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The death of me.

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Mick.
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#1

Posted 14 December 2015 - 01:32 PM Edited by athande, 16 July 2016 - 02:24 PM.

The

*Death*

Of Me

 

One f*cked up bounty killing.

Countless other tasteless murders.

 

Written by Michael McElligott

 

 

 

Chapter 1: Grey Walls

Chapter 2: Arrowheads

Chapter 3: Stagnant Waters

Chapter 4: Just a passing soul

Chapter 5: The Lamb

 

 

Chapter One - Grey Walls

 

 

A fallen blanket of snow had weighed down the roof of his hermit type tent. The mule huffed. The hermit was dressed in a jacket, from the fur of a rouge wolf. He wore cotton black pants, and beside him was a small pistol in a scrap holster. It slightly hung on his hip. The ambers of the fire had melted the strata of snow, revealing only earth. 

 

"What that be?" the hermit squinted, moving slowly towards his mule.

 

He had spotted a black smoke about twelve miles out on the dry spinned, plateau. What the apache would call their homestead. A group had passed just late noon yesterday when it was twilight, upon the grassy knoll he was perched on; carving logs into spears. They wore no clothes, and howled as if the god of war had wrapped its robotic arms around our moon. 

 

All of a sudden, the trotting of horses was heard. "Sh*t." The hermit, his Christian name Duce, spat between his teeth. It was them again. They must'd seen the warm burn of the night fire, and devised a plan to kill him the next day. They were silent though. Their horses, painted in a warm red. On further inspection, it was blood. He saw them standing high on their horses, holding their absolute lethal weapon. Duce turned the mule, putting his foot in the stirrup. He thought they'd kill him from behind as he escaped.

 

One began to cry out fowl sounds. Ones that the hermit could only describe to be similar to the sounds of dying deer. They reached the foot of his camp, and saw the flaps of ash from the dead fire flapping and breaking in the humid wind.

 

"Haastį' Idzúút'i."

 

There was a quiet pine, and his thumping heart made him hear nothing. Home free.

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Mick.
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#2

Posted 15 December 2015 - 12:55 AM Edited by athande, 16 December 2015 - 01:19 PM.

Chapter 2: Arrowheads

 

That evening, he had spent the night close to his mule on the cold ground. Icicles had frozen from the tip of his nose. That morning, there was no sun and the clouds laid low. The apaches were long gone, or at least he had hoped. Duce followed a meandering stream North that was surrounded by a density of willow trees. Now and again, he'd run into a small community where the kids of the town would be playing in the shallows. He shaved his beard with a blunt razor, before he gave a little girl in a dress covered in sunflowers some fishing wire and crafted a small crab catching net, then continued on. Sweeping north-east, the land became very dry. Duce would stop every twenty minutes to let the mule drink from his canteen. If it didn't live, he would die. 

 

He made it into the county of La Podersa. Its narrow, scruffy and patchy trail from the mountains made it ideal for hikers - not mule who's hooves slowly dug into the ground as it leaned slightly off the shear drop. "Hey!" he yelled, yanking it back slightly with its thin black leather ties. Podersa had five blocks, and a small town court yard. Duce was stopped by a man on the corner of the second block dressed in a rather exotic costume. It was completely metal and reflexive. The tone of this man was rather slow, grinded and forceful. "Can I offer you a towel," the man asked, but the hermit kept on walking.

 

In the bar, there was only four men.

 

"Take'a seat, why don't ya?" asked the barman. 

 

"Sure."

 

He sat on the fine, leather stool.

 

"Where bout's you from?" continued the barman.

 

"What is that to any of your business?"

 

The barman looked down, "I didn't mean to trouble ya. Just being friendly."

 

Two of the men sitting down, dressed in U.S army gear stood up and left the room. 

 

"You need'a place to rest?" one of the remaining men spoke, puffing on his wooden hand carved pipe.

 

"Yeah."

 

"You reckon you'd work for it?"

 

"What in mind?"

 

The other man stared back at Duce with beady eyes. He held a long range rifle, with a rusty barrel. He flicked his head upwards, gesturing for him to come outside where no wandering ears would be able to hear.

 

They all stood up and left the bar.


Mick.
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#3

Posted 16 December 2015 - 02:12 AM Edited by athande, 16 December 2015 - 01:25 PM.

Chapter 3: Stagnant Water

 

"I want there to be blood," spoke one of the two men, as the three of them gathered beside the tavern. 

