A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 15: Bandit Breakaway

When Bill Burton was young, he read stories of strong and powerful heroes helping damsels in distress. Knowing it isn’t all that, today was the day he proves his virtuous side by working for one of the most fabled sheriffs in the country.

He looked at the ceiling in his sturdy bed for nearly a half hour, and just regaining all his energy for the day to come. A quiet knock on the door, followed by a hard push on the handle, his door creaked open and slammed against the wall; Judge was here.

“Rise and shine! New day dawning ahead of you! Don’t cop out now!” The sheriff said in a motivational attitude, despite having faint black bags under his eyes. Bill replied with just a nod, and arose from bed to continue with his duty.

“Off course, I couldn’t go alone with just you.” Judge shouted out to Bill. “I have got my 2 friends. Isn’t that right Elroy?”

“Yeah, ok chief…”

Elliot Elroy was a pessimistic, dumb sort of bloke. His run down voice shows either his laziness or anxious past. Either way, he obeyed his leader and got on with what he did, despite his sense of character.

Yosemite Svenson was the other deputy, who confronted Bill when he stepped foot in the sheriff’s office for the first time. No one needs to know the food he eats or the stuff he drinks, but he only takes orders from one person (Judge) and quite cautious of friends and family close to him.

All 4 officers were on their horses and riding away to their destination; the new hiding spot of Murdoch Cunningham and the bandits. Svenson then called out to the others;

“Armadillo Bluff, this is the place, I’m sure of it. Terrence couldn’t say anymore. I mean literally, I took 2 of his teeth out, ya hoo!”

“What’s the plan?” Bill questioned. Judge then shouted out, “There are a going to be a whole squad of Murdoch’s elite sharpshooters…”

The horses pulled up; they reached Armadillo Bluff. Whilst getting of his horse, Judge then continued,

“We push up from the top up, and hopefully bring the lowlife some justice. Eh, boys?”

“Yeah, this is exciting.” Elroy said sarcastically.

All four of them were then taking cover behind a nearby rock. Bill took the first shot after focussing his target for around 20 seconds, and then pulled the trigger.

He was able to kill a scout, even from 100 yards with a Schofield revolver. Pleasingly, Judge said,

“Nice shot, lad! Being a hunter can help the outside world after all!” Upset, Yosemite argued,

“You… praise him? He just alerted the whole camp!”

“That’s what we want. Take the long climb up the hills and you should reach the top. There are rocks everywhere to so don’t be afraid to take cover. Are you ready? Then let’s go!”

The canyon involved a steep hill littered with rocks and cartwheels. A full gunfight was in the middle. Despite being outnumbered 3 to 1, none of the officers came out injured, focussing their shots and getting their targets stricken spot on.

Pushing forward and looting extra ammunition from corpses and near dead, Judge and his deputies took the long and gruelling course up the slope, firing point blank shots as they went. Bullets chambered and reloaded every second; all the protagonists had a chill of adrenaline up their spine.

They made it, and saw 3 faint figures in the distance. With a worried expression Elroy said, “Um, boss?”

“Who’s the guy in the funny slanted cap?”

This could mean only one thing; Cunningham. He was stroking his prized eagle statue while a stiff bodyguard watched him. They both saw the search party and confronted them. Besides Terrence Cain, his other companion was more seasoned; a highly trained Scottish mercenary called James McCormack. He took great pride in his saddles and stock holders bizarrely, though he was also good with a sniper rifle.

Also, surprisingly Murdoch’s wife was also present. Her name was Eliza, and wasn’t present after the vulture raid as she was off doing illegal activity in another town. She wore brown woven trousers and a cropped brown shirt. Her flaming red hair flowed down to her back, and had a distinct ruby ring on her right hand.

Murdoch’s brash British accent was easily noticeable that he was the boss. He called over to Elroy.

“Slanted cap? You never have been to South America, my good plump bald chum! Fits me, don’t you think?”

“The only sense of style you have got is rotten expertise!” Bill cried out.

