The Gunslinger - Chapter Five

... anyone ever tell you people that patience was a virtue?... yeah, well... with my most sincere apologies to Christina and Pammy, I humbly submit Chapter 5...

The Blog Western - or - The Gunslinger

Chapter 1 by Dax Montana
Chapter 2 by Moogie
Chapter 3 by Mark
Chapter 4 by Kelley

... next up, Miss Lollygaggin' herself... with Velociman batting clean-up...

Chapter Five....

Emily stirred from her dream but didn't wake. Disturbed by the faint sound of spurs in the distance, she only nodded slightly. A few seconds later, and the steady, plodding footsteps of the old Undertaker were echoing off the dusty wooden porch. The rhythmic sounds of the boot heels broke when he stopped near the pool of dried blood on the porch. It was Big Bill Callahan's blood. His friend's blood; spilled by the scum of the Earth. Scum that Bill himself had bought and paid for. His old eyes began to tear as he clenched his fists.

"Never trust a half-breed cur, Bill", he mumbled to himself. "I told you that land was cheap enough to buy, but it was just easier for you to steal it, now wasn't it? Right? Right. Now, who's going to take care of your girl, Bill?"

His knock on the door was louder than expected. A respectful tap had been called for, but his anger had bubbled over. This man he was coming to get, now a corpse, was once his best friend, and the loud whack his hand delivered to the doorframe startled him. Respect for the dead, he thought, that's all I've got left.

"Miss Emm", he stuttered, flustered by his own slip in manners, "Miss Emily, I'm here for Bill, ma'am."

Flushed from her dream by the hard thump on the door, Emily jolted from the chair. Her hand instinctively reached out for the pistol by the bedside. She'd already cocked the piece, and was halfway across the room when she glanced back at Roger. He was dead. Just as she had expected - just as in her dream, he was gone. A wry hint of a smile crossed her lips as she stared for a moment at the orphan no one wanted. This house that Big Bill had built was quickly becoming a house of the dead. But with Roger gone, it was finally her house alone, Home of the Dead, or not. "Goodbye, Roger", she smiled as she turned, "I'd stay and chat, but someone's at the door".

At the last stair, she saw the outline of the Undertaker through the cream lattice of the curtain. The dusty air had caused the long-ago pristine, New Orleans lace to change. In the slanting sun, she could make out the battered shadow of the man, Ragged except for his black top hat. She could almost smell the musk that oozed from his body, the smell of an unclean man. Mixed with the smells of desolation surrounding her, the idea of seeing the grave-digging man turned her stomach. The charcoaled corpses of the animals outside mixed with his heavy scent to create a curtain of fumes. His lanky form was bent from the strain of living his years on the prairie; a life of marauding Indians, lawless bandits, and the incessant bleaching of bones, skin, and livelihood that the Sun in this place demanded. It was a hard price to pay for a life that promised so little, scratching in the dirt for a meager meal. Everything around here went crooked from the strain, she thought. This ranch, this prairie, and this pioneer lifestyle are brutal and vicious mistresses. Unforgiving. She slid the pistol into the curio at the foot of the landing, and called for the Undertaker to come inside.

"Good morning, Miss Emily," came a raspy voice from behind a long mustache. Mr. Whitaker removed his hat and shuffled his tattered boots as he spoke, bowing his head as if in church. "I am sorry for your loss, miss. Bill was a great friend to me, as you know, and I am truly, truly sorry. You have my most sincere condolences, ma'am."

Jack Whitaker finally raised his head enough to catch Emily's gaze. She was just as he had remembered her. In those days before she left for Virginia at 16, he had told Bill how beautiful she was. Bill had laughed in his face for saying so. Emily was meant for a Governor's Wife, not the companion of an over-educated mortician. But now that she had returned, Jack could see that she had only grown into a more incredible creature.

"I've got some more bad news, though, Miss Emily. Sheriff Tom killed himself last night after he left here. Evidently, he started hitting the bottle once he got to town. I know you two were close, and I felt I should be the first to tell you. I asked the Doc about it, and he just shook his head and spit". As his words entered the air, his eyes traced the line of her jaw down towards her neck and downward to the floor.

