A Wicked on Rickety Road

Rickety Road, Lost County, Dakota Territory, 1888

There was a Gunslinger walking down Rickety Road. His limp swaying arms and unsteady gait gave him the appearance of a drunkard, although he did not stumble. Every now and then his pale, thin fingers twitched toward the scratched and grimy black revolvers at his sides, ready to blast a hole in anyone that came too close. His light grey shirt was torn up and appeared to have old bullet holes all over it, his faded brown pants were completely ripped up halfway down the shin. His feet were bare, revealing pale white skin clinging disgustingly tight to the bones. A cowboy hat with a wide brim and a grey, blood-stained bandana concealed his face. And his eyes, oh those haunting faded eyes, they were not the eyes of a drunk. They were the eyes of a killer, one aiming to kill again.

There was a Mortician on Rickety Road. A strange man, pale and thin like the Angel of Death. The Mortician always wore his black undertaker suit with a long coat and derby hat. He always had a crooked grin on his face, which kept most of the decent townsfolk away. For this reason, or some other unknown one, the Mortician spent all his time in his shop or the run down graveyard a bit up the road. He came to town nearly a year ago, a few days after the previous mortician was done in by a falling coffin. Oh, the grim irony. This strange newcomer was accepted for simplicity’s sake. The people of Rickety Road were used to the sudden arrival of strangers. The Mortician stood there on the side of the road with that devil’s grin on his face and tipped his hat to the Gunslinger as he passed.

“Welcome back, Mr. Harrow,” said the Mortician.

The Gunslinger stopped for a moment, turning his head ever so slightly to the Mortician. Something under his bandana moved, and a muffled sound similar to a pick scraping across granite was heard.

“Oh I would not recommend that you try speaking yet, Mr. Harrow,” continued the Mortician. “That ability tends to return to the body much later. I reckon you should go take care of your business at the church, and then come back and see me. I have work that requires your bullets.”

There was a Sheriff on Rickety Road. A good man, or so the people claimed. He liked to dress in a nice white button up shirt with brown slacks and a heavy duster and large hat, which prominently displayed his badge. He looked a bit ridiculous, honestly, like someone trying to embody every cliche at once, but he was adamant that when one gets the job then one ought to look the part. At high noon eight and a half years ago, the Sheriff, a simple deputy at the time, gunned down a gunslinger in front of the old church. A wanted criminal named Wickett Harrow. Harrow was infamous for being a cruel and cunning member of the Bear River Rioteers, a vicious bandit gang born out of the Bear River City Riot twenty years ago. For his vile ways people took to calling him Wicked Harrow, due to the old cowboy superstition of Wickeds, damned souls brought back to life to reap violent vengeance on the living. But despite the rumors, Harrow wasn’t some infernal spirit. And that day eight and a half years ago proved it. Abandoned by his partners in crime after a robbery gone wrong, Harrow faced the old sheriff and his deputies, which included the current Sheriff, all alone. Thirteen men died that day, twelve of the lawmen and Wicked Harrow. The last surviving lawman was praised by the town and swiftly elected into his current position as town Sheriff. And now he stood there, eight and a half years later, right at the spot where Wicked Wickett Harrow choked on his own blood.

The Sheriff smiled at the fond memory and casually checked his pocket watch, not noticing the familiar Gunslinger ominously striding closer. According to the Sheriff’s watch, it was eight and a half minutes before high noon.

Eight and a half minutes later, there was a Sheriff’s bloody corpse in front of the old church, and a Gunslinger walking back up Rickety Road.

Written by: Jack W. Bonney

Jonathan “Jack” Warren Bonney is a young aspiring writer with the soul of an old washed up writer. Born and raised in two different countries, Jack has been making stories in his head for his whole life, and only recently realized that writing them down would be a good idea.

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