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Dark Falls: A dead man can't be punished

Short story By: The Coyote
Westerns



In the lawless region of Dark Falls an Imperial Police Division task force is on the trail of a dangerous posse with warrants for arrest.

(Space Western)


Submitted:Apr 21, 2013    Reads: 97    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Three vehicles are driving on a highway that cuts through a lonely desert landscape leaving trails of dust. The early morning binary sun heat soaks up the country side moisture leaving it desolate. In the lead vehicle, Federal Officer Richard a 58 year old man with 20 years as a Law Enforcement veteran is closing in on the location of a posse of train robbers. The seven of them robbed a train carrying jewels worth over 50,000 and killing five armed guards along with three civilians. He intends to execute ten arrest warrants without incident. Riding along with him are four other Federal Officers who intend on bringing justice to the posse. In the driver seat Richard was thinking about the times he traveled this far out into the out lands to execute an arrest warrant and the person that gave the reason for them to be coming out. The thought faded away as a small town came into view in the distance.

Leaning back in a chair in the Sheriff's Office a man flicked a match lit against his boot heel. Cupping the match and its flame with both hands he brought it up to his cigar hanging from the right side of his mouth. Sucking on the cigar caused the lit end to burn red as the thick smoke entered his mouth, travel down his throat and into his lungs. The man exhaled releasing a toxic cloud of secondhand smoke into the air over his desk. The smoke crept over the unfinished paper work, jail keys, hand cuffs, a bottle of whiskey, his gun and sheriff's badge. The smoke mixed in with the lingering sense of impending doom that filled the office. The man poured himself a glass of whiskey, shot it back and poured another. His mind was racing with unpleasant thoughts. Picking up his Sheriff's badge and smoking his cigar, he studied it closely. There was a time when he cared, but that was so long ago. The sound of vehicles pulling up to his office broke him away from his thinking. He could hear doors opening and closing and then the sound of foot steps on the stairs on the front deck. He sucked back on his cigar, placed the sheriff's badge on the desk, and picked up his gun. The people outside tried to open the door but it was locked. One of the people outside called out his name and for him to open the door. Sweat streamed down his face as he pulled back the hammer of his gun and pointed the barrel inside of his mouth.

Federal Officer Richard gave the order to kick open the front door to the Sheriff's Office, but then they heard a gun shot that came from inside. The front door was kicked open and all the Federal officer's entered finding the town Sheriff slumped down in his chair behind his desk. He was dead. The wall behind him was stained with blood and viscera from the back of his head. The Federal officers scouted the place for the Sheriff's deputies while Richard examined the dead sheriff's desk. The federal officers quickly returned informing Richard that the place was clear. Richard turned to his second in command and said, "You can't punish a dead man.". All of them got into their vehicles and drove off to the location where they would find the posse. They made their way up the treacherous mountain roads and came up to an abandon mining facility where there was vehicles parked at the bottom of the facility.

Richard stepped out of the vehicle as with the rest of the federal officers. They all gathered around him loading there guns and readying themselves. Richard looked upon the facility the hugged the mountain side. It wasn't closed off, but open with walk ways and cat walks that hung over the edge out in the open air.

"Okay, fellas," said Richard, "We had ten arrest warrants, but with the town Sheriff dead. We now only have nine. Call me a optimistic, but there isn't anywhere for them to go so they'll have to give up. I intend on us to arrest them and bring justice for what they have done. You can't punish dead men."

Richard walked over to his vehicle and reached inside through the driver side window. He picked up the speaker phone and spoke into it.

"Jeremy," he said, "this is Federal Officer Richard of the Imperial Police Division. I got arrest warrants for all seven of you and two for the Valley Town Sheriff Deputies. There isn't anywhere else for you to go. So just come out with your hands up.".

The federal officers looked over the mining facility for movement as the silence passed by with every second. Before Richard was gonna talk again, a door flung open on one of the tiers of the mining facility. The two Valley Town Deputy Sheriff's walked out of the open door with their hands up. All the federal officers had their guns sighted on the two deputies as they walked across maze of cat walks and down the stairs making their way to them. As the two deputies step foot off the last metal step onto the mountain dirt a gun shot rang out and soon after a second. Both deputies fell to the dirt dead. Richard ducked down behind the vehicle as with the rest of his federal officers. Richard swore to himself holding the speaker phone in hand looking around at the other officers and then to the two dead deputies. The second in command federal officer crawled to Richard and said "Both shots came somewhere behind the crates on the top left tier. I know for sure that there are three on the middle tier right underneath and possibly the three others just in the mine entrance. So what are we planning on doing? There's no way they are coming out. Not Jeremy and his posse."

"One Sheriff and two deputies dead," said Richard, "I know he won't."

"We're gonna have to go in there and get them. So what do you say Richard?"