 

"What was ya doing with those soldiers?" asked Duce, holding his mule close and stroking the back of its neck. 

 

The other interrupted, "You like this mule?"

 

"Of course."

 

"Well you better quit flapping those gums and listen. Sargent Charles was on a visit here, from the second division of infantry. Said he was visiting some children in the town. Teaching em' petty tools. We have his address, but our hands are dirty enough," the man continued. Duce acted with caution, and held a firm grip onto the saddle of the mule.

 

"So all I get is a bed? I gotta think again. How did you guys know I ain't run free and spread news like wild fire?" Duce asked.

 

"Don't worry. We would have killed ya," said the one armed with a rusty rifle. 

 

"Hows about I get a bed and moon?" Duce negotiated. 

 

The two looked at one another with stern, beady looks, "Yea. But only a bit of whiskey. The shine isn't yours to touch. Got it?" he asked, as he tossed Duce the rifle lightly. He caught it and checked it. Examining both its curves and rough edges before cocking it. 

 

"Yeah I got it," he replied, as he slammed down the hammer of it - watching the one to the left take a deadly blow to the bottom right cheek. It had blown some of his teeth out the back of his skull - causing horrific damage. For a few seconds, he was conscious. His mouth was deformed, and blood gushed down his front. He stuttered a few words before dropping backwards, lifelessly to the ground.

 

His friend began trying to make an escape. Duce fired, and missed. He knew that they were trying to set him up. It was rare to see criminals and soldiers socialising in public. However they were one of the same blood. He chased him around the corner, to the back of the tavern. The man helplessly attempted to open the back tavern door.. banging and screaming on it; nobody opened it.

 

Duce walked around the corner, and up behind him. The man turned around, with snot and tears pouring down his nose. 

 

"Quit it," shouted Duce, but he didn't stop crying. 

 

The man suddenly became viscous, and stood with his back against the door - using his fist and banging on it hard.

 

"F*ck off ya dirt pig. I don't work with no war lord," the man screamed.

 

"What's your name?" Duce demanded. "Your name!"

 

He cocked the gun again, and aimed towards him. He could see himself in the reflection of the mans watery eyes. He was going to blow his brains out, like he did to his friend. The door had swung open outwards, and knocked the sobbing man out of the way. Revealing a small kid, probably the son of the tavern owner. Smoke rose from the end of the barrel, and for that short moment when everything went white and loud - his villain had made an escape. The kid was tossed off his feet from the shot.

 

"Dadda," he kept calling out. 

 

The owner, hearing another shot, went into the cellar and slid out a battle axe. It was one that must have travelled over here through the middle passage. The owner began racing up the stairs, out towards the back door. He made it to his son, and looked up. Duce and his mule were gone. He held his son in his arms, and watched as his head dropped back - eyes wide open. There was nothing inside of him anyway. He felt very cold, and stiff. Blood dripped between his fingers onto the sandy ground.

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#4

Posted 10 July 2016 - 01:06 PM Edited by athande, 14 July 2016 - 06:29 AM.

Chapter 4: Just a passing soul

 

Sheets of lighting covered the atmosphere above as dark rain clouds swallowed out the light of the moon and stars. The ground was muddy and wet and the rain shot down like a million ball bearings. The impact was leaving small bruises on Duces’ and his mules’ skin. Grass blades grazed his calf as he attempted to identify a small light he could see in the distance. His guess was that it was a homestead. Atleast he had hoped.

 

On approach he noticed it was a two storey wooden house. A lantern light was lit outside the front door on the veranda, to scare away people I guess. He thought there may had been somebody inside. Sneaking quietly past the window on the west side of the house, he startled something… chickens began to softly bellow in the pen beside the house. About half a kilometre to the east laid a barn. No lights, just a shanty looking barn house.

 

“Let’s go..” he softly said to the mule, and it’s wasn’t long before Duce was banging on the front two large barn doors. Balls of hay made it harder to open the doors but he managed. Inside were three horses sleeping, a construction area at the far back in the dark, and at the east side of the barn were piles of hay. The sound of wind whistled outside and flapping barn windows banged loudly. All the while, he lay on his back on a haystack – covering his face with his damp brimmed hat.

 

He kept his satchel close, feeling the black knitted bag. Opening it and looking inside, he couldn’t help but feel a small smile grow on his face – before buttoning up the bag again. He held a piece of rough paper in his left hand, which was quite wet. Duce shook it hard; to see if the ink had ran. But it hadn’t. Another smile prevailed.

