- February 12, 2021
The Hood Legacy & Immortality Chapter 4
The New Contract
“Hermanos, we really are rolling in dough now,” Jose says as he grins.
Cassidy reminds him, “Something tells me you don’t really know how much everything is. This will last us a couple months. Maybe only one.”
“A month that we don’t have to get shot at,” Jose reasons. He can always find the bright side to something.
After I turned in Rudabaugh, cleverly when he was unconscious and as an unknown criminal, I collected the five-hundred-dollar reward from the state. Now we’re staying in a nice young town, Praedo, where the town inn lies over the town bar, and gives us the chance to lay low until we think of somewhere else to go. The authorities are commonplace here, and while they are suspicious, they make a point to keep their distance.
Right now, we’re drinking at the bar, in our own little corner away from everyone else. Jose enjoys spending his cut on as many drinks as he wants.
As I start to make some headway through my drink, Butch asks me, “Any idea what to do next? Where to go?”
I offer him a little idea I’ve been cooking up. “Maybe make way Dodge City. See if anyone’s made a point to replace Billy after he got caught up there the first time.”
Jose tries to quell the interest by saying, “Hey, hey, no need to be thinking so far away. If all we do is plan, there’s a way to enjoy what’s in your face.”
Cassidy arches his brows and makes understanding face. “I think I actually agree with the Mexican on this one.”
“See, even the old gringo agrees we should take a break.” Now Jose’s validated, and needs more drinks. “I’d like to start that break now, with another bottle.” Jose tries to stand up, but is clearly wasted as he falls back down into his chair.
Sitting between Cassidy and me, I tell him, “Stay here, I’ll go get us something else to drink. Like water.”
Cassidy gets up and says, “I’ll go with you.” I can already tell that he wants to talk. He asks Butch, “Make sure this ass doesn’t try and walk away.”
Then Cassidy and me make away to the bartender, who’s not so green.
I ask him as I place some money on the counter, “Another bottle please, and a pitcher of water for the drunk fellow.” He nods his head and gets to it.
Cassidy takes this moment to ask me, “You’re not really considering going to Dodge City?”
I look up at sideways as I lean over the counter. I inform him that, “Yes, I am. Problem with Dodge?”
Cassidy leans next to me with his arms crossed. He complains, “Dodge is a place for outlaws right now. Everyone’s still trying to fill the power vacuum.”
“So we’ll fit in perfectly. Who knows, maybe instead of collecting bounties we’ll get one put on us,” I joke. Cassidy’s angry-old-man face is really making it hard to kid around. “Lighten up, I’m not talking about leaving this tonight, not even this week. Just before the money we have now runs out.”
“Maybe we could just stick around here, make money like we usually do.” Cassidy didn’t grow up here to my knowledge, so it does perplex me that he has a distaste to leave.
I remind him, “Rudabaugh was the biggest catch we’re ever going to get here. The sheriff counties are collecting everyone else, and we cleaned up the rest.” When he blows air in dismissal, I get annoyed. “Hate to remind you if we hang out someplace too long eventually, we’ll have a bounty of our own on our heads. Where do you want to go then?”
Cassidy shakes his head, obviously having not prepared what to say. “I don’t know. Maybe we go someplace where no one knows us. Maybe we stop hunting bounties and killing town girls and start something real.” That’s when the pitcher of water comes, and I give him a dirty look.
I inquire, “Where did this sudden need for something, ‘real,’ come from? What? Is being an outlaw and dressing up as a cowboy not doing it for you anymore? Or was being knocked about by Rudabaugh moved something in your noggin?”
Cassidy doesn’t take to my insults or jokes, as per usual. Instead, he just says, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not getting any younger, and maybe we shouldn’t be trying to make any more outlaws.”
Now I get it. I stop him from walking back to the table to look up and talk to him. “You don’t want Butch to be like you after he took the bullet, but you don’t want him gone either.” Cassidy doesn’t answer, but just looks at me coldly, giving me my answer. “Have you talked to him about it? His wound’s healing fine, and he can already hold a rifle. What if he doesn’t want go straight like you want him to?”
“He’ll do what I recommend,” Cassidy assures me.
“Over what I say?” I challenge him. Cassidy and me start to hold our own stare down, long enough for anyone to notice. Cassidy of course, gives way and continues back towards our table.
Butch asks curiously, “What were you two fighting about?”
Cassidy tells him, “We weren’t yelling, so there’s no reason to think we’re fighting.” Butch tries to continue but Cassidy waves him off.
Angrily Butch clings down to his drink of water. “You can fight with just your eyes you know,” Butch mutters under his breath.
When I sit, Jose has his hands out ready for his drink. I give him the pitcher of water instead. Suffice to say, he’s disappointed. With joking a grin, I tell him, “Sober up, no one wants a limp dick.”
