Cold Metal


It surprised McKinnison, the speed at which his quarry could run. He’d tracked Kid Williams to the small cluster of wooden buildings along the desert hillside and he aimed to bring the murderer to justice.

McKinnison lost his man between two buildings that lead from the back of the settlement to the dusty, dirt path that served as a street. In the distance all he could hear was the tap, tap, tap of the blacksmith’s hammer.

Slowly he inched his way between the buildings, onto the boards of the walkway and towards the sound of the hammer on metal that seemed to beat to the rhythm of his own heart beat. At the blacksmith’s shop, a man stood, back to the door over hot coals, bellow pumping air to feed the fire.

The same man returned to the anvil and began tapping out the same melodic beat McKinnison had heard before. He started to move on, but paused realizing that something seemed off.

“Hands where I can see’um, Kid,” he ordered.

The would-be smitty stopped, lifting his head and glancing over his right shoulder, “What gave me away?”

“You can’t shape cold metal,” McKinnison said, “Now, hands up and move into the light of the doorway.”

His request was met with Williams spinning quick to his left, six-shooter in his right hand, flashing as it spit lead in the direction of the lawman. But McKinnison was quicker than the outlaw as a single bullet pierced the up left of his chest, the area becoming crimson immediately.

Williams did not immediately fall. Instead he stumbled into the darkness of the shop, as if hiding like a wild animal before collapsing on his back. McKinnison moved through the doorway and stood over the fallen man to look into his dead-eyes and face.

“Told ya Kid, you can’t shape cold metal,” he sighed.

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