Hazel '04: Santa Septum

"Now ladies and gentlemen welcome to the historic Four Corners church, please feel free to look around but first let me show you the centenary commemorative window. This stained glass window was placed here in 1923 to mark a hundred years since the town's founding and as a memorial to the town's most famous residents, the so called 'Magnificent Seven' who, according to local legend, protected the town from evil over a hundred years ago.

"The first figure is 'The Righteous One', he was a healer, with miraculous powers, in a time without antibiotics, proper anesthetics, IV medication, X-rays and no real understanding of infection control, not one of the Seven died or suffered serious permanent disability or disfigurement while in his care. This is even more miraculous when we are told that the Seven were injured or taken ill many times, serious head injuries, broken bones, bullet wounds including belly and chest wounds, illnesses including pneumonia, septicemia, typhus, influenza and even peritonitis, yet no one ever died.

"On the opposite side we have "The Patient Preacher', he was a holy man, possessed of infinite patience and wisdom. Despite a history of heavy drinking and a dangerous temper that had led him to kill in the past, once he arrived in the town, he became a changed man. Although he set himself the task of renovating this church, he never finished it, year upon year he worked at it, yet the task was never completed, on at least two occasions it came close, but fire and flood forced him to start all over again.

"Next to him is 'The Innocent', he was raised in the east, in a big city and at a large country estate just outside it. He worked for a living as a stable hand from the age of 10, when his mother fell ill he had to leave the estate and move back to the city to work and care for her. Despite all this, despite travelling west on his own, he remained an innocent, trusting and un-cynical to the end.

"Next to the healer we have 'The Clown', he was a civil war veteran, a professional gunman who earned his living selling his gun arm, he may have been a fast draw, we don't know. He was a fine shot with a rifle and even fought and won a duel on one occasion, yet he lived to die an old man, with his looks intact. He was a lover of women, who never contracted a social disease or fathered any bastards. Yet he was the fool of the Seven, the comic, who always fell for the practical joke or the con, the one who always lost the bet.

The man beside him is 'The Martyr', a man with a record as a grifter and a professional gambler who wasn't above cheating if he needed to. Despite his service to the town and friendships, some of them very 'close' friendships, he was continuously blamed for all-manor of calamities and betrayals. Yet even though he was innocent, he was always presumed to be guilty and never once stayed to defend himself, preferring to leave town on his ever faithful steed instead. Whenever this happened the others, on discovering the truth, would to set out to find him and bring him back.

On the other side, the figure with long hair is 'The Wounded One', he was something of a paradox. Although he lived with Native Americans and had great sympathy with them, he worked as a buffalo hunter, only stopping when there were no more buffalo to hunt. After that he turned his hand to bounty hunting, yet legend tells us he was a wanted man. He was a poet, pure of heart, innocent of evil and a man of fragile health, Always susceptible to illness and infection. Despite this fragility of health, he hung on to life in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds with a truly miraculous tenacity, on more than one occasion he sustained multiple injuries, left untreated for days, but made a full recovery every time.

Lastly, in the centre, we have 'The Glaring One', it is said he could smite men dead with one look. It is also said that after the loss of his family he dressed in black from head to toe and never smiled or laughed again. He was the leader of the Seven; a man so feared, whole gangs of villains backed down just on hearing his name.

"Before they came together in Four Corners all seven men were living alone and taking care of themselves. Yet after they met, not one could leave town without at least two of the others without some terrible calamity befalling him, this became known as 'the curse of the Seven'."

Kim Foster concluded her speech, with a slight sigh of relief. Four Corners had only just opened as a tourist attraction and this was the big test for the staff - Memorial Day weekend. The small town had remained almost unchanged until it was finally abandoned in the 1950's, bypassed 20 years earlier the construction of a nearby highway, little by little the town had died. Some 50 years later when it was re discovered, with many of its nineteenth century buildings intact, the state decided to save it as a historic sight and once restored, it opened to the public.

Kin looked at her group, until today the biggest group she had had was seven, now there were at least twenty-four in this group, if not more. In the dark interior of the church, it was hard to see all of them. So when someone asked a question, she couldn't actually see who had spoken.

"Please, Miss?"

"Yes?" Whoever it was, it was a man near the back

"What happened to them?" he asked.

"Good question. The Righteous one married a girl from the Native American settlement, and eventually moved out of town to live there when a real doctor came to town in the late 1890's. The youngest married a local girl and the two of them moved to her ranch just outside town. The Preacher remained in town until his death, he never married. The other four moved out of town to the horse ranch owned by the leader, they combined their jobs as the town's lawmen, with horse breeding."

"Did any of these gentlemen ever marry?"

This was a different voice, unmistakably southern, but also from the back.

"Err, no."

"So the four of them lived on this ranch alone?"

This voice she could identify, the tall, good looking man, who had been flirting with her earlier.


"No women at all?" he asked with clear incredulity.


"Interesting," the southerner commented.

"Well this concludes our tour of the town, feel free to look around." With that Kim moved to the side, and then made her way to the door where she should answer questions, eventually the group moved out into the sunshine, and she prepared to follow them, until she noticed seven men still standing, gazing up at the window. The more she looked the more they seemed to mirror the men in the window.

She knew she shouldn't but she moved a little closer so she should listen.

"I'm telling you it's us," the younger one insisted.

"You saying I'm righteous, JD?"

"Well, now Nate, you can be, sometimes," the big man with grey hair pointed out.

"Well, I'm not saying I'm innocent, you understand," the youngest one said again, "It's just - well, don't you think it could be us?" he insisted again.

"Yeah it could be, weird ain't it?" This comment, in a rich Texan accent, was from the one with longer hair standing next to the blonde.

As Kim watched the blond slid his hand behind the Texan, letting it come to rest on the man's slim hips.

"Many people believe in reincarnation," the grey haired man pointed out.

"Do you suppose I loved you in another life?" The southerner asked the tall one with dark hair, the same one who had been flirting with her.

"In any life, past, present, future, I'll always love you," the tall man purred back.

**Damn and those four were the cute ones, why is it always the cute ones?** Kim lamented.

"Oh, for God's sake Buck, you're so full of crap!" the young one complained good naturally.

"That's sap not crap, Mr Dunne and I happen to like it."

"You do, babe?" Buck asked.

"Of course, my beloved."

Kim shook her head and shrugged, she'd always wondered about those four men on that ranch with no women. She hoped they had been as happy as these men seemed to be.