Butch groans, “Gross.”
We mostly avoid small talk as we finish our drinks, Cassidy having killed the mood. Then something surprising happens.
This cute brunette girlie girl walks up to us without a hint of nervousness. With confidence she asks us, “You lot a bunch of cowboys, or outlaws?”
Cassidy quickly responds, “Cowboys, problem?”
I lean over my seat and smile snidely at him, then curiously at her, “He’s a cowboy. What do you need?”
“I’ve got a job if you want,” she says. Immediately I look between everyone, and everyone is skeptical.
Jose asks her with many slurs of his words, “And tell me, gringa. What job could you possibly have to give us? Boyfriend cheat on ya?”
She looks at him, obviously disgusted, and blurts out, “Um, no. Sort of, I guess. I need you to grab someone when they come into town, and give him to me, like a, um, like a-”
“Like a bounty,” I finish for her.
“Exactly,” she agrees. “He stole something from my papa’s farm, and nobody will do anything about it.”
Butch asks curiously, while also poking a hole in her offer, “If he robbed your farm, how you going to have any money to pay us?”
The girl hesitates, and explains, “He took valuables and jewelry when he took our meat. You can have those.”
“That’s it?” Cassidy questions bewildered. “You want us to attack this guy and we get some old crap from your mama’s jewelry box?”
She stutters back a little bit, obviously not thinking this through. She admits, “Okay, it’s not the best offer, but, but, that’s…” Then she takes a breath. “Listen, this guy has been going around robbing other people, and just thought that maybe you get rid of him. Do it for the town.”
Jose snorts, “Why would we do that? We’re not from here, and we’re not staying.” She gets nervous, and a little pink around the eyes. I like her spirit to come up to us, but she came half-cocked. Kind of reminds me of another girl.
Then I point out, “Girl, what’s your name?”
She looks at me confused, as if she doesn’t know, then she blurts out, “Allison.”
I start, “Allison, kid, you said this guy has been robbing people all around town, right?”
“Yes,” Allison replies.
“So, he’ll have stuff from everybody’s house,” I say to the gang.
The girl jumps on that, “Yeah! Take it all, just, bring him to me.”
Jose rubs his scruffy chin, “Not really our usual take at all, but I think if we’re going to Dodge we could definitely pawn it there.”
Cassidy stops that line of thinking right there. “We don’t know where we’re going, and there’s no reason to do anything for this girl.” He stands up and places his fists at the table as he demands to know, “Just why the hell do you want to get this guy so bad? What’s this crap about having to bring him to you?”
Allison tenses up, and gets kind of jittery. When Cassidy moved, she jumped back. I think there’s another reason she wants this guy. I stand up and stop Cassidy’s questioning with my hand. “Cassidy, calm yourself.” Then I turn to the girl, “Allison. Can we talk? Just girl to girl?” She looks at me confused.
Cassidy exclaims, “What? You want to have girl time?”
I shoot him daggers and practically threaten, “Yeah, I do. Problem?” Jose and Butch immediately tense up around us. “We’re going to talk,” I say as I get up from my chair. When I move to grab Allison by the shoulders, she tenses up real bad, and I just move to lay my hand lightly behind her back. I tell Cassidy, “We’ll have girl time, all we want. Girl, let’s finish outside.”
With that conversation done, I try to gesture her along and Allison hesitates. Then slowly she starts walking. I tell the gang, “I’ll be back.” Then I walk her out the doors, and then to the side away from where anyone can hear us.
I ask Allison softly, “What’s this guy’s name?”
“Hmm?” she sounds. “Oh, you mean the bounty. Um, yeah, his name is um, um…”
“It’s stupid isn’t it?”
“No, just that he told me to call him, Chip, even though his name is really Michael,” she says.
“You know a lot about him,” I think to say. The more I try to read into this girl, I find it obvious her and this guy has a lot more going on between them. “Want to say why?” She shakes her head. “Alright, then. I guess you’re good.” Then I try to walk away but she calls out to me.
“Wait!” Then more sadly, “Fine, I’ll tell you.” I come back to listen in close. “He was a guest, at my papa’s house. Helped around, and became a regular house guest as he was secretly robbing everybody. We got close…” I arch my brow, and she finishes, “Really close. Then he robbed us.” Then she wraps her arms around her shoulders, telling me more than her words did. “He was-”
I place my hand on her shoulder and say, “I get it. I really do.” I’ve been her place, as I’m sure many women have been. I assure her, “It’s a feeling of betrayal, but you get over it.”
Then she gets angry, and clenches her fist, “But he hurt my family, and took advantage of all our friends. I just want, I guess to take something back, you know?” I know, and I nod my head to tell her so. “So please, will you catch him? He’s going to try and leave tomorrow, and then he’ll be gone.”
