"This house is safe right?"

Martha nodded as Marston looked out the window.

"I ain't gonna be happy if Dutch and his crew find me."

"If they find you, it's 'cos you brought 'em here." Martha replied, hands on her hips, "I don't want my place shootin' up as much as you don't want you shootin' up."

"Keep it quiet woman." He said. He dragged the back of his hand over his brow, flicking sweat onto the wooden floor. He risked a look out the window: nothing. A few dust motes drifted into the air, the wind crashed against the side of the wooden ranch house but as for signs of life, there were none.

"How long are you going to keep running John?" Martha asked.

"So long as I have to I figure."

Martha shook her head and sat in the comfortable looking rocker. She didn't look comfortable.

"Say, you got anything t' eat?" her eyes narrowed. "Please?"

"I ain't got much right now but I can rustle something up for ya." She stood and moved away

"I'm grateful." He said looking out the window again. Nothing but beige-grey dust and the odd green-brown cactus out there. Sighing, he fixed his hat back onto his head and leaned back against the window frame. How had it come to this? Not the time to worry about it. The hairs on his arms tingled; stood on end. He glanced out the window again, just to be sure, nothing wrong with being certain. He scanned the prairie through narrowed eyes.

All was still. No. What was that? Movement or a trick of his eye? He stared hard until black spots swam in front of his eyes. There it was again, a slight scuff and a puff of dust. There was someone there all right. Waiting and watching. Damn, he'd been seen sneaking in late last night. He kept an eye on the watcher, hiding behind one of the rockier sections of scree.

"Here, John." Martha placed some bread and cold meat on the table next to him.

"Thanks." He said, reaching for the food, not taking his eyes off the rocks.

"Use the plate, I don't want to have to clean your crumbs off the floor." He nodded and did as he was ordered. The food did little to ease the hard stone in his stomach. He replaced the plate and turned his full attention back to the window. "You seen something?" Martha whispered. He nodded and gestured her away. She left. More men were joining the look out. John swallowed hard and reached for the iron strapped at his side. He drew the revolver out the holster and popped the barrel. Loaded right enough. He snapped it back and leaned against the window. Martha reappeared carrying a rifle.

"Didn't think I was gonna let them run riot did you?" she said in response to his raised eyebrow. He smiled.

Nothing left to do now but wait for the shooting to start…