Scarlett could always tell when someone new came to the saloon. It was the footfalls that gave it away. Only the clientele used the front door, and they were always wearing those boots. Cowboys they called themselves, but Scarlett preferred the term "Pig Heads." Most of them were.
The regulars had quick footsteps, always eager to get that glass of home brewed ale after a "hard day's work." Those pig heads didn't know what a proper hard day's work was. Scarlett knew. She'd known from a young age. Taking care of her brothers and sisters after her father died on the railway had been a challenge, but she'd had to learn to deal with it, especially when her mother took sick that very same year with Consumption. The only way of making decent money was to sell her virgin body at the saloons.
Since the age of fourteen she'd been doing all of the unsavoury business of the day for those "hard working' men", just to make enough money to feed her family. Starting young had its advantages; she was now in charge of all the Saloon girls in "Finnegan's" and earned triple what she had at the start. Thankfully the more unsavoury aspects to her job were kept to a minimum, and she held a post behind the bar, tempting the men with her girls. This was where she was, shining up a couple of glasses, when she heard them.
Slow, lengthy footsteps they were, the footsteps of a first timer. Finnegan's was the best bar and saloon in the mid-west, a first timer always walked slower once they entered, just to take it all in. Scarlett thought it was the sheer expanse of the saloon that took them by surprise. It didn't look like much from the outside but the inside was something different altogether, with four stories for lots of depraved activities.
No, these footsteps didn't sound like those of someone who was impressed by the surroundings. They sounded like they had a purpose.
"Scotch straight up," said a voice as deep as the gold mines she'd heard of on the West Coast. Without looking at the new comer, she grabbed a fresh glass, and dumped in a decent helping of the amber nectar. As she slid the glass to her new patron, she finally looked at him. Her breath caught in her throat.
"Thank you ma'am."
Scarlett knew without any doubt that the man she was looking at was the one from the posters. Every sheriff, in every town, in a 50 mile radius had this man's picture. The Immortal Man.
He swallowed the scotch in one huge gulp, and ordered another. Scarlett paused for a moment before serving again. She didn't scare easily, you had to have thick skin for this type of work, but for some reason this hulking mass of a man was giving her chills. His hair was as black as coal, and his eyes were a piercing blue. His nose was crooked, and he had a faint scar on his left cheek. It looked like he hadn't shaved in about a month, and his beard was thick and glossy. It reminded Scarlett of the colour of raven's feathers.
Why was he called The Immortal Man? The rumours were different depending on which town you went to, but Scarlett liked Old Man Magee's story the most. He claimed that The Immortal Man could be shot a number of times, and still survive to kill his opponent in a duel. Magee claimed it was because he was a descendant of angels, but looking at him made Scarlett start to think more along the line of demons.
"The Duxton Brothers are looking for you I hear," said another patron at the bar. Scarlett glanced at The Immortal Man as she picked up another glass to polish. He said nothing as he finished the last drops of his scotch. He briefly looked at her with those piercing blue eyes as he threw a couple of coins onto the bar.
"Keep the change," he murmured, hoisting himself from his seat. When he turned around Scarlett spotted the two silver revolvers resting by his sides. Instantly she, and everyone else who had been watching him, knew his business in town. He was meeting with the Duxton Brothers.
The Saloon emptied, and Scarlett watched from a window as her patrons gathered to watch the standoff. Emmett Duxton was already out there, waiting patiently for The Immortal Man. Scarlett glanced to the clock on the wall. It was almost midday, the traditional time for a standoff. The Immortal Man seemed to loom over Emmett, even though they were almost 20 paces apart. Scarlett found herself worrying her lip as the clock ticked closer to noon. Those silver pistols, even though they were holstered, glinted in the blistering sun. Mere seconds to go now until the draw...
Scarlett jumped, and gasped as she watched The Immortal Man fall to the ground. A couple of heavy, silent moments later, the town clock chimed midday. Blood poured from The Immortal Man's head, and Scarlett spotted Emmett's brother, Billy, on the balcony of the apothecary opposite the saloon. A dirty trick that made the bile in Scarlett's stomach rise up slowly, and painfully to the back of her throat. She was just about to turn away when someone in the crowd, Mrs. Jameson it sounded like, screamed.
The Immortal Man was moving. He was getting to his feet. The crowd started to murmur, and panic quickly spread. He wiped the blood away from where the obvious gunshot wound had been, drew his silver pistols, and in the blink of an eye the Duxton brothers were dead. As he holstered his pistols again he glanced at the saloon window, and met Scarlett's transfixed gaze. In that instant she saw the devil, and a burning flame that hungered for blood in those cold, piercing eyes. He left town just as quickly as he'd come, and The Immortal Man walked back into legend.
As Scarlett made her way back to the bar, and listened to the frenzied muttering outside she couldn't help but think to herself, "Old Man Magee had it wrong. He's not an Angel, he's the Devil."