Xavier looked at the barrel of his still smoking shotgun which was getting rain droplets on it. It never gets any easier, he thought to himself as he looked down at the corpse that was lying in the muddy road. Xavier stood there as he waited for the others to arrive, his black over coat was getting drenched. This is all so messed up! Kelly, Jack and Allison should be here soon with the wagon. He looked on both sides to him as he watched the fields of grass get a much needed rain.
Xavier looked over at the dead bastard's horse who was just standing in the rain. It was a white horse and had recently gotten a new shade of blotchy red. The owner of the horse was a member of a small time gang known as the Texas Titans. They had mustered up a $10,000 bounty when they killed the mayor of a small Texas town. The man lying dead was lamely named, Crack-Shot Carl. His name, couldn't have lied more about his shooting ability.
Xavier looked back to his gun, he saw his reflection on the shiny black barrel. His brown bangs were covering his left eye, and his brown stubble was pattered down in the rain. But what Xavier noticed most, was his bright blue eyes. At least they still have their youth. Xavier thought to himself, then a dawning came on to him. It was the 22nd of October, his 20th birthday. With this Xavier walked back to his horse and went into his cigarette pouch. Just as he pulled out a white cigarette, he saw two horses pulling a wagon.
One of the horses was being ridden by Jack. He was riding an auburn horse, Jack had slicked back blonde hair and brilliant green eyes. Jack was tall and thin while Xavier was medium height and thin. The other rider was Allison, she was tall for a girl and had shoulder length black hair and blue eyes. She had no exceptional beauty but she was one of the nicest gals that Xavier had ever met.
The wagon that was being pulled was weather beaten and drifted in the mud, the rain was really coming down. When the wagon pulled up, both riders got out, then a girl got out of the wagon. She was short, but had long brown hair and brown eyes. Her face was kind and Xavier thought she belonged somewhere that wasn't this Hell. Her name, was Kelly.
"Hey X, glad to see you caught old Carl here." Jack said with a smile. Jack was older than Xavier but he was reckless and took too many risks.
"Yeah, let's wrap him up and take him into town." Xavier replied.
"Kelly and I will go get the tarp!" Allison said, they both went over to the cart and got the black tarp and some rope. When they came back with the rope they threw the tarp on the body and they tied it up. Then they lifted the body up, they brought it over to the old wagon and tossed it in. Xavier walked over and slapped the white horse and let it free. On his way back, he had to walk over a rather large puddle of red.
Chapter 1: The End is Near, or is it?
The pub in the little town of New Haven was packed as usual. Farmers and laborers filled the beat up wooden tables. Xavier and his friends were sitting at the bar itself like they always did. The bartender Bob, who was a short hairy man, was checking his inventory while engaging in some of the discussions. Xavier had a small shot glass in front of him and he just listened to the others talk.
"Yeah, with the money we got from the bounty today, we will be able to buy new guns!" Jack said, after he finished talking he drained his shot and slammed it onto the bar table.
"Well, that's great! I wanna buy one of those new semi-auto pistols." Allison said as she lit a cigarette. She took a long puff and exhaled a cloud of smoke. The bar kept getting louder and louder. Xavier felt a tingling in his back and his hands couldn't stop shaking. What the hell is wrong with me? I've been like this for a long time. I just want to be me again.
Jack turned around suddenly. Xavier looked over at him and he saw that he was livid.
"What the hell Jack?" Xavier asked. The last thing they needed was a bar fight. Jack started to roll up his sleeves.
"Randy over there thinks it is a good idea to keep talking crap about us. I'm sick of it!" Jack said. Randy was a rancher who hated bounty hunters and especially Xavier's group. Randy was bald and had almost no teeth. He was sitting in the middle of the bar at a table with some of his friends. His face was red from booze and he was talking in slurred speech.
"You damn bounty hunters, you have killed people on my ranch too many times!" Randy said while staying in his chair.
"Jack, clearly he is drunk. Don't let it get to you." Kelly said, she reached up and put a hand on his shoulder. Jack was trembling but Xavier didn't know what Randy had said about them. Jack gently took Kelly's hand off his shoulder and he sat back down on the stool.
