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A Dish Served Cold

Short story By: Tiresias
Westerns



"A man living on revenge can't live for long." Holt is a young man bent on avenging the death of his father. After years of searching, he has finally found "Sixgun" Wallace. Will revenge give him the peace he has been looking for, or will it only bring more pain?


Submitted:Jun 15, 2008    Reads: 222    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


The town of Hunter's Creek sat between two plateaus, one to the East and one to the North West. Between these and running straight through the town was the creek itself. Hunter's Creek had once been called the "Capital of Good Living", mostly for its brothels and gambling houses. However, as towns started to appear on the further edges of the frontier, many picked up and left. Now the town held only around fifty people, and many of the buildings had been left empty. The only place of "Good Living" left manned in town was the saloon, and it wasn't even run by a man. Ms. Daisy owned the place, and had done quite well for herself. Once a call girl in one of the local brothels, Daisy bought the saloon with the money she had saved once everyone left.

Four men sat in the corner table of the saloon, one dealing cards to all the others. The men picked up their cards and glanced at the hands dealt to them. As the initial betting began, they started to gossip.

"You guys heard bout that fellow who road into town yesterday? They say he's the outlaw John Wallace," one of the men said in a bit of a whisper.

"You mean Six Gun? He's wanted on multiple accounts of murder. Cold-blooded, he is." They all shuddered in communion.

"Now why on earth you s'pose he'd come round here?"

"I heard he's being chased."

"By the law?"

"Nah, someone else. Supposedly there's some young gun named Holt who's looking for revenge, and he's just as cold-blooded! Kills anybody that get's in his way."

"You thinking he'll come round here too, then?"

"Nah, frankly, I bet he's dead already. A man living for revenge can't live for long." Just then they heard the wood planks creak outside the door. They turned to see the saloon doors swing open to reveal a tall man wearing a Mexican poncho and a brown cowboy hat. The man walked over to the bar and sat at one of the stools. His face looked young, no older then twenty, but it carried plenty of scars. He spoke in a calm, stern voice.

"Water."

"Right away, cowboy." Ms. Daisy grabbed a glass, filled it with water and placed it in front of him.

"There y'are... water." The man's hand reached around under the poncho, when he pulled it back out he was grasping a leather pouch. He opened the pouch and took out two coins, and then he placed them on the bar. Upon seeing this, one of the other customers, a giant of a man, walked toward the cowboy.

"Hey, buddy, that's some money you're flaunting. I bet that bag is full of coins." He waited for a response, but all he got was a silence that hit him like a smack in the face. "Hey buddy, I'm talking to you!" As he gripped the cowboy's shoulder, he felt something press against his stomach. He looked down to see a revolver held by the cowboy, who was still nonchalantly sipping his drink. "Why, you…" The giant started to pull his gun out of his holster, but before his hand even reached it, the cowboy had pulled his trigger three times. The hulk dropped to the floor. The cowboy sighed, and pulled some more coins out of his pouch.

"Here's three for the mess, and some more for a room."

"Ya…yeah, sure," Ms. Daisy said, a bit flabbergasted. She began to count the coins. "The room's upstairs, cowboy. First door on your left." The man stood and walked to the stairs.

"Hey, wait," she called. "What's your name?"

"Holt," he said, as he disappeared up the stairs.

The next morning Holt sat in his room, cleaning his revolver on the table in front of him. It was a wonderful revolver, a Holt Cimarron 1851 Navy Revolver. With a seven and a half inch barrel, it weighed about two pounds and three quarters and carried a .36 caliber punch. It had been his father's gun. Holt had a deep respect for his father. His father had tried to raise him to become an honorable man, although his father hadn't exactly been on the right side of the law. In fact, he got himself into a good deal of trouble every now and then, and had gotten involved with some pretty shady characters. One of those characters was John Wallace. He and John had pulled a heist and were to split the money. Holt's father kept promising it would be the break they needed to get him on the right track. Six Gun, then only known as John Wallace, and Holt's father hid the money after the heist, and planned to return after things cooled down. Before that time, however, they got into a dispute about the split. Holt's father had agreed to a fifty-fifty split, but now Six Gun was claiming that he deserved more. Six Gun killed Holt's father when Holt was fourteen years old, and since that time he'd trained and tracked Six Gun across the frontier. He was so close now. He just knew Six Gun was here, in this very town.

Ms. Daisy walked into the room carrying a platter with some food on it. "I made ya breakfast," she said, "free of charge." She placed it on the table after he picked up his gun and holstered it.

"You wouldn't happen to know of a John Wallace, would you?"

"Why sure," she relied, "the folks been saying he came into town about two days ago."

"Would you know where I can find him?"

"Well, no. Not me, but I do know of a goon of his that gets his beard trimmed across the street."

"Thanks" he said, as he walked passed her through the door. She stared at the door for a bit, a dreamy look in her eyes, then shook her head and took a bite of the breakfast he never ate.

