THE SHOOTING

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A very short scene cut from the end of Chapter 20 showing what happened the moment Jesse tried to draw on Jed in the stables

     Jesse and the man stood looking at each other in the stable for a split second as the barrel smoked in the lantern light.

     The impact had felt like a kick from a horse. But there was no pain.

     Jesse’s hand still grasped the gun in his holster. He finished drawing it, and in that instant, the pain caught fire with him, white-hot in his chest and back. It suddenly hurt to breathe, and his next breath came with a choking hitch. The pain stunned him, distracting him as he drew. He missed the split second he needed to pull the trigger, and the man knocked the gun from his hand.

     The revolver clattered away from him, skidding as it disappeared into the darkness beyond the circle of the lantern’s glow.

     Jesse looked down at the wet darkness creeping across his shirt. The blood felt warm and

cool all at the same time. A groan caught in his throat and he took a stumbling step backward against Showdown’s stall. He slid to the ground.

     Jed Haskins chuckled. “Well damn, that took some gall, drawin’ on me like that.” He bent over Jesse and grinned with a blackened-tooth smile. “I’ve been waiting to catch up to you.”