A/N Welcome readers, My name is Ash and what you are about to read is the first chapter of a story that came to me randomly after playing both Red Dead Redemption and Infamous. This is my first story here on Fictionpress, I have a few over on Fanfiction but I am only just taking to writing on here as well. I would like to hear your thoughts on what I have written here, seeing as it's an entirely original idea (at least for me anyway) instead of a story I planned to fit into the chronology of a game or TV series. I have never written a western story before, so I expect I may get some things wrong with terminology. But the advantage of that is it'll be easier to understand for people who only understand modern language I guess. Though I do try to fit it into the era I have written as a part of.
Also, I do not know if I shall continue this but I would definitely like to and so may very well do just that. But first I would like to hear your opinions.
So, if you wish to leave a review, letting me know if you like it or feel there is much improvement to be done, then please do so but even for simply reading I thank you.
Without further ado, here is A Western Power
It was 1890 when I finally returned to my home town. It was only a small town, at least compared to most. By itself it seemed rather large but if you looked at some of the towns on the other side of the country you would agree with the opposite side of that arguement. Not that it was an arguement exactly.
Even though it was my home for so long it hadn't felt like that in years, but I guess thats only natural after having spent so long trying to avoid this specific town. But eventually I guess I had to face it again, so why not now? Why not indeed! Truth be told I don't even know what I'm doing here. I don't have any particular need or reason to be, it just kind of happened. I was headed this way on my travels and I seemed to veer off my path without even intending to.
However, I digress. Before I tell you of my return let me tell you of my departure.
In 1877 I was 19 years old and I lived with my Mother. My Mother had been ill for the last couple of years, and the last few months only seemed to have her becoming worse. We lived in a small, one level house. It only consisted of four rooms: the living quarters, kitchen, washroom and a lone bedroom. My Mother slept in the bedroom whilst I slept on the actually quite large and comfortable lounger. We had a few friends but we weren't too popular, even for a town where everybody knew everybody. My one true friend was James Carson, we got on like a house on fire: a statement that whilst true is one I have never wished to utter since 1877 was close to becoming 1878. We'll get to why that is soon.
As for 1877 itself, it was a rather ordinary year. January we celebrated the new year, March we celebrated my Mother's birthday and in July we celebrated my own. In August our new Mayor was elected and a new era began. Many things happened, but compared to what had happened to me the year before they were all very tiny by comparison. In July 1876, on the exact day I was born 18 years earlier I discovered something strange: I could do something others could not. I was able to manipulate any source of fire around me, from a portable lamp to a large furnace. If I was near it I could control it. But it took a lot out of me. The first time I did it I passed out for 48 hours, and that was from making a candle light on fire by transferring the flame from a fireplace a few yards away.
Yet here I was, over a year later and now I could successfully light a fireplace from a single candle flame. My control had grown substantially and at first I loved it, but later I grew to fear it.
On the evening of August 27th I was down at the local public house where James, or Jay as I liked to call him, and I were currently on our fifth round of drinks. We were competing to see who could drink the most, the quickest. It wasn't our first competition and it wasn't the first time I was losing. For such a thin man Jay could sure put away his drinks. At whatever point I began to get somewhat flimsy on my feet he managed to stand as still as a log.
After reaching the end of his latest drink he slammed down the glass and let out a rather ambitious burp. I managed to finish my drink just seconds after but it obviously still wasn't quick enough to beat him. We were currently drinking a beer that was brewed in the brewery located only a hundred miles south of our town and as a result we were one of three towns that had that specific type of beer. The brewery didn't get a lot of business but what it got kept it going for many years. It was still going by the time I returned home at least.
We progressed onto whiskey eventually and our attitude only got more energetic. Until a few hours later where we both started to get drowsy due to the amount of alcohol in our systems. We finally agreed that Jay had won, again, and decided to part ways for the night. On my way home my body went through the usual routine of getting rid of the alcohol in my body. I don't know why exactly but since my 18th my body also retained less food and drink than it did before, as a result the alcohol level would easily be gone by morning. This should give you a good idea of how well Jay could hold his drink if he could beat me even with this seemingly advantageous ability on my side. On my way home I thought of how I had been out having fun whilst my Mother was likely at home suffering somewhat, and I felt guilty for leaving her. Normally I would have stayed in with her, but she practically coerced me into going and having fun for the first time in months. I'm sure if she could have physically done it she would have actually thrown me out of the house. I finally agreed but only after making sure she had everything she needed within arms reach, this at least made me feel a little better.
