“You should’ve stayed away, boy.” The gunslinger strode towards the young man. His dark brooding eyes peering from under his wide brimmed hat, they narrowed as he analysed the young man.
“I aint afraid of you Hawk” the boys eyes squinted as the man continued his stride, he was at least 15 paces away now. The youths hands were resting an inch from his gun holsters.
“You want to be famous boy?” Hawks eyes blazed as he took in the sight of this foolish kid, he noticed no fear at all even as he kept his slow stride towards him.
“Heres the boy who killed Hawk Goodwin!” He proclaimed and chuckled slowly which further enraged the young man.
“It ain’t about that Hawk, you know it! you are a killer!”
“Oh yeah boy? And what would that make you if you managed to kill me?” He came to a sudden stop in a sudden realisation “whats your name?”
“My name?” The boys eyes blazed with fury “its Frederick Hanstein”
“Jennys son?” Hawk scratched his chin offhand and it took Frederick by surprise, his hand went to his gun but he stopped.
Hawk already had his gun pointed at the boy, he didn’t stand a chance, hawk put his gun back in his holster seamlessly.
“Go home, today is too good a day to die” hawk started his stride towards Frederick and walked abruptly past him. Frederick turned about to watch Hawk striding through the town.
Frederick hollered at him through the silence “youre gonna die by my hands Hawk, Mark my words”.
Frederick shook his head and headed towards the woman on the horse he had seen with Hawk. She looked down at him as he approached then her silent gaze went back to Hawk
The townstreet was empty except for some horses tethered to wooden bars outside the inns and saloons. The little huts that served as houses were quiet and no sign of movements from inside.
Hawk thought about the conversation with the lad, he had seen it all before with these fame hungry idiots. They were all the same these men he thought, all wanted a piece of the acclaim. Pathetic men making a name for themselves by killing, somehow their own morals cleansed as soon as their trigger was pulled and a murder had occurred. He shrugged the thoughts off like sand and continued to his goal.
He opened the saloon doors and saw that it was a stark contrast to outside, whereas it was quiet out there it was a frenzy of noise. The whores noises coming from upstairs, ⁸the angry growls of drunks losing at the gambling tables and arguments over coin. He lived in a godless world. The noise came to a crashing halt when they noticed the tall stranger.
He scanned the room, the silence was deafening, a few men held their beers steady and some he noticed had their guns cocked. He ignored that and walked two paces into the entrance and stopped.
“Which one of you dirty lowdown no good sons of a bitches is Darryl Slade?” His yell had stopped the noises from upstairs, a man stumbled out of a room and fell over half dressed, he had a jacket on and undergarments. He fumbled for his gun and aimed it at Hawk. His gun went off without aiming and ricocheted off a lamp.
Hawk drew his gun lightning fast and the bullet struck the gun in this man’s hand and it flew away. Hawk strode confidently up the stairs to the man that was now cowering on the floor.
“Open your god damn mouth Darryl”
Darryl did as requested and Hawk slid the gun deep into his mouth. “Up you bastard!” The gun nearly choking the man as he was directed upwards from his cowardly position.
Hawk directed him downstairs, his narrow eyes scanning the growd quickly. Suddenly the saloon doors opened abruptly breaking the silence, it was Frederick.
“Killer! Don’t even think about it Hawk!” Frederick’s gun was aimed at him, hawk growled out his next words.
“Stupid boy, put away your weapon”
“I will not! I am tired of the death that follows you everywhere” as the last word exited his mouth a gunshot narrowly missed his face, hawks second gun smoking from the shot. The entire room let out a noise.
“I will not miss next time.” He grimaced and continued “put down your gun boy”.
The gun was tossed away and Frederick was in a shocking trance. Hawk stared into Darryl’s eyes and saw that he was terrified, this man was wanted for murder, for rape and plundering. He was worth more alive than dead, it wasn’t about that though.
“You!” He bellowed so that all could hear “I am going to give you a chance”
Darryl’s eyes went from terrified to a glimmer of hope, he saw hawks eyes burned with hellfire.
“You’re going to tell everyone here what you’ve done.” He growled through gritted teeth “but first theres someone that wants to see you” Hawk’s anger was controlled as he grinned like a demon. He jerked the gun in Darryl’s mouth to turn him round and directed him outside.
He kept the gun directly in his mouth as he marched him backwards out to the street. Darryl could not see behind him but there were two horses just past where Frederick had challenged Hawk. One had a rider and the other none.
The woman sat atop the horse staring at the two figures approaching, she glanced further and saw a curious crowd advancing too. Her mind racing but not showing on her stony emotionless face, her anger rising like a phoenix at the sight of this Darryl.
He had slaughtered her whole family, her husband and her only child. He and his raiders had abused her repeatedly until Hawk rescued her. She was not terrified but her hatred burned in her as hot as lava, her hands inching towards a serrated knife.
Hawk glanced quickly at her as he approached and she slightly nodded.
