Vengeance does not need a name
1896 American West
The sound boomed through vast empty land. Miles and miles of railroad under a hot baking California sun. It could weaken men and prevent travel but it had no effect on the steel beast, it fed on coal and breathed black smoke into the sky. It carried human passengers in its comfortable infrastructure, there was an express car at the back, that would normally carry the company pay roll. The passengers were workers of the Mining Company. They were in no danger but the company's pay roll had been stolen several times on its way.
Behind the express car, two cargo carts, the first empty, the second, carrying armed men, and a locked tight safe. The man who knew the combination was among them unarmed. He was a scholars man, he could recite any verse from the bible, and explain the complexities of heliocentrism, the earth moving in space. He could defend his god and physics but cannot defend a simple right hook. Half his teeth were lost to his honourable duty, he had never given away the combination without a good beating.
Four men were young, side armed with Remington New Army revolvers, and old Winchester rifle models that could support the same type of ammunition. Two ex- militants , older men, carried each a Colt Peace Maker, one held a short double barrel shotgun, the other, a Remington Rolling Block rifle.
Metallic cartridges are the future
it was on the mind of every gunmen. The age was changing. A revolver could be loaded and fully expended in less the two minutes, because metal cartridges existed, also known as bullets and guns continued to progress from there. No more pouches of gun powder, or ramming balls in, no percussion caps or flint locks. Muzzle loading should have been long dead but the civil was was only forty years ago and many had been seen then.
Shoot outs were getting quicker and deadlier, the air and plains of the American West were more prone to gunfire now then ever. The Miners payroll had been robbed several times this year. Normally some of the robbers rode the train as passengers. This time the safe was unreachable by passengers cart. But to assure its arrival , these six men were hired, they weren't law men and they couldn't be characterized as heroes, or villains. They were simply guns for hire.
Among the men, Josh Barston sat eagerly, payment was good, but his finger had a hunger for the trigger. He accepted work from everywhere that allowed him to kill men for the right cause. He stood at the carts slid open door, the safe was hidden, the other cart was locked with tougher chains. A decoy.
In the distance clouds of dust formed from the ground, charging horsemen came forward, they came with great stride to the carts direction, firing guns into the air, reinforcing it with shouting and hollering. This was it, Josh had thought, another moment in the great Barston legacy. He took his rifle and fired at them, the others followed in his action, but no one could hit. It seemed at first like the moving cart had been their intention, but they quickly arced away from them, laughing and shooting as they distanced away. The cart they rode on had been last, they should have seen the weakness in that. Within an arms grasp of him, was a young woman on horse back, a great speeding stallion was below her, she had come out of sight from behind the train. In her hands was dynamite and a lit fuse. The men aimed but they couldn't shoot, she was to young. That was it then. Chivalry in the face of annihilation. She tossed the dynamite into the train, a second instinct kicked into Josh, he shot the horse, he wished he had done it sooner. The women was thrown forward from her horse , her face continued across the ground, leaving blotches of red and shreds of pigment on the rough surface.
Josh hopped from the cart, he rolled and tumbled to safety.
Another man intended to survive the same way but rolled under the
train, crushed or separated to death, Josh couldn't be sure. The
horsemen were swaying towards the cart again. Josh stood and
fired at them. His aim with the rifle was good, he removed 4 men
from their horses, but the gang came ready with more then two
dozen men. Two men split from the chase and turned back, Josh
fired his revolver at them. An Indian rider on horse came from
behind and clubbed him in the head with a blunt weapon. Several
riders were behind him and they rode on to catch up to the trains
The Indian and Josh were alone. He was dazed, blood trickled over his vision. His feet stumbled but he kept upright, his shooting on the other hand no longer had accuracy. He turned around and fired his gun but his arm was weak and held downwards. The Indian man came down from his horse and swiped the gun from hand with his club. Josh pulled out his knife and swiped viciously, enthralled by a desire to survive and maim his enemy. He received a thunderous clap to the head from the club, he was on knees holding on to his shaking head. The Indian man then took a blade of his own and inserted it into Josh's upper belly,below the sternum. He then turned the blade and stroked down to the pelvis. What made Josh, now spilled out. Tears, angst, dreams and guts. His soul was not witnessed but it indeed left. Not as quickly, but it was sent off when the Indian man pulled trigger before his dismayed face.
