The Unabridged Story of how Jack Clawtooth gets back his family. Published.
|As Jack cleaned his Bowie off with a rag, he looked at the body in front of his feet. It had been one of the mayor's men, which he'd snuck up on and, after covering his mouth to keep him from shouting out a warning, stabbed through the heart.
"You done with yours?" he asked in a quite voice, turning around to see a one-eyed werewolf with a bloody hand and dripping claws.
"What do you think?" the man asked, pointing at a corpse that had a torn throat.
"I think that you should of used your knife Jacob," Jack said, tossing the rag on the body. "Makes less of a mess."
"Yeah, but it's very delicious," the werewolf said, licking his fingers and claws. "Don't tell me that you don't enjoy the blood of a freshly killed enemy."
"I swore myself off of the flesh of others, and you know it," Jack said, as he got out a mirror and flashed a signal. He was a werewolf, like Jacob, but for the last three years he'd been mostly in his human form, only doing a partial shift when the situation called for it. "Besides, except for that day three years ago, once the war was over and I'd gone home, I never ate another person, I had enough flesh from others during the war to sustain me for the rest of my life. Hell, I don't even know what the war was fought over. The only slaves that were freed were those who weren't humans. We condone rape and murder when humans do it to non-humans, but when non-humans do it to humans, nothing happens. No one says, 'Where's the rope? That man's a murderer!' No one even tries to help the human out. There's a word for that, hypocrisy, or something like it."
"Well whatever it is," Jacob said, as he finished licking his claws. "We still have your family to save."
"You have that right," Jack said, as half a dozen Indian warriors appeared from hiding. "I've spent three years trying to find them. I'm not going to lose them again."
When the warriors got close enough, Jack could see that only one of them was one of the Sioux tribe that he'd befriended the previous week. Then again, Red Horn's people had been chased from their traditional lands on the Great Plains, as they'd been a small tribe. The other Indians