The two men had their backs against each other. One man wore a wide-brimmed hat, is greasy, had a revolver at his side, and dirt caked his face. He was called Samuel, however, the locals called him Six-Shot Sam, because he could fire off six rounds in less than a second. The other man wore a wide-brimmed hat, a button-up shirt, and had his revolver protrude out of the holster on the right side of his hip. The townspeople stared at them. The two men stood in the middle of the dusty arid road.
“Now listen you son of a bitch, we’re taking ten steps,” said Samuel.
“Twenty,” said the other man.
“No, I said ten,”
“Twenty,” the other man said solemnly.
“Fine you little whining bitch, twenty it is.”
“I have your word that you won’t shoot before you finish the steps?”
Sam thought about the notion, it would be apt for him to shoot him beforehand. After all, the man did insult his skills as a shooter. An hour ago, Samuel was eating has hash browns and eggs at Jim’s brothel. He fancied having breakfast in one hand, and a beer in the other. The other man walked in through the swing doors. He sat at a table adjacent to Samuel’s and pushed his hat down so that his eyes were barely visible. Samuel finished his breakfast, and looked up hungrily at one of the prostitutes that walked around the brothel.
“I think I’ll have some dessert,” said Samuel.
He walked over to one of the girls and squeezed her breasts; the girl slapped him hard, and left a red imprint on Samuel’s face. He grabbed the woman’s long hair and said “Listen bitch, your only purpose is to fuck, and enjoy it.” The man that sat at the table stretched out his legs, and watched Samuel grab her breasts once more. He received a swift kick to the groin. The woman got out of his hold, and ran towards the swing doors. A loud bang sounded off three times. Three bullet holes appeared next to the swivel doors. The woman stopped in her tracks. She turned around and saw Samuel aim his gun at her while clutching his testicles.
“I guess you didn’t hear what I said. Well, you heard those gunshots well,” said Samuel.
“I doubt those were warning shots, you’re bad at aiming,” said the man. He tipped his hat upward, and stared at Samuel casually. Samuel regained his posture, and aimed his gun at the man.
“How about I blow your head clean off with one shot?” said Samuel.
The bartender took cover behind the worn counter. The man stared at the barrel of Samuel’s revolver. He put his hands high in the air, stood up, and said “Woman, what’s your name?”
“M…Martha,” she whispered softly.
“Martha, I challenge Samuel to a duel, if I win, you’ll marry me. Promise?”
Martha stared at the man. She was speechless. She couldn’t believe a stranger would go to such lengths to marry a whore. Samuel lowered his gun, and spit on the ground to his right.
“I accept, I can’t wait to blow your head off you son of a bitch,” said Samuel.
“Middle of town, an hour from now,” said the man. He walked away from the two and pushed the swing doors out of his way.
An hour later, they have their backs against each other. They both walked forward. One step, then two, three, ten, fifteen. When they reached the twentieth step, both men turned around, and brandished their pistols. Seven shots were fired. The townspeople stared in awe; they saw Samuel’s body on the floor. A pool of blood gradually collected underneath, and it increased in diameter over time. The smell of gunpowder stained the air. Smoke slowly rose up from the barrel of the man’s gun. The man walked slowly towards Samuel’s body, crouched besides it, and pried the gun out of his warm hand.
“Imagine that, he can fire off six shots, and miss all of them,” said the man.
He walked away from the dead body, and made his way to Martha. He stopped short when he was next to her body.
“Truth be told, I only came here so I could duel him. Maybe one day I can find a worthy opponent.” He continued to walk past Martha. After ten steps, Martha turned around and shouted “Wait! What’s your name?”
The man turned his head to the side and said “My name? I don’t have one, but if you need to call me something, call me Django, Billy the Kid, John Hardin, or King Fisher. I don’t care.”
The man continued to walk ahead until his body became a mere silhouette. What a peculiar man he was. No name, no past, no cowardice. Just a man with a gun. One wonders if he’ll find the match he’s looking for, or if he will continue to wander from town to town, searching for a suitable opponent. One thing’s for sure though, he’s one tenacious son of a bitch.
Let’s give each other feedback
if you write short stories, send me a message on my aim blackstar21595 or my facebook Ashawn Hazamilton
I’m a writer of short stories that would like to be able to give constructive feedback to another writer.
