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The Melody of Death
Written by Klara's Boy

The green slope was high enough to give shelter from the stench that was carried over the grassy ridges by the stiff breeze. The man looked up and saw the grey mist of powder-smoke drifting in the warm wind. Now the canons were silent and still he could feel the vibrating breath of battle. It was a terribly hot day and with hundreds of torn bodies lying on the bloody hills soon another revolting stench would mix with the warm stink of the gunpowder. The reaper had enjoyed his field day and it had been a rich harvest.

The bearded sergeant in the dusty grey uniform was tired and testy. The grazing shot in his shoulder hurt and he was thirsty as hell … and deep down afraid out of his wits. Soon the Yankees would return, bringing reinforcement up and he had no taste for being there when that happened. He was in charge of the small group of rugged and worn-out men in grey behind him, sitting in the shadow of the trees right next to the barn. That was all that was left of his brave regiment. His comrades were apparently thankful for the short rest. One or two were taking care of their still bleeding wounds others were about to fall asleep. The heat had become hardly bearable. Not a single cloud was on the blue sky.

The man pulled a long knife out of his leather belt and let his dirty fingers glide over the sharp blade. Then he turned around and with a surprisingly elegant swing he let the knife fly. A second later the point of the blade buried itself in the door of the barn. The man smiled. He hadn't lost his touch. Now an eerie moaning could be heard inside the barn, silent yet unmistakable, a desperate plea for water …

The sergeant walked over to the barn and jerked his knife out of the wood. That very moment one of his boys, a young fellow with a deep cut in his right cheek who was just preparing coffee at a little fire pointed to the crest of the hill. All his friends jumped on their bare feet, grabbing their muskets and revolvers. A lonely rider had appeared up there, looking like an iron statue for a moment. Then other horsemen joined him, coming over the ridge: four, five, seven … until fourteen riders were gathered up there, overlooking the terrain.

The sergeant with the sore shoulder put the knife back into his belt and covered his eyes. Now the riders set their horses into motion and galloped down the hill. When they were near enough the exhausted soldiers in front of the barn held their breath in awe and lowered their rifles: they had recognized the horseman who led that column. It was on old man with a white beard on a grey horse, wearing the unadorned uniform of a common colonel of the Confederacy. But only a blind fool would mistake the very God of War for an ordinary officer.

Right in front of the barn the old man stopped his grey horse and signaled his fellow officers to halt. The man with the knife in the belt saluted. The regal man with the dark eyes bowed forward and tried to catch a glimpse of what was in that barn. Then he turned to the sweating sergeant who was still standing to attention. His voice was soft, dark, like black satin, full of fatherly authority and undaunted self-confidence. To him all was in God´s hands.
“At ease, sergeant. What is the situation here?”

The sergeant looked back to the barn. Again a ghostly moan could be heard from inside.
“Well, General, those yellow Yankees ran like rabbits an hour ago, scared out of their mind. They even left their wounded behind in that barn. Must be more than a dozen. We just arrived and tried to get some rest, sir. Was a hell of a fight, beg your pardon, sir, but that´s what it was, lost almost my entire outfit, sir. Was an awful mess back there, sir.”

The face of the General remained without expression: his whole appearance revealed a stoic calmness compared with bravery and clemency.
“You will take care of those people in there, sergeant.”
“Yessir”

Without any further orders Lee signaled his officers to continue the ride. Duty towards the Holy Cause of the South called. The whole group passed by in a hurry and soon disappeared between the desiccated bushes, raising red dust on the stony path.

Seconds later the sergeant was alone again with the miserable rest of his regiment. Canon fire started again in the distance, somewhere at the river a couple of miles to the West. Yes, the Yankees were approaching and soon the fight would start again. Their lead element would reach the hill within two or three hours. And Lee would send more men into the slaughter. It was time to go. The sergeant looked up. The relentless sun was now right above his head and for an instant he felt dizzy and sick.

With a gentle movement the sergeant pulled a little round object out of his pocket and opened it. A second later a wonderful melody could be heard, tender and light as a butterfly made out of music, a tiny miracle in the midst of death and devastation. The little pocket watch was now a priceless source of comfort, granting him just a few heartbeats of relaxation, just to close the burning eyes and …

“What now, sergeant?”
The man was still listening to the sweet melody, seemingly not paying attention to the timid question of his fellow soldier behind him. But then he looked up, straight in the direction from which the cannon fire came. Along the banks of the river grey mist was floating in the hot air again. Soon hell will break loose again and many more men would meet their maker on those hills near the river. All was indeed in God´s hands now.