“Turn around you gutless swine” he grimaced “and meet your chance”. He pulled his gun out of Darryl’s mouth, Darryl turned around and slowly looked up, the womans deep blue eyes glared down at him and shame burned through his soul as he recognised her.
His head bowed as he breathed “you, I cannot…I don’t…”
“Save your breath bandit” she said in a low calm deep voice, Darryl felt comforted in the tone. She turned her eyes to the crowd and cantered the horse towards them, pacing backwards and forwards.
“This!” She pointed with her gun “this is who you chose to be your law? Your sheriff?”
She struck him with the gun to the face, the crowd exclaimed, he went down on the ground with a thud.
“Tell them what you did…Darryl….sorry Sheriff” she glared at him as he lifted his head.
“I…killed…her family” he mumbled quietly.
“Sorry! Can’t hear you little man,” she mocked and struck him again.
“I killed her family!” More confidently and loudly to which the crowd let out murmurs.
“That’s not all he and his band did” her eyes as cold as stone, hawk never took his eyes off the man. “Nevertheless it is between me and him what he did, im Sure you can guess”.
She turned the horse around twice and paced up and down the crowd, she looked at them and the silence was exhausting.
“Now, my name is Wing and this so called man is mine for the time being” she looked around at the crowd “when I an finished with him he will be returned to this town for punishment”
A few in the crowd uttered a few words of discontent, Wing pointed at one.
“You!” The crowd went silent once more and the man stepped forward “do you have a problem?”
“Eh..no…mam…its just we don’t have no sheriff now since this one” he spat at him “he done gone and turned out as bad as an egg in october”
“I see, well, decide between you who you want as a sheriff. We will be back in 3 days time” she was interrupted by Hawk.
“Is Frederick here?”
Frederick appeared from within the crowd and approached Wings horse. Hawk motioned him over all the while keeping a wary eye on Darryl, Darryl was defeated he knew but still a dying animal could still fight.
“I like you boy and you come from good stock, I think you should be sheriff” he whispered. Frederick taken aback by the offer, wing stared at the two curiously.
“My how things change round here, I just can’t keep up” Frederick’s eyes went to Darryl then back to Hawk “does it mean you’ll stop calling me boy?”.
Hawk grinned. “Yes I believe I will”
Frederick went to Darryl and pulled the sheriff star off his chest, he punched him hard in the mouth. “You never deserved a place in the town, never mind the law. Damn devil” darryl groaned a little from the punch. The newly appointed sheriff turned back to Hawk.
“Very well Hawk, our conversation from earlier is still not done. Indeed it has not!”
“We will continue it in three days time Sheriff”
The crowd welcomed the new sheriff with a small applause. Wings facial expression had not changed. Swiftly she pulled her horse back in a circle and pulled a rope out and threw it to Hawk. He caught it instantly.
“If you be so kind Mr Hawk”
He grinned and nodded, he put the rope around Darryl’s neck and tightened it, he then passed the other end to Wing who tied it to the saddle.
They rode gently out for several miles dragging the body of the bandit behind. They heard moans of pain but ignored it. Setting up camp, hawk built a fire as wing went hunting for food. They had tied Darryl’s hands and feet up so he could not escape.
When Wing came back she had two rabbits dangling from her hands, the serrated knife dripping in blood. She stuck the long knife into the fire where the metal part stayed submerged heated.
Darryl looked at the woman, how fearsome she looked. This woman was nothing 4 years ago, a mouse of a woman, taken so easily. Now look at her, his eyes drifted from her to the knife slowly glowing red in the fire. He then stared up and saw that Hawk was studying him.
“You know” hawk said breaking his gaze and laying down to look at the night sky “you would be a good wife Wing”
“Why’s that Hawk? Just want someone to care for you?” He grinned at her bluntness “nah thats easy to find, you’re a real woman though Little Wing”
His head suddenly hurt as he got whacked with a pot. “Less of that Mr Hawk or you’ll not see the dawn”
He laughed as he replied “I take it back, you wouldn’t be a good wife at all”.
She smiled without meaning to and suddenly stopped as she glared at Darryl.
“Hawk” she said seriously. “I’m gonna talk to Darryl now so I want to have some privacy” her eyes darkened. He held his hands up in defense and nodded, walking away towards some boulders where he sat. He pulled out a worn out letter and started reading it by the moonlight.
He looked back at the camp and noticed she had taken Darryl’s undergarmens down, the red hot knife was illuminated in the dark as it went towards Darryl.
His screams were louder than anything hawk had heard of before. It was Darryl’s own fault, she had been seeking revenge for 4 years, what did he expect? He probably thought she was like the other women who would have just taken it. No, not wing, she was a fighter and by god she would fight to the bitter end for anything she believed in.⁹
When he rescued her her name was not wing but that’s what she had settled on. He thought of her as a little broken wing back then but she was stronger than that now. From time to time he would wonder what her real name was. Darryl’s screams grew louder and louder interrupting his thoughts.
He grinned to himself.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”