The sun was setting far out on the horizon, sinking into dust. The pumpjacks were cast into stark silhouette, silent and still, like a herd of mechanical behemoth wild horses frozen in their gallop out across the frontier.
It was fitting, thought Clara. “The horses that carried us stopped, so we climbed down to rest.”
“Never got back on,” came the voice from behind her. He didn’t need to ask what she meant. “Maybe never will.”

“Your hour’s up,” she said, turning from the window and back to the room. Her client lay on the bed, just like the others, but the only thing he had taken off was his boots. He sat up, swinging his legs off the edge of the bed and set about relacing those boots now. “Sorry. I don’t mean to be rude, but Dale would kill me if I gave you a second more’n you paid.”
“Dale doesn’t own you,” he frowned, fishing a few notes, more than he owed, from his pocket and handing them to her.
She laughed. “Marcus owns Dale, and Marcus might as well own me, so it amounts to the same thing.”
He crossed to the door, stopping with his hand on the knob to look back over his shoulder. “Marcus owns the water and the power,” he said, “so he might as well own us all.”

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