"Yeah that's right, go back to your whores!" He said with a laugh. Xavier stood up quickly ad turned to Randy. Randy saw this and he looked at him with a smile.
"Well if it isn't X! Why don't you sit back down before you get hurt?" Randy said as he picked up a glass and drained it. Xavier just looked at him, No one insults my friends, and Xavier started walking toward him. Randy started to get up because he knew that he had just provoked a fight.
"Hey X, why don't you listen to your elders?' This voice came from a table near the door. Xavier looked over and he saw the speaker. It was Randy's 25 year old son, Dill, who also worked on the ranch. He was tall and muscular. He was known for getting into fights, Dill had stood up and walked over to his father's side.
"Well then, I apologize Randy, it looks like I'm going have to lecture your son. I wouldn't wanna hurt an old man, now just because I am teaching Dill a lesson doesn't mean you can't learn one either." Xavier said coldly as he strode over to Dill. When Xavier was a few feet away he looked up to Dill, who was a head taller than him.
"Now don't be chickening out you yellow belly turd." Dill said as he raised his hands and clenched them into fists. Xavier raised his hands as well but he only half clenched them, he was ready to counter, not attack.
Dill smiled a bit and he threw a quick jab, this hit Xavier but it didn't move him much. The jab had hit him straight in the nose but he didn't fall back. A small stream of blood started to come out of his nose. Xavier still had his hands raised, his left hand was in front, throw that damn jab again.
Just as he wanted, Dill threw the left jab again. This time though, when the punch was half way there, Xavier posted Dill's arm up. While the jab was still going astray, Xavier ran into Dill full speed and tackled him to the ground. The thud of a muscular man hitting the floor echoed throughout the bar.
Xavier was still on top of Dill, who was flat on his back. Xavier started wild throwing punches into Dill's face. The sound of flesh hitting flesh sounded like a drum beating an erratic rhythm. Dill's face started swelling up and bleeding out of two orifices. I only have a few seconds to make my point, Xavier stopped the pounding and he reached into his holster and pulled out his revolver. He pulled back the hammer and drove the gun into Dill's crotch.
"I'm no sheriff, I am not the voice of justice! I do not fight for the greater good! What I do, is lock up people for a large sum of money! Remember this, I will not hesitate to pull the trigger and say you attacked me and it was in self-defense…" Before Xavier could finish his rant, he was pulled off by Jack. Xavier looked at Dill who looked like he was about to pass out.
"Let go Jack!" Xavier said as he got free of his grip. He holstered his revolver and he made his way to the exit of the bar. People stared at him as he walked passed them, when he got outside the cloudy sky was a relief to him. The air was cool and it chilled the lungs upon inhaling.
Xavier turned left and walked down the muddy street. He was the only one outside because the rest of the town was probably eating dinner. Xavier had started sweating profusely and his hands continued to shake. Am I losing my mind? Images from the events that had occurred earlier in the day, started popping into his head. Xavier walked passed a rundown house that no one bothered to fix or tear down. The house had shattered windows and the wood was warped. Xavier stared at the broken windows and the whole scene from earlier in the day replayed in his mind.
The rain was falling, giving a gloomy feel to the day. Xavier and the others were on top of a hill in the plains. Their bounty was rumored to have been hiding out in a small shack near Black Water. Black Water ironically wasn't near any water but rather a heavily wooded area. They rode down the hill into the woods and began searching. Xavier had a lone horse while the Jack and Allison pulled their wagon for the bodies.
They searched for an hour before they found a shack, which looked like it could barely hold one resident. The windows were shattered, the door had a whole in it and the roof was caved in a bit. They entered the pathetic excuse for a home with their guns at the ready. Xavier had his pump-action shotgun and the others had rifles.
Inside of the shack, trash littered the floor and there wasn't even a bed. There was a rug that had red stains all over it and it wasn't a pretty sight. Allison turned to them and she had a look of disgust on her face. This was probably due to the rancid smell which filled the room.
