Saturday, February 14, 2015

a stranger orders whiskey

The stranger staggered through the saloon’s open door, gray eyes wide and unblinking despite the midday sun. He was covered in dirt and dried brown blood. He dropped onto a stool with a grunt, and to everyone’s surprise pulled a double eagle out of his pocket.

Sunlight flashed on the big gold coin as he slid it across the bar. The shining material cast its everyday magic on the crowd.

“Best you got,” the stranger said with a harsh, wet whisper.

The barkeep took the coin and ducked into a small backroom. He returned wiping dust off a crystal bottle and set it carefully before the stranger.

The stranger said nothing and neither did the dead expression on his weathered and leathery mug. He began taking long, deliberate belts of the stuff with even longer stretches of staring blankly ahead in between.

Several minutes later the click of spurs and pointed footsteps journeyed towards the light-washed entry. The outside brightness dimmed as a silhouetted figure approached.

“Shifter!” bellowed a gruff baritone, “I’m a’callin’ you out, beast. Best you come on out here, and let’s finish this. Your kind done enough harm so far; ain’t no need for more red blood.”

The alien dropped the guise. It was still covered in blood and dirt, but now its gray skin, pointed skull, and drooping head-fin were no longer hid behind its forceful thoughts. Screaming and fleeing ensued. The alien opened his broad mouth filled with wide, sharp teeth to gurgle out a resigned burst of air. He also made sure to finish the whiskey, before he spun about still on the stool.

A tall figure, still back-lit, strode inside gun already in his hand.

“You got any to say afore this is done?”

The aliened gurgled again and replied, “We didn’t think we had a real choice.”

“There’s always a choice. You could a’ left. ”

“We had nowhere else to go.”

“Don’t matter none,” said the shadowed man raising his gun.

“I’m sorry,” said the alien crushing something in its pocket. A near heatless flash of white light and outward pressure exploded into brief existence.

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