“Well, the way I see it, boys: the bluebellies will be here soon enough and we better get the hell out of here. Gotta confess that I have no taste meeting them. There will be the devil to pay.”

“What about them Yankees in there, sir?”
The lovely melody was still playing in the sergeant´s sweaty hands. Again he could feel a sharp pain in his shoulder. His mouth was dry, his sore feet hurt and unspeakable hate darkened his mind.

“You heard the General, boys. Take care of them.”

The wonderful melody was still playing when dry branches were picked up and lit in the fire. It was still playing when the door of the barn was closed and the torches were thrown in through the windows.

And when terrible screams could be heard inside the burning building the sergeant gently closed the watch and put it carefully back into his pocket.

***

“Danny, don´t try anything stupid, you will regret later. Now hand me that gun and …”

Hamilton tried to calm the boy down but as a bullet hit the wall behind the banker a second later, it became very clear that the young man had absolutely no intention to give up his Colt. Another shot into the ceiling left an ugly hole up there.

“I wanted … one more  drink in … the saloon but Sweeney … would not give me one … without paying … so I came here to get money … that´s a bank … and I want money … I want my whisky … and I will get it …”

“All you get is a night in my prison cell, Danny. Drop that gun.”
When the drunken fellow turned around he saw Micah standing in the door of the bank with his double-barreled shotgun trained at the young trouble-maker. For a moment Danny had no idea how to deal with the situation. Micah hoped that he would manage to persuade the boy to come with him without further resistance.

“Look, son, nobody is hurt so far. You give me that gun of yours and come with me. I will tell your mother that you are at my place, safe and sound and everything will be just fine. Now be a good boy and give me that gun, alright?”

***

Lucas was in a splendid mood. After the long weeks of winter he enjoyed the warm sun of spring. Life was blossoming all over his ranch, the cattle were grassing and the air was so refreshingly crisp. He had enjoyed the long evenings with Mark in front of the fireside while the icy storms were howling outside but now he was grateful for the warmth and the joy spring would bring. So he headed for the town, planning to make a withdrawal at the bank to purchase some tools and groceries. Maybe he would have lunch with Micah at the hotel and Mark would join them after school. It would be a great day, full of sun and laughter.

He was looking forward seeing the Marshal again. He enormously admired the old man for the way he did his job. North Fork was a good place to bring up a boy thanks to Micah and …

Just when Lucas rode into town he saw the crowd in front of the bank and just as lifted his head to take a better look he heard the thundering roar of a double-barreled shotgun.

“Micah …!”

***

The old woman stood there like a ghost watching the crowd on the street. Everything around her was so far away. She saw three men carrying away a body and she knew that that body was her only son. Somewhere in the crowd she could see the Marshal´s face, sweaty and pale, full of doubt and sorrow for what he had done and she could hear the towering sodbuster´s voice somewhere next to her, trying to talk to her, expressing how sorry he was. No need for that!

Danny was dead, killed by the law. Danny had pointed the gun at the law there in the bank and the law had killed him for that. And so Danny had died. It was so terribly simple. And so all that was left to her was just turning around and walk away from the law and the voices and the bank.  And while she kept on walking the world became blissfully unreal and light. All the pain vanished and the noise grew silent and all she could hear now was her son´s voice calling her from far away and when her heart beat a last time she even smiled. Her haggard body dropped to ground and when Lucas rushed over to her and turned her gently around she was still smiling …

***

Sitting on the porch Lucas starred out into the darkness, blowing tense tobacco clouds out of his mouth and nose but the cigar didn´t seem to taste. Mark was finished with the dishes and stepped outside.
“Pa …?”
Lucas turned his head. He saw his son´s pensive face and couldn´t help feeling sorry for him. It was quite a lot for a day.
“What can I do for you, son?”
“You know … is it true what people say in town? That old Missus Grierson died because of a broken heart today? When she saw her son´s body? It´s so hard to understand. Danny had been the greatest bully and mischief-maker in the territory causing her nothing but grief and sorrow and still she loved him.”

Lucas took his time. He had known Danny not too well but everybody had feared his violent temper and his penchant for whisky. It had been clear that his manners would kill him sooner or later.

