A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 24: Buried Earth

The church at Serenity, often busy, whilst sometimes left solitary, the unpretentious building is a peaceful yet mediocre symbol towards God. The white wooden boards that make up the walls, and the concrete floors with simple pews make it an easy way of worship whilst staying cheap yet holy. With only a small handful of people at the service as well as the law enforcement agents, this was more of a silent send-off for an unsung traitor. Father Josiah, dressed in a simple chaplain’s uniform proclaims,

“At this rather, unfortunate, day, we see our fellow friend, Samuel Armstrong, poisoned beyond belief with the powerful toxin known as hemlock. It burned him, from the inside out, just like how Satan’s fire burned us out. But with family and support, soon Hell’s fire shall be extinguished if you follow me into the path of the Lord’s light.” Whilst he continues, Judge in the back of the pews whispers to Bill.

“Psst. You…uh…know that that’s a bunch of bullshit, right son?”

“Well, with no way of telling who is right and wrong, who knows what comes after this.”

“Between you and me, we’ll never know. Remember to live each day as if it was your last, and when it is time to die, just think of it as a celebration on what you have achieved. I mean, we lived in the middle of a field for fuck’s sake, and we turned out okay!”

“But why did we, do that stuff? C’mon, did it really bring us anywhere? If it was true you ditched me for law enforcement.”

“It was good learning the tricks of the trade, but look at us now, we’re heroes! Well, sort of. We need to catch Murdoch, and fast. We don’t know what he could be up to, and if it were true…this…treasure. It can change lives! Even the bad ones who turn to crime!”

After whispering through the chaplain’s speech, Judge and the deputies make it outside, as the undertaker has finished preparing the body. It is decided that the body is to be buried in the cemetery directly outside the graveyard, of which the undertaker himself made the necessary arrangements. The casket is still, and is carried out by the deputies and a few of Armstrong’s family.

The chaplain then recites the lord’s prayer as the body gets lowered into the Earth, as the dismal rain continues to splatter down. After sprinkling holy water and saying his usual final words, he then leaves as the body gets buried by the undertaker. His outfit seemed very suspicious of a respected man of the occupation, of which Elroy was getting suspicious.

“Uh, Judge. I don’ see him before. ’E looks funny.”

“Leave it, like we care. He only nurtures the dead.” Svenson muttered. Judge, getting extremely weary and looking closely at the mystical undertaker, adds,

“Yeah, and what undertaker carries a SWORD?”

Getting dangerously close to him, Svenson tries to intimate the man. “Oy, you! Don’t smile at us! Or we’ll…put you away! That’s it!”

“Eliza, three seconds!” The man said.

“Eliza? No, now I remember! Get out now!” Bill shouted.

The man draws his sword and slashes Svenson in the torso, causing him to viciously bleed and fall to the ground. Before they can react, the law agents get distracted by a smoke bomb, which completely stops the vision of all those getting involved. Next that is heard are repetitive gunshots, as the bandits and the lawmen take cover in and around the church.

“AMBUSH!” Judge yells.

“What does it look like?!” Kate Dunn burst onto the scene. She manages to help the lawmen just in time by giving them so extra firepower.

“Now aren’t we glad to see you, what took you so long?” Bill asked.

“An uprising in the south, one of our respected colonels got sliced pretty bad, machete driven right in his neck last time I had a look at him.”

“Uprising in the south?” Judge added.

“Yes, turns out the Mexicans hate their oppression. They are picking out all of our best leaders and holding out siege in Gorodo. It’s their last stand…but we’ll talk about it later, when there’s less gunfire around here!” As the smoke lightly clears, it reveals the ‘big three’ of the Trigger Sons, as well as a few handful of bandits. Murdoch is seen hiding at the back of the church, whilst the rest hide behind the neighbouring store. Kate, Bill and Judge take cover behind the graveyard’s thick fence whilst Elroy is not seen nearby. Svenson’s doomed corpse is in the middle of the field, with a heavy gash sundering his body.

Screams of the bandits can be heard as they are picked off one by one. Although it looks lost for the lawmen, Murdoch gets an unlikely visitor whilst solely hiding behind the church. He is foolishly snuck up upon by deputy Elroy, who leaps onto him using his brute force, pinning his slender body to the ground.

“You…kill’d Svenson. He was my friend. I need…to crush you.”

His mouth is covered, so there is no chance of Murdoch able to call for help. When all looks lost, there is a familiar face in the background, taking cover in the rooftops of the saloon. He is wearing the traditional Trigger Sons gear, but doesn’t seem to be matching with the rest of them. He is holding a sniper rifle, and takes a deep breath whilst looking down his scope. With one pull of the trigger Murdoch is saved, as a bullet carved a small hole in between Elroy’s eyebrows.

“You can’t have him. At least, not yet. He’s mine.” The strange Trigger Son bandit whispered to himself.

Gasping for breath, Murdoch calls out, “What in the bloody hell was that? Who saw that? I was being attacked!”

“No? Who?” James responded.

“Doesn’t matter, I am praying for that saviour’s life. Now, fall back! Fall back! We killed Judge’s men, that’s all we really need. He is down to just three soldiers now! Let’s move on!”

“Ay, sir!” James said. “You heard the man, let’s get out of here!”

With a few cheers, the lawmen are in success as the bandits clear off, with a mass array of dead bodies littering the ground.

“Well that’s…that then. What now?” Bill said. Judge adds,

“I don’t know, lad. I just don’t know…”

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