Chapter One: Colt's Nightmare

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March 1887

                "Colt, the baby is crying." Sarah whispered sleepily in the darkness of the bedroom. Colt grunted, his face smashed tight against his pillow.


                "Please, Colt... She's not hungry just fussy. I'm so tired." 

                Colt sighed and pushed himself to his feet. He fumbled in the dark for his trousers and pulled them on, nearly falling over sideways in the process and hearing Sarah laugh lightly when he grabbed the wall to regain his balance.

                "You'll pay for that laugh just as soon as I get her quiet again." Colt warned and Sarah pulled the blankets tighter around herself.


                Colt grumbled under his breath and left the bedroom, entering the den just out the door where his seven month old daughter was currently gripping the bars of her homemade crib and screaming for all she was worth.  

                The wood oven kept the inside of their tiny cabin warm, though Colt could feel the coldness of the wind when it blew and came through some of the tiny cracks between the logs. Tomorrow he would have to mud those walls up a little more.

                "What's the matter with you, little Loralie?" Colt asked gently as he picked the girl up and cradled her against his bare chest. She looked up at him, a grin spreading across her chubby , round face. Colt smiled back and then gasped with pain when she buried her fists in the dark hair of his chest and yanked.

                "Why you little..!" he growled and then his daughter laughed, doing away with any anger he might have felt seconds ago. With a sigh, Colt carried Loralie to the rocking chair he had crafted the fall before  and sat down in the dark and quiet room.

                "Alright now, little Loralie, you gotta go to sleep or else your mama and your pa arent' gonna be no good for nothin' tomorrow."

                Loralie tried to look around but Colt put his hand on the side of her head and held her against him, beginning to hum lightly as he rocked the most precious angel God had ever created.  Colt loved both the beautiful women in his life, though it wasn't in his nature to say so, they knew it was the truth.

                Colt and Sarah had been married for just over two years and while their marriage had been more out of convenience than love it had slowly turned into love and that love had been solidified with the birth of their daughter. Little Loralie. The love of Colt's life.

                He sat there humming and rocking for a long while, listening to the clock ticking on the wall and the sound of Loralie's tiny breaths. It wasn't' until her body twitched a little in his arms that he realized she was sound asleep.

                Colt, stood and walked back to the tiny crib, laying his daughter down gently and covering her with the quilt that Sarah had spent all last summer making.

                Eager to get back to bed and get to paying his wife back for that laugh, Colt strode into the bedroom, sliding out of his pants as he moved. He climbed into the bed and crawled beneath the covers, chuckling when Sarah moaned grumpily in her sleep and tried to steal the cover back.

                "Sarah...." He whispered, allowing his breath to blow against her ear. She squirmed, bringing up her shoulders to try to block his advances. "Sarah I believe I made a promise to you."

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