Till Dust Do Us Part

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Westerns  |  House: Booksie Classic

A quick tale of three folk who are forgotten by the dust.

Till Dust Do Us Part 

 

By: Ian Wolf Joost

 

Sentience is a strange thing, a very strange thing indeed. To know, to feel, to understand. Its all so very strange. 

 

Sentience my dear madams and sirs is what separates us from beasts and animals. But the strangest thing about sentience is that those who possess it are generally quite frail beings. Ones who can quite easily be broken both figuratively and physically, both mentaly and emotionally… just one thing may poison their mind and cause them to go insane. But there are also others, and those others seem to stick together, who can weather the storm of life, and those of whom who can, are gifted with nerves of steel and emotions that are impenetrable, they are not swayed by a thing… 



 

In this little story, those folks are called the S.T.O.I.C.S ``Silent, Tough, Odd, Immoral Sentients.” They are the folks who can live out in the wilderness and sleep on the cold hard ground and still walk in the morning. Ones who just after a fire-fight, loot the bodies to their bare skin and act as if their best friend wasn't just killed. These folk are resilient, and our story starts in a dusty town called Banterville in the middle of the dusty plains of the Paniak desert with a band of three.




 

The three figures doggedly limped up to the bar, and from inside, you could just only barely hear their trudges as they got to the door, and pushed it open.

 

When the door swung open, the strong sound of wind blowing hard bursted into the tavern and sent thousands of particles of dust ricocheting all over the wooden beer-house.

 

One of the figures closed the door hard behind them, and the “din of the win” stopped instantly, and the light restored the visibility. The three stood there coated in red dust and dressed in long leather and cloth coats, rag cloaks, heavy padded pants and huge steel boots. The leader of them, the only one with a rifle slung over his shoulder, had on a white rubber gas-mask with huge black glass eye holes, and from the nozzle hanging from front of the rubber mask, a long respirator tube went into a canvas bag slung over his shoulder as well. He had a very ancient dark blue military cap on, called a kepi, and as well as an ancient blue greatcoat. And on his back underneath his faded and weather stained blue cape, was a roped gunny sack as an improvised backpack. The other two had identical bulky cloth masks with large goggles over their eyes, one had a chewed up scout cap, the other an old gor-blimey. Nobody could see any of their eyes. The leader brought his hands up and slapped his chest, a coat of red dust fell off him.

 

By this time, everyone in the tavern was looking at the three with blank expressions, still as stones. But the three paid no heed to the tavern-goers and trudged up to the bar, the one on the right was limping from their left leg, which was also visibly soaked in blood, with the red dust encrusting the clothes. 

 

“Three shots of yer strongest shite” the lead one muttered through his gas mask, taking out a crumpled banknote and placing it on the table.

 

 He then began unscrewing his mask’s hose and then took the nozzle connecting the rubber to the hose off, and sat on a stool, and the two others followed suit, unwrapping their face cloths until you could see their faces, the one with the bullet wound was a black male with a scraggly beard and thick eyebrows, and although his boots left small blood tracks on the floor when he walked in, his expression was as smooth as glass when his goggles came off.

 

The person on the left was an old lady with wrinkles etched deep into her face, deep laugh lines that made her eyes squint when she took her goggles off. And although his companions took their face-gear off, the leader did no such thing, he took the overflowing shot-glass and put it in the gaping hole in his mask leading to his mouth and tipped his head back. 

 

A gross man sitting at a nearby table with three other equally shabby looking men chortled and spat on the floor, “What the hell y’ll doin here yeh dusters” he said taking his booted feet down off the chair they were propped on.

 

The three did not respond, but the leader did order another three shots.

 

“Oi dry veins did ya hear me!” the man taunted.

 

The leader turned to him, “Passing through, we got Barley Bills head and Frederic Heimels scalp and jewelry... looking to turn them in.” he said, reaching into his gunny sack and took out another canvas sack, this one bloody, he opened it, and took out the severed head of a man. 

 

There was an audible intake of breath as people froze, 3 random dune folk just trudged out of nowhere and showed them the head of a famous savager. The gross men at the table puckered up and sat straighter, “haha… errr, s’rry fer that” the man at the table said, “You fellas want a smoke?” the man asked, pulling out a box of hand-rolled cigarettes, getting up and walking up to them. 

