, Nick pulled off his boots and pulled out the money he'd hidden there, thanking the Lord the doctor hadn't pulled his boots off.


Ezra sat watching the new arrival from inside the saloon. He exited the sherriff's office and headed directly to the general store, tipping his hat to Mary Travis on his way. She, in turn, nodded hello. Ezra smiled, wondering what Mrs. Travis was thinking of the young ruffian who'd just breezed into town. He sat shuffling the deck of cards in front of him. A long time passed before the young man exited the store, and Ezra barely noticed him when he did. He had exchanged his sweat soaked and dirty clothes for attire suitable to go to church in. A new pair of black, sturdy boots adorned his feet, sharply pressed black pants, a fine belt and buckle, a emmaculately clean white shirt covered by a silver and black vest, and topped off with a nice black coat that went down to the middle of the man's thighs.

The man stopped outside the door of the store and waited in the shade of the awning, withdrawing a gold pocketwatch. He wound it and glanced at the sun, to double check the time. Just then, the shopkeeper's boy hurried out with a fine black stetson the man placed on his head, covering up the brown-turned-blonde hair. The man's strong, tanned face made him look even older than the youthful age he was. As he headed towards the saloon, a slight breese caught the right side of the jacket, revealing the young man's buntline special, tied low on his hip.

Ezra found himself wondering if it was possible for him to have a son that age, and quickly dismissed it. Although, this boy would be an excellent candidate for a game of cards, he thought. If he had the money to buy a new outfit such as that, he had money to lose in poker.

Ezra smiled to himself as the young man entered the saloon, approaching the bar. As soon as the boy had ordered a drink, Ezra would propose a game of cards to the new arrival to Four Corners.

"Where's the preacher man?" the boy asked, suprising Ezra and Chris, who too had been watching the transformed young man's entrance, and noting Ezra's anticipation.

The barkeep indicated the church. "Probably there, working on that roof of his."

The new arrival nodded. "Many thanks," and walked out, knowing the eyes of the black clad man and the gambler on the other side of the saloon were on him.


"Hey, you're really not in any shape to be out," Nathan called from the roof of the church.

"You the preacher hereabouts, too?" Nick York asked.

"Naw, but the fella on the other side is."

York walked around to see a large man with a cross pendant hanging from around his neck, wearing a brown shirt, that sweat had soaked through, hammering away at the roof of the church. "Preacher!"

York waited a minute before he tried again. "Preacher!" He was about to toss a stone up close to the man when the black doctor nudged the preacher and indicated York awaiting him on the ground.

When the two men reached the ground, the doctor tried his reasoning again. "Son, you've been through a lot today. You best lie back and rest."

"I'll be fine. I've rested all I can afford to and had plenty of water."

"Have you ate yet?"

"I will. First, I have some matters to discuss here."

The preacher nodded to his doctor friend and York and the preacher headed inside. "Excuse me for a minute while I change shirts." He retreated into another room and called out, "My name is Josiah Sanchez."

The young man looked around the almost bare church. "Nick York," he replied.

Josiah appeared out of the room, in a clean, faded blue shirt. "Mr. York, what can I help you with?"

"I understand you're one of the seven."

Josiah nodded. "I see our reputation has spread."

"Yeah, it has. Listen, there's some men that'll be coming into town today after me, and I just want you to know I didn't steal anything from them that was rightfully their's to begin with."

Josiah put a hand on Nick York's shoulder. "Why don't you explain everything to me and then we'll go get you some food. I hear you've had a rough day."


JD was still shook up about how the man had just barged into his office and didn't acknowledge his presence. He'd meant to talk it over with Buck, but when he found him in the restaurant, he was with a woman, as usual. But this time Buck wasn't flirting as he usually was, he just seemed to be listening. Buck intoruced JD and Miss Packard and she motioned for him to sit down, warning him she was in the middle of a depressing story. JD smiled and sat, listening to the beautiful young woman tell how she'd escaped the San Antonio whore houses and was bound and determined to make it to Denver. No one would ever look for her there.

When JD asked why someone would be looking for her, Buck shot him a cold glance. Miss Packard didn't seem to mind. "I killed a man who beat one of my friends to death and was coming after me."

"Well then it's self defense," JD offered.

"When a whore kills the mayor's son, it's murder," she said flatly.