“You know son: a mother´s love is not linked to any action or behavior of her kids. She loves them just for their existence, just for being there. Sometimes that is hard to understand because we tend to like nice people and keep our distance to people like Danny Grierson. A mother would never do that. She stays close to her son no matter how often he gets drunk.”

Mark tried to grasp that explanation. Growing up without a mother didn´t help.
“My mother was also like that, right?”
Lucas nodded. For a second his lips formed a tender smile full of beautiful memories.
“Of course, son. You should have seen her face when you were born.”
“And what about your mother?”

Lucas turned his head again. Somehow he had not expected that question. Mark´s grandmother was long gone and so Mark hardly ever asked questions about her. But then the rancher tried to find the right words. His mind went back to the summer of ´61 when he put on that blue uniform and followed Lincoln´s call to preserve the nation.

“Well, I remember the evening before I left to join the army when the war broke out. She was proud of me but I think something died in her that day. To know that I would be somewhere out there fighting those rebels made her soul sick with worries. All those worries …”

“Are you sorry now that you became a soldier, Pa?”

“Yes, part of me feels remorse about that decision I guess. I was young and idealistic back then and hungry for adventure and war seemed to be the greatest adventure of all. So she understood why I wanted to fight but I think I will never be able to measure the pain I caused her when I left to fight.”

Now Mark was obviously about to ask a last question before going to bed but he seemed uncertain. But then he just went for it. He just had to know and it was not just for curiosity.

“Pa … would you die of a broken heart if something happened to me just like it happened to Danny Grierson?”

Now Lucas starred again into the darkness that was like an impenetrable wall around his ranch. Somewhere in the hills a hungry coyote was howling.

“Son, if something happened to you, I would still be walking around but I would be dead for the rest of my life.”

***

Late at night Lucas was still unable to find sleep. Mark was already asleep but the rancher still felt mighty uneasy. All those questions had made him feel restless and vulnerable. Then the father silently got up and walked over into the other room where he kept his Winchester. Just feeling its weight made him calm down. His palms sensed the wood and the cold steel. Slowly, inch by inch he lifted the gun up to his shoulder before lowering it again. Now his forefinger touched the trigger. Lucas took a deep breath, feeling better now. He put the gun back where it belonged.
“Nothing will happen to you as long as I am around. I promise you that much, Mark.”

***

The bank was still closed for another half hour so the man decided to wait in the saloon. Sweeney had already opened and was cleaning some glasses when the strangers entered.
“Morning, mister, what can I get you?”
“A beer, cold if possible, please.”

The stranger was a burly man in a brown suit, wearing an elegant top hat, fancy boots and leather cloves. One could mistake him for a wealthy man from the East. But the fancy Colt 45 with ivory grips on his right hip revealed his true nature as a professional gunman.

Right after Sweeney had served the beer a second man entered. Micah went up to the stranger and looked over his shoulder.

“Long way from Kansas, ain´t you, Volkman?”
The stranger turned around and frowned. He looked at Micah and his badge with grey eyes.
“Have me met before, Marshal?”
“I was part of the posse that brought you in seven years ago. Too bad that you don´t remember me.  I remember you very well.”

The stranger remained calm. He even managed to smile showing his white teeth, although one tooth seemed to be made out of gold.
“Do me a favor and don´t bring old stories up, Marshal. That would show a poor attitude. After all those years in prison I am a free man now. I don´t hold any grudge against anybody and want to be left alone. In fact I am here to do business.”

Micah shook his head. Although the stranger showed a charming smile the old lawman stayed suspicious.
“What kind of business can that be? If it´s in connection with our bank I am afraid I have to arrest you right away. We don´t put up with bank robbers in North Fork, Volkman.”

Now Mister Volkman let out a hearty ripple of laughter. His golden tooth shined.
“As a matter of fact I do intend to pay your Mister Hamilton a visit as soon as the bank opens, for totally legal reasons, of course.”
“I would be most grateful to learn more about your reasons to do that.”

“You heard about the cholera outbreak in Silverton one year ago?”

Micah perfectly recalled all the headlines of the local newspapers back then, dry words telling the writers about death and unspeakable despair in that lawless town.
“What about it?”
“After burying Sue and my kids on the graveyard in Silverton I left to start all over again somewhere else. I am peaceful and law abiding citizen now, trying to build a new life although I still carry my gun. So you better stay off the back of my neck, Mister Torrance.”
Micah´s left arm touched the grip of his gun.
“So you remember me after all, Volkman. In that case you can figure that I will have an eye on you.”

