It a the first 3 chapters of my book im writing, it is the rough draft, and my first book.
By: Ricky Coleman
Will's forehead glistened with a bead of sweat, the palpable tension clinging to him like the mask on his face, stifling his breath. He pressed the barrel of his Colt Navy revolver against the trembling figure of a hapless woman, a daughter of sin caught in the crossfire. The searing heat from the gun still lingered, remnants of the shots he had fired through the saloon's shattered window.
Amidst the chaos, a sheriff's desperate cries were drowned out by the deafening ring in Will's ears. His gaze shifted towards the upturned poker table, a stark symbol of the upheaval he had caused. Amidst the chaos, a single card, the Ace of spades, commanded his attention. Blood stained its center, seeping through like an ominous omen.
A voice called out from the back door of the saloon, urgency resonating through the air. "We gotta get out of here, Will! They've surrounded the damn building!"
Fixated on the Ace of spades resting on the floor, Will's mind raced with thoughts. The sheriff's voice sliced through the air once more, cold and unforgiving, offering a grim choice. "William Doyle, come on out, boy! My deputies have this place locked down. Each one aims a rifle at that door. It matters not if you die in my town's salon or at the end of a hangman's noose!"
Releasing his grasp on the working girl as the sheriff spoke, Will allowed her to flee, her dress stained by the mud as she dove through the batwing doors to safety. The doors swayed back and forth, casting shadows over the chaotic scene. Removing the crimson bandanna that concealed his face, Will discarded it onto the ground and made his way toward the fallen poker table. His hand reached out, gripping the Ace of spades that had captivated his gaze. The emblem he had grown oddly fond of, knowing all too well that this might be the last time he beheld it. And with the weight of impending doom pressing upon him, his mind drifted back to how it all began.
Chapter 1: A Simple Mistake
One year before, in a dimly lit room, Will's eyes fixated on the cards laid out before him. An Ace of spades and an Ace of clubs stared back at him, a promising start to his hand. The dealer's words broke the silence, his gaze fixed on Will as he awaited his decision.
"Your call, sir," the dealer prompted.
Will's mind raced, calculating his options. After a brief moment, he confidently responded, "Check." His voice betrayed no hint of the excitement and anticipation swirling within him.
Around the poker table, the other players followed suit, one by one, checking their bets. Tension hung heavy in the air as the game unfolded.
Suddenly, a deep, commanding voice shattered the silence. "Raise $5," barked a hefty middle-aged man. His black suit was immaculate, accentuating his authoritative presence. A pocket watch chain dangled from his breast pocket, swaying gently with each movement. Will recognized him instantly. It was a high-stakes game, and the man's formidable reputation preceded him. That was James Darwin, local judge in this town.
Will observed as the man confidently flipped a poker chip into the pot. The man's cheeks glowed red, either from the thrill of the game or perhaps a few too many drinks. His overgrown black beard only intensified the crimson hue. A stovetop hat adorned his head, tilted ever so slightly back—a subtle sign of both confidence and attentiveness. To the untrained eye, these details might have been inconsequential, but Will knew better. He saw the flush of joy in the man's cheeks and recognized the careful positioning of the hat.
As the remaining players folded, it boiled down to a showdown between William and the man in the stovetop hat. The tension in the room grew palpable, as all eyes focused on the pivotal moment. The dealer deftly pulled three cards from the deck, revealing the river. The first card flipped, unveiling an Ace of hearts. A murmur of anticipation rippled through the room. The second card revealed a 10 of clubs, further heightening the stakes. Finally, the third card, a 9 of hearts, completed the river, laying all the possibilities bare.
As the power play unfolded, Will had strategically set his trap. He understood that poker wasn't just about winning the hand; it was about manipulating your opponent to bet against a winning hand. Will knew that Mr. Darwin, or James as he was known at the table, had deep pockets, and he intended to exploit that fact to the fullest.
