The blood and guts in her hair didn’t phase Slade. Once Standing Eagle’s warriors were cut loose, Slade grabbed hold of Miss Bonnie and kissed her deeply. Passionately.
Slade pulled back. “I thought you were dead.”
“I thought you weren’t going to come for me,” Miss Bonnie replied.
“Looks like you didn’t need me to,” Slade said.
“I know,” Miss Bonnie said as she rested her head against Slade’s chest for a moment. “But it’s nice to know that you tried.”
The pair kissed again, madly swapping spit and tongues, lost in each other, oblivious to the world.
Miles was back to his boy form and standing next to the couple, pretending to clear his throat.
Petrified, Slade froze up.
“She’s awake?” Slade asked.
Slade turned around to face his bride.
It isn’t easy to describe a facial expression. The English language has words like “unhappy” or “disappointed” or “sad” but really there isn’t a single word that can sum up the pain that the Widow Farquhar was in upon seeing her fiancé sucking the face of the Highwater’s most infamous prostitute.
The best attempt at a description would require you, the noble reader, to imagine that you’re a child again, and your beloved grandmother just gifted you an adorable puppy dog on Christmas morning. You’re sitting there, petting it, stroking it, bonding with it and then all of a sudden your grandmother produces a revolver, blows the dog’s brains out, declares that Santa Claus is non-existent, then blows her brains out. Finally, your parents walk in and upon seeing the mayhem, they too produce revolvers, inform you that you’re a loathsome disappointment, and then blow their brains out.
The look on your face as you sit there amongst the rotting carcasses of your puppy, granny, and parents would not only be a perfect blend of shame, sadness, depression, anger, confusion, agony and despair, but also it would be more or less similar to the expression that enveloped Sarah’s face that day.
Sarah’s voice wavered. She’d lived a sheltered life, cared for by men all of her days. Confrontation was something she just was not used to.
Her voice faltered.
Slade stammered. “Sarah…I…umm…”
Sarah’s hair was a bird’s nest like mess from all the turmoil she’d been through. Her dress was wet, filled with holes, covered with so much mud and blood that it looked nothing like a wedding dress anymore but rather like the tattered rags of a common street beggar.
She drew closer. “You thought that I…was her.”
Slade’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Miss Bonnie stepped back.
“No,” Slade said.
“You were disappointed when you saw me on the train,” Sarah said.
Slade shook his head. “No, no. Not at all…I…”
Sarah looked Slade in the eye. “You called me Bonnie.”
Slade dropped his head in shame. “Yes.”
The Farquhars were good Christian folk, people who believed that the bible wasn’t just a collection of useful morality tales but rather, that all that hullaballoo actually happened. Thus, from a young age, Sarah had been taught to be a good person, to behave herself and mind her P’s and Q’s, lest she be denied entry into heaven, or be turned into a pillar of salt, or end up in hell pushing a boulder up a never-ending hill forever and ever.
But in that moment, she forgot all that and unleashed the most breathtakingly obscene tirade that had ever occurred in the history of Highwater.
“You fucking cocksucker!” Sarah shouted.
She slapped her dainty hands across Slade’s chest. He stood there and took it like a man. It wasn’t that difficult. There wasn’t much power behind those slaps.
“You dirty son of a bitch bastard, fucking two-timing, philandering, rancid piece of shit out of cow’s smelly ass!”
“Whoa,” said Miles as he stepped a few feet backward to avoid the fray.
“I hate you!” Sarah cried. And she was, literally crying. Tears streamed down her cheeks and her swears were interrupted by sobs. “ I fucking hate you, you fucking disgusting pig and I hope that you contract a fucking disease that makes you shit blood out of your asshole until you fucking die!”
“Sarah,” Slade said. “Can we…can we just talk?”
In response to that question, Sarah balled her hand into a fist and launched it at Slade’s jaw. There was power behind that blow and in terms of pain, it ranked right up there with all the socks in the jaw Slade had received from various criminals in his career as a law man.
“And you!” Sarah shouted at Miss Bonnie.
Miss Bonnie closed her eyes. She figured she deserved a good punch of her own for stealing a bride’s groom but instead felt something small bounce off her cheek.
The redhead looked down to see Slade’s mother’s ring lying in the dirt. Sarah had screwed it off her finger and thrown it at Miss Bonnie’s head.
“You can have him…whore!”
Sarah stormed out of the barn and into the road. She walked off. Slade, Miss Bonnie and Miles followed.
“Sarah!” Slade yelled.
Sarah kept walking. Slade kept following.
Down the road, Standing Eagle’s warriors could be seen marching toward the barn. They were carrying a large bundle of some kind, so big that it required men on each side to hoist it over their shoulders.
“Sarah!” Slade yelled again. “I can’t just let you leave on your own! There are zombies out there!”
Sarah did an about face, balled her hand, gritted her teeth and screamed like a raging, rabid animal.
“Shit!” Slade said as he put up his hands to protect his face from the series of blows that rained down upon him. “Ok! Ok!”
Sarah gave up and kept walking. Slade stayed in place but shouted one more time, “Sarah.”
“What?” Sarah asked without turning around.
Sarah kept walking. “Fuck your sorry in the ass with a syphilitic donkey cock.”
“Jesus,” Slade said to himself.
Slade didn’t move but he could feel Miss Bonnie’s presence next to him. Together, they stood silently for a moment and watched as Sarah walked past the incoming warriors.
“Did you know she had that in her?” Miss Bonnie asked.
“I did not,” Slade replied.
Slade was about to walk to the barn to collect his mother’s ring when Miss Bonnie held up her hand and twitched her fingers to show that she was wearing it.
The lawman sighed.
“What?” the redhead asked.
“The vampire,” Slade said. “Said I wasn’t able to feel hope. That I’d never be happy. No one around me will be happy.”
Miss Bonnie took Slade by the chin and kissed them. “I doubt it,” she said.
“What if he’s right?” Slade asked.
“Then we’ll be unhappy together,” Miss Bonnie said.
The couple embraced and kissed again.
“But what if…”
Miss Bonnie cut her man off. “Fuck that vampire! Now you get down on your knees and you beg me for my hand, Rainier Slade!”
Slade smiled, as did Miss Bonnie. Neither of them felt the need to say it, but for a man who was allegedly unable to feel hopeful, Slade was looking very happy.
He got down on one knee and took Miss Bonnie’s hand.
“Bonnie,” Slade said. “If you’ll have me…”
“Oh shut up,” Miss Bonnie said as the two hugged and kissed again.
The newly engaged couple walked hand in hand down the road. Their joy quickly turned to sadness when they caught up to the warriors. Miles had already joined them.
Wandering Snake directed the warriors as they laid their bundle down.
It wasn’t just any bundle. As Snake pulled the sheet away, the lifeless face of Standing Eagle was revealed.