Twelve Bullets

Episode 3: "A Simple Matter of Trust"

When Penelope entered the house she found the stranger sitting up and looking at her.

He smiled. "Howdy."

"Thank God you're awake and alright. For a while there I didn't think you'd make it." She poked her head out the door and shouted, "Nick! He's awake!"

She began working in the kitchen, but continued talking. "I had to cut your clothes up, sorry. Your coat, hat, and boots made it, though."

"So I see," replied the stranger.

"You got pretty messed up. What's your story?"

The stranger didn't answer.

She turned to look at him. He was looking out the window at Nick who was headed toward the door. Nick entered, his rifle in hand and tipped his hat to Penelope.

"Ma'am," he acknowledged. He then set his rifle down and approached the stranger. "Howdy," Nick said, shaking the stranger's hand.

"Howdy," replied the stranger. "You must be Nick."

Nick nodded. "Well, you already know my name, so what can call you?"

"Anything you want," replied the stranger.

Nick raised an eyebrow. "Right. So, what's your story? You were pretty messed up when you got here."

"I was fine till you shot me," the stranger replied, grinning.

"Believe it or not, that wasn't me or my men. I even checked their weapons. We sent out a group to survey the area, but they found nothing. Now, I want to know if there are any dangers out there. It's my job to protect these people, so I would appreciate any and all information."

The stranger stood and paced back and forth. "There's no danger to you or your family and friends. And all of my enemies believe me dead, so I don't bring any dangers on my part."

"What happened to you?"

"Do you trust me, Nick?"

"How can I? I just met you."

"Well I don't trust you either. Especially since all my belongings are gone. I understand why you would take them, but I do expect them back."

"You'll get everything you came here with back. But no extra bullets until I feel I can trust you."

"And no explanation until I trust you."

"Deal," Nick said, extending his hand, "but if we are in danger, and your keeping something from me that could save us, I swear I'll kill you."

"Nick!" exclaimed Penelope.

"Deal," the stranger said, shaking Nick's hand.

"You're about my size," Nick said. "I'll let you borrow some of my clothes, and then we'll get you all your stuff back."

The stranger smiled. "I can't thank you enough for your hospitality."

"Morricone, we have a problem."

"What is it?"

"There are only six bodies."


"There were seven men in Shane's gang."

"But we watched them all drop dead!"

"I know, but one might've survived. That could ruin everything."

"You idiot! No one could have survived that. Look all over the area."

"We did."

"Then look harder!"

"As you wish."

Ransom arrived in a small town later that morning. He tied up his horse outside of bar and went in to ask for a room. However, he happened to walk into the center of a robbery. Three bandits stood around the counter, pressing guns against the bartenders head.

"Shouldn't this be taking place at a bank?" Ransom asked.

All three bandits spun around. "You got a lot of guts, boy."

Ransom raised his rifle. When they began to turn their guns to Ransom, he shot. Click-click . . . bang. Click-click . . . bang. Click-click . . . bang. The gunmen flopped against the counter and crumpled to the ground.

Then, as if nothing had happened, Ransom stepped over the corpses, sat down in a bar stool, and ordered a shot of whiskey. He downed it, then asked for a room.