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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Flash Fiction: Three More Bullets

Chapter 9

I didn't have to look for the last man on my list. I knew exactly where he was. The same place he had been since that fateful night over a year ago. Frank Morgan was the son of one of the biggest cattle barons in all of Colorado. He had been born rich, but he had a wild sadistic streak that even quelled his Father. At the age of 16, he had been disowned from his family after brutally murdering a prostitute in Denver. Cut off, he took what money he had and set up in New Mexico, vowing one day to run even his Father out of business. He used any means necessary to buy up land and cattle, rustling and strong arm tactics. If the law got in his way, he'd buy them off of have them killed. So far, no one had directly linked him to any crime but his stake in the territory was getting bigger everyday.

He had approached me tyring to buy my section of land, offering me far less than the property was worth. He wanted my land because of its location, and because it would give him a foothold into JR Campbell's land, whom I had bought the land off of. I told him I wouldn't be selling for any amount of money. Emma, my sweet Emma, had picked this land and we weren't moving. He came back that same night, even before I had the chance to tell the Sheriff, and killed my family.

Morgan had a ranch a half a days ride from my old house. I looked down from the hilltop overlooking the ranch and waited. It was July 4th, the middle of summer, and many of his "ranch hands" were in town celebrating. Morgan and a few of his boys had stayed behind. I could see the fireworks in the distance, and hear the sounds of singing from below. I had taken Billy Travers horse and my own, and I kept them quiet. Waiting for the drink and the festivities to slow them down.

Finally, after the moon had grown thick in the sky, I walked down to the ranch, horses in tow. I had managed to tie them off before the first of his men saw me. His pants were undone and he had a bottle in his hand.

"Hey..Who tha' fuck are you?"

I pulled up Billy Travers shiny steel plated Colt that I had taken and shot him in the head before he could utter another slurred sentence. Walking past him I saw the door to the ranch house open up as another man come running out, clad only in his shirt and boots. I shot him before he ran 6 steps as I walked to the front door of the ranch house and kicked it in. Two more men lay passed out on the floor, surrounded by empty bottles. I emptied the last four shots into them, killing them in cold blood. Reaching across my shoulder I freed the sawed-off shotgun from its holster across my back and began walking upstairs.

I made it about halfway when another of Morgan's men came around the landing. He was tall and dark haired, and he fired his pistol as he cleared the corner. I felt something hot burn into my thigh and my leg go numb. I let fly with both barrels as I collapsed on the stairway. I probably took out as much of the railway as I did him, the man screaming as his face was full of buckshot and wood splinters. I could hear him screaming as I thumbed open the shotgun, sliding two more rounds into the barrel. I held the gun in my left as I used my right hand to pull myself up the railing. At the top of the stair I fired again, taking the man out of his misery. Far more mercy than I was gonna show Frank Morgan.

I limped down the hallway, leaving a trail of blood down his fine carpets until I reached his door. I turned the handle, throwing it wide. Frank Morgan stood next to his bed, clad only in his long shorts and gunbelt. The room was lavishly furnished, with an ornate wardrobe and washstand on one side. A roaring fire was lit in the hearth, casting the room in an eerie orange glow. A dark skinned girl with hair as black as his soul lay under the bedsheets, eyes wide with fear. I could see her dress strewn across the floor. Morgan had his gun pointed at me, one arm out in front of himself. I dropped the shotgun to the floor and raised my hands.

"Hello Frank. It's been a long time."

"Who the fuck do you think you are? Killing my men, coming into MY home? I'm gonna fucking hear you beg before I kill you."

He walked closer, keeping the gun trained on me. He turned the gun over and smashed the barrel across my face. I fell to my knees and tasted my own blood, hot and wet, and laughed. Loud and thick, I laughed. Then I felt him press the barrel of his gun hard against my forehead.

"Who the FUCK are you?"

I opened my eyes, looking at his and smiled.

"My name is Ethan Edwards. You, along with John and Billy Travers raped and murdered my wife and daughter, forcing me to watch. You beat me, shot me, and tied me to my own horse and left me to die. All for a lousy piece of farmland. Now, I am going to do to you what you did to me. Except I won't be as nice."

His eyes sparked with recognition.

"You sonuvabitch. You tough fucking sonuvabitch. You're resilient, I'll give you that. You just got one problem, see, I still got the gun and I'm not a man who makes the same mistake twice."

Then I heard the click of the hammer being drawn back. It was almost over.

End of Line.

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