A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 7: The Bandit Chief

A small camp in the middle of a crevasse may sound barbaric to people. But none other than home to an infamous bandit gang, the Trigger Sons. They strive for the big fortunes in the great lands of the west, robbing and kidnapping civilians in the process. From law enforcement to even harmless ranchers, their name is despised throughout.

They live as one big happy family. Well, not exactly happy, they did have the occasional arguments with each other. All of them were led by Murdoch Cunningham, the alpha of the pack. He smiled, seeing his keen strong associates playing their cards and drinking their whiskey. Others were off to the saloon in town Serenity, which was nearby.

Murdoch seemed pleased, and though they were bandits, he tried to make a living. This sounded very convincing to people, but they were in fact relentless, doing their jobs with no remorse. However, that was the risks they all took.

The bandits played poker, betting with their stolen items. Another hand was won, but they all didn’t get enraged by it.

“Better luck next time, lads?” said one of the bandits. A young bandit lost, but stood up and greeted the winner kindly. It was the third in command, and he was Terrance Cain. He wasn’t stubborn, and glad to follow with Murdoch. Cain then replied to the bandit that won,

“I’ll take you on tomorrow, and I’ll bring a hoard to bet with!”

Murdoch was impressed on this statement and joined in the discussion.

“Heh, you really think so?”

“Haven’t you heard, boss? A new merchant is coming into town Serenity with a golden statue, worth a lot of dough. What do you say, chief?”

“Do what you like. It is a Saturday tomorrow after all; I just don’t want you in jail. I don’t want to waste my time paying your bail.”

“We won’t let you down. I’ll take a few of the boys with me, just in case, y’know.”

“If you are fine with that, I wish you luck. If you want to do this, get an early night. It is always better to catch some sleep earlier, as my father said. I will be to bed as well; I should hope you do too. Good night, lads.”

Murdoch went to his room while all the others went to their dorm rooms as well. Their cabins were well kept, and comfortable. Murdoch had his own room with Terrance Cain; of which they also worked together and became very close partners. There was some noise in Murdoch’s neighbouring cabin, but it died down eventually as all the Trigger Sons drifted off to slumber.

It was morning, and there was a warm feel in the air. Terrance Cain jumped up and quickly ate some carrots next to his bedside before leaving to do his theft. He did this before Murdoch woke up and witnessed his departure, and Cain took off with 2 other bandits.

Terrence was quite smart, but short tempered. He knew the area, and the town of which he is going to rob. Serenity was an infamous town with a one-man security force. The sheriff known as ‘Judge’ was a tarnished icon in the area, and already took the life of Terrence’s brother. He wanted his revenge, and needed to steal this item to show for it.

He rode to Serenity, and already found the merchant making his rounds. Terrence and the other bandits had that distinctive grin on their faces, and licked their lips. Their horses slowed down as they reached the area. Terrence dismounted, while the others prepared for a sharp getaway.

The merchant was off guard, selling some liquor to a shopkeeper. Terrence casually walked over to him and stole the statue with haste and dashed to his horse. Judge emerged and took off chase to them. Terrence focussed on getting to his destination, while the other bandits engaged into a gunfight.

Terrence used his supreme wisdom to take Judge down. Since his bandit camp lead right into a canyon, he used his own home to an advantage. Judge continued to fire, and Cain and the bandits dodged and lead him to the chasm.

Judge sped up and was taken by complete surprise. Terrence and the bandits tricked him, and were forced to surrender under several armed bandits. Murdoch was pleased with the result and came to ‘greet’ the sheriff.

“We finally got us a legend here, boys!” Murdoch exclaimed, and Judge then responded,

“What are you going to do to me? A ransom? Something brutal? I never trusted you. The Trigger Sons are all tyrants.” Terrence then went up behind him and hogtied him. He added,

“Just depends. We’ll do whatever we like to what we see fit.”

“Keep him. You never know when a living myth will come in handy. In fact, I have a plan. Fancy assisting a bank robbery?” said Murdoch, agreeably.

Judge spat at Murdoch in rage. Terrence kicked the back of his spine and pulled a gun to his head and thundered,

“Listen here. You misbehave I break your legs. Understood?”

When all seemed lost, Judge was saved, an unknown shot struck Terrence in the shoulder blade, and he collapsed. Murdoch took his horse and rode off with the rest of the bandits, guns blazing in the air, abandoning their home and Terrence. A bandit shouted,

“This isn’t worth it boss! We got an anonymous shadow on our asses!”

Another bandit ran and grabbed the golden vulture and they all abandoned their once beloved hideout. The incognito sniper harnessed down the canyon to untie Judge and to confront him. It was a woman, and she spoke to the sheriff.

“Judge… is that you?”

“Kate? It has been a while. Was Murdoch on the wanted list?”

“Yes… Sorry I came too late to see you in such a state!”

Kate and Judge knew each other for years as law enforcement officers, but this was their first one-on-one conversation in years. They were both surprised to see each other. Judge was highly relieved, and Kate felt proud of her feat. Kate then said,

“Murdoch escaped, but it is nice to see a folk hero alive.” then Judge responded,

“Doesn’t matter, and by the way, I’m not such more of a legend people think I am. I am just doing what I am supposed to do on a regular everyday work. The thing is people just think that because I do the job the best around here in these troubled times.” Judge paused for a minute then added, carrying Terrence,

“We better get this guy back to the marshal. We caught a big prize today, thanks to you. We’ll use the leftover horses back to Serenity. But we WILL get that idol back. I promise.”

“Farewell.”

Judge left at early afternoon, and rode all the way to Serenity with Terrence on his back. It was tough with Terrence’s big and bulky body structure, but when Judge made it, he was glad. He gave Terrence to one of his deputies and went to his house for some thinking on his achievement that day. His deed had been done.

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