Small gauge rail tracks could be seen far to the South by the woman in black. The rope in her hand went slack and she pushed the wounded man forward, “No rest until we get there.”
He turned to her with anger in his eyes but the Peacemaker in her hand glinted with promise. Corporal Wallace spit into the dirt before he continued to lead the way. The sun beat mercilessly on their skulls as they continued to walk through the wind swept countryside.
He stumbled and sagged onto the dusty ground. Things had not gone in his favor since the end of the war. Bad choices had led him to running with Major Cavanaugh’s gang and bad choices were all he had left. A small part of him was sickened by what they had planned for those foreign women but a man had to survive; a man had to eat.
Then this banshee had shown up out of nowhere with his name on her lips. And as soon as the word Chinese had rolled out of her mouth, his hands had begun to sweat. Henry had charged her but she had knocked him into a table with one hit. When Paco had yanked out his gun, Wallace had pulled his Griswold free. But it slipped loose from his fingers. Before he even knew it, he had been shot in the gut and both Henry and Paco were dead.
The Corporal was in sad shape. His blood soaked the front of his shirt down into his pant leg. He reached to press on his hole in his gut but the rope around his wrists kept his hands away. She yanked on the rope and he falteringly stood back up. On wobbly legs, he continued onward.
“Water…” asked the Corporal. “Please sister, some water.”
“When we get there,” she answered. “How much further?”
He looked up from his boots and searched the horizon westward. Something glimmered in the sun, “almost there.” His pace quickened.
As Wallace staggered along, she was just able to make out a few open top wagons with a rusted water buffalo coupled together. Two of the wagons lay on their side with the shattered spindles of the wheels sticking up like broken grave markers.
The Corporal slumped against the water buffalo and twisted the spigot but it was dry. It had been shot up a while ago and the ground underneath had soaked up all the water that had once resided in it. Dejectedly he fell to the ground and gasped, “Water… please.”
The nun ignored him as she inspected the broken wagons. Bullet holes had splintered the wood and torn some of the wheels apart. A handful of dead men lay amongst the wreckage, their bodies riddled with holes. The only sign left were the wagon tracks that moved off to the North.
When she came back to the water buffalo, Corporal Wallace lay dead.