Intense Climax

Brother Ambrose and Brother Joshua are stood outside the door of Bartholomew’s house, Joshua knocks on the door, a few moments later the door opens to reveal a woman in a pale white dress. Elfia opens the door to the Dogs, she greets them explaining that they were not expecting visitors. Joshua explains to her that they have come to see Bartholomew, assuring her that they would really like to see him now, she is a little reluctant sucking in her breath as she agrees to go fetch him, she invites them in to the house to wait.

 

The room is very sparse with furnishings, just two wooden chairs of a very simple design on each a small thin cushion on each, a simple home made embroidered picture hangs on the wall. A man in old tatty greyed warn clothes walks in, his grey haired head bowed looking at the floor as he enters, not once does his eyes match the gaze of the Dogs.

“Elfia said you wanted to see me.” Bartholomew states plainly without looking directly at the Dogs.

“Yes. Shall we sit?” Joshua replies, Bartholomew indicates the only two chairs in the room asking them to sit and that he will stand. Ambrose walks back over to the door and stands there, leaving the chair for Bartholomew to sit, insisting.

 

Joshua begins by asking Bartholomew about his silence in the sermon, wondering if there is a problem, wanting to know why he never got involved. Bartholomew gives him straight short answers, informing Joshua that he likes to keep to himself, that he has no problems. The old guy has been looking very uncomfortable since he entered the room with the Dogs. Joshua tells him that it is his and everyone’s commitment to be a part of the community, and to join in the praise of the King of Life. Bartholomew explains that he is not there to cause any problems, that he does his best. He also requests that of Joshua to not shout and raise his voice so much, that it will scare his wife. Joshua stands up and walks over to Ambrose, his coat billows out with his quick movement, and he stands there shoulder to shoulder with Ambrose in silence for a mere second before turning back to Bartholomew once again, while Ambrose stands there looking out pass the oil coated cloth that hangs in the square hole in the wall, looking out at the rest of the town through the window. Again Joshua asks him why, and this time Bartholomew looks up and meets his eyes, but it is as if he is seeing something that happened long ago. Bartholomew tells Joshua that he is always there for the community, “always turn up and show my face, even if the community is not there for me. Surely that is enough!” Joshua pulls out his Book of Life and quickly flicks through to a page, and places his finger on the text written within reading out a passage that is relevant to the situation.

 

Suddenly Bartholomew crumbles under the might of Joshua’s preaching, his old wrinkles appear to look longer and deeper, he even seems to sag even more than he was before, then something happens that should not be especially before other men, Bartholomew breaks down with hollow eyes as tears issue forth like water escaping a dam. “Please stop reading that, it doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. I tried, but it just doesn’t.” Bartholomew goes on to explain through tears and stutters about him loosing his children, telling the Dogs that children should not go before their parents. Bartholomew huddles there on the floor along with his dark memories, tears rolling down his cheeks. Elfia looks in around the door to the room, to which Bartholomew’s head snaps up to her, “Don’t look here woman, this is not for you. Stay in your room!” Ambrose nods to Elfia, motioning her to leave the room, he then turns back to Bartholomew once she leaves, asking him if he had spoken to the steward about all of this. Bartholomew just shakes his head in response, still caught up in his emotions, “His words don’t mean anything to me anymore, he is just a man.”

 

Joshua grabs Bartholomew by the scruff of his neck dragging him towards the door, Ambrose steps in the way of the doorway blocking the exit, asking Joshua to where he is taking the man, “To the witch.” Is all Joshua says.

“No, no, please no, not her. Anything but her, no.” Bartholomew cries out, embarrassing himself once more. Upon hearing this Elfia runs in, fallen to the ground at Joshua feet, throwing her arms around his leg begging him not to take Bartholomew, “He is not a bad man!” Joshua tells her that Bartholomew needs to give penance. Elfia begs him that anything but with Wiltshire, pleading with him, “I don’t want to be a widow!”

