Thursday, December 4, 2014

unwashed vagrant: part 1 of 3

The sun stretched high in the sky. An unwashed man in what once had been a bright plaid shirt stood at the edge of town, smoothing his greasy brown locks. He’d been two weeks in the cragged wild. He’d been the only survivor.

Gingerly he touched his swollen lip and the crusted wound above his eye. He moistened a dirty red bandana and tried to scrub the worst of it off his face, tried.

As he started forward again, Rutherford could feel the reassuring presence of his many weapons. The old navy six-shooter, his “hand-cannon”, hung heavy on his hip. The sharp steel tips of his hard-worn boots clicked against every loose stone. The solid slap of a bowie knife on the back of his right thigh kept tilted time with his slight limp.

Most of all he felt the sack of gems in the hollow where his big toe used to be. The constant pressure on the nub served as repeating reminder that this time had been worth it. Well, more worth it than most times.

The rock strewn street was mostly empty as Rutherford limped his way into town. The glint of silver drew his eye to an odd necklace being tucked behind the modest neckline of severe black dress. The rich blonde gave him a curious glance. There was something strangely familiar about that talisman; Rutherford was still trying to piece it together when the glance turned glare. Most townsfolk didn’t care for his type he knew, and maybe he was staring too long anyway. Another dark look made little difference to him.

A white light exploded behind him! A light so severe it shone through his skull.

It took a long time for the world to make sense again. When he came to, Rutherford was looking back East. A wall of hateful fire burned far in the distance, somewhere out near the Capitol. He could hardly comprehend what was happening when the first shockwave hit.

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