 

Boom, boom, boom.

 

“What in the damn hell?” he placeed his hat on his chest.

 

Duce looked up to feel the cold disturbing his acclimation. He noticed the barn door opened and another man, and older man in uniform entered. “God damn..” Duce whispered. His only reasonable explanation for this was that this man who entered the barn with his horse in US uniform was either one of two people – both nasty fellas.

 

Suspect number one. An impulsive veteran soldier, who fed his desires similarly to a wolf. Through blood when the moon was full, the stars are out. Especially on lunar eclipses. Especially on blood meridians.

 

Or suspect two, this was simply just the owner of the homestead coming into check on the situation. However, in both cases he was a high ranking veteran.

 

There was a huff from a horse, and a sigh from a man. Duce ducked behind a hay bail to stay out of sight.

 

Duce cocked his rifle, kneeling behind a hay bail.

 

“Hands up. What’s your name?”

 

The man in beige uniform, with a large brown fur coat with the union cross quickly jumped and did as he was told. The man finished stabling his ride; his eyes were beady but rapidly changed to a look of aggression.

 

“I’m just trying to get out of the rain. I’m lost. My brother..” he began rambling, soaking wet. He held his hands up, whilst holding his rifle.

 

Duce interrupted, “Sure, well. You unload your rifle, and I’ll unload mine. But, you first.”

 

He hesitated.

 

“Well, go on now.”

 

The man in beige quickly unloaded his clips, and Duce followed.

 

“What are the sleeping arrangements?” the man asked.

 

“Anywhere you wanna sleep: sleep. Simple.”

 

They sat cross-legged on separate sides of the barn on hay bails, facing each other. They couldn’t light a fire inside, so they covered themselves in whatever sheets they could find in the barn. It wasn’t only until now that Duce noticed the other man was bleeding from a minor gunshot wound.

 

“What exactly are you doing here?” the man questioned, softly shaking.

 

“I’m headed to Kentucky. But the storm got me.”

 

“What’s in Kentucky?” he began to slowly take off his wet leather gloves.

 

“Family.”

 

There was a pause, and a crack of lighting shattered over above.

 

“Who are you visiti..?”

 

“For a man who’s lost and desperate, you sure do ask a whole lot of damn questions..” Duce calmed himself down, “Ma’ kicked it.”

 

“Sorry to hear..”

 

“So, if you don’t mind me asking..” Duce began, “What’s with the uniform?” he chuckled, opening his flask and cocking his head back when taking a quick shot of liquor. 

 

“It was my brothers. I took it from him to survive out there. He didn’t make it,” the man explained.

 

“Sorry to hear..”

 

Duce swirled around flask a little and let out a groan of annoyance, but knew that he had to offer him a sip, “Want some?” he softly smiled.

 

“Please.” Duce tossed it across the wide room and watched it land perfectly in his hands. “I better explain why I’m bleeding.. I could tell you saw them…”

 

Duce coughed up some phlegm and spat to the side, “Go on.”

 

“We got into gunfight. We were hunting. Out of the damn blue an older man and this kid ambushed us…” the man began to explain.

 

“What were you hunting?” Duce asked.

 

“A man…”

 

“A man? What was his name?”

 

“Duce or Duke. I can’t remember now. That sh*thead will be long gone now.”

 

“What’s your name?” asked Duce.

 

“Lindsay L. Stooks…” he mumbled. Duce nodded his head, as he began to pretend to scratch his leg. He felt the grip of the small pistol. He only needed one shot. “So what’s your name, young fella?”

 

“Duce.”

 

CRACK. He shot through his blanket, right into Linday’s chest. Lindsay fell forward, but held his weight up – coughing up chunks of blood. He cried loudly like a lost baby calf.  

 

“God damn! You’re going to have the sergeant to speak to when he finds you; and he will!” cried Lindsay.

 

“And you, sir, need to know when to shut the f*ck up,” Duce responded, cocking back the pistol again. Lindsay attempted to grab a leg pistol, “If you try and kill me, you have Lucifer to speak to…”

 

Lindsay grabbed his pistol and quickly turned it to face Duce.

 

CRACK! A bullet flew right through Lindays forehead and out the back. He flew all the way off his knees and onto his back. A pool of blood began to cover some of the hay. The entire time the horses cried and huffed. He was sure he had awoken the residents. But then again, this was one hell of a loud raging southern storm.