"I doubt they are here, let's keep looking." She said as she kicked a bottle filled with a gooey brown substance that was on the carpet. She probably just wanted to leave the house.
"What is that smell?" Kelly asked as she walked around the cabin, trying to locate the smell of death.
"Smells like a dead animal. This place hasn't been inhabited for a long ass time." Jack said as he made his way to the door. Xavier had a nagging feeling that something may be under the carpet so he bent over and pulled it out.
He was right about there being something under the carpet. When he removed the carpet everyone, including himself had to cover his nose. The smell went from terrible to almost unbearable. The thing that was under the carpet was a trap door might lead to another room.
"Everyone get your guns ready, I think these bastards are right under the trap door." Xavier whispered to them. They all trained their guns at the trap door. He stood right on the edge of it and kicked with all of his might. When his foot hit the wooden door, it split into two and a dark whole was now where the door was. Jack started hacking up as the smell was reaching lethal levels. Xavier himself had to turn away and he started hacking up as well.
"Jesus, what the hell is that?" Xavier said in between his hacks. He pulled out his handkerchief and tied it over his face this only helped a bit. The others did the same, this time when they looked back into the hole they say a faint flicker of orange. Xavier nodded to them and they got their guns ready.
Xavier took a bottle from the floor and threw it down the hole, the glass shattered almost immediately. The whole wasn't too deep but that wasn't the concerm, he had also noticed a whimper from below.
"Holy crap! Someone is down there." Kelly said in a loud whisper. Xavier pointed to the hole and whispered that he would jump in first. He jumped down into the whole and hit the hard dirt. The only thing that Xavier could see was a dimly lit candle. The smell was horribly leaking through this makeshift mask.
He saw movement coming from near the light, then there was a moan. It wasn't a moan of pain, but of pleasure. Xavier fumbled around for match and he found one. He struck it and he had in his own orb of light. He noticed splotches of dried blood and he kept searching around for the source of the smell…
Xavier felt a searing pain on his face. He shook his head and looked up and saw Kelly looking down at him with a frown. This was also the time when Xavier noticed the stream of tears on his cheeks. His nosebleed was now horrible as well.
"X…I know you were thinking about what we saw today. You should talk to me about it, I mean you shouted at us to not come down and all we heard was a shot. Then we heard scuffling as you kept telling us to not come down. What happened?" Kelly asked she put a hand on his shoulder. Xavier could trust her, so he told her.
"They were all dead except for one…he was using the bodies for food and…I don't even want to tell you. I infer that Carl went to get food but he got side tracked…but I still do not know why he had to resort to that. I think that lone man went completely gone mental." Xavier said, he dried his eyes with his sleeves and looked at Kelly.
"Let's go back to the inn. I think I need to sleep" Xavier said. Kelly was disturbed by the story because she managed to put the pieces together. They started walking towards the inn where they lived. The only thing that Xavier could think of was the perfect timing of all the events that occurred. How Carl just got back as they found the cabin, it was all very strange.
"Oh and X, you heard the news right?" Kelly said, trying to sound normal. Xavier looked at her oddly.
"No, what news?" He asked her. The sky was getting darker and they got in front of a three story inn. They opened the old beat up door and walked in.
"Well, they are thinking about outlawing bounty hunting, well in the killing sense. This is probably because they wanna 'civilize' the west." Kelly said as they stood in the lobby of the small inn. There was only a desk and a moth eaten couch and a small weakly lit fire place.
"Well, how much longer can any of us keep up bounty hunting?" Xavier said.
"What do you mean?" She asked, she looked concerned.
"I just don't think I can handle much more killing." Xavier replied as he took a seat on the couch. The small fire place crackled. Kelly sat down next to him and she put her arm around his shoulder.
"We don't have to kill them." Kelly said softly. Xavier looked into her eyes
"You know they're too dangerous to be kept alive, and even if we could, the majority of the bounties we go after are wanted dead because they bring in more money." He told her.
"We're going to Hell, aren't we?" Kelly asked.
"It wouldn't be much different there then it is here." Xavier responded.
To be continued…