Nick and the rest of the team exited the school. Even though they changed from their basketball uniforms, they drank slowly from their water bottles as the sweat on their faces dripped onto the ground.
“Our boy Nick, the MVP,” roared the team.
“Calm down, I’m not even good,” replied Nick.
His teammates patted his back and messed up his hair. Nick’s basketball record was the worst on the team. He consistently turned the ball over to the other team and had terrible defense. This night, however, Nick scored the point that won the championship game against the Trenton Falcons. There was fifteen seconds left on the clock, and the ball came into Nick’s possession on a rebound. He ran up the court and tossed the ball into the air. It ricocheted off the rim onto the backboard, before falling through the net. Every Trenton player froze in place when they saw the ball go through the hoop.
Parents came out of the cars that were parked near the school grounds and ran towards their children, congratulating them on their victory. Nick looked away when his teammates got smothered by their mothers. They’re not my friends, this is the only time they ever praised me thought Nick. Six years ago, Nick’s mother died in a car crash when she was coming to pick him up from elementary school. Ever since the accident, his father cherished his gin. Every day, he would carry it with him and drink to his heart’s content.
Nick walked away from the students and parents. He brought his fingers to his eyes and wiped away tears. He walked down the block and turned a corner. When he removed his wet hands from his face, dark brown hands tightly gripped his shirt and flung him into a nearby wall. His hands were placed behind his waist and a black handgun pressed against the side of his head. Nick was able to see that his assailant was a teenager.
“Start talking,” said the assailant.
“Please don’t kill me……,” whimpered Nick.
“Tell me what I want to know.”
“I don’t know anything,” yelled Nick.
The assailant rammed the butt of his pistol into Nick’s ribcage. He fell onto the floor, clutching the right side of his body while his attacker grabbed his right arm and stood him up against the wall once more.
“Where did you get it?”
“Martinez,” whimpered Nick.
“Call him now”
Nick pulled out his phone and dialed Martinez. He pressed the phone near his ear and heard the dial-tone.
He whispered to himself “Pick up, pick up, pick up….”
“You need more Nick? I gave you the stuff a couple of days ago”
“I used it all at a party, I want more for myself” said Nick.
“I’m at Hayden Park at the moment, meet me there at nine.”
Martinez hung up. Nick’s heart sank when he heard the dial tone. He dropped to his knees and banged his fists against the ground.
“Please….don’t kill me”
His tears rolled down his cheeks and dropped onto his clenched fists.
The assailant grabbed Nick by the collar of his shirt and dragged him towards a black car. He opened the car door and threw Nick inside the back of the van. The assailant got into the passenger side, and the car lurched forward. Nick sat upright in the vehicle and saw an Asian woman sitting up straight in the back of the vehicle. An old Caucasian man that wore an ascot cap was the driver. Nick looked outside the tinted mirror of the car, he saw multiple buildings, malls, and stores pass by when they approached Greene Square. The girl next to him put a hand on his left shoulder and shook her head at Nick. She made a cutting motion across her neck with her thumb. The assailant turned to Nick.
“What Juliet is trying to say is that if you yell, you die”
The old man looked at the assailant and said
“Alpha, we will be there in twenty minutes “said the driver.
Alpha ran his right hand through his short black hair. He looked at Juliet. Her black hair came down to her shoulders. No bangs obscured her vision, she cherished her other senses when she lost the ability to talk. In his mind, Alpha remembered the training that they went through with the other young recruits. From age seven, they were trained to become defenders of America. This was Project American Shield. The recruits practiced shooting, improving survival skills in the field, and learning to create impromptu weapons. When Alpha and Juliet were eleven, they practiced judo as part of their training. Alpha grabbed Juliet with his right arm, pulled himself into her chest. Then, he swept her off the ground with his right leg and pushed her down. She was knocked unconscious afterwards.
When she was rushed to the infirmary, she was diagnosed with head trauma that damaged the Broca’s region of her brain, disabling her ability to speak. Kennan Howe, a supervisor of American Shield, thought that Juliet should be terminated from the project since she could not speak. Alpha remembered how he stood in front of Juliet’s infirmary ward when the security personnel approached it. His small stature was easily knocked aside as they stormed in. They stood over her bed and grabbed her small arms tightly. Juliet pulled away from them and kicked them multiple times with her puny legs. The personnel laughed and dragged her to the doorframe. Luckily for her, Dr. Sophia‒‒ another supervisor‒‒ came by to check on Juliet’s condition. When she saw the scene, Alpha recalled how soiled his pants were when he heard her scream at the guards and Howe. Ever since then„ Alpha stayed close to Juliet, he did not want her to get hurt again.