With a calm demeanor, Will uttered a simple word, "Check." It was a calculated move, luring James into a false sense of security. Unbeknownst to James, the trap had been sprung. James, oblivious to Will's plan, confidently raised the bet by $35, pushing an even larger pile of chips into the pot. The stakes had escalated, and James was firmly committed to the hand. Sensing this, Will seized the opportunity and went all in, sliding his $495 worth of chips to the center of the table. James followed suit, matching Will's bet.
The tension in the room reached its peak as both players revealed their cards. Will confidently turned over his two aces, a winning hand. The Judge's face fell in disappointment as he revealed his two kings, realizing he had fallen into Will's trap.
The dealer flipped the final two cards, revealing three hearts and an ace of Diamonds. Will's hand solidified, while the Judge's chances dwindled. With a grunt of frustration, the Judge rose from his chair, bidding farewell to the remaining players before storming out of the saloon.
Unwavering, Will collected the chips, swiftly swiping them toward himself. His poker face remained intact, his cold blue eyes and stern brow revealing nothing. A hint of stubble covered his face, and his thin pink lips cracked with an air of mystery. It was this enigmatic presence that made Will impossible to read, whether it be by fellow poker players or even lawmen. No one could decipher the thoughts that brewed behind William Doyle's inscrutable facade.
William pocketed the rest of his winnings, savoring the feeling of the weighty coins in his pocket. As he sat at the bar, enjoying a whiskey, a woman approached him, her hand resting on his shoulder. Her seductive whisper suggested a desire for a more intimate setting. With a playful smile, William responded, "Ma'am, I believe you read my mind. I was just thinking about leaving, and certainly not with you." His lighthearted remark earned him an unexpected slap across the face from the offended woman.
"You ought to have some manners when talking to a lady!" she yelled indignantly before storming away in a huff. William couldn't help but smirk, amused by the encounter.
Standing up, he bid the bartender a good night, leaving a generous tip. The clinking of his spurs echoed as he walked across the creaking wooden planks of the saloon. His father's 1851 Colt Navy revolver rested snugly in its holster, the leather creaking softly against his black pants. Adjusting his black leather jacket, adorned with a red felt vest and a black collar shirt, William grabbed his all-black hat from the rack by the doors and placed it atop his head.
Stepping onto the porch, he struck a match, the flame illuminating his face as he lit his cigar. The dim light from an oil lamp cast a soft glow, revealing his loyal horse hitched just a few feet away. Sensing an uneasiness in the air, the horse fidgeted restlessly. William instinctively rested his hand on the grip of his revolver, his senses heightened. He stepped off the porch and into the dark muddy streets of Carson, Nevada.
"All right, boys, you can come on out of the dark. I know you're there," Will stated boldly, fearlessly confronting the hidden figures. After a brief moment, two dark silhouettes emerged from the shadows, their faces illuminated by the flickering flame of the oil lamp. One was a red-headed man in his late 20s, his scraggly beard a fiery crimson against his pale skin. Standing beside him was a short, chubby man whose shadow seemed as plump as he was. This older man, appearing almost childlike in the face, wore a gun on his hip, as did the red-headed man.
Will observed their loose gun holsters, noting that they were not the proficient type, lacking the skills of experienced shooters. The red-headed man spoke up first, his voice filled with aggression. "Oi, Mr. Darwin sent us down here for ya. He feels you cheated him out of his hard-earned money," he accused. The chubby man chimed in, demanding the money Will had won.
As Will pondered his next move, he heard someone approaching from behind, their steps sinking into the muddy ground. Just as he began to turn, he recognized the voice—it was James himself. "You turn towards me, boy, you're dead. I got two barrels in your back," James threatened, his gun aimed at Will's back.
Will calmly asked, "Mr. Darwin, is this true? Do you accuse me of cheating in a simple card game?" He challenged James, seeking clarification.
"You know you cheated me damn good and well, boy. Don't play dumb now," James retorted, convinced of Will's deceit.
"I have to disagree with that accusation on all counts. Besides, you know I can't give you the money in my pocket. If I were to do that, I would be nothing more than a victim of robbery," Will countered, maintaining his innocence.
"It's not stealing if you stole it from me, boy!" James barked, refusing to back down.
