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.
“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.