I’m pleased to be able to post another one of the longer Mid Week Blues Buster flash fiction pieces that I’ve done. The song and the video took me to an Old West scene, with the dry brown brush fitting well with all the plants here being dead for the winter. It’s also a holiday season this week, with Yule and Christmas and several other holidays. I hope everyone has a great season as we enter the darkest days of the year, and that all the gold in your life brings you to a better end than the poor fellow in this story.
I often forget to post the link to the song that prompts each week, but this week it’s The Ballad of Cable
The harsh light of the sun in my eyes split into a rainbow as it passed through a bead of sweat just before the drop dripped into the dirt. Lying there, unable to move, I watched the crimson flow of my life spread into the street, sending a scorpion skittering away from the new obstacle. In those moments, while a Mexican band still plays in the cantina, it’s painfully clear that this trip to town was a very bad idea.
I live way out in the hills, far from people, working a small gold mine. It’s not a huge claim, but it provides much more than a simple man like me needs. Every now and again, the coyotes convince me to bag up some of the gold and bring it to town for food and supplies. It never goes well. People keep trying to find out where my claim is, some subtle, and some not so subtle. Circling town to come in from a different direction each time gets to be tedious, as does the false goodwill. In truth, I vastly prefer the snakes that I have in the wilderness. At least they’re honest with their intentions.
This trip, though, I saw her on the street. As our eyes met, I knew she was going to be trouble, and also that I’d be along for the ride, no matter where it went. The fire in her eyes broke through the stone of my heart and took the breath from my lungs, and when she smiled at me, it was as if lightning had struck. Her black dress swirled provocatively as she turned to go into one of the stores, looking back at me and twirling her parasol.
Instead of hustling out of town as normal, I stirred up a zephyr of whispers when I went to the inn for a room and a bath. Actually two baths, as there was so much sand and dirt that the first bath quickly became more mud than water. When I went into the cantina later, people stared, not recognizing the clean and shaven stranger. Soon enough, recognition set in, and the normal routine started.
She walked in a little later, striding straight to me without ever looking to the side. She grabbed me by the shirt as she drew close and kissed me deeply. The crowd stopped right in their tracks, they were so surprised. Her fingers traced down my arm and she gently pulled me up and out of my seat, leading me toward the door. My mind whirling from the whisky and the woman, I followed without a thought. Once outside on the street, she led me into the alley where she turned and ran her hands up and down me. My surprise by this point had worn off, and I eagerly returned her affections. After a kiss to my neck, she leaned up and whispered in my ear
“Cable…tell me where your claim is.”
I wasn’t sure I heard her right. “Hmm?” I mumbled, still lost in bliss.
“Tell me where your claim is, please. See, I need a good strike.”
Just like that, the dream ended as abruptly as a swim in an icy river. “Lady, that was downright rude.” I turned to walk away and made it a few steps before I heard a familiar click.
I turned around, and there she was, pointing my own gun at me, cocked and ready. Just to check, as things were happening faster than my mind was following, I gently felt my holster. It was indeed as hollow as the pit in my stomach.
“Last chance. Tell me where your claim is.” Her voice was no longer sultry, becoming as hard as iron.
My number was up, her eyes were clear as the blue sky. I just shook my head, sadly. The alley thundered with the pistol shot, and the bullet passed through my chest, a burning pain just before my legs became too weak to hold me up.
I should have stayed out of town.