 

Ambrose tells Joshua that he is not going to take Bartholomew anywhere. Joshua argues that Bartholomew needs to learn, but Ambrose tells him that the woman has alienated more people from the faith. Elfia looks up at Ambrose with shock and awe in her face and eyes, as if she is looking at the bravest person on the planet. Ambrose carries on with his argument to Joshua telling him that even the steward defers to her on maters, “This is not how the Book of Life tells it. You are a Dog and you know this. You are not taking anyone to lady Wiltshire.” With this Joshua picks up the blubbering Bartholomew, who even now still pleads not to go to Wiltshire, and throws him at Ambrose, “If you think you can do the job, be my guest.” He then storms out pushing past Ambrose back in to the town. Bartholomew on his knees looks up at Ambrose, “Thank you sir.”

 

Meanwhile Brother Jesse is over the other side of town talking with Bonnie, asking her to not treat him so friendly in front of people, her needing to remember that he is a Dog first. She smiles at him laughing and apologising, telling him that she forgets that he is after all a Dog now, “I still can’t get used to that.” Their conversation is disturbed by a lot of shouting coming from Bartholomew’s house, in fact probably most if not all of the town can hear. ‘Witch Wiltshire’ is words that can be heard loud and clear a few times. The door is flung open to Bartholomew’s house and a Brother Joshua charges out.

 

Ambrose asks Bartholomew and Elfia to both stand up, Elfia heads back to her room. Bartholomew admits that he doesn’t think his legs will work, Ambrose just nods in understanding, he then asks Elfia if she could make a sweet drink. “You’re being very nice sir?” Bartholomew states with uncertainty, shocked with what has just happened. Elfia comes back a little later with a drink for her husband, and passes one to Ambrose. He looks at them both, asking them why widow Wiltshire has so much power in the town. Bartholomew and Elfia looks at each other, then Bartholomew apologises but he is scared to tell, “Everyone has heard now anyway. She has cause to go against me now. If I say anything against her…. I’m worried.” Ambrose asks him what she would do, and Bartholomew tells him that he is not sure but he has heard the tales. Ambrose tells him that she had broken a guy’s legs recently, does she do this regularly. Bartholomew tells him that he is not sure, people try not to annoy her. “She is just an old lady.” Ambrose states trying to understand why people treat her this way, Bartholomew just looks in shock and awe back at him.

“She is isn’t she?”

“I wouldn’t like to say.”

“If you don’t believe in the faith, how can you have so much belief in her?”

“Because I know she exists!”

 

Joshua rushes off to the chapel, throwing the doors open as he storms in heading straight to the altar and dropping to his knees. He clasps his hands in pray, asking the King of Life guidance in this matter, anger surging through him still as he pushes the thought of Bartholomew from his mind. Joshua’s thoughts are of him being a Dog and no one can nay say him except for only another Dog.

 

Jesse stands just watching on, seeing Joshua storm in to the chapel. Bonnie asks him what is happening, but Jesse tells her that it is best to keep out of it. “They’re not talking about going head to head with Wiltshire are they?” Bonnie asks. Jesse asks her what she know of the lady Wiltshire, but she doesn’t know much either, the few days she has been her no one will say a bad word about her, there are whispers about her past, things she done on the trail. Jesse implores her to share what she knows about the woman, but Bonnie tells him that she has not even managed to get anything about her from Earp. Jesse lets the subject go standing there watching Bartholomew’s and the chapel. Then he sees someone leave Wiltshire’s house and head over to the chapel, the man being steward Jackson.

 

Joshua hears footsteps approach behind him, “The King of Life has sent a Watch Dog in to my chapel. Is there anything I can help you with?” Asks steward Jackson, he asks if Cyrus has been causing any problems, however Joshua corrects him telling him that it is Bartholomew. Joshua shares with Jackson his thoughts on Bartholomew, believing that he has lost his way, that he is facing a trial of faith. Jackson asks him if there is anything he can do, have a word with him? They talk about the faith and that Jackson wants to help people with the faith where he can. Before leaving Joshua nods to Jackson, he then heads back out to the town.

