A murder in Paradise Valley

A murder in Paradise Valley

A Story by Relic's Bare Trees

An old story revised.

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Joshua Daniel's hands wore thick calluses and he didn't smile much. At age thirty-two, he worked in fields and chopped wood. The blood, toil, and sweat made him tough. 

On the 28th of June, under the big oak tree at Paradise Chapel, he and Sarah Clayton married. The sun fell on the side of Sarah's face just right that afternoon, making her the prize of Paradise Valley. 

Three years later though, she changed.  

Unbeknownst to Joshua, Sarah and a local man named Dusty Harper--a womanizer--were having an affair. One morning, without warning, she left a note saying she was leaving for good with Harper. A week after, an acquaintance of Joshua mentioned seeing Harper in town. A furious Joshua grabbed his gun before heading out for a confrontation. 

When he arrived, it was dark. Near the local feed store, he heard a man approaching who walked with a limp. He knew Harper fell off a wild horse as a youngster, injuring his leg. When the man was ten-feet away, Joshua pulled his gun and with a loud voice yelled, "Dusty Harper, you son-of-a-b***h." 

The man in front of him froze. A bullet to his heart dropped him dead on the dusty, dirt road. Locals from a saloon heard the shot and ran to investigate. One held up a lantern to the dead man's face...it wasn't Dusty Harper! It was James Woolston, a store owner walking home after carrying out late night stocking chores. An accident that afternoon caused him to limp. 

In horror, Joshua ran but knew his fate was sealed. Everyone knew him and that meant the law would be on his trail. Four days later, and several miles away, they found his body underneath the Swiftwater bridge. 

James Woolston's son Jesse took his revenge on Joshua, filling him with four bullet holes in the chest and abdomen. Luckily for Jesse, he had some connections to the local law office and thus avoided charges. 

The locals conjured up a firestorm of tales about Joshua, but only one holds true with many. If you're under that big oak tree in Paradise Valley on the 28th of June and listen, you can hear someone crying out in a wretched voice. Some don't believe it's Joshua, but his late wife Sarah. Whatever, or whoever it is, those sounds are anything but an animal or the wind. If you go there, I'll let you decide.  

© 2022 Relic's Bare Trees

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Relic's Bare Trees
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Added on November 23, 2018
Last Updated on March 17, 2022


Relic's Bare Trees
Relic's Bare Trees

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