"Nitro" MM 'Shattered'

A "Gunsmoke" story

By MarMar1

March 17, 2007

Disclaimer: We all know the drill. They own it; I don't. No monetary profit will be made from this work.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The very final moments of "Nitro" part II always get me. Those last shots in the Long Branch with Anne, Louie, Kitty. Especially Kitty. Watch the show. Watch her face, so expressive. I recommend watching that moment. This is also one of the loveliest shots of her in the show. This story is just my reaction to that, thoughts of what that expressiveness is telling us and what the next few minutes would be.

"Nitro" MM 'Shattered'

A "Gunsmoke" story

By MarMar1

Kitty Russell felt herself scream, every tiny particle of her being screamed with no sound. She didn't move; barely breathed, as the impact of the blast slammed through her. Years of practice allowed her to maintain some outward composure as her thoughts shattered like a crystal wine class hitting the hard floor.

MATT! She knew Matt had ridden out to find George McClaney, to stop him following this insanity. She knew that Matt would have ridden hard. She knew it was possible, too terribly possible, that he had had time to reach the cabin where Louie said the nitro was being cooked. Every atom constricted at the thought that Matt might have been caught in that awful blast.

George. Damn fool! He was surely gone. He had been a pretty good sort. He truly loved Anne. God, how Kitty loved seeing her girls find a decent man who would love them, share a life with them. Damn fool.

MATT! Where was he? Was he alright?

Louie. Dear Louie. He had liked George and George had been a friend to Louie. She knew that Louie would feel the weight of the loss. She noticed sweet Louie reaching over to grasp Anne's hand, offering and taking solace.

MATT! Don't let it be anything that Doc can't fix.

Anne. Young and so full of hope, hope now blown apart by need, impatience, by the destruction the harsh frontier, the world, seemed to delight in doling out. Poor Anne. Kitty knew from experience that she would be feeling hollow, everything in her having been shattered to oblivion with that one blast.

Matt! Matt might be safe. Matt had a way of getting through unbeatable odds. Her heart recoiled from memories of the times he had come so very close to not getting through. She began to breathe. Made herself breathe.

Anne. Anne was here, Anne needed…. What Anne needed no one could give. Privacy. Support. Push her through the motions until she was able to push herself through again. Get her out of the saloon. Take her upstairs to a room.

Louie. He would need to feel useful. Louie should sit with Anne, talk about George. Cry with her. Keep moving. Louie, help Anne up the stairs. Sam, brandy. Here, sit her here. Louie knows, he is holding Anne's hand, offering her the drink. Sam leaves, saying to call him if he is needed. His voice is a whisper, unwilling to stir the air and face the awful possibilities. Louie's gaze catches Kitty's, his rheumy eyes unable to disguise his despair, "Oh, Miss Kitty…" unable to hide his fears for his other friend, the marshal.

Matt! Keep moving. A shawl for Anne, a shawl that will never warm the icy chill spreading within.

Matt! Pour a brandy for yourself. Breathe. Keep moving.

Matt! Dear God, keep him safe. Keep moving. Her prayer has always worked before. Dear God, bring him home.