"Thank you, Mr. Whitaker," Emily smiled. She had seen what he had done, and she laughed inside. "I appreciate the news and your condolences, Sir, but I've got some bad news as well. My dear Roger died during the night, and he is resting upstairs in his bed. It is a sad, sad thing for me to report, but it looks like your cart will be full when you leave here."

Tom's eyes began the dance again, and caught hers for a split second - sapphire blue and soft - and then, slow like molasses, he traced her outline of her body down to dusty boards where she stood. At rock bottom and head downward, he spoke.

"Doc said that would probably be the case this morning when I talked to him. I'd hoped he'd be wrong. Everyone always liked Roger pretty well. That Stalking Wolf and his bunch is a dangerous, dangerous crew."

Emily placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head. Her eyes studied the wiry man for a long moment before she spoke. Her voice was measured and still, but full of honey.

"Yes, yes. Indeed, they are. But if you'll excuse me, I have some chores to get on with, Mr. Whitaker." Emily knew he was watching her as she turned and entered the kitchen. She could feel the weight of his brown eyes as they took their chances with her back turned.

"I'd be pleased if you would just start your work, sir. I understand that my Father has lots of unfinished business in town, and I must not let him down. He would have wanted it that way, don't you agree?"

Stopping at the table, she glanced over her shoulder without turning around. Whitaker's eyes quickly hit the floor as she caught him staring. How pathetic, she thought, He couldn't keep his eyes off of me even for a second. I've never seen a grown man blush before.

The Undertaker began the climb up the staircase hastily, ashamed of the thoughts he'd been having. Emily was a flower. Cultured and cared for, and he knew he should not have treated her that way. Each step of his boots seemed to land like a thunderclap on the wooden stairs serving to only further his embarrassment. He wanted her, and he knew Emily could tell. All women could sense a man wanting them.

Emily listened to the plod of Mr. Whitakers boots and heard him enter Bill's room. She turned slowly and walked towards the landing to check. Yes. She could see the Undertaker closing the door to begin his work. As quietly as she could, she slid off her shoes and discarded them at the foot of the stairs. In her stocking feet, she walked to picture above the fireplace. The combination to the small safe easily opened it, and she removed the contents: Deeds, Letters of Recommendations, Water Rights, Leases, Mortgages, Stock Certificates, Mineral Rights, Bank Balances, Liens, and finally, the contracts with The Gunslinger and Stalking Wolf. She took them all. Now, these documents belonged to her and her alone. She shuffled them neatly into a pile, folded them quickly and slid them into the leather binder on the sofa. The suitcase she had packed the night before was hidden on the back porch with a fresh pair of riding boots. She looked around at the large ranch house one more time before she lit the kerosene lamp on the mantle. When they find this tomorrow, she thought, they'll think the bandits hit us again while the Gunslinger was away.

A wisp of black smoke from the lamp swirled towards the ceiling beams lazily and she watched it. It was almost time for this dusty phase of her life to be over. Soon she would be back where she belonged. Virginia and the East. Her Father had shipped her off for an education. Well, she had gotten one. Those belles from Garrett's had told her exactly what she was when she arrived - the beautiful daughter of a filthy rich cattleman. The word that had struck her most at the time was "filthy". Cow money, blood money, stealing water, and railroading small timers could make you powerful, but you were still lower class rich. In the realm of real money, you were just Circus sideshows who scraped, begged, and brutalized. Being the well-heeled daughter of a broker, magnate, banker, or politician was the only way to be respected. Big Bill hadn't understood that, but Emily did. Her time back east had taught her a few things about true wealth, and what it meant to be civilized. One thing was for sure; even when you are dirty, filthy, stinking rich you don't have dirt under your fingernails and dried blood on your front porch. You have white shirts, sweet smelling hair, and marble floors. Those frilly tarts from Norfolk and Richmond would take notice of her shortly. But first, she had business to conduct.