 

He had to get rid of this body, hide and sleep. Duce planned to leave early next morning to Kentucky. He had always wanted to meet Kentucky Douglas. After burying the body, he laid down and looked inside the satchel one last time. He softly placed his head down and fell asleep. 


Mick.
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#5

Posted 16 July 2016 - 02:06 PM

Chapter 5 - The Lamb

 

He awoke in a sweat. He dreamt of killing savages of rabbits. The bright morning light struck his face. He squinted and patted his coat down to make sure he still had the details for Kentucky Douglas. It must had been about almost midday when Duce and Lindsay’s horse left the barn. Duce turned back to the house a few times, acting weary. Now, on the run, he needed a place to stay.

 

“Hey, ah!” he whipped the tassels forcefully, turning back to the homestead. The windows were covered up with newspaper, but the lantern had burnt out. His stomach was growling like a pack of cheebacobras. He approached the east side of the house, slowly controlling the reigns. Duce stood up with the stirrups.

 

A loud bang was heard, and he felt as if a canon ball had hit him. Duce smashed to the ground hard and the horse dashed. The end of a barrel appeared through a small cut out hole in the newspaper. Blood spewed out from his lower abdomen and he scrambled in the dirt for a little bit. He held his guts close to his body and cried, trying to keep the warm blood from spitting out of his body; embodying a glimpse of the violence he had once inflicted, now being inflicted upon him.  He made a risky attempt to reach for his holster, before being shot at again – this time, in the left arm.

 

He didn’t loose fingers.

 

“Give up your weapons now. Throw that gun underneath the house!” an older male voice called out. Duces’ first guess was that it was motherf*cking Sargent Charles and his squadron. He did what he was told. A younger boy came out with a pistol, looking no older than eight. Duce was dragged from his hair inside.

 

The door slammed shut.

 

“Rope him..” the boy screamed, as Duce was on his stomach with his hands tagged down on his back. Suddenly, his arms were tied behind him and there was silence.

 

“Charles… I thought I would run into you…” Duce hissed with his head in the ground.

 

“Charles is unable to be here. The snowstorm has caused major travel issues…” the older, raspy male voice lied. ‘What does this guy mean?’ Duce pondered. He lifted his head and noticed the residents of the home inside, aged mainly in their late 40’s, with their entrails covering the inside of the room and floors. They had been massacred. Duce turned his head to see an old man crammed inside a fireplace and burnt to death.

 

‘f*ck, that’s what the damn newspaper was for,’ thought Duce.

 

“So who are you?” asked Duce.

 

“Who are you?” asked the male.

 

“Duck. I’m the barnyard keeper. So who are you? ”

 

“Archer Fiddleberry. I’m a bounty hunter here with my grandson to take you as far away from Charles as physically and emotionally possible. And it’s not in your favour either. We are the drivers for your motorcade to meet the lamb.”

 

The eight year old stood in front of Duce. He smelt of sh*t and piss. The boy pressed his pistol barrel to his head and cocked back the hammer. 

 

“What the f*ck is happening?” screamed Duce, squirming around with blood pouring out of him fast. He knew he didn’t have long.

 

“You murdered Be’ele’achekaa ‘eme’a’eme’be’a, right?” asked the man.

 

Duce went quiet, starting to hyperventilate a little.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“You have something we want. Where’s your satchel?” asked the kid.

 

Duce wiggled a little on the ground to get comfortable. “It’s in the barn. I left it in there,” he explained. The older man waved his grandson off his back and forced him up. The older man had a horrendous hairline and a massive set of teeth. The child was strong and seemed quite cunning – he also seemed very impulsive.

 

“Grandpapa, you stay here whilst I go back to the barn,” the kid said, quickly taking off. The older man held a key that had been turned into a pistol.

 

“And just to calm your sorry ass down, you’re not going to be seeing Charles,” the old man called out. They weren’t after him like Charles was. They knew that he had something very, very valuable on him.

 

Duce had thrown the satchel underneath the house with his gun when he entered. What’s the point of throwing away one valuable thing without the other? It was like a puzzle. Everything had to fit to ensure his survival. Luckily, they weren’t going to be looking there for it. And neither would they find it.

 

The kid arrived back about five minutes later. He kicked Duce hard in the side, “We need to fix you up before you bleed out,” the little kid began to take out his medic kit from the kitchen cabinet. He grabbed a ratchet and ripped out the bullets; dropping them into a small, empty can of beans before letting the grandfather stitch up and pad the wound.