Porky thick fingers grasped over the target and aim of unwanted hatred and disappointment. The later was great but only a sliver of it was shown, hatred reigned. Balding scalp upon round thick head slammed onto wooden desk. The spectacles hooked from ear to ear and held glass before the eyes cracked from the impact, they were expensive items. His head was lifted and slammed again, crushing them completely. They finally couldn't hold anymore and tumbled onto the desk, the abuse continued.
"Greedy dog, I gave you more then fair budget, and you hired cheap hands. To have the remainder of the payment fill your pockets. Now I'll fill your head with my words and fists." the porkish man shouted with wide mouth and a deep and threatening voice. He was CEO of the mining company, no explanation was needed for the cause and effect of miners continuously not receiving payment.
his thick fist could have easily been mistaken for a brick. It struck down like thunder, his head bounced on the desk. The boss then caught it and held grip with one hand.
There was a telephone on the desk, it only connected with one other phone, as was common. It ran a wire from here, the Camp Security Office to his main office on the other side of this town. The wire gave him problems all the time, and cost him repairs. it was barely reliable and more costly then its worth would ever be. He took it into his free hand and clobbered the potato headed bastard as many times as permitted before not enough of the device remained to abuse him with.
He pulled him up and threw him against the wall. The victim
calmly pulled a handkerchief from his front pocket and wiped all
the blood from his head off.
" I'm sorry boss, it won't happen again."
" Alright then, I expect my words will now be properly headed. This time , Schaffer, Pinkerton Agents will be employed, doubled the ordinary order. I want a dozen armed and ready before the next transfer. You will make damn sure the bill is paid for. If the Payroll does not arrive at destination, I expect to see you hung or fled. That ragged miscreant group you call a family will be evicted as well as have their possessions seized by the company."
Once again the train travelled through the same route, with the security measures in place. Now the back container holding 14 passengers, all Pinkerton Agents. Armed to the teeth with the most modern steel. Schofield 45. S&W Revolvers, and Colt New Service Double Action Revolvers. As well, there were Winchester rifle assortments, Evans Repeaters, Springfield bolt rifles, and double barrel shotguns. They felt confident in their work. This train could not be overtaken, that was their mind set.
There was the sound of the horn several times and a loud blast, then the train came to a screeching halt.
They weren't prepared for the train not moving during attack, the men were immediately unnerved. They opened the cart door and surveyed the surrounding area. There didn't seem to be any danger. Checking up ahead, the bridge and rails to take the train across the small river were blown. The train came to a safe stop, they remained vigilant, dividing themselves to guard the inside and outside of the cart.
In the distance loping hills and rock formations surrounded the land. Horsemen were watching, curious to the development.
Now introducing the Randal Bonner Gang
$500 for each brother
$200 for Zeke
$100 for each bandit
dead or alive
Wanted for Train Robbery
Randal Bonner himself, a quiet man with intelligent mind and sparse mercy.
Arnold Bonner, His younger tempered brother who gives out orders and stays by his side
Zeke North, Georgian born and aged career killer, is now the protective bodyguard of Randal and his brother. Pays a wealthy amount.
Namrerah- Just called Nam, Apachi warrior and hunter. He's left in charge by Randal to command another group
Earl Henry - Young, ambitious and prone to anger. Hes a fast shooter and eager to pull the trigger. He's left in charge of what Randal considers the runts, to back them up.
Rocco Rodriguez - Sniper and watchmen
They all carried the same brand of Smith and Wesson no.3, and models of Winchester rifles
With exception, Randal carried an imported England gun, hand crafted and auto cocking- the hammer pulls itself. Its grip is ivory, the iron is patterned.