 

The black man took one, and the leader took one, but the old lady denied. 

 

The gross man looked into the glass eye sockets of the masked leader as he handed him a cig, and saw only blackness inside the mask, not even the light from a nearby lamp and candle seemed like it could penetrate the two gaping, glassed over holes leading to… to what... The man hurried back to his table. 

 

The leader reached into a deep pocket and pulled out a folded up piece of cloth with a string wrapped around it. He opened it and placed a cigarette underneath a fold in the cloth, along with a dozen other cigs. He rolled it up, tied the knot and ordered another round for him and his friends.

 

The bartender, a scrawny ginger fella with blasted back hair, a fuzzy mustache and a soul patch, leaned on the bar, “Oi, I could pay ye fer them ‘eads and scalps, it’s either me or de sherif who pays boonties…” he said, pausing.

 

“And where's the sheriff” the leader muttered monotonically so it strangely didnt even sound like a question.

 

“...’e’s dead… no law in this town” the bartender said, and for some reason his voice filled the entire bar...everyone was listening.

“You know who did it”

“Sum sorta dune savage leader gutted him in front of the whole town.”

“Is he still alive?”

“Yes, last seen in Dunbridge pass, he’s got hi’sself a group-on. Might want to leave quick, last seen three morns past… 200 bank notes for his head and possessions.” 

The leader hoisted the bloody sack up and then reached into his gunny sack again, pulled out two smaller bags and placed them next to the bloody sack on the table and finaly reached into an inside pocket and took out a rolled piece of parchment. The barkeep looked at the parchment, then went to a backroom.

“Oi, yer one ah dem Stoics ain't ya?” an older man asked, hobbling up to them, cigar in his mouth. The leader turned and peered at him from his stool, and slowly nodded. The man smiled a crooked, yet genuine smile… something he obviously didn't do often.

“...That bastard killed me son.” the old man said, pointing at the bloody sack.

“He shot him down for fun in front of me…and the gang yer now after is as dangerous as them…the least i can do fer you is buy ye’s a bottle of corn whiskey and some food… even though you’s gettin the notes right now.”

The bartender came back and his hobnailed boots echoed throughout the bar. “270 banknotes fresh off the blimp yesterday.” he said, “You service, although brutal, is appreciated sir.” he said, nodding his head slightly in respect. The leader  split the 270 into 2 100s, and a 70. He gave the two one hundreds to his companions and pulled out a huge worn leather wallet and put his 70 into it

The old man threw a few banknotes on the table, “buy these three a damn corn jar and…” what was it you wanted?” the old man asked.

The leader turned to the old man, “Beans” he muttered. 

“Beans he says! Get the man a can of beans!” the old man said vigorously. 

“Beans? I got plenty cans a’ beans? What type ya want?” the bartender grumbled, taking out a cigarette and lighting it with the candle.

The leader mumbled, “Black beans”.

 

6 jars of hand-preserved black beans were placed on the table, and distributed to the group.

 

“I only see one… percussion musket on you fellas?! What in the grace of YÖRN are you using to kill these bastards?” the old man asked.

 

Silence filled the room.

The leader unbuttoned his greatcoat and unstrapped another musket, this one a short carbine, from his right leg and put it on the bar, then  drew fort two huge cap and ball revolvers, each one 14 inches long, one was polished brass and the other polished nickel. The black man took out a sawn off lever action rifle and a smaller double action revolver, and a long sawed off single barrel shotgun from his trench-coat. 

 

And the old lady took out a strange looking revolver and unstrapped a sawn off bolt action from her right leg.

The old man chuckled, “hehehe, those pistols of yours are nice mister.” he said, then leaned in close, “And i’m not sure but dem dirty folk with the armor might be in cahoots with the gang yer after.” he said, then took a few steps back, tipped his hat, turned and walked out of the bar.

 

The men the old man was talking about were sitting next to the group that gave them the cigarette, some of them had on rusty chainmail, roughly sewn leather caps, dented breastplates, shin plates, and rusty steel boots. They all were looking at the table, trying to not pay attention.

“You got yerself a doctor in this town?” the leader asked.

“Nope, savages picked him off bout 2 moons back.”

Silence.

