Saturday Scene: Excerpt of Brothers, Blasphemers, and Bullets

Sean slipped out his office and inched his way toward Dr. Schwartz’s office. As he crept down the dirt street, sticking to the shadows, he breathed deeply through his nose and exhaled slowly through his mouth. The cyclical breathing technique calmed his frazzled nerves and a sense of heightened awareness washed over him. Everything was crystal clear and he could hear everything from the tiniest rustle of the dirt below his feet to the rapid breathing of Joseph a few yards behind him.
Sean used the water barrels and crates that were stacked up outside Anderson’s Dry Goods for cover while searching the shadows across the street for any sign of movement. His ears strained to catch any sounds like the cocking of a rifle. As he peeked out from behind a water trough, he saw a handful of corpses littering Main Street. Their blood stained the ground beneath them, and he could see their bodies were riddled with bullets. Who were these bastards that thought they could come into town and shoot people like dogs? They weren’t going to get away with it. Not as long as he drew breath. Sean swallowed hard, repressing the rage that rose to the surface of his mind. It would only make him reckless. Staying focused was the only way to defeat them.
As he inched his way passed Anderson’s, a bullet buzzed like a bee past his ear. The air rustled his hair as another whizzed by him. He dove behind a water trough as more bullets flew overhead. Sean closed his eyes and sucked some air through his clenched teeth. Panic and fear wouldn’t do him any good, the war had taught him that lesson. He continued his rhythmic breathing until he reached a meditative state.
Sean opened his eyes and peered over the trough, his mind so focused on the two Brothers across the street that he saw nothing in his peripheral vision. One of them attempted to flank him while the other provided cover fire. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, including himself. The shots sounded muffled to his ears, drowned out by the steady rhythm of his heart and breathing. He took cover and waited until there was a break before he leaned out and fired. His mind focused on nothing but the man on the other end of his rifle. Sean worked the lever action and the trigger of his Henry rifle with the cold calculation of a machine. He saw every shot tear through the flanking Brother, who spun around before dropping to the ground. Sean ducked as the remaining Brother return fire, the bullets striking the ground like hail stones all around him.
He reloaded and glanced to his left. Joseph crouched behind a buckboard wagon a few yards away and shouted something incoherent. Sean squeezed his eyes shut and focused on Joseph’s voice.
“Do you think there’s more?”
“Maybe,” Sean said.
Joseph leaned around the corner of the wagon and squeezed the trigger. His shots struck the Brother in the chest, knocking him back against the bank’s front door. He sank to the ground, leaving behind a bloody smudge on it.
Sean headed down the street with Joseph beside him. No doubt those two Brothers were just a diversion meant to slow them down while the rest made their escape. Father Jebediah had a lot of gall to send his men to attack Sivervale, because of what? That key? Because he wanted Ezekiel and Thomas? The reason didn’t matter, this was Sean’s town. They were his people. No one was going to attack them without consequences.

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