McMasters nodded. The other riders didn’t speak or move. They could hear the wind moving softly among the trees into the timber stand. Doc’s horse, snuffling in the grass, inhaled something and snorted it out. Otherwise, the silence seemed impenetrable.

“For Morgan Earp,” Wyatt said.

“Wyatt,” Doc said.

The gun was in Wyatt’s hand almost as if it had always been there. Cruz saw the movement and put his arm up as if it could protect him. Wyatt shot Cruz in the head, and as Cruz fell backward, he shot him twice more. Cruz lay on his back, his arm thrown across his face. The horses had heard gunfire before. They stood stolidly as the explosions echoed across the empty mountain valley, rolling past Judah and Acosta a half mile away, looking down from the next hilltop.

“Dick Wright says Behan’s got a posse out for us. Says there’s a warrant out of Tombstone for you killing Stilwell.”

“Dick bring the money?” Wyatt said.

“Yes,” Warren said. “Right when he said he would.”

“Crawley Dake’s money?” Doc asked.

“Didn’t say,” Warren answered.

“It’d be Crawley’s,” Wyatt said. “Federal funds.”

“Well, you’re in it now,” Doc said as they made camp near the water hole at Iron Springs, twelve miles north of Tombstone. The night was clear and the stars were high and uninterested in the velvety blackness. The silence was vast, though, Wyatt thought, in fact, when people talk about silence they really mean human sound. They don’t notice the sounds that were there before they came. That will be there after they’re gone. Night birds. Coyotes. The scurry of small animals in the brush. A breeze stirring the scrub growth. The crackle of the fire seemed to drown all that out unless you listened. Texas Jack was cooking salt pork in a heavy black-iron fry pan. Doc had the bottle out, and it moved from man to man, skipping Wyatt.

“Go easy on that stuff, Warren,” Wyatt said as his brother took the bottle. Warren drank some whiskey and passed the bottle to Turkey Creek Jack.

“Not easy,” Warren said, “your brother being a parson.”

“Not easy being your brother,” Wyatt said and smiled.

Doc was drunk. He was probably always a little drunk. But when he was more than a little drunk, Wyatt knew it because his stubbornness increased.

“You done it to yourself, Wyatt,” Doc said. “You come over to my side, you can’t go back.”

He took out the Colt.45 he had used to shoot Florentine Cruz, and flipped the cylinder open.

“I’m going where I got to go, Doc. Things don’t give me much choice.”

Wyatt took the big flat-nosed.45 bullets from the cylinder and put them one at a time into the ammunition loops on his belt.

“It was one thing in Tombstone,” Doc said. “You were a lawman. And Frank Stilwell was threatening your brothers in Tucson. But Indian Charlie… back there… that didn’t have anything to do with the law.”

Wyatt ran an oily cloth patch down the barrel of the Colt.

“The law had its chance,” Wyatt said.

Doc took a pull of whiskey and swallowed and put his head back and laughed.

“Now it’s your law,” Doc said.

Wyatt didn’t say anything. Texas Jack spread the fried salt pork over an inverted pot to drain, and dropped sourdough in small spoonfuls into the hot salt-pork fat.

“And,” Doc took another drink, “here’s the thing, parson. It’s the same goddamned law as my law.”

Wyatt carefully ran the patch through each of the six chambers in the cylinder. Then he carefully balled up the oily patch and put it in the fire.

“No, Doc. It’s not. We got different reasons for what we do.”

Wyatt put a dry patch on the short cleaning rod and ran it down the gun barrel.

“You’ll shoot a man for spilling his drink,” Wyatt said.

“Maybe so,” Doc said. “Maybe so.”

Doc passed the whiskey bottle to McMasters and leaned back against his saddle. Wyatt discarded the second patch into the fire, put his thumbnail on the muzzle and examined the barrel in the reflected firelight.

“But you won’t be able to come back from this,” Doc said. “Maybe we’re as different as you say. But you’re on my side of the line now, and there’s no way to get back.”

Wyatt was satisfied with the condition of the Colt. He took the bullets from his cartridge belt again, one at a time, and stood them on a rock near him, nose up. Texas Jack put some fried pork and biscuits on a tin plate and handed it to Doc.

He said, “Eat something, Doc. It’ll make you stop talking for a while.”

Doc took the plate and ate with his fingers. Texas Jack dished out for the others. Everyone except Wyatt ate in silence for a time. Wyatt put his plate aside until he finished with the Colt. He was running another clean patch through the barrel. Doc finished chewing. He took a drink of whiskey.

“I’m right, though,” he said, “and Wyatt knows it.”

Wyatt picked up the fat.45 bullets one at a time from the rock where they stood and fed them, one at a time, into the cylinder. Then he snapped the cylinder shut, put the gun back in his belt, and picked up his plate.

“I like fried biscuits,” he said.

For breakfast they had coffee and the last night’s leftover biscuits, and Wyatt sent Warren back to wait for Dick Wright again.

“How come I got to go?” Warren said. “Wright already brought the money.”

“We need to know what’s happening in town,” Wyatt said. “Need to know if the cowboys are there or somewhere else.”

“I don’t want to miss no action,” Warren said.

“You’re twenty-five,” Wyatt said. “You got plenty of time for action.”

Warren was a little sullen as he rode away, but Wyatt knew he’d do what he was told.

“Outta harm’s way?” Doc said as they rode down toward the watering hole.

“I lost all the brothers I’m ready to lose,” Wyatt said.

The horses smelled the water and quickened their pace. The roan got there first. As the roan started to drink, Wyatt swung down from the saddle to wash up. He loosened his gun belt. From across the spring, there was gunfire.

The other riders spun their horses and headed for cover in the cottonwoods that grew around the spring. Wyatt held the reins in his left hand. The loosened gun belt slid down over his thighs and hampered his movements as Wyatt tried to pull his Winchester from the saddle scabbard.

For Christ sake. Am I going to get shot because my gun belt fell down?

He managed to fumble the shotgun off the near side of his saddle as the roan tossed his head and twisted against the reins. Wyatt couldn’t get the Winchester out. Instead he fumbled the 10-gauge Wells Fargo shotgun from the near side of the saddle and cocked it and tried to aim over the tossing back of his horse. Across the water hole, clear as day, and slowed down like everything always did in a shooting, he could see Curley Bill aiming at him with another shotgun. There were other cowboys firing. Bullets tugged at his clothing. But Wyatt saw Curley Bill as if through crystal. He could see the Wells Fargo medallion in the stock of the shotgun. Just like the one he

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