 

“You’re lucky you’re living. So where is it? It wasn’t in the barn,” the kid said, as they all sat in the living room – quietly staring at one another.

 

“Where is what?” Duce played dumb.

 

“You know what I am talking about…”

 

“Before I start talking. I would like some liquor to help numb the pain of my f*cking gunshot wounds, please,” Duce renounced, his voice raised slightly.

 

“Certainly. I am Braxton Temple, by the way,” the older man began speaking – seeming no longer frail. Perhaps it was all just an act. “And this is my grandson, but I’ll leave his name out for now,” he began, as the kid handed him a large bottle of tequila. He smelt it and took a long sip, “And like I said, son,” he lifted it up and sculled some, before dropping it back down again and swallowed deeply, “We are here as your motorcade to the lamb.”

 

“The lamb?” Duce retorted.

 

“Correct,” he tossed Duce the bottle. It landed into his lap as Duce relaxed back into the couch. This man seemed delusional. Duce had then and there made the assumption that this man was very religious, and was vowing to kill Duce and send him to the lamb – also known as lucifer, satan.

 

“Do you believe in a god?” asked Duce as he began to use a nearby shot glass – taking fast shots.

 

“Me? Oh, I suppose. You?” asked Braxton as he cracked his knuckles.

 

Duce softly shook his head and sighed out a “Nah.” He suddenly remembered the story that Lindsay had told him, “You murdered a man. Somebody else escaped? It was an ambush, right?” said Duce.

 

Braxton tightened his fist hard and the leather on his gloves was heard tightening. The kid looked a little worried, as if Lindsay was going to break in and rescue Duce. “Yeah, we did that. Why?” said the kid.

 

“I killed his brother in that barn over yonder,” responded Duce.

 

The old man began to softly laugh which began to grow. The kid joined in, but Duce was not laughing – not one single bit. He was going to murder these two sick and twisted motherf*ckers.

 

“We can’t stay here,” Braxton stood up slowly and grabbed his rifle. He handcuffed Duce again, and they quickly headed out towards the back stables. There was a carriage.

 

The kid drove, and Braxton sat inside in the warmth with his fireplace.

 

“Wouldn’t it just be a darn shame if someone were to light a candle?” said the kid, as they had left the back stables into the front yard. He dropped the lantern onto the ground, and it busted, reacting with gasoline that the kid had poured around the outside of the house prior to leaving.

 

The entire house slowly became engulfed in flames. A ball of flames exploded and black smoke rolled out into the clear blue sky. These two guys had straight evil character. Inside the carriage was nice and cozy, with a very, very tiny kitchen space beside the seat, which folded out into a bed.

 

Braxton seemed to act quite polite about the situation. Duce smiled warmly, and spoke with humbleness. All of it was bullsh*t.

 

“You know what man, you really got me…” Duce chuckled.

 

Braxton smirked, as his teeth clicked against the wooden black pipe he was smoking. “I appreciate the gratitude to talent, but please do not see this as a game of you hiding and me ‘getting you’… I had you… you know what, you’re now going to remain silent until we’re at Fords.”

 

And Duce stayed quiet. This man and his grandson were vigorous bounty hunters; the very cream of the crop. He glared outside the window as the kid began to head down into a low sanded cold valley were a flock of vultures were eating the brains of a dead naked woman and two babies. African decent. 

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#6

Posted 19 July 2016 - 09:43 AM Edited by Failure, 19 July 2016 - 09:44 AM.

Your sense of pacing is good, and the dialogue is fluid and succinct. Here are a few comments on the first part:

 


 
A fallen blanket of snow had weighed down the roof of his]his hermit type tent the hermit's tent (reference the man before using the pronoun). The mule huffed. The hermit was dressed in a jacket, from the fur of a rouge wolf (telling imagery, I like it). He wore cotton black pants, and a scrap holster containing a small pistol hung loosely on his hip. The embers of the fire had melted the strata of snow, revealing only earth (I like this bit; subtle, but effective in its suggestion of what's to come).
 
"What that be?" the hermit squinted, moving slowly towards his mule.
 
He spotted black smoke about twelve miles out on the dry spinned (this seems a bit awkward, maybe go for "arid" or "desolate"), plateau; the Apache would call this their homestead. A group had passed just late noon yesterday when it was twilight, upon the grassy knoll he was perched on, carving logs into spears. They wore no clothes, and howled as if the god of war had wrapped its arms around our moon. 
 