***

Hamilton smiled and shook once again the stranger´s hand.
“Congratulation, Mister Volkman. With that signature you got yourself a nice little place. It´s worth every Cent and if you are prepared to work hard as you told me it will soon be a mighty nice place.”

Volkman nodded. The grip of his hand was firm and warm. His grey eyes showed honest joy about the favorable deal with the bank.
“It was a pleasure doing business with you, Mister Hamilton. Although I must say that I am sorry about the fate of the former proprietors I am glad that I heard about that offer.”

Hamilton looked up to ceiling of the room. Still an ugly bullet hole could be seen there.
“Yes, Missus Grierson was such a nice lady, shy but pious and hard-working. I sure wished her son would have come after her. It´s a pity, it sure is. But you have a pretty home now. I hope we can do business again some time.”

***

Mark rode over the ridge, following the thin line of the fence. So far he could not find a single damage. His father would be glad to hear that. Then he saw the smoke rising behind the gently slope. He instantly grew curious. Was anybody at deserted farm of the Griersons? He galloped over the hill and looked down to the small house near the creek.

A man was chopping wood there. Mark was glad to see that someone had moved in again so he decided to welcome the new neighbor.

When Volkman saw the horseman coming down the green ridge his right hand moved down to his Colt at his side but when he realized that his unexpected visitor was only a boy he relaxed. Mark politely tipped his hat.
“Good morning, sir.”
“Good morning, son. Nice day, isn´t it?”

Mark looked at the man who was covered in sweat, the rusty axe still in hand. Pieces of wood covered the ground.
“I could not help seeing the smoke of your fire and I just wanted to welcome you in North Fork. When did you arrive?”
“Just moved in this morning. What´s your name, son?”
“Mark, Mark McCain.”
The stranger frowned for a moment. For a second he seemed to contemplate about that name. But then he smiled.
“Welcome to my new home, Mark. The name´s Volkman, Peter Volkman. Come in and join me for a drink of water. It´s sure hot today.”

Mark thanked the newcomer and dismounted. When the stranger invited him over to the bench in front of the house he smiled again and Mark gazed at the man´s golden tooth which was hardly to ignore. Volkman seemed to be used to the fact that that feature rose people´s attention.
“I lost that tooth in the war, many years ago.”
“Sorry sir, I didn´t mean to be tactless.”
“That´s alright, son. How about that water, Mark?”

While sitting on the bench in the sunshine, Mark looked around. He was glad that the derelict and shabby farm had a new owner, a man who would take care of things out here. Mister Volkman seemed to be a genial fellow and Mark sure enjoyed his company. His father would be happy to have such a nice neighbor.  After finishing his drink of water Volkman smiled again at his guest.
“It´s sure nice having you around, Mark. I hope we will become friends soon.”

***

Lucas stepped into the bank. Hamilton looked up and greeted his old friend.
“Howdy, Lucas. Good to see you again. What brings you here?”
“I would like to have a little bit of my money. Next week we will celebrate Mark´s birthday and I want to buy him something nice.”
“Sure, Lucas. By the way: you have a new neighbor. Today I sold the old farm of the late Missus Grierson to a newcomer. Mighty nice gentleman, I can tell you.”

Lucas smiled about that pleasant surprise. He had thought about purchasing the decrepit farm himself but then he had decided that he had enough land to take care of.

“Glad to hear that. What can you tell me about the new owner, John?”
“A widower and former soldier, at least that´s what he told me. He paid in cash and said he would come often to town to buy tools in order to get things back in shape at his new home.
“And what´s his name?”
“Volkman, Peter Volkman”

***

Micah was still uneasy about the encounter in the saloon that morning. Peter Volkman had been a ruthless man with a reputation, a fast gun, infamous for his many bank robberies. The old lawman still had a hard time picturing the former outlaw as “peaceful and law abiding citizen”. So he got up from his chair and walked over the drawer where he kept all the old Wanted-posters. When he started leafing through the papers his instinct warned him that Volkman´s presence would mean trouble sooner or later.

***

When Mark rode home he was happy. The new neighbor was surely a mighty nice fellow and it was clear that he would pay him more than one visit in the future.
When he took the path that led back to his home he saw a movement on the crest of the hill.
“Pa!”

