Cyrus White investigated the scorched study of the Wendell mansion. The Wendell's were the wealthiest family in Black Water until last night. Cyrus worked for the government and he was in charge of checking for political machines in the West. Cyrus stood at 5 feet 9 inches and he had slicked black hair and green eyes.

"Hm… what the hell happened here?" He asked himself as he looked around the blackened room. There were multiple carcasses that were charred so he had no idea who the hell they were. Cyrus walked over to what used to be the desk, it was just a charred piece of wood that looked like it would crumble if a person touched it.

Could this have been an assassination? Are the Wendell's even dead? All of these questions loomed in Cyrus's head as he looked at the blackened carcasses. He continued searching in the rubble for letters that would prove that the Wendell's did payoff some of the local railroad owners to let him smuggle large amounts of opium. After a few hours of searching, Cyrus found a bone chilling discovery.

Chapter 3: Tears and Fire

Xavier sat in his room with his Browning in hand. He kept aiming and looking down the sight as it had been a month and he still wasn't completely used to the small curve in the barrel. The cool November air was filling the room and Xavier could see his breath easily. The sun was just rising and he immediately walked out of the room and he made his way down the hallway and down the narrow steps.

Once outside Xavier went over to his horse and got on it and he rode off. I'll be back soon, I just have to see it for myself. As he rode the icy air stung his face and the path that led to his destination was hard. After a few minutes of a bumpy ride, there was a fork in the path. He went to the right and he started to escalate a small hill. As he rode up the hill, he saw the outline of a wooden fence.

Once he reached the top of the hill, Xavier saw that it was true. The Smith's mansion had been torched, it was now a pile of rubble. Who could have done this? Xavier looked at the fence and he noticed carvings in the weathered wood. They were grotesque pictures of what appeared to be a man tied to a pole. The man on the pole was slouched over and he looked like he was unconscious. What a dark chapter in American history, at least this didn't happen in my life time.

Xavier reached into his leather pouch and pulled out a cigarette, he struck a match against the fence and he lit it. He turned back to the pile of rubble and he sat against the fence, puffing away all of his issues for a few glorious minutes.

"Excuse me sir!" Came a voice. Xavier stood up quickly and he looked around, he saw a black man walking his way. From what Xavier could see, this was a black man dressed in all black, just like Xavier.

"Yes?" Xavier asked, the man was now within comfortable talking range. He had a shaved head and brilliant brown eyes, he had a gaunt look on his face.

"Are you here to investigate the damage done to the plantation?" The man asked in a rich baritone voice.

"No sir, I heard one of the drunks in my town talking about this place being torched two nights ago so I came to investigate." He replied kind of awkwardly.

"Sir? You're one of the first white folks that called me that in a while but yes the manor was burned two days ago. " He said with a smile, revealing pearly white teeth. Xavier returned the smile.

"That's rather unfortunate, must have been some person playing a sick joke." Xavier said.

"Yes, people these days seem to be doing disturbing things for thrills these days." The man said as he shook his head, Xavier had a feeling that this man had suffered a great deal from the way he looked at him.

"Did you live here?" Xavier asked, this man had a painful air about him.

"I used to work here as a tenant farmer and on the Sunday, I spoke the word of the lord to my fellow workers." He said with a forced smile, Xavier had a hard time believing that this man was a preacher.

"I am sorry about that, what is your name?" Xavier asked.

"My name is Cain Stevens. What's yours?" Cain asked.

"Xavier Williams. Pleasure to meet you Father Stevens." Xavier said as he put out his hand. Cain shook it and told Xavier to call him Cain.

"How come if the fire happened two days ago than how come it took so long for the news to travel?" Xavier asked.

"Well…um…rumors you know…"Cain said while looking at the ground. "Actually the insurance company will be here soon.'

"I see." Xavier replied, trying to hide his suspicion. He is lying! How the hell was the fire put out? Did it just die out or did someone put it out?

"I can see that you came here for a second reason…I can see it your eyes my brother." Cain said trying to avoid any questions from Xavier.

"I actually came here to visit Isabelle's grave." Xavier said somberly as an image of the small girl flashed in his head.

"Yes, such a travesty, how did you know her?" Cain replied as a small tear filled his eyes. "Come with me, I will show you where the family is buried. Also, how did you know the young lady?"

"Well, I attempted to nurse her back to health. But I couldn't do anything." Xavier said in choked voice.

Cyrus rode like the wind into Black Water. In the Wendell mansion he had discovered a safe that revealed some disturbing news. His horse didn't seem to be moving fast enough, move it you god damn beast! The closer he got to the down, the faster his heart pumped.

