The roar was deafening. Billy was sure that he was dead. His ears felt as if they were gushing blood, his vision blurring from a swirl of colors to the creeping edges of blackness. He seemed to lose all sense of form or function.
Suddenly in his dimming vision he saw the faded hem of a dress over his shoulder and the tumbling clank of a pistol hitting the floor beside him. Billy tried to lurch up but couldn't find his balance. He watched from the corner of his eye as Katee, his Katee, flung the lit stick of dynamite from the train. He heard the explosion distantly, almost lost in the ringing of his ears.
Katee appeared over him, cradling his head in her lap. She was speaking softly to him, but he couldn't hear what she was saying. Looking into her eyes he gave a grateful smile and caught one in return. Coughing a few times, he slowly propped himself up on his elbows. Katee ripped another strand of fabric of her battered dress and dabbed it to his ears, soaking up the blood. After a few minutes his head started to clear and the ringing began to soften.
Kate looked at him. " That's twice I've saved you Billy."
"Didn't know we were keeping score."
She gave another of her soft smiles and helped Billy lurch to his feet. Picking up her pistol, Billy looked around for his, failing to find it. The two then looked over to the body of Sheriff Root. Their friend, a man who had saved their lives. His mangled body, missing arm, had turned yellow and pus ridden. The back of his head was splattered against the floor, dead eyes staring back at them.
"What do you think happened to him Billy?"
"Whatever it was, we'll find out ahead."
Billy leaned down and removed the satchel of dynamite they had taken from Reny from Root's body. Securing it around his shoulder, he also took Root's spare gun. SLapping open the chamber, he checked the few remaining rounds and sighed.
"One way or another, we end this Katee."
She gave him a reassuring squeeze and nodded.
The two walked towards the engine, leaving their friend behind them.
End of Line.