"Well, as a man of the law, you should know that if I were to hand over the money, it would be tantamount to admitting your false accusation of me being a cheat," Will argued, highlighting the logical flaw in James' demand.
"Enough! Give me the damn money, bo—" James started, but before he could finish his sentence, Will swiftly maneuvered, performing a 360-degree turn around James. With his left arm wrapped around James' neck, he positioned himself behind him, while his right hand drew his gun and aimed at the two men who had initially approached Will.
Chuckling confidently, Will declared, "Well, it looks like I'm making the demands now, boys. You can either leave right now and let me be, or you can reach for that iron on your hip, and I'll kill all three of you."
In that moment, the chubby man made a desperate choice, fleeing down the dark street as he waddled away from the confrontation. Will's gaze returned to the red-headed man, who locked eyes with him, attempting to gauge his resolve. Sensing the man's intentions, Will acted swiftly, firing a single shot that pierced the night air. The red-headed man fell backward, defeated by Will's lethal accuracy.
However, the triumph was short-lived as Will felt the judge pulling the double-barreled shotgun toward him. Looking down, he found himself staring down the barrels of the gun. Reacting instinctively, Will pressed his colt against the judge's head, pulling the trigger without hesitation. Warm blood splattered across his face as he felt the life drain from the judge James Darwin's body in his arms.
Aware that the sound of the shots would have alerted the people inside the saloon, Will let go of James' lifeless body. Holstering his pistol, he swiftly mounted his horse and rode south, disappearing into the safety of the woods.
The sheriff, Sheriff Peerson, arrived swiftly with the chubby man in tow after being alerted by the bartender. He began gathering accounts from the witnesses who had spilled out of the saloon to see the aftermath of the confrontation. The chubby man eagerly shared his version of events, claiming that the shooter had cheated and stolen money from the judge during a poker game. In response, the judge had enlisted the chubby man and the red-headed man to confront William, hoping to reclaim his money. However, William had somehow gained the upper hand, pointing his gun at the judge and offering them a choice between staying and facing death or leaving.
Upon hearing this, Sheriff Peerson turned to the bartender and asked for the man's name. The bartender replied, "He told me it was William Doyle, sir."
Chapter 2 High noon
As William rode through the woods, his mind was consumed by the events that had unfolded. Shooting a man was not an unfamiliar experience for him; in fact, it was a skill he excelled at. There was only one thing he loved more than playing poker, and that was shooting. Renowned as one of the fastest draws in the entire west, William possessed not only speed but deadly accuracy.
The pearl handle of his revolver felt like a natural extension of his hand, a familiar comfort. Exhausted from the recent events, William decided to take a much-needed break in a small clearing he discovered off the beaten path. He carefully hitched his horse to the solitary tree that stood in the clearing, ensuring its safety. Building a fire to cook his meal and keep the pesky bugs at bay, William was cautious not to attract any undue attention. He knew all too well that the sheriff would report the crime and send bounty hunters after him, so he kept the flames low, hidden from prying eyes.
Reaching into his saddlebag, William retrieved a tube of gun oil and pulled out a rag from his jacket pocket. With practiced hands, he unholstered his cherished pistol and began the process of disassembling and cleaning the firearm. No matter how hard he tried, he could never part ways with this particular weapon—it always found its way back into his holster.
The Colt Navy revolver, from 1851 bearing the serial number 233, boasted a steel barrel with iron sights and a captivating pearl handle. The trusty firearm always shot true, its single action and .36 caliber delivering both power and precision. To William, it was a symbol of freedom and a tangible connection to his late father. Despite losing his father at a tender age of fifteen, it was he who had taught William how to handle a gun, how to shoot with accuracy, and even how to gamble. William had skillfully combined those teachings, forging a career out of his unique blend of talents.
With each stroke of the rag, he relished the scent of gunpowder and embraced the cool touch of the steel. Having the Colt Navy revolver by his side was like carrying a piece of his father's spirit with him, a constant reminder of the bond they shared. As he meticulously cleaned the weapon, memories of his father's guidance and their shared love for the craft flooded his mind. William returned the revolver to its home and bedded down for the night. Knowing he will have to wake up early and hit the road to stay ahead of the bounty hunters.
