Chapter 3: I Walk Through the Valley….
“John, poor John, you walk without reason. You kill without purpose. Yet you seem to find comfort in the darkest of slums and bask in the glory of rum and sweat.”
John opened his eyes to a blurry image of a dark figure. The blurriness went away as soon as he heard the click of a pistol’s hammer being cocked. He froze; John had never been in this situation before, well at least not like this. Usually when this happened to him it was because he didn’t pay a whore. Well this was a man, and was not a bartender, nor a lawmen. It was the local preacher.
“You seem confused John. Why?”
John answered back, “Because why is a fucking preacher holding a gun to my head?”
“Ah. You have been misled to think that all of us preachers are just peace loving, annoying maniacs standing in front of saloons preaching the lord’s word. You think the lawmen know of your outstanding warrants? They’re too busy with the whores of this town to even care about a murderous gunslinger on the loose in the community. That’s where I come in. Sometimes the lord asks of us preachers to do the work of men who cannot. I ask of you John, why her?”
John reached for his Colt on his night stand, but all he could find was the splintery, unfinished wood grain.
“John do you think that I would really have your gun laying around for you to grab? What do you think of me, an idiot?”
John smirked, “Yeah.”
John reached around his back and pulled out his Deringer. The pop from the pistol had alerted the preacher, but it was too late. The round had gone through his throat and he quickly lost aim. But that didn’t stop him from firing off a couple of rounds into the bed frame and the floor boards. The preacher fell to his knees, he signaled John to come near him. John pulled his Colt out of the preacher’s jacket and pressed it to his chest.
The preacher smiled and whispered softly, “We travel in packs.”
John shot one round through his chest which sent the preacher onto his back. He dressed quickly and grabbed his double barrel. He swung his door open and raised his gun, only to find that no one was outside his door. Slowly stepping out he could already tell he was not alone.
A soft voice spoke, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
John threw his eyes everywhere, searching for the source of the eerie voice.
“We travel in packs; we look out for each other. You have killed for the last time John. You will no longer die peacefully, but you will die like a dog.”
John looked over the railing into the saloon. He saw three men, standing in the middle of the saloon. Nobody else was around; it was silent, so silent that John could hear their steady breathing. And they could hear his rapid breathing. John had no choice, if he walked down the stairs they would gun him down. But if he jumped the railing he would have a chance. There was enough space for him to jump down behind the bar and have enough cover to not get blown to bits. John leapt over the railing and landed behind the bar. He cocked the hammers back on his double barrel and fired and the first guy he saw.
The shot had taken one of the preacher’s heads clean off and sent his body into a table. He took another shot and got another one in his knee. The mixture of rock salt and lead pellets ripped the preacher’s leg off. The preacher fell on his side, screaming. John hid behind the bar. He could hear the heavy thumping of feet. They stopped for a split second and then a large thud followed the pause. John peeked over to find that one of the preachers had flipped a table to use as cover. These tables were thin but sturdy. John figured that two 12 gauge shells should do the trick.
“John, you may kill all of us, but that will not stop people from coming for you. If you should have a change of heart, it will not matter. You killed her John. Her family as well, you will never be forgiven, not even by the lord for what you have done.
John rose from his cover. “I haven’t done shit!”
Two rapid and booming shots filled the saloon with a thunderous noise. Blood began to pour from behind the table. Yet the poor, legless bastard was still screaming from losing his leg. John hopped over the bar and walked over to screaming legless man.
“Why do you guys keep talking about a girl?” John asked.
“You don’t remember?!” The man asked in pain. “You killed a very important woman you son of a bitch!”
“A half-breed, she was a key!”
“I never killed a woman. You must have the wrong guy.”
“She disappeared last month….. We figured you killed her…”
“How? I can’t even remember last month!”
“You… You escorted her to another town.”
“Frankston…. We never heard from the mayor there. You killed her…”
The man had bled out. John still had not gotten a straight answer, but it was enough to lead him in a direction. John knew he couldn't remember the past couple of months but he figured it was due to constant drunkenness. Maybe it was something more.