Those bastards, how could they do such a thing? After what seemed like an hour, Black Water came into view. The wooden buildings were a beacon of hope in Cyrus's mind. As he entered the town, people stared as he whizzed by them. He soon arrived at the sheriff's office, Cyrus leaped off of his stallion and he sprinted into the building. Upon entrance, the sheriff looked up from his desk. Cyrus was panting and he had his hands on his knees.
"What's wrong boy?" The sheriff asked in raspy voice. The sheriff was a short stalky fellow with a rather thick mustache. Cyrus reached into his pocket and he pulled out a small piece of white parchment. The sheriff took it and he read it.

Cyrus watched him read, he watched the sheriff's eyes moved left to right.

"Where did you find this boy?" He asked while still reading.

"I work for the government and I was searching the scorched Wendell mansion. I found this in the study." Cyrus said. The sheriff had a look of concern on his face as he continue to read the terrifying letter.

"I can't believe the Wendell's were involved with such filth!" the sheriff said.

"We have to act now! We must get to the Smith mansion at once! There has to be further clues about this syndicate there! Get your deputy and let's head out!" Cyrus said, he turned to the door but he heard the sheriff chuckle. Why is this asshole laughing?
"You haven't been here all too long have you?" The man asked while laughing.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Cyrus asked angrily.

"The Smiths are dead. Well there is one left alive but she's a whore." The sheriff said as stretched in his chair.

"Where is the mansion?" Cyrus asked. The sheriff didn't appear to believe Cyrus.

"Why should I tell you? So you can break in and steal from that house?" The sheriff asked crudely. That's right you fat pig, this is all an elaborate scheme for me to loot that mansion, what an ass.

Cyrus reached into his satchel and he pulled out his identification form that he received when he was assigned the job. The sheriff read it and sighed. He then reached into his old wooden desk and pulled out an old yellowed map.

"Here." He said. He pointed to a spot near the town New Haven.

"Asshole." Cyrus whispered to himself as he turned and walked out the door.

Xavier and Cain were standing in front of a stone grave. It had Isabelle's name carved into it. Her father and mother's grave were right next to it. The graves were not too far from the pile of ashes that was once a great mansion.

"Such a shame. I can't believe Mr. Smith was capable of committing such a heinous crime." Cain said with a tear in his eye. He was eying Atticus's wife's grave, her name was Mary.

"Were you close to the girl?" Xavier asked.

"No, actually the girl was a devil to me. She would always taunt me and call me the worst names. It was the mother, Mary who treated me with respect. Even after I left for a few years and returned." Cain said as he knelled down and kissed Mary's grave. She seemed like a nice girl. The news of Isabelle not being the sweet girl he imagined damaged his heart.

"So why didn't Mary teach her daughter respect?" Xavier asked with a burning sensation in his chest. In his nightmares, Isabelle was always a sweet innocent little girl.

"She did, but when Mr. Smith found her doing so, he would strike her until her face swelled up." Cain said quietly, he winced a bit most likely because of a quick image of Mary's beat up face flashed in his head.

"That bastard!" Xavier said, he looked around and he noticed a raven land on the fence, it let out a crow that gave Xavier chills. I need to get back to the others, I've heard enough.

"I must leave now Father Stevens." Xavier said as he tapped the man on the shoulder.

"You are pained by what happened to the girl. May I ask what your profession is Mr. Williams?" Cain asked. Why the hell would he want to know that?

"Bounty hunter." He replied quickly, this conversation was eating at Xavier.

"Just as I thought. In my travels, I met a lot of your kind Most of them felt empowered by killing criminals. Some of them though, had that look that you have now. A look that means they feel trapped in Hell on Earth." Cain said, as he spoke now though, he defiantly sounded like a preacher.

"I do feel trapped, but I must remain a phantom and bounty hunting helps because of the nature of the job." Xavier said, why am I telling him this? I am trapped and must be a phantom, as a bounty hunter, very few people know my name. Shit, why did I tell this liar my name?

"That is what they said as well, just so you know you can't escape your past." He said. Watch me.

"I have to go." Xavier said quietly. There were so many questions that needed answering.

As he walked by the mansion again, he noticed the workers clearing out all of the damaged furniture. By the time Xavier got back to his horse, the sun was decently high in the sky and he worried that the others were concerned about his whereabouts.

As he rode, he passed a black cart that he assumed to belong to the insurance company. Xavier noticed a weird logo on though so he glanced back quickly and he saw the letter A and what appeared to be a horse shoe. He quickly looked back to the road. I've seen that before but there is no way it's them.

After a few minutes of torture from the grueling ride, Xavier finally made his way into New Haven. Just in time as well because the town appeared to be heading off to work as well. By the time he arrived at the inn, Jack was already outside. He looked severely nervous and he was shaking as he was tightening the straps on his horse's saddle.

"Hey Jack!" Xavier shouted. Jack fumbled around a bit and he looked towards the direction of the shout. When he saw Xavier he smiled.

"Jesus Christ, you rat bastard where the hell were you?" Jack said, he looked as though a huge weight had been lifted off of his chest. Xavier rode up next to Jack and he got off and hitched the horse.

