Monday, January 24, 2011

Part II: Quickdraw

Cole rode as hard as he could until his horse could bear him no longer. Cole and his companions came upon an old town named Bixby where they took rest in a battered inn. Cole, Pit and Conrad sat in yet another hotel room discussing their next move.
"I say we make for Dodge City" Pit suggested, "Sawyer wouldn't expect that!"
"Pit, you're dull as dishwater!" Conrad yelled, "We might as well ride our horses off a cliff! Sawyer probably has his men stationed all over Dodge!"
"They aren't his men anymore 'Connie'!" Pit retorted.
"Just because he ain't leadin' the regiment anymore don't mean they ain't faithful to him!"
"What would you suggest then?"
"I'm going to have a drink" Cole said staring at the floor.
"I'll join you." Pit said, "I have had enough of this nonsensical conversation anyhow. Connie, you in?"
"Haven't had a drop of alcohol in seventeen years." Conrad said, "Not gonna break that record tonight."
Cole stood up and walked out of the room leaving the door open behind him. Pit rushed for the door after him but stopped at the doorway of the room. He turned around and said, "Connie, hold down the fort." He tipped his hat in respect and closed the door disappearing from Conrad's sight.
Conrad shook his head and mumbled "Ignorant fool!"
Sawyer paced back and forth across the empty office. The walls were decorated in a burgundy flower wallpaper and the floor was a clean light brown wood. It had been polished daily so that it shined constantly. Suddenly a young man walked in to the room. He was dressed in a black suit, he had jet black hair that was combed back. He was a very clean and handsome young man and Sawyer recognized him immediately as his son, Jacob.
"Hello father." Jacob said
Sawyer glared at Jacob, who felt very uncomfortable gazing at his father's eye-patch.
"Where is Sullivan?" Sawyer asked
"Mayor Sullivan is away on business. I came here to ask you to end this outrageous hunt that you have started. Why can't you see that Cole is not a villain? He is an honorable and respectable man!"
"I must hunt down Whetherstone because he is a scoundrel and a thief!"
"Are you really so blind with power that you would hunt down your own son-in-law?"
"Don't patronize me! I am your father! You will respect me and the decisions I make!"
"I will not stand beside you this time, father. Neither will Michelle!"
"I don't give a damn what you or that whore you call your sister do! I am going to kill Cole Whetherstone and you cannot stop me!"
Another man walked into the room. He was repulsive compared to Jacob. His clothes were filthy, the teeth he had left were brown and yellow, and he had an odor identical to horse manure. "Sheriff Sawyer." he said, "The men are assembled."
"Thank you Liam." Sawyer answered. Liam walked out of the room, and Sawyer followed saying nothing more to his son.
Sawyer walked outside and stood on the gallows of Empire City looking out over four hundred men. Some of them were soldiers. The rest were thieves and cowboys. Sawyer grinned and said, "Today, we will ride to find Cole Whetherstone! Any man who kills Cole or his companions will be rewarded with one thousand dollars!"
Jacob sat in the office staring out the window looking over the crowd. His heart sank as he heard these words emerge from his fathers mouth; "Cole Whetherstone will hang from a tree by the end of the week!"
Cole stared into his glass of whiskey. The saloon was roaring with life. Everywhere Cole looked there was a drunk cowboy flirting with a repulsed prostitute. Men were drinking, and playing poker and pool. Even Pit had found a nice young lady that he might find comfort in. Although he was drunk, and she was clearly repulsed by him, he kept pursuing her. It was an awful sight.
It actually reminded Cole of a time long ago when he was in a similar saloon. Cole closed his eyes and tried to remember.
Cole and three of his brothers sat in a saloon playing cards. There were five southern soldiers drinking and 'trying to get lucky'. But there was one in particular that stood out. The soldiers called him Gromp. He was the largest man Cole had ever seen. His giant hands were clasped around a woman in the saloon. He was yelling at her, but the words slurred out of his mouth in an unclear way. "Ye ginla gilvel mle a ploke!" Gromp said. He slapped her in the face and she screamed.Cole stood up and yelled, "In the name of the Union, stand down!"
Gromp glared at Cole and burst out laughing. Cole's brothers pulled him back into his chair. "Do you want to get us killed?" they yelled. But before they knew it, Gromp had tipped over their table and punched Cole's brother, Liam in the face, and kicked away his other two brothers. Gromp then turned to Cole and grabbed him by the throat and lifted him into the air. Cole was filled with fear, but he managed to blurt out one word; "Draw"
"Chlallenge aclepted" Gromp said and he walked outside
Cole turned to his brothers. "What did I just do?" he asked
"You just challenged him to a draw." Liam answered, "Now you have to go outside and fight him."