“gunstore?”

“Well sure, go outside, take a left and grab hold of the chain above your head, follow it for three establishments, second one is the inn, and the third one is the gunstore, ran by one Muley Benson.” the barkeep said.

 

The bounty hunters all then finished another round of drinks and signed a paper the barkeep gave them saying that they will bring in the Dune-Savage’s head and possessions back, the leader put it in his inside pocket.

 

Then the strangers put their gear on as if they have done it thousands of times, slow as molasses, then turned and walked to the bar door, and as the door opened, the sound of the dust roared and the three seemed to be sucked out and into the storm.

The hunters grabbed hold of the chain and trudged onward.

 

They walked into the shop and closed the door. And as their eyes adjusted to the low light, the three noticed that there were three people in the establishment, but the leader found he couldn't see, so he flicked open his trench lighter and held it close to his face and walked towards the front desk. 

 

“Whot can eye dae fer ya” the dirty man said behind the counter, his face was long, and had some sort of mustache beard combo that reminded one vaguely of a musketeer, his face was lain tight on his skull, and his lips seemed to be slightly puckered, he had a dirty welding hat on. 

 

A saucy looking slim lady with a long brown tail coat turned and looked at the group.

“Raw gunpowder, caps and lead?” the leader asked

“I gots gunpowder, a box of caps... but no… no raw lead… but ey, i do got a few bottles of brass pellets.” the man said.

The leader closed his zippo lighter, reached into a pocket, grabbed his wallet and pulled forth 50 bank notes, “5 pounds of powder, the caps and all that brass” he said.

 

“Heheheh, Just be a second” the man said. 

 

The lady walked over, “what you buying all that for... mask man?” she asked.

 

The leader turned to her, his breathing through the mask could be heard, a sort of natural… yet mechanical inhale and exhale. He turned back and continued to wait.

 

“Do I gotta call you black eyes or something? Nobody uses primer-caps and brass for bullets.” she said entitled.

 

The leader sighed, unbuttoned his coat and drew his giant nickel revolver and placed it on the table. Even in the low light the revolver flickered with a delicacy only found in things that kill the living. “Lordy, what the hell is it?” she asked. 

“Made by Heinrich Gatzler…” he mumbled.

“Well good god that's a big gun… compensatin’ for sompin’?” she asked.

 

The leader turned slowly to the lady, who was smiling slyly. The old lady gave a dusty chuckle, literally having dust fall off her when she shook slightly in her mirth. “Careful lassy, he’s a wild one.” the old one muttered through her cloth mask.

 

Silence filled the air, the room and beyond… and the lady got visibly awkward, such things happen when facing two empty, soulless goggle-lenses.

“My coquetry doesn't seem to amuse you… chin up ya wankers...” she said, turning away. She began to inspect the guns once more in the racks that hung on the wall. the leader turned back and waited for the return of the store clerk. 

 

He came back only a minute later, a somewhat large greyish jute bag propped on his shoulder, three beer bottles of pellets all wrapped and attached with twine and a fist size wooden paper box. He placed all of these on the table and eyed the revolver.

“3 bottles of brass pellets, a box of caps, and a 5 pound bag of gunpowder… money you gave will cover it” the gunsmith said. 

 

The leader grabbed his equipment, placed it all in his bag, and turned to his companions, “Meet at inn.” he said, turned and walked out the door. Leaving them to their own wares.

 

The beginning of the night in the tavern was actually quite nice, they got to pay for baths, and they got to dunk their clothes into barrels of water a few times, which cost them an acumilated 79 bank notes. 

 

And when the bathing was done, and their overclothes were dried out, they dawned them and placed their packs and weapons down next to them on the oak floorboards where they would sleep… These three did not sleep in beds.

 

That night they patched up their bearded friend, he had laceration on his lower thigh from a Dune-savage’s shiv. The leader looked close at the wound and grunted to the old woman, “Aid Kit”, which was promptly taken from the leader’s gunny and handed to him.

 

The wound was now not bleeding. But when the leader washed all the dirt and dried blood out of it with whiskey, it started to bleed again.

 

The leader knew how to apply stitches, so he was to do so now. He brought forth a needle and thick black twine.

