Photo by Justin Jackson

A singular ash tree grows in the hollow at Willoughby Gulch. Proud and majestic, her branches stretch skyward in a graceful flow. Below, the crowd that had gathered starts to disperse; the party is over.

If you asked the buzzards circling high above the mass of humanity, they would tell you that what had just transpired was a major waste of time; a waste of good life. But, they would do it with hunger in their eyes. The sky was a brilliant blue and the wisp of cloud cover gave a hint of a breeze.

Judge Malcolm glanced over his shoulder as he boarded the stagecoach. Justice wasn’t doled out swiftly at all. It took all of fifteen minutes for Rance Calhoun’s legs to cease kicking. His lifeless carcass swayed in the wind, his bulging eyes stared at the departing guests. The devil that possessed his twisting corpse recorded the faces of those in attendance. There will be hell to pay when they cut him down.


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