I probably shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t owe her anything. Hell, there’s nothing that I’ve done in the last twenty-four hours that doesn’t make me seem like an asshole. I mean I shot an innocent girl in the face and now I want to help this one? Maybe because this girl, Allison, reminds me ever so slightly of my old friend. The blonde was a coward. My girl wasn’t.
I smile and tell Allison, “Sure, I’ll do it. I’ll bring him to you, but I can’t promise that he’ll be in one piece.”
She smiles at me and says, “I’m fine with that.”
Cassidy refused to do it, not that I didn’t expect that, but Butch decided that it wasn’t worth anything, so he said no too. Jose hasn’t given me an answer yet, but they all want to know why I want to help this girl.
At the end of the day, they’re all men, and I use to be a girl. Now, I would still think it pretty extreme to kill my first time, but then again, my first time didn’t rob me and all of my friends. I guess I like the idea of a little vengeance, and that Allison reminds me of Anne. I guess any young girl who has the balls to walk up to me reminds me of Anne Bonny.
I’m looking at the window of my room with Jose in the middle of the night. I find that I can’t sleep, so nothing new. I like just looking at the stars in the sky now and then. I hope I don’t live long enough to see someone go up there.
“Anyone outside can see your tits, you know?” I hear Jose point out behind me. I turn my head to see him sitting up with less of a hazy glaze in his eyes.
I smile and remind him, “I don’t care.”
With a shit-eating grin he grumbles, “Yeah, I know.”
I walk back over to our bed and sit down where I was laying. I sit up against the wall and he rests head right on my tits. I think he’s going to fall back to sleep on me, but instead he asks me, “Why do you want to help this girl?”
“You all forget, there are some things about her that I can relate to,” I try to express.
Quite curious, he questions me again, “So what? You have something in common?”
Slowly and sarcastically, “Yes my little Mexican, we have something in common.”
“Jackass,” he says as he laughs. “So, when do we need to get up?”
“We?” I ask curiously. I think he’s going to go with me.
He lifts his head off of me, and assures me, “Of course I’m going with you. Anne, I’d follow you anywhere.”
Making fun of him, I ask him, “Aw, are you in love with me?”
Jose chuckles and dips his head. “Love’s a strong term for simple minded folk. I prefer intoxicated, and I can’t be intoxicated with a corpse.”
Now I laugh at his retort, but remind him, “Well actually, you can fuck a corpse.”
He snorts and shakes his head, “Oh that’s gross. Maybe this is how Butch feels.”
“Maybe.” This is why I like Jose, for the most part he’s honest, and I don’t need much reason to get him to do anything. As he shifts in bed, I see his tent, which reminds me that he’s fun also, so there’s that too.
Catching my eye, he reminds me, “Still need to tell me what we’re doing.”
Very quickly, I inform him, “The girl, Allison, said that he hangs out by the abandoned mines. We’ll sneak up on him in a few hours so we’re getting up nice and early. We’ll get’em at gunpoint, hogtie him, and bring him to her farm where she said. Easy.”
“Sounds like it,” he agrees. Then I move atop of him to kiss him hungrily. When our lips separate, he jokingly tells me, “Someone’s excited.”
“I’m also hungry, so sate me.” Then I go at him again.
The next morning, Jose and I left before even saying goodbye to the other two. Figured we’d see them when this is all over. It’s an easy job, it’s just the heat we have to fight through that’s killing me. Blaze doesn’t mind, so it’s not a big deal.
The mine that Allison pointed us towards turned out to be in a plateau so no way to sneak around to get above him. I was hoping it would be an open canyon, so I could have Jose aim down from above while I went in. Nevertheless, this will just have to do.
As the horse slowly trots, I look around. We start to see the old conveyor belts, which tells me that this mine used to be for coal or some rock. It’s rusty, but not too much so. Probably only shut down a few months, maybe a year ago. I bet there used to be some other town around here that fed off the income, and when the coal ran out they all left. The town with our inn doesn’t look worse for wear, so I doubt it had a working relationship with this mine.
Huge conveyors lie on both sides, with buildings at the end where men would be in to collect it. There are buildings too under the conveyors, probably for storage or offices. The whole place looks empty, but not dead.
The buildings don’t look necessarily dusty, which confuses me. Jose starts to feel it too, and comments, “I got a bad feeling about this.”
“I reckon he’s gotta be in one of the buildings. Let’s split up and check them both.”
He nods his head and points, “Need to find a place for the horses.”
I point out, “One of the masts for the conveyor belt, that should work.” Then we start trotting over to it.
Suddenly I hear some rumbling in one of the buildings so I stop. I ask Jose, “Did you hear that?” He shakes his head. Then his horse loses hers.
