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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  GENERAL TOPICS  |  Saddlebag Tales (Moderators: Marshal'ette Halloway, Lucky Irish Tom)  |  Topic: back to civilization 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: back to civilization  (Read 30123 times)
kennith
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« on: June 06, 2008, 03:57:43 am »


I thought I might try my hand at some interactive fiction as long as I am here.  I like writing, and it will be interesting to see where you take this story, should you decide to play along.  Write what you will, and see where my beginning comes to end.

The rain was cold, and sharp.  Mist and drops fell hastily from the brim of his hat.  It had been a long night, and the mud was deepening, the air cooling, and no end was yet in sight.

He had been on the trail for longer than he could remember.  "On the trail", they say.  The phrase meant nothing to him, and trail was as foreign a word as his feet had stumbled across in years.  Once, there had been towns, people.  Women.  There had been life before the chase, but it all seemed pointless to him now.  As the sloppy gravel and mud crunched beneath his boots, he could smell the energy in the air as the brunt of a storm filled the night sky across the valley.  He liked it this way, despite the aches that came with rain these days.  The water came in torrents, as it was apt to do in this country, came and washed down the hills, scrubbing the land of it's dusty heat.  The heavy sky swelled with cloud, and it's depths were dimly illuminated by lightning.

He was a fellow who, without hope, had turned again to the old ways, shunned the world of man for what it had done to him.  Greed was a terrible thing in those days, and there was plenty of it, and as he now understood, pennance was eternal.

Another night of quiet, then, until he reached his destination.  A small mining town, or at least it had been there in the past.  He detested the thought, but they had pushed him, lately, hadn't they?  Years of solitude were interrupted by the call of a wanted man found still alive.  What he needed now was a horse.

What he wanted, however, was a gun.  It would give him something to spend the money on anyway.  It'd be a shame to die without having spent any of it.  He laughed.
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 03:31:34 pm »

A young soldier (deserter was the word, wan't it) hunkered down in the remains of a forgotten livery in hopes of riding out this harsh storm without detection.  His first thought was to check his leg.  The kerchief tied tightly around his left thigh was deeply stained a ruddy brown color--it was blood, but at least now it was dry.  His next inclination was to check the loads in his pistol, praying that the powder had stayed dry.  He knew they'd be looking for him.

As if some unknown force had just read his thoughts, he heard the sound of footfalls outside in the road.  Who on earth would be out there tonight on foot?.  Of course it could be another drifter, but these days even a one percent chance of having the owner of those boots belonging to someone looking for him was enough to put him on his highest gaurd.

The sound of muddy steps approached the old stable and the young man braced himself, pistol in hand.  He was always good with the guns, but each time he had proved his proficiency with them since leaving the war, he was brought one step closer to hanging.

The sound of the approacing man came to the opening where the unhinged doors now stood propped against one another.  His heart beat fast as a severly trail ragged figgure stepped through the small gap between them...
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


kennith
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2008, 01:26:53 pm »

"Got a smoke?"

The words rang hollow in the stale air, and silence filled the aftermath as mist curled around the figure who now cast his shadow across the mouldy hay.

"Here, boy, you can shoot me if you like, but you've brought me no suprise."  The traveler spit the words out quickly and plainly. "I've no design on your death, nor your life.  Shall we not, then, share a bit of tobacco?  Perhaps afterword, when you have decided a bit more of me, you may kill me then."

Again, the world itself seemed to hesitate.  The humidity in the room was stifling, and it drew sweat upon the travelers face as the silence filled his ears.

Carefully, as if exploring the option for the first time, the young man stepped away from his place amongst the shadows, a single barrel staring squarely at the traveler.  There was a mate to the gun, tucked neatly in it's holster, and his free hand was braced on a rotten bale of hay.  He was a shaken, injured man, but his hand was steady, and his eye sharp.  He stood for a minute there, bleeding, thinking.  At once he reached a decision.  The traveler was unarmed, and to all effect looked like no man of action to him.  He holstered his weapon and slowly, achingly slowly, fell forward into the night.
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2008, 03:45:38 pm »

The soldier, Leonard was the name his mother had given him, had squinted at the apparition in the shambled doorway.  His mind had begun it's calculations but it took more effort than usual.  The stranger (no more a stranger than he, he supposed) had only a knife on his belt.  He was not one of the men from the last town, and, thank God, he wore not a uniform of any color.  These cloudy thoughts, brought an unexpected feeling to the young man--relief.  Sweet relief for the first time in memory.  The man had asked for tobacco and no more.  Leonard had some, wet as it may be, and his last thought before losing his faculties was that a smoke sounded like a wonderful idea.

