Blood And Guts
(Old West AU)
Chapter 3 added 27 July 2007
Chapters 4-5 added 31 July 2007 - Completed
WARNING: This story deals with graphic violence, adult situations, strong language, demonic possession, and the violent and bloody death of an M7 character by another M7 character. If you do not like or if this will offend you, or if you are faint of heart or weak of mind DO NOT read!
Author's Note: The characters in this story can also be considered OOC.
(Death Comes Knockin')
It was just another hot and humid Saturday night in Four Corners, New Mexico. Most of the male population was at the local saloon, trying to cool down with shots of whiskey and cold beer. Six members of the Magnificent Seven team were sitting at a table, in a corner, playing poker.
As usual, that damned Ezra was winning. But it was all in fun, so the other five weren't getting too upset. All of a sudden, the bat-wing doors were flung open. The leader of the peacekeepers, Chris Larabee staggered into the saloon. He was holding a half-emptied bottle of cheap whiskey in his left hand.
He, somehow, staggered to the table where the other six men were playing cards. He stopped behind Ezra. "You boys havin' fun?" he growled.
"We are have a delightful time, Mister Larabee," answered Ezra.
"Well, that's real good, Ezra," said Chris. "But I need to talk to you boys, now."
"This is our last hand, Mister Larabee. Then, we will be ready to join you, if you wish," said Ezra.
Chris managed a slight grin and whispered, "That's okay, Ezra. You're not needed, anyhow." A second later, the saloon was startled into silence by the report of a six-gun. The other five men at the table watched in horror as the front of Ezra's head exploded into a spray of blood, brain matter, and skull fragments. He was dead before his head slammed against the card table.
JD Dunne was the first to break the silence when he jumped out of his chair and screamed, "Dammit, Chris, what the hell's the matter with you?! Have you gone crazy?!"
Chris turned his cold steely green eyes toward JD, his still-smoking gun pointing straight at JD's heart. He answered, "Yeah, JD, I'm crazy. Crazy like a fox. This is my town. From now on, my orders are to be obeyed, without question or half-assed comments. Understand?"
Josiah slowly stood up from the table, holding both hands in front of him. "What's wrong, Chris?" he asked. "You've never acted like this before."
"It's time for a change, Josiah," Chris answered. It was then that Mary, who just happened to be in the saloon listening to gossip for the Clarion, opened her big mouth. "How can a man be so evil, that he would shoot one of his best friends in the back like that?"
Chris looked at her the way a wolf looks at its prey and said, "Lady, you don't know what evil is, yet, but it's coming. And, it's bringing hell with it." Then, in a loud voice, Chris said, "Will somebody please drag this lump of clay outside and bury it? NOW."
"We'll take care of him," said Buck. "He was our friend."
A half-hour later, the six men stood around Ezra's hastily and shallow-dug grave. "Josiah should say a few words," said Vin.
When a familiar voice from the darkness said, "No need for that."
--- End of Chapter One ---
The five men, standing around the freshly dug grave, were shocked to hear Ezra's voice. "There's really no need for words since I'm not there," Ezra said as he appeared beside Buck.
Buck was so startled, he leaped across the grave exclaiming, "Ah hell, no, this ain't right!"
Nathan fell to his knees, saying, "Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy... Ezra's done come back from the grave to gets us!"
Vin looked down at Nathan and said, "Get the hell up, Nathan, and act like a man."
Josiah grabbed Nathan by the arm, saying, "C'mon Brother Jackson, get up. Ezra's not mad at us."
"The hell I'm not!" spoke up Ezra. "You bastards let me get murdered!"
"It w-wasn't our f-fault," stuttered JD. "We didn't k-know what Chris was p-plannin'!"
"S-s-so w-w-what?" mocked Ezra. "But, down to business," Ezra continued, "I came back to warn you gentlemen. Chris isn't the same Chris we've come to know and love."
"We sorta figured that out by ourselves," replied Buck.
"Shut up, Mister Wilmington, and listen," Ezra demanded. "The Chris we knew is gone."
"Where?" asked JD.
"That's got to be the stupidest question I've ever heard. Are you here with us, Mister Dunne?" said Ezra. "Now, dammit, now all of you shut up and listen! He's lost in the darkness. He's lost his soul. His heart has grown cold."
"What happened?" asked Vin.
"The revenge he seeks for his wife and son has finally consumed him. His dark side has taken over."
"What can we do to help, son?" asked Josiah.
"We still having this argument, even in death, Josiah?" asked Ezra. "I share no blood with you." Josiah just gave Ezra a patronizing look and a soft smile.
"Well, Ezra, what do we do to help? He's still our friend," demanded Vin.
"There's only one thing you can do, now," said Ezra.