 

At the same time as Joshua leaves the chapel, Ambrose leaves Bartholomew’s house, they notice each other and their eyes meet. With a calmer inner self, Joshua heads over to Ambrose asking him what success he has had with Bartholomew. Ambrose admits that Bartholomew is having a deep crisis, and he is not sure how to help him with the situation. “But at least he is being honest with us.” Joshua asks what they should do next.

 

Jesse spots Earp knocking on Newton’s house, he has been there for a while knocking when eventually the door is opened by an elderly gentleman. The gentleman in the door shakes his head saying something to which Earp turns and walks away, his head slightly down cast by the outcome. Jesse excuses himself with Bonnie and goes over to have a word with Earp. Kicking his feet through the sodden ground, Earp looks up to see Jesse before him. Earp greets Jesse and again thanks him for finding Newton. Jesse asks after Newton but Earp apologises telling him that he has not been able to see him, the parents won’t let anyone in. Earp thinks that Newton is in there in one of his sulks, but expresses how worried he is for the lad. Jesse asks him if this has ever happened before. Earp tells him that usually Newton is quite the attention seeker, the parents were going to have another but something happened, so now they do spoil him. Jesse checks if Earp has seen or heard from him since they had brought him back from his flight, to which Earp confirms the negative so Jesse suggests going back over to Newton’s.

 

Jesse marches over to Newton’s house leaving Earp in shock, he then quickly follows catching up. Once at the house Jesse bangs on the door and soon it is opened, by a tough leather skinned old man, with grey tuft eyebrows. “Yup? Oh Watch Dogs, thanks for bringing the boy back the wife was worried about him.” Jesse tells him that he was glad to be able to help, and then asks him how is the boy. The father informs him that Newton is thinking about what he has done, and Jesse asks him he could go in and see the boy. The father refuses stating that the boy is being punished, not being able to see anyone while he thinks about it. However Jesse instructs the father that he is not anyone, no friend nor family just a watch Dogs. Newton’s father tells Jesse that he would not stop him from going in, but suggests that it would be best for him not to, to show the boy that his father’s word is bond. Jesse again tries informing the father that he will go in to reiterate the father’s punishment, but the father states that he can pass a message on to the boy. Jesse shares with the father that Newton knows well that he was not happy with the boy. There is a pause of awkwardness from the father before he checks with Jesse, that there is no chance that he will change his mind in this pursuit. Upon seeing the answer, Newton’s father asks Jesse if he could wait for about fifteen minutes while he goes on in to the boy, and has a word with him about Jesse going in to see him.

 

Forcing past the father and pushing the front door open wider, Jesse marches on in to the house. The father almost looks like he was about to step in the way, before realising what he was about to do, he then steps out of the way. After opening several doors, Jesse comes across the room with the boy in, it is a dark and humid room, the heat within is almost stifling, his coat feeling a lot heavier within this room. In a dark corner of the room the boy can be made out huddled up on himself, almost like he is sat in an upright foetal position, the boy doesn’t move. Jesse calls out the boy’s name, placing some authority behind the statement.

 

Newton moves his head further in on himself, looking down inwards, “Yeah.” Jesse asks the lad if he has learned his lesson, to which the boy replies with another ‘yeah’. Jesse then asks the boy to what has he learnt, “Don’t get in the way of proper courtship.”

“And what else?”

“Don’t disrespect the watch Dogs, my betters. Otherwise I deserve everything that is coming to me.”

“Is there anything else?”

“Umm, I have to respect the steward and listen to everything he has to say.”

“Is there anymore?”

“That is all she said!”

“Would that be the Wiltshire lady?”

