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It circled in the night sky.
Below, the town spread out for its inspection, broad, dusty streets illuminated by pools of light cast from lanterns in the saloon windows. A steady wind blew from the southwest, carrying the chill of the encircling desert, moaning as it skirted the eroded hills beyond the town.
The Watcher—for that was how it thought of itself—was alert to each movement in the streets far beneath its wing-stretched wheelings ... to horses nodding at their hitching posts, to drunken cowboys stumbling along the boardwalks, to a sudden fistfight in a darkened alley, to the flare of a match held to a hand-rolled cigarette.
The town was Tombstone, Arizona Territory, in the spring of 1882. Somewhere below, in one of those structures of adobe, brick, or wood slats, the Watcher's prey had taken shelter. No matter. The Watcher was patient and would continue mounting its lonely vigil. The Masters were patient, too, although lately their patience had been wearing thin.
The Watcher was not human, was not even remotely related to any creature on this world.
And neither were the Masters....
Copyright © 2001 Nina Kiriki Hoffman. All rights reserved.