They hit the ground alongside McGinley, whose arm shot out and the crook of his elbow closed tightly around Cole's throat, strangling him. Samuel's punches rained down onto Mickey who, still bewildered by this sudden development, did little to defend himself. By the time Mickey came to terms with the situation blood poured from his nose and from cuts on his cheek and mouth.
Ignoring the pain of the pummelling fists - he'd suffered worse in many fights - he raised an arm across his face to defend himself and looked sideways at Cole.
Not easily frightened, what O'Donohue saw scared him.
He hardly had time to get upright before Samuel and Zeke burst into action. As if by some hidden command they moved simultaneously, Samuel leaping onto the desk then throwing himself at Cole and O'Donohue, arms spread wide to bring both down, and Zeke leaping for the stash of weapons that had been piled on the floor earlier.
O'Donohue could have shot Samuel: in the split second it took the boy to throw himself off the desk, the Deputy took in the situation, but in that fleeting moment he couldn't bring himself to shoot the distraught and unarmed young man
The pistol spun free from its grasp and O'Donohue grabbed it and pointed it uncertainly at the fighting pair.
"That's enough!" he yelled, "Break it up!"
Cole spat blood as McGinley's fist caught him on the chin and raked up his face. It was a desperate but futile attempt to fight on McGinley's part, because as soon as the Sheriff got his bearings three quick punches to the Minister's jaw interspersed with a knee driven hard into his solar plexus removed any doubt about the outcome.
As the Minister lay curled up and gasping on the floor, Cole slowly stood.
The loud crack of the pistol was met by an almost simultaneous whine of a ricochet as the bullet spun off something metallic. Beside me, a frantic tangle of limbs writhed and fought and I saw Sheriff Cole's forehead butt down hard into McGinley's face. The lawman's free hand searched desperately for McGinley's gun hand as the Minister again tried to aim it at me, before hand and gun abruptly disappeared into the grunting mass of limbs.
Suddenly Mickey O'Donohue stood above them, and when the pistol appeared again, his foot stamped down hard on whoever's wrist was holding it.
I've no protection against his pummelling, jagged words, my arms are trembling, too weak to lift. My sobbing robs me of breath: I'm trying to shout, but can't.
"Out! You are unwelcome in this child!"
My throat gurgling, I try to scream but can't. Then he raises his gun and pulls back the hammer.
So this is death?
Poor Grandma, I'm sorry.
I screw my eyes tight shut.
Something makes me open them quickly as a figure suddenly flies between me and McGinley, throwing him to the ground just as a flash spits fire from the barrel of his gun.
There aint a demon inside me.
It's hard to speak through the sobbing.
"Expel it, Anna Cody. Order it to get out!"
But now there's a rage there, a hatred.
His voice bellows,
"Order it out Anna Cody! Order it!"
The shouting hurts my ears. I shake my head to make him stop, but too late I realise he believes it is the demon who is shaking my head, who is refusing, the demon who is standing up against his command.
"In God's name, depart this child!" His voice cuts my soul. "Or I will destroy you and her!"
...And I've been out all night, Grandma knows, and yeah, the Doc's been with me, but she'll still worry because I should have been home by now. She'll worry there's something real bad going on, which is true, because McGinley's acting real strange.
There isn't a demon here, I tell the Minister.
"Anna!" His voice is loud, but his eyes seem kindly, as if he's Jesus, full of love. "Expel your demon."
He's a Minister, he should know if there's a demon in me or not. Could there be - and it's hiding?
"Command it to leave you, Anna," he orders.
...Grandma, it's like this night won't ever end...
...It's like one of them dreams... when Grandma wants you home by dark but... no matter how hard you try you can't run home fast enough and you know she'll be worrying and maybe crying because you promised to be home and it's all your fault...
...In this dream everything is your fault.
And when you wake from that sort of dream your clothes are all wet and you're sobbing and Grandma aint there for comfort because you cant tell her, God knows she got enough worries looking after you.
He pushed his sons aside and walked to the prone girl. If anyone made any movement, the barrel of his gun sought them and made them motionless once more.
"No noise. Silence everyone."
Minister McGinley had taken charge.
The clock ticked louder.
The sounds of Clint in another room, the sound of water pouring, noises of clattering of metal and wood, all these intruded into the silence.
His gun roving the room, pointing in turn at each of those there, white spit forming at the corners of his mouth, he whispered loudly to Anna:
"Anna Cody, throw out your demon!"
Only when Anna sobbed did McGinley hesitate. Suddenly another figure loomed in the doorway. Joshua's eyes strained through the dim light expecting to see something monstrous, but praise be! it was Dempsey, holding her, saying "She's fainted, Doc."
McGinley lowered his pistol.
Watched as the doctor examined it.
Watched a kiss. Cole laugh. Dempsey run out the room.
Watched its eyes flicker open and watched as Doc Morris said "Guess you'll be fine now, too."
She'll be fine. But her soul won't.
He raised the pistol again.
"Get away from the child," he boomed. "I have God's work to perform."
