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Two burly men from Beaumont's bank came barreling into my house. With nary a warning or a holler. Just yellin', spittin' and ruining my new rug that I got from a pair of Indians east of 'ere.

"Now see here, what's the meaning of all this," I exclaim. Henry Beaumont was the rustler of this town. He owned everything from the clock tower to the church pews. No one tangoed with Henry the Hornery One as we liked to call em. "I don't have anything against you boys, but if you don't step off my rug and make your way outside. I'm likely to draw this 'ere pistol from my belt. Neither of us wanna turn to that."

The pair of thugs look to one another and nodded. A silent agreement. They called my bluff and advanced.

"Lonnie get the boys out to Aunt Margarets." I yelled as I back peddle.

My gun wasn't loaded. Not in a house with three children in it.

My wife, bless her heart, ignored my request and instead bartered with the goons.

"Look, I know my husband isn't the upstanding types like yourselves. But he's all I got. We have three children... One's just a kid. Please have a heart gentlemen."

At first, I thought it might work. But then they look to her and said.

"Sorry Miss, this ain't nothing personal. Thomas here has a warrant out for his arrest. Sheriff's going book him and he's gonna hang next Sunday with the other thieves."

"Hey, now see here I haven't stolen a dime from Henry - You know this to be true boys. That'd... Well that'd be the stupidest thing for someone like me to do."

"Sorry boyo, you're coming with us." One of the gray suited baboons with a bowler hat grabbed me by my lapel and hooked a manacle upon my wrist.

"Now is this necessary?" I ask as they handcuff me and tied a rope to it.

"What's happening to Papa." Asked my daughter.

Everyone stops and stares. My eldest steps up.

"It's alright, Sally." He says, turning her away. "Papa's just going on a ride with his old buddies. They are all gonna play a game."

"Why's he have his hands behind his back?" She asks.

"Oh," Chimes in his junior. "He's going to bob some apples at Ol' Hortons' farm. You know the one with the orchard."

"Oh can I come too pops?"

"Not this time," I reply. "Now come 'ere and give me a hug."

The two gray ghost let me kneel and receive my daughter's hug.

"Please come home quick pa," She said as she slipped me a few bullets into my coat pocket. "I want to go fishing again."

I press my cheek to hers and whisper loud enough for the two dunderheads to hear.

"Don't worry Sally, we'll be sailing all summer long if you want."

"Alright, alright let's get going Mr Cunningham. We don't have all day."

The two men drag me out cuffed and bound. Two horses outside my home in the dreary backdrop of a scorching countryside.

"You boys mind telling me what I'm charged with." Wincing my eyes to the midday sun.

"Can't say we know, Mister Cunningham. Just that you've been wanted for arrest by Henry, so we are throwing you into prison. The sentence is harsh I reckon. You'll be dead by daylight."

"You told me I got till Sunday."

"We were just being polite, mister" Answers the other brute. "Can't just say you'll be dead tomorrow to a few fledglings and a mama goose you know."

The rest of the way, I contemplated on my life. I was an opportunist. Ran with three gangs. The Switchblades. The Warner Brothers and the Snubs. We hit up everything around my home town. I never - not a once. Stole from Henry Beaumont.

So now I wanted answers.

"Hey can I get some water." I ask. My throat parched from all that thinking.

The one holding to my leash looks over to his partner who shrugs. He dismounts and takes his canteen off his belt.

"Can't have you die before last supper. Be untoward of us right Jack."

"Sure would, John."

They uncuff me and cuff me again to bring my hands in front of me to hold the bottle. I make to take a swig. But whip out my elbow hitting Big John in the temple while wrapping the rope around his neck. Jack immediately rushes in and with all my strength, I throw the big boy over my hip into the legs of his charge. They tumble down together.

I reach to my belt. The fool hearty twins leaving me with my empty pistol. I loaded it as quick as I can. Three bullets in and they are already on me.

Jack is charging and John is reaching for the rifle on his horse. I bring up the pistol and fire.

Jack drops to the ground and the horses careen then charge off. John runs afterwards missing his rifle. He draws his pistol instead. The gray boy on the ground still in shock.

I aim down at him.

"Now stop right there or I'll blast this boy's brains into the sands."

John staggers and stops, but still holds to his pistol.

"You don't want to do this Cunningham. Think of your wife and children."

I yell back at him.

"I am!"

Or am I? If I kill either of these fools it'll be a death sentence for everyone he knew. But if I turned my self in I was a dead man as well.

Jack goes to tackle me from the ground. Before I can really think on the consequences. I pull the trigger.

The blast echoes throughout the empty field.

"Noo, you arse!" John begins to unload his six shooter at me.

I can hear the whizzing of the bullets flying by. I jump to my side and roll upon the dirt, kicking it up into the air. I have one bullet left in my chamber.

John is kicking his way over to me. The terrain is a bit sloped where I rolled to. He had to load his gun. Unfortunately he had a preloader.

We both stop at the bottom of the incline.

