Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Back Story

Ten Years Ago

     Hunting men is almost easy than hunting game. Yeah deer and rabbits tend to go back to the same watering holes, and have the same woodland that they travel in, but when they sense danger, they tend to run and hide and at times are impossible to flush out.
     Men on the other hand tend to go to the same bars and whorehouses, same towns and safe houses. But they one thing they do not do is when they sense danger is hide; they tend to want to stay and fight it out. Men are stupid.
     After my sister was murdered I took it upon myself to hunt down the men who did it. I became a bounty hunter. I mean, I might as well make a few bucks while I’m at it right? For the past 3 years I have made it my job to hunt down the most vial and nasty that the West had to offer. In the process I had made over six thousand dollars, and collected about 15 bullet holes in my body.
You think your invincible when you first start out, then you take your first bullet. After you heal from your first bullet you figure that hey if I lived through that I am invincible. Somewhere between bullet number five and bullet number ten you start to think that maybe you’re not all that indestructible. Then bullets eleven thru and fourteen pretty much makes the argument that yeah… I need to be more careful. Bullet fifteen makes you reconsider your line of work. That’s where I was, bullet fifteen.
     I had hunted the country looking for the man with the sunken eyes without any hope of ever finding him. I had run across murderers, robbers, rapist, the worst that humanity has to offer. Yet though all these men, I hadn’t found my man, Hell, I hadn’t even seen a wanted poster with his mug on it. I had managed to track down the man that was with him that night.
     I spent five long days on the trail back to Dodge City with that murder. He just laughed when he found out it was me. He said that I had so far wasted my life looking for him. I told him nothing would be wasted when I saw him hanging by a rope. After a few days he offered my money, women, and land to let him go. I had none of it; all I asked was, where’s the man with the sunken eyes? He told me he didn’t know, he said he didn’t even know the man’s name. I had enough, I stopped talking to him. I stayed in Dodge just long enough to watch him hang. To hear his neck snap brought a smile to my face.
     But that had been the only thing that had made me smile in a long time. I was burned out. I had killed too many men in the name of money, and I still had not exacted the revenge that I sought. Hate had long taken over my soul. I felt like the devil had stopped by and set up shop inside of me. No woman loved me. None care to. I had grown ugly.
     I had never been a handsome man by any means. I stood all of six feet. I had a think long head of black hair. I was only 23 but living hard had started to turn me gray. I weighed in about 190 pounds, and thought I carried it alright. My nose was crooked, from losing to many fights. I shaved, but not often enough, my face felt like sandpaper, or so I was told. One thing that everyone noticed though was my lack of a right ear. All that was left after the man with sunken eyes had decided to blow it off was a nub of ragged flesh. When the doc had found he said that my ear was a total loss and snipped it off.
     Because of my lack of an ear I had become known as One Eared Raven, Bringer of Death. Because of this reputation I had gained, few men fought me anymore. Most saw me coming, saw my one ear and gave up.
     One day I was bringing in one of my latest bounties, a red head by the name of Sullivan. Not that he was important, but who I ran into next was. Marshal Kipp Manning was a sturdy man. Strong willed and hell he had a strong mouth on him too. He would tame whiskey if he looked at it right. I had worked with Kipp on a number of bounties, but this time he wanted me for something else. He saw that I was burned out and that I needed a change of pace. So he deputized me right then and there. I didn’t argue with the man, I pinned the badge on and since that day I was a US Marshal. I think back on this turn of events and I’m thankful I took the badge, cause if I hadn’t I’m sure Kipp would of kick my ass and called me Nancy afterwards. 

5 Years Ago

     Kipp took me under his wing and decided to make me his wingman. Since my father had died, I really didn’t have a man to look up to, or learn from. Kipp took over teaching me on how to become a man. Adamantly I was a bit old to be taught a few things, but he taught me the Law, and how a man of the Law should act.
     Kit was not one to shy away from a fight. But he would only fight it pertained to upholding the law. He never took money, he never lied, and most of all, he never broke the law that was his to uphold.
     What was most amazing about Kipp though was that he converted to Mormonism. A group of missionaries rolled into Cheyenne one day, gave him a book and asked him to read it. Kipp came to the office, told me he was going to be gone for a few days, and took off. Three days later Kipp came back to town a changed man. He didn’t swear any more, up and quit smoking, and got a hair cut. He even took a bath. The last thing I remember talking to Kipp about was how he was going to move to Salt Lake City, find a wife, get married in some sort of temple and live to see the glory of God. I didn’t argue with the man, and actually I was happy that Kipp had found something to believe in.
     Kipp left later that year and I would get a letter from here and there, I finally heard that he had settled down in a town in northern Nevada called Grantsville. He sent me a letter telling me that he had found a wife, married her in that temple, he got a job as Marshal and he and his wife Annabelle had two kids. Strange what happens to men when they find God, very strange.

