A Skirt of Many Colors

I go further in, to the ghosts. The first ghost is the ghost of the Boots. They are two holes in the wave of stone that half-fills a room of the old house. No telling who felt inside the pair of holes and found they were the shape of the inside of a boot. If you slide your feet into them—first checking that nothing has gotten there first—you can ask the ghost for a wish.

The pond was a bathing pool, long ago. You can still see pictures in stone, under the water and scum.

There's always a woman. And she plays her part, one way or the other. “The stranger’ll come for you,” I tell her, trying to tip-toe round the vulgarity. Whether it’s The Marshal or The Hired Gun, the innocent’s champion gets the woman. He’ll be good to her, but she’ll never forget, never be quite the same when he rides away.

I take my time undressing her, half-expecting for The Marshal to come calling.
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Her tongue was a grave-worm tunneling into me, befouling me.