"What's that?" questioned Buck.
"Kill the son of a bitch," growled Ezra. "The same way he murdered me."
"We cain't do that," said Vin. "You're just mad 'cause he killed you."
"Damn right I'm mad," said Ezra. "Wouldn't you be? But, the point is, he's too far gone, now. That's all you can do, or he won't stop."
"You can't expect us to just shoot him down!" exclaimed JD.
"I can and I do."
"That would make us murderers," said Buck. "The law would come down on us."
"Not if you all leave town and separate. It would make it harder for the law to find you."
"I just wants to go home," murmured Nathan.
"Well, you can't just go home!" growled an exasperated Ezra. "Chris has to be killed, boys, but never fear... when the time comes, I'll let you know when and I'll be here to help. I have to go, now. My energy is getting low. But, remember what I said," Ezra said as he vanished.
Without a word, the other five men headed back towards town and were soon swallowed by the darkness of the night.
--- End of Chapter Two ---
It started out as another hot, dull day in Four Corners. Chris Larabee sat behind the big Oak wooden desk in the jail, trying to escape the early morning heat. It was almost nine when the old wooden door burst open and an out-of-breath Casey Wells stormed in.
Chris was so startled that he almost went for his gun. "Is it true, Chris?" asked Casey. "Is it true?"
"How the hell should I know?" grunted Chris. "Is what true?"
"Is Ezra really dead?"
"Oh, well, yeah," answered Chris. "He is."
"Why did you do it, Chris?" cried Casey. "Why?"
"Well," said a slightly grinning Chris, "it just seemed like the thing to do at the time."
"Are you crazy, Chris?" demanded Casey.
"You know, that's the second time I've been asked that question," stated Chris. "And, I'm getting mighty damn tired of it."
Casey looked into Chris's eyes and felt a chill run up her spine. Chris's usual green eyes had now taken on a strange red glow. And, his voice had changed. It had become deeper, harsher. Casey felt fear like she'd never felt fear before. Her brain kept telling her to run, to get away, but Chris was too fast.
He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her across the desk. "Going somewhere, Casey?" he asked. "Not leaving so soon, are you?"
Using her other hand, Casey tried to pry his fingers loose. But it was no use, his grip was too strong and he was hurting her. "Please let go!" Casey cried.
"You a crier, Casey? I like it when they cry."
Casey tried pulling away from Chris but he just held on tighter. He dragged her over to the jail cell and slammed her face forward against the bars. "It's time you find out what it is to be a real woman," said Chris.
It was at this very moment that JD, Josiah, Buck, Vin, and Nathan strolled into the jail. They were shocked at what they saw taking place. "What the hell's going on?!" yelled JD.
"Stop it, Chris! Let her go!" yelled Josiah.
Chris wrapped his left arm around Casey's throat and swung her around to face the others. The other men were horrified to see Chris's razor-sharp Bowie knife against her stomach. "One more step, boys, and I'll gut her like a fish," growled Chris.
"You don't want to do that, Chris," said Vin.
"The hell I don't," replied Chris. "You wanna call my bluff, Vin?"
"You gotta let her go," said Josiah. "She's our friend."
"Ah, hell, Josiah, the one thing I don't need is another friend. I'm just going to show her a good time."
"You can't do that!" exclaimed JD.
"The hell I can't. She comes in here swingin' that tight little ass, what does she expect to happen?"
JD gave Chris a hard I-could-kill-you-right-now look but, instead, he just asked, "What would it take for you to let her go?"
"Well, let's see," started Chris. A smile crossed Chris's lips. "I know, JD, you could quack like a duck."
"What?" demanded JD.
"You heard me," growled Chris. "I said to quack like a damn duck. All of you. NOW!"
At first, they refused. But Chris just pressed the shiny blade harder against Casey's stomach. "Please, JD!" Casey cried out. "I just want him to let me loose."
"Okay, okay! We'll do it," said JD.
"I'm not quackin' like a damn duck," snarled Buck.
"Fine, Buck, then you can clean Casey's guts off the floor," said Chris.
"You can't really mean that, Chris," pleaded Buck.
"Like I said before, try me and see."
"Okay, boys, let's do what Chris wants," said Vin.
"Quack quack quack," went the five men.
Chris just laughed. "Now I know you can do better that that, boys. Especially you Nathan."
"I did what you asked," replied JD. "Now, let her go."
"That was pathetic," said Chris. "Say it louder and put some action into it."
"What action?" asked Josiah.
"If you're gonna quack like a duck, you should walk like a duck."
"Ah, hell!" yelled Buck.
"No, sir, Mister Chris. We does it. Come on Mister Buck," said Nathan.
That's right, Mister Buck, get your ass to movin'," mocked Chris.