Suddenly a bullet enters the horse’s head, and he topples over, horse atop his leg, crushing it. He screams out in pain.
I turn Blaze around with the reins in my left hand, and pull out my revolver in my right. I take aim at the building under the conveyor belts to the left. I see the barrel of a gun sticking out the door and start firing.
Then a shot from the opposite side takes me out, one right to the gut.
With a loud thud I’m shot off my horse to fall near Jose. He’s finished working out his gun as Blaze freaks out. I try to get up, but the pain from my ruptured stomach stops that from happening. I try again slowly, but then another shot from somewhere else hits me in the shoulder.
“Gah!” I scream out. I can only watch in dismay as Blaze turns to run away after a bullet hits the ground in front of her.
“Anne!” Jose yells out as he tries to reach out and grab me. Then bullets really start to fly, and he grabs my arm to pull me towards him. They blow up the dirt around us, a few hitting Jose’s horse.
He tries to protect me with his body so I try to yell at him not to. I grab at him, and try to shove him off, tell him I can take a hit, but it’s too late.
I scream, “Jose! Get out of the way!” As a bullet hits him in the ribs. He loses his breath, and as soon as I push him off of me, he gets one to the head. “No!”
Then I hear someone call for everyone to stop. The bullets stop coming. I still have a grip on my gun, and as three men start to exist the building on the left, I fire off shots. Just as quickly from my right a bullet blows out my right wrist, through and through. “Ahh!” I start to wheeze as I try to fight through the pain.
I look to my right as to see who shot me. Standing against the railing, with a smoking gun in her hand is Allison, smiling.
I scream at her through my teeth, “I’m gonna kill you, you lying bitch!” After I say that I feel my blood start to push the bullets out of my body, and I start to cry out in pain.
Soon I hear the steps of a horse start behind me. A familiar voice says to me, “Don’t be mad at her. It was me who told her what she should say.” No way it’s him. I struggle to turn onto my stomach to face him, and I see Jose’s bloody face first. His eyes half open, and a hole in the side of his head. I lay my cheek against his, and look forward at the conspirators.
He sits on his horse a few feet away, walking towards me, smiling with a face of demented happiness. I say with venom, “Goddamn you, Alet.”
The bastard walks over to me before saying anything. He looks over me while basking in his victory. Then he pulls out his gun. “I’m going to enjoy this.” Then he fires off a bunch of shots into my leg. I howl in extreme pain. Then with childish delight he explains, “I just knew you wouldn’t resist helping out yet another downtrodden teenage girl. They really are your fatal weakness. You bought everything my girl sold you, her whole act. The idea that she was wronged by some boy, you gobbled that shit up. I figured you’d have to be scarred. Want to know how I knew?” He leans over me from atop his horse, and grins, “You named yourself Anne. Bloody Anne. After a girl you got killed. That’s just freakin’ sad, you know that? You really made it too easy for me, I must say. Finding you was hard, I admit, but once I found you, it was simple child’s play.”
I grunt out through the excess mucus in my mouth, “I’m going to rip you limb from limb.”
“Maybe eventually,” Alet says admits, “but not today.” Then he dismounts from his horse to the side away from me. He grabs something and walks around to show that he has rope. He walks over to me as my legs are still healing, and states, “I promise you, I’m going to make your torture last until the main surprise, Claire. I’m going to make sure you feel the burn that will form to be everyday life for the coming centuries.” Then as the half a dozen followers in his posse start to come over, he asks a large man to start tying up my legs. Alet promises me, “This is going to hurt, but it’ll hurt more later.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I spit out. “What? Are you going to dose me in acid later? Drown me? Give me to a master torturer or blown me up? You can’t do anything I haven’t suffered before, Alet, I promise you that.”
Alet then climbs back onto his horse as the large henchman ties the rope around my legs to the back of Alet’s saddle. Alet grins and informs me, “You’re absolutely right. I’m just going to do something I’ve already done before, but this time it will sink in for you just a little bit more.” I just stare daggers at him with confusion He informs me, “I know about her. I know where she is, and she’s going to be brought here for me to kill in front of you.”
I just don’t understand what he is talking about. My look of utter and disgusted confusion causes him to start laughing at me. As he laughs, his men stand around intently, waiting for him to explain.
He just exclaims, “Wow, maybe you really don’t know. I guess that explains why you got so close.”
I yell at him, “Just freakin’ spit it out already!”
Alet says simply, “I’ve found the only person who can lead to your death.” Now I get it, and my look of horror only makes him that much happier. “I guess you didn’t know Claire, but you have a great granddaughter, and I’ve found her.”
Without even checking to see my look of defeat, he kicks his horse to start galloping to drag me across the dirt.