"How?" Cole asked
"You have to stand across from each other." Liam said, "But since you challenged him, you have to say 'Draw' and then he pulls out his pistol and fires. You cannot draw your pistol until he draws his first. Is that clear?"
"Uh-yeah." Cole answered, "But I don't have a gun."
"Then yer screwed." his brother said coldly.
Cole walked over to the pool table and stared down at the green covering. He was terrified. But suddenly he felt a wave of confidence come over him.
"Cole let's go." his brothers said, "We can get out from the back of the saloon."
"No." Cole replied, "I have to do this" He looked down at the pool table and grabbed the orange "5 Ball" strapped it to his belt and walked outside.
Gromp stood in the middle of the dirty street waiting for Cole. His hand rested on his revolver. Cole took his stand fifty feet away from Gromp. 
"On yer call bloy!" Gromp yelled
Cole stood silently, staring down his opponent. Then the word left his mouth, "Draw!"
Gromp pulled the revolver an inch out of the holster and began to raise it when Cole grabbed his "5 Ball" and hurled it at the giant soldier. The ball hit Gromp in the head and he fell to the ground. Cole ran towards Gromp who was squirming on the ground. Cole dove for the revolver which lay next to Gromp. He picked it up stood to his feet, pulled back the hammer on the gun and fired a shot into Gromp's forehead.
Cole walked away from the dead body, admiring his new revolver.
Cole opened his eyes and looked at Pit, who so closely resembled Gromp pursuing the girl. He grabbed Pit and pulled him aside. "That's enough." he said as he pulled Pit out of the saloon onto the dimly lit street. Conrad rode up to Cole and Pit towing their horses.
"Hurry," Conrad said, "Sawyer's on his way here now with four hundred men!"
Cole was overcome with terror as he and Pit jumped onto their horses and galloped away."
To Be Continued...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Part I: The Consecration

   Cole Whetherstone sat on a rocking chair in the corner of the room staring out the window to his right. He had a large rifle laying across his lap. His right hand was clasped on the handle of the gun with his finger resting on the trigger. His left arm dangled down from his shoulder drooping across the arm of the chair. He had a half empty bottle of tequila in his left hand. He wore a brown wide-brimmed hat that hung over his face to shield his beautiful eyes from the Sun. He was a dark and handsome man in his mid to late thirties, and his unshaven, scruffy face carried an expression of fear.
   He had but two companions with him. One sat in an armchair next to the door of the room, and the other sat on the bed. The man in the armchair was older than Cole and the other companion. He carried himself in a way that showed others he had wisdom, and he had confidence in that wisdom. He was a man who understood human behavior and had worked as a deputy for most of his life. His name was Conrad. Cole's second companion was about twenty-two years old. He was well known in the town he grew up in for being very patriotic. He was a man who hated injustice, and though he frequently made mistakes, he was always set to do the right thing. He was called "Pit" which was short for Peter.
   Cole had been traveling with these two men for two years now. He loved and cared about both of them very dearly. They were currently arguing about what route to take next in order to hide from a Colonel named Sawyer. Pit kept suggesting that they take the road south to the border of Mexico.
   "You don't think things through, d'ya?" Conrad asked, "Ye don't think thet maybe Sawyer has alerted border petrol?"
   "Well, where do you suppose we go?" Pit asked
   "Well," Conrad started but he stopped as he noticed a sudden alertness in Cole's eyes. "What's wrong, Cole?"
   Cole sat upright in his chair. He dropped the tequila in his left hand and clenched his rifle tight in both hands. The bottle hit the ground and landed on its side spilling the tequila across the floor. Cole's heart pounded from what he saw. Colonel Sawyer came galloping down the road of the town on a tall black horse with three of his men. Sawyer was a tall, strong man who had a brown beard and long, light brown hair that reached to his shoulders. He wore a clean black suit with a silver star pinned to his chest. Cole hopped out of his chair and turned to face his two companions. His eyes were filled with terror. "He's here." Cole said in his firm monotone voice.The two men leaped to their feet.