All five men squatted down and did the best duck imitation they could. "QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!"
"Damn, that was actually pretty good," stated Chris.
As the five men stood up, Chris shoved Casey towards JD. "Get her the hell outta my jail," growled Chris.
JD grabbed Casey by the arm and pulled her towards the door, saying, "C'mon, Casey. Let's go."
Casey was all too happy to obey.
Chris looked at the other four men and said, "I got a job for you boys."
At that minute, Ezra appeared in the midst of the group. "What are you up to now, Christopher?" Ezra demanded.
"None of your damn business, Ghost. Why ain't you in hell where you belong?"
"I can't rest, Chris. You murdered me for no reason. Remember?"
"He can't help it," chimed in Vin. "He's being controlled by an evil force."
Ezra gave Vin a hard look. "It's his own fault, Vin. He left himself open for it to happen. He has to be held responsible."
"And he will be," said Buck. "But not your way, Ezra."
"We will see," said Ezra as he vanished.
"Well, now that that's over, back to business. I want you four to go over to the saloon and find Judge Travis. Tell him to stop drinking his damn breakfast and to get his drunk ass over here," demanded Chris.
---End of Chapter Three---
It was almost forty-five minutes later when the men returned with Judge Travis and JD. "Well, it's about damn time," stated Chris as he rose up from behind the desk.
"What can I do for you this fine morning, Mister Larabee?" asked Judge Travis.
"Well, Judge, it's come to my attention that you may be contemplating signing a warrant for my arrest for the killing of Ezra."
"That's right, Chris, I am," answered Travis.
"Why? Hell, it was self-defense. Everybody saw it!"
"Self-defense my ass! You shot him in the back of the head!"
"So, I got him before he could turn around. No law against that."
"In my book, it was murder," said the Judge, swaying from side to side from one too many drinks.
"Damn, Judge, you can't hardly stand up. You think you're going to arrest me?" demanded Chris.
"Not me. Them," said the Judge as he pointed at the other five peacekeepers.
"Shit fire and save the matches!" said Chris. "They do what I say. If that's all you got, you might as well stagger on back to the saloon. But, before you do... I think I should teach you a little lesson," Chris said as he whipped out his Bowie knife.
Chris grabbed the Judge by the hair of his head, placing the blade of his Bowie knife right at the hairline. "You think a little scalpin' will do it?" asked Chris.
"You don't want to kill me, you damned fool! You'd bring the whole U.S. cavalry down on your head."
"It's not my head I'm worried about," said Chris as he pressed down on the knife and started to cut.
The sound of Josiah's pistol barrel against Chris' head made a dull thud. Chris crumbled to the floor and was out like a light.
"Oh, my God! Thanks, Josiah!" cried the Judge as blood dripped down his forehead.
Josiah gave the Judge his best go-to-hell look. "Get yourself gone and stay gone," growled Josiah.
"Yeah, we'd better go, too," said Vin. "He's gonna be mighty mad when he wakes up."
"Where are we going?" asked JD.
"To my room at the boardin' house. We've got plans to make," said Vin.
Five men followed Vin out of the jail, leaving Chris unconscious on the floor.
An hour later, the five men found themselves in Vin's upstairs room at the boarding house, rehashing everything that happened since Ezra's murder.
"Somethin's gotta be done," said Buck.
"We should oughta leave town," said Nathan.
"We ain't leaving," said JD.
Chris had spent the last twenty-five minutes standing in the dusty street and screaming insults toward the boarding house. He was so full of rage, his hands were shaking and he just wanted to kill somebody. He was daring the five men to come out and face him like men.
"GET YOUR ASSES OUT HERE AND FACE ME!" screamed Chris. "I WANT TO KNOW WHICH ONE OF YOU COWARDS SPOILED MY FUN!"
"What are we going to do?" Josiah asked, looking at Vin.
"I'll tell you what you're going to do. Kill him before he kills you," said Ezra appearing in the crowded room.
"We're not murderers," said Vin.
Ezra looked at Vin with disbelief in his ghostly eyes. "My God, Mister Tanner! He made you quack like a duck! How manly is that?"
"I don't know, Ezra. But he's our friend, we cain't just shoot him down!"
"Sure you can, Vin. The time is right. He's focusing all of his energy on being mad."
"And, don't forget what he tried to do to Casey, Vin," said JD.
"I ain't forgetting nothin'," said Vin.
"Then do it, now," said Ezra. "The time is right."
"I'll do it," said JD. "I'll go out and face him down. I can take him."
"Hell, JD, you couldn't take him on his worst day," scoffed Buck, "You ain't that fast."
"I can, too, Buck. I been practicing!"
"Shut up, JD, before I knock some sense into your head," said Buck.