JD and Buck were both silenced at the turn the tale had taken. Before anyone could say anything, Nick York came in and sat himself down at a table across the room. Vin was lounging outside, and Josiah said something to him. Vin turned and left, at a brisk pace. When Josiah entered, he motioned for Buck and JD to join him and Nick at their table to introduce them to the young man. JD waned, but Buck drug him along, and Belle Packard followed along, curiouslly.

"Boys," Josiah started, "this is Nick York. Nick, this is JD Dunne and Buck Wilmington. And the young lady I don't know."

She stuck out her hand, immediately. "I'm Miss Belle Packard. Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Josiah shook her hand and introduced himself. York tipped his hat. "Nick York, ma'am, and the pleasure's all mine. Howdy Mr. Wilmington, and Mr. Dunne, sorry about my abrupt behavior earlier today."

Josiah noted the interest in the young lady's eyes at Nick. "Miss Packard, would you be so kind as to keep Mr. York company while I have a word with my friends outside?"

"I'd be delighted." She sat down and began asking Nick about his arrival in town this morning, what everyone was talking about, as Josiah headed out with JD and Buck to tell them and the others of the fifteen riders headed for Four Corners after Nick York and his eight thousand dollars.


Vin looked to Chris when the warning came, who just grimaced and rolled his eyes. He knew that damn kid was trouble. "How long 'til the get here?" Vin asked.

Josiah only shrugged. "He just said they would probably be here today. He'd had a day and a half on them, but he lost a lot of time with that walk this morning."

Ezra tried to hide the smile, eight thousand dollars! Granted, it had been a while since his last good scam, but that kind of money definately demanded some attention, even for someone rusty like him. He looked over JD's shoulder into the restaurant, where Nick York and a pretty young lady sat. "How did he get that much money?"

"Stole it," Josiah answered.

Buck was getting antsy. He never liked waiting for a fight. "You mean we're supposed to wait around to protect a kid who stole eigth thousand dollar?"

Josiah raised his hand to silence Buck and any other protests. "The men riding into town killed his father and took the money, Nick stole it from them two days ago."

"Where did the eight thousand dollars come from?" Chris asked.

"He said his father had saved it up and were planning to buy a spread."

Chris sighed. "Alright boys, get ready."

He turned to go and Vin followed, wanting to discuss the turn of events. "Where you going?" JD asked.

Without turning around, Vin and Chris both said, "Saloon."


Buck decided he wanted to get Belle out of harm's way, and JD was following, hoping to resume their conversation. They headed back into the restaurant just as Nick and Belle were rising from the table. "Miss Packard," Buck said, "we best get you back to your room." He shot a glance at Nick. "Trouble's riding into town."

Belle, on Nick's arm, smiled gently at Buck. "Thank you for your gallantry, Mr. Wilmington, but Mr. York was just escorting me to the general store and then back to the hotel. This trouble will just have to wait until I'm off the street."

Buck looked at Nick, who nodded. "I'll be sure to keep her out of harm's way."

JD watched as the two new arrivals left the restaurant. "Well, that's just great."

"What's great?"

JD paused. "I'm not sure, but it seemed like something to say at the time."


Ezra sat outside the saloon, ruffling an old deck of cards, as he watched Nick and the pretty young lady head towards the general store. Once again, Mary Travis passed them, and Nick tipped his hat. This time, Mrs. Travis was more willing to acknowledge him. How odd, Ezra thought, an hour ago she wouldn't give him the time of day. I guess you need to be a well dressed gentleman to tip your hat in this town.

He waited a few minutes, until they emerged from the store and headed towards the hotel. Ezra proceeded behind them slowly, not wanting to attract Mr. York's attention until he was alone. He leaned against an awning post outside the hotel and watched the two youngsters through the window. The exchanged a few words, and she kissed him on the cheek, and then headed up the stairs.

As Nick emerged from the hotel, Ezra commented only loudly enough so he could hear, "The young lady seems to take a shine to you."

Nick had noticed the well dressed man who'd seemed to have taken an interest in him. "Yes sir, I'll be seeing her on her trip to Denver on tomorrow's stage."

"You seem awfully confident that no harm will come to you until then."

"I have trust in you. You are one of the seven, aren't you?"

"Yes I am, Ezra Standish, I'll be protecting you today."

"Mr. Standish, believe me, you won't be protecting me. I warned your friend so y'all can take care of the town. I can watch out for myself."

"Oh, I don't doubt that, Mr. York. But what if you were to befall on the harsh wind of death? Who would get the young lady to Denver then?"

"I'll get her there."

"I have no doubt, sir, I just plan for the worst case scenario. Perhaps you would like me to help you?"

