A Six Gun and the Queen of Light

Part 12

A Six Gun and the Queen of Light

By Mark Slade

Story Break Barbed

Logan got on his horse. “That’s the witch talk coming out of you. Get you a few whiskeys, you’ll be all right.” He tapped his horse’s side with his boots and off he went – like a devil in the night. Abrams followed, but not as fast, riding toward Bedlam.

Nat came out of the saloon. His clothes were shreds. There were bite marks and scratches all over his badly-bruised body. The sun was rising. He was tired, staggering, as he walked to his livery station. Abrams and Logan were just riding in. Abrams got off his horse and went to Nat. “What in God’s name happened to you?” He examined the wounds on Nat, starting with his arms.

Nat spoke slowly, each word took as long as it took for him to blow out air from his nose. “The old woman,” he said. “She changed… jumped me. Just… just as she was about to rip me apart… she up and turned to dust. She… just turned to dust!”

Abrams shot a glance at Logan. Logan led the horses inside the stables. Abrams eased Nat there as well. “I don’t think we’ll have to worry about any horde in these parts for a while.”

Nat’s eyebrows narrowed. “Why?”

“Let’s just say it’s okay to drink the water in Bedlam.” Logan smiled.

“What about you, Logan? Are you gonna change?”

Abrams sighed. “We’ll have to see, Nat. Meantime, let’s go over to Damney’s – get some breakfast.”

“I’ll pass,” Logan said. “I need some rest… Nat, you make sure you get some shut eye. We got a job to do tonight – lot of riding. Later we see that fella, you know, about a stage.”

“I’m hungry,” Nat proclaimed. “I’ll be there. Don’t think I won’t. But right now I do as I want. You hear?”

Logan nodded. “Sorry, Nat. You’re right. Freewill.” Logan laid down on some hay in an empty stable. “Tonight… you do as I say.”

Nat got the stage by himself. He went while Logan was asleep. He felt compelled to keep his distance from the man, even though he had saved his life with those gamblers. Then again, maybe they were even. Nat and Abrams had saved Logan’s life after he’d wandered into town sick from eating that horde.

Night came and they were with the stage outside of Graves’ fortress waiting for Genevieve and her maid. Logan rode his horse a while, sensing the tension from Nat. At the fortress he stayed with the horse, muttering to it, as if it were the only friend he had left.

Nat kept the four horses he’d set up for the stage as quiet as he could. The horses would hear Graves’ men talking on the other side of that gate. A few loud laughs and hootin’ and hollers made the horses neigh – bump into each other. Nat shushed the horses, patted each one on the head.

Suddenly, there was complete silence.

Logan stopped mumbling to his horse. Nat looked around. Logan drew his weapon, looked around also. When there was silence this thick it meant death was around. And then suddenly, without opening the gate, Genevieve and her servant appeared. A glowing, orange light surrounded them. They just walked right through the gate.

Nat took a step back. Logan nearly dropped his ‘Colt’.

“What the hell..?” Nat said.

Genevieve was wearing her cloak. As she removed the hood from her head the glowing light disappeared. The servant helped Genevieve to the stage, opening the latch on the door, helping her inside.

Logan rushed over to them. He helped them in to the stagecoach. “How did you get past the guards?” he whispered.

Genevieve smiled. “We put them to sleep.”

“Let’s get going,” Nat said, climbing on the stagecoach. “We can talk about this later.”

Logan looked up at Nat, sneered.

“You coming up or what?” Nat demanded.

Logan climbed up, sat next to Nat. Nat shook the reins and took his whip to the front line. The team took off in a dash. The stage rocked a little and trailed.

They were off!

The gate opened slowly. Two men appeared. Lying at their feet were the guards, unconscious.

“There they go, Mr. Graves,” the small shadow said.

A cigar burned bright in the taller shadow’s mouth. “This wouldn’t have happened if you’d killed Logan like I said too,” Graves said.

“I would have but the Sheriff stopped me!” The smaller shadow kicked dirt.

“Go and get me some men that ain’t been touched by Genevieve’s hand, and prepare the horses. We ride at sunrise.”

“Why not now?”

“Out in the badlands? At night?” Graves laughed. “Let me do the thinking, all right? We know where they’re going. Go ahead… do what I say. Bring a ‘Winchester’ – several! Everyone gets one.”