“I didn’t say anything!” Newton pleads. Jesse reassures him that everything will be alright, he then walks over to the curtains and pulls them open. Newton flinches at the sudden in rush of light, a massive cut is visible above the boy’s eye, a deep bruising around it, his eye badly blood-shot, looking an awful lot like someone had smashed the butt of a gun in to the eye.

 

Jesse picks the boy up carefully in his arms, turns and boots the door open in to the rest of the house. The door flies open with a great force, slamming hard against the adjoining wall, so loud was the sound that it could easily be heard outside in town; in fact the entire structure seems to rattle with the force. Jesse turns to Newton’s father, the boy still cradled in his arms, “So ‘you’ decided the punishment for him, did ‘you’?”

“I decided to keep him in his room. Safer that way.”

“So you gave him the full punishment did ‘you’?”

“I kept him in the room.”

“So it wasn’t ‘you’ who gave him the punishment, apart from locking him in his room?” Newton’s father looks at Jesse asking him what he wants him to say, Jesse asks him if he thinks that the boy may have had enough punishment, as he looks down at the boy’s wound.

“I’m keeping the boy out of trouble, I’m keeping him alive.” Jesse turns and walks on out of the house back in to the town, while still holding Newton in his arms. Newton shocked to be able to see the daylight again, to breathe in the fresh air.

 

Ambrose and Joshua see Jesse walk out from Newton’s house and walk over towards them, he is carrying Newton in his arms, the boy having a very nasty wound over his eye, blood still dripping out down his face. Jesse stops in front of the other two Dogs, “This is the punishment of the King of Life.” He gives a short pause before carrying on, “And would you like to know who administered this punishment?”

“Let me take a guess.” Ambrose replies.

“Yes, correct.”

“She has got to be stopped.”

“Yes.” Is all Jesse gives as an answer before walking off towards the chapel.

 

Within the chapel the steward Jackson is busy nervously cleaning and polishing the pews, when a command echoes out at him. “JACKSON, do you know of this?” Jesse demands walking in to the chapel, past Jackson and up to the altar, once there he gently places the boy down on the platform, then turns back to the steward and points to the boy’s face.

“I knew that the boy had been admonished.” Jackson calmly replies.

“By who?” Jesse demands, but Jackson keeps avoiding the question, first mentioning the father keeping him in, and then about demons. Jesse not letting him get away with this for long states, “Was the demons name Wiltshire?”

“Wiltshire is a fine woman. She works at keeping the demons at bay.”

“I can see that. So you have no control over the town, your flock, but Wiltshire. Are you just one of her puppets?”

“I just want them all to keep on the straight and narrow, I want to help them.”

“You can’t do anything. Because she has control, and she administers this type of punishment.”

“I don’t think the boy will do it again after that.”

“I think after that you will have no job as a steward.” After hearing this Jackson visibly shrinks, “But all I have been trying to do is to keep the town in line. Sin around every corner.”

“I don’t believe you have been doing anything, all you have been doing is sowing your seeds in Wiltshire.” Jackson is in shock upon hearing this and stutters his words informing them that he has done no such thing, “Wiltshire is purely of the eye, she brings people on to the path.”

