It has been a year since the civil war ended, and life was quite rough for the aptly named "wild west". There was murder every day, and robbers carrying six-shooters stealing from banks every waking minute. However, there were some people who took these crimes too far, some people who were born without morals or a conscience.
Our story begins in a little town in Texas, or rather a small house on the flat Texas plains a few miles east of said town. The house is painted a glowing white, representing the people residing in it.
The house is bright inside, lit up by the sun shining through the windows. On the stonewalls in the living room area is a mirror and a two-place gun rack holding one rifle. On a table next to a well-worn rocker sits a star badge and a mason jar filled with bluebonnets.
Off to the right is the kitchen/dining area.
Lee Peck owns the house. He spent his life in it, making sure it stayed the same as it did since he was a little boy. Lee is the sheriff of the town a few miles east. He lives in his house with his wife, Maude, and his son, Gerald.
Today was a special day for the Peck family. That afternoon Lee removes his brown leather vest and lays it across the arm of the rocker before walking to the wooden dining table. He eagerly eyes Maude placing the beef stew on the table between the mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Gerald, runs through the front door to the table and slides into his chair. He looks at his mom with an angelic smile and folds his hands in a praying position.
Lee sits down in his chair at the head of the rectangle-shaped table. Maude kisses Lee on his forehead before she sits down in her chair to his left, facing away from the front door. Gerald's leg starts to shake in anticipation.
"All right, Gerald," said Lee, looking at him.
"Maude," as he looks at her.
"It is time we pray to the Lord for this wonderful meal."
With folded hands, they all lean in on the tabletop and close their eyes.
Lee clears his breath before saying the family's dinner prayer. "O Lord, we thank you for the gifts of your bounty, which we enjoy at this table."
"As you have provided for us in the past so may you sustain us throughout our lives."
Gerald has a happy expression on his face, with his mouth starting to drool, thinking about the wonderful food he's about to eat.
He starts to jitter and won't stop moving.
"While we enjoy your gifts, may we never forget the needy and those in want. Amen."
"Amen," said Maude
Before Gerald could finish the prayer, the family heard the sound of their front door getting kicked open. The three look at the door.
There they see a person standing in the doorway. His wide chest almost fills the space. He's wearing a black duster and cowboy boots with spurs. His Jesuit priest hat is pulled low on his forehead, almost completely covering his dark eyes.
The man stares at Lee for a few seconds before walking toward him. Jack notices the empty chair to the right of Lee and sits down. He leans across the table, grabs a corn on the cob, and takes a big bite out of it.
Maude, sitting perfectly still, looks at Lee with raised eyebrows and a scared expression. Lee nods at her, conveying that everything will be all right.
"Needs more salt. Helps the body grow," said the man stoically.
Lee clears his throat. "Who are you? What do you want?"
The man stares at Lee. "The name's Angel. Jack Angel. And you, sir, are just who I'm looking for."
"Because." Angel pulls out his revolver, points it toward Lee, and clicks it. "You're on my list."
Tiny beads of sweat trickle down Lee's forehead.
Nervously, Lee asks "Who's paying you to do this? Is it Carson? Bill Carson? Or...or is it..."
"There is no money involved. No profit. And certainly no bills."
"Then why's he on your list?" asks Maude, her voice shaky.
Lee shushes Maude worriedly. Angel frowns.
"God is angry. He says the people on earth are corrupt, greedy, and selfish. He told me to kill every single human on earth, starting with the sheriffs."
Lee is confused. "Sheriffs? Surely you've misunderstood God. Sheriffs are the Lord's army on earth. Making towns safe from the evildoers."
"Oh, I know," Angel says in a sarcastic tone.
"I don't think you do."
Lee looks down at the revolver pointed at him and back up to Angel's dark eyes.
"Wrong!" yells Angel. "Sheriffs are coyotes. They hunt down people and murder them. I can't stand people who kill others just trying to live out their lives."
"But those people are crooks and bandits. God knows the kind of bad things they have done. Besides, killing is the last resort. We'd rather bring a person to justice through the courts than a mortuary."
Angel grins. "Not in my experience. I've already hunted down four of these bastards, and they all never even put up a fight. Bunch of cowards is what they were. So far, I can say the same for you."
Maude can't take it anymore. She stands up, furious at Angel's implication that Lee is anything other than honorable. Lee motions for her to sit down, but she ignores him.
"Now just you listen here, "Sir"! This world may be flawed, but it's people like you who make it that way. My husband works hard to keep our friends, family, and residents of this town safe. Now put down that weapon of yours and just get the hell out of here! Your hypocritical and pessimistic soul doesn't belong in this house. Now if you excuse us, we were about to enjoy a nice family meal until you showed up."
Maude sits down. Lee shifts his eyes toward Angel. Angel's grin turns into a frown.
"Fine. I'll let you two eat together."
Angel shifts his revolver toward Maude and pulls the trigger once, hitting her in the forehead. Maude falls back and the chair tips over. Lee jumps up out of his seat.
"Maude!" Lee bellows at the top of his lungs.