 

Every time the needle entered deep into the black and purple flesh, the mans left eye flinches, but nothing else, he stays completely still. And in 5 minutes, there were 16 loops in the flesh, he drew it and the flesh was brought together tight and began to bleed again. He tied a knot, cut it off and then wrapped a bolt of clean white linen soaked in corn whiskey around the wound. “Hurts” the man said with a face like nothing was happening, taking a very large gulp of corn whiskey and a large puff of a ciggaret.

 

They then spent the night sitting against the wall next to each other, under each their own woolen blanket smoking cigarettes, cigars and sharing the corn whiskey and black beans in silence.

 

The leader then finaly pulled his mask off and took a deep breath, “dont feel right.” he said. 

 

The wind died down and now the dust had settled, so there wasn't a noise in the entire black void of that small room, and though they drew the curtains together, the moon light still filtered through the green linen… but there was a sound outside that small room… the sound of somebody trying to muffle their footsteps as they approached.

 

The wounded man drew his lever action, the old woman her strange looking pistol with 6 … and the leader… his two polished big irons, who even in the dark, flashed faintly due to the moon rays penetrating the room. There were wisps of tobacco smoke still lingering, the three didnt know what time it was.

 

 They waited... and waited, staring at the door, backs to the wall, listening to the slightest sound… which was eventually heard. The sound of people stepping on the ground and sliding their feet to muffle it. It was faint, but the three knew that there were four on the other side of the door. The leader bobbed his revolvers, which was a signal to get ready to fire. The leader pulled both of his revolver hammers back ever so slowly, muffling the clicks. The black man ever so slowly lowered his lever and then placed 4 bullets very carefully in, slided them down to load the barrel, and then kept the lever lowered. The old one pulled back the strange looking slider on her pistol. 

 

The leader blinked slowly, and wasn't nervous, just like his friends, they were S.T.O.I.C.S. they dont get nervous. They waited another few minutes and then they heard a soft bump on the door, the leader chuffed silently, that bump was an accident…

 

The leader wondered what the people behind the door had in their pockets, each person was indeed just that, a person, a human, a being, a thing capable of extremely complex thought…. after the leader thought of this he threw it out of his mind… then smiled to himself... what do they have in their pockets?

 

The doorknob ever so slowly turned, so slowly, painstakingly slowly that once again the leader chuckled to himself… he couldn't take it... he just couldn't… what do they have in their pockets?

 

He fired his akimbo irons 4 times, which fired a round ball just slightly bigger than a .44 through his single action barrels. The balls sailed right through the wood and they could hear the bullets hitting the armor and flesh. Black beard slammed his lever up and fired a shot, and the old lady fired 3 bullets.

 

Then there was the sound of bodies hitting the floor and the groans of pain and final exhales. Then silence again. The smell of black powder and blood filled the air, and this time the smell of steel burning accompanied this.

 

Then the door flew open and a man with a javelin threw it wildly into the room, and it thumped into the Black man’s chest. The leader was still ready, and he fired both at the same time, and the black man fired another shot too. A salvo of 3 bullets hit the armor plated man. One hit where the man’s collar bone would be, sending a chunk of meat and a hunk of metal flying off. The other bullet hit right beneath the man’s left part of his upper chest, and although his breastplate was there, the soft metal giant bullet flattened out as soon as they hit the armor, and then the flat bullet went straight through the flesh, and blood, bone-chips and meat chunks flew out the man’s backside. And the last bullet, the black man’s bullet hit the left side of his nose and took off the entire left side of his head almost completely, sending his morion helmet flying off. He flew backwards and crumpled when he hit the ground. 

 

Now true silence was restored. 

 

The leader looked at the black man.

 

A spear stuck out of his chest, dead.

 

The leader put his mask on again, and the old one got up and walked over to the corpses. Soon lights were turning on and the stomping of lawmen running in was heard.

 

A man with a light beard and a waxed mustache, a white wide brimmed hat, white rolled up shirt, and buckskin vest over it jogged around the corner, pistol drawn.

 

All he needed was a star and he would be the town's sheriff… but no, he was just some brave cowpoke with some sense of good in him, enough to make him walk up to an unknown crime scene in a town lacking a lawman.

 

He had two more good men behind him, and the two stoics crouched in their door frame. 