Rocco carried a Sharps sniper rifle
Randal could see from his position the bridge was blown. He was visibly upset but didn't say anything.
Arnold on top his own horse said, " Some other bastard has come to rob our train! Lets get down there and tear em up!"
the boys behind him hollered and cheered in anticipation.
Randal didn't say anything, he just stared off. Arnold was eagerly pestering him, " Brother, lets ride. Come along."
" Go on," Randal said.
The men took off downhill towards the halted train. Randal remained on top the hill for a few moments, Zeke stayed by his side. Randal nodded his head to Zeke, he cupped his hands over his mouth, he was whistling bird calls, taught to him by the native Nam. Whistles came back. Nam was ready. Zeke whistled in another direction for a few minutes, nothing came back.
" Earl's not answering and someones blown the bridge..." Randal declared in a monotone voice.
They took off at full pace to join the other men.
The Pinkertons gathered at one said as they witnessed the dozen and more men coming. Men were divided in and out of the cart and a rifle man was on top. Before charging in Randal had pointed to a high surface and Rocco went off to make it a sniper point. He had already plucked the top rifle man and was scaring the men into the safety of the cart. The men on horse were charging in their direction. At about maybe twenty feet away Randal and his men swooped right, shooting a hail of bullets. They continued this action, and at a far distance on the other side of the cart, unknowingly came Nam and his group, the agents had no idea.
7 riders, but the meanest of the group, coming in from the unguarded side to take their lives up close and personal. They favoured shot guns, hunting rifles, large caliber revolvers, and of course knives and blunt weapons.
Nam was charging in front, calling out in war cries, with his usual confidence, mindset to kill all that could breathe within the zone. They battled with the goal of extermination not robbery, because Randal told them to, and they were successful in every robbery so far because of it.
Suddenly there was a man's wail in the back. Nam turned his neck and the others behind him did as well. The seventh horse was without rider. An eighth horse was on trail with a large brooding man of white skin and thick facial hair. He was tall and muscled , and his steed was fast and full of stamina. Together they swayed left and right like a wave behind his group. The two back riders fell quickly from shotgun blast, his accuracy with the double barrel, astounding. Nam continued his haste, the three behind turned to fire back, the horses slowed down. The man swooped left and right and took aim at the remaining shotgun rider with his revolver. He seemed to clear away after killing him. The two men panicked and charged ahead to rejoin Nam. The man had only intended a quick circling while he loaded his double barrel. Him and his horse made great haste, and he fired his revolver in their direction. Missing but causing fear, when he came within the right distance he shot them off their horse's with the shot gun.
Nam turned and fired with his own revolver but could not hit the horse that would not run in a straight line. When his gun was empty the pursuer caught up, with titan like strength he grabbed hold of Nam's back collar and lifted him from the horse. Nam was held airborne above the ground for a moment, he witnessed the floor passing by below like a low flying bird. Then he was dropped into it and crashed hard, rolling and tumbling through dust and dry branches. The man and his horse came around. Nam whimpered and asked for mercy, the man commanded his horse closer. Nam came to realize that the horse would step on him.
Horses naturally stepped over living things, not on them. It takes strict discipline, and a hardened rider to train a horse, to step on a man while he's down. Nam screamed when the horse walked over his rib. The horse and man now faced away from Nam, as he laid hurt on the ground. No fire arms to shoot and fearful to fight back.
The mans voice loomed over into his ears, dark and monotone.
" Was told that a red skin disemboweled one of the young men. The man that I was asking for. Your the only redskin in the group"
There was on odd pause, leaving the man to bathe in the moment of his knowing fate.
" This horse is known very well in southern parts. It is seen and recognized, it is called by several names, some being the Finisher, the Executioner, but most fitting, the Reapers Stead."
