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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Flash Fiction: Under a Dead Sun: Past Sins

Chapter 44

Father Enrico was rushed into the harbor door of Desperation, just behind Ally as the one eyed man held the door open. He, along with two other heavily armed men Enrico marked as deputies, guarded the door as they were pushed inside. A clean shaven man in a large hat, impeccably dressed, was introduced to them as Mayor Clement, and he guided Ally by the arm deeper into the town. Enrico only half listened as she begged to be allowed to the top of the wall, to watch that damn fool Morgan. He has seen him turn back towards that stagecoach. Back towards the woman and the downed rider.  Part of the old Enrico pulled at him, marveling at the man's selflessness. An older part of him though still feared that kind of bravery. He'd seen what happened to brave men, and it wasn't something noble at all.

He reached to absently clutch at his rosary beads, an age long habit it seemed since assuming this face, but remembered he'd tossed them into the river. He let his arm fall to his side as Clement lead him and the agitated Ally towards the hotel, with a promise of hot food and drink for information about what laid beyond the walls.  As the walked towards the hotel, Clement motioned for the one eyed man, whom he called Van Cleft, to watch the walls and inform him. Van Cleft spat a large hunk of tobacco on the ground and gestured to the other two armed men to follow. As they headed towards the main gate, Enrico followed Clement into the hotel.

There were several people inside, most looking haunted or hurt. One man had a heavily bandaged hand, while several women looked like they had been crying. Clement was all cheer and smiles though as he called out to the heavyset woman at the counter to bring some food and drink for his guests. She nodded, her tight, wrinkled face was lined with worry, but he couldn't blame her for feeling that way.

Within minutes she had brought each of them a plate of food. Two strips of steak and beans for Enrico, and the haunch of a chicken and some small potatoes for Ally. Clement drew a large beer and brought the two of them water, which Ally gulped down. Clement then started asking questions. Ally didn't want to talk about what she'd seen, but Enrico told the story of his parish and the death of all his brothers. He left parts out, particularly where he had left all those men to die. He wondered why he didn't feel more shame or guilt at the matter, but if he was honest with himself, he didn't feel anything anymore. Unless empty was a feeling. He talked for about 15 minutes, until Ally spoke up, again asking for information on Morgan.

"My dear, my dear, Van Cleft will most assuredly fill us in on any information. He is a man without repute. Since this dastardly outbreak this man has come be be our stoutest protector! "

It was only moments later when Van Cleft came in, followed by his two armed cronies, and another man that Enrico didn't recognize. He was a tall, with blond hair. His eyes were immedately drawn to the twin Pearl Handled Colts, set in a crossdraw about his waist. Fancy guns, and the man had the look of someone who could use them.

It was then that Ally screamed.

End of Line.