The Shotgun 

The old twelve gauge and its shells had been made from the unknown metal of a meteorite that had fallen on a mesa deep in the desert. A gunsmith and medicine man from the far south gave it to a warrior dressed in black, a great horsebreaker. The warrior returned to the northern plains. On the day of a great battle, he fired the shotgun at the chest of a mounted enemy in blue uniform. The world turned to dust being sucked toward him. When it cleared, he was drinking whisky in a bar he had visited five weeks earlier and five hundred miles to the southwest. A sheriff told him to clear out, just as he had the last time, or the very same time. The warrior fired again, only to awaken in a skirmish to the northeast six years before. Mounted soldiers were cutting down women and children and setting fire to the typees. In horror, he saw that he was too late. They stripped his wife naked and cut her open. Horses screamed. The warrior fired into the violent haze. A whirlwind of leaves brought him into the cold of the prairie. There was an eclipse, and he heard his mother crying and bleeding to death as she gave birth to him on a bed of switchgrass. Weeping, he fired into the darkened sun. A world of dust again sucked everything away, away from the moon and sun. There were mesas and stars, but there were no more bullets. A fire burned in the distance. Throwing down the gun, he started to walk towards the fire. His footprints glinted like old blades behind him. He recognized the fragrance of the land. It was the south with its great long nights and trees made of shadows. A coyote and an owl were smoking tobacco together by the fire and gazing at the stars. They shared their tobacco with him and whispered what he had always thought. It was not a good journey. It was a good death. 

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