Silence. That was always what preceded a gunfight. The Gunman knew this, probably more than anyone else. He had been in far too many altercations. Sent far too many bullets into other men's hearts.
And yet, here was another man. Another challenger. Another idiot with a revolver strapped to his belt. But this was not his normal gunfight, and this was not the Gunman's normal opponent. Usual the men opposite him were drunks. Hopeless men who had nothing but coins for their whiskey and bullets for their gun. This man was not one of the others he had killed. This was the man who had killed his wife and son.
They were not waiting for any bells or chimes from clocks. They were waiting for the other to draw first. And whoever drew first would be dead. For, though drawing is essential in a gunfight, reaction is a reflex that is far more important, far more trained when it came to killing a man. The Gunman was waiting. For his opponent was young, ignorant.
The wind kicked up the dust around their feet, sending it swirling around their faces, into their eyes. And yet the Gunman was not swayed, nor did he falter. He pulled.
There was a succession of bullets fired. Smoke smelling of acrid foulness hovered in the air. And the Gunman fell to his knees.
There was a part of him that knew this fight was his last. Something in his mind that wondered if life was worth living when he did not have a family. And as the bullet did its damage he saw his family. He saw his son's bright and passionate face. And his wife, flawless and glowing, gesturing for him to take ahold of her hand.
And then he saw the barrel of his opponent's revolver. He saw the hammer being pulled back. And in his head he knew this was right. This was what he had wanted. He closed his eyes, envisioning his family one more time until the bullet entered his brain, and he knew no more.