A young man jumped from the driver’s door of his pick-up truck and ran to the opposite side.
“Can I take the blindfold off now?” his wife asked, opening the passenger door.
“Hold on a minute.” He carefully led her across a meadow to the top of a gentle rise. “Okay, Megan,” he said, untying her blindfold. “You can look now.” He waited, both literally and figuratively and holding his breath, for the young woman’s response.
She said nothing, her eyes scanning the horizon.
“Well?” he prompted.
“Oh Brandon!” the young woman exclaimed. “Are you telling me that this is…?”
“Ours? Yep, that’s exactly what I’m telling you. Our land. Our home. Can’t you just see it?” Brandon ran to the left. “We can put the barn here, where it’ll be sheltered from the wind.” He ran back past Megan, grabbing her hand and dragging her along with him to the right. “And the house over here, and…” He swept his bride off her feet and opened an imaginary door, carrying her over the threshold. “And this’ll be the view we wake up to, each and every morning for the rest of our lives!”
“It’s so beautiful here! It’s perfect! The trees and the meadow, and the roll of the land. In fact, I can’t think of anyplace so perfect. So peaceful and qui…” Something rumbled and rattled, growing louder as it approached. “What’s that noise?”
Brandon smiled. “The construction crew. We’ll be breaking ground soon as they get here.”
Workers lounged in the shade of a copse of trees. Construction equipment stood silent. All was quiet on the future home site of the Brandon and Megan Tucker.
“I sure am sorry about this, folks.” The foreman removed his John Deere cap and wiped his brow with the sleeve of his plaid flannel.
“Not your fault, Mr. Thomas. Not your fault at all.” Brandon wrapped an arm more tightly around his wife, who shivered despite the warmth of the mid-day sun.
“Never thought when I woke up this beautiful mornin’ that I’d be diggin’ up a body ‘fore lunch.” The sound of an approaching vehicle caught the foreman’s attention. “Here’s the sheriff now. He’ll know what we got to do–if we can continue workin’ or if this poor fella we unearthed is gonna shut us down.”
“All right, team, let’s wrap it up.” The forensic anthropologist brushed dirt from her hands and turned to see the young landowners approaching.
“Well?” asked Megan. “What’s the verdict? Are we building our home on some ancient Native American burial ground?”
“Absolutely not,” the anthropologist assured her. “Only one body buried on your property—Mr. John Doe. Buried with his sidearm. Must’ve been wary of who he might meet up with in the great beyond.”
“May I?” Brandon turned the revolver over in his hands. “Colt Peacemaker,” he said.
“Peacemaker my foot. That gun brought nothing but trouble for poor Mr. Doe,” declared Megan.
“Or kept him safe. For all we know, Mr. Doe could have farmed this land. Maybe he was an old cavalryman who wanted to be buried with his piece.”
“Could be,” the anthropologist nodded. “From what little I know, the Peacemaker was pretty widely used in the late nineteenth century. Army issued, but also used by cowboys and lawmen. Outlaws too. It would be pretty much impossible to figure out exactly who Mr. Doe was, or what happened to him.”
“Stop, Heyes. I gotta rest.”
“Kid, you need a doctor.”
Curry shook his head. “Please. I just need a few minutes to catch my breath, and the horses, they gotta rest too.”
“Fine,” Heyes agreed. “But only a few minutes.” He dismounted and helped his partner do the same, then uncorked his canteen and handed it to him.
“Thanks,” said the Kid.
“How are you doing?” Heyes asked.
Kid Curry didn’t bother to answer. The bullet had struck him in a bad spot. He knew it, and so did Heyes. And though he may have killed the man who called him out, well, that dead man’s bullet was going to be the death of him. “Got any whiskey?” the Kid asked instead.
Heyes produced a bottle and stooped to where the Kid sat. Curry accepted it and took a long swig, then handed it to his partner who joined him in the grassy meadow.
“It’s nice here,” the Kid remarked. Curry leaned back on his elbows, then lowered himself onto his back, looking at the sky. “The trees and the meadow, and the roll of the land.”
“Don’t get too comfortable, Kid. Come on. It’s time to go.”
“In fact, I can’t think of anyplace so perfect. So peaceful and qui…”
Megan looked away for a moment, blinking back a tear. “But whoever Mr. Doe was, he ended up here, on our land.”
“We’ll remove the body, ma’am,” assured the anthropologist.
Brandon searched his wife’s face and the two came to an immediate, unspoken agreement. “Do you have to take him?” he asked. “I mean, Mr. John Doe has been resting here peacefully for who knows how long. Seems a shame to disrupt him, well, any more than he’s already been disrupted.”
“Yes,” Megan agreed. “Look around. I can’t think of a more perfect place to be buried. Can you?”
The anthropologist nodded. “Given the historical precedent set by Mr. Doe’s original burial, I suppose I could check with the local officials regarding permits for the proper permanent interment of the remains here, if that is really what you want.”
Both Megan and Brandon smiled. “It is!”
“I’ll just take the Colt…”
“No,” Brandon objected. “It was obviously important to Mr. Doe that his Colt be buried with him. We may have found it, but HE is going to keep it.”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.