Slater’s Soul

Slater’s soul was dark they say, if he had a soul at all
As dark as day old blood or winter skies
No one knew his story or where he once called home
The stories passed around were mostly lies

Some said he hailed from Dublin town, some said that wasn’t true
They claimed he rode one time with Bloody Bill
Some said he was a preacher who somehow lost his faith
And was no longer fit to do God’s will

The only thing agreed on in the town of  Silver Creek
Was that Slater was a killer, cold as stone
When he rode in past those oak trees out by the edge of town
They locked their doors and left him quite alone

They worried that he might be there to call the Sheriff out
And that would be a tragedy they said
The Sheriff was a well-liked man, a friend to Silver Creek
And no one wished to see the Sheriff dead

After two or three days in the quiet town that June
The tension rose to heights unknown before
Slater made no move to kill, stayed mostly at the bar
In the small saloon they called The Forty-four

He spoke in low tones when he spoke, and that not much at all
He seemed to pay no mind to anything
Some say they saw him standing by the church on Sunday night
Long after Sunday’s choir had ceased to sing

It seemed as if the whole town held it’s breath in those few days
At least that’s how I heard the story told
As Slater spent his time alone just staring far away
His body tense, his eyes still dark and cold

On Tuesday night out in the street a crowd began to form
The worry was too much for these fine folk
They wanted to be rid of the dark threat that Slater was
Before long, a heat-spawned storm had broke

The lightning flashed and thunder rolled but no rain fell that night
The fiercest storm the town had seen they say
In that dry country just one spark could be the kiss of death
And more than one small town had died that way

No one’s prayers were answered as the storm clawed at the town
When Heaven seemed as if it turned to Hell
The lightning rained it’s branches down as all the people hid
The mighty oak trees shattered and then fell

A fire had started over by old Jensen’s general store
The town folk rushed to try and put it out
With luck and sweat they knocked it down and saved the old man’s place
But then from down the street, there came a shout

The hotel blazed with giant spires of flame that roared and moaned
The people rushed to battle once again
But as they reached the building they knew that all was lost
Their bucket line could never hope to win

“My God,! Look there” a woman screamed, “There’s people still inside”
And through a window, weakly, came a cry
Impossible to enter. No way to save the doomed!
Some people raised their arms up to the sky

Then suddenly an upstairs window opened violently
Shards of glass went flying from the panes
And from the crowd a gasp went up as they could plainly see
The evil Slater there among the flames

Satan stood among the flames and looked out in the street
One man pulled a gun in fear and rage
But that’s not how it ended. The story’s not quite done
Oh no, it seems there’s maybe one more page

For then without a word he raised a child up in his arms
“Catch him please”, he said, his voice still low
No one in the street heard as he whispered “Safe from harm”
And tossed the boy to waiting arms below

As flame and smoke reached fever pitch and failing timbers groaned
He tossed a  tiny bundle to the crowd
And a baby girl was passed into her mother’s loving arms
No words were passed, the flames were just too loud

Some cried, “Jump Slater!  Quickly! The roof’s about to go!
And this story’s been around for quite a while
Some say, just then, the roof collapsed as Slater stood quite still
Some still swear they’re sure they saw him smile

There were six more buildings lost that night as fire took Silver Creek
But the people stayed and built the small town back
No lives were lost except that one, a miracle some say
And soon the bustling town was back on track

But they took the Silver Creek sign down a few months after that
And they never seemed to look at things the same
Up by the blasted oaks you’ll see the new town’s sign
They called it well.  Redemption is its name