"What did you have in mind?"

"Simply stated, when your nemesises ride into town today, I make it a point you don't recieve any unjust injuries, all for a small fee, of course."

"Not interested. Thanks anyway."

Nick turned to leave,and Ezra smiled grimly. He really was rusty with conning people.


Josiah and Nathan stood outside the church, wondering if they should even head up the ladder to the roof. It seemed every time they tried to get some work done, some trouble popped up.

"You believe him?" Nathan asked.

"I have no reason not to," Josiah answered, looking off into the horizon. "You don't?"

"I don't have any reason not to, either, but I think some of the boys don't."

Josiah nodded. Nathan continued, "I just hope when push comes to shove, everyones' on the right side."

"That is neither for you nor I to decide, my friend."

Nathan rubbed his jaw. "You want to get back to work up there?" he asked, indicating the still unfinished roof.

"No, the roof will just have to wait another day. I believe we could be more helpful in the bowels of town."


Chris and Vin sat at their usual table, mulling over the turn of events. Was this what the mountain man and the gunslinger had been reduced to: having young kids like this one come into town searching for protection? They were hired on to protect the town, does that include the people who bring trouble to town? Vin said as much to Chris.

"If that kid gets shot, it's no skin off my nose. I'm just making sure no one in town gets hurt."

"But what if this kid is just the beginning? Word spreads fast in the west. Everyone knows of us and this town. Maybe not by name, but by reputation. So now every half wit that gets himself in trouble comes running hell bent for Sunday to Four Corners for protection? I don't have a problem with this kid, I think he's straight. I just have a problem with the idea of what this could lead to."


York leaned against the post of the hotel, watching the dust come out of the horizon. Miss Packard was engulfed in the idea of a new beginning, and kept on about it to him, thanking him over and over again for the chance. The second she stopped to take a breath, he put a finger up to her lips. "Ma'am, I think it's best you get inside. Trouble's coming." Before she turned to go, he pulled her close. And on the pretense of kissing her, slipped half of his money into her small purse. He kissed her lightly and whispered in her ear, "Get to your room. If I wouldn't make it out of this, you have enough money on you."

She began to look in her purse but he stopped her, wondering if Mr. Standish was watching. She smiled, thanked him, and hurried inside, leaving him to face the twenty men coming to town. The thought crossed his mind of bolting to the saloon and getting the town's protectors, but he decided not to. They would be here any minute.


Ezra definately was watching, but he missed the exchange of money. He did, however, see the young man whisper in her ear, and figured he was giving her instructions as to where the money was hidden. As he mulled the possibilities over in his mind, he caught sight of the approaching cloud of dust. So here were the fifteen men they'd been warned about. Well, the con will just have to wait, Ezra thought. He turned on his heel and headed to go retract Vin and Chris from the saloon.


The pounding of hooves was clearly evident to Buck and JD, who'd still hadn't finished their meal. Buck rolled his eyes and JD sighed as they marched outside once again, this time meeting Josiah and Nathan on the boardwalk. They didn't exchange a word between them, just stood and watched as fifteen rough men came into town with one thing on all of their minds: the kid's money.

A big man on a black gelding spun around, trying to show he was the leader, obviously. "I'm looking for Nick York. He has something that is mine, and I will reward anyone who helps me get it back."

Chris and Vin, leaning against the framework of the saloon, were unimpressed by the man's attempt at showmanship. They were, however, taken aback at the southern voice that called out to the man.

"Good sir, if I were to deliver this young man to you, how much would it be worth?"

Chris and Vin exchanged glances, wondering if this was a bluff or a money making attempt. A rage burned down in York's gut, as he almost yelled out from the crowd that had engulfed him, coming to see the new arrivals and keeping him from them at the same time. But before he could make himself heard, the young man from the sheriff's office called out. "Ezra, have you gone nuts?"

The well dressed man simply smiled back at his young comrade. "Why no, Mr. Dunne, I have not. I was simply inquiring as to how much my services would be worth to this gentleman." He turned to the leader, waiting for a reply.

"Five hundred dollars." A gasp arose from the crowd, some of them ready to volunteer the man themselves.

Ezra let a small laugh escape from his mouth. "Why sir, I believe we would never be able to work together. You see, young Mr. York has hired myself and my friends to protect him for one thousand dollars."

A larger gasp came from the crowd and York was compelled to begin a tirade of obscenities when the gangleader cut him short. "That's my damn money! You will give it back to me right now!"