“Who has been deciding on the path, you or Wiltshire?” Ambrose asks of him. Jackson doesn’t answer the question mentioning again how upright Wiltshire is, so Ambrose asks him again stating that he is avoiding the subject. Ambrose then goes on to ask him if he has ever admonished her, but again Jackson defends her stating that she is an upright believer of the faith. In fact Jackson has a strong belief that he has done everything to the best of his belief in the faith, and never had a reason to admonish Wiltshire. Jesse asks him if he has ever heard about a steward having to be admonished by his hand? Jackson admits to not having heard anything of it, so Jesse tells him to bare that in mind. Jackson asks the watch Dogs to tell him if he has done wrong, and he will do everything he can to rectify it. Jesse with anger rising in his voice points to the boy again, and tells Jackson to look at the boy’s face. Jackson was about to blabber more when Jesse tells him to shut up and take a look at the boy’s face. The steward walks over to the boy and looks down at the face, shaking and with stutters Jackson confirms that they need to be tough, otherwise the demons will run riot like other towns. Again Jesse asks Jackson if he agrees that he goes along with this punishment. Ambrose tells him that he would not even look at the boy’s face until forced upon by them, he tells Jackson that that is a sin, his sin, people rely on him for guidance and protection, and all that he has done is close his eyes to what is happening. As the Dogs lay their findings at the steward Jackson’s feet, he carries on defending himself and Wiltshire, believing in everything that he has done, Ambrose telling him that he has sinned, and Jesse telling him that he has been blinkered, blinkered by a woman named Wiltshire. Ambrose suggests to the Dogs that they had better go confront Wiltshire, to which they agree, Jesse instructs Jackson that he had better stay put in the chapel, and looks after the boy.

 

As the Dogs march over to lady Wiltshire’s house, the other townsfolk watch from closed doors or drawn curtains, sounds can be heard from within as if some are barricading themselves in from the coming storm. Everyone seems like they want to see what happens, but also don’t want to suffer from the fallout. The only person out in the street is a young lad sat on a wall, he is busy picking at his teeth with a small piece of wood, a smile spread across his face and a glint in his eyes, they know him as Cyrus.

 

Standing at the threshold of Wiltshire’s sanctum, a small wind chime blowing in the gentle breeze hanging from the roof near the door, they hear a voice come from within. “Well since your so loud about, I guess I should invite you in. The door ‘s unlocked.” Ambrose takes the lead and pushes open the door, it creaks as it swings open. Inside they see Wiltshire sat in a long plain formal dress, many folds to it so concealing that you would not be able to make out the body within. The room is warm even though the fire is not lit, the walls are bleached from the light that has shone through the windows, and upon the wall a shape is seen of something that had hung up there for many years. Other patches on the wall are of where pictures had once hung, while there are still a few embroidered pictures depicting the King of Life left hung on the wall. Apart from this the room is very sparse, there is a solitary cloth spread upon the floor used as a bed, a single locked and shamed wardrobe. Wiltshire is there busy knitting with her needles in hand, sat on a single chair rocking back and forth. “Please come in, I would offer you a chair but have only this one, and I am sure you would not let an old lady stand I am sure.”

 

Jesse stands there just behind the other two Dogs, his teeth grinding together where he is keeping his anger in check. “So I recognise this look, I have seen it many a time before. You have come in righteousness to give your verdict have you not?” Ambrose looks at Jesse then back to Wiltshire. “Have you not?”

“No, not quite. You deserve to have your say.” Ambrose answers the elderly lady. “I don’t understand everything about your power in this town. Why are people so afraid of you?”

“People are always afraid of the righteousness of faith, no one can stand against a true believer.”

“Personally I am afraid of demons, but I stand up to them.”

“And that is the difference, a demon can be stood up to for it is the shadows. This is the light, and none can stand too proud in the King of Life’s light. You know that, you walk, you spread his light where you step and people fall away from you, for yours is the justice. I am just bringing some light to this town, it would have fallen long ago if it wasn’t for me. I keep it from being over run with demons.”

“You didn’t answer my question, why are people so afraid of you?”

“Because I am the light that they fear, I am a true believer, I will do whatever it takes to keep this town pure.” Jesse stands in the background toying with his metal knuckles in his pockets, trying to stay calm.

“No they are afraid of you because of the pain you inflict. That is the only reason. And that is all you do here.” Her response to this is to just raise an eyebrow, “And yet there are so many that I have not yet harmed… who still walk the light. One as an example keeps all the others in line so you don’t have to hurt them. This town needs someone to watch over them, you come by so rarely. And I just try to keep them on the straight and narrow, to keep them in the light, to keep them from stepping outside. I have seen too many towns fallen, I have seen too many over run by demons, too many for one’s sins to be burnt to the ground, and I will not have this happen to this town.”