Holt leaned against the outside of the saloon, watching the barber store across the street. He waited a good while before a man finally walked into the store. He looked the type too, heavy, disheveled, and a beard that needed trimming. Once the man had walked inside, Holt followed after him. By the time he crossed the street and walked through the door, he saw that the barber had already started to give the goon a shave. The barber looked up, and Holt gave him a look that said "Get the hell out!" The barber ran to the back of the store.

"Hey, what's the problem, buddy?" Before the goon could turn around, Holt grabbed the razor and pressed it against the man's neck. "Hey, come on pal, what's the big deal?" the goon squealed.

"You work for Six Gun? Where's his hideout?"

"Come on pal, I don't know that." Holt slid the razor a bit to his left, and blood trickled from beneath it.

"Alright, alright! He's set up camp on the North West plateau, there's a trial that leads right to it."

"Thanks." Holt dropped the razor and began to walk out the door. The goon got to his feet and pulled out his gun.

"You son of a…" Holt dashed around and fired his revolver; the goon gave a shout as his gun hand was shot off.

"You don't know a thing about my father." Holt fired his gun one last time. The goon fell down, a look of horror on his face. Outside, Holt mounted his horse and rode to the plateau. It wasn't a long ride, and considering that there was only one trail, he knew it lead right to Six Gun. However, he took his time, his horse slowly trotting along. The walls of rock on each side of the trail were a perfect place for an ambush, and Holt had one hand ready on his revolver. Right on cue, a man holding a gun popped up from the rocks above him. Holt drew his weapon in a flash and fired. As the man's body fell down the rock face, more goons popped up. Holt jumped off his horse and dashed behind a boulder. Bullets scrapped the edges of the rock, zinging over his head. When he heard a break in the firing, he leapt up and took two shots, then went back down before he even heard the thud of their bodies. He waited to hear if there were more of them. When only silence greeted him he rose from behind the rock. Knowing he was near, he left his horse, tied round a nearby tree. He walked until the path came to a turn, as did the rock wall. As he turned the corner, he saw a rifle man lying up on the hill, at lest a hundred feet away. Holt lifted his gun to his eye, and took aim. The rifle man took the first shot, and it whizzed past Holt's cheek. He had been too careless, hadn't taken his time, like Holt did. Holt fired his revolver and the bullet flew true, striking the man in the shoulder. He heard the scream of pain and saw the man drop his rifle. Holt ran to him.

"Where's Six Gun?"

"He ain't here…" the rifleman said in a raspy, snake-like voice. "He said he's sick of you chasing him. He's ready to end this, to end you, boy!" The rifleman gave a few chuckles then began to cough. Once he controlled himself he continued. "He's waiting for you back at town. This is it. This is your chance, boy. You really think you can kill John Six Gun Wallace! Ain't nobody out there faster or better with a revolver than him!" The rifleman barked out some desperate laughs. "You gonna lose, boy! You gonna die!"

"Maybe, but not before you." Holt said as he brought his revolver to the man's forehead and pulled the trigger.

Back at town, every one had shut their windows. All the doors where locked and there was no one outside. The only man outside was standing in the middle of the dirt street. He wore a black shirt and gray pants. His long boots were made of some kind of reptile skin, and the spurs were large enough to get a buffalo moving. He wore a black hat with a red bandanna tied around it, and his eyes looked like that of an eagle.

From the dust that blew in the distance, a figure could be seen. As he walked closer, you could see him throw off his poncho into the wind. Holt stopped twenty feet from Six Gun, his hand twitching next to his holstered revolver.

"This is it, kid. You finally get your chance at me for killing your Papa."

"This is for more than just him; this is for all those others you've killed."

"Is it, now, or is that just what you tell yourself?"

"Enough!" Holt said, a bit uneasy. Seconds passed that seemed like hours. Both held their hands just hovering above their gun. Their tension could be felt by a crow perched upon the barber shop roof. It launched it's self into the air. The two men pulled their revolvers fast as lighting, both fired a shot, but they were so close that only one sound was heard.

A sigh escaped Six Gun's lips as he looked at Holt, who lay on his side, gun still pointing at Six Gun after having dodged to the ground. Six Gun fell forward, unsettling the dust as he hit the ground. Holt rose to his feet and walked to the body. He reached down and untied the red bandanna from Six Gun's hat, then tied it around his own. Ms. Daisy ran out to Holt. "You did it, Holt!"

"Ya, I did." He said, sounding a bit disappointed.

"Well, what will you do now?"

"Leave," he said, and walked toward his mount. Ms. Daisy considered stopping him, but she knew he wasn't the type to be swayed. With a sad look on her face, she walked back to her saloon.

It had been a few days since Holt had left the town, when another young gun walked through her saloon doors. She got out a glass and cleaned it, ready to take his order.

"Do you know of a man named Holt?" the young gun asked.

"Sure, he just left town a few days ago."

"Darn it, I missed him."

"What are you doing going around looking for that man, cowboy?"

"He killed my father."





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