DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em, I just use 'em for fun. Don't sue me please.

Ratings: PG

NOTES: I posted this last year, but I retooled it a little and decided to send it out again.

by Kristen

Looking back, it gets a little harder to remember what went on in those gunfights, in those standoffs, in that town. But there's one thing I'll never forget-the day HE died.

He was the only one who saw right through me. He knew I was a coward, a pathetic excuse for a man, but he went and told me so. Those words he spoke in harsh anger that night were enough to make me reevaluate my priorities; my life in general.

I started to change then, but it was difficult. It took the death of a good man to turn me around. Because he did what I'd never have done for him back then-he took the bullet that was meant for me.

When I remember it, it comes so clearly. Strange, since my vision is beginning to darken, and it gets harder to write this out. It's getting harder and harder to keep my head up now. But I still remember.

We had finally found Fowler's employer. We all knew what it would come down to. And it did. We fought, seven against fifteen. We managed to even the odds before I fell.

I'll always remember stepping around behind a boulder to reload, remember the deep, shattering pain that told me my leg was useless, remember the seemily endless fall until the world went spinning crazily as I landed in a heap on the ground. I'll never know if I screamed, and I'll never forget lifting my head up to see one of them swinging his gun to bear on me. I still see that man's sadistic smile as he took aim, his eyes lighting with a deadly bloodlust as he began to press the trigger.

Then HE had to go and jump in front of me and take the bullet instead. We fought harder as he lay on the ground, bleeding his life away into the pale, sandy soil, staining it a vile crimson. At least, the others did. I dragged myself to him and held his head in my lap while he spat red and struggled to speak to me.

He told me he did it to save me, that I would do well to take advantage of my second chance and change for the better. I held him even as he drew his last breath, and I shed a tear at his funeral. He did so that I might live.

I've born the pain of his loss for twenty years. I've married a beautiful, kind woman and raised three children with her to be good people. I'm a charitable man in the community. And I've decided that I've lived up to him.

It's so hard to write now, and I can barely see. There's a voice in my head telling me that I'm going to die, but I'm not afraid. I'll be with him and the others soon. Just as soon as I lay down to rest, I'll go. And I've found that it doesn't hurt to die.

Ezra Standish

Afterward to father's journal-

We buried my father, Ezra Standish, author of this journal, today next to the man who saved his life so that he could change it. May God keep you safe Nathan Jackson.

Laura Standish

Feedback to: mag7fan@ipass.net