"Like hell it is!" The crowd automatically parted at York's voice, giving him liberty to saunter to the road, directly in front of the leader. "This ain't your money, you killed my pa and stole it from him. And trust me, Mewes, none of these gents have any of the money. I don't need to pay folks to protect me from yellow bellies like you."

Mewes grew red in the face. "Boy! No one calls me yellow!"

York stepped a bit to the left, putting Mewes between himself and most of the gang. "What else would you call a fella who shoots an old man in the back, whacks his son on the head with a shovel, leaving him for dead, and then rides in here with fourteen other yellows to come after the boy you should've killed in the first place?"

"I'd call that yellow." JD stepped down from the porch, thumbs in his pockets.

"Yup, sounds yellow to me," Buck agreed, moving beside JD.

Vin nodded from his leaning position, "Don't get much yellower."

Chris smiled wryly. "Well, he could have twenty men. That would be yellower."

Nathan chuckled as he moved around to flank the other side of the gang, tossing a knife in his hand. "Yellow's yellow, boys."

Mewes was livid at people he'd never even met calling him yellow. All because of this punk kid who should've died. He lunged from his horse towards him and York quickly sidestepped. Mewes landed face down on the dirt and came up, his face bright crimson. "Give me the money kid!"

Ezra stood behind the gangleader and tapped him on his shoulder. The man spun around to catch a glimpse of Josiah's face, right before the shovel hit him. "Eye for an eye," he commented, leaning on the shovel handle.

Another rider on a horse turned to the others and muttered something, they all seemed to agree. The remaining fourteen horsemen turned and left town. JD remained where he was, aghast. "Fifteen men come into town after all that money, and all it takes is Josiah hitting one with a shovel? Where's the adventure in that?"

The other six and a score of townsfolk groaned at JD's protest. The crowd quickly dispersed, leaving the seven on the street with Nick York and the crumpled body of Mewes. York was about to thank Josiah when a shot rang out and hooves came thundering back into town.

The eight men dove out to either side, and drew their weapons. Another shot rang out from the gang and dust kicked up by Chris and Josiah. A knife flew from Nathan's hand, lodging itself in a man's neck. As he fell from his horse, Buck leveled off a shot, bringing down another gangmember as two shots came dreadfully close to Ezra and Nick. "You wouldn't be rethinking my offer, would you?" Ezra asked him.

Vin hammered off two shots, placing them both in a member's chest right as Chris placed a shot in another man's shoulder. As he screamed out in pain, Chris' second bullet cut him down. York leveled his new pistol and it misfired, burning his hand. "Damn it!" He looked to Ezra. "No dice."

Ezra moved behind a water trough that was nearby, putting a shot into a man's knee, another shot from someone else brought the rider down. Josiah still had the shovel in his hands and flung it at the nearest rider, the blade of the shovel hitting his hip. Chris, right next to him, threw led into the man as Josiah drew his pistol, finally.

The remaining eight riders split off into alleyways around town, trying to lure the protectors after them as they lay in waiting for them.

Everyone looked to Chris, who nodded back at all of them. York promptly thrust his burnt hand into the trough where Ezra crouched. "Mr. York, if you feel, you don't require my personal services, maybe you would be interested in purchasing a firearm for a nominal fee."

York produced a work revolver from under his coat. "I'll do fine, Mr. Standish." With that, he moved around a corner to come up on Buck who was moving slowly towards the end of the alley. He nodded to the kid and they moved on.


Chris headed the roundabout way around the buildings alone, moving stealthily. As he rounded the corner, the rump of a horse stood at the other end of the building. He moved silently towards it, walking into the trap. As Chris moved towards the horse, a man dropped to the ground behind him from the roof, his gun hesitating only an instant before a shot would ring out. But in that instatn, Chris spun and placed two shots at point blank range into the man's midsection, stifling the man's attempt to kill him.


Vin and Nathan moved down another alley, along the trail of two horsemen. They stopped ten feet from the end of the alley, where a shadow of one man showed on one side. They both naturally figured that one man stood on either side, lying in wait. "Stupid," Vin whispered, indicating the poorly made trap. Nathan nodded and smiled, as he motioned to an empty barrel that stood to his side. Vin picked up on the idea and they both picked it up and hurled it into the empty area at the end of the alley, hitting the ground right where it opened up and the two men stood. Two shots rang out as soon as the barrel cleared, followed by two thuds. The dead men both assumed that the first thing to clear the alleyway would be one of the men chasing them. Vin shook his head and Nathan chuckled at the morbid stupidity.