Back Story

I'm still trying to figure out a better way to put this into the book

15 Years Ago

I was wakened by the sounds of horses riding up the road to my sister’s small home. The sky was still dark, and a ghostly moon hung in the clouds. Gray, inky clouds crept across the sky, at times blotting out the moon. The air was damp; it was like a wet towel hanging in the air, ready to smother me at any moment. It was too dark for somebody to be calling upon my sister.
     I stood up and tired to brush thick hanging golden straw that clung to my clothes like a June bug in heat. The straw had found a home and didn’t budge. I walked a crossed the barn and grabbled an old flannel shirt that hung on a sturdy nail. It smelled like cow dung, and I winced as I put it on. In the distance I saw four riders hop off their horse and kick in my sister’s door. Panic filled my emotions. I didn’t know what I should do.
     Just a year ago, my parents and I where heading across the plains to meet my sister. She had moved out the Wyoming with her husband and wanted to show my parents the spread David and she had bought up. My parents where eager to see her, and were thinking about buying up some land too. My folks and I hitched up a wagon and made our way west. On the way out we where ambushed by a gang of thieves. They wanted my folk’s spending money, and my mom’s golden ring. My father protested and that only got him a bullet to his head. My mother, in a frantic attempt to protect my father, tried to cover his blooded corpse and was rewarded with two bullets to the back. I was in the back of the wagon and could only watch them be murdered. I had felt some helpless that day. And now, I was feeling hopeless again.
     I stood there looking at my sister’s house and tried to think of my options. I didn’t have a gun; and I didn’t think my sister had on either. So I went back into the barn and grabbed the ax that I had been using to chop wood with all day. The wood that made up the handle was dry and splintery, it had rubbed my skin raw, and the blisters that I had earned from using the ax all day still covered my hands. But the ax felt natural, my fingers curled around the grips and I headed for the house.   
     I could hear muffled arguments spill from the house. I saw that there was a lamp burning in the living room, and occasionally a body would pass by, briefly, shrouding the house in a blanket of darkness. I could see four horses tied up to the long porch that my sister and David like to sit out on and watch the night go by. They snarled and whined as I passed them and I peered into the grimy window. I saw David and my sister sitting on their new couch. David looked like a trapped rabbit, fidgeting and trying to find an opening in which he could bolt and save his hide. My sister sat there, with a stony look in her eyes.
Four men paced a crossed the room, but only one spoke. He was a medium built man. Nothing was impressive about him. His head was covered by a tan riding hat, even in the dim light you could see the sweat stains that had bleed through. He was well built, but signs of a gut where showing. His nose was straight, so if he had been in any fights, I had guessed he was the victor every time. The one thing that did make him stand out was that his eyes where sunk deep into his skull. So far into his face you’d think that they where hollow holes in the poor lighting that hung over the room.
I couldn’t make out what they where saying, but I could tell they wanted something from my sister, and she wasn’t eager to give it up. I could see frustration build in the man; he seemed to coil up like a rattle snake. His was hissing by this point, and looked ready to strike. Suddenly all the fear that had built up in me came to a head and broke. I felt sweat drench my body and I made a decision to act, and hopefully save my sister.
The world slowed down and I ran into the open door way. I saw everyone turn towards me, the men looking puzzled, my sister looking saved. I swung the ax decisively at the first man I saw. The heavy blade smashed into his skull, and his head split open like a watermelon. I tried to pull the ax out, but it was firmly logged into the man’s head. I gave up the effort, but it was too late, one of the men had pulled out his gun and was pointing it right at me. I could see the steel shining in the dim light. His lips snarled and he smirked at me.

“Stupid move boy, you killed my kin’ now I need to kill your kin’.”

He turned to David and blasted off two thundering rounds. I thought I felt the room shake. The man’s aim was solid and both the rounds smashed into David’s chest, his bones snapping like twigs under the weight of the bullets. David’s body went limp and he crumpled into my sister’s arms.

“You bastards,” my sister said with steely resolve, “You think this will change anything? To hell with you!”