“Get yer hands up!” he shouted boldly, and the two, still crouched, raised both their hands slightly,

 

 “they came into our room, they threw a spear at one of our friends.” the old one said, nodding her head into the dark room. The man walked over and looked inside, the pistol still pointed at them.

 

The light from the hallway was bright enough to illuminate the black man, who lay limp, rifle laying across his legs. “Pinned ‘im to the wall sir” the old one said. 

 

 The man nodded, and looked around at the grizzly sight, holstering his gun, “well alright then, i heard what you did in town, your bounty hunters right? Stoics? Im Gilbert Faverson, Trail Boss, sorry about your friend… take what you want… ima go have a stoge, tell the town what happened, then well help bring the bodies out.” the man said, tipping his hat, and walking down the hall again with his two other good men next to him.

The leader looked at the old one, then at the black man. Then shook his head, then began to frisk the conquistadorian looking men.

 

The leader respected these men, men who still, in the age of firearms… some automatic firearms at that, still use swords, spears, javelins and halberds, men who wear steel as their skin, men who have grit, true warriors... the last one had all his friends obliterated in front of him, and he still kicked the door open, and killed a stoic. Many people would call these types of folk lying dead, dune savages, folk who should have their families burnt and gelded in front of them... but the leader knew, he knew each side had its own story, he tipped his hat to them, they were to be respected, even if they killed a friend. 

 

Forgive your enemy, but remember the bastard's name.

 

The leader grabbed one of their steel dirks, found a silver pocket watch, brass compass, a handful of copper coins, a few silver coins, all of them had on silver necklaces with golden religious symbols on them, he took two and gave the old one two. He found an old expensive mahogany pipe with some strange smelling herbs in a pouch, he pocketed that. He found a cigarette, with the tobacco replaced with the strange smelling herb. A few pouches of very dry jerky, two jugs of water, and a small ceramic jug with… with ants in it. The leader pocketed most of this, but offered what he found to the old one first, then let the old one go over the corpses to see if he forgot anything… She took the jar of ants for some reason.

 

She found a singular silver coin in a pocket, but nothing else, so they began to drag the bodies out into the hall, where the sheriff and two other young lawmen came marching up and began to help them. 

 

The bodies were identified as soon as they went out into the street with them. “That's from that dam dune savages cult! The cult that killed our sherif!” a woman screamed from the street.

 

The leader nodded his head, turned, and closed the door to the saloon, his companion was stripped of his belongings and lying in a soon to be buried wooden coffin, and like so many others before, soon to be forgotten.

 

The two entered the bar the next morning and sat in the same seats they did before, leader in the middle, and the old lady to his left. The barkeep walked up and poured two shots, the lady drank her’s down quickly, but the leader staired at the honey colored liquid for a second, his mask hiding all emotion, then grabbed the shot glass, and tossed the liquids out halfway on his companion and halfway on himself. He ordered another two, drank them both, then walked out into the still morning. Their heavy boots stirring clouds up as their feet trudged forth through the infirtle dust.

 

There would be no dust storm today, since there were no morning gusts and the smell of dirt could only be described in the minds of these people as still. There was no movement in the air today, so the dust couldn't reach their noses.

 

They were walking, trudging doggedly, cloaks flitting about them, keeping a steady pace, not fast, yet not slow either… they walked in such a manner, that if one was looking at them, they seemed automated… every inch of skin was covered by cloth, or by rubber, who knows what could be hiding behind such folds of cloth.

 

The two would travel eastward through sparse scrubland for two days until they came to a path, which they would follow northward for a day until they came across a quite large eroded trench running east to west with a bridge across, and a wooden sign that had “dunbridge pass ? Dunbridge path =>” carved into it. The leader sniffed, then took his gunny sack off and took out a pair of binoculars that had a weird attachment to the place where you put your eyes. He clicked the binocs onto his goggle-like eye holes and laid down on the edge, and peered down into the very large and deep cream colored trench.

 

The two exchanged the binocs for about a few minutes until they spotted a little wisp of smoke about five miles down the trench, and tiny figures slightly moving. They packed up, checked their guns, the old lady had the black man’s shotgun and the leader his lever action.

