Sunday, April 22, 2012

Killing Hammond

Part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge 2012 for the letter k
This is a continuing story, if you would like to read the from the beginning, the letter A : Aces and Eights  But... each letter/story stands alone as well. Enjoy:)

Killing Hammond

Ben checked the weapon again, more to force himself to calm. He needed a level head to kill Hammond, not just charge in like a private on his first battle. “Take Dawson and get. I’ll meet you when I’m through.”

Charlie looked at Ben crouched next to him. “There are four Pinkertons and that fancy dressed fella. Five to one ain’t good bettin odds.”

 “Four Pinks, I took one down in the house on my way out.” Ben sighed and turned toward his loyal friend. “Charlie, I have enough blood on my hands. I don’t want yours too.”

The younger man shook his head. “Not your choice. Besides I got to make sure you don’t get shot so we can rob a few more trains. I’ve come to like the criminal lifestyle.”

“You would.” Ben shook his head and started forward toward the enemy and his target, Hammond.

It was time for Hammond to pay for his own crime. He was a railroad tycoon, who used his money and power to get the law to move his way. Or over look transgressions he made to further his greed.

Ben moved through the tall grass behind the corral. The Pinkertons were within range, but he couldn’t take them all down before they opened fire. There was only one pistol between Ben, Charlie and Dawson.

Ben holstered the gun into his waistband and picked up a board that had fallen from the corral’s gate. He would save the bullets for the one who most deserved them. 

Ben crouched down in the tall grass and watched for a moment the three Pinks looked at the dawn as it broke the horizon. One of them turned and announced he needed the privy. Ben let the men move some distance before he burst from the dew laden grass and took a swing at one of the remaining Pinkertons before either could draw.

The first Pink turned and started to raise his arm, but he wasn’t fast enough. The blow knocked him to the ground. Ben set upon him with strike after strike until he didn’t flinch.

Charlie had done the same. Both men sat panting as the third Pinkerton came out of the privy to see his colleges bloody on the ground. He began to shout. “They’re escaping!” 

The Pinkerton Ben had beaten in his escape from the house came out on the porch. He stumbled as he reached to the empty holster at his side. “They’re armed.”

Ben verified the fact with two bullets to the Pinkerton’s chest. The privy Pink took shots as he dove for cover. Ben let Charlie deal with it, he had to find Hammond.

Ben ran through the hail of bullets toward the house. As his foot hit the second porch step he felt something hot sink into his side and shoulder. His vengeance was too close to stop. Ben took loose aim into the window and fired.

He was rewarded with a cry of pain from inside the house. Ben continued inside he had three bullets left. He spun and drooped at the sound of a pistol’s hammer clicked back. He felt the air displaced next to him as the bullet moved past. Ben returned fire twice one bullet went wide.

Hammond fell back hand pressed to his side. He aimed his weapon for Ben’s heart and pulled the trigger. There was a dry click but no shot. His eyes widened as Ben Began to move toward him. “Kill me and you’re a dead man, Mason.”

Ben let Hammond see the pain, the sorrow, the hate that he carried with him since the day he knelt by his family’s graves. “I died when you killed my wife and son. Burned them with my home, while I was fighting a foolish war.”

Hammond stuttered as he threw the empty pistol at Ben. “Those were road agents, not me.”

Ben nodded and aimed the pistol to Hammond’s head. One shot left. “They were road agents. Agents that acted on your orders to burn down a house, makes you as guilty as the one who dropped the match.”

Hammond held up his hand as if that would stop it. Ben took a breath and held it. For him the room became silent. Hammond continued to argue as Ben’s finger pulled back on the trigger but there was no sound only purpose in the moment.

The bullet hit home. Hammond’s face held the shock and surprise as his body fell backward. Ben stood over him and watched the life drain from those greed filled eyes. When it was gone, he let the pistol fall from his hand and pressed his wounded side.

When he stepped outside into the morning sun, sound came rushing back. The call of birds, the horses’ hooves as they stamped nervously in the corral and Charlie calling to him. Ben just nodded as he took in the fact it was finally over. Hammond and those involved with his family’s deaths were now in their own graves.

“Charlie, take Dawson we’ll meet at the border as planned.”

Charlie wanted to argue but now wasn’t the time. They had to get before someone came to investigate the gunfire. “Yes, sir.”

Ben rode in the opposite direction until out of site of the others. He stopped and pressed another cloth to his side the other already blood soaked. His vengeance was complete, maybe it was time for all of it to be over. He scoffed himself as he nudged the horse into movement. “Aces and eights.”

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