First there was nothing but blackness.  Then he began to dream--the stranger in the stable all but forgotten to him.  He dreamt of the last battlefield on which he had been engaged, the sound of the cannon, the close whistling of lead balls flying past his ears, but mostly the screaming.  comrads or enemies, it didn't matter, it was the sound of hell.  And then the mounted officer in grey who had ridden down upon him and the others, the bright flash leaping from the muzzel of his pistol as he did so with saber held high in his other gloved hand.  Then there was the pain, an explosion of it and the recounting of this moment in his subconcious shocked Leonard out of his feverd and exhausted state. 

His eyes fluttered open slowly.  Where was he?  This was not the blood drenched earth of that swampy place.  No, he was in the old livery.  There had been what might have amounted to a threat in the man who now sat watching him from his makeshift bed of rotten hay, but despite his golden opportunity to do what he would while the boy lay defenseless, he did nothing.  Nothing but keep watch.  He had requested tobacco but  apparently had not even helped himself to that.  A glimmer of trust sparked in Leonards tired mind--was that possible, it'd been so long.  "A smoke" he exhaled the word more than spoke it, "Sounds like a helluva idea"... 
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2008, 08:14:51 pm »

The rock outcropping provided a natural shelter from the storm for both the Marshal and his horse.  His quarry lay somewhere ahead, but he didn't worry about losing ground.  The  torrential rain had turned the very ground underfoot into a boot sucking mud that impeded all progress.

He had untacked his horse and rubbed him down good, picketing him so he could eat some grass.  The big bay gelding had been his steady mount for several years and had saved his life on at least two occassions by alerting him to a waiting ambush.  He wouldn't risk lighting a fire, even a small one, since there was no way to know who might see it.  He settled his grumbling stomach with a cold hard biscuit and some jerky, washing it down with a few swallows from his canteen. 

He untied his bedroll and settled down to get some rest.  In the morning he would head for the mining town marked on his map, even if he couldn't get any new information on the men he sought, he might be able to get a bath and some hot food.
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2008, 10:08:30 pm »

Leonard rolled over onto his back and accepted the outstreached hand of the newcomer.  Sitting upright, he carefully pulled a paper from his tobacco pouch and began rolling the first cigarette.  It had to be just right--it was always that way for him.  When he had finished, he made it dance between his knuckles back and forth before handing it over.

     "That's a neat trick" the man said with a raised eyebrow.

     "An old habit, ya know what they say about those.  Ya coulda ended me right here" Leonard said.  "I'm sure ya didn't think I was playin possum".  He began rolling his own smoke with fixed concentration.  "Coulda made handy work a me with that knife and got my pistols, my tobacco an whatever else I got jinglin' in my pockets."  He looked up at nothing in particular, and then, "I had a feelin' someone was comin', just didn't 'spect em ta be friendly".

     "You talk in your sleep, you know"  Was all his new companion had for a reply.

Lenard looked at him startled.  His friend Lex had said the same thing in the camp they had made the night after a large battle had been fought.  His unit had been ordered to assist with dragging the wounded off the field that evening and he had slept uneasy that night. 
     He didn't like sharing his thoughts much in his waking hours, but to know he was babbling on while he was in no control of his speach made him uneasy.  "Don't concern youself with that" he said.  "I won't ask you your business, all I know is that there's a friendly place for me just up ahead.  Friends back home told me I could get some doctorin' with no questions."  Leonard watched the ember glow at the end of his cigarette.  "Lest of course your in the mood to talk--looks like we got some time ta kill"
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 06:53:21 am »

The sky slowly grew to a dull gray as dawn approached.  The remnants of the previous night's storm clouds still skudded across the sky.  Joints cracked, and tendons popped as Cyrus Evans pushed off the blanket and stretched.  He looked at his horse and muttered, "I'm getting to old for this kind of work." 

The Bay just pricked his ears forward and then went back to grazing.  Cyrus sat and watched as the sun slowly crested a rise and brought bright splashes of color to the landscape.  This had always been his favourite part of the day, it always felt to him like God's hand was rendering beauty to a new canvass just for his enjoyment.

He pulled a long glass from his pack and surveyed the surrounding area.  Satisfied that there were no signs of movement or indications of others camped nearby he decided to risk a small sheltered fire to heat some coffee and warm some food for breakfast.  He fixed beans and bacon and warmed a couple of biscuits, that and the coffee warmed his insides. He lit a smoke, put out the fire and began to break camp.  Within half an hour he was back on the trail.
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kennith
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2008, 12:44:23 am »

The traveler reclined into the hay, appearing to give careful consideration to the words he had heard.  Eventually, he sat forward and spoke again.

"We may have time, and we may have time to kill.  You mentioned your doctor."

Leonard gave a cautious nod.

"Though he may not have many questions of his own, others will."  Spoke the traveler again. "What he himself might have... Are answers."

