The Last Of Banners BoysMature

"We don't have to do this Horace."

"Like hell we don't."

"You know why I'm here."

"You're here to clear your conscience. I'm here to clear your debt with my daughter. You tried to leave that life of death and it followed you. It claimed what you owed it and now you owe her."

"We don't have to fight Horace, we can take him together."

"I said it a thousand times Cyrus, he's not the one who failed her. I‘ve got my own plans for Herschel."

The wind blew a warm breeze, dust lifted on the street.

"We used to be friends once Horace."

"Strange ain't it? How things change?"

The wind blew again, and the dust lifted with it. There was a short moment of pure silence, a timeless stare into each others souls, then the air was torn in two by the report of pistol fire. The first shot was followed closely by a second returning. A third came out; the fourth and fifth were nearly simultaneous. The street was choked with black powder smoke.

Cyrus slid out of its thick embrace and slammed against a nearby wagon, holding his bleeding arm. He peered into the smoke and saw him. He was still standing. "Horace?"

The man turned to him, then collapsed on his ass and rolled slowly to his back.

"Horace!" Cyrus stumbled toward the man and crumpled to his knees next to him. His pants soaking up the blood that pooled beneath his friend and victim.

Horace sucked air in through dry lips, and it bubbled out from the hole in his chest.

"Damn it Horace, it didn't have to come to this."

"Yes it did." He said, choking on blood. He pulled the pistol on to his chest. "I killed those ten of Banners boys after what they did to Mary. I killed them dead, with this gun."

"I know Horace, I know you did."

"I'll have killed eleven if you die from your wounds tonight. Eleven of Banners boys."

Cyrus looked at his side and arm. "I'm not sure you'll be that lucky old man. I'm not going to lie though, I thought for sure you had me."

"It's that damn pistol of yours. I should have never given it back to you. You've always had the daftest luck with it."

Cyrus laughed, tears running down his face, not one of them from the pain of his physical wounds. "Damn you Horace. We could have done this together."

"I tracked you for a decade. I'm done with this."

"You're a tough shit. You could still make it out of this. You're not all that banged up."

"Don't lie to me." He said, his raspy voice cutting through Cyrus' very being. "You need to make me a promise."

"Anything Horace."

"You're going to kill them all. Every single one of Banners Boys."

"I will."

"No, listen. You're going to kill every single one of them, with this pistol."

He handed him the revolver. "It's got ten. It's thirsting for one more."

"You sure old man?"

"Every. Single. One."

Cyrus looked at him deeply. Half his face had gone numb and limp. His white beard tainted with the spatter of blood.

Cyrus stood with the pistol. "Fine." He said. Tick click, the hammer whispered as he cocked it with his thumb.

Horace gave him a lumbering nod, "Do it," he said, blood staining his moustache as it spat out his pursed lips.

"Goodbye, Horace Banner."

There was no hesitation between the farewell and the shot that punctuated its end.

The End

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