• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 03
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The Widow

She no longer cared about her state of dress. Since he died from that rattlesnake bite, Dezl now worked from the crack of dawn to the final whisps of day on the ranch that was his, now hers. There hadn't even been time for her to mourn.

They had only been married a few months. His parents died before she met him, and all his sisters had left the county, maybe even the state. He never talked about them much, they didn't bother to come to the funeral or the wedding. Only she was there to bury him next to his mother and father.

Dezl found it strange that no one came by the ranch anymore. Not that there were many visitors, but on occasion, a salesman or a carpetbagger would show his mealy face and pitch some product that would make her life easier for a few dollars. She huffed contempt while unbaling hay to feed the horses, staring at the condition of the stalls as she did so to determine when she needed to muck them again.

What a life. To go from being a dancer in Carson City, she thought, to owning my own ranch and a being a widow in a year's time. It may be everything I ever dreamed of, but ownership is so lonely when there's not a single human to share it with.

He never took any photographs. He used to visit her in the city every time a herd was sold and put on the train. He loved her, but not enough to keep himself from getting bit and dying by a damn snake. She threw down the hay and picked up the rifle.


The Widow

She had never carried a rifle before he died. It took her the entire three months to figure out how to use and maintain it. Dezl was lucky that she hadn't hurt herself, but she didn't know that.

She headed out for the woods, shells in her pocket, hoping to bag a pheasant or some other game to feed her for the coming weeks. The larder's chicken and salted pork was rancid. She was never a good housekeeper, and now there was no need to clean at all.

Carrying her rifle buttstock up, Dezl trod headfirst and barefoot into the woods. Her actions made clear that her mind was elsewhere, dwelling on something. He loved that about her, the way that she would disappear while he stared in wonder and adoration.

She sniffed tears back. There was a flutter. She grabbed at the muzzle to pull the rifle down and bring the buttstock to her shoulder. The shot rang out. A scream.

No one lives on the Platz ranch anymore The locals say it's cursed Platz got himself a bride; a few months later he died. A few months after that, she died too. Strange things happen there. Stay away.