Crusty dried earth reached skyward like recent mudflows from the ruts left by many a wagon wheel. Though the tracks led down into a small valley, the nun had chosen to climb upwards. She slithered her way amongst the greenery that grew sparsely along the tops of the valley walls until she found a decent vantage point over what was little more than an occupied gulch.
A decrepit Spanish villa with a sagging roof and broken tiles about its cracked walls sat forlornly in the middle of the open land. The trail that she had been following was cut though by a tiny creek before it entered the valley. She brought the spyglass that she had taken from the dead corporal back to the villa but there was little to be seen until a horse was brought out into the courtyard. She watched as a doppelganger of the big Californian she had shot in the brothel rode back in the direction of town.
The villa remained undisturbed for some time until the serenity was interrupted by a couple of wagons being hitched up to horses behind the home. Both wagon beds were topped by an iron cage. She watched as canvas covers were pulled over the top and secured along the sides while rust rained down upon the dirt below. But it was the line of women chained together in their tattered silk finery that caught her eye.
She focused the spyglass on them as they were unchained and then led into the wagons only to have the cage doors locked behind them. The first wagon was loaded with eight of the captive women and a growl escaped her as the last seven were being loaded into the next wagon. The young girl at the end made a break for it once the chains were off. The sound of the shot echoed in the little canyon long after the girl fell to the ground and lay there unmoving.
Once the door on the second wagon had been locked, two men dragged her body over to the small family cemetery where a collection of mounds that barely looked a month old dominated the site. Her body was unceremoniously thrown onto a pile of refuse where bits of multi-colored silk fluttered in the dry wind.
The snap of a whip echoed up from the ranch and the wagons rolled past the walls of the villa. The horses followed the road that led to the very canyon edge that the sister watched from. A grim smile lit up her face.