Jump to content

Iron Quill - Obsession - Old Wounds


Recommended Posts


Fire from the crash licked up towards the night sky, raging despite the downpour. Wet debris that was once a train littered the Badlands, forming a jagged maze of twisted metal and wood amongst the dunes. Men both dead and stirring were scattered like worms in the earth. One man awoke with grim purpose.

The Guild Marshal groggily pushed upwards, the flaming plank on his back slid off onto the ground. His men were all dead, probably, but that did not matter. Surveying the wreckage with his one good eye he reached for his hat and his firearm, the only two important things he had left, but before he could take hold of the hilt and brim a noise caused him to stop.   

A sickly laugh rose above the flames.

‘Blow me down, boy. You is obsessed’ a man with too much swagger for someone bleeding from the head walked into view. ‘Last time I saw you was falling off that ravine. How the hell did you survive that? I thought you was dead for sure that time’ He was ragged with a wiry moustache that twisted off at odd angles. His cheek had been branded with the mark of the guild.

‘All these years you been chasin’ little old me. All those times you came so close, hell you even bombed the damn train’ the outlaw slowly brought up a stolen peacebringer ‘For it to end like this, wit you staring down the barrel of your own gun’ Staring back the Marshal’s eyes narrowed and his teeth clenched. He showed no fear; only rage.

The laugh came again, this time with a screech.

‘But I don’t wanna kill you, boy. You wanna know why? Cus you just so damn entertainin’

After a failed arrest attempt on Jack ‘The Coyote’ Hanson the Marshal’s life had become a twisted mire of murder and folly. Brutal revenge had been sought on both sides over the years. The vendetta had taken everything from him; his morals, his family, his eye. ‘Don’t forget your lovely wife’ Jack’s tongue brushed against matted hair as he licked his lips.

She gives me a look that I will never forget; a look that tells me we will always be together. This wild woman that I share my life with crawls under the sheets. In a whisper so faint it almost shatters she tells me that we will always be together, and I believe her. 

Gunshots began to sound in the darkness.

‘Listen to that. That’s my men killing your men. Or your men killing my men. But that don’t make much difference now does it? No, what matters is this. What matters is the two of us’ Jack bent down, gun still trained on the seething Marshal. Picking up the hat Jack placed it on his own head.

‘This here a mighty fine hat, boy. Fits me like a glove; isn’t the first thing of yours that does.’


A confused memory of rage flashed through the Marshal’s waking mind; the memory of coming home and finding his wife rent asunder. If he could still produce tears they would surely flow now. Jack looked down on the fallen gun and with a snort he kicked it over to him.

‘No fun killing an unarmed man’ Jack snarled. The Marshal slowly picked up the gun and with a firm grip steadied himself to his feet. A rallying call sounded in the darkness and guild rifles blasted through flesh and sand; some of the Marshal’s men had survived at least. The thought of his men at his side strengthened the Marshal’s resolve.

‘How long’s it been, boy? Two, three years?’ every time Jack called him boy his anger spiked like a hot needle to the skull. It had been five years that the hunt had endured and it was going to end this day one way or another, under the pouring sky.  

A man wearing ex-con stripes charged from the darkness and aimed a six shooter at the Marshal. Rolling forward the Marshal let off a shot at the convict, felling him instantly. Steadying in a crouching position the Marshal grabbed a fist full of wet sand and heaved it towards Jack. Distracted by deflecting the projectile with both hands Jack was too slow to react as the Marshal called out to his men. A trio of bullets whipped from the darkness towards Jack, one bullet finding a mark and embedding in his arm. The Marshal followed up with another shot, this one sundering Jack’s shoulder and felling him to the ground. Muscles tensed and mad eye glaring he began to approach Jack, a terrible violence within him that longed to be let free.

I hate it when we argue; we don’t do it often, but when we do its bad. Spit flies from her mouth as she screams at me, telling me it’s none of my business. Of course it’s my business, if she is found out I would be fired at best, hanged at worst. But that is not what bothers me, it’s what they would do to her. I grab the cursed book out of her hands and storm out of the door.

The screams of guild guardsmen rose and fell. The Marshal stood, arm shaking but aim still true.

‘I admire you, you know’ Jack shuffled in the dirt and uneasily leaned on his elbow ‘You just keep hittin’ back don’tcha?’ Jack spat on the floor. ‘But you ain’t never gonna win’. The guardsmen in the darkness had fallen silent.

Several convicts stepped out from the darkness, not a Guild Guard in sight. Jack gave the nod from the ground and the gunslingers drew. Shots hammered into the Marshal’s gut doubling him over. Before he could right himself the brigands were on top of him, punching and kicking him to the ground. Grunting, Jack got up and waved his brigands away. The battered marshal lay still. Jack picked up an arm and dragged him through the dirt.

‘The Vultures will eat well tonight’ Jack pulled the Marshal along to the train tracks, his men following. ‘This is gonna end now, as entertaining as you are, I just feel sorry for you’ Yanking him up Jack used his foot to position his head on one of the cold iron tracks. Rust rubbed off onto the marshal’s cheek and teeth. ‘When an animal is a damaged as you the best thing to do is put it out of its misery. It’s cruel to keep it alive’, Jack raised his boot ‘And I aint no monster’ his boot smashed into the back of the marshals neck, dislocating his jaw and spine.

The lifeless body of the Marshal slumped to the ground.

I open my eyes to see her standing over me. The bed is soft but it affords no comfort. The last I remember is the gunshot and the sucking pain in my chest. There is no pain anymore, I feel absolutely nothing. She turns another page of the book whispers something I do not catch. I move my arm, is it my arm? It feels different somehow. Stroking my head she says we will always be together, and I believe her.

Jack holstered his gun and walked away with his men. They did not notice the dead marshal twitch, stir and slowly bring himself to his feet. With a sickly crack he righted his jaw.

‘Jack’ He got his attention without shouting. Wide eyed, Jack turned around; for once he was speechless. It made sense almost immediately as Jack was sure he killed the marshal on so many occasions. Jack’s men, seeing the dead man rise, fled into the Badlands.

‘You’re right, Jack. You are not the monster’ the undead Marshal with no name stood to his full height. ‘I am’

Guns holstered the two figures stood facing each other. With a crack of thunder they drew.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information