Author: freddyburn PM
Join Clay Muller as he tries to reclaim his family farm. Between him and his goal- hired killers, mean drunks, immigrants in trouble, an uncle with a vendeatta, and a crazy treasure hunter- all who want a favour.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,859 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 10-05-12 - Published: 10-01-12 - id: 3062302
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As it turned out, Clay had already done one of the things his uncle needed taking care off—getting rid of Simon, the town lunatic who had shot Brian at the poker table. He was bad for business, Mary had told him. The second thing his uncle wanted done was to get money off a guy called Harry Gaines—the bear of a man Clay had seen getting a little too friendly with George, the older boy that could have been Clay's twin. Mary had told him that he could scare or kill Harry, that they really didn't care, so long as they got the money. Clay wasn't happy about what he had been asked to do, but when Mary had said his uncle was looking to purchase his father's farm, and that he needed someone to look after it, well, it had gotten his interest. Mary had dismissed him with directions to where he could get cleaned up.
Mary was right, there was a tub of steaming water and soap. The tub was far too large for him, but Clay didn't mind. He stripped of his clothes, and got in. He took a deep breath, and sunk under the water and rubbed the soap through his hair and rinsed it out. When he came back to the surface, the young boy, Seth, was taking out some clothes from a chest of drawers. He smiled at Clay.
"We are cousins," he said happily.
"I guess so," Clay said
"I've never had cousins before. Only half brothers and sisters."
Clay smiled at him. "Mary said you would help me and tell me what to do."
Seth nodded. "Turn around."
Clay did as he was told. A minute later, Seth had eased himself into the tub as well.
"What are you doing?" Clay yelped in surprise.
"Washing your back. I have ten half brothers and four half sisters and live in a brothel. This is nothing new for me. Now listen," Seth said, dipping a cloth into the soapy water and starting to rub Clays back with it.
"The man's name is Harry. He is blind in his left eye and deaf in his left ear due to a gun accident. When you are taking out the knife make sure you are on his left side. He likes getting undressed by himself and finding George in bed waiting for him."
By this time, Seth was leaning so close; Clay could feel his chest, and other parts, pressed against him, and Seth had wrapped his arm around him and started to scrub his chest. His head was resting on Clay's shoulder, his lips pressed against his ear.
"Mary is listening to us," he whispered. "She is waiting for you to refuse, or to say something that would allow her to shoot you in the back. She lied to you when she said my papa was not here recently. He was here last night. They don't want you to succeed. They think that John will kill you- they have paid him too. They are afraid you will out papa to his wife, or do something to disrupt his business. Take your gun with you."
"Why would they do that?"
"I don't know. I just heard them talking last night. They want you out of the way."
"You have no idea why?"
"None," Seth muttered. He sloshed around to face Clay, sitting back so that the water went up to his chest.
"You are a little bigger than George," he said loudly, obviously putting on a show for Mary. "His clothes will be a little tight on you."
"Um, wont that just, you know, get Harry more excited," Clay stammered.
Seth winked at him, pleased.
"You're probably right," Seth said. "Now, I better get back to the bar."
He stood up. "Meet you downstairs in twenty."
Clay stood by the stairs in his borrowed clothes, trying to make himself comfortable. The starched shirt was itchy, and it clung to every curve and contour of his torso like it had been painted on. The pants were worse. They left very little to the imagination. The fact that he had been right about Harry's reaction gave him little comfort. Clay prayed that Harry mistook the bulge of the gun for something else. Harry called for champagne to be brought up to his "usual room" and led Clay upstairs.
Clay stared at the body in the bed, at felt revulsion at the sight. The man was a mound of hairy fat that had been easy to dispose of. Clay hadn't needed to use the knife or gun. The Bear, as Clay had started to call him him, was drunk and in the mood for celebration when he had come up. He had ordered champagne, and ice had been found somewhere to keep it chilled. The Bear had been going on about a large windfall, and as he lay naked on the bed while Clay faked pouring him a glass of champagne, Clay could work on his plan. So much for him liking George been in the bed and ready for him- all Clay had to do was remove his shirt, revealing the well toned body beneath, and The Bear had hopped into bed.
He had remained ignorant of what was happening right up until Clay shoved a handful of ice into his mouth and rammed it down his throat, lodging it in his windpipe. The Bears body heat, and the vomit in his mouth, would do the rest. Simple. He had choked to death on his own beer sodden vomit, though Clay had the bruises to prove he had put up a fight. Luckily, he had not his Clay in his face, or people might ask questions. If his father had been alive... best not to dwell on it.
Clay bent down and picked up the dead man's clothes, searching through the pockets. A pistol and a large amount of ammo. Five hundred dollars in cash that he had won at the poker table, and a fat brown envelope. Clay opened the envelope. There was more cash and a hand written note. Clay counted the money. Fifteen hundred dollars. Clay then opened the note and read.