As the morning sun bathed his face, William reluctantly opened his eyes, berating himself for oversleeping. He swiftly stood up and dressed himself, efficiently packing up his meager overnight camp. With a deliberate kick, he extinguished the fire, erasing any evidence of his presence. William then proceeded to carefully kick the ground around the campsite, obscuring his tracks as best he could. Satisfied with his efforts, he mounted his horse and set off on his journey south towards Texas. It was a long trip ahead, but he had money in his pocket and the thrill of being pursued by the law at his back. That was the position William relished, the rush of being on the run. He couldn't bear the thought of sitting still, craving the constant excitement that kept him on his toes. He refused to let life catch up with him and grow complacent.
William was no fool. He knew that when he left Nevada, the law would be hot on his trail. While he never intended to kill anyone, he harbored no regrets for the choices he made. He had given those men a choice—they could have walked away and lived to tell the tale. However, they foolishly decided to test William's resolve, believing they could call his bluff. They learned a harsh lesson: William Boyle possessed the most impeccable poker face a man could have. Whether he was bluffing or not, it was impossible to discern, as he effortlessly manipulated others into second-guessing themselves. This was how William lived his life, constantly gambling, taking risks, and yet his luck never seemed to run out. Some might attribute it to sheer luck, but perhaps it was all meticulously calculated decisions. Regardless, William Boyle was a force to be reckoned with in every aspect.
As William reached the summit of the hill, his eyes fixed on the bustling town of Wickenburg, Arizona. From his vantage point, he could see the lively activity below, each person representing a potential opportunity to test his luck and skill. He had been on the trail for weeks. William knew he needed to attend to his immediate needs. Weariness weighed on his bones, and the desire for a warm bath and a proper rest in a comfortable bed tugged at him. With a determined stride, he made his way towards the town, shuffling a deck of cards absentmindedly as he walked.
As he entered Wickenburg, the sights and sounds of the town greeted him. The dusty streets were alive with the footsteps of eager prospectors, rowdy cowboys, and locals going about their daily business. The saloons emanated the scent of whiskey and the sound of laughter, while the poker tables beckoned with the promise of high-stakes games and potential fortune. William's first stop was the bathhouse, where he indulged in a rejuvenating soak, allowing the warm water to ease the tension from his weary muscles. The sensation of cleanliness refreshed his spirit, and as he dried himself off, he felt ready to conquer whatever challenges lay ahead.
Seeking respite from the relentless sun, he secured a room at the local inn. With a key in hand, he entered his humble abode and collapsed onto the inviting mattress. The fatigue of his travels soon overwhelmed him, and he surrendered to the embrace of a much-needed rest.
In the comfort of the inn, William's mind drifted into dreams filled with visions of stacked chips, winning hands, and the thrill of victory. He knew that when he awoke, he would be ready to once again put his skills to the test and seek his fortune at the poker table. The anticipation simmered within him, and with each passing moment, his desire to engage in the dance of chance grew stronger. As he drifted off to sleep, the deck of cards slipped from his hand, scattering across the bed. The town of Wickenburg held countless possibilities, and William, the relentless gambler, was eager to embrace them all.
Chapter 3: The Chase Begins
Sheriff Peerson sat in his office, engaged in conversation with John Keymore, a trusted ally and longtime companion in law enforcement. Their discussion was interrupted by the arrival of the youngest deputy, who burst through the door, panting and out of breath.
"I had your message telegraphed, sir, to the surrounding town sheriffs, sir," the young deputy managed to say between gasps for air. Peerson had sent a message instructing all sheriffs to be on the lookout for a man named William Boyle and to notify him immediately if they apprehended him. William was to be extradited back to Carson, Nevada, to face justice for the murder of the judge. Peerson dismissed the young deputy, acknowledging his efforts, and continued his conversation with Keymore.