 

They trudged down into the dusty dunbridge pass, crouching slightly and ready at any moment to dive for cover. Soon they got to the bottom, where gusts of wind began to slightly pick up wisps of dust deep in the sun lit trench, and the leader hoped that the wind would pick up enough so as to mask their approach.

 

They walked for about two hours, noticing the dust gusts not getting any worse, just remaining just that, dust gusts. The leader then stopped, walked to a small dust pile, getting his binocs out and laid down behind the pile and peered out into the wastes where in fact a fire was letting off a smoke pillar, he could see 11 people walking or sitting around the camp, some had armor on, some didn't, but there were tents, so the two didn't know if there were more. 

 

The leader turned over, gave the binocs to the old one, and took his mask off, grabbed a cigarette and his lighter and lit it, then gave it to the old one, and took one out for himself.

 

They sat there smoking the cigarette, taking small swigs of water, “I have to ask.” the old one asked. The leader took a puff of the cigaret, “hm” he grunted, “what happens now he’s gone.” she asked in a way that sounded sad, while still remaining monotone. 

 

“We can't go, we have to remain… we cannot get to where the water tastes like wine ma’am… we have to just keep killing folk till we are buried… something tells me its today” he said. The old one nodded, and adjusted her goggles.

 

“Fuck it?” the old one said, taking a very large puff of her cigaret, then slamming a 7 bullet strip into her bolt action, then a slug shell into her new single shot boom-stick.

 

The leader had loaded his pistols after their friend died, and haven't used them since, but his carbine and musket still remained unloaded, so he unslung his musket, unstrapped his carbine and unstrapped his new lever action. He leaned them against the rock..

 

He grabbed his gunpowder horn, his primers, reached into his bullet-ball bag located on his belt, found 7 of them, 7 balls , 3 for a musket, 1 for a carbine, and 3 for revolvers, he had 5 actual bullets for the lever action as well. He poured 125 grains of raw blackpowder into his huge .75 caliber percussion rifle, then a piece of linen that’s circumference matched the barrel, placed the huge lead ball on it, then rammed it all down with the ram-rod, this weapon could be considered an anti material rifle. He then repeated the process with the carbine, only putting 75-grains of powder in. He then loaded the lever action with the 5 bullets.

 

The two were then ready. They got up and continued their low stooping approach, muzzle loading carbine and sawn off bolt action in hand.

 

Soon they were only 50 yards from the camp, they ducked behind a rock and waited for a minute, then the leader peered around the corner, nobody in the camp looked worried, or like they were being hunted. The leader looked around the barren and dust hilled landscape, looking for cover that was closer, his rifles could reach 150 yards, but he wanted to be close for the surprise, the revolvers were the real killers.

 

He saw a rock that he could fit behind, but not his friend, so he relayed his plan to her, he was to go up and act as if he were fighting this fight alone, but when they get close to the leaders hiding spot, the old one will begin firing from a position off to the right of them. 

 

The leader then laid prone and began to crawl his way foreward toward the rock.

 

When he arrived at the stone, he sat up and looked back at the rock he left, a tiny sliver of the old one's face peering from behind the rock, blended in extremely well. The leader put his thumb up, then unstrapped his lever action and placed it against the rock, and peered around the side. 

 

He was now only 50 feet from the camp and he could see their faces, only three of them had firearms, one a bolt action looking rifle, one a pistol in its holster, and the other a pump shotgun. Everyone else had conquistador looking armor on, two had swords with scabbards, two had spears… but what worried and confused the leader was that 4 of them didn't have any weapons… but there was a rack of long cavalry lances sitting close by.  The leader wondered if they had any mounts, but dashed the thought away, he would have seen them... time to kill…

 

 I wonder what they have in their pockets?

 

He turned the corner and took aim at the one with the rifle, he held his breath, steadied his carbine, then pulled the trigger.