A rock grated under a boot behind JD and he spun around, ready to fire, only finding Josiah behing him. "You could get killed sneaking up on someone like that."

"We wouldn't want that, so you stick close, then."

JD did as ordered, as they moved around a building, eyes peeled for trouble. JD glanced at the ground. "Three men," he said, indicating the tracks. He couldn't help but feeling proud for finally being able to use the skills Vin had taught him. Josiah nodded in agreement and indicated a pile of crates to one side, twenty feet ahead. JD realized they had no cover and were to far into the alley to turn back. They'd surely be gunned down.

A thought came to JD as he passed a ladder. He holstered his pistol, and picked up the ladder, catching Josiah's eye. The boy hurled it towards the pile where their enemies were hiding. It crashed all around them, and Josiah hammered off three shots, one kicking up dirt in one man's face, another going through the same man's temple, and the third catching a second man in the throat.

JD raised his pistol and squeezed the trigger just as the wall next to him exploded into splinter fragments from a bullet. His furst bullet caught the man in the left elbow, and his second shot pierced his heart.

Ezra had joined Nick York and Buck as they went after the last two gang members. The alley was empty and the buildings here were too high to climb in such a short amount of time, so they had no fear of ambush. The three moved quickly towards the end of the lane, and paused only for an instant at the end. Buck was cooly collected, shooting men like these was nothing new to him. He looked to Ezra, who seemed a bit skittish, as he usually seemed when it came to killing, and York, the young man who'd brought this trouble here still winced in pain due to his burnt hand. The two well dressed men looked to Buck who nodded back to them.

The three dove out into the open, York firing off to the right, and Buck and Ezra placing shotsto the left. As they landed on the thick grass behind the buildings, the three men darted for cover. Just as they had expected, a man was on either side of the alley, waiting for someone to come out after them. The only thing that saved the three from having stomachs full of lead was the quick entrance they made, catching the gangmembers off guard.

York rolled along down a slight hill, crashing into an old wagon wheel. His back cracked and popped on impact, but he quickly lurched up and levered off another shot at the man on the right, who was raising his gun for another shot. York's bullet landed, and a crimson wave of red began flowing from the man's ribs. He howled out in pain, and York placed another shot into the man, killing him.

Buck knew exactly where he was going when he hit the ground. He had had a few late night flings with a few ladies back here, and found the hay wagon right where it should be. He jumped into the back and fired a shot to the man shooting at Ezra, who was caught off guard by the downgrade of the land. As he rolled down the hill, out of the line of fire, his Buntline revolver also rolled out of his hand, and was momentarily lost in the thick grass. He flicked his wrist and produced the derringer, which would only shoot once before it needed to reload. He crept back up the hill to see Buck fire a shot, making the gangmember's shoulder explode in blood. Buck lifted his revolver to fire again and it merely clicked on an empty chamber.

Ezra could see the gangmember had been hit by at least three bullets, but he still seemed to have enough strength in him to place a shot mere inches from Buck's position. Ezra yelled out to Buck and as his mustached friend turned slightly, he tossed the derringer to him. Another shot from the man rang out, splattering hay all over Buck as he grasped the derringer fromt he air. Buck fumbled with it for an instant, and then aimed, fired, and watched the man slump against the back wall of the building, killed by the bullet from the derringer.


The stage driver was loading up the last of Belle Packard's possessions as she said goodbye to Buck and JD. Buck helped her into the stage and tipped his hat as she blew kisses to the scoundrel and the kid. They moved away from the stage to bid farewell to Nick York. He shook hands with them and turned to thank Nathan for saving him from the desert, Josiah from saving him from Mewes, and Vin and Chris for their help with the remaining members of the gang. Ezra leaned against the wheel of the stage as York turned to him. "I am still perplexed as to how we can work out my fee," he drawled.

York withdrew five hundred dollars, much to Ezra's surprise. He figured the kid's money was a lost cause. The boy also with drew a silver dollar. "Heads, I give this to Nathan and Josiah for the church and help with the doctor's office. I waste it on you." He flipped the coin up into the air and as soon as it hit the ground, he handed the money to the preacher. "Thanks," he added, and loaded himself into the stage to join Belle on her trek to Denver.

They watched as the stage pulled out of town, and Ezra moved down retrieve the silver dollar the kid had left on the ground. He twirled it between his fingers to reveal a two headed coin. He looked up to see Josiah looking at him, a faint smile on his face. Ezra grinned back. "At least I got a piece of the fortune."


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