He seemed pleased with his reply, and reclined again, taking a long, slow drag of his tobacco.
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2008, 08:42:23 pm »

     Leonard laughed.  The sound jumped out of his throat and was completely unexpected.  In a way it shocked him, to hear that again.
     "Oh, there'll be answers there" and Leonard couldn't help the dry twist of a smile on his face.
     The stranger looked at him oddly.
     "One thing ta git straight is that I said 'doctorin' but not ever did I mention 'doctor'".  At this he was asked to explain just what he was saying by the man he shared these humble accomodations with.
     "Ya see...where I've been directed is as far from a doc's office as ya could imagine, though the nursing staff is never in short supply.  It's above a saloon."  Leonard's smile remained on his lips.  The stranger looked as if he were to question but then deferred to the hand that said "let me continue" that was raised by this young veteran of God knew what battlefields.
     "See, story is they got a few southern girls who learned a thing or two about patchin up the wounded back near their homes when the fightin' got really bad.  They didn't care what side you was on, they just used all the sewin skills they knew ta do their best.  Them plantation girls is said ta have saved more men then Hooker's Army."  Leonard paused and caught the last drag before it could burn his fingers.
      "Lot of them gals moved on west when all went ta riot an ruin.  Up ahead is that saloon I mentioned, an if I can walk like nuthin worse happened ta me than fallin off a horse, I'll blend right in.  Just another lonely tramp lookin fer sone comp'ny."  Another pause as Leonard threw the last of his smoke to the ground.  "A lot of folks come out this way ta find sumthin, others come ta leave things behind."  He stood then and addressed the stranger gravely.  "My name is Leonard James Tanner, but I suppose you can call me Leo.  Cross me and you'll see hell, but I don't get the feeling you will..."
     
     
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 12:46:32 pm »

The trail was still used on occassion so Cyrus made good time.  The scenery was pretty much the same as any other trail.  As he got closer to his destination he noticed an old weed choked side path, and in the distance was the remains of an old livery.  Once it had probably been a Stage or freight wagon depot, before the days when the mine ran dry.  Nowadays the only folks that came this way were the ones running away from something or the ones looking for them.

  He topped a final rise and his destination came into view, it looked much the worse for wear since the last time he had visited.  At least two of the old abandoned store fronts had collapsed.  The saloon, Sheriff's office, a small general store, still stood and showed signs of life as did a few other random buildings that served as shelter for those who still sought an unfound rich vein of ore as their ticket to a better life.  The cemetary showed a few freshly dug graves and the wind lazily blew the rope hanging from a post that had once held a school bell in better days.

  Well if luck was with him he could get a hot bath and a drink at the saloon, then he would see the Sheriff about the men he sought. 
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2008, 10:53:54 pm »

     Lenoard regarded his bunkmate and placed his right hand on the butt of the pistol that was strapped to the simmilar leg.  "This one is mine.  It's served me well since the beginning.  It's my best friend."  He then crossed his hand across his midsection and put it on the reversed butt of the gun that was attached to his left hip.  "This one belonged to a man who is now dead.  Said ta be bad luck ta carry such a thing".  Leonard looked into the man's eyes to be sure he was paying attention.  "Looks like yer luck is about as bad as can be right now, 'ceptin fer ya don't have any holes in ya s'far as I can see.  I got business ta tend to, so I'll tell ya what"  Leo began to unbuckle the gunbelt that was rigged to cross-draw. 
     "What?" the stranger asked, wondering what the hell was happening here.
     "I'll make ya a deal" Leonard spoke, "I'll leave this cursed thing with you so mebbe you'll have a chance ta get where ever ya need ta go.  In return, ya gotta promise that ya won't use it against anyone who don't deserve it.  If ya do and I hear of it, I'll find ya and take it back".  He threw the rig at the feet of the stunned man and said, "A dead man's gun is better than no gun.  Now I have ta start movin again.  This hip aint gonna fix it's self and I aint seein fireflys in front of me anymore.  Time for me ta move on".
     The wounded ex-soldier limped out of the old stable and greeted the sun...
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2008, 05:08:28 am »

Cyrus rode slowly into the old town.  There was a small livery attached to the saloon, Cyrus rode up untacked his horse and rubbed him down good, then he paid the stablehand to put him in a stall and give him some feed.  Cyrus draped his saddlebags across his shoulder and walked around front to the doors of the Saloon.

 Cyrus felt quite a few eyes on him during that short walk, this rundown town wasn't fond of visitors, even less so if they wore a badge.

He stepped through the batwings and allowed his eyes a moment to adjust to the dim interior.  He didn't show a hint of surprise when he noticed that the Sheriff was seated at one of the tables, and was already one fourth of the way through a bottle of whiskey.  The look the Sheriff gave him wasn't any more cordial than the looks he got from the other occupants of the Saloon.