 

*POOM* 

The shot sounded off through the desert. And from where the leader crouched, he could hear the ball hitting the flesh, the man with the rifle flew backwards and onto the ground. Strangely as soon as the body hit the ground a gust of wind blew up a lot of dust in the surrounding area, and masked the gunsmoke in with the dust, he still had the element of surprise if he acted quickly, they will know from which direction he fell where the bullet came from… but not how close, he placed the carbine against the rock and grabbed the lever action and quickly turned the corner again, and let loose a salvo of 3 bullets, catching two, one with the pistol, and one with a sword, in the upper body, everyone then turned towards where he was, drew their weapons, and they all charged. And then to the leaders surprise, 7 more people ran from the tents and scattered amongst the camp, two had rifles, one had a pistol, three had halberds, and the final one that came out had a full metal armor, with blood stains and rust all over it, he had a strange gun with a large magazine coming out the side of it. “KILL EM!” the giant rust demon shouted, blindly firing a fully automatic submachine gun in the direction of the leader. “GUT EM AND SCALP EM AND SALT EM, KICK THEIR GUTS BACK INTO THEIR HUSK.” their leader screamed.

 

The unarmed armored folk whisted, and the thundering of hooves was instantly heard. All of the melee infantry and a pistoler charged...8  people were charging the leader, wildly shouting and screaming, shooting their weapons and thrusting their weapons foreward in a charge. The old one then popped her head and rifle out of her cover, and fired three shots, catching three men, killing three men. 

 

The leader drew forth his revolvers and turned the corner, revealing himself. He fired once, twice, thrice, four times, five times and six times, each bullet catching one person, each bullet killing a person... and the extra one blasted the head right off of the man with the shotgun. In the span of 10 seconds 11 people were killed. The horses then came though, and the cavalry hopped on as their horses passed, and they leveled their lances, shouting in a horrible ancient language. 

 

Where on god's green earth did they come from.

The lady pulled forth both her strange looking pistols and began to fire at the mounted men, two bullets hit a horse, and it collapsed and the rider flew off and his head exploded into gore as it slammed into a rock.  Two bullets hit two different riders, one fell off but the other one was hit in the leg and kept his lance foreward. 

 

The two came at the leader and stabbed forth, but the leader dodged them, putting away his right hand revolver, and aiming with his left one, fired two shots at the two, one bullet shot through the back-plate and came out the chest and bent the metal outwards sending a spray of red and gore, killing them instantly.

 

And the other accidentally brained the horse, and it collapsed into a heap with a pained shout from the rider as he flew onto the ground head first, making his head instantly bend completely sideways when he landed, his spine let off a resounding and horrible *snap* as it shattered.

 

The leader unslung his rifle and holstered his hand cannon. And peeked around the corner and saw the glint of a scope.

 

“They got a sharpshooter just by the cart!” the leader shouted

 

The muzzle of the gun flashed, a *SHUU* passed the leader’s head.

 

And the bullet entered the old one's skull, ending her long life, bits of her brain scattered all out on the dust.

 

When the leader heard the bullet hit flesh, he exhaled in his mask and sat against the stone. These bastards were going to pay now.

 

Hohohoooo

 

He reached for his triangle bayonet, it slid out of its leather scabbard, and the 12 inch polished and pointed spike flashed, it was quite the contrast to the desert's brown, yellow and reddish hue. He clipped it onto the end of his fusil and brought out his right hand revolver, he popped his head around the corner, *SHOO* *POIIIIIIIIII* the bullet ricocheted off a rock. He leveled his revolver and popped off a shot, missing. The rust demon fired a burst which pinged against the rock. The leader then wondered if he should take his chances.

 

The leader knocked against his chest, and a metal thump was heard. Could the armor stop the sniper bullet? He thought, the rust demon shouted a taunt, and the leader nodded to himself, he got up and gripped his rifle and revolver in his hand.

 

He turned the corner and fixed his eyes on where the sniper fired from.

 

The leader raised his pistol as the sniper fired, too late… The sniper's bullet sailed through the armor right above his heart, missing it. The bullet wound didn't shock the leader, he felt his adrenaline spike, and he controlled the flow of human courage. He had been shot before. He fired the revolver... then again. He saw the sniper’s head jerk back violently as a burst of red flew out the back of it…

 

Avenged

 

Then the rust demon fired. The smaller bullets pinged off the leader's chest, who bellowed out an old “thing” he heard a long time ago… “PAN SHOT!” . He ducked behind the rock again. He reached into his gunny sack and pulled out a small pouch of gunpowder, lit it and hucked it… its explosion lifted enough dust to create a cloud wall. 

 

He felt his wound and with the blood from it, wiped the red paint all over his gas mask, giving him a horrid look of a skinned head.

