This a story I wrote that was inspired by Spaghetti Westerns:
When a Stranger Walks into Town
Started: 25/5/09 Finished: 30/5/09
A strong, brisk wind blew in down from the mountains. Dust-bowls ran down the one and only street of the town called Trinity. The wooden houses had their doors tightly bolted shut, and only the solitary saloon still had its doors open. The swing doors creaked eerily as the barman cleaned and dried cups. He had two chins, thinning grey hair, a large round body and small, gnarled hands. He squinted through the dirty and cracked saloon windows as, seemingly out of nowhere; a man dressed in a long black overcoat was riding down the street. The horse looked tired and haggard. The stranger stopped in front of the bar and tied his steed up. He then came in, shaking dust and sand off on to the floor. He had a dark skin, Mexican looking eyes and a midnight black moustache. The man was dressed all in black; even his revolver, which hung loosely in its holster, was gun-metal black.
“Hello stranger. I run the saloon here in Trinity. You can call me Hank. Your new around here aren’t you?” The barman said nervously. He had heard tell of Mexican bandits coming across the border. The man grunted a reply.
“What’s your name?” Hank asked.
“I have many names, but most people call me Franco.” The strangers said enigmatically. His hand crept down his body. The wind howled, blowing open the doors and bringing in a man.
He was in his twenties, tall, handsome faced and wore a long grey poncho. “What’s this guy?” The man said gruffly.
“He says his name is Franco, Mr. Morgan.” The barman edged to the door to the backroom. “We don’t like Mexican’s around here. And keep your hands from that gun there. Now, what do you want with this town.” Morgan said toughly.
“I’m looking for a man.”
“And what makes you believe this man is in Trinity.”
“Things that you aren’t going to tell me, huh?”
“Well you can just get out of this town.” Morgan’s hand stole towards his holster.
The barman was in the backroom now. He prayed there wouldn’t be any shooting. A dead body was something Hank didn’t need. He heard a shot and a scream. Hank groaned inwardly. He sighed and opened the door seeing Morgan sobbing, grasping his gun hand. Hank’s mind reeled. This stranger Franco had beaten the best gunfighter in the area in a straight shoot-off!
Morgan stumbled through the swinging door and out onto the street.
“Shouldn’t-shouldn’t someone help him?” Hank asked Franco.
“Him? Na, leave him. I drew in self-defence in case anyone asks. Now, could you get me a room for the night?” Franco said to the barman.
“Not that you will last that long.” Hank muttered.
“And whys that?”
“Well, the guy you just shot was second only to the man who runs these parts.”
“And who runs them.” He inquired.
“That’s exactly the answer I wanted to hear.” Franco said to himself, while walking up the creaky stairs to his room.
Jack Mortimer’s house was the largest building in the area. It was made out of fine stone, two stories high and had six windows on both floors with a tiled roof that constantly needed work, but then, Mortimer could afford that. It was surrounded by a medium sized ranch were Mortimer kept his sleek, grey Mustang horses.
Mortimer was in his late thirties, a man who was as neat and clean as anyone would wish. His hair was a wavy brown colour which perfectly matched his alert, bird-like eyes. His moustache was well trimmed and he had a thin cat-like mouth. He wore clothes that went out of style with the Confederacy losing the Civil War. He was sitting down at his desk in a grand, over-furnished study when Morgan came running to the house.
Morgan had tied up his hand with a handkerchief, but it still sent white hot pain shooting up his arm. He rushed into the study, ignoring the massive bookcases around that contained Homer, Plato and Aristotle and the English classics by Chaucer and Bunyan. He sat down heavily on the guest chair and panted.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Mortimer cried.
“I’m sorry Mr. Mortimer but I just had my right hand crippled by a no good son-of-a-gun!” Morgan roared.
“Now charm down. I’ll send the boys over and have him run out of town.” Mortimer told him.
“You don’t realise what this means, do you? I’ll never be able to fire a gun for the rest of my life! You say you’re goanna to get the boys to run him out of town? I want this guy Franco crucified!” Morgan screamed and then broke off as he descended into sobbing. Mortimer went as white as a sheet. “Did you say he called himself Franco?” “Yeah…” He sobbed. “What did he look like?” “He was dressed all in black even his gun was. He looked like a Mexican an’ he had a black as night moustache.”
“It’s him!” Mortimer said to himself, feverishly. He then said to Morgan: “I’ll get you a doctor.”
As Mortimer ran out of the room, Morgan asked “Where are you going?” “To get some men and kill him!” Was the reply he got.
Mortimer went round to his stables, having to hold on to his hat as the wind constantly threatened to blow it off.
“Murray! Murray!” Mortimer shouted against the wind. The man he was shouting for was some hundred meters away dealing with some horses. He ran over to Murray when Mortimer realised that he could not hear him.
“Murray;” Mortimer told him “get the men together and deal with this man called Franco. He’s at the saloon. I want him out of my hair permanently. You understand?”
“Perfectly boss.” Murray replied enthusiastically. He enjoyed working for the boss. He could pillage and murder as much as he wanted, as long as it was okay with Mortimer. “Right; I’ll go and get the guys and we’ll have ourselves a little fun with Franco. Anything else you want?”