Cyrus walked over to the table and put his saddlebags in a chair, "Mind if I join you Lou?"

Louis Horton had once been a fine lawman, but that was back in the days when this had been a fine town.  Once things had taken a downturn so had his investment in the town.  Now he was like the others just trying to eek out an existence for his remaining days living on the paltry monies this town still managed to generate.

Lou looked up with bloodshot eyes and said, "Cyrus, you're going to sit down and bother me whether I agree or not, so you might as well pull up a chair and order something, so I can at least profit from your visit."
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2008, 03:33:09 pm »

     Leonard set upon the trail that soon turned into a broad street.  Walking was easier without the extra gun pressing against his left hip.  He realized he didn't miss the brass bodied pistol one bit, but he did miss the confidant feeling of having a rifle slung over his shoulder.  He tripped a few times but always manged to recover and look like nothing more than a man who had been given a swift kick.
     The saloon was up ahead, and if the stories were true, this would be his salvation.  He surveyed the horses hitched along the decreped boardwalk and recognized none of them.  This was wonderful news.  One of them looked to have traveld a far distance, but what of it?  It wasn't swaybacked like the few others and most likely belonged to a rancher or speculator that had come in to this wasted town on business.
     Leonard made his way to the doors of the establishment and paused a moment to offer a prayer.  "Dear God, if what I've come all this way for isn't really here, strike me dead where I stand."  He stood there for another moment and saw that nothing was going to happen.  He walked in.
     The first thing he noticed were two lawmen sitting together at a table in the back.  One of them looked good and drunk, but the other seemed very aware of his suroundings.  This was not good, but it was somewhat expected.  He made his way to the barkeep and said, "wiskey fer starters, then a little comfort if there's any ta spare". 
     Langley,the barkeep nodded his head and threw a glance at his town sheriff wondering who the other one sitting with him was.  Two new strangers in one day was a bit much.
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2008, 04:22:02 pm »

Cyrus watched the man walk in.  He was doing a decent job of trying to hide a limp, anyone less observant would not have noticed.  Since the man was trying to conceal the limp it was obviously not natural to him, it was possible a horse had thrown him, but more likely that a bullet was the cause of his problem. 

Cyrus had known for years that Lou provided lodgings and doctoring, for a price, that was why Cyrus always looked here for men on the run who had seemed to drop out of sight.  He opened his saddlebags and thumbed through the small stack of wanted posters he carried with him, none of them resembled the man who stood at the bar.

One of Lou's girls stepped up to the table with a tin plate of beef and beans, and a couple of warm tortillas, obviously Lou had given her some sort of signal to bring the food.  As Cyrus watched her walk away the barkeep turned and said something to the girl and gestured toward the fellow standing at the bar.  Cyrus watched her walk over and say something to the man and then she led him up the stairs. As he watched them go the man stumbled once, but quickly recovered.  That stumble caused his coat to shift and for a moment his pistol came into view.  Cyrus had suspected that the man was armed, now it was a certainty.
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2008, 04:01:48 pm »

     As Leonard sat at the bar, a comely woman, who was making a good attempt at appearing much younger than she truly was approached him and spoke quietly in his ear.  "I think we have a girl here that would suit ya well, sugar.  Follow me an we'll see what we can't do for ya".
     Leonard threw a quick glance over his shoulder at the law dogs and rose from his seat.  He strolled fine to the staircase, just another man heading upstairs, but stumbled once on the third step.  Something had moved just wrong and his brain swam for a second, but then he had sucked in a deep breath and continued upward.
     The dark haired woman accompanied him to the top of the steps and said, "room number 7 sugar, but be polite and give a knock first.  Don't wanna get her upset before y've properly introduced yourself."
     The tired man headed down the hall and counted the numbers until he reached lucky 7...
Logged

"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2008, 11:24:44 pm »

     Looking reminiscently at her face in the mirror she wondered, how did I get here?

     My life began in proper fashion.  I was raised  on a beautiful horse ranch in the glorious State of Georgia .  Of course we all had to be taught our manors and fit with the nicest clothes.  My mother, Savannah had intended for me to become a southern lady who was to have a life of relative ease with parties to attend and handsome young men to court, and eventually marry one of them if he found to be a good fit.  Then the war came.

      One at a time, my father and all three brothers said their goodbyes and left to do their duty.  Thankfully, they instructed the folks that served them to watch over the two of us.     

     Then suddenly one day Ruby, the main housekeeper ran up to me and said, “ Chile , we got ta get you outta here.  The Yankees is comin an you got ta get someplace safe.  They’s burnin everytin down here, so I’s told.”  She grabbed my hand an pulled me out  of sight of the oncoming soldiers.  There was no time to get to mother, and as we ran we could see the house burning.   Crawling through bushes for a few miles, and running through trees the rest, we had made it to an outward bound freight train.

