As Jack gathers his allies, he finds that keeping one promise won't be easy. 1870's words.
|*Please read the following first before you read this.*
*Note* I will be using the language of the 1870's, including some terms that are considered derogatory.
As Jack watched his companions leave town, Lefleet, a young centaur who had an attraction towards male humans, who was heading towards the ranch the group worked at, the Double D, and Lahorn, a young minotaur, who was holding onto a young male human with dark colored skin, who was a Witch Doctor, and was heading towards the encampment of a Sioux Chief, a buffalo minotaur named Red Horns, he felt a sense of pride.
"I do hope that my plan works." he thought, as he looked at the full moon. "Well, at least those three should be safe, so that I can rescue my family."
Then he pulled out a harmonica and looked at it. It was a blue one, with the words "For my love" engraved in it. It had been his anniversary present from Jane after their first year of marriage. At ten dollars, it had not been cheap for the average human to get, but Jane was different, as her father, a dragon, owned the largest railroad company east of the Rockies, with a brother owning the largest lumber company in the Northwest Territories, and a cousin owning the largest oil company in Texas. This meant that she could afford anything she wanted. At the time, he hadn't known how to play one, let alone anything resembling music, but he had managed to play an off-key, very off-key, version of "My Darling Clementine." However, Jane had loved it, and after that, on her birthday and anniversary, he'd play it, in that same off-key way, despite the fact that he could play it properly nowadays.
Looking out the window, he saw the Mayor's Vila, which had an open window, one that was for the room that Jane was supposed to be in. Getting an idea, he started to play a few bars, which he punctuated with a howl, like he used to when he played it for her when they were together.
After a minute, when he finished the song, he heard the hotel owner open up the door and shout, "If you're going to play, play it right."
"Oh but I am buddy," Jack said, with a chuckle. "This was how I played it for her."
"What are you talking about?" the man asked, as he moved towards the moonlight, revealing himself to be a fox-like kitsune. "Who'd you play 'My Darling Clementine' like that for?"
"I used to play it for my wife, on our anniversary and on her birthdays," Jack said, as he looked at the man with a smile on his face. "I promised her that I'd always play it like that on those two special days, so that she'd know that it was me playing, and not some other love struck werewolf."
"Did something happen to her?" the man asked, as he stood next the window with him.
"Yeah," Jack said, the smile leaving his face. "She left me after I killed a man in New York, and took the kids with her, a few years back. Ever since then, I've been searching for her, if only to tell her that her husband still loves her, if only before I met my end at the end of a rope."
"What do you mean by, at the end of a rope?" the kitsune asked. "Who'd you kill to deserve that sort of sentence?"
"I killed a lawman," Jack said. "After the bastard killed my brother-in-law. Needless to say, if I show my face in New York, I'll end up meeting my end at the end of a rope."
"So, you are a wanted man," the kitsune said. "Well, compared to the Mayor, and his men, that makes you relatively descant."
"What do you mean by that?" Jack asked.
"Well, before they showed up, this place used to be a nice place to live," the man said. "Especially for humans, like my wife and my one son. In fact, it was something of a hanging offence to harm one, let alone kill or eat one, especially since the then Mayor took a human for a wife, and had a human child with her. However, one month, about a year back, that dridder and his men showed up. They killed the Mayor, and the Sheriff, and they started terrorizing the humans in town, as well as their kin. Nowadays, if you are a human, you better stay indoors, or stay with those who are your friends, who claim that you are their pet or slave, so that you can stay safe from those who work for those, monsters."
At this, the kitsune sat down on the bed, and started to cry.
"Some of my best customers were humans," he said. "But if they had money, well, things were not good for them to say the least. The smart ones gave their money to their friends, as well as everything else, and let them claim them as slaves or pets. Those who didn't, they'd be lucky if it was just their money that was taken. People are scared mister, scared for their friends, their families, and their lives. In the beginning, we tried to fight them, but they were too many, and too well trained. They took us over like it was nothing. Also, some people managed to scrape up some money, and were able to hire a gunfighter, but when the Mayor offered him more money, he turned on us, told him who had hired him, and those people were killed, and then, he was killed himself. The Mayor said that it was because if he could turn on people that easily, he wasn't trust worthy."
"Smart man," Jack said. "If I knew that someone was a traitor, I wouldn't trust him either. However, he made three, no, five, critical mistakes."
"What would those be?" the kitsune asked, looking at the stranger that was in his place of business.
"First off, he took over this town," Jack said. "The second was causing people to live in fear. The third was taking control of a man's family, selling his kids, and getting the man's wife pregnant with his daughter. The forth was mistreating his own daughter, not to mention the man's wife. As for the fifth, that's for not knowing that a Full House will always beat a Flush, unless the guy has a full ROYAL Flush."
