Western Gunfighters #3 featuring Red Wolf

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Western Gunfighters #3 featuring Red Wolf

Post  Nik Havert on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:09 am

Red Wolf shook the little man's hand. "Is this a joke?"

"Of course it is," Big Mike Rogers said. "Everybody thought the 'Big Mike' thing was funny when I was a kid, and it stuck."

Red Wolf continued shaking the man's hand as he looked around the camp Big Mike had made while waiting for him to escape from the Sheriff's office. Big Mike had been whittling, and his fire was too big to remain hidden for long.

Big Mike wasn't sure why Red Wolf was still shaking his hand, but he continued the gesture figuring it might be some kind of indian custom. "I'm glad you decided to come. I'm going to need your help getting back my - "

His words turned into a sharp cry as the iron vise grip of Red Wolf's hand on his made his knees buckle. Red Wolf grabbed Big Mike's revolver from its holster with his left hand, cocked the hammer on Big Mike's shoulder, and held the gun upside-down and under Big Mike's right ear. Red Wolf's pinkie finger waited on the trigger.

"Wh-What the hell is this?" Big Mike asked between flinches of agony.

"You are not Big Mike Rogers."

"Sure I am! Have I insulted you in some way? I don't understand why you're doing this."

"The sawdust on your boots is new," Red Wolf said. "From your whittling. And your hands are not those of a lumber mill worker. They are not rough, and your fingernails are clean. These are the hands of someone used to counting money and cards."

The man grimaced, and then grinned. "The hands. Damn, I hadn't thought of that."

Red Wolf flipped the man's gun upright, released his hand, and stepped back. He kept the gun aimed at him. "Who are you?"

The man rubbed his sore hand. "Gregory Casey."

Red Wolf had heard the name. He searched his memory as the fire crackled. "'Shakespeare' Casey?" Red Wolf asked.

He smirked. "My reptuation precedes me. I am betwixt pride and annoyance. Where did you - SON OF A - !"

"Shakespeare" Greg Casey had noticed the wolf that stood high as his chest now standing near his hip. It was Pinebark, the wolf companion sent to him by Owayodata, wolf-headed protector of the Cheyenne and god of the hunt. The wolf growled as Casey flinched.

Red Wolf decocked Casey's pistol and began unloading it. "Do not run."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Casey said as he kept his eyes on the wolf. "May I sit down?"

"Yes. Sit."

Casey and Pinebark sat.

"Where did you learn of me, good sir?" Casey said, the actor's cadence shaken by Pinebark's appearance now back in his voice.

"There was a poster of you in Sheriff Lynne's office. You are a con artitst and thief and worth five hundred dollars."

"I can get you four times that."

"I do not care about money."

Casey smiled. "Ah, but what about Big Mike's money?"

Red Wolf sat and opened the leaf pouch that held the rabbit Pinebark had brought him. "The messenger who met the deputy...That was you?"

Casey bowed as best he could from his seated position. "It was, and a fine performance, indeed. The letter was mostly true. Big Mike will lose the mill unless we help him."

Red Wolf used his bone handle knife to whittle a stick to a sharp point. "Why would that concern you?"

"It doesn't," Casey said. "I merely wish to put my money in my purse."

Red Wolf shoved the stick through the rabbit and began roasting it over the fire. He remembered the other two wanted posters in Sheriff Lynne's office. "You're a partner of Floyd Hahn and Petey Akers."

"I was," Casey said. He looked away and snarled. "Those turncoats gave me the most unkindest cut of all. Not literally, of course. The three of us came into Bellemont because we heard there were some wealthy men there who could afford to share some of that wealth. After a few games of faro at the local gaming hall, we heard that Big Mike was quite a gambling man and even had a private room at the mill for such activity. Floyd and Petey got jobs at the mill in order to gain Big Mike's trust and secure invitations to the card table. I arrived a week later as a railroad contractor seeking a lot of wood at a fair price. Big Mike was only too happy to speak with me, and even happier when he learned I enjoyed a game of cards."

Red Wolf plucked a sprig of wild sage from near his spot opposite Casey. He stuffed the leaves into the rabbit. "So the three of you cheated Big Mike of his money."

"More than we expected," Casey said. "He lost all of his purse and nearly the entire payroll for the coming month. He never told us it was the payroll, of course, but we all knew once he opened the large safe in his office. Honor prevented him from pleading for its return once he lost it. He could not have a railroad man and two of his workers telling everyone that he'd bet and lost the payroll. We left the mill, and Floyd shot me. I fell into the log flue and plummeted to a horrible death...at least in their eyes."

Red Wolf tore a leg from the rabbit and waved the steam off it. "How did you survive?"

"I saw Floyd drawing his gun. I turned in time for the bullet to pass, but I lost my footing and fell into the log flue. It was a bumpy ride, but not too treacherous since no logs were sliding down it with me. I came back here, our last camp, and found them gone. I went to town and heard the famous Red Wolf, one of the greatest trackers in the land, had been captured. You know the rest of my tale."