The flaring lamp burst easily against the steps and immediately ignited the worn bearskin on the wall. Within seconds, the house was in flames and Emily was in the buckboard heading out into the prairie. She thought she might have heard the Undertaker scream at some point, but she couldn't be sure. It almost sounded as if he was yelling "Emily! Where are you?" If he had made it down the hellish staircase, he would be searching the inferno for Emily right now. Then again, perhaps it was the wind. It does make strange noises on the open range time and again.

***********

Heavy and spent, the drunken outlaw rolled off of the lifeless teenager. She'd been quite a sport for the past few weeks, but now the heat was beginning to work her over. The outlaw grinned as he remembered her moaning like a whore after the fourth bandit was finished with her. That first night when he and the boys "broke her in" had been incredible. In his mind, she loved being the pigbitch. Hell, all white women did. Deep down, they all wanted to be used like pieces of meat until their bodies shook with the dirty, uncontrollable orgasms that only total degradation could fuel. In the end, each pigbitch had been exactly the same. Fighting it, at first. Then succumbing to the depravity like a dog in heat. And finally, craving the rough, brutal sex. Sex that would be the only type of love she'd ever know before falling prey to the blade or the elements. Each white pigbitch had performed as long as they could. After all, stopping meant death. Death by beating, or bullet, or worse, and this chubby blonde had been a real whore. She must have had a lot to live for. He turned his head spat on the ground as he remembered what a quick learner she'd been for a 17 year old. This little gem would be hard to replace. Now, though, she was no fun at all. Dusty and dead, and no fun at all. His mind began to wander as he traced the outline of the circling vultures overhead. The outlaw needed a new plaything.

Stalking Wolf's eyes began to close as he lay beside the quiet corpse. The long night, the hard ride, and pitched battle had left him tired. He needed rest and his bullet wound was aching. Having finished his fun with the full bottle and the white girl, his body began to relax. With his body numbed, and his thirst satiated, he lit a cigarette. A perfect end to a nearly perfect day, he thought. It's not often one gets to invite the Angel of Death to his cold campfire. Tonight was going to be fun. He knew they were coming, but he knew it'd be a while. He smoked in silence and watched the smoke cloud into a stagnant pool over his head. "No air in here", he breathed to himself. "No life in here either. C'mon, boys, in the morning, we dance".

The cheap tequila continued it's effect, and his mind began to focus Bill Callahan's Emily and the letter he had gotten from her two months ago. The postmark was from back east in Virginia.

"How sweet she is, indeed", he said out loud. "A real piece of work, this white woman with a heart blacker than any outlaw's"

The idea brought a laugh from his empty stomach. "And a Finishing School education to boot. Heh. If I ain't careful, she'll make a pigbitch out of me"

He ground the dying butt between his calloused fingers and broke open the paper, allowing the flecks of tobacco to scatter onto the dust. With a wipe of his heel, the evidence he had been here was erased.

The paint horse he'd caught behind Callahan's barn flared its nostrils and sniffed as Stalking Wolf rose and walked towards it.

"What are you smelling, eh? You think your owner is coming for you, do you, boy?" The horse eyed the slowly moving figure through the dusk, and pointed his ears in the direction of the half-breed.

"No, my friend. No one is coming for you. You're just like everything else around here. I caught you, and you're mine. Besides, there ain't nothing you need back at that ranch anyway." Stalking Wolf removed the crumpled letters from the inside of his quilt vest, and dropped his eyes to the paper.

"Her whisperings caused that idiot Callahan to call in this Gunslinger. With that Death Angel here, I'd finally have an excuse for gutting old, dirty Bill. She's a smart, smart woman, that Emily. I've been doing his business for too long and only getting scraps. Here in these letters, friend, it appears she feels the same way too. Well, the time is up for doing what I'm told. Not for Big Bill, and rest assured, not for his blonde daughter. Time for that educated wench to be taught a thing or two from me."

Stalking Wolf ran his hands though the paint's mane and looked into its eyes. There was no fear there. He smiled into the dark eyes of the horse. "That's alright, friend. After all, we've just met. You'll know me a little better in a few days, and you'll not look at me like that."

One more slug from the bottle, and the liquor was gone. Stalking Wolf tucked the tattered letters back into his vest and moved around the horse towards the canyon wall. He sat in the dirt and rested his back against the sandy canyon wall. From here, he knew that no one could see him from the entrance. He'd be safe enough here until daybreak.