“Yes. Go and get a doctor double quick. The stranger nearly blew all of his hand off.”
“That’s fine with me. I’ll go and get Jackson to do it.” Murray walked off looking for Jackson, with perhaps a spring in his step.
He found Jackson downtown. “Go an’ get Doc Preminger to go over to the boss’s place, Jackson, we got ourselves an injured Morgan.”
Ten men walked down the main street of Trinity. Their hats were all tied to there heads as the howling wind still blew fiercely. They were all identical, they all had that empty look in their eyes that told you they had seen and done a lot of killing.
Murray walked in front of them ever so slightly, as if he wanted to be first at the kill.
The men arrived at the saloon and went in. “Which room is Franco in?” One of the men asked the barman. “In-in Room Five.” “Thanks. You better get yourself out of here. There’s goanna be some shootin’ ‘round here.” Murray told Hank confidently. The barman hurried into his back room, and greedily went for his drink cabinet.
“Okay boys, let’s go an’ kill Franco!” The men went up the stairs and found Room Five. The door was on its last legs, needing only an excuse to fall down. Murray fired three times through the door. His reply was a bullet in the head. “Nuts! He got Murray!” Someone exclaimed. “Never mind him, let’s charge the door!” Nine charged that door, only seven made it into the room. The group just saw a body jumping out of the second story window. “Shoot him on the ground!” Over fifty bullets flew from that window, and over fifty bullets ploughed harmlessly into the ground. “He’s doubled back into the saloon!” Seven men all tried to get down a staircase that was designed for one person at a time. One of the men got knocked on to the ground, creating a domino effect, knocking more people down with him. At the bottom of the stairs, a group of tangled bodies desperately tried to get back up the stairs as Franco dispatched five more henchmen. Now, only two were left.
“Listen Jimmy, Franco’s using an eight shot pistol. He’s killed eight of us, so that means he’s out of ammo.” The two men walked casually down the stairs, with their guns in their holsters. Franco was at the bottom of the stairs. He shot both of them quicker than a blink of an eye. As “Jimmy” died quietly on the stairs, he asked: “But- but you used up all eight bullets.”
“I know. I reloaded, while you and your friend had a quick chat. Goodbye, I must have a word with a man called Jack Mortimer.” As he left, Franco shot “Jimmy” again in the head.
As Franco got on to his horse, He thought to himself: “Mortimer will know by now that I’m coming for him, so he’ll head towards the Mexican border. That’s only four miles away.” And so thinking, he rode off after Mortimer.
It was a quick ride. Franco had scouted at the lay of the land two days before going into Trinity. He had found out the quickest route to the Mexican border. He also knew which way Mortimer would go. He would go through a canyon that only had two entrances.
Mortimer was half-mad with fear. He didn’t want to dwell on what might happen if Franco caught up with him. His only chance was to get across the Mexican border. Unfortunately for him, his chance of survival was gone as soon as he chose the canyon route. He rode along the canyon, the hoof beats echoing off the smooth, dry walls of the ravine.
As he entered out into the open, his breath in his lungs died. There, sitting high on a brown horse was a man clad all in black. A man Mortimer feared more than, anybody else in the world. A man named Franco. He tried to turn his horse away. He would have done anything to escape. As he tried to ride back the way he came, something hit his leg. His leg went limp. He could no longer keep his leg in the stirrups. Mortimer fell messily on the floor. He looked up; sitting right next to him on a horse was Franco with a smoking gun.
“So we meet again, eh Jack? We haven’t seen each other in over seven years. How come you didn’t keep contact with me Jack? Was it because you were afraid of me Jack? What did you do that would make me want to kill you Jack? Maybe it was what you did in the Civil War, eh Jack?” Franco said tauntingly.
“Please Franco; I was only obeying my orders. If I had disobeyed, they would have shot me.” Mortimer whimpered.
“That would have saved seven years of hunting you down Jack. Now give me a reason Jack why I shouldn’t put a bullet through your head, eh Jack?”
“My men will come looking for me by nightfall. They are the best gunfighters around.”
“But I killed all you’re men Jack.”
“Please Franco, if you don’t kill me I’ll give you twenty five thousand dollars. That would set you up for life.”
“You know Jack; I’ll go and get that money after I kill you.”
“I’ll do anything for you Franco, just you name it and I’ll do it!” Mortimer sobbed at his feet.
“I know something you can do Jack;”
“What is it? I’ll do it!” The injured man interrupted.
“Take a gun and shoot yourself.”
“You’ll only be happy when I die!” Mortimer cried.
Mortimer went for his gun. He had it out in less than half a second and fired it at Franco’s head. He side-stepped and the bullet passed harmlessly into the rock face.
Franco aimed for the heart and didn’t miss.
Franco said aloud over Mortimer’s body: “That’s for lining my family up against the wall and having them shot for just being Unionists!”
Franco buried Mortimer’s body in the ground and put on his cross:
“Here lies the body of a murderer.”