“What about the steward?” Jesse growls through gritted teeth.

“The steward is well meaning, but he gives everyone too many chances. That Cyrus will never be on the straight and narrow without some encouragement. I let him do his best, because he does believe, but he doesn’t understand, he hasn’t seen it, he hasn’t seen when they fall.”

“Does it happen to be that all these towns you happen to be in, fall do they?” Jesse asks more.

“Not after the first few.” There is an awkward second of silence before she explains that she had come to the town to retire, but unfortunately it seemed not to work out that way. “A pity, I really would have loved a quiet life with any of my husbands over the years.”

“Retire from?” Joshua interjects.

“My duty is never done.” Wiltshire states with a sigh. “So are you going to tell me I am wrong?”

“You said you came here to retire. Retire from what?” Joshua pushes the subject.

“From work.”

“What work?”

“Are you here to make a decision or not? Because you seem to be talking a lot and this can go two ways, either I am a threat like you think I am, in which case you really should deal with it, or I’m not, in which case you should be looking for actual sinners.”

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

 

Jesse walks up in to Wiltshire’s face, his hands now out of his pockets, knuckle dusters glinting as his fist flies towards her cheek. Quick as a flash Wiltshire raises her arm knitting needles in hand, aiming the points directly at Jesse’s shoulder joint, forcing him to pull the blow. Next she quickly twisted the needles redirecting them towards his neck, all the while she hardly moves a muscle using the minimal amount of body energy. Jesse avoids the strike by quickly side stepping her attempted strike, bringing his hand up to grab the needles in his hand, while he throws his other fist towards her stomach. Again as quick as a flash Wiltshire sticks out a long finger nail, digging it in to Jesse’s forearm, dragging it down to his wrist. She then sticks out her leg to trip Jesse, swinging up her needles in a hope to catch him as he falls. But as her leg swings out, Jesse deftly avoids the trip lifting his foot high enough for her leg to sweep below, and as it passes underneath stamps his foot back down to make contact with her leg. A bulge moves in her garments revealing a large bore pistol in her hands, looking an awful lot like the shape that was on the wall, and she places it against Jesse’s knee, her hand dropping the needles and fanning back the hammer of the gun. Jesse quickly steps back away from her, patting Joshua and Ambrose on their shoulders them both drawing their guns, and then pulling his own gun adding it to the table. As Jesse draws his gun he lets it speak for him, letting the full force rush at Wiltshire. A dark patch spreads out on her dress, turning a dark red as she grabs at her side, only now deeming it necessary for her to stand up from her chair. “I thought watch Dogs were no good these days. If I am going to die, I’m going to go on my feet.” As her gun fires Jesse sidesteps her shot, letting his own gun fire once more, knocking her backwards with the blast, the bullet ripping through her ending it velocity as it hits and shatters the lock on the chains to the wardrobe, her blood spraying the over the doors. Wiltshire looks wearily at Jesse as he reloads his gun, clasping her hands together, “I think you are going to manage this watch Dog.” She croaks, “Very impressive.” And with that she lets her gun finish her sentence. Again Jesse’s luck is in and he avoids her blast, finally reloaded he lets his gun discharge once again. Wiltshire drops to the ground like a sack of potatoes, hitting the ground with a loud thud, blood escaping her wounds with ease, her gun skidding out of her hand across the floor. “It seems the King choose you.” Is the last words she gasps.

 

She lays there steam coming from her mouth and wounds, blood spreading across the floor from her body, her hand holding in her guts. Ambrose walks over to her and pulls his trigger. More gore is added to the mess creeping across the floor to Wiltshire’s house. The final gun shot ringing out still in the deadly silence that follows, the floorboards creaking its protests.