      At first the conductor pointed at Ruby and said that she couldn’t go because she had no ticket (due to the fact that she was a black lady) I got so mad at that man cause I know there are no tickets on a freight, so my anger took the best of me and I lit a match and threw it on the feed car.  As he stomped out the fire he looked at me and said “go on with ya’ll, I can’t stand the sight of ya anyhow”  So we got on the cattle car and closed the door.  The miserable ride had seemed to last forever, and that was just the trip to Chattanooga .  Everything after that had become a blur.  Once we got to Oklahoma and Ruby decided she would be better off in the North and that since I wanted to go West we reluctantly parted ways.  I was completely on my own for the first time in my entire life.

     And I finally ended up here, in this dried up old Arizona town.  Living a life I  had never expected but at least I was holding my own, on the second floor of the Grey Goose Saloon in a dying town.   I’m hoping my mother doesn’t look down on me now.  I’m surviving the only way I can until somethin’ better comes along. 

     
     Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door that awoke Lily from her daydream, thank God!  Who is it?   The strong yet shaky voice called out “They told me to come to meet you”  so she carefully opened the door and looked upon the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes upon.  He introduced himself as Leonard James Tanner and she followed suit and introduced herself as Lily Lockwood.  He painfully leaned onto her delicate shoulder, it was then that she noticed he was badly wounded, so she carefully helped him to the bed and told him not to worry.

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Just a lil ol' southern gal....gone out west   Smiley

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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2008, 10:35:15 am »

Cyrus saw the fellow reach the top of the stairs.  The girl said something to him and Cyrus heard footsteps go down the hall, then there waas a knock and the sound of a door opening and closing.  He could worry about that later, it wasn't part of the business he had come here for. 

Cyrus went through his stack and pulled out two posters and placed them in front of Lou. "Seen or heard anything about these two?"  Both men were wanted for bank robbery, horse stealing, and pistol whipping a stable hand. Lou glanced quickly at the posters and said, "Nope, they aint around here."   Cyrus noticed Lou's eyes quickly cut to Langley and then back to the table, an obvious queue to the barman to keep silent also.  Cyrus simply replied, "It's a shame, there's a hundred dollar reward for anyone who aids in their capture."  "You won't mind if I have a look around town will you Lou?"

Lou just grunted and returned to his bottle.  As Cyrus walked out he noticed the barman eye him as if the offered reward had perhaps jogged his memory.  As he stepped outside he noticed somone duck into a building about a block further down, Cyrus cautiously moved in that direction.
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2008, 03:12:42 pm »

     The sight of the woman who answered the door was enough to make Leonard’s head swim again.  She spoke to him with a soft southern lilt, telling him everything would be fine.  He was hypnotized by her soft blonde hair and brilliant green eyes.  He decided then and there that everything would be fine.  He laid down on the cushy bed Lily had led him to and felt for a moment that he had died and somehow had managed to slip through the gates of Heaven.
     He shook himself out of his reverie and remembered his business here.  Leonard then removed his coat and unbuckled his gun belt.  He set it on a table next to the bed and positioned it so his old friend would be within easy reach.  How long had it been since he had taken it off?  It seemed like forever.  He then went to removing his trousers.
     The woman regarded him as he did this and asked in that angelic voice, “were you with those other men?  The ones that got up to all that trouble? The ones who took the money?”
     Leonard gave her a puzzled look and replied, “Miss, the only ‘others’ I’ve been with recently were busy fightin’ a war and dyin’.  They didn’t have time ta be getting inta mischief.  Ran across one fella up the road but he didn’t even have a gun.  As fer me, I got my own trouble, but money’s got nothing ta do with it.”   With that he exposed his left hip and she saw the wound that had begun to ooze once more.
     Her eyes widened and he asked, “can you get it out?  Please say you can ‘cause I don’t think I can take it another day.”  Leonard collapsed on the frilly bed.   
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2008, 11:18:43 pm »

     “I’ll have ta clean it up before I can say”, Lily spoke quietly, ”I’ll be right back”  She then went on to gather all of the supplies she needed to begin cleaning the wounds. 

      As Lou watched Cyrus leave the saloon and wonder down the street he noticed Lily coming down the stairs rather quickly and head straight towards the backroom.  “What er ya up to in such an all fired hurry darlin”, he asked.  Lily replied, “Just getting some hot water for the gentleman Lou, you know how picky I am about havin dusty visitors up in my room.”  After all she didn’t want to let on that Leonard was shot just yet, something was telling her to be protective of this one.  All of the supplies she needed were hidden under her dress when she carried the pot of hot water back up to the room.