She threw David’s corpse off her lap and stood up. Under her apron she pulled out a gun and fired off four rounds at the man who had killed David. Three of the rounds went wild, but it only takes one to kill a man. And one of my sister’s rounds found their home. The bullet smashed into the man’s nose and flattened it against his face. Chunks of flesh flew off his face, and a geyser of blood sprang from where a nose used to be. The man only made a gurgling sound as he fell, a gruesome pool started to collect on the floor.
     My sister tired to turn her gun onto the man with the sunken eyes, but she had no chance. He already had his gun out and was pumping rounds out of his gun without mercy. I saw those rounds tear into the soft flesh of my sister’s neck, holes so big that they almost torn my sister’s head off. Somehow she stayed standing, blood flowing down her neck, turning a once white nightgown into crimson red. All she did was look at the man, and she smiled.
     She collapsed back onto the couch, and almost like it was planned, she fell into the arms of her beloved David. I sat there, mortified. I was the last one of my family, and I too was about to die.
     The man with the sunken eyes turned to me. My senses had started to return. The air smelled like death. Gunpowder was dancing with blood; blood was dancing with torn flesh. The man walked right up to me, he stunk. That’s what I remembered most at that moment. It smelled like he had spent the last twenty years of his life rolling in pig shit. I winced at the thought of having to smell him any longer.

“Boy, you should of stayed out of this, look what you gone and done…” he trailed off.

“I’m gonna’ kill you,” I snared, “but I wanna’ see you hang!”

He looked right at me, and for the first time I could see his little black beady eyes.

“You not going to see me hanging anytime soon I’m sorry to tell you, in fact I’m probably going to be the last thing you ever see.”

He turned around and walked out the door, his murdering friend in tow. I followed him out the door and looked at him and he mounted his horse.

“Time to die!” He bellowed.

I was puzzled for a second, but then I saw him draw his gun and point it at me. He pulled off two rounds, but I only remember one. The bullet sang through the air and torn my ear off my head, the pain screamed through my body. I fell to the ground, my head bouncing off the wooden porch, and passed out.   

3 Shots

Chapter 1

I struggled to draw in a final breath of fresh air, but all I was rewarded with was a strong gulp of my own blood. I coughed it back up with a putrid violence. Gasping, I made my way to the saloon door, pushed my way in past the double swinging doors, stumbled down the stairwell and fell on my face, slamming into the hardwood and sawdust. My nose crumpled like a wad of paper. A smile crept up onto my face. I felt the sawdust collect and stop some of the blood that seemed to be pouring freely from my bullet punctured skin. Some of the remaining patrons jumped out of their seats and backed against the wall, lacking any motivation to come to my assistance. I rolled onto my back and looked up at the grimy chandelier that hung above my head. Damn, I had always hoped that if I was going to die, that at least the last thing I should see was a beautiful woman, or the other guy who shot me falling dead with me. Seemed like I wasn’t about to be that lucky.

I tried to pick myself up, thinking maybe I could get one last drink in. That’s all I wanted now, one last drink. I crawled to the bar, grabbed the nearest stool, and propped myself up. What a sight I must be, covered in blood and sawdust and mud, smiling with a hole in my cheek, my raspy breath blowing blood through the ragged hole.

“Whisky, please,” I smiled.

“Umm… you sure, Marshal?”

“Why not, Tim? Don’t I look like I need a drink?”

“Can’t rightly say you don’t, Marshal.”

“Oh and Tim, since I’m probably going to be dead here in a few minutes, pour me something real nice and expensive okay? You know I’m good for it.”

“Sure thing, Marshal.”

Tim, the bulbous bartender, pulled out a bottle of whiskey tinted a golden honey color from the bottom of the bar. He popped open the top and poured me a tall glass. As I went to slam the whiskey into my ragged flesh, a boy came limping into the bar and stared down at me from the balcony.

“You’re still alive, Marshal?”

“Not quite done yet if that’s what you want to know. But give me a few more minutes and I might be able to accommodate you, Billy.”

“To hell with you!  Your smart mouth has sputtered it’s last words! Marshal. I can’t wait a few minutes longer for you to keel over, I want to send you off myself!”

“Suits me, Billy Boy. Guess we should finish this. Forgive me for not wanting to take this outside, Tim. I might not be able to get that far.”
I stood the best I could, almost slipping on the pool of blood that had drained on the floor. Billy came down the stairs, hobbling the whole way.

“Ready when you are, Billy Boy.”

Billy laughed, “Shoot, Marshal, you’re already a dead man.”

“You think? What tipped you off, the bucket of my own blood that has collected on the floor in here, or that bucket I left outside on the street?”

Billy sneered at me, the scar that ran across his face turned a deep bruising purple. He spit on the floor into my blood.

“Hey,” I said, “They might want to try and put some of that back into me when we’re done don’t go and muck it all up, okay?”

“That’s it!” Billy screamed.

He flipped his gun out, and I drew mine. Three shots rang out.