The shriek that pierced the air over the whole village, the whole country side brought the fleeing folk to a stop.
And in the following silence, they were drawn backward, in curiosity and hope back to the bar.
Joe was the first back on the scene.
He took it all in.
The women, their bloodlust suddenly released into the smoking and steaming air, all blinked and looked up. The captain, he could not believe that she was what the dwarves called Giant Queen-- he'd just thought she was big boned, her guns silent now, as the men who had been attacked slowly got up from the floor-- or laid still never to stir again.
And then he saw her.
Bleeding on the floor. Unmoving.
"No!" Joe cried and ran to her side.
She stirred as he reached her. "Joe..." she whispered. "I'm sorry... I ruined it all."
The door banged open and all the people, shock-sore, jumped and turned at the sound.
"I couldn't do it!" Jack cried. "I'm sorry Violet, I tried, but I couldn't leave you. Violet?" He too saw her lying on the floor, and so did James, stepping out from behind him.
"Mommy?" he said, and ran to her side.