Rarely as a Minister of God had McGinley felt so certain of himself. There'd been times he'd seen what appeared to be God's handiwork only for it to be revealed as the work of Satan. Sometimes what seemed evil was the mysterious workings of the Lord. Oh yes, he'd witnessed God move in mysterious ways, but - more often - he'd seen the handiwork of the Evil One.
He knew the difference.
Knew what he had to do. The dead could only be reanimated by God or the evil of Satan's deviousness. And this was not God's handiwork.
He raised the pistol.
All eyes were on Anna Cody.
To Joshua McGinley, as she swayed and staggered in the dim light, she appeared to be floating, moving as if she was so ethereal she was pushed and buffeted by the slightest draught.
One bullet would be enough.
On her face, between her eyes, a bubbling red cavity would appear, and from the back of her head shards of cold bone ferociously explode, billowing blood and lifeless brain into the empty air.
One bullet, blessed by God.
And the demon would flee and Anna's tormented spirit would find peace and tranquility in God's bosom.
He bowed his head and prayed silently when he saw the spirit of Anna Cody appear in the doorway. Heavenly Father, help me do your bidding.
He had never believed in ghosts: there were no such things. What people saw, when they believed they saw a ghost, wasn't the spirit of the dearly departed, but something infinitely worse - it was a physical manifestation of an emissary of Satan. A demon, possessing human shape.
With all eyes in the room on the materialisation of Evil, McGinley's hand moved smoothly to the drawer.
His gun felt cool and reassuring in his hand.
All this time Minister McGinley hardly moved. He'd sat, incredulous and almost statuesque, as his wife put bullets into floor and wall and Doc Morris; he'd done nothing when Samuel put his own body between Lucy's gun and himself. Only when Lucy swarmed bullets into the night, did he pull Zeke closer to him and pull Samuel down off the desk. Only then did he stand upright and, as far as he could, put his body between his wife and his sons.
He watched, still motionless, as his wife was overcome by Sheriff Cole and tied, screaming to a chair.
"Clint, I reckon we could all do with some drinks..."
Cole chuckled as he spoke. Clint looked so awkward, blushing intensely, trying hard not to look at anyone else, especially the men. Poor boy needed a way out and Cole gave it him. He bolted for the kitchen.
Then Doc leaned over me, eyeing me carefully.
"Guess you'll be fine now, too," he says, winking.
"You sure about that, Doctor, are you?" Minister McGinley's voice is strained, pulled tight like a hog wire.
And Sheriff Cole winced as he realised he'd made a mistake even a rookie deputy shouldn't make.
And then, as if time had stopped, his lips met mine. Just briefly, the slightest of touches. They broke away too soon, his breath warm on my face. And when our eyes met, our lips joined again, and I fought against my closing eyelids so that I could live forever in his rich brown eyes.
Outside, one lone bird sang, then others contributed, heralding a faint, hardly noticeable lightening of the dark, a new dawn breaking gently above distant hills.
When Clint pulls away, smiling, my face is hot, and for a reason I don't understand, I want to cry.
It wasn't quite dawn, but Clint's face reflected dawn-red. His eyes caught mine, then quickly looked down.
Maybe... he don't want to kiss me?
"Oh for goodness sake, lad, kiss her!" Eddie Sherman butted in.
I couldn't help giggling: Clint looked so confused. He'd put on a smile, but to me he looked like a colt cut loose in a paddock for the first time, unsure whether to stay where he stood or run free.
I know how he's feeling. My face suddenly hot, I couldn't decide if I wanted to laugh out loud or run away and hide.
If I was romantic I'd say it was a kiss from Clint bought me round. But I'm not... and it wasn't - it was his knee jabbing me painfully in my side as he knelt down beside me.
I don't care.
He's alive, smiling.
And there's Sheriff Cole. Grinning.
"What are you grinning at," Clint asks, feeling the back of his head and grimacing.
I want to know, too.
The Sheriff chuckles and Clint's brow furrowed.
"C'mon, Sheriff, spill."
"You saved the day, son. But you aint kissed the pretty girl yet. Aint that what's supposed to happen next?"
Staggering... a few... steps.
Try not to fall.
Everything about me is trembling, like a foal born too soon into the biting jaws of midwinter.
My vision's blurred; but someone moves.
Cole's arms. Stretching to reach me.
They see me? I'm alive!
My head swims and the room sways from side to side.
And when my legs start to buckle I feel warm arms around me, pulling me upright, arms that reached around, supporting me from behind.
Before everything goes black, I turn my head and look up into the face of Clint Dempsey.
Lucy McGinley suddenly stopped shouting and sat quietly in the chair. Her wrists were tied to the chair's arms, her ankles to its front legs. The ropes weren't too tight - now she had no weapons, the binding was more to help the woman calm herself rather than prevent any more injuries or death.
Doc Morris slowly hobbled to his feet and looked Mrs McGinley over.
"No pain anywhere, Lucy?" he asked, ignoring his own.
She looked startled. "I shot you, Morris, and you're still looking to see I'm okay?"
The Doc nodded.
"Then you're a bloody fool."
He nodded again.