He turned the horse around, while doing so his spurs jerked deep into its side. The horse raised its two front hoofs and hollered in pain, an action done many times before. Its front hooves came down and landed directly on Nam's skull.
Randal's group was now stalemating with the Pinkertons. Metal cartridge bullets flying back and forth. Men dropping on both sides, and the living continued shooting. The dying sounds haunting over the passengers at the front of the train. To them it sounded like all hell was loose behind them. Both sides had many men to lose. Among passengers, were bandits, wolves among sheep, who followed with the change of plans. When the gunfire became louder, these men revealed their own guns. They took cash and jewels from every man on the passenger car, they paid no mind to the women. Then they ran out to aid their gang in the small gun war.
Once again the plan was thrown off, Nam's group didn't arrive to over take them. But there was always counter measures, Rocco was their guardian angel, he would see them through which ever surprise awaited to ambush them. Randal and Zeke watched the fight from a close distance, his brother Arnold leading the charge with eager shouts, his guns spitting more bullets then anyone. The men around him were boasted in rage and confidence, shooting and killing as easy as breathing was. But the Pinkertons had talent, goddamn talent and relentlessness. Every time a Pinkerton man dropped he was still shooting and he could take a man out before his last breathe. Randal needed the rest of his gang to come in. That or dynamite and blow everything to the kingdom above. They could lose the money like that though.
A stranger on a stallion came dashing away from the rear of the train. He surveyed the fire fight from his distance then turned the horse around and steered closer and emptied his six shot revolver across the plains, several men were hit but none killed. A sniper shot came but missed, it scared the horse and it kicked its hooves up. The stranger had to hold tight to the horse to prevent from falling. Three men took it as a moment to attack they charged forward shooting. The man still holding his horse managed his shotgun into hand and unloaded two shells into the on comers. Two fell. His horse landed and the third man shot into the strangers shoulder with a revolver. The stranger dropped, the bandit approached to finish it and was met with three bullets when the stranger stepped out from behind the horses cover. The wound had been just a graze on his left shoulder.
He climbed the horse and made haste away from the train, all the while the sniper was taking shots at him but missing. The horse still travelling in its evasive way. Randal watching realized the stranger was heading up the path that went to the snipers point. He ordered his brother Arnold to take one man with him and pursue the stranger. Randal couldn't spare more then that, his men were dying. When Arnold left, Him and Zeke charged forward into the front of the battle, intending to remove all obstacles and take the safe.
The sniper fired rounds at the train but then picked himself off the ground and prepared his revolver instead. He took off towards the trail, there was only one way up and down the hill because of rocks and the pursuing stranger would be unavoidable. He was running on foot because he believed he would have advantage, shooting the rider or the horse from low ground. The horse came, he panicked and fired, it swerved away, there was no rider on top. Then from the dry bushes ahead the stranger ran out with shotgun in hand. He fired a round into Roccos belly, he dropped on his back, the stranger came to his shoulder and fired the second round in his head.
He loaded the gun and hopped onto the horse. Mid centre of the trail Arnold and the bandit were ahead. The trail was narrow from rock walls, they readied their pistols and charged forward firing. He had his in hand but he did not fire nor charge forward like a fool. When they were half way through shooting from their ridiculous distance, he picked up speed and aimed. The stranger fired three shots and the bandit dropped from his horse. A bullet from Arnold hit the strangers left arm, this time going in. He fired his remaining shots, Arnold was hit twice and the horse received the third shot. It flung him off then the horse fled passed the stranger. The two shots hit his hip and leg. The stranger came down from the horse, shotgun in hand, Arnold scorned him, " Do you know what my brother will do if you kill me. You better reconsider!"
The stranger executed him, a shell through the skull. Then he spoke, saying to himself " He will intend to do the same as I am doing for my brother."