Angel shoots Lee in the chest. Lee clutches the bullet wound and stumbles back. Angel fires his revolver again, hitting Lee in the back of the hand clutching his wound. Lee falls on the ground, arms spread out. Angel stands up and struts over to Lee. He squats down and stares at him.
With very little breath and energy left in him, Lee slowly tilts his head upward to get a better look at Angel. "You... You bastard... Couldn't leave a ... A poor family alone, could you? You didn't need... To shoot Maude."
"I know," replied Angel.
With the biggest and most wicked grin on his face, Angel shoots Lee in the head. Angel stands up, puts his revolver back in his holster, and walks toward the front door and into the blazing sunlight, trying to figure out the next sheriff to shoot. As he crosses the threshold he hears sniffling.
Angel stops in his tracks. He looks around the room until he hears the sound again, this time coming from the table. He walks over to it and flips it over. The food crashes to the wooden floor. Under the table was a small hatch on the floor. Angel squats down and opens it up. Under the hatch is Gerald crying up a storm. Gerald looks up at Angel, tears in his eyes, petrified. Angel smirks.
"Normally, I wouldn't kill a young man such as yourself, but since you've heard everything..."
Angel takes out his revolver, clicks it, and aims it right at Gerald's head, all the while grinning. Suddenly, the two heard a loud noise, this time a boot stomping on the house's wooden floorboard.
"I think you should leave that boy alone," said a mysterious voice.
Angel lets go of the trigger and turns his head toward the front door. There he sees a Man enter the scene, wearing a light brown coat, boots with spurs, and a cowboy hat with a few holes in it. He's got beard stubble and a scar underneath his right eye.
"I said Leave. Him. Alone."
Angel, recovering from the shock of seeing another person in the home, aims his gun at Nobody and fires it twice. The Man dodges both bullets. Angel tries to shoot at the Man again, only for his gun to make the *click* sounds of emptiness.
The Man aims his loaded revolver at Angel. Angel looks at him from his squatting position near Gerald.
"How long have you been standing there?" Said Angel, sounding slightly nervous.
The Man grunts in response.
Angel turns toward Gerald. The Man clicks his revolver.
"The boy, leave him alone."
Angel pulls Gerald out of the hole and uses him as a shield as he twists toward the Man.
Angel holds Gerald in front of him, smugly saying "Okay stranger, you got me. Now, are you going to finish me already, just like the monster you are? Shooting a defenseless man with a child?"
The Man glances at Gerald. Gerald is still petrified, shaking against Angel's chest. His expression is both shock and confusion. The Man looks back at Angel.
"Why would I do that?"
"For a duel. Whoever wins, gets to decide the boy's fate."
Gerald sheds a tear. Angel smirks.
"That sounds like a deal I can get behind. But how can I trust you? If I let the boy go, you could just shoot me dead right here."
"I'm not you."
Angel knits his brows in confusion. He searches The Man's face but doesn't recognize it. Angel pushes Gerald to the side and follows the Man out the door.
Outside the house, the Man and Angel walk into their positions. Angel is standing with his back turned against the house, while the Man is standing ten paces in front of him. Gerald goes outside and stands behind a barrel. He looks at the two duelers. The two stare at each other for a good few minutes.
"The hat," said the Man.
"What?" replied a confused Angel.
"That hat. Where did you get it? I don't believe a person such as you could be a man of God."
Angel frowns. "I got this hat from a phony priest a few miles down the road. He considered me a man of sin."
"Really," said the Man, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah. The fool. And for that, I put a few rounds into his chest. Took this hat as a souvenir."
Gerald's face contorts in fear. Tears slip down his face.
Impatient, Angel screams out "Let's get on with it! It's time to settle this like real men."
The Man nods his head.
Both men's faces squint. They look at each other's hands and holsters. The only thing that can be heard is the wind and a few birds.
The Man's right hand is resting on his right leg, while his left hand is relaxed and next to his gun. Angel's right arm is twitching above the handle of his gun.
The Man has a slight smirk on his face, while Angel has a slight scowl.
Both of them reach for their guns, pull them out of the holsters, and pull the trigger. Angel gets shot in the stomach, clutching the wound with his left hand, continuing to hold the gun in his right.
The Man, despite his confidence, is shot in the left side of his body. He drops his gun and falls to his knees, clutching his wound with both hands.
Angel, bent over, lifts his head to see that the Man is on the ground, defenseless. He sees this as his opportunity to end this - to kill both him and Gerald.
With a huge grin on his face, Angel turns toward the barrel where Gerald was huddle a few minutes ago. Only Gerald's not there anymore.
Angel limps toward the barrel with a scowl on his face.
"You're only making it worse for yourself! Get out here now and I'll end it for you quickly!"
Gerald's running beside the house, holding a big rifle in his right hand. In the field a few feet away, there are three rows of two crates each stacked on top of one other. Broken glass is scattered around the ground near the crates. Gerald only got up to the crates before tiring out from the heavy lifting and nervousness. Gerald turns around, trembling when he sees Angel getting closer and closer.
Angel's scowl turns into a smirk. "What's you got there, boy?"
