Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And Hell Came With Him...Part 4

Gunsight was not the quiet town Wil Sunday remembered. It had grown with new buildings along the street. The name McKinney seemed to dominate the businesses in the new buildings. He appeared to have a good hold on Gunsight. A collection of horses marked the new saloon down the street.

Wil dismounted in front of O’Shay’s Saloon and walked across the boardwalk. The owner of the saloon, Jimmy O’Shay, a big redheaded Irishman, stood behind the bar wiping glasses. He turned when he heard Wil come through the batwings.

“Are me eyes playin’ tricks on me or has Wil Sunday risen from the dead?” asked Jimmy O’Shay with a big smile. Hurrying from behind the bar, he greeted Wil with a big hug, then, waved his friend toward the bar.

“Come, let Jimmy O’Shay buy ye a drink.” The big redhead returned behind the bar and set a bottle of Irish whiskey in front of Wil.

“A special drink for a special friend.” Jimmy poured the whiskey into a shot glass in front of Wil and poured one for himself. He lifted his glass to his friend.

“May ye be in heaven a long time before the devil knows yer dead.” They threw their shots back and Jimmy refilled the glasses.

“Awful quiet in here for this time of day, ain’t it, Jimmy?” asked Wil after looking around the empty saloon. Jimmy’s saloon had always been a popular place in Gunsight. He didn’t think he’s ever seen it empty.

“A lot of things have changed since ye left, Wil me boy,” replied Jimmy.

“This McKinney have anything to do with that? His name seems to be on just about every building in town.”

“Jarod McKinney showed up shortly after ye left. Came with a lot of money and bought up a lot of land. Hired a bunch of gunhands to hold it, then he started on the town. That’s ‘is saloon across the street. Even the marshal is bought and paid for.”

“Tom Draper still the marshal?”

“That ‘e is. Never thought I’d see ‘im turn on us like ‘e did. McKinney’s bunch can pretty much do what they want in Gunsight without any fear of the law.”

Wil took the posters from his pocket and spread them out on the bar facing Jimmy. “You seen any of these men in Gunsight?”

Jimmy studied the rough pictures of the men on the posters and nodded his head in recognition. “Four of McKinney’s gunhands.”

“You’re sure?”

“As sure as I am I’m standin’ here talkin’ to Wil Sunday.”

“All four of them?” asked Wil. Jimmy nodded.

Wil picked up the posters, refolded them and returned them to his pocket. “They come in town often?”

Jimmy nodded again. "The Walker brothers come in every night. They’ll drink ‘til they run ‘im out.”

Wil held out his hand to Jimmy O’Shay. “You’ve been a good friend, Jimmy.”

“We couldn’t believe it when they told us Cassie’d been murdered. We all loved ‘er, Wil. I’ll do what I can to help ye get who done this to ‘er.”

Wil touched his fingers to his hat and left O’Shay’s Saloon. He stabled Goldie and got a room at the Gunsight Hotel. Removing his gunbelt, he hung it on the bedpost. Cracking open the window, he lay down on the bed without removing his boots and was asleep before Buck got settled on the floor.

It was dusk when the tinny piano music from the McKinney saloon drifted through the open window and woke Wil. Buck sat up when Wil rose from the bed. He moved the curtain with his finger and looked down the street. It looked like McKinney’s saloon had a full house. Taking his gunbelt from the bedpost,  hebuckled it on and thonged down the holster. He shifted it until it felt comfortable.

“Let’s go get some supper, we have work to do,” Wil said to Buck.

It was dark when Wil walked out of the hotel dining room and onto the boardwalk. Buck sat up when he saw Wil. Standing at the edge of the boardwalk, he rolled a cigarette. He lit it with a match he struck on the support post. Stepping into the street, he walked toward the Cattleman’s Saloon. Buck sat on the boardwalk when Wil went through the batwings.

He weaved through the crowded saloon and up to the near end of the polished mahogany bar. The clack of the roulette wheel blended with the tinny notes of the out of tune piano. Wil concentrated his attention on the tables with poker games in progress. This is probably where he would find Jess and Aaron Walker. He ordered a beer and proceeded to make his rounds of the poker tables. The Walker brothers sat at the third table he passed. He stood at the table looking at Jess Walker until the gunhand looked up at him. After a second, Walker turned his attention back to the game. The Walkers had no idea who he was. He would wait for the crowd to thin before he made his move.

Wil sat at a nearby table when two of the men at Walker’s table left their chairs. Rising from his chair, he walked over to stand in front of the bar facing Walker’s table. He stood with his feet apart, balancing his weight.

“Jess and Aaron Walker, stand up and get what’s comin’ to you.”

Jess Walker looked up at Wil Sunday as men bolted from the line of fire. “You talkin’ to us, mister?” he asked.

“Time to pay up for what you done to me and mine,” answered Wil.

“What do you say we done?” asked Aaron Walker.

Wil was aware that all the attention in the room was turned toward him and the gunhands. “You, Wade Jessup and Briley Cole, rode onto my land, gunned me down and raped and killed my wife.”

Jess Walker smiled at Wil Sunday. “We never rode with Wade Jessup.”

Wil reached into his shirt pocket, never taking his eyes from Jess Walker. He shook the poster, unfolding it, and held it up for all to see. “This says different.”

The smile left Jess Walker’s face. The brothers jumped up from their chairs, drawing their Colts as they came up. Wil anticipated the move and drew his Colt at the first sign of movement. He fired twice before either brother could clear leather. Wil’s shots struck both brothers dead center in the chest. Jess Walker toppled backward over his chair and Aaron feel forward across the table.

Wil walked to the table and looking down at the motionless outlaws. Thumbing the spent shells from his Colt, he replaced them with from his gunbelt and holstered his Colt.

The marshal came into the saloon as Wil was picking up the poster from the floor. “What happened here?” demanded the marshal.

“Fair fight, marshal,” said the bartender, “ TheWalkers drew first.”

Marshal Tom Draper looked at Wil Sunday and smiled. “Still might not have been a fair fight.”

Wil handed the poster to the marshal. “I’ll be at the hotel when you get the money.” He shouldered past Draper and strode through the batwings.

Wil sat at the small table cleaning his Colt when he heard a knock at his door. He stepped softly to the door, careful not to stand in front of it.

“Who is it?”

“Tom Draper.”

Wil turned the key and cracked open the door.

“Hello, Wil,” greeted Tom Draper. Wil opened the door to admit the marshal.

“Back to your old ways, Wil?” asked Draper as he walked past Wil and up to the window. He turned when Wil closed the door and walked back to the table.

“This was personal,” stated Wil. Sitting back down at the table, he resumed cleaning his Colt.

“The Walkers worked for Jarod McKinney. He’s not going to kiss you for killing them.”

“They’re also two of the men who killed Cassie,” said Wil without looking up.

“McKinney will come looking for you. People expect it.”

Wil stopped cleaning his Colt, laid it on the table and looked up at Draper. “I killed two men today that helped kill my wife. If Jarod McKinney comes looking for me, I won’t run. I took care of two problems today, if I have to I can take care of another.”

Tom Draper left the window and started for the door. “I’ll have your money for you in the morning. I’d be obliged if you left town after you collected it.”

“You runnin’ me out of town, Tom?”

“Let’s just say I’m tryin’ to stop trouble before it starts.”

“Then, you better be talkin’ to Jarod McKinney, not me. I’ll be leavin’ Gunsight when I’ve finished my business her, not before.”

Wil picked up his Colt and resumed cleaning it. “Excuse me if I don’t show you to the door.”

He didn’t look up again until he heard the door latch behind Tom Draper.

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