The stranger on horse made his way down the path, the bandit on the floor was alive he stared at the stranger ahead silently. The bandits mind rendered two images, the man passing and shooting him, or the man simply passing. The stranger and horse moved without looking at him, he carried through as if he did not exist. The bandit couldn't get an answer from that, his last moments were spent in that mixture of hope and despair, not getting any signals to his fate. When the stranger passed, after a step and a half the shot gun was slyly swung downwards and blown into his skull.
Randal and Zeke had swooped in front the open cart several times, firing into the agents, sending them into a cowardly retreat. The agents had closed the sliding door on the attacking side. Less then ten remained. Two climbed on top , they fired with repeating rifles, the rest made made a defensive group at the rear of the cart. They sprayed bandits that tried to get by around it. Randal and Zeke stayed on the other side, he was smart to know he wouldn't get through the firing line. They had to handle the riflemen on top, then he would consider his strategic chances. An unknowing factor came to his aid on the other side.
At the rear, horse and men were dropping at the ambushed firing of the agents. But from their facing direction an injured man was travelling towards them on foot, slowly, dead like almost. They could see him but paid no mind, they were to attentive to prevent the bandit from breaching their position. He came close enough to speak, his head was gashed on the top right, he had a make-shaft bandage around it from someones shirt. It was stained dark red, as was his dried and stuck brown hair. He was in a black suit that was ripped torn and dusty. Each hip had a holster, within were S&W revolvers.
He announced to them.
" Your vermin and you hired a white bear like bounty hunter to come after me. He shot us all down before we knew up from down. drop me from my horse when I had no awareness of the attack, but I'm alive. You and him are all going to pay."
They didn't understand him but they knew what a threat was and prepared to fire. They weren't fast enough. He drew both rifles and emptied twelve shots among the group. They all fell. He approached them. He flipped down his top break revolver, exposing the barrel to easily place in six bullets. He slowly walked around the fallen, like it was a stroll in a park. Firing on them one at a time, and finishing transcendence to death.
One with enough energy to speak cursed at him, " Men like me are born cursed."
Surviving bandits finally came through, they hopped into the cart and searched it.
" It's not here!." one shouted.
" Its in the decoy one this time," that man called out and ran over to the cart. He blasted the thick lock chains with shotgun. He slid the door open and was met by shotgun blast. More agents were in the cart. A new fire fight began.
Earl Henry was the men who drew and slayed the group. He abandoned the fight and walked over to the other side of the last cart. Still injured and weak, but it didn't effect his soul. He was a fighting man no matter what.
His left arm was hurting more now then previously, when he fell he landed right on it. As well his head landed on a small rock. The pain before was minor while walking from his attacked position to here, he had kept his left hand in his coat pocket as a sort of sling. After firing like that (as well as pulling gun hammer with thumb) the pain was now worse then before. He had to keep his left hand clenched and raised at chest level to minimize the pain. He walked into Randal's view in this strange posture.
" Your alive Earl," Randal declared from his horse.
Earl shouted to them, " There's more agents in the decoy box!"
the door now slid on the other side, shots rang out. Zeke fell from his house, Randal fired back, then he circled around Zeke. He seemed to be alive. Earl emptied 12 rounds in seconds. He could shoot as fast as no one had seen before. He gave Randal cover to circle and throw a fire bomb into the cart. They slid the door close to cover from it. The liqueur bottle erupted spreading flame and shard across the door, but no harm came from it.
" They'll lose on the other side," Earl said out loud.
Earl walked over to Zeke while Randal tied dynamite to his horse and sent the poor unknowing beast towards the decoy box with a hard slap on its rear. The explosion went off. It wasn't big, Randal intended for it to damage the door, to make the lock stuck. As the sliding doors of haul carts were standard to drop the lock down in place every time the door closed. He then ran over to Zeke and Earl.
Zeke was laying on his front, he was not distraught. He pushed himself from the ground with his arms, but his legs didn't move. He held up with one hand, then used the other to take his gun from his holster and aimed towards the hill's path. Randal and Earl looked, the stranger was coming down on horseback.
" It's that guy..." Earl mashed his teeth.