     As she walked passed Lou he grabbed her wrist and told her to take better care of this man.  After all, yesterday he sent one of the two men that Cyrus was looking for up to her for company and she kicked him out complaining that he was discourteous and foul.  “We need the customers to come back and bring their friends, this is a business ya know and you are the star attraction I pay for.  By the way, that lawman is askin questions and you best not know nothing, right Lily?”  “Yea, I know my place Lou you don’t have to remind me”, and she scurried back upstairs.

       She gave a light tap as she walked back through the door as to notify the man that it was just her.  “It’ll hurt some but I’ll be as gentle as I can, your wounds are mighty bad and infected so it’s gonna take some time but I’ll do what I can so don’t you worry, I’ve been told I’m pretty good at fixin people up.  Oh and by the way, I didn’t let on about your injury to anyone, you can trust me.”
 

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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2008, 12:32:51 am »

     Leonard felt the pain as the beautiful girl began her work.  He immediately blacked out as he had in the old stable.  Then another one of those damn vivid dreams of the past came.
       The last town.

     He would never forget riding into that town.  The poor animal beneath him had been ridden in a manor it was neither accustom to nor deserved.  But the man had been riding for his life.  He figured that the horse could take a rest here and he might get some decent food even though his stomach was cramped with apprehension.
      Just beyond the outskirts of town was a watering trough and it seemed a good place to hitch up.  From here he could dismount and survey the town without making a grand entrance.  He checked to be sure his weapons weren’t too obvious beneath his coat and started walking.
     His walking is what had started it, because as of recent times Leonard didn’t walk without a pronounced limp.  He chose to stay on the road rather than the boardwalk so that he wouldn’t have to brush too closely past any folk he might encounter.  Two men were sitting lazily on the side rail up ahead.  They didn’t show any signs of being lawmen so he proceeded.  He gave them an unconscious salute as he passed them, and then heard,
     “Hey gimp”  Leonard realized what an easy target he must appear to be.  The men knew where he had left the horse and he was obviously  unstable on his feet.  He stopped walking but kept his back to them.  And he just stood there waiting.  "Why do people have to do this" he thought.  He had seen enough in the time leading up to now.
     “Are ya deaf too gimp?  Or is ya just touched? Why don’t me an Willy here just come an see what all you’s bringin ta town.”
     He heard them jump down into the street and the sound of their boots crunching in the dirt toward him.  He had managed to get along with the Indians he had met along the way, and had dealt handily with the Mexicans that had tried to take him, but these two men were going to haunt him the rest of his life.  They were too cocky to not be important in some kind of small town way.  Never the less, Leonard James Tanner  did not take a liking to being called “gimp” and knowing that  he was most likely about to be robbed.
     He stood there, still with his back to them in a gesture of defiance.  “Ya wanna let this go and me as well” he said in a commanding tone.  They laughed, and the tired soldier heard the distinct sound of a Colt revolver’s hammer being drawn back.
     He spun suddenly and neither of the men’s eyes even had time to widen before the lead hit them.  The name caller was dead on the spot and the one called Willy was crawling out of the street on one arm, clutching his shoulder with the other.  He was an easy target, but Leonard was no murderer.  "Guess I aint getting that meal" he thought and made quick time back to the worn, overused horse.
   
     
     Leonard jumped as a suture was pulled snug and realized where he was.  He was glad to be here.     

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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2008, 09:16:32 am »

Cyrus caught the movement of a curtain out of the corner of his eye.  Some one in that room oer the Saloon was interested in what he was doing.  He doubted that it was either of the men he was looking for, lou would have acted worried if he had been hiding them in the Saloon itself.  It was probably the stranger he had seen at the bar earlier, he would have to see what he could find out about this man before he left town.

He continued to move cautiously down the old wooden walkway, avoiding spots where the boards looked weak.  He came to the alley between two of the boarded up buildings where he had briefly seen someones shadow disappear.  He slowly eased down the alley at a crouch, easing the loop of the hammer of his pistol just in case.  The alley ran for about 50 feet and was blocked by a fence across the back half, it was clogged with old wooden packing cases and assorted junk.  Almost at the back of the alley Cyrus found Arthur Trent, once the owner of the town's Tonsorial Palace, nowadays his references ran more to town drunk.

"What are you running from Artie, you know I'm not after you?"

"I don't want any trouble Marshal."

"I don't want any trouble either Artie, I'm just doing my job."  Cyrus pulled out the two posters and handed them to Arty, "Seen either of these fellows?"

Arty took the posters with trembling hands and said, "No!" without really looking at them.  "I told you I don't want any trouble."

Cyrus pulled a bottle of liquor out of his other saddlebag and offered it to Arty.  "You can keep it if you have any information."

