By Daniel Lind
“I’m a poor lonesome cowboy, I’m a long long way from home,” sang the musical doorbell Dad had installed last summer.
I swung the door open, and my mouth dropped. A tall cowboy stood before me, wearing a black Stetson and spurred muddy boots, with a grey revolver holstered by his side. A gold star attached to his chest read “B. Reeves”.
“Pardon me ma’am,” he said, “You don’t know me, but I need your help.” His breathing was quick.
I blinked and noticed lines of dust around his dark eyes, and a blood-soaked sleeve.
“I think you’ve come to the wrong flat,” I whispered.
“I’m in trouble, ma’am.” His deep voice and southern accent melted me.
“You need that arm che-”
An arrow blazed through the kitchen window and buried itself in the wall behind me. I stumbled and fell to the floor. A strong hand pulled me up. The cowboy kicked the door shut and latched it, while holding me up with the other arm.
“What’s happening?” My voice trembled.
“Do you have a basement?” The cowboy drew his revolver and held it close to his chin.
“In my bedroom.”
With wobbling legs I led the way through the short hallway.
“You okay?” the cowboy asked.
“I’m fine.” I wasn’t. All this bleeding, shooting and running was not my idea of spending a Sunday afternoon. I hadn’t even finished dinner yet.
Something heavy pounded against the front door. He cocked his pistol and I jumped.
“They’re breaking in. We need to call the police!”
“Listen to me,” he put a finger on my lips, “I didn’t mean to bring them here. Get into the closet and hide. They’re here for me.”
He didn’t answer. A deafening crash and splinters of wood from the front door interrupted us.
“Hurry!” the cowboy whispered, and pushed me inside. I started to shake. It was cramped and dark. My breath was hot against the hanging dresses and jumpers. I felt very alone, my mind raced to cowboy Reeves and his dark eyes.
I heard shouting, multiple gun shots, men’s screams of agony, and my only vase breaking into pieces. I shivered in the darkness.
The flat turned eerily silent. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been hiding, my joints were aching and I had to get out. I opened the closet door and peeked through. “Hello?”
I edged out into the hallway. A heavy smell of gun powder lingered in the air. Cigarette butts littered the floor. Long arrows stuck out from my chairs and sofa, arranged as a barricade. The walls resembled a needle pincushion. There were traces of blood on the carpet, and a hatchet was embedded in my TV set.
The doorbell was broken, too. A scribbled note attached to it said: “Pardon the mess, ma’am.”