"I know we're gonna have to go in there and get them, but I will try not to let it come to that. Some of them are just young guys and so if I just keep on talking maybe they will come out. I sent a lot of young men to their graves and I ain't gonna send more."

On the middle tier a man walked out of the mine entrance. He stopped near the railing holding his automatic rifle down by his side.

"Hey, Richard" he yelled, "all of you Imperial fucks are gonna die. Ain't no law man out there want to bring me in alive and that's the way it's gonna be!"

Richard spoke into the speaker phone, "Jeremy, there's no need for anymore of this. You got no where to go. Just put down your guns and come down from there!"

As Richard continued to talk he was cut off by gun fire coming down from the mine tiers. The bullets riddled the vehicles and the federal officers returned fire. One posse member tried to run across a cat walk, but was shot in the shoulder. He fell towards the catwalk railing, pointed his gun down towards the federal officers and before he could get off a shot he was hit in the chest twice. The force of the bullets impact sent him over the railing falling down the side of the mountain. Richard and his men advanced towards to the first flight mine stairs. They made their way up the maze of catwalks taking cover behind crates and returning fire. Half way up the first tier one of the federal officers tripped a wire. There was an explosion that sent wood, metal and mountain rock up in the air and away from the mountain along with the federal officer that tripped the wire. Three more of Jeremy's posse members were shot and killed. Richard and his federal officers stepped over the dead bodies as they shot their way onto the top tier where Jeremy and his last two posse members were holding up. Jeremy picked up a rocket launcher and aimed it at the location where Richard was hiding and pressed the trigger. The rocket blasted across the top tier through the gun fire and hit a bunch of crates. The explosion knocked Richard off his feet and sent him to the catwalk metal floor in pain. Jeremy and the last of his posse continued to blast away at the federal officers with their automatic rifles and sub-machine guns. The second in command federal officer waited for the right moment and leaned out from behind his cover, took aim at the closest posse member and fired, killing him. Richard lifted himself up off the metal catwalk and leaned up against the crate he was hiding behind to catch his breath. There was just two left.

As Jeremy was reloading his last magazine into his rifle his last posse member was wounded in the leg. The posse member dropped his gun, stood up holding his out his hands shouting surrender. Jeremy seen this and wasn't pleased. In a rage he turned his rifle on his last man and fired full auto, killing the man. The federal officers closed in on Jeremy shooting and ducking behind cover and as they were advancing on him.

Richard saw what Jeremy did and yelled, "Jeremy, you have no one left. Just drop your weapon and come out with your hands where we can see them. Your at the end of the road. You can't run from the law forever. I know your tired of running. So come on out!"

Jeremy threw down his rifle and stepped out in the open. Richard yelled for a cease fire. Jeremy held his pistol to his head.

"Jeremy," Richard yelled, "drop the gun and get face down with your hands out!"

Richard knew Jeremy was out of ammo and could see that.

"Ain't no law man never want to take me alive," Jeremy yelled, "You ain't no different. Your just like the rest of them Imperial fucking pigs. So fucking shoot me dead."

"Dammit, Jeremy. I ain't gonna shoot you dead. Now get face down with your hands out!"

"Bullshit, I was there when you shot Clive dead in the street in front of everyone after he surrendered. He fucking surrendered and you shot him dead!"

"I ain't gonna let more people die today. Too many died today!"

Jeremy had a smile. He threw down his pistol and raised his hands up behind his head and laughed a bit.

The second in command federal officer and the others rushed Jeremy. Just as they grabbed on to him. Jeremy was holding a detonator and pressed the trigger. Explosives were wired to the load baring pillars of all the tiers. The tiers began to collapse to one side as everybody and including Jeremy grabbed onto something to keep them from falling off the mountain. One of the federal officers lost his grip and slid down and off the tier out into the open air screaming as he fell to his death. Jeremy started climbing upwards to Richard pass the other federal officers hanging on for dear life.

While Jeremy was climbing up he yelled, "Richard, I am coming for you. I am coming for you!"

Richard saw that the rest of the federal officers were climbing their way to safety, but he was exhausted and knew he won't be able to climb down and Jeremy was climbing up to where he was so fast. Jeremy pulled out a knife as he finally reached Richard. The both of them struggled with each other. One was fighting to stay alive and the other was fighting to kill. Finally Richard was stabbed in the gut and he let out a cry of pain as Jeremy stared into his eyes. Jeremy twisted the knife and pushed Richard off the tier. Jeremy watched Richard fall to his death in satisfaction and then looked out to the landscape with a feeling of joy as the wind blew against his exposed skin. After his few seconds of fulfillment he heard gun shots ring out and his body was riddled with bullets. Letting go of what he was holding onto he swan dived off the tier out into the open air falling away from the mountain.

The second in command federal officer lowered his smoking rifle and stood silent trying to make sense of what just happened here.





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