Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Chapter 1: Porter's Lake
The Gunslinger walked tall down the road. The mountain air was thin and humid, melting what little snow there was left on the ground. The road went right by the lakes. His dark hat shadowed his spit on the ground, hiding its true color, the same murky brown of his eyes. A hand-rolled cigar slobbers around in the Gunslinger's mouth as he lights a match off his thumb and relights it.
He had left from MountainTop last night and spent the night in the wilderness. He put his hands on his bandolier; two dark revolvers equipped with long cold-steel barrels holstered onto the bandolier for him to lean on. As he walked down the middle of the road surrounded by leafless trees, the Gunslinger tried to find the sky. The reflection off the lakes gave him a clear view.
It was a hazy day on the dead lake.
The town was silent. It looked more like a cluster of houses upon the lake than an actual town. The Gunslinger walked by a sign swinging heavily in the wind that read, "Porter's Lake." A community of hunters. The Gunslinger could see all the classic signs of Huntsman. He walked to the edge of the lake. He did not think anyone was around. Perhaps this was a ghost town? Long deserted...
After walking through the houses on the lake and finding nobody, he continued down the lake shore The Gunslinger tripped some kind of wire and a net hiding in the leaves beneath his feet swept him up. He was trapped in the air, swinging from a branch of a big oak tree. The Gunslinger pulls a knife from his belt. He begins to cut at the net. An arrow slices the rope tying the net to the oak. It unravels and the Gunslinger plummets to the ground. He hits the floor and loses consciousness.
When the Gunslinger woke up he was robbed of his duster, hat, belt, boots, and cuffed to a spike in the ground. He looked around, surveying his surroundings. He was not by the lake anymore. It was a field of long grass. The Gunslinger reached for his revolvers but they were gone. His entire gun-belt was taken. He grabbed the chain with both his hands and pulled at the metal stake in the ground. After a couple of tries it did not budge. He got to his feet and used his entire body to pull the chain. His adamant attempts get the stake yanked out of the ground, along with granting the Gunslinger his freedom.
He crawls through the grass His socks soak up the wet dirt. He finds his first boot not to far off in the distance. He could tell by his spurs. On the metal imprint it shows a shining sun with a mountain peak before it. It is a dark and worn metal, but it always looks polished. The Gunslinger slides it back onto his left foot and continues on his journey. He walks in a zig-zag to make sure he does not miss another one of his belongings. A big tree is spotted up ahead.
There below the tree by the roots lays his other boot, its point leaned up in the air. Up in the tree, just at the first set of branches, his cowboy hat sits unharmed. The Gunslinger gets pressed his slick black hair across his head and puts his boot on as he prepares to climb the tree. He makes his way up, grabs the hat off the branch, and puts it on his head.
A shot rings out in the distance.
The Gunslinger can see the shot get fired straight up into the air from his elevated spot on the tree. He thought to himself simply, "...not good." Falling off the tree seemed like a good...quick idea at first. But impulsive and rash is what it turned out to be. The Gunslinger lost his balance and hit his shoulder first on the ground. It felt like it broke his collar bone. When the Gunslinger tries to move it unrelenting pain takes over. The Gunslinger must fix his shoulder. That shot in the distance must have signaled the start of a competition. They were on horseback, ten or more on a hunting expedition.
And the Gunslinger was the game.
He takes a deep breath and thrusts his broken shoulder up, readjusting it into place. He holds it while the pain comes. It is too great for him and the Gunslinger passes out next to the tree. The branch he took the hat from breaks and falls to the floor. It lands on his head and jogs him awake.
The Gunslinger gets up and makes a run for it. He can hear the horses approaching the area. There were no other trees around in this field. The long grass was wild and conjured by the winds. They whipped back and forth as the Gunslinger weaved through them. His shoulder feels fine. He tries not to move it, even more he tries to ignore it. For soon he might find his guns and when he does, the Gunslinger will always draw on an opponent. Even with a broken collar bone, he will use his divine power to duel.
His two guns are lying on the floor. Both of them have their barrels pointing the same way. His gun-belt lay expanded out complete in a straight line. It was another sign. It had to be. Perhaps, the road was this way. The Gunslinger put his belt back on, holstered his guns, and readjusted his hat brim. He ran his fingers along the belt surface...where the bullets outta be.
The guns were empty too. All of his ammo was missing. The Gunslinger made a run for the way in which was pointed to the road. Hooves came around the tree and quickly picked up his trail. He ran as fast as he could through the grass. They were in giant bushels, blowing around wildly. He ran around them and watched back as they galloped right over the grass bushels.
