Firelands-The Beginning in SASS Wire Saloon Posted October 30, 2020 Linn Keller 12-21-13 The Sheriff waited beside a rock. He sat on a folded blanket, another around him; he wore a coat, he was out of the wind, nothing could come at him from behind, and he waited. "I could kill you," the voice said, quietly but distinctly, and he smiled. "If you wanted me dead I would be already." Sarah laughed. "Be a dear and help me down." The Sheriff smiled, stood; he let the blanket fall, reached up and caught Sarah as she jumped. She'd stood immediately above him: had she wanted, a head-sized rock, dropped straight down, could have crushed his skull or at the least given him a size twelve headache. The Sheriff grunted, catching Sarah under the arms, his hands spread wide, wrapping around her ribs: he broke her fall but let her legs take the shock of her landing, more steadying than stopping her. Sarah laughed, then looked sadly at her father. "Dear Papa," she said softly. "I learned something about grief last night." The Sheriff's eyes smiled quietly; he indicated the thick, folded blanket, and the two sat: he worked the blanket around them both, and Sarah leaned against the reassuring warmth of her father. "I should have worn my cloak," she whispered. He unbuttoned his coat, carefully working out of it and slipped it around Sarah's shoulders. "Won't you get cold?" "Not as long as I'm under here." Sarah leaned against her Papa and sighed as he put a strong, Daddy-arm around her shoulders. "Tell me what you learned," he said quietly, and she giggled to hear his words rumble in his chest. "I miss him, Daddy," Sarah said, her voice hollow. "I know. I miss him too." "He was ... my husband." "He was." "He was a good man." "Yes, he was." "Papa ..." Linn waited. "Papa, I felt ... I wanted ..." Sarah's voice trailed off and she turned her head, rubbed her face into his shoulder. "I wanted to seize the piano and put it through the opposite wall last night." Linn nodded, slowly, patiently. "It didn't ... have the voice I wanted." Linn looked over at Sarah, puzzled. "The voice?" "I ... wanted ... something loud." "Loud." "Not loud, not really." Sarah paused, considering. "I wanted something angry." "Angry?" "Powerful. Something beyond a piano." "Did you find it?" "I did, Papa." "Tell me about it." Sarah shivered a little in spite of being warm. "Papa ... do you remember the ... pipe organ ... in Rabbitville?" "The pipe organ," the Sheriff said quietly, and Sarah heard the smile in his voice. "Yes. I do remember it." "I played the pipe organ, Papa. I ... sang ... with its throat ... I played, Papa, I played better than I have ever played in my life. I sang in octaves and in chords and I sobbed so deeply the floor vibrated. "I grieved, Papa. I cried and I cried hard." "And nobody saw you? Nobody was there for Perpetual Adoration?" Sarah took a shivering breath, pressed a kerchief to her nose. "I was the White Nun, Papa. I wore the white veil over my face. Nobody could see me and I ... the organ ..." "Nobody could hear you either." Sarah shook her head. "Go on." "I ... played ... until I was cried out." "Mmm." "There ..." Linn waited patiently. "Papa, there was a girl ... she ..." "The girl in trouble." Sarah drew her head back, her eyes wide, surprised, almost frightened. "How did you know?" she whispered. "I'm a lawman," Linn deadpanned. "I find things out." "Oh." Sarah relaxed against him again, as much for reassurance as for warmth. "I went there to scream and to cry and to lash out," Sarah said thoughtfully, "and she ... came in because she heard my playing." "Is she safe now?" Sarah nodded. "The nunnery?" Sarah blinked, puzzling her brows a little as her Papa chuckled. "Isn't that what they usually say in the stories? 'Hie thee to a nunnery'?" Sarah laughed quietly, then stiffened. Linn felt her move slowly, heard the muffled clickity-click of a revolver coming to full cock. A shadow moved, just at the edge of visual range, and they heard a threatening snarl. "It's all right," the Sheriff whispered. "It's just my wolf pup."