by S. M. Ballard
In the days before they became legends, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, a Georgia dentist turned gaambler whose constant companion is the specter of early death, and Wyatt Earp, a rough hewn frontier lawman saddled with a taciturn nature and an iron clad sense of justice, forge an unlikely alliance to hunt down the brutal killers before they can strike again, Holliday and Earp form the basis of a friendship that will last, literally, until death.
They did not expect the sight which greets them. Between the house and barn, a man toils over a shallow grave, his work with the shovel slow going. Every other spade full or so he stops to blot his eyes against a filthy shirt cuff. Near him stand two boys, one about six years old, the other perhaps ten, the youngest crying loudly, the older standing stiff and silent.
Doc and Wyatt ride up the house and tie their horses to the hitching post. On the narrow porch and covered by a blood-soaked quilt is what appears to be two bodies. While Wyatt checks, Doc walks over to where the farmer labors. Oddly enought, no one pays any attention to his approach and he waits silently, hat in hand, for Earp.
At Wyatt’s approach, Doc turns slightly. Earp leans in close to whisper his findings. The dead are a boy of about twelve and his mother, hacked to death. Earp takes a deep breath, the pain reflected in his eyes more revealing than words. The lawmen are on the right track. The killers can’t be far ahead.
The marshals take over the grave digging from the exhaursted farmer. In darkness they finish and in darkness the bodies of a woman her son are put into the ground. Like the young mother in Dodge, they will no peace until their killers find justice.
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