 

Jesse stands there dripping in sweat and panting heavily, his clothes covered in blood not of his own. Ambrose stood next to him, his gun smoking, red and grey sprayed up his legs. Joshua stood just to the side, gun in hand but with out any added color to him. The doors to the once locked wardrobe creak slowing open in the silence, revealing Wiltshire’s possessions. Hanging in the closet burnt and faded, something she could never give up, a battered old coat with depictions of her past glories and loves, a coat that once belonged to a Dog, to her. Jesse picks up her gun and then goes to the wardrobe take out all her Dog’s belonging, wrapping it all up in her coat, ready to take back to the Temple of Life. Upon picking up the coat there can be seen three fresh holes that now look out of place with the patched up garment. Joshua picks up the only sheet in the room, and covers the now cooling body of Wiltshire.

 

The Dogs leave the house, walking out in to the quiet street of the small town, everyone is stood outside looking on in awe and wonder, wishing to know the outcome of the gun fire that was heard. Jesse carrying the belongings of the old woman Wiltshire, blood splatters covering him nearly from head to toe, walks solemnly away from the bloody scene, everyone’s eyes seem to rest upon him and his burden, while the other two Dogs follow him. It is as if the whole town itself gives out a huge sigh of relief, steward Jackson drops to his knees tears forming in his eyes and rolling down his cheeks, a sound almost like pain escapes his mouth. The lad Cyrus, who is still sat upon the wall, smirks giving out a slow clap, Jesse noticing this looks over his way but doesn’t say anything, and Cyrus just smiles back in response. Ambrose goes over to the steward, lifts him up by the shoulders and guides Jackson back in to the chapel.

 

Jackson staggers along without any resistance, he turns to Ambrose and asks him to look after Cyrus assuring him that he is not a bad sort. Ambrose confirms to the steward what he knows, telling him that Cyrus should be good from now on, that the town was like this out of fear and that was why the lad did what he did. Jackson asks Ambrose what will happen from now. Ambrose instructs him that they will need to organise a burial, to which Jackson begins to cry again.

“There are not many stewards to go around, and this town is going to need one. Are you going to be able to take on the responsibility?” Ambrose asks of Jackson

“You…will let me continue this town?”

“If you say you can take on the responsibility.”

“If the watch Dogs have faith in me, then it must be but right. I thank you.”

“Do you have faith in yourself?”

“I always have. Thank you watch Dogs. I will be worthy of your trust.”

 

The town takes awhile to get back to itself and settle. There is an unusual solemn gathering at the burial, people appear to be overjoyed with relief and at the same time not wanting to react like such at a funeral. Steward Jackson gives the sermon at the burial. Bartholomew is absence from the crowd, so Ambrose goes over to have a word with him. Ambrose finds him alone at his house, content in reading a book, he looks up as the Dog approaches greeting him. Bartholomew asks him what he wants, and Ambrose states that he wasn’t at the Burial. “Everybody knows now, it didn’t seem much point in keeping up the pretence anymore.” Ambrose and Bartholomew talk again about his belief, about the fact that there are people there to help him. This is something that is going to take time to happen, for a non believer to gain his faith again. They talk about his children that had died about five years earlier. Bartholomew presses a small toy in to Ambrose’s hand, asking him to give it to the steward and ask him to keep it there. They part agreeing to disagree for now, but Bartholomew was glad to hear that someone like a watch Dog could still believe.

 

That night a man is standing in his best clothes, finally able to get his wild tuft of hair down flat, nerves dancing through his body as Earp waits patiently for Bonnie and her chaperone to arrive. He can see her approach, but the only person with her is Brother Blake (Jesse).

“It is so good to see you. I see Brother Blake has come along. Where is your chaperone Jesse?”

“Oh sorry, I haven’t introduced you both yet have I?” Bonnie turns to Jesse, “This is my old friend from my past, this is Jesse.”

“Brother Jesse Blake.” Bother Jesse holds his hand out to Earp. Earp just stands there dumb struck, looking but not believing, his mouth open trying to find words.

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