Source: Unsplash by Taylor Brandon

Ava Thomson is a fearless yet fragile woman, who has been exposed to all sorts of injustice throughout her life. Now, laying on the floor naked, her mind wanders through a flower field where she can rest in peace, not being bothered by the constant push and pull of American society in the late 1800s. The only thing she feels, other than a slight discomfort in her womb, is a strong rustle of wind going through the tree she was leaning against.

On a fresh and calm morning, Colter Robinson and his horse Lucky were strolling through the riverside of Nine Mile Canyon. The birds’ constant chirping accentuated the morning howl that Colter was used to. While on his way, an unusual chirp interrupted his travel. As Lucky drank water from the river, Colter dismounted his stallion to aid a magpie who was bleeding out.

As a tear as profound as the river drew from Colter’s blue eye, he inevitably remembered Margaret, who was accidentally shot by Keysville’s sheriff Neil Thomson. Sheriff Thomson had been tracking down a string of breaking and entering into Keysville’s homes for weeks and had finally found the gang’s hiding spot: it was below a ratchet old bar just off the entry of his town. As he chased them down, a stray bullet went flying off Neil’s revolver, killing Colter’s daughter, Margaret, who was innocently playing with some rocks she had found near their home. There had passed over ten years and still, Colter was unable to return to his home, just outside of Keysville. Ten years had gone by and still, Margaret’s memory hit Colter just like that stray bullet.

In a millisecond, Colter realized there was nothing he could do for the magpie, so he grabbed the bird’s body with his left hand and the bird’s head with his right and quickly snapped it, ending the bird’s suffering, and his own. A gentle breeze passed through his head as if nature wanted to soothe Colter’s conscience.

On a warm summer afternoon, the serene sunset was interrupted by Ava Thomson’s abrupt flee from her home which she shared with her husband Neil. While Neil presented himself as the perfect Keysville citizen, at home he made it custom to mix alcohol and beatings. Ava knew he was only upset because of the incident with the young girl Margaret, ten years ago. Nevertheless, she had to flee. So she quickly ran from her home, mounted on her horse, galloped through Keysville, and fled towards the Nine Mile Canyon.

After a few hours, Ava found herself in the middle of nowhere, which was exactly where she wanted to be. Suddenly, a light appeared in the obscure night. Seven bearded men were sitting around it jostling wine bottles and a guitar. To her demise, one of the cowboys noticed her before she noticed their intentions. They quickly ran after Ava as if she was meat and they were hungry lions. One man captured her horse with a rope, four others surrounded Ava, and the other two wildly shot up their revolvers in the air. Ava could not do anything as she had fled her home with nothing with her. They covered her mouth as she screamed and she clawed their arms as they took advantage of her. In the end, they left her dress completely ripped, her horse shot in the head, and precisely no optimism left in her. She thought she was going to die as an abrupt rustle of wind woke her up.

On that same night, just a few hours before, Colter Robinson found himself around that same bonfire having a heated discussion with all the members of the gang. They wanted to break and enter Keysville’s bank, but Colter wanted to kill the town’s sheriff. After the rough discussion, the seven men all agreed to expel Colter Robinson from their clan as they could not endure Colter’s continuous pursuit of his personal vendetta. So they chased him away, as wind chases autumn leaves.

Ava suddenly woke up. She was hurt, terrorized, and completely lost. She began to hear water running from the river, so she quickly chased that sound, as she was severely dehydrated. When she arrived at the river, she spotted a tall bearded man, that seemed trustworthy enough to help her. As she began to get closer to inspect the man, who was kneeling down, she saw him snapping a magpie’s head for no apparent reason. Instead of running away without anything, she began to concoct a plan.

Ava undressed in order to catch the man’s attention, and dove into the river. While underwater she picked up the sharpest rock she could find. Colter introduced himself, as he had noticed her bruises, and wanted to help. As he got closer, Ava did not hesitate, she bludgeoned him with the rock and jumped on Lucky, wet and fully naked.

As she ran away, he looked at her from a distance. He felt his eyes fading away as he said goodbye to Lucky. Colter smiled peacefully as he felt a strong but warranted breeze pushing his soul closer and closer to his daughter Margaret.

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