A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 14: Bonds and Bravery

From the very first step Bill opened the door, it was absolute madness! There were 2 officers, 2 criminals; all clueless on their current purpose. Of which, Bill’s first look was at the men of the law.

One was a bald muscular plucky man with a small gap in his front teeth who wasn’t paying any attention to Bill. He was with a criminal, hogtied to a chair shifting around fast and violently, with no urge of staying still and his mouth shut with a damp rag. The deputy slouched forward in a chair, dumb and clueless on his duty.

The other deputy was very insane, and took the law into his own hands. He had long parted hair; his teeth were a faded yellow and he was with another criminal, but he was also stupid. “Look-y here mister…!” The criminal shouted.

“A guest has arrived. Whoopee ding dong darnet!”

“Oi, Whitby, no one cares.” The big bald man replied in a dull, tired voice. The other deputy was suspicious of Bill’s appearance and accused,

“What are you doing nosin’ around? You can’t just walk’n in here. There aren’t no floors to sweep here. Now get goin’!”

While the surprised deputy spat out his chewing tobacco, Bill replied,

“Anyone called Judge here?”

“You can’t just expect me to let you see Judge? You know, Johnny Whitby here would love some company!”

“I… uh…” Before Bill could finish, the door opened again, but the person entering was not visitor, no visitor at all.

“So, today I want more motivation and…” Bill was in the face of the legendary Sheriff, waiting for a response, and he got one.

“Hm. Uh, Deputy Svenson”

“Yes, sir!” Svenson was the one with the long parted hair and the faded yellow teeth. After his mad argument with Jonathan Whitby he quickly turned around in an eager manner, looking Bill right in the face. He immediately said.

“This random stranger is looking for trouble! He just is snoopin’ around. That’s all his purpose here! Now go teach him a lesson!” Judge was not a firework to set off. He didn’t even consider losing his temper. He lightly glanced at Svenson, then at Bill through the corner of his eye.

“Is he? Should I?” Judge then had his full attention at Bill, while the deputies silently watched their conversation.

“Sorry to introduce myself. I am called Judge round here, as you already know.”

“Bill Burton. It has been a while since my father shown me this town. And I need a hero in my time of need, and that’s why I came back here...” As they shook hands a worried look was on Judge’s face for the first time in years. He quickly snapped out of it, and continued to speak.

“Yes, anything. What is it that you need, boy?”

“I’m here to speak of a little known fellow living at a horse ranch not too far from here. He goes by the name of Jackson Springwater.”

“If it wasn’t for me, he would be everyone’s number one friend in need. Damn I hate that guy, spends more time with horses than people. Also, I mean, who eats no meat? I mean seriously, is he some kind of rabbit?”

“So what do you know about him?”

“Ay, I know that fella!” The big bald deputy interrupted,

“Nicked my uncle’s plantation ’E did! And what’s he done to upset you?”

“The same, but he didn’t get away with it. Why are people on his side today? He isn’t friendly at all and he needs justice!”

“And that’s what I’ll do. All I need is some evidence, a few victims which I’ve got and a chance to confront him. But first, I need a little, ‘favour’ while we’re at it…”

“I’m listening…”

“A few days ago, a merchant here got robbed, with a fine vulture statue. The thieves made it looked important, and I was captured by their leader. If we get the vulture, bring the leader to justice and bring the statue to the rightful owner, I’ll be forever in your debt. Besides, you look like a good fighter.”

“Tomorrow morning I guess, but first I need my dinner, that scoundrel Springwater rendered my crops useless.”

“He did that too? Hmph. Well, the general store should get you a stick of meat and a few vegetables if that’s what you’re after. I’ll rent out a hotel room for you in the saloon. I’ll see you in the morning, Bill.”

Bill left with a smirk on his face, knowing that he is a part of the law now! He shouldn’t let this be an excuse to capture Springwater; he still has a duty to fulfil and a job to get done.

The general store was closed and Bill’s stomach was hollow, so he went through the saloon doors in hope to fill his gut. The kind hearted innkeeper Thomas Cartwright was preparing a roast turkey for himself. He stared at the innkeeper and he said with his mouth full,

“Ay, um uh… you want sum?”

With a mouth filled of saliva Bill replied, waving his dollar bill in his face,

“Yes, please!” The innkeeper and Bill had a lengthy discussion, mainly about his work for Judge.

“You get to work for the Judge! He must seem to like you! What an honour! But his work is dangerous, you know that? Anyway, tuck in, friend!”

They both ate slowly but thankful. Bill slid his dollar on the table while chomping down his scraps of meat. Cartwright pushed the plate towards Bill, and after a burp he said,

“I can’t eat another bite! Feel free, have the rest!”

Cartwright was then talking to Judge, who was walking towards him as he entered the saloon. He mentioned that he needed Bill to spend the night, ready for his mission the morning after. Judge quickly said to Bill before his slumber,

“You are tired and so am I, but I need to mention our enemy tomorrow. Springwater is a worthless, pathetic human being and is nothing compared my enemy. Murdoch Cunningham, the leader of the bandit chiefs. Svenson found their new hiding spot before they bugged out of their old one. I wish you all the best Thomas while I’m gone, good night both of you.”

Cartwright reluctantly agreed on Bill’s night over in the saloon. He then went upstairs ready for his deserved sleep. In the morning, his new life awaits.

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