Artie licked his dry lips and and looked longingly at the bottle in Cyrus' hand.  He glanced down the alley, and then looked at the two posters in his hands.  In a croacking voice he said, "They visited Lou's place two days ago, and they are staying somewhere nearby.  They bought a couple of bottles of whiskey and said they would be back for more.  One of em caused a ruckus with one a Lou's girls."  As he finished he dropped the posters and snatched the bottle out Cyrus' hand.

He took a long pull on the bottle and slid a little deeper into the shadow of the alley.  Cyrus picked up the posters and placed them back in his saddlebag.  He had the information he needed now, he just had to figure out how capture the two men he sought.  It was unlikely that anyone in town would assist him in bringing these two to justice, in fact most would warn the men he hunted and might even help them to take him down.  He would have to find a way to surprise the two, and disarm them if he hoped to bring them back alive, and if he couldn't surprise might be the only way he would survive the confrontation.

Cyrus visited the remaining businesses in the town, and a few of the shacks that were inhabited by those still working the mine.  No one provided ay information or professed to having seen either of the men, or any strangers around town recently.  As he went back to the Saloon a plan began to form in his mind.  If Artie had been right then these men would be paying a visit to Lou within a day or two, he would have to be waiting when they returned.  He stopped at what still passed for a General store and bought some supplies.  Then went back to the Saloon and saw Lou again. "Well Lou no one in town has seen these fellows so I guess I'll head out and try to pick up their trail, I'll stop back through in a week if I don't find them to see if anyone has any new information."  Lou didn't even respond, he just gave Cyrus a look that said he would be glad to see him gone.

Cyrus exited the Saloon and went around back he got his horse, tacked him up and slowly rode out of town so curious eyes would note his departure.  The plan was fairly simple, he would make his way back to the run down barn he had seen outside of town.  He would make sure there was enough grass and water and then would hide his horse inside.  Under cover of darkness he would sneak back into town and take up station in one of the deserted buildings across from the Saloon.  If needed he could return to feed and water his horse again, but if things went right it wouldn't be more than a day before his quarry returned.



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« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2008, 12:47:41 am »

     After cleaning him up, Lily knew not to ask too many questions of the injured man in her bed.  She figured he would tell what he wanted in what he felt would be the right time.   However a bit of information was needed about his deepest wounds so she could give the correct treatment.  Lily treaded very lightly.

     Leonard informed her that the bullet that lay in his hip had been there about seven months since late September when he had began his journey west.  The skin had already healed over while the infection was full blown deep down inside.  “Sugar, you’re gonna just have to trust me, now you just go on and take a big swig while I get started, and just you relax and let  Lil take good care of you.”  So he did just that and handed the bottle back so she could sterilize the tools and the skin before cutting into his hip.  Leonard promptly passed out.

     Lily had seen quite a number of injured men at this point but none of the surgeries she had performed were comparable to this.  First she tended to his lesser wounds like a burn with a hole in the middle of it in the palm of his hand, among many other similar injuries.  Then to the hard job, the one that looked as if it was well on the way to killing him or at least, crippling him.

       As soon as she cut him open, the stench of the infection about knocked her over, she cut and drained the wound searching for the path of the bullet until she reached all the way to the hip bone.  She tried to pry it out but it was just too deep.  Like in a stubborn, hard, old oak tree the lead had embedded itself, it wasn’t going anywhere, no matter what, she worked harder to get it out than anything she had ever put her mind to.  It made her feel terrible not being able to give Leonard good news when he woke up. 

     Lily pulled the stitches tightly which woke her patient in extreme pain.  Softly, with that beautiful Georgian drawl, she said to Leonard “ It’s alright darling, if you need to yell, I’ll hand you my pillow to muffle the sound so as no one will hear you.”  He took one look at his angel and remembered where he was and realized that the hard part was over.  “you’ll just have to lie still for quite a while but rest assured I’ll make sure you are comfortable and very well taken care of. until you are well enough to do for yourself.  I figure it will be least five days or up to a week, we’ll just have to see how quickly you heal.”

     At that moment Leonard might have been in pain but it didn’t matter, after all he hadn’t felt a decent bed, enjoyed a hot meal or spoken to a pretty lady since before the war began so this time he would enjoy no matter what.  As long as he remained a secret stranger to anyone else in town but Lily, he had to trust her, his life depended upon it.  For the next few days Leonard and Lily spent every minute together getting to know each other in every way, intimately, as they were falling in love.  They told each other stories of their lives and travels as well as details about themselves that they had never shared  with anyone before.

