Friday, July 8, 2011

Chapter 4: Hickory Hill

The Gunslinger looked up at the hill. It was covered in brown grass and breaching the sky. There were few trees alone along the hilltop. Charlie admired his new rifle. Little did he know, it was a beacon for all of those he crossed paths with. A beacon of Porter's Lake royalty. . .

"Do you know what this place is?" he asked Charlie.

Charlie looked up the hill. He followed the stone tabs up to a house made of thin wood planks, and a charcoal colored roof. There was nothing else but the house on Hickory Hill. Charlie finally answered the Gunslinger...

"A sanctuary."

"That's right. We shall replenish our supplies and continue on to the Run."

"So you do know the road?" Charlie figured out.

"I have been studying this mountain and its inhabitants for years."

"Gunslingers think they rule the world."

The Gunslinger stopped walking up the stone tablets and approached Charlie harshly. Charlie stumbled back and blurted out, "That is what they said!" The Gunslinger stopped.

"That is what who said?"

"The men I met inside the house on Hickory Hill."

Charlie thought he would have asked more questions, not just turn around and briskly walk up the hill to the house. Then he realized...The Gunslinger meant to kill whoever was in that house.

"NO!" he screamed after him. "IT WAS YEARS AGO!"

The Gunslinger did not break his gate. He pulled his guns and raised them up along with his heel. The Gunslinger kicked the door in and before those inside could pull their guns they were defeated. He turned around and looked at Charlie, keeping his guns pointed at the men.

"Are these them?"

Charlie looked at each and every one of there faces. He thought back to that time. He could remember it so clearly, the manner in which they talked of the Gunslingers always kept it fresh on his memory. Coming into company with one he could not help but mention it. Now he was the center of a line-up hold-up.

Charlie remembered the first guy. How his brow dropped just over his nose. He remembered his personality resembled it. He was frumpy and odd. He kept to himself and laughed at the other men. He had to be eight feet tall.

The other two guys looked like every other outlaw or cowboy that comes through here, dirty and drunk. They talked too much and made fools of their kind. Charlie tried to remember specific physical features. 'One guy', he recalled, "had what he thought was makeup over his eyelid, but after careful examination he realized it was gunpowder. Someone had fire a revolver at such close range to his eyes that the blast got under the skin of his lids.' Charlie tried to identify the last guy in the bar that day. He opened his eyes back up from thinking.

Charlie looked around and saw the three of them. It did not matter at this point. Two of the same and one generic outlaw rounding out the trio...

"That's them."

The Gunslinger rolled to the center of the room and open fired. Charlie freaked out, arming his rifle but thinking about fleeing for cover until the Gunslinger does his work. The Gunslinger killed the two outlaws, both with two shots each to the chest and head. He picked them apart.

The giant was left.

It threw its gun at the back of the Gunslinger's head and rocked him off his feet. He stumbled forward as his caught himself on his gun-hands and rolled back around. He fired off his remaining four rounds into the body of the giant, but it barely slowed him down. It kicked him before he could get back to his feet, and launched the Gunslinger into the wall across from the doorway.

Charlie stood with his rifle cocked and loaded and watched the Gunslinger tangle with the giant. It grabs at him writhing on the floor and Charlie swallows his fears. He pulls the trigger and it goes wide right and the giant continues to try to pick up the Gunslinger. He reloads. Charlie holds the gun up again and this time drags his eye-line down the barrel of the gun.

He lines his eye up with the barrel and the head of the giant and pulls the trigger. The bullet blows the giant brains out all over the ceiling as he dies and lifelessly pins down the Gunslinger beneath him.

Charlie does not know whether or not to help him out. Twenty minutes ago he was about to kill him over a saying. Was this man a hero or a maniac? What gives Gunslinger's the right to take lives without consequence?

Charlie put down the rifle and pulled the dead giant off of the Gunslinger. When they got back up, the Gunslinger thanked him and brushed the dirt off his coat and vest. "Gather ammo and food and lets get outta here."

"Another place wasted. You leave a desolate trail for a man, Gunslinger."

"Then ask yourself, Charles..." the Gunslinger said, "Why are you following it?"

Charlie stood on the road as he said that, frozen stiff. He looked ahead as the Gunslinger walked further down the hill, further down the road. 'This was the last time', he said to himself, 'that he would doubt following the Gunslinger.' Either Charlie left now and parted ways forever, or he sticks this out and commits completely.

He stood on the road and looked ahead at the Gunslinger.

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