George won't be joining you tonight. I will be sending someone else. Kill him, and you get to keep the cash along with a ten per cent stake in the new business. Do it silent and bloodless and without witnesses.
That son of a bitch. So, his uncle wanted him dead, but for what purpose? Clay knew his uncle had a lot of business dealings, but what would he gain by having Clay killed? There was the new rail line, but Clay didn't know if his uncle had any connections with that.
Clay put the fifteen hundred in his pocket and grabbed his borrowed shirt. Once he had it on, he fixed the dead man's gun and its holster to his belt. He would keep the gun and the money, except for the five hundred. That he would give to Mary O'Malley, showing her he had collected what Clay suspected was a non-existent debt. Let her and his uncle cook up some other way to get rid of him. Just before he left the room, he grabbed the Bears duster. It was a little loose on him, and the sleeves were a little short. Also, it fell to his ankles, but it would cover the gun and holster, and it was clean and warm. Closing the door behind him, Clay set his jaw and prepared himself for anything- except the happy fourteen year old launching himself at him.
"You're alive," Seth said in a hushed voice, his eyes wide, his hands locked behind Clay's neck, his legs around his chest. "I'm sure Frank would have killed you the minute he entered the room."
Clay felt himself smile at the younger boy. There was something about his exuberant personality that made Clay feel happy.
"He was too drunk and stupid to think of that Seth. A baby could have gotten the better of him," he said, smiling. Seth grinned back, tightening his hold.
"Are you always this way with people?" Clay asked in amusement, putting his hand around the younger boy to support him. In the hour he had spent with Seth, he had grown to like the younger boy and his excitement at having a cousin. Clay had been drawn into the warm bond that connected the people here, and it was obvious that Seth and all his siblings had an intimate, affectionate relationship with each other by the way Seth sat close to him and talked about how they helped each other. Clay had no brothers or sisters, so he didn't know how they acted around each other, but from what he knew from his friends back home, the people here were a very close knit family.
Seth blushed at the question, and looked away, releasing his hands and legs. If it wasn't for Clay supporting him, he would have fallen to the ground.
"Sorry," he muttered to the floor. "I guess I'm not used to having a stranger come in here and be nice to me without me wanting to, you know..."
He trailed off, and Clay felt a sudden surge of anger and protectiveness. He had begun to dislike his uncle and Mary earlier, but now that had jumped all the way up the ladder to loathing. To call his uncle a son of a bitch would be an insult to sons of bitches everywhere. Clay had no words to describe Mary O'Malley. He put Seth down, and cupped his chin in his hand, forcing the boy's eyes up to meet his own.
"We are family Seth. Like you told me, family should help each other. What your father is forcing you to do is wrong. Now I have to talk with Ms. O'Malley."
"Please, don't hurt her. Papa is using her. He has her brother, and she made a mistake, and now he is using it against her," Seth blurted out, his eyes wild. Clay frowned at him.
"What mistake?" he asked.
Seth looked away, then made a gesture towards his stomach.
Seth nodded and Clay became more confused.
"One night, she had tried to go to a lawyer in Kelly, the next town over. Papa has nothing on him. They found her before she got there, took her brother, and beat her. They brought her back here, and since I was the only on free, I looked after her. She started to drink, and I joined her. She hoped she would be able to dull the pain, and I didn't want to leave her alone. Then, when I put her to bed, she said she liked me. She thought I was George. They are still holding her brother to keep her quiet."
Clay understood long before Seth had finished, the pieces falling into place quickly. "The baby is yours? How is that a mistake in a place like this when he sells you most nights of the week?"
"People don't touch Papa because he has information on them. He only protects us as long as we are useful to him. He said he would have Mary thrown in jail."
The anger Clay had felt earlier had now turned to rage, directed only towards his uncle now. He was still angry at Mary, she was the 'management' of this place after all. But Clay found himself feeling pity for the Irish girl. Her hand had been forced to do these things.
"I won't hurt her, but I still got to talk to her," Clay said in what he hoped was a reassuring tone. It must have been for Seth's smile grew painfully big.
Clay found Mary in her private rooms. According to the girl he had spoken too, Gwen, she was preparing for the evening rush, and was bathing. Clay walked in without knocking. He was still angry with her, and the amount of pity he had for her was small. He didn't feel like being a gentleman. Not now, even with everything he knew about her. She was laying back in a copper tub with her eyes closed, a single arm draped over her breasts and the other hand rubbing a cloth over her massive belly, which was sticking up for all to see.
"Just leave the towels Gwen," she said without looking up.
"I got your money," Clay spat.
Mary sat up so fast; Clay thought she would injure her back. Water sloshed everywhere.
"Why are you..." she started.
"Alive?" Clay asked. "I got the note my dear uncle left for the dead guy upstairs. Maybe, if you start talking, I can help."