I got home not long after and finally I began to walk normally. I could still feel the effects of the beer and whiskey but they felt dramatically reduced, more so than normal. I checked up on my Mother and saw her lying peacefully, sound asleep. I decided to leave her be so I went and lay on the lounger that was already set up for me, thank you Mother for all the love and care you gave me for years, even with your illness bringing you down, and drifted off to sleep effortlessly.
It was from here that things got much worse. I woke up in the night to some intense and fierce light and a really high pitched shout. At first the sources of either of these were not identifiable to me, but soon I realised that the light came from the large pool of fire that now flooded the entire living room area and led off into the back of the house. I also realised the shout came from the Sheriff. He was a short and fat man but he was extremely brave, and stubborn. He gave me grief all the time when I was little but looking back in hind sight he was one hell of a Sheriff, and an even better man. He was shouting at me to get up and come with him and as soon as I saw the flames close to enveloping me in their grasp I made to do just that. But I stopped myself as I remembered my Mother in the bedroom, so instead I launched myself from the lounger and ran towards the bedroom. Seconds after pushing open the door I was horrified by the sight of my Mother lying peacefully in her bed just as she had been when I checked on her, but with flames all around her and engulfing her body. I stood there gawping in horror at this until the Sheriff grabbed me tightly and yanked me out of the house. I didn't even realise he had done that, my mind was still in that room with my Mother. The Sheriff told me hours later that he had already checked on her and he wasn't even sure if the flames would have actually been what killed her that night. Did that mean she had passed away while I was out drinking? Did she know it was going to happen and thus she sent me out? To save me from knowing and give me a chance to have fun instead? No matter the answer I still felt guilty as hell for having left her.
Over the next few days all people told me was "I'm sorry for your loss" or "It wasn't your fault". I didn't particularly care for their sympathy truth be told, even if they meant it. As for it being my fault, well I didn't know and I still don't. The body was too burnt for anyone, even the professional Doctor, to determine if she had died of her illness or the fire. So I may never know if I am the reason my Mother died that night. But I do know the fire was my fault and thus the possibility of me causing her deaths looms atop my shoulders, and there it shall stay until the day I die.
I know it was me that caused the fire because who, or what, else could cause fire to spontaneously appear like that? Okay, well technically I can't create fire but I am the only person who could control it well enough to burn a house down from a simple candle flame with no flammable liquid involved.
The funeral was arranged for just over a week later, almost the whole town gathered to say their goodbyes. My Mother may have been a quiet and solitary woman, even before she fell ill, and as I said before we weren't the most popular. But with that in mind a large amount of people actually came along to pay their respects. The weather was particularly wet and dreary, the perfect tone for a funeral. The rain poured upon us all without hesitation. I remember an old saying that stated if it rained at a funeral it meant the dearly departed were finally at peace and were happy. I like to think that is true, but I guess I'll only find out after my own death. Jay stood by me as my best friend whilst the town's lead parishioner read from the bible, "ashes to ashes..." You know how it goes.
After the funeral I was invited back to the public house for some drinks to celebrate her life, I politely declined and instead went back to Jay's house as that was where I was staying at the time. I went straight to bed, again a lounger in the living quarters, but I could not go to sleep. I laid awake for hours, until Jay and his father returned home and I pretended to be asleep. I stayed liked that for hours after until I knew what I had to do. I knew I couldn't stay there any more so I gathered up my items, what few I had left, including a locket given to me on my 18th by my Mother. It seemed my 18th held a lot more significance than I can openly admit. The locket was pure gold and had my great great Grandfather's initials on them: CM. However the latch was broken and so for years my Mother could not open it and no matter how hard I tried neither could I.
After I gathered what little I had left I snuck out of the house and just stood outside for a few minutes. Saying goodbye to the town wasn't easy, but I knew it was necessary. I took a deep breath of the air that I had taken granted for so long, picked a direction and made my way out of there.
For 13 years I avoided ever going back, until, like I previously stated, I found myself wandering in the very direction I had put my back to for so long.
My name is Calvin Mathers, the date is 4th July 1890. Today is my 30th Birthday and finally, I have returned home.