"Do it, Vin. You've got the rifle," said Ezra. "If you don't, he'll surely kill all of you."
"COME OUT OF THERE, YOU BASTARDS!" screamed Chris as he fired a shot towards the window.
Vin's bounty hunter instincts took over and he reacted quickly. He took quick aim, out through the window, and fired. The roar of the rifle was loud and deafening in the small room.
The bullet slammed into Chris' chest, like the blow of a nine pound sledgehammer, knocking him over backwards. Chris wasn't down for the count, yet. He hit the ground, rolled a couple of times, and came back up on one knee with his six gun in his hand and ready for action.
Chris fired two more fast shots toward the window. "Again, Vin!" yelled Ezra. "Shoot him again!" Vin's rifle roared a second time. The bullet exploded through Chris' belly. He fell, again. This time he just lay there, unmoving.
"It's done," said Vin.
"Hallelujah!" shouted Ezra with glee.
"Hold on, Ezra," said Vin. "There's somethin' I wanna know. And, I want the truth."
"What?" asked Ezra.
"Was there a way we could've saved Chris?"
"Of course there was," answered Ezra. "But that doesn't matter, now."
"You're a real piece of work," said Vin. "If you weren't already dead, I'd kill you myself."
Ezra's laughter filled the room, but he had already disappeared. A crowd had started to gather in the street below, just as Mary entered the room.
"Is he dead, Mary?" asked Vin.
"He is," said Mary. "And, you boys had better leave town. The townspeople are already calling it murder."
"Let's go," said Vin as he started towards the door.
---End of Chapter Four---
Three years had passed since the killing of Chris Larabee and Buck still had trouble sleeping at night. That's where his thoughts were when he left the warmth of the saloon, in Laredo, for the cool night air.
He dreaded the long ride back to his cabin as he started towards the hitching post, where his horse was tied. As he reached the horse, it gave a slight snicker of recognition.
"That's right, boy," said Buck as he rubbed the horse's forehead. "It's just me... Ol' Buck."
Buck had just finished untying the reins when a cold voice from behind said, "Hello, Old Buck."
Buck froze. He knew who the voice belonged to, but it couldn't be...
"Is that you, Chris?" Buck asked.
"Of course it is, Buck."
"How can that be?" asked Buck. "Yo-Your dead!"
"It's complicated," answered Chris. "I just don't have the time to explain it to you."
Buck turned around and looked Chris straight in the eyes. Even in the darkness, Buck could see Chris' eyes. He'd seen this look before. The look of a man on a mission.
"What's the matter, Buck? You look scared."
"I am scared, Chris," replied Buck in a shaky voice.
"Why? Do you have a reason to be scared?"
"'Course not," said Buck. "But how did you find me, Chris?"
"Remember that letter you sent to Mary about a year ago?" said Chris.
"Mary told you?" asked Buck.
"Oh yeah. Of course, I had to scalp her first. But, eventually, she told me everything I wanted to know."
"What about little Billy?" asked Buck. "You scalp him, too?"
"Of course not!" said Chris. "What kind of monster do you think I am, Buck? I just cut his throat."
"How could you?" demanded Buck. "That boy worshiped the ground you walked on."
"And he did, right up until the end," said Chris. "But enough chit chat. Where are the others hiding out at, Buck?"
"I don't know," answered Buck. "None of us told the others where we were goin'. We felt it would be safer that way."
"Too bad," replied Chris. He moved faster than a rattlesnake when it strikes at an enemy. Buck never had time to react. He caught just a glimpse of the razor sharp blade, of the Bowie knife, just before it sank deep into the soft flesh of his stomach.
"Oh, you've got something sticking out of your stomach, Buck," said a smirking Chris. "Let me help you with that." Buck gave a soft grunt and grabbed Chris' wrist to stop him, but he was too weak.
Chris gave the knife an ugly twist and a hard jerk upward, and in an instant he had split Buck open from his navel to his chest. Buck felt the deep burning pain. He could actually hear his own blood splatter on the boardwalk. He wanted to run, to hide, but he couldn't get his bearings. Everything was spinning around and his legs were growing weaker.
Buck managed to take two steps, before his legs went out from beneath him. He pitched face first to the hard ground. A second later, he was dead.
"Don't worry," said Chris as he walked to where Buck's body lay. "I'll just have to find the others myself." He knelt beside Buck and slowly cleaned the blade of the knife on Buck's pants leg. "I'll be sure to give them your regards, Buck," he said as he straightened up.
Chris took a quick look around to make sure nobody was watching, stepped across Buck's still warm body, and disappeared into the darkness of a nearby alley.
Somewhere far off in the distance, the lonely howl of a wolf drifted across the plains.
(Th-That's all fo-folks!!)
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