Chapter 34: October 13, 1869.

Feeling my days in Aurora were numbered, it was time to do some damage control. My first conversation was with Tim, who had become a judge since Charlie had recently retired. I told him about Brock's gang harassing me outside the church and about the judge selling me off. He was livid and when Brock came into the saloon, Tim warned him to back off.

My next important conversation was with Charlie. We met at the blacksmith's office where both of us were pretty upset with how things were going in town. It seemed neither of us had a leg to stand on anymore. When throwing a hammer at the wall did nothing to alleviate my anger, I cried on his shoulder and he held me tightly.

In the saloon, Naomi yelled at me for spreading rumors about the Five Horsemen girls. Livid with all these false accusations, I went to work at my office and talked with Tanner, who was becoming a good friend.

Needing peace and refuge, I told Luke and Rebecca that I was going for a ride to Kansas. Before leaving town, I went to the church to pray for peace and clarity.

Walking back outside, I found Brock waiting for me. "Ya been spreadins sheeits again, has ya?" he asked.

"No, Brock. People are spreading shit about me and I'm sick and tired of it."

"Uh huh…" he said as he put his hand on his gun.

"I haven't said a damn word about you or your gang all week long. I'm more upset about what Ruth did that night at the church than ya'll."

"Ya knows, I am sicks of its too."

"Just let it go, Brock. I've had a hard enough week as it is."

Brock gripped his guns tight and said, "I ain't lettin' this goes."

"Honestly, Brock. I never said one word. Come on…"

He pulled his guns and shot me down in my arm. He ran off and I cried out in pain, calling for help. Logan, Meg and Ingrid ran over and helped get me to the clinic with Rebecca's help. I tried to get them to bring me to the office, but they brought me to the clinic for Kim to look after my wounds.

Luke ran to the office to get a warrant made on Brock while Kim worked on my arm. "Tracie honey," she said when I told her Brock had shot me to shut me up, "Brock is a sick and twisted man. I don't think he's smart enough to be scared of the written word."

"How you doing?" Adam came into the clinic then.

"I'm pissed. I'm injured. I guess I had it coming from him but…"

"He gunned you down in cold blood and you didn't even draw." Adam shook his head, clearly upset.

Kim let me talk to Adam alone and we talked about how he had resigned as deputy. He took my hand and I told him, "He tried to kill me." Adam just nodded, holding my hand.

Luke came in with Rebecca and Adam headed out of the clinic. "Did you get him yet?" I asked, looking between them.

"He says you were calling the women in his group names when I saw him," Rebecca said. "Had I known that he was the one who shot you, I'd have tried to take him in…"

"I never said anything, Rebecca… I never said a damn word about his stupid gang. I didn't even draw my gun. He just came at me…"

Adam came back in then and Luke looked at me. "How are you feeling?"

"I want to get out of this damn bed and go shoot his…"

"Now you know you shouldn't do that… he'll be caught," Luke promised and looked at me.

"He had no reason to…" I glared.

"No, he most certainly didn't. Beating you… maybe. But shooting you? No."

"I told him to let it go, Luke." I tried to stand then, feeling restless.

"I know, but the man is insane." Luke pointed to the bed. "Stay laying down. You're going to injure yourself." When I tried to reach for him to get up, he lay me back down. "Please lie down… I've got enough on my mind without having to make sure you get your rest."

"But…" I started, but then relaxed back again.

"Do as your told or I'll shoot you myself," Adam said with a grin.

"He'll do it," Luke said and laughed.

"Got no badge to stop me." Adam grinned and I glared at him.

"Ain't happy about that either, Adam. So help me if I see him again…" I muttered.

"You will walk the other way quickly," Luke interrupted and looked at me seriously. "Tracie, would you like to be promoted to sheriff?"

"Don't you think that'll put more of a target on my back? You want me to have a death wish?"

"Not at all. I'll be reporter and distract them," Luke said. "Seriously. I would rather be a lawyer at this point. But I couldn't trust anyone else to take over sheriff to get the details necessary to convict… If Adam hadn't quit, it would be a different story."

"I need at least one of ya'll on my side as law," I said and tried to relax.

The next day, we heard that Lee Borden had been hanged. No one had even bothered to tell the three of us about the trial, in spite all the work we'd done investigating the Borden brothers. Knowing it was a sign that our welcome had run out in Aurora, the three of us decided to journey onward to see where our paths would take us. The only positive part was that no matter where we would go, we would go there together.