Randal stood between Zeke, still on ground, and Earl.
They kept their attention on the stranger. He stopped 20 feet away from them.
Randal shouted, " My brother was sent after you. Where is he?"
The stranger came down from horse, spoke with no emotion, his voice was low and baritone. " I am here. With his rifle slung on my back. What does that conclude to you."
Randal didn't show anger. He saved all his reactions inside. Except one,
" I intend to-"
" You intend to," The stranger interrupted, " Do for your brother as I have done for mine."
Randal shook his head, " Many die in the pursuit of greed, I suppose my brother is another one then. Another victim of my greed. As was yours. It can't be settled with words"
the stranger said nothing. Enough had been done already. This is what remained.
He took a few steps forward, his right coat tail was being held by his left arm wrenched around his back. His right hand was ready to draw the holstered weapon centimetres below its grasp.
" There's three of us, and one of you." Earl announced.
" Doesn't seem that way." The stranger said.
Zeke was still on the floor, he was holding his upper side up with one arm and aiming his handgun with his other arm. The stranger could see the problem already. The other two, maybe they didn't figure it yet.
" Get up," Randal told Zeke.
" I cannot. I have tried since the beginning but there is no response from my legs. Just odd fainted pain. I can continue like this."
Earl was tense, he had a burning look across his face. His target, his pry, fifteen feet away, preparing to draw. The Stranger, the snake, himself, the hawk. Earl clamped his right coat tail between his teeth, like an animal. Keeping his hip clear, between gun and hand.
Randal must have had similar emotions, he was a statue at this moment, his coat was off, nothing was between his hand and his holster. Zeke was still as he was, gun aimed out, not tucked in holster as it traditionally should be, the stranger had no complaints about this, it seemed fair this time.
" You draw first," Randal told.
There was an another explosion from the other side, this one bigger. Dynamite had been used to bomb out the agents from the cart. There was much gun fire and it echoed to them. It killed the silence, the moment was more tense. The stranger, stood as stone just like Randal. The gun fire continued and echoed for maybe two minutes before he finally drew.
Earl drew quicker then Randal, that's why the stranger aimed at him first. A second shot went to Randal, it struck his hand, his gun fired downward then dropped. Earls first two shots had missed anyways, the two that followed after missed because his body was dismayed from being struck in the chest. Despite the dangerous wound he did not fall. But he could not seem to aim either. His arms moved slow and stiffly. Before anyone's bullets left their barrels, Zeke had fired, his bullets were the first to strike. Two shots missed, one struck the strangers left leg.
The stranger fired two more, he aimed them at Earl, because he was still most threatening with his arm flung out in his direction, weakly holding the gun. The gun fired upwards and Earl dropped, bleeding on the floor. Randal picked up his revolver with his left hand, the gun was self cocking so it wouldn't be so difficult. Zeke was still shooting. The Stranger ducked quickly and fired his last two bullets. Zeke died from the bullet tearing through his wind pipe, the other shot missed. Randal fired and it hit the Strangers right side lower leg. He drew the rifle and fired at Randal's heart, one more shot came back at him. It hit the top right of his shoulder. The stranger fell on his back. Randal laid out about the ground with a whole on his heart, and a straight mouth but angered eyes.
Mostly exhaustion and relief had brought the stranger to the ground. he looked up at the blue sky, its beauty in sight helped relieve his mind of the pain. A sly smile came across his lips. Avenged!
Two agents survived until the end, both badly wounded. It was seconds after the duel that marshals from the nearest town arrived being told the train did not arrive at its next check point. This ruined his moment, he had to take up on his horse and leave, no rest for his wounds. The conductor may have seen him light the dynamite that blew the bridge, he was to wounded and couldn't take the chance to stick around. He rode off triumphantly.
He had no mind of bounty or justice. No care for the company or the agents. No previous conflict with the gang or awareness of the bounty. He simply had a younger brother that they were guilty of killing.