Lucas galloped down the rise and directed his horse towards his son. The rancher´s face was a stoned mask of hate.
“Mark, have you seen our new neighbor, that fine Mister Volkman?”
“Yes, Pa, I sure have. He is at the old farm right now.”
“What did you do there? I told you to check our fences and not to welcome some stranger. I don´t want you to go ever there ever again, understood?”
“But Pa, we only talked and drank water and I promised him to give him a hand rebuilding the old place whenever I find the time.”
But his Pa was unimpressed. Something had infuriated him.
“What does that man look like?”
“He is not very tall and his hair is already grey and … but he is really nice and friendly … and …”
“Did you notice anything special about him?”

Mark needed a moment to think, recalling all he had learned about his new friend.
“Well, he has a shiny tooth made out of gold and …”
Mark stopped when he saw that his father pulled the rifle out of the scabbard, very slowly, inch by inch. His voice was now dangerously calm and serene.
“Mark, I want you to go back to town and get Micah up here.”
“But Pa …”
Mark was shocked by the cold expression in his father´s eyes. Something was definitely not right …
“But Pa, Mister Volkman is such a nice man. He even likes music. He owns one of those little pocket watches that play a melody when you open them.”

***

Volkman grew tired. Salty sweat was dripping from his forehead and the rusty axe had become heavier in his sore hands. The sun started to get to him and again he felt mighty thirsty. The former outlaw went over to the creek to refresh his face. He filled his hat with water and poured it over his head. He was thankful for the refreshment and … then he heard a distinctive sound a few meters behind him: a Winchester being cocked. He slowly turned around and looked at a towering man, pointing a rifle at him. For a moment he was stunned but then he smiled again, revealing his golden tooth. Lucas didn´t say a word but it was clear that he was prepared to take that man´s life in a heartbeat. Volkman put his hat back on and lowered his hands.

“Yes, now there isn´t any doubt left. Your son mentioned his name. I was not sure then. I am an old man now and my memory is not the best anymore. But I sure know now, McCain. That is the third time we meet, ain´t it.”

Lucas stepped closer still aiming the rifle at the man´s chest. A fast gun against a fast rifle …
“And the last one if you don´t drop that gun, Volkman.”

Lucas voice was as cold as his glance, full of hate and disgust. Volkman remained motionless for a moment. His grey eyes were those of a professional gunfighter, never telling anything about his intentions. But then the former outlaw slowly raised his right hand and lowered his left to the buckle of his gunbelt, loosening it. The beautiful revolver dropped to the ground. Lucas ordered him to go back to the house and stay calm until the Marshal would arrive.

At the house Volkman showed again his charming smile. Still not seeming too impressed by the threatening rifle trained at him he pointed at the bench with a debonair movement.

“It´s a hot day. Why don´t you sit down over there? Be my guest. We can spend the time talking until the Marshal arrives.”

“There is nothing we ought to talk about. I will personally help building the gallows for you.”

***

Mark had only half a mile more to ride on his way to North Fork. But then he decided to turn back. He was upset like never before in his young life. Following his instinct Mark turned his horse on the spot and raced back to Volkman´s farm. He crosses the vast meadows, where his father´s cattle were grassing peacefully. After a few minutes he rode up the hill and followed the path that led to the creek were the little farm was. And then he heard three rapid rifleshots in the distance.

“Pa …!”

***

Micah read that one particular Wanted-poster with familiar face on it again and again.  Especially one line made him suspicious:
“Warning: the suspect usually carries a knife hidden in his left sleeve.”
Micah frowned before he walked over to closet where he kept his shotgun.

***

“Pa …!”

Mark drove his horse down the hill. His father kneeled at a lifeless body right in front of the small house.
Mark rushed over to his father and could not understand what had happened. Volkman was lying on his face with his arms spread, never to rise again. Mark looked down on the body of his friend, unable to grasp the situation. His father was still breathing hard when he hugged his sobbing son.
“It´s alright, son, his knife missed me only by inches.”
Mark looked up and saw the blade still sticking the door of the house.

After a while Lucas turned the body around and started searching the dead man´s pockets in an almost desperate way. Peter Volkman´s eyes were closed but his mouth was open and so his golden tooth shimmered in the sun.

Mark got up and hurried over to the house, following a spontaneous intuition. After a moment he returned, holding a little item in his hand.
“Is this what are you looking for, Pa? Pa … are you alright?”

Lucas didn´t say anything. He slowly got up and walked over to his beloved son, his rifle still in his right hand. His eyes were suddenly filled with tears when he listened to that lovely little melody, tender and light as a butterfly made out of music.