"Now, me and you, John, go way back. We used to bring them in together," Peerson began. "I trust no one but you to go and fetch this Mr. William and bring him back here. He can't get away with killing a judge and running. Otherwise, we'll have every so-called bandit trying to challenge us."
Keymore responded, expressing his concerns about the task at hand. "I know we have a history, Peerson, but this is a tall order. The tracks he left behind point south, so our best bet is that the man is headed for Texas, or even worse, Mexico. We both know that bringing a fugitive back from there is almost impossible."
Peerson weighed Keymore's words, recognizing the challenges they faced. "I'd go myself, but I'm afraid of what will happen to the town if I leave. I know it's a tall order, John, which is why I asked you. I won't say you're wrong about him heading to Texas, which is why you need to apprehend him before he gets there. Odds are, he'll stop to rest. That's when he'll get comfortable and forget we're on his trail."
Peerson continued, making his case to Keymore. "Look, if you don't want to do it, say so. But don't tell me you can't. I need you to leave as soon as possible. Take as many people as you see fit. I'll assign one of the deputies to accompany you for my own report. He'll provide you with horses and provisions for the journey."
Keymore shook Peerson's hand, accepting the responsibility that lay before him. He walked out of the sheriff's station, his towering height of 6 feet 4 inches attracting glances from passersby. Keymore was known as one of the best bounty hunters in the state, though he never believed it himself. He understood that overconfidence could be a fool's downfall.
As John made his way back towards his house, traversing the busy streets of Carson, he observed the town in motion. News traveled swiftly in this small community, and the people knew that John was here for one reason: to capture the man who had killed their beloved judge, James Darwin. James had been well-liked among the townspeople, known for his fair decisions and his willingness to impose the ultimate penalty—hanging—when necessary. Keymore wondered what the new judge would be like as he walked. To him, William was just another name on his list. It made no difference to Keymore whether he pursued a criminal who had killed a judge or any other lawbreaker. As long as there was a bounty on their head, John Keymore was in pursuit.
John arrived home, situated just outside of Carson. It wasn't a grand mansion, but it provided a comfortable living space for him and his family. As he approached the front door, his wife greeted him with her radiant blue eyes that never failed to bring a smile to his face.
"How did the meeting go, baby? Did you take the job?" she inquired, her voice filled with anticipation.
John nodded, affirming his decision, and leaned in to kiss his wife. "Yes, I'll be heading out right after I change," he replied, his voice filled with a mixture of determination and sadness.
"Daddy!" a voice called out excitedly as their son approached. "Hey there, killer! What are we doing today?" John playfully asked his son, their bond evident in their interactions.
"We're hunting the bad guys!" the young boy exclaimed, brimming with joy and excitement.
John's heart sank a little as he realized he had to break the news to his son. "Billy, Dad's got to go away for a while, so I need you to take care of Momma, okay?" he gently teased, preparing his son for his absence.
Billy's face crumpled as tears welled up in his eyes upon hearing his father's words. John lifted his son up and held him close. "Listen, killer, you're five years old now, not a baby. I need you to be a big boy," he reassured his son, his voice filled with love and tenderness.
John's wife leaned in and kissed his chest, showing her support and understanding. He bent down to kiss his son's forehead before speaking again. "I need to change and go. I love you," he said softly, his words carrying the weight of his impending departure.
With a heavy heart, John proceeded to pack his bags, including all the essentials he would need for his journey. He made sure to bring extra boxes of ammunition and socks, always prepared for any situation that may arise. His black and gray hair peeked out from under his hat, and he adjusted it before tucking his blue shirt into the sturdy belt that held his trusted firearms. His white hat, nearly as pristine as freshly fallen snow, sat atop his head, a signature accessory that seemed perfectly fitted for him.
As John prepared to leave his home, he couldn't help but feel a mix of emotions. He cherished his family and the life they had built together, but duty called, and he couldn't ignore it. The path of a bounty hunter was one that demanded sacrifices, and he had chosen to walk it with unwavering determination. With one last glance at his wife and son, he stepped outside, ready to face the challenges that awaited him in his pursuit of William Boyle.