"What do you mean?" the man asked.
"Your mayor can't play Poker too well," Jack said. "I bluffed him out of over three hundred dollars today. When he realizes that, he's going to be mad, and he'll come for me."
"He'll kill you, you know," the kitsune said, with a gasp. "And then there will be trouble because of it."
"No," Jack said, as he broke down his Henry rifle and started to clean it. "Because I'm going to kill him. He made one final mistake in not killing me when he had the chance at the saloon."
"What do you mean?" the kitsune asked.
At this, Jack took out a faded tin-plate type of photo from his pack and put it on the bed next to the kitsune. It was a picture of him in his werewolf form, wearing a Union Army uniform, standing next to his wife and daughter, his wife holding their newborn son.
"That was taken just before I went off to fight my first battle of the war," he said. "My son had just been born and well, in case something happened to me, I wanted him to know what his old man had looked like. Well, my wife thought that, instead of having a picture of just me for five dollars, we'd get a family one for eight dollars. Needless to say, when it was done and over with, I gave the guy ten dollars, because of how well it had turned out."
"Hey, this woman, she's the mayor's wife," the kitsune said, as he looked it over. "You was playing that tune to let her know that you were here, right?"
"Yep," Jack said, as he looked back at the mayor's Vila. "I'd also play it for her when she wasn't feeling too good, and I have the feeling that she isn't in the best of shape. After all, music can be a powerful thing, as a good song can give people strength to carry on."
"In that case stranger," the kitsune said, as he stood up, and walked out of the room. "Play your song all night. This town could use a good song to lift its spirits up."
"I'll do that," Jack said, as he got back to playing his harmonica.
In the morning, on a rock outcropping outside of town, a harpy yawned, as he looked down the sights of his rifle. Pinned to his chest was a Deputy badge, though he was really a murderer who worked for the "Mayor" and "Sheriff". He'd been told to keep an eye out for a werewolf, one with an eye patch over his right eye, who went by the name of Jack Clawtooth. The man was coming to kill his boss because the man had married his wife and sold his kids to be slaves to the other leaders of the group. Then, a smile came to his face, as he saw the man he was supposed to kill come running over the horizon. Deciding that he needed to get into a better position to make the kill, he stood up, looked down his sights, and aimed at the man's left eye.
Suddenly, he heard someone shout, "Get Down Jacob!" and he felt something impact his chest, which was followed by the sound of a rifle shot echoing. Putting a hand to his chest, he saw that he was bleeding. Then, he looked in the direction that he'd been shot from, and saw a human standing on another rock outcropping, over a thousand yards away, pointing a rifle at him. "It can't be," he said. "No human.... make a shot... that farrrr-" At this, he fell off of the edge of the outcropping.
Down on the ground, Jacob Bloodclaw was hiding behind a large boulder, with his revolver cocked, and regretting the fact that he was a bad shot ever since he lost his eye in a fight with some Comanches a few years prior. He'd been good once, but after that day, in the summer of sixty-eight, he'd been lucky to hit the broadside of a barn with a scattergun. As it was, Jack Clawtooth, some Eastern werewolf, who was always in his human form, did the hunting for the ranch. Also, he was very peculiar in other ways besides that, as he'd fight anyone who tried to eat the others, especially the humans. He'd even gone as far as to fight him when he'd tried to eat some whore that had cheated him out of some money one night. Funny thing was, Jack had been in the perfect position to kill him and take over as foreman of the Double D, but he hadn't. However, he didn't tell the Boss about it, as he was engaged to the ogre's daughter, and he would not have liked it if he had found out that his future son-in-law could be beaten by another werewolf, especially one who was in his human form at that.
"Where is that bastard?" he wondered. "And who was it that shouted my name before that rifle shot? It sounded very familiar, both the voice and the gun itself."
"Hello Jacob," said a familiar voice, one that was followed by the clinking of a very familiar set of spurs.
"Jack Clawtooth," Jacob said, with a growl in his voice, as he looked to see the man walking towards him, with that peculiar smile of his, holding his rifle in a manner that spoke both confidence, as well as skill, with his revolver in his holster, without it lashed down, meaning he could pull it out in a second, without it getting caught up in the leather loop that was put over the hammer to prevent people from just pulling it out unless they were going to use it. "Are you here to say hello, or kill me?"
"Looks to me like I just saved your scalp," Jack said. "That man had a bead on you when I saw him and warned you to take cover, before I fired at him."
"I guess you must of hit him then," Jacob said, as he looked to see the harpy laying on the ground, hardly moving. "What do you think he was going to kill me over?"
