He saw Chris being hung by a tree branch in the dark. He held his breath took aim and fired. He missed as the sky darkened. He tried again and this time hit Chris. He fell to the ground and yelled out in pain. Vin ran to him and found no words as he tried to find where the bullet entered his body. Vin felt him die under his hands. He looked up to the stars and felt tears sting his face.
He came across the body of Barbara Pressman. The crows and other animals had already gnawed at her now ravaged features. He treated what was left with respect. As he moved the body he could see her ask 'why?' He heard Rafe's laughter in the distance.
He ran to Mary when he heard the shot and saw Chris hold her. He knew it was too late. He saw Chris hold her lifeless body next to him as he buried his face in her hair.
Vin woke in the darkness of his wagon in a sweat and felt the need to dispel the demons that were gnawing at him. He knew the dreams weren't real, but he couldn't shake the images from his mind.
Rafe stood in the distance with Vin's gun. He took careful aim and fired it at Laura. She stood there momentarily stunned then fell to the ground. Rafe left her for dead. He laughed and stared into the eyes of Chris and said "See? I got one more." Chris looked at him and he dissolved into a child's version of the devil.
Chris blinked and Rafe became the man from years ago who had courted his sister. He was young and in a suit and didn't seem to sweat. Chris caught them laughing as Rafe raised his gun and aimed it at Eileen. He heard the laughter as Eileen fell and died in front of him.
Chris turned and felt Sarah in his arms. He looked up at Rafe with a gun aimed at her chest. He tried to move in front of her, but it was too late. The gun went off as Rafe smiled and Sarah's blood seeped into the bed they shared. Chris tried to cry out but as his tears fell, all he could do was moan.
Chris shook his head and found himself in the offices of the Clarion. Mary was standing there in disbelief as Rafe aimed a gun at her chest. Before Chris could move the gun went off, and fatally wounded Mary. As he held her in his arms, she mouthed the word 'why?' He held her close and felt helpless.
He finally awoke and found himself in the room he rented. It was still dark and he knew he couldn't go back to sleep. The nightmares had plagued him for over a week now. Laura's death continued to haunt him. "I'm so sorry Laura" he said aloud. He had sworn that no more would be killed by Rafe, but the bastard had claimed one more victim before his last breath.
He decided to make the rounds of Four Corners. He got dressed and strapped on his gun. He was thankful for the lack of activity. It gave him quiet time to think and stretch his legs. He hated the fact that Rafe still had a hold on him.
She saw Rafe with the gun and her son oblivious to the danger. She ran toward Billy, but it was too late. She held him as she felt him slip away. Tears fell from her eyes as she felt Chris' presence near. Here son was gone. She had nothing left to fill her empty arms.
Rafe held the gun on her, and shot Chris full in the chest. There was no time to react. She felt Rafe's hold on her lessen and went to Chris' side. His eyes lost their light as she held him. She wept.
She woke and tried to calm her beating heart. She walked to Billy's room and saw him holding one of the horses Chris had made for him. She wanted to touch him, but was afraid of waking him. He had enough nightmares from the murder of his father.
She put on a pot of coffee and lit the lamp in the kitchen. She knew it was early but doubted that sleep would come. She got out a deck of cards and started to play solitaire.
As Chris passed Vin's wagon, he noticed his friend was awake. "Care to join me?" he asked.
"Sure thing Cowboy. Let me get my gear. Sure is quiet this time of night" he replied as he stepped out of the wagon.
They walked in silence as they made their rounds. They noticed the light in the back room of the Clarion, and went in with their guns drawn.
Mary let out a silent yelp as the two men startled her. "Is anything wrong?" she asked.
"I was just about to ask you the same thing" Chris replied.
"I couldn't sleep so I started a pot of coffee and was playing a few games of solitaire" she answered.
"Coffee sounds mighty good don't you think Chris?" Vin said as Chris nodded.
"Mind if we join you?" he asked.
"Not at all. Right this way gentlemen. Would you care to play a few hands of poker?" she asked.
"What are the stakes?" Chris responded.
"We can negotiate that depending on who wins" she said smiling. They entered the kitchen and waited for beginning of a new day. A day to erase the memories of a maniac that each had to face in their own way when night fell.