 

He got up when he saw the dust accumulate the most, and pushed his fusil foreward and dug his feet in for one last bayonet charge. 

 

The leader absolutely roared out a battlecry that seemed to shake the very ground he ran on. The leader entered the smoke screen… in the clouds of red-brown haze, then was out of it, streaking towards the rustdemon, who fired off another burst. The bullets hit the leader in his chest armor again, “PAN SHOT.” He roared.

 

The demon laughed and threw his gun aside and stood, waiting for the figure who was quite short compared to the bulk of itself.

 

The leader was ten feet from the demon, it was now that it felt like all time went slow. His boots slammed into the ground and shot up dust and dirt behind him as they dug into the ground and propelled him and his spear foreward. He thought of many things, too many things for that span of time. His family… a picture of his mother appeared and stayed whilst he continued his charge.

 

“I DIDN'T FIRE IT DEMON… MAY YOU ROT IN HELL AND AFTER” the leader bellowed, firing the rifle from the hip, just a few steps from the rust demon, who was raising his metal fists to deflect the bayonet.

 

*KABOOM* was the sound of the anti-material musket. It resonated around the canyon.

 

The round hit the demon like an artillery shell right in the middle of his chest. Dust and rust flew off the armor as the round lead slug hit and dented the steel inwards, the huge man staggered back.

 

The leader leaped, he sailed through the air and slammed into him with the force of a mountain, the entire 12 inch spike and 3 inches of the rifle’s muzzle buried itself into the demon’s heart, through the carapace of steel.

 

They both fell backwards, the demon killed instantly, and the leader still in a rage. The leader tried to wrench his musket out of the corpse, kicked the corpse, and began to pull on it again.

 

 There was one more person in the camp however, they ran up behind the leader, and shanked him in the back with a long stiletto knife.

 

The leader sank to the ground with a groan. The person then began to kick him.

 

his torpor was beginning to climb, he was seeing flashes and bright lights inside his mask, he spat blood in the mask hose. 

 

The person kicked him, then again, and as his foot landed its last time, the leader turned, grabbed the foot, and with all his might pushed it upwards, snapping the achilles tendon.

 

The dune savage fell backwards with a pained yelp, and the leader jumped up and onto the man and began to ferociously beat him, landing punches so that he would still be conscious, even if his jaw was shattered, he then pulled out right revolver again and shot both kneecaps, and once in the groin. And as the man lay there crying and bloody, the leader finaly curb stomped his face in against a small jutting rock.

 

By this time the leader was growing faint, only his rage and adrenaline keeping him alive, but soon his vision began to blur. He trudged over to the rust demon and pulled off the helmet, it was a man, disfigured and horrid looking, but a man nonetheless. The leader almost fainted, but took his mask off and puked, then began to bleed from the nose and mouth more. He knew this was the end, he smiled, so this is how it was… 

 

hah, he expected it to be more frightening…

 

 He didn't give a damn about scalping or taking the man’s belongings back anymore. The leader now didn't know his cardinal directions by heart now, so he just trudged off in one direction. Dropping his mask, and pulling out a cigarette, and lighting it with shaky hands.

 

He kept his legs going until they couldn't go any further. He collapsed, and felt the dirt and sant against his ruined face, and it soothed him. He gasped for air, took a puff of the cig, then crawled to the nearest rock.

 

He propped himself against it, took his gunny sack off and tossed it aside, then sat back with a sigh against the rock. He closed his eyes and the flashing lights behind his eyelids began to grow stronger. The leader was not scared of death, for he had wrought it against so many people, that he now cared not if it was his time.

 

He was glad that he wiped out this gang however, they were scum… absolute scum...

 

He died then, with a cigarette in his mouth, alone in the vast desert, to be forgotten, not unlike most, who have and will lay down their lives for things they either did, or did not believe in. For its human nature to fight, to rebel, to take up arms when there is need too or not need to, for humans are adept at killing each other, and that will never change, it will only get more efficient and deadly.

 

The bodies of all the fallen were fed to the crows and corvids who wander the plains of man, in search of the bloody refuse that is humanity, ever hungry, ever curious… ever wandering, never asking, only finding.

 


Submitted: November 21, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Ian Wolf Joost. All rights reserved.

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