He looked down at his cards. The hadn't changed. He looked back at her. Neither had her expression.

"Take your time sweetheart," she called. Not overtly mocking, but he knew it was there.

She poured some more whiskey. The rising sun catching the glass and drowning out the light of the nearly-burned out candles.

He reached for his money and called the bet, then drew a single card.

She took none.

He was running through the possibilities in his mind, trying to reconstruct the hand. She was either very lucky and made her hand early, or had been running a bluff from the start.

There was nearly a thousand dollars in the pot. In 1863, that was a lot of money. And he only had another four hundred in front of him. She had more. A lot more. There were no table stakes in force, she was going to bluff him off it knowing his credit was shaky in the town.

He was flushing. Not a strong flush, but strong enough. But he was afraid of what she had. He was close to losing his nerve.

He indicated that she should bet first, hoping she would bet small hoping for him to raise and then she could put the pressure on him. Instead he'd just call, and either take a decent pot, or limit his losses.

"The bet is five hundred dollars," she said, leaning back and turning her head to her companion who struck a match on his boot and held it for her to relight the cigar which had gone out earlier.

He was about a hundred short, but was certain she was bluffing.

The End

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