“We will arrive at Hayden Park in five minutes” said the old man.
“Thank you James,” said Alpha.
Juliet pulled out a case from underneath her seat. She set it on her lap and opened it. A rifle with a shortened barrel and a scope perched on top greeted her. Nick look up when the car came to a stop. Alpha got out of the passenger seat and dragged Nick out of the vehicle. Juliet tapped on Alpha’s shoulder and pointed towards a small tree that was near the car. Alpha nodded as Juliet ran towards the tree. She jumped off of it, grasped a branch, and climbed onto the tree. Alpha pressed his handgun into Nick’s back and prodded him with it, slightly inching him forward with each step he made.
“I want you to distract him, do that for me, and you’re free to go,” said Alpha.
“Why should I believe anything you say?”
“Because it’s your only option.”
Alpha moved away from Nick and hid behind an oak tree. He motioned for Nick to move forward. Nick kept walking forward till he was near Edwards Fountain. He gazed at the water that reflected the moonlight. Even if I do survive, I’ll just return to my terrible life of poor grades, drugs, and being a water boy thought Nick. He heard footsteps approaching closer and saw the face of his dealer, Martinez. His bodyguards closely followed him.
“Yo Nick, you need your fix that bad that you couldn’t wait till morning?” said Martinez.
“I’ve been going through some tough times”
“Well whatever, long as you pay twice as much for making me come out here.”
One by one, each of Martinez’s guards dropped onto the ground. Their foreheads had holes with a 7.62x51mm NATO round imbedded inside. Martinez pulled Nick towards him. He propped Nick in front of his body and cowered behind the boy’s frame. He brandished his revolver from his right pocket and pressed the barrel into Nick’s head.
Alpha aimed his pistol at Martinez.
“Let him go” said Alpha.
“Let me go, or he dies,” said Martinez.
Alpha stared at Martinez. He knew Juliet would not risk injuring Nick to hit Martinez with her M417. Alpha took a deep breath. He pointed his sidearm at Nick’s chest and pulled the trigger. The bullet pierced Nick’s chest and penetrated through Martinez’s body. The momentum knocking them backwards as their bodies lay side by side. Alpha aimed his weapon at Martinez and fired off more rounds. Juliet ran towards Alpha ad pointed to Nick’s body.
“I had to do it, If I didn’t……He would have gotten away,” said Alpha.
Juliet slapped Alpha across the cheek. The right side of his brown face turned a slight shade of red-brown.
“……Mission Accomplished. Let’s go.”
The left side of Nick’s face was against the cool dewy surface of the grass. He felt his chest become numb. He watched Alpha and Juliet walk away from him. His blood waded out in front of eyes. He couldn’t believe that everything was for naught. As his blood pooled out onto the grass, he wondered why he still clung on to life despite everything. What made him live?
From the corner of his eye, he saw the moon’s omnipotent presence shone above him. “That’s right, because of them.” Nick whispered.
In his mind, he recalled his tenth birthday. His parents took him out to this same park. They bought him a diamond shaped kite that had a red tail attached to it. With his small legs, he ran backwards with his mother and father beside him. Together, they watched the kite fly higher with each tug.
"Look how beautiful it is," said Nick’s mother.
"Look at that height, I bet it will go into space!" said Nick’s father.
"Then I’ll take it to space daddy," said Nick.
"Keep trying son, pull harder. You can do it," said his mother.
Nick kept running, however, he crisscross his legs together and he tumbled onto the ground. The kite flew upwards, and got wafted away by the zephyr. His parents hugged him as he sat upright on the ground.
“See Nick you did it, it’s going into space” said his mother.
“At a boy Nick!” said his father.
They laughed as they watched the kite fly higher each second.
Nick chuckled while blood erupted from his mouth. He stared at the moon as it looked back into his gaze. His eyes closed while the tears trailed down his cheeks. A simple smile was left on his face as he thought to himself smiled as he thought to himself, your good for nothing boy didn’t give up.
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