A Woman With a Past.

Dedicated to the memory of Celia Blaylock, aka Mattie Earp.

Wess Haubrich

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Celia Ann Blaylock, aka Mattie Earp. This photo was shot in Fort Scott, KS. Source: Wikimedia commons

She floats.

The bathwater in their large brass tub ran an increasingly-brilliant crimson as she slid the straight razor over the meridian of her delicate wrists hardened by the frontier journey from the plains of Missouri to these cacti-covered hills of the Arizona territory. Their home was built and beautifully appointed, based purely on gambling and extortion, both as town marshal and at the poker tables and frontier billiard halls.

She floats.

His handlebar mustached face, chiseled yet spectral floated closer to her, enveloping her diminishing field of vision.

Will you cry o’er my bones my Eternal Love?

His face was stoic, silent… like the endless train of men she had been forced to be with before him. The nightmare floated away as tears ran down her radiant face — a Magdalean reflection of what she had been, demons she could not shake coming to painful life in the ether of her final curtain dementia.

She had always identified with Mary Magdalene when the preacher told her tale from Holy Writ. That is, when her husband drug her to Sunday services to keep up his appearance as the top lawman in these parts, a big iron always at the hip.

She floats.

Will you cry o’er me, my Eternal Love?

The twin bottles of laudanum and arsenic slipped clinking like Christ intervening to save the cheating woman from a stoning. Her salvation soon approaching.

Perhaps now she could get his attention from the poker tables and his desert-sized myth of top law enforcer. Cultivating that, whiskey, and the gambling tables left no room for love in what they had. A hollow shell of a marriage — a husk, as permanent as a wind-tossed valley tumble weed.

WILL YOU CRY O’ER MY BONES?!

His stoic face burned a seething red, his hawkish brown eyes boring a hole straight through her opium-swaddled soul.

WILL YOU, MY ETERNAL LOVE?!

He simply could not be seen consorting with prostitutes anymore, as his face slowly sunk into the void.

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Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.