***

The heat was now breathtaking. Mark looked at Micah. The old lawman just shook his head. He was still not sure about the whole situation.
“Well, Lucas Boy, I am all ears. What happened here?”

Lucas sat on the bench in front of the farm, with his shoulders hunched. And then he relived his personal hell once again.

“It was during the war. My regiment came under severe flanking fire when we tried to take a hill. My men dropped liked flies. Blood and smoke and death were everywhere. It was sheer hell! We tried again and … it was to no avail. The rebels yelled like demons when they kept firing at us. I still can hear their howling. We didn´t stand a chance. And then the order to retreat came. When we reformed we tried to get save our wounded somehow. But then our entire division started running. Otherwise we would have been wiped out. I was young and inexperienced and scared out of my mind. Three of my best friends were among the wounded. I carried them to a barn and put them on the straw. There was so much blood. They screamed for water and my canteen was empty and so I couldn´t do anything to help them.”

Lucas needed a second before he continued. His face was covered with cold sweat.

“And then a group of rebels turned up. Suddenly I was surrounded. Their sergeant just looked at me. Then he looked inside the barn without saying a single word. I had no idea what I could do. I was so helpless. On the spur of the moment I offered him anything I got for calling a Confederate medic unit or even a doctor for my men. That was my only hope. After all it was a war between brothers. I thought there should be rules and fairness among brothers.”

Mark began to understand the coldness in his father´s eyes earlier that day.

“All I had was that pocket watch that played that lovely music. I handed it to him and gave him my name. I asked for his name so I could look for him after the war to pay him properly for his help. And he said his name … his name …”

Micah murmured that name realizing that his best friend was not able to say it himself.
“Peter Volkman”

“Yes, that was that name. And then I ran. They didn´t show any intention to take me prisoner and so I just kept on running until I reached our lines again. So many men were missing and the officers were all drunk, shouting crazy orders at us. Well, when we had that chaos under control the division launched a counter attack. When I arrived at the barn it was still on fire.”

Mark had turned pale and Micah fought back his tears.

“It was clear that the door had been closed from outside. It had been murder! There is no other word for it. Later that day I led my regiment against a Confederate position. And there I saw him again …”

Mark walked over to his father and put a hand on his shoulder but Lucas did not seem to notice his son´s attempt to comfort him.

“Before I could get to him a Confederate officer on horseback rode up to me and tried to kill me with his sword. I was blind with anger. I pulled that man from his horse and took the sword out of his hand. The sword broke and for a moment I looked at the shorted blade, totally stunned. Then I took the horse and galloped to the sergeant. I jumped at him and wrestled him to ground. And then I cried at him:
“What have you done to my men!? What?! What happened to my friends?!”

And he just smiled at me at me, lying there on the ground. He just smiled. Can you believe that? He merely smiled at me.
“I took care of them. They were cold so we made it hot for them.””

Micah looked down at the body and resisted the temptation to spit on the dead killer, whose mouth was still open.

“I was so stunned that I let my guard down for a moment. He used that moment to jump up and attack me with a long knife. I tried to defend myself and my sword hit his mouth, knocking one of his teeth out. I still can hear that noise when that tooth broke. The murderer screamed and I was about to stab him. But then I felt a hard blow to my head. Another rebel had hit me with his rifle butt from behind. When I woke up I was in the hospital behind our lines with a severe concussion. Two days later my colonel paid me a visit, congratulated me for my valor and shook my hand. He told me that attacking the enemy just with a broken sword was an act of some bravery, something I should be proud of. I didn´t care. But I never forgot that murderer´s name.”

Micah and Mark stood motionless for a moment of painful silence. Then Micah took the pocketwatch and put it gently into his friend´s hand.

“I believe that is yours, Lucas Boy.”

***

Again the darkness was like an impenetrable wall. Black clouds covered the pale moon, promising refreshing rain on the next day. Lucas sat on the porch. His cigar had gone out.

Mark walked out to him. The man looked up to his son´s face. Without a word Lucas took the watch out of his pocket. He looked at it before he handed it over to his son.

“My mother gave it to me, when I left to fight in the war. She would like you to have it now. Happy birthday, son.”

Mark didn´t say a word but his grateful glance was thank enough.

The boy opened it gently and now the lovely melody, tender and light as a butterfly made out of music, was a sound of love.

The End

These stories are based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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