Red Wolf tossed the cooled rabbit leg to Pinebark, who swallowed it whole.

"I do not need you to track them," Red Wolf said. "And I know of a man with a bad leg who could use five hundred dollars."

"But you do need me to tell you what Floyd and Petey look like. I guarantee that their countenances have changed from the posters you saw. And you can still help your lame friend."

Red Wolf tossed Casey his empty pistol. Casey smiled. "Having nothing, nothing can he lose." He holstered his gun. "And the ammunition?"

"When we find them," Red Wolf said between bites of rabbit.

"I have horses for us. We can start fresh in the morning."

"We can start when I am done eating if you like."

Casey sat back a bit in surprise. "We can? In the dark?"

Red Wolf pointed with a rabbit bone to his left. "Their horses were tied to those trees. There are no horse tracks leading toward your fire. They headed that way. Where did you get two horses?"

Casey smiled. "Let us say that someone left a gate open."

Red Wolf and Pinebark stood. Casey flinched.

"We leave now," Red Wolf said, "before the trail grows longer."

*****

"He's already got a jump on us," Sheriff Lynne said to the ten-man posse facing him. "He's armed, so be careful. We also want him alive."

"Yes," Victor Chupp, the wealthy land owner, stood on the corner of a horse trough so he could be seen above the crowd. He grabbed a nearby post to keep from falling into the water. "I want that injun brought back in one piece so he can be hanged right here in Bellemont. I'm offering a two thousand dollar reward for him brought back alive, half that if he's dead."

Sheriff Lynne pointed at five of the men. "You five ride with Mason." He pointed at the younger of his two deputies. "Take the north path. The rest of you will ride with me and Gordon on the south route. Get your gear and and meet back here in fifteen minutes."

The men dispersed and Gordon grabbed Lynne by the arm. "Why are you sending those men with Mason? He's too green to lead a posse."

"Because half these men are as young as he is and the older ones aren't gonna take orders from him. Now go pack your gear."

Lynne saw Mason talking with the men in his posse. Mason was already reminding them to bring extra water and that they'd need an extra horse for Red Wolf to ride on the return trip. He saw Sheriff Lynne and waved him over as the men left to get their gear.

"Sheriff, are you sure about this?" Mason asked. "I've never led men before."

"You're already doing a good job," Lynne said. "And I want to keep an eye on Gordon. He'll probably shoot Red Wolf as soon as he sees him. I trust you to bring Red Wolf back alive."

Mason smiled and pointed to his black eye. "He's a tough cuss. I hope he doesn't escape again."

Lynne returned the grin. "That would be too bad, wouldn't it?"

*****

Billy Mallory and Johnny "Apple" White looked up from their game of checkers in the corner of the saloon. Victor Chupp had walked over and placed a silver dollar on each end of the board.

"Mr. Chupp, it's good to see ya," Billy said. He picked up the silver dollar on his end of the board. "I take it by this kind donation that you need the services of this poor Irishman and his fine-toothed friend once again."

Victor sat. "Keep your voice down," he said. "The world doesn't need to know our affairs."

Billy removed his bowler hat and placed it over his heart. "Aye, the honorable Chupp family name would forever be sullied if the world knew Victor Chupp had two gunslingers on his payroll."

"What's the job?" Apple asked as he polished a MacIntosh apple on his sleeve.

"Red Wolf," Victor said.

"The Cheyenne?" Billy asked. He whistled as he leaned back in his chair. "That's a tall order, Mr. Chupp."

Apple pulled a knife from his boot. He cut a slice from the apple and offered it to Victor. Victor waved him away.

"You have a whole posse out there looking for him," Apple said. "Why do you need us?"

"Because most of those men couldn't find their ass with both hands. I want you to bring him back here. In one piece."

"I doubt Red Wolf will come along quietly, Mr. Chupp," Billy said.

"Yeah," Apple said between bites. "He may be in a few pieces."

"Three thousand alive, two thousand dead," Chupp said as he got up from the table. "Come see me when it's done."

Apple looked at Billy after Victor left. "Which one should we finish first?"

"Big Mike's job can wait a bit," Billy said. "We can bring Red Wolf back dead and Shakespeare Casey alive and make a killing."

Apple gave him a bright smile, healthy from all the apples he ate. "Well, at least one killing."

TO BE CONTINUED!

Nik Havert

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Re: Western Gunfighters #3 featuring Red Wolf

Post  Mechajared on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:01 am

This keeps getting better, I feel like I'm watching a Clint Eastwood western with elements of Young guns thrown in. You really do know how to write and exciting western.

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Re: Western Gunfighters #3 featuring Red Wolf

Post  Paul E. Schultz on Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:40 pm

He's had a bit of practice.
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Paul E. Schultz

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Re: Western Gunfighters #3 featuring Red Wolf

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