National Not-Novel Writing Month, day 21: Return of the Silent Kid

This is a followup to The Silent Kid, which is the first Not-NaNo story I posted three weeks ago.

I wrote this on Nov. 21 at a NaNoWriMo write-in I went to with my daughter. She’s doing the regular NaNo, while I’m doing something a little different.


A ghostly smile flitted across Sunny Jim’s face as the heavy recoil of the Sharps rifle slammed into his shoulder. The shot was good, he could feel it.

He used his own meticulously hand-loaded cartridges–a .45 caliber, 2 7/8 inch case filled with 120 grains of blackpowder and topped with a 500-grain bullet instead of the more common 550-grain projectile. He had found that the lighter bullets were more accurate in his rifle.

For this particular cartridge, on the linen-paper patch that kept the lead bullet from fouling the bore, he had penciled in neat letters: For Gordie.

Six hundred yards away, out in the grassy meadow, a heavyset man with a jovial face and curly, thinning gray hair lurched in his saddle, swayed, and fell off his horse. The horse shied and bolted, coming to a nervous stop several yards away. The heavyset man lay unmoving, as still as death.

Sunny Jim worked the lever and thumbed a fresh cartridge into the smoking breech of the rifle. It was the first time he had smiled in years.

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