      Every time he would sleep she would be by his side, night or day.  The only time she left the room was to visit the privy or gather food, water or supplies.  She slept once she new everything would be safe for him but until that moment she would lay with him just looking at him.  Everything she had dreamed about in a man she saw in him.  He was tall  with a strong muscular build, dark hair, with green sultry eyes.  But this young man had had a rough time of it, you could tell that his body had aged quickly in the last few years.   As she noticed every scar, bullet wound, and burn she wondered about each and every story of each and every wound and hoped she had many years to spend hearing all of these stories from him.

      Eventually Lily told him about the man who tried to come into her room the night before Leonard had showed up and how disrespectful and mean he was, that he had tried to hurt her and she had to forcibly make him leave.  Leonard quietly became very angry when he heard this and knew the man was still around.  He didn’t let on to her what he was planning to do but he had to make sure the crude man got what he deserved for hurting his sweet southern angel.  He kept his plan to himself and enjoyed the rest of the evening with his new love.
 

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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2008, 03:40:45 pm »

Cyrus had been waiting for 5 days and there had been no sign of the two men, perhaps Artie had lied to get the whiskey, or maybe the two had somehow gotten word he had been here and took off.  He had moved his horse to another structure closer in on the second night so he could better care for him.  He would give it two more days and then he would have to head out and try to pick up their trail.

At dusk on the sixth evening they rode up to the Saloon.  Cyrus watched as they walked inside and he slowly crossed the street as the shadows lengthened, cocking his rifle as he moved.  One of the outlaws had gathered Lou, Langley, two patrons, and one of Lou's girls over at a corner table.  He had guns in both hands and he was watching them, the other was heading up the stairs.  There was no way Cyrus could take the one with his guns on the group without alerting the man that had gone upstairs. Any thoughts of trying to rush the man were ended when he cocked the hammers of both the guns he was holding and asked Lou where he kept the cash.  Cyrus trained his rifle on the man and prepared to fire, if luck was with him, the other man would think it was his partner's shot and it might draw him back downstairs, if not, God help anyone the other came into contact with.
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« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2008, 10:01:20 pm »

Leonard had laid in that woman’s bed for what seemed like an eternity.  In his waking hours they would talk, and he learned many things about her.  She told him of a strange day in which she had inadvertently run into an older Confederate officer who was very kind to her.  She found that he had known her family and held a deep regard for her mother.   He had taken her to buy a new hat and shoes, and then to eat.  Then he had given her every penny he had.  He had done all of this in a fatherly fashion and clearly wanted nothing in return other than a sense that Lily would be alright.  She asked him why, and he had only replied that the war was all around them and that it was his duty to see victory.  Lunch with a pretty young gal would make him remember what he was fighting for.

     She also told Leonard (she was addressing him as Leo now) about the man who had treated her poorly the night before he had arrived.  This did not set well with him.  It was time to get back on his feet and come back to reality.  His Mama had always said that God suits every man with a purpose, and so far as he could tell he was good at making people die.

     Lily had taken his pistol while he slept a day or two before and used it to shoot bottles in the alley out back.  He had heard the gunfire and had jumped up reaching for his old friend and found it missing.  His legs had worked fine.  She was down there outside the window giggling as she found her aim.  He wanted to be angry but just couldn’t, the sight of her killing old whiskey bottles made him smile ear to ear.  And she had placed the gun back in it’s proper position when she was done.

     Now, as he lay here the sounds of  footsteps on the stairs brought him out of his drifting, recent memories.  Well, it was a brothel after all.  In the time Leonard had spent here there had been several men walking up those stairs, but something felt wrong this time.  The foot falls Had a hesitant, rather than eagar sound.

     Leonard grabbed his old friend and began checking the loads. 
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"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk."
     Tuco--The Good the Bad and the Ugly

"First comes smiles, then lies.  Last is gunfire."
     Roland Deschain

"Every man steps in the manure now an again, trick is not ta stick yer foot in yer mouth afterward"

religio SENIOR est exordium of scientia : tamen fossor contemno sapientia quod instruction.


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« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2008, 12:50:16 pm »

Time seemed to hang suspended in the air as Cyrus sighted down the barrel of the rifle.

Suddenly there was the sound of a door being kicked open upstairs and everything began to accelerate in rapid fire succession.

At the sound of the door breaking Lou started to stand up, crying out "Lily!"  This move proved fatal as the gunman fired in that instance at Lou's sudden movement. In the next few heartbeats Cyrus fired as Langley moved and the outlaw fired his second pistol.

Lou dropped back into his chair with a large red stain spreading across his shirt.  The gunman collapsed onto the table which broke under his weight as Langley staggered backwards, clutching his stomach, coming to rest against one of the timbers supporting the stairs.

Cyrus stepped quickly through the batwings drawing his pistol as he moved. Before he could cross to the table a pair of gunshots cracked from upstairs.
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