Sleep came quietly to him there as the stars came out. He had business to conduct with a white woman in the morning and he dreamt of that. As the outlaw and his plaything each found their rest, the buzzing of the green flies seemed to hum a lullaby through the canyon.... "when you dance with the Devil"...

by Eric on May 20, 2005 | Bullshit (15) | Crazy Fiction
» Feisty Repartee links with: Blog Western Chapter Five
» Thunder And Roses links with: Blog Western - Chapter Five
» .:.WitNit.:. links with: Gunslinger Chapter 5: Twist!
» Fistful of Fortnights links with: Meanwhile, On Planet Earth.
» The Boiling Point links with: Weekend Blog Updates
» Moogies World links with: Blog Western - Part V
» suburban blight links with: Blog Western Rides Again!
» Just Breathe links with: Home again
» Velociworld links with: I'VE BEEN REMISS...
» Feisty Repartee links with: Blog Western Chapter Six
» Moogies World links with: Chapter VI is UP!!!
» suburban blight links with: HOT DAMN!
» Velociworld links with: THE GUNSLINGER, CHAPTER 7
» Velociworld links with: THE GUNSLINGER, CHAPTER 7
» Feisty Repartee links with: Blog Western Chapter Seven
» Bad Bad Juju links with: THE GUNSLINGER
» Bad Bad Juju links with: THE GUNSLINGER
» Cadillac Tight links with: Weekend reading
Bullshit So Far

WOW.

Just dayum!

You rocked the house on this one!!

Woohoo!

Thanks, BlogPop!

I mean, just DAYUM.

; )

Bullshitted by Christina on May 20, 2005 07:03 PM

Whoa. That was a damn good chapter, Eric! Your little blogsister is verrrry proud of you;-)

Bullshitted by sadie on May 20, 2005 09:19 PM

Whooo Hooo! Ya kicked butt, honey!

And, thanks for giving me something to really sink my teeth into. So to speak. hehe

Bullshitted by Pammy on May 20, 2005 09:52 PM

Your Chapter was good, but who's Dax Montanta? Just Damn!

Bullshitted by Dax Montana on May 20, 2005 09:58 PM

.. thanks, ladies... and Dax?... sorry, killer... I'd had a libation or two... it's fixed now...

Bullshitted by Eric on May 20, 2005 10:01 PM

Dude, you rocked the house with that one. Awesome!

Bullshitted by zonker on May 20, 2005 10:08 PM

Geez, do I love a good plot twist. Black-hearted Emily. You're ruthless, Eric, ruthless.

And a damn fine writer.

Bullshitted by Mark Alexander on May 20, 2005 11:28 PM

Excellent, Eric! That is great! You have really set the stage for Pammy and V-man. Great chapter, m'man!

Bullshitted by Dash on May 21, 2005 11:40 AM

Great job, bro! That really kicked ass!

Bullshitted by That 1 Guy on May 21, 2005 12:27 PM

Hmm God Damn boy, this thing sure is heating up, this thing is slipprery than a texas rattlesnake and twice as mean...
I've put a link back from my blog to this chapter ;)

Bullshitted by Gopher on May 21, 2005 03:00 PM

She's just a bit jaded, Mark. I still have hope for her. Of course, that could be the romantic idealist in me. ;)

Bullshitted by Key on May 21, 2005 03:05 PM

nice job sir!!!

Bullshitted by mr. helpful on May 22, 2005 01:24 AM

Awesome job Eric! But I'd have to agree with Key on this one. Is Emily really a as black hearted as she appears? Or is she misunderstood? ;)

Bullshitted by Moogie on May 22, 2005 04:58 PM

I read it and then re-read it. You did fabulous!

Bullshitted by silk on May 23, 2005 12:49 PM

This keeps getting better and better....I wonder if any of the characters will be left unblemished enough to be considered the protagonist (the gunslinger, after all is said and done??) Who knows....and that makes it a real page turner...who knows? Great job Eric!

Bullshitted by Guy S on May 23, 2005 01:49 PM