“Me? Rotten expertise? Bah! You haven’t seen me with one of these fine pistols MATE!”

“Oh, ok then! I faced scum like you before, and I’ll be happy to do so with you too” I challenge you to a duel, right here, right now!” Judge warned Bill and whispered,
“Don’t! You’ll make a mistake! He has one of the fastest hands in the west!”

“I got this!” When he said this, Judge stepped back and shook his head. McCormack motivated Murdoch before the countdown, and said.

“He is a wee beasty! Cut off his limbs!” Murdoch then started to massage his stock holder, and Bill was ready to draw. With a strong Grampian highland accent, James called out,

“One...” Elroy’s mouth was wide open, shocked with Bill’s dangerous feat.

“Two…” Judge was sweating all over his neck and even took off his worn down cap to cool down.

“Three…” Even Yosemite Svenson was grinding his teeth, and gave respect for what Bill was doing.

“Draw.”

Bill was the first to reach the handle of his revolver and took the first shot, of which Murdoch’s quick reflexes dodged the bullet, with it zooming down the edge of his dry clean ears.

Caught off guard of Murdoch’s remarkable dodging ability, he panicked, which lead Murdoch to fire a piercing round, which rocketed towards Bill, but this time it hit, and Bill Burton fell on the floor, applying pressure to a pierced torso.

Murdoch laughed maniacally, and both him and James McCormack rode on the front of a stolen stagecoach and quickly sped along the track, while Elroy was trying to heal Bill’s severe wound. The lawmen didn’t have much time and quickly have onto their horses and they then rode off, in search for a doctor.

Cunningham left in such a hurry himself; he left his beloved statue behind! James and Eliza followed after him while the bandits that were left behind and still alive emerged from their cover. Marvin Van Khan was leading the troops, and discussed with them on what to do about it.

“I just thought of something boys, what would happen if we took this beauty?” Van Khan said, with his old wise face. He is the oldest member of the guild in his early-mid 50s, but still has the energy of his younger self. He was with the bandits before Murdoch, and actually came to the group as an orphan, raised by Murdoch’s father, Joseph.

“What about us? He’ll kill us!” One of the bandits argued. Van Khan just laughed at him and said,

“We have nothing to lose! After how he has been treating us, and the casualties that happened today! And look over there, I think there is someone who will agree with us!” In a poor state, it turns out Terrence Cain escaped jail and came to the bandits. With an annoyed expression, Cain said,

“That British bastard left me behind! I got tortured by those lawmen as well! We should mutiny!” Some of the bandits were encouraged, some confused, and had a deep discussion about what to do. In the end, the bandits chose to keep the vulture and put it into Van Khan’s possession, though some of the bandits still felt this was wrong.

Meanwhile after a long gruesome ride back to Serenity, the deputies were able to transfer the injured Bill Burton back just in time for the doctor to make his healing touches.

William Tyson was a well-known man in the area, for preserving life and his advanced medical techniques. When Bill Burton arrived in pain, he immediately attended to the job. He used tweezers, sterile dressing, bandages and some strong rum to ease the throbbing.

“Only a flesh wound, hold still!” Tyson instructed.

“Stay with me, uh, what’s his name?”

“Bill…” Elliot Elroy said quite depressively. With a huge yank of is wrist, he pulled the bullet out, and his ruby red blood spurted out like a geyser, and Tyson had to think fast before he lost too much blood.

“Alright, Bill, the Bullet’s out!”

“That’s… fine... ugh…” Bill said, hanging for his life.

“All better, let me just…”

William patched up with many layers of bandages along with forcing a whole whiskey glass down his throat. Bill passed out, but his bleeding came to a halt, and he can live for another day. Judge said pleasingly,

“You saved another life again, well done Will!”

“He was a very lucky man.” Replied Tyson. He held up the bullet up using his tweezers and showed it to Judge. “Even young fit men like him have fallen to bullets of these calibres!”

“Murdoch may have had you this time, but he can’t run forever!” Svenson said to an unconscious Burton.

“They can’t hide forever, him and his Scottish buddy!”

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