Chapter TwoMature

Issac winced as the gunshot filled the main hall of the saloon. Compared to the explosion of the larger man's iron, Marshal's firearm had a cleaner, sharper report. Something thudded on the floor, and Issac hesitantly opened one of his eyes. The larger man lay crumpled on the floor, blood already beginning to pool.

 

"Lucky the iron didn't blow up in his hand.." Marshal mused as he inspected the wounded man. He emptied the contents of a hanging pouch into his hand, the stood up. Just as Issac was about to open his mouth, Marshal turned, driving the point of his boot hard into the man on the floor. The man coughed and moaned.

 

"You can't just leave him!" Issac protested as Marshal headed for the door. The older man turned, staring at Issac with those cold eyes.

 

Marshal said nothing. He looked from Issac to the silvered metal of the iron in his hands, then turned back towards the door. As he pushed the door open, he stretched out his arm, firing once at the form behind him. The fat man convulsed once, then breathed his last.

 

Issac considered running. He wasn't the fastest kid growing up, but surely he could be out of sight before Marshal knew what happened. As he considered his options, the glass of the windows exploded in a massive blast of lead. A hand pushed down on Issac's head and he let out a yelp.

 

"Damn! They gave the Mule the firepower," Marshal hissed from clenched teeth. Chips of wood filled the air as bullets shredded the walls of the saloon. Issac let out a cry, only to be silenced as Marshal covered his mouth . 

 

"Listen to me, kid. Right now, I need them to think we're dead." Issac nodded slowly, trying not to think about how dirty Marshal's hands were, and how those hands were pressed against his mouth.

 

Eventually, the gunshots died down. As Issac looked around, he was amazed that the building was standing. There was hardly a space above knee level that wasn't completely riddled with bullet holes. In the center of the room, the glass chandelier had fallen and shattered, its pieces mixing with the abundance of broken already filling the common room.

 

 "Nice job Walter!" A man yelled from outside. Issac couldn't hear the reply, his ears were still ringing, but Marshal tensed up, putting his finger to his lips.

 

"Walter, you and Jensen head on back to Santiago's. I'll take care of the bodies." Everything seemed too quiet to Issac. Time stretched on so long that he nearly yelped when the sound of glass crunching under a boot startled him.

 

"You can stop hiding, Marshal. Oh, and don't bother trying to bring out that iron of yours." The man standing in the doorway said. He swung an iron around on his fingers, a wide smile on his face. He leveled the iron at Marshal as the man stood. The man was young, he couldn't be much older than Issac, but the demented ecstasy in his eyes as Marshal and Issac showed themselves made Issac's heart skip a beat. 

 

"Ah, Burgess, I wish I could say this was a pleasant surprise." Marshal spat, sliding his silvered iron into its holster. He offered Marshal a wide, toothy smile. Issac couldn't help but shudder. It felt like two wild animals sizing each other up, and there was no telling what the collateral damage was going to be.

 

Burgess pulled back the hammer on his iron, letting the sound pierce the silence. "You left me for dead, Marshal. Left me for the jack hounds and the crows to fight over." He lifted up his leg to show a wooden peg. "Maybe I should return the favor before I march you back to Santiago." He lowered the iron, as if aiming at Marshal's leg. When the older man didn't respond, Burgess spat at him.

 

"I'm not dancing for you Burgess." Marshal stated flatly. He held his arms up as the other man stepped forward, and didn't say anything when his iron was taken. Issac couldn't believe how calm he was.

 

Satisfied, Burgess hefted the pistol before pocketing it. He flipped his own iron in his hand and struck Marshal across the forehead. Marshal slumped over, and before Issac could respond, Burgess struck him too.

The End

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