The Long Sleep

"Doc. If you touch that man, you'll be joining him." Marshal Cain says. Curly Joe writhes in pain on the ground next to the open grave. His expression turns from agony to horror as Cain steps to him. The Doc skitters away and stands behind the other gunmen. Curly Joe raises himself onto one elbow while clutching at his chest.

"What's going on? I'm injured! I need the Doc!" he shouts.

"You're not injured. You died today."

Cain turns to the other gunmen.

"Here lies Curly Joe Franks. A vindictive, flea ridden drunk that shot his mouth off one too many times. In the Hangmen, when you shoot a man, you shoot to kill."

Joe's friends begin yelling to let him go. Strangers with long black coats step up to the screaming friends. They pull their coats open to reveal their pistols and their silver badges. Curly Joe quietly reaches for his second pistol. It feels as if it weighs a ton. With all his strength, his shaky hand trembles as he raises the gun to aim at Cain's back.

The Marshal puts his hands on his hips, still addressing the crowd.

"The most dangerous of all the creatures that crawl in the dirt is a wounded one."

His hand quickly moves to the grip of his gun. Without removing it from the holster, he tilts the grip forward and fires a shot behind him into the forehead of Curly Joe.With a slight mule kick, Cain pushes Joe into an open grave.

"You know why you are here, and you know what happens if you lose. His kin will get the debt owed to them as promised. Now, without any more objections, we have more duals to get on with. Next up is Rivers and William Donington."

"They call me Red." a voice shouts from the crowd.

William steps through the onlookers and gunmen. His tan cowhide chaps and vest adorned with short fringe flutter in the wind of Devil's Gulch cemetery.

"Wherever I go, It always ends in blood."

He steps to the opening of another empty grave and turns, inspects his revolver by spinning the chamber before holstering it, then looks to the crowd.

"That's why they call me Red. Now if Rivers wants to step to the opening of that other grave, I can get to tucking him in for a long sleep."


The End

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