All of a sudden, the trotting of horses was heard. "Sh*t." The hermit, his Christian name Duce, spat between his teeth. It was them again. They must have seen the night fire and devised a plan to kill him the next day. They were silent upon their horses, freshly adorned with a warm red paint; on further inspection, it was blood. He saw them standing high on their horses, brandishing weapons. Duce turned the mule, putting his foot in the stirrup. He thought they'd kill him from behind as he escaped.
 
One began to cry out foul sounds. Ones that the hermit could only describe to be similar to the sounds of dying deer (I like the symmetry here. Duce is linked to the wolf, the Indians to the deer). They reached the foot of his camp, and saw the flaps of ash from the dead fire flapping and breaking in the humid wind.
 
"Haastį' Idzúút'i."
 
There was a quiet pine, and his thumping heart made him hear nothing. Home free. (solid finishing line).
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#7

Posted 19 July 2016 - 09:52 AM Edited by Failure, 19 July 2016 - 10:00 AM.

Chapter 2: Arrowheads

 

That evening, he had spent the night close to his mule on the cold ground. Icicles hung from the tip of his noze. That morning, there was no sun and the clouds laid low. The Apaches were long gone, or at least he had hoped. Duce followed a meandering stream north that was surrounded by a density of willow trees. Now and again, he'd run into a small community where the kids of the town would be playing in the shallows. He shaved his beard with a blunt razor, before he gave a little girl in a dress covered in sunflowers some fishing wire and crafted a small crab-catching net, then continued on. Sweeping north-east, the land became very dry. Duce would stop every twenty minutes to let the mule drink from his canteen. If it didn't live, he would die. (Good description here, also adds some subtle depth to Duce).

 

He made it into the county of La Podersa. Its narrow, scruffy and patchy trail from the mountains made it ideal for hikers, less so for the mule whose hooves slowly dug into the ground as it leaned slightly over the shear drop. "Hey!" he yelled, yanking it back slightly with its thin black leather ties. Podersa had five blocks, and a small town court yard. Duce was stopped by a man on the corner of the second block dressed in a rather exotic costume; it was completely metal and reflexive. The man's tone was slow yet somehow forceful. "Can I offer you a towel?" the man asked, but the hermit kept on walking.

 

In the bar, there were only four men.

 

"Take'a seat, why don't ya?" asked the barman. 

 

"Sure."

 

He sat on the fine, leather stool.

 

"Where bout's you from?" continued the barman.

 

"What is that to any of your business?"

 

The barman looked down, "I didn't mean to trouble ya. Just being friendly."

 

Two of the men sitting down, dressed in U.S army gear stood up and left the room. 

 

"You need'a place to rest?" one of the remaining men spoke, puffing on his wooden, hand-carved pipe.

 

"Yeah."

 

"You reckon you'd work for it?"

 

"What in mind?"

 

The other man stared back at Duce with beady eyes. He held a long range rifle, with a rusty barrel. He flicked his head upwards, gesturing for him to come outside where no wandering ears would be able to hear.

 

They all stood up and left the bar. (The dialogue is natural, you've clearly worked on this aspect of your craft).

 
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#8

Posted 19 July 2016 - 10:00 AM Edited by Failure, 19 July 2016 - 10:00 AM.

Chapter 3: Stagnant Water

 

"I want there to be blood," spoke one of the two men, as the three of them gathered beside the tavern. 

 

"What was ya' doing with those soldiers?" asked Duce, holding his mule close and stroking the back of its neck. 

 

The other interrupted, "You like this mule?"

 

"Of course."

 

"Well you better quit flapping those gums and listen. Sargent Charles was on a visit here, from the second division of the infantry. Said he was visiting some children in the town. Teaching 'em petty tools. We have his address, but our hands are dirty enough," the man continued. Duce regarded him with caution, and held a firm grip onto the saddle of the mule.

 

"So all I get is a bed? I gotta think again. How did you guys know I ain't run free and spread news like wild fire?" Duce asked.

 

"Don't worry. We would have killed ya," said the one armed with a rusty rifle. 

 

"Hows about I get a bed and moon?" Duce negotiated. 

 

The two looked at one another with stern, beady looks, "Yea. But only a bit of whiskey. The shine isn't yours to touch. Got it?" he asked, as he tossed Duce the rifle lightly. He caught it and checked it. Examining both its curves and rough edges before cocking it. 