Gerald lifts the rifle to his shoulder and, with unsteady hands, tries to focus the gun at Angel. Angel walks toward Gerald as he stands his ground.
"The path of the righteous man is
beset on all sides by the inequities
of the selfish and the tyranny of evil
men. And I will strike down upon thee
with great vengeance and furious anger
those who would attempt to poison and
destroy my brothers. And you will know
my name is the Lord when I..."
*BANG* Gerald shoots Angel in the right leg, bringing Angel to his knees. Angel grits his teeth and glares at Gerald, who's just standing a few feet away from Angel. Gerald is visibly shaking.
Angel, teeth gritting, lifts his revolver and points it at Gerald. His gun arm shaking.
Gerald's eyes shift to his right.
The Man walks up to the left of Angel and shoots him in the left arm. The sudden pain caused Angel to pull the trigger, only to graze the hair on Gerald's head. After the shot was fired, Angel twirls and falls on his back.
The Man slowly walks to Angel and falls back on his knees, glaring at the supposed Voice of God.
Angel, gasping for air, looks up at the Man, using the last bit of air in his lungs to ask him, "Who... Who are you?"
The Man reaches under his shirt collar and pulls out a locket. He opens the locket, revealing a picture of a man and a woman. He rips it off of his neck and tosses it onto Angel's body. Angel moves his head up and looks at the locket, slowly shifting his surprised gaze toward Nobody. Angel's eyes lock into place, and he stops breathing. His head falls back onto the ground. The Man smirks a satisfying smirk. Unfortunately, it was short-lived, as his arms began to shake, the Man couldn't muster the energy to stand up, falling on his stomach unconscious.
A few hours later, the Man wakes up on a bed. He looks around the room.
"Oh, you're finally awake." Said a voice.
The Man looks toward the voice; Gerald sitting in a chair.
"I fixed you up as best I could. You were hard to move."
The Man throws off his covers, revealing bandages around the left side of his body.
"It's so strange," said the Man.
"What is?" asked Gerald.
"I've lived my entire life in danger, and not once did I ever get hurt. I thought that I could make it through life unscathed. But now..."
The Man touches his bleeding red bandages, wincing from the pain.
The Man sighs. "Guess I'm not the invincible savior I thought I was."
The Man stares glumly at Gerald, feeling like there was not much to life anymore. Gerald looks away from the Man for a few seconds before returning his stare.
"What's your name?" asked Gerald
"You have to have a name. My father..."
Gerald lowers his head.
"...he said that everyone has to have a name. So I want to know. What's yours?"
The Man frowns. He sighs and looks at Gerald in the eyes.
"Nobody? That's it?"
"That's what I am. A nobody, just doing his job."
Gerald gets up out of his chair and walks over to Nobody.
"But you're not a nobody. You saved me. I wanted to return the favor and help you. I wish I could say the same for my..."
Gerald starts to sniffle. Nobody hugs him.
"You know kid, I never got to hear your name. What is it?"
"*Sniff* It's Gerald."
Nobody pats Gerald on the back.
"It's going to be fine, Gerald."
Gerald moves out of the embrace and grabs a rag on the nightstand to wipe his tears off.
"Hey, what was your business with that man anyway? You looked so angry when you killed him."
"Like you, I too lost someone I loved to that man."
Nobody tries to hold back tears.
"My big sister, Caroline. The prettiest, kindest girl in Austin. I've been hunting him down ever since."
Gerald's jaw drops.
"That man, Angel? He was everything bad about this world, a monster in human flesh. While killing him won't bring our loved ones back, at least their deaths have been avenged. "
"Now that your deed is done, what are you going to do now?"
Nobody sighs and looks down at the floor. He then looks back up at Gerald. Nobody gets out of bed, only to stumble while attempting to walk. He turns around and faces Gerald.
"I really don't know what I'm going to do. Since I was 15, not much older than you, I've been on a mission to track down the man who murdered my sister."
Nobody closes his eyes, shrugs his shoulders, and shakes his head.
"For the first time in my life, I'm stumped."
He walks toward Gerald and squats down.
"And what about you? I can't just leave you out here by yourself. Not in a world like this. Do you have family nearby? Is there anyone who can take care of you?"
"Another family? But... What about my...I want to stay here."
"You can't live by yourself, Gerald."
Gerald looks down, then back up at Nobody.
Gerald starts tearing up. "Okay. But I don't have any family."
Nobody takes a deep breath and winces. "Maybe I can stay a few days while I heal?"
"That would be okay," said a slightly optimistic Gerald.
"But Gerald, you know I can't stay here forever."
Nobody glances toward the window, looking at the fields in the distance.
"I'm not a farmer and I wouldn't know the first thing about working this land. And honestly, I'm not cut out for the farming life."
Gerald jumps out of his seat, sidesteps Nobody and runs out the bedroom door. Nobody has a confused look on his face. He stands up, walks over to the bed, and gingerly lies down. Gerald rushes back into the room, clutching something in his right hand.
Gerald runs up to Nobody. "I've got an idea." Gerald opens his hand to reveal a star-shaped badge. Nobody stares at it speechless.