An experimental short story/work in progress/western
© Christoffer Petersen, 2021
“And just like that, she stabbed him with a hot poker in the eye,” Cal said.
Maybe, she thought, that was why his eyes were always glowing in the dreams? Glowing and spitting like bloody embers.
“She killed Twice Henry, and then she got young Dean Walker about a minute after that.”
The young man had been faster than Twice Henry Scott. The girl could still feel the grip of his hands around her wrist, the pinch of her skin as her twisted his fingers like he was wringing water from a rag. She kicked him in his shins, but only caught the lip of his long leather boots. When she swung her free hand, he clapped it away, tried to grab her arm, but she ducked and weaved away from him. He still had her hooked by the one wrist, but he was too busy trying to grab her to see her draw the pistol from his holster. It was the first time she had fired a gun, and she dropped it as soon as the bullet left the barrel.
“Gut shot,” Cal said, jabbing his stubby finger towards the barn. “Doc said there was nothing he could do for him. Now, I don’t doubt it hurt worse than lightning, but I think the whole town heard young Dean Walker beg for his life that night. But there weren’t no one who could help him – not the Doc, not God… Even the Devil let him linger, just until he was ready.” Cal paused to look at each of the men. “You understand what I’m saying? You understand that this ain’t just some girl. Most of you have got girls. She,” he said, with another jab at the barn. “She ain’t like your girls. She’s wild. She’s a killer, and there ain’t nothing we can do to bring her back into the good Lord’s graces. No,” Cal said, with a shake of his head. “It’s up to us to stop her before more good men die. Before more men get maimed. She’s a murderer and a thief, and tonight she dies.”
The girl’s lungs failed then, with a cough that she couldn’t control. She caught the spots of blood on her hand, as she pressed her fingers to her mouth, and that was when Cal turned to stare at the barn.
“Oh, and one more thing,” he said. “She’s already dying, if that helps them that’s squeamish. Think about that. She’s already dead. We’re just making certain, that’s all. Now,” he said, pointing to the left and right of the barn. “Get to it.”
To be continued…