 

"Yeah I got it," he replied, as he slammed down the hammer of it - watching the one to the left take a deadly blow to the bottom right cheek. It had blown some of his teeth out the back of his skull - causing horrific damage (pretty redundant description here, hah). For a few seconds he was conscious. His mouth was deformed, and blood gushed down his front. He stuttered a few words before falling lifelessly to the ground. (I like the description here--killing is never clean. Just wanted to clean up the flow a bit. Comma splices can really damage the flow of prose).

 

His friend began to make an escape. Duce fired, and missed. He knew that they were trying to set him up; it was rare to see criminals and soldiers socialising in public, even if they were one of the same blood. He chased him around the corner, to the back of the tavern. The man helplessly tried to open the back tavern door. He banged on it and he screamed; nobody opened it.

 

Duce walked around the corner, and up behind him. The man turned around, with snot and tears pouring down his nose. 

 

"Quit it," shouted Duce, but he didn't stop crying. 

 

The man suddenly became vicious, and stood with his back against the door - using his fist and banging on it hard.

 

"F*ck off ya dirt pig. I don't work with no war lord," the man screamed.

 

"What's your name?" Duce demanded. "Your name!"

 

He cocked the gun again, and aimed towards him. He could see himself in the reflection of the mans watery eyes. He was going to blow his brains out, as he had done to his friend. The door swung open and knocked the sobbing man out of the way, revealing a small kid, probably the son of the tavern owner. Smoke rose from the end of the barrel, and for that short moment when everything went white and loud - his villain made his escape. The kid was tossed off his feet from the shot.

 

"Dadda," he kept calling out. 

 

The owner, hearing another shot, went into the cellar and slid out a battle axe. It was one that must have traveled over here through the middle passage. The owner began racing up the stairs, out towards the back door. He made it to his son, and looked up. Duce and his mule were gone. He held his son in his arms, and watched as his head dropped back - eyes wide open. There was nothing inside of him. He felt very cold, and stiff. Blood dripped between his fingers onto the sandy ground. 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll comment on the rest later. 

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Failure
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#9

Posted 25 July 2016 - 11:16 AM Edited by Failure, 25 July 2016 - 11:19 AM.

Chapter 4: Just a passing soul

 

Sheets of lighting covered the sky (keep it simple) above as dark rain clouds swallowed the light of the moon and stars. The ground was muddy and wet and the rain shot down like a million ball bearings (good metaphor). The impact was leaving small bruises on Duces’ and his mules’ skin. Grass blades grazed his calf as he attempted to identify a small light he could see in the distance. His guess was that it was a homestead. At least he had hoped.

 

On approach he noticed it was a two-story wooden house. A lantern light was lit outside the front door on the veranda, presumably to scare people away. He thought there may have (conditional perfect tense) been somebody inside. Sneaking quietly past the window on the west side of the house, he startled something… chickens began to softly bellow in the pen beside the house. About half a kilometre to the east laid a barn. It had no lights; just a shanty-looking barn house.

 

“Let’s go..” he said softly to the mule, and it’s wasn’t long before Duce was banging on the front two large barn doors. Bails of hay made it harder to open the doors but he managed. Inside were three horses sleeping, a construction area at the far back in the dark, and at the east side of the barn were piles of hay. The wind whistled outside and flapping barn windows banged loudly. All the while, he lay on his back on a haystack – covering his face with his damp brimmed hat.

 

He kept his satchel close, feeling the black knitted bag. Opening it and looking inside, he couldn’t help but feel a small smile grow on his face – before buttoning up the bag again. He held a piece of rough paper in his left hand, which was quite wet. Duce shook it hard to see if the ink had run - but it hadn’t; another smile prevailed.

 

Boom, boom, boom.

 

“What in the damn hell?” he placed his hat on his chest.

 

Duce looked up to feel the cold disturbing his acclimation. He noticed the barn door opened and another man, an older man in uniform, entered. “God damn..” Duce whispered. His only reasonable explanation for this was that this man who entered the barn with his horse in US uniform was either one of two people – both nasty fellas.

 

Suspect number one. An impulsive veteran soldier, who fed his desires similarly to a wolf; through blood when the moon was full and the stars were out - especially on lunar eclipses, especially on blood meridians (interesting description).

 

Or suspect two, this was simply just the owner of the homestead coming into check on the situation. However, in both cases he was a high ranking veteran.

 

There was a huff from a horse and a sigh from a man. Duce ducked behind a hay bail to stay out of sight.