   "What are we gonna do?" Pit asked
   "Relax," Cole said, "We will watch to see what he does. This is our perfect opportunity. For, whatever direction he goes, we will go the opposite." Cole sat back down in his rocking chair as he watched Sawyer tie his horse to a post in front of the saloon across the street from the inn Cole and his companions were staying in. Sawyer and his deputies walked into the saloon. Cole and his companions sat staring at the entrance to the saloon for hours. The sky had turned to a dark black ocean covered with tiny glowing holes of light. The moon sat high in the sky shining over the town which now lie dormant and tenebrous in the night aside from the saloon, whose yellow lights shown across the street into Cole's window, illuminating the left side of his face.
   Cole tried hard to stay awake, but his vision was fading and his mind had grown vacant. His head dropped forward and he fell into sleep. He often dreamed about his past. And tonight his dream was filled with one of the most important memories in his life:
He was twenty-five years old and was the youngest of the farmer, Justin's, eight sons, and he sat on his horse in the fields with the cattle watching over them as they roamed the grassland. Cole looked back to the house and he saw his oldest brother, Liam walking to the edge of the wooden fence that surrounded his home.
   "Cole!" Liam yelled to his brother
   "Oye!" Cole yelled back
   "Supper's ready!"
   "Alright! Be right there!"
   Cole rounded up the cattle and drove them back to the house. When he got inside the food had already been consumed by his brothers. However, he did not mind. They were all hard workers who brought in money for the family. Cole just watched over the cattle and worked as a ranch hand. He was constantly teased by his brothers and they had always belittled him for not supporting the family. He took their insults and prideful remarks, and he stayed strong. He let them believe that they were better than him. A part of himself believed that they were better than him, too.
   One day his father rounded up he and his brothers. However, Cole was out in the fields with the cattle, so he did not hear his father's call;
   "Boys," Justin started, "A representative named Captain Samuel of the Union is coming to town today. Apparently he wants to meet our family. He wants to choose one of you to take you in and train you to serve in his military. So the boys got ready and set for Dodge City to meet with Captain Samuel. Cole was left herding the cattle.
   Liam rode back home to find Cole working in the fields.
   "Cole!" Liam yelled
   Cole looked up from his work to see his older brother, "What?" he yelled
   "We require your assistance." Liam answered
   "Why?" Cole asked
   "Will you just get up off your butt and come with me!"
   The two brothers rode back to Dodge City and entered the saloon. Captain Samuel looked at Cole and said, "Yes, this is the one." All of Cole's brothers exited the saloon with jealous rage.
Justin stood up and Cole sat down in his seat.
   "Nicholas," Captain Samuel began, "I am happy to see that you are healthy."
   And with this statement, the Captain stood up and walked to the bar. When he came back from the bar he had two olives. He stuffed one in his mouth and handed the second one to Cole. He then walked out of the Saloon, mounted his horse, and rode off.
   Cole looked down at the olive and shoved it in his mouth.
   Cole awoke to a jolt to his left shoulder.
   "There he is." whispered Pit
   Cole looked out the window to see Colonel Sawyer exiting the saloon with his three soldiers. Cole watched as Sawyer examined the inn. Then, Sawyer did something that Cole did not expect. He walked towards the inn.
   "Uh oh." said Pit.
   "We gotta get outta here." Conrad exclaimed
   "I agree, lets go!" Pit said
   Without saying a word, Cole stood up and walked out of the room with his two companions. He held his rifle close to his chest as he walked around the inn. They were on the second story, so evading the Colonel and his men would be very difficult. Cole walked to the top of the stairs. He looked down and saw at the foot of the stairs, Colonel Sawyer staring Cole right in the face.
   When Pit saw Colonel Sawyer he yelled, "Run!" Pit and Conrad ran down the hall towards a window. But Cole just stood at the top of the stairs staring into Sawyer's eyes, that were staring right back. Cole lowered his eyes and saw Sawyer's right hand reaching for his revolver on his belt.
   Cole quickly pulled his rifle up, aimed at a mirror on the wall next to Sawyer. He closed his eyes, pulled the trigger and ran after Pit and Conrad. The glass from the mirror shattered and sliced into Sawyer's face. He let out a howl of pain and fell to the floor. His three soldiers ran to his side to help him up. A piece of glass had pierced deep into Sawyer's left eye. Blood deluged out of his eye socket onto the floor.
  Cole, Pit and Conrad escaped through the second story window, mounted their horses and rode north.
   The next day Sawyer sat in the hospital looking into a mirror examining the many scars on the left side of his face, and his black eye patch that slung around his head and over the spot where his left eye would have been. He clenched his hand into a fist and slammed it on a table. "I'm gonna git you, Cole Whetherstone!"

To Be Continued...