They were upon the Gunslinger now and he ducked under a bushel as they jumped over both him and it. He made another break back in the same direction as they turned around. That did not stop the gunshots from beginning to fire off. Pistols and rifles blasting off and lethal blazes whiz past his ear.
The lead horse rallied them to the end of the trail. Their prey had vanished from their tracking. They spread out amongst the treeline and began to search. The Gunslinger was getting close to the road. He could see it from the tree he was hiding in. He had climbed up two trees at the treeline and then he climbed into the thin forest without setting foot on the ground. After a while, he got to a big enough tree to stay and hide.
They cross below him and he sees a burlap sack in the nook of the tree. There are two smaller bags within the sack when the Gunslinger opens it. The first bag was heavy. Once open it revealed to be all his ammo. He loaded his guns and his belt with it before he looked at the second bag.
The Gunslinger sat in the tree, unaware that he was being stalked by more than one kind of prey. A four legged predator, running through the cold mountain top jungle, hungry for a kill. The Huntsmen of Porter's Lake had built a wide-spanning wild reserve down the road. It was so big that it was made up of smaller places. At the far end of the reserve, halfway down the mountain, was Thunder Swamps. Closest to Porter's Lake was Burnt Mills, the Gunslinger's way back to the road.
The Gunslinger went to open the second bag when he smelled something. It was rancid. It smelled like a recent kill. That is when he realized it was coming from inside the second bag. He opened it up to find chunks of live bait gathered inside just like his bullets in the first bag.
A growl in the near-by trees. The Gunslinger left the bags and jumped down the tree.
When the Gunslinger landed on his feet he did not get very far before he had to draw. His two guns pointed ready, but quiet, at the charging posse of horse-riding Huntsmen. The pain in his shoulder was gone, a spiritual remedy goes unnoticed. For he now knew that man was the least of his worries. He trotted backwards as softly as he could to avoid discovery, hoping to reach some sort of sanctuary. His left foot backed its side off the edge of a cliff. The Gunslinger stopped and peered off the cliff. He looked down and tried to scale the distance.
The posse of Huntsmen riders comes crashing down upon the Gunslinger with his back against the edge. He must choose between making a stand, or jumping. A black bear roars, trampling the dirt leading up to him with those massive furry claws. The bear tackles the Gunslinger off the cliff as the Huntsmen shoot their rifles at them.
The Gunslinger grapples earthly roots coming out of the side of the cliff. The bear whales in defeat as it plummets into darkness. The Gunslinger, on the other hand, clings on to dear life. He gets a firm hold and looks around. He is utterly astounded. His black duster jacket was hanging from a branch of a tree stretched over the cliff. How could they know he'd end up here?
He swung himself gradually at first, but soon enough he had the velocity to make the leap. The Gunslinger caught the other tree and grabbed his duster, throwing it over his shoulder and pulling himself up. Once in the tree, he put the jacket back on and finally was complete again. The Gunslinger made his way off the tree and back on to the ground, where he stood against the Huntsmen. Twelve shots he had against them.
The first two bullets he fired off entered the skulls of two Huntsmen between the eyes. As did the next two. The fifth bullet took out a Huntsman's left eye as he fell did to the ground along with the first four. The next five were already firing at him. The bullets seem to bounce off his duster, as he imagined, firing away. The Gunslinger shot the first two dead, the second two fell when they tried to reload. He had 3 more bullets left. The remaining Huntsmen came for him in lines of two. He shot his 3 bullets low, at their horses. The first two horse crashed and both trampled their riders and tripped the horses behind them.
As the last remaining survivor tries to get himself free from the bloody wreckage, the Gunslinger walks up on him. He paces himself. And only reloads 1 chamber. The Huntsman tries to get to his feet, but his back is broken.
"Please..." he begged, "Don't you know who I am?"
The Gunslinger placed the tip of the revolver on the back of his head.
"I am Nicholas Porter."
The Gunslinger cocked back the hammer of his gun with his thumb.
"And I am the Hand of God."
He pulled the trigger and killed Nicholas Porter. The Huntsmen of Porter's Lake were no more, and man was better off for it. Except fate would not deem fit to exempt the Gunslinger from any repercussions after this slaughter. But that was not enough for him. The Gunslinger picked up Dead Man Porter's rifle. It was nice. A custom polished wood finish Springfield rifle. He took the ammo belt off the body and left the lake. The Gunslinger would make for Burnt Mills, in order to resume his quest down the mountain road.