Image for the poem A Murder In Paradise Valley.

A Murder In Paradise Valley.

      Joshua Daniel's hands wore thick calluses and he didn't smile much. At age thirty-two, he worked in fields and chopped wood. As a result, the blood, toil, and sweat made him quite a tough man with a mean disposition.

      On the 28th of June, under the big oak tree at Paradise Chapel, he and Sarah Clayton got married. The sun fell on the side of Sarah's face just right that afternoon, making her the prize of Paradise Valley.

      As it turns out, three years later, she had a change of heart.

      Unbeknownst to Joshua, Sarah and a local man named Dusty Harper--a womanizer--were having an affair. One morning, without warning, she left a note for Joshua saying she was leaving him for good. Two nights later, an acquaintance of Joshua mentioned Harper and his likely doings with Sarah.

      In fact, just the day before he swore he saw them together in what he referred to as a passionate embrace that would make anyone blush. He told Joshua that Harper was in town right that minute.

      A furious Joshua grabbed his gun before heading out for a confrontation.

      It was a little after ten-o-clock that night when Joshua arrived on the dark street. Near the local feed store, he heard a man approaching who walked with a limp. He knew Harper injured his leg when he fell off a wild horse as a youngster. When the man was fifteen-feet away, Joshua pulled his gun and with a loud voice yelled, "Dusty Harper, you son-of-a-bitch" before pulling the trigger.

      The silhouette in front of him froze for a second before falling face first. A bullet to his heart dropped him good and dead. When locals from The Dead Dog Saloon heard the shot they came out to investigate. One held up a lantern to the dead man's face. With shock in his eyes, Joshua realized the dead man lying there was not Dusty Harper at all!

      It was his friend James Woolston, a store owner walking home after carrying out late night stocking chores. An recent accident with heavy boxes caused him to limp.

      In horror, Joshua ran but knew his fate was sealed. Everyone knew him and that meant the law would be on his trail.

      Four days later, and several miles away, they found his body underneath the Swiftwater bridge with four bullet holes in his chest and abdomen.

      James Woolston's son Jesse took his revenge on Joshua.

      At his trial, Jesse declared self-defence and was able to get off, though talk around town noted there were probably some pay-offs involved.

      The locals still conjure up tales about the late Joshua, but only one holds true with many. If you're under that big oak tree on the 28th of June where Joshua and Sarah married, there's bound to be a strange, almost eerie feeling in the air. Many hear the faint troubled voice of someone nearby but see no one.

      A few believe it's Joshua's ghost cryin out. Others believe it's his late wife Sarah.

      But whoever it is, everyone agrees sounds like that are anything but an animal or the wind.
Written by Timagination543
Author's Note
Set in the old west. Thanks for reading.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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