"I just felt like going for a ride. What about you? You look as though you are about to go chase after a bounty." Xavier said. Jack smiled his devilish smile.

"Well, I was going out for a ride to." Jack said with a wink. Xavier looked at him in confusion.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Xavier asked. Jack let out a good long laugh and he got on his horse.

"Don't play stupid with me X, anyway I'll be back soon." He announced triumphantly as he set off out of town. Xavier rubbed his head and he headed inside to go plan out their new bounty. I really don't get Jack sometimes.

Cyrus looked down at his gold watch as he rode up the path. It was 3 in the afternoon, I shouldn't have gone back to Wendell's before checking out the Smith's first.

"What the-"Cyrus said to himself as he arrived at the location of the Smith mansion. The black rubble pile that was once a glorious manor hit him hard. It's happening everywhere. Cyrus noticed a wagon with an A and a horseshoe shape close to the mansion. Cyrus quickly rode over to it and he noticed a man sitting on top of it, he was wearing a black suite and he had his face buried in his hands.

"Excuse me?" Cyrus asked, the man quickly looked around and when he saw Cyrus, his face sunk into a frown.

"You shouldn't be here." The man said quietly. He was not much older than Cyrus. He was short and stocky with black hair and grey eyes. Cyrus back to the cart and he saw that it was the Alpha and Omega insurance company.

"I work for the government, and I'm investigating arson that has been going on." Cyrus said in a confident voice. I hope he buys it.

"Really? Then explain that." The man said with his face buried in his hands again. Cyrus looked around to see what this man was talking about it. He scanned the interior of the rubble and then he saw it.

"Holy shit!" he said and he hit the ground hard. What Cyrus was looking at was terrifying. In the far left hand side of the rubble three obscure silhouetted bodies were hanging. Hey resembled the crucifixion of Christ. What the hell happened?

Bullets whizzed by Xavier's head. Xavier and Jack were behind their body-carrying wagon and the bullets were coming from a layer of boxes about 8 yards away. Xavier could only taste dirt in his mouth as hot lead was firing near him. The other two were in prone behind Xavier's horse, who he would never be able to ride again.

Why must we fight? Why am I still here in the West? These thoughts pestered Xavier like flies in a time where he could be getting a one way ticket to a nice dirt nap. Xavier slowly peeked out of the side of the corner of the wagon so he could scout out where the two remaining foes were.

Out of the line of boxes, Xavier saw the tip of a brown hat that was swaying up and down. He was no more than 6 yards and a fire bottle would either kill or draw him out. Xavier quickly retook cover behind the wagon and the crunching of wood being hit by lead filled all of their ears.
"Allison, throw me one of the bottles inside the horses saddle pouch!" He shouted. Allison looked over and nodded, she reached into the small pouch and she pulled out a green bottle. She rolled it quickly across. Xavier picked it up, the bottle felt cool in his hand.

"Jack hand me your matches." Xavier shouted as he removed his handkerchief and he put it in the tip of the bottle. Jack handed over the small matchbook, Xavier pulled out a match and he peeked out the side of a carriage. He saw the tip of the hat and he struck the match and put lit the handkerchief. Xavier nodded to Jack and he stood up and threw the fire bottle at the box that had the hat.

The bottle seemed to fly in the air in slow motion. As it twirled in the air like an angel of death to whomever it landed on. During this time, the shootout had reached a stalemate. No one was shooting and at the moment of the bottles impact, a shrill scream filled the air. A man stood up to avoid being hit by the inferno. Instead of burning to death he got a bullet in his neck.

Xavier stood up immediately and he pointed his browning in the direction of where there other man was. As soon as he peaked up Xavier fired a quick shot that caused a red and pink mist to spew out of the man's head. They all made their way to the boxes to collect the bodies. I'm done, I can't do this much longer. I can go home and start a new life, right? Who am I kidding, they'd probably kill me.

Later on that night, after they got their money they went and got a few drinks. Winter was defiantly coming and they felt it on their walk back to the inn.

"X, I say we get you a new horse tomorrow." Kelly said with a smile. Xavier just looked at her and nodded. I'm tired of being a coward, I am not stuck here killing and I can leave. I will leave…who am I joking I do have to stay here. I can't let him find me, he won't find me here.

Soon, they all arrived at the, just as the sun had started to set. The warmth of the inn was refreshing and they all immediately headed up to their room. It was always like this after a bounty took place, probably because they all resorted to bounty hunting for one reason or another and they felt guilty. As soon as Xavier arrived in his room, he took off his coat and put it in his cabinet. He went to go lie down on his bed, but as soon as he got to it he saw a letter on it. The letter was stamped with a raven and below it had a small A and a horseshoe. Xavier knew in an instant who it was from.

Shit after 3 years, that bastard found me.