"Why don't we find out?" Jack said, as he started to walk over to the body.
When the two of them got close, Jack pulled out his pistol, and watched as the harpy, who was still alive, looked at him, and said, coughing up blood, "You.. eaten.. mayor... this."
"That's fine by me," Jack said, before he fired his pistol right between his eyes. "Say 'Hello' to the Devil for me when you get to Hell." With that, he started to go through the dead man's belongings, looking for something.
"And here I didn't think that you had the stomach to kill someone Jack," Jacob said, as he watched the man loot the body. "I mean, from a distance, sure, but this seemed have been personal."
"In a manner of speaking, it was," Jack said, as he pulled something out of the man's shirt. "And if this Wanted Poster is any indication, he was going to kill you because he was hunting me down."
"What do you mean?" Jacob asked. "I'm not wanted for anything."
"Yeah, but I am," Jack said, as he unrolled the poster. On it was a picture of him, in his werewolf form, which bore a distinct resemblance to Jacob's, and it said that he was wanted for the murder of a New York City police officer, a hanging offence.
"You mean that he was going to kill me all because you killed a lawman back East?" Jacob asked.
"Actually, there's more to it than that," Jack said, as he tore the poster up. "That man had killed my brother in-law, and it was only after the fact that I found out that he was a cop, as we call them back East. Also, my wife left me, and took the kids with her, and came out here. Me, I came out here, both to flee the state, and to find my family. Well, I found them, in the town that this bastard came from, and the whole place is in a bad way, as it was taken over by a bunch of outlaws, former soldiers by the looks of most of them, and my wife was married to the leader, with my son and daughter being made slaves or pets to his two most trusted lieutenants. Well, I made the comment that I'd be coming, and I would kill them, and I guess they took the threat seriously."
"How many people are we talking about here?" Jacob asked, as he saw Jack whistle for his horse. "After all, you saved my life. I am honor-bound by the rules of the first werewolves to help you out for it."
"This isn't your fight Jacob," Jack said, as he got on his horse. "This involves me, and my family, and over a hundred former soldiers."
However, the foreman grabbed the reins and said, "Jack, there's no way I'm going to let you go alone to face that many."
"And I won't," Jack said, as he pointed his rifle at the corpse. "With him dead, that makes just over ninety-nine left."
"I guess it does," Jacob said, with a smile on his face, before the two of them started to chuckle, as it reminded them of a tune that had become popular a little while back. "Maybe you can pass one to me."
With that, the two of them burst out laughing.
"Alright Jacob," Jack said, as he managed to control himself, so that he could calm his horse down. "You can come along. Just don't get yourself killed. After all, the Boss would kill you if you did that."
At this, the two of them started to laugh again.
"You know Jack, I think that once we rescue your family," Jacob said. "You and me will become the best of friends. As it is, I think that you and me might be cousins, as I think that my mother was a Clawtooth before she married my father and the two of them moved to Texas after Texas won its war with Mexico."
"Yeah, I felt that sort of feeling when I first saw you in that saloon in Montana," Jack said. "As it was, you cheated Lefleet out of thirty dollars."
"So that was the reason you fought me, and not the whore that had tried to cheat me out of ten dollars that I had tried to eat?" Jacob asked, as that had been the first time that the two had met.
"Actually, it was both," Jack said. "She told me that she had some information about my wife and kids, meaning that I'd need her alive to tell me the information, and you needed your ass beat for cheating the kid. Gave me something of a shock when I saw that your face looked like mine."
"Well cousin," Jacob said. "We best get going. After all, if we are going to save them, we need to make a plan."
"Yep," Jack said. "Though I have part of one formed, as I asked Lahorn to go to Red Horn's people and ask them for help, and to basically surround the place, and shoot an arrow every so often, to encourage people to stay indoors and keep their heads down. As for Lefleet, well he told you the news that our cattle were rustled right? Well, it is true, they were. Basically, I want to keep that so-called Mayor, and his Sheriff, and the rest of his men busy, so that we can pick them off one-by-one. Care to follow me, partner?"
"Of course," Jacob said, as the pair clasped each other's wrists. "Partner."
With that, the two started to head towards town, though Jack took a look back at the corpse, and felt a sense of guilt. He'd been on that outcropping, waiting for Jacob to show up, for several hours, looking down his sights at the man, waiting until the man popped up, and he could make the claim that he did it to protect Jacob, whom he'd sent the Deputy to kill, because of the fact that Jack had told the Sheriff to send him to that particular outcropping, as Jack hadn't liked the fact that the man had bothered him when they first entered town. However, the man was dead, and nothing would change the fact that it had been done in cold-blood.
*To be continued in part Four*