"You're a dead man walking, Thomas Cunningham. You hear me!"

We both bring up our pistols at the same time and fire.

I'm knocked off my feet, but John falls to his knees his head hiked back from a brutal shot through the skull. I'm bleeding all over the place, but I can't think about the pain.

Sally, Tommy, Walter and Lonnie.

I bandage my wound. Landed right under my armpit. Making it difficult to raise it. I know of only one person nearby here.

* * *

Eyota greeted me. A Muskogee Indian who sold me the rug. We were old friends and so he lent me a Morab, dark black and brown mare. A loaner.

"You are on a dangerous path, Mister Thomas. You must think on your actions. Others will follow and you may not hold the damned."

"Look Eyota as much as I love everything you do here for me and others, I can never understand what you're getting at. But I'll try to keep mindful of your words.'

I tip my hat to him and his tribesman who were also selling wares to other travellers.

I gallop at full speed into the city. A rifle slapping at the flank of my mustang. Two pistols at either side of my hip. And a burning question on my mind. How do I fix this?

I camp out till morning and make my way into town. Carriages roll by and other's are going about their business. Ladies wearing silk puffy skirts while the men are either in tight suits or rugged travel wear. I was somewhere in between.

I could go to the jail. The bank or the sheriff.

But I knew it really came down to one person.

Henry Beaumont.

I make my way to the boxed shaped concrete building. A large sign signifying it's services as I walk inside. My spurs clanging with every step. The bank, busy today.

"Can I help you, Sir?" Asks an attendant.

I nod.

"Is Henry Beaumont in today."

"Why yes he is, but he's not seeing anyone unless they have an appointment."

"Really," I grab the collar of the frightened clerk and pull my pistol out to his face. "How bout now?"

"Sir, this is suicide this bank belongs to Mister Beaumont."

"Do I look sane to you, kid" I give him the darkest, meanest menace I could muster. "Now tell me where he is."

"Down that way at the end of the hall, his name's on the door." Yelped the bank clerk.

I walk through the windowed door and make my way to end the hall. Keeping my pistols hidden. Then I was there.

Owner and Proprietor's Office

Henry Laval Beaumont

I don't bother knocking and open the door instead. Sitting on the chair is a mutton chopped haggard man with a large chest and a missing tooth.

"And who, may I ask, are you?" He gives me one of those inquisitive raised eyebrows.

"I was expecting you to know..." I reply as I make to draw my pistol. Trying to wipe that smug rich pompous expression off his ugly mug. When I hear a click of a hammer being pulled back behind me. The nuzzle of a snub nose presses against my head.

"Drop it Thomas."

I can't believe it.

"You're working for Beaumont now, Dias. Are all the Snub noses under his wing now?"

"Sure are brother, now kick it over to me."

I do so.

Beaumont smiles and looks down a moment as he walks around the table. He looks back up into my eyes as he seems to be judging me. Lighting a cigar all the while.

"Thomas both you and I know you're innocent. I didn't realize what had happened until it was too late. John and Jack already made their way out to you before I could stop em."

"What are you talking about."

Henry took a puff and click his lighter shut.

"It seems one of my accountants made an error. Fatal it would seem as both John and Jack aren't back. He calculated that a portion of my savings was sitting in your account. Now isn't that funny."

"Sure is, since I did no such thing."

"Yes, yes that was as I said a mistake. But that doesn't change where we are now?"

"And where would that be?"

"Having to decide what to do with you."

"Well, I'd say first thing you do... Is"

Flicking my fingers I drew out my own snub nose from my vest and shot Beaumont in the stomach and then the nose as he bent over in pain. His cigar clattering softly against the wooden floor. As he crumpled down upon it.

Behind me Dias pointed his own gun at my head, but a crash at the window signified the long rifle shot from Eyota. It was smart of him to listen to his own advice and consider his actions of letting me go and do the impossible. The bullet downing my old partner who sank against the wall.

Screams are heard from the typist in the rooms beyond. I had to run now. Again. Wasn't like I hadn't done it before. Just felt sorry for my family for what I'll have to put them through.

Picking up Henry's chair, I threw it out the window and cleared the way with my pistol grip. My horse just outside. I mounted quickly and met up with Eyota.

"Well done Wolfshead, you have proven again to be formidable to your enemies and loyal to you're family."

"You know I don't like that name, just call me Thomas the Trickster if you want or Tom."

The both of them laughed and galloped off into the sunset.

* * *

A man groans. His stomach bleeding profusely as a doctor is applying stitches. His nose in pieces. His eyes mad with rage.

July 27, 2020 18:34

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1 comment

Rhondalise Mitza
21:12 Jul 28, 2020

Good work! Just make sure you watch for commas and other punctuations, especially around dialogue, which you have a nice lot of. The connection between family ties and violence worked well in this case. :) I think you have a theme here because in most of your stories you talk about family, families, or friends who are like family. It's always nice to be able to see a theme with someone's stories.


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