Marshal Ellis discovers he may just be in over his head as he condemns a local man, turned fae, to the cold iron tether at the outskirts of town. (21 min)
Marshal Byron Ellis stomped on the wooden step kicking free a clod of dirt and horse manure from his heel. He nudged the pungent lump off the step and into the strip of bare earth some might call a street. Main Street, of the frontier town of Lookout, population 186. Soon to be 185 by Ellis’ count.
Several squat buildings rose along the dirt street, their sides alternately splashed and scoured by the crimson dust. Beyond lay an endless expanse of prairie, feathery grass nodding rhythmically to the return of the swollen sun stirring low on the horizon.
Silently, Ellis watched as light crept out across the prairie. Cattle bellowed somewhere east of town and a bell clanged at the nearby slaughterhouse. Ellis gave a strangled cough as the prairie wind shifted carrying the stench of rotting flesh. With a stray pat on his horse’s sinewy shoulder, Ellis bounded up the steps toward the jailhouse.
Reaching down, Ellis let his hand hover over the .36 caliber Navy revolver holstered at his side. The gun sprang forward into his hand. Using his thumb to trace the runes etched into the grip, he flexed his wrist and twisted the weapon left, then right, settling it on an outstretched palm. He could swear it was a bit off balance. He hated using cold-iron shot. He hoped there wouldn’t be a need.