 

Duce cocked his rifle, kneeling behind a hay bail.

 

“Hands up. What’s your name?”

 

The man in beige uniform wore a large brown fur coat with the union cross sewed into it. He jumped at Duce's command and quickly did as he was told. The man finished stabling his ride; his eyes were beady but rapidly changed to a look of aggression.

 

“I’m just trying to get out of the rain. I’m lost. My brother...” he began rambling, soaking wet. He held his rifle in upraised arms.

 

Duce interrupted, “Sure, well. You unload your rifle, and I’ll unload mine. But, you first.”

 

He hesitated.

 

“Well, go on now.”

 

The man in beige quickly unloaded his clips, and Duce followed.

 

“What are the sleeping arrangements?” the man asked.

 

“Anywhere you wanna sleep: sleep. Simple.”

 

They sat cross-legged on separate sides of the barn on hay bails, facing each other. They couldn’t light a fire inside, so they covered themselves in whatever sheets they could find in the barn. It wasn’t only until now that Duce noticed the other man was bleeding from a minor gunshot wound.

 

“What exactly are you doing here?” the man questioned, softly shaking.

 

“I’m headed to Kentucky. But the storm got me.”

 

“What’s in Kentucky?” he began to slowly take off his wet leather gloves.

 

“Family.”

 

There was a pause, and a crack of lighting shattered over above.

 

“Who are you visiti..?”

 

“For a man who’s lost and desperate, you sure do ask a whole lot of damn questions..” Duce calmed himself down, “Ma’ kicked it.”

 

“Sorry to hear..”

 

“So, if you don’t mind me asking..” Duce began, “What’s with the uniform?” he chuckled, opening his flask and cocking his head back when taking a quick shot of liquor. 

 

“It was my brothers. I took it from him to survive out there. He didn’t make it,” the man explained.

 

“Sorry to hear...” (the dialogue is engaging and realistic. It's a strength of yours)

 

Duce swirled around flask a little and let out a groan of annoyance, but knew that he had to offer him a sip, “Want some?” he softly smiled.

 

“Please.” Duce tossed it across the wide room and watched it land perfectly in his hands. “I better explain why I’m bleeding.. I could tell you saw them…”

 

Duce coughed up some phlegm and spat to the side, “Go on.”

 

“We got into gunfight. We were hunting. Out of the damn blue an older man and this kid ambushed us…” the man began to explain.

 

“What were you hunting?” Duce asked.

 

“A man…”

 

“A man? What was his name?”

 

“Duce or Duke. I can’t remember now. That sh*thead will be long gone now.”

 

“What’s your name?” asked Duce.

 

“Lindsay L. Stooks…” he mumbled. Duce nodded his head, as he began to pretend to scratch his leg. He felt the grip of the small pistol. He only needed one shot. “So what’s your name, young fella?”

 

“Duce.”

 

CRACK. He shot through his blanket, right into Linday’s chest. Lindsay fell forward, but held his weight up – coughing up chunks of blood. He cried loudly like a lost baby calf.  

 

“God damn! You’re going to have the sergeant to speak to when he finds you; and he will!” cried Lindsay.

 

“And you, sir, need to know when to shut the f*ck up,” Duce responded, cocking back the pistol again. Lindsay attempted to grab a leg pistol, “If you try and kill me, you have Lucifer to speak to…”

 

Lindsay grabbed his pistol and quickly turned it to face Duce.

 

CRACK! A bullet flew right through Linday's forehead and out the back. He flew all the way off his knees and onto his back. A pool of blood began to cover some of the hay. The entire time the horses cried and huffed. He was sure he had awoken the residents. But then again, this was one hell of a loud raging southern storm.

 

He had to get rid of this body, hide and sleep. Duce planned to leave early next morning to Kentucky. He had always wanted to meet Kentucky Douglas. After burying the body, he laid down and looked inside the satchel one last time. He softly placed his head down and fell asleep. 

 

 

 

There's some good imagery and fine dialogue in this last part. I'm interested to see where you take this. Spend a few minutes in Word (or Open Office--the free alternative) checking your work before posting it.

 

Overall: Plot, pacing and dialogue are all good. The characters are realistically portrayed and I'm interesting to see where this will go. You might want to work on your grammar and punctuation, though we all struggle with these things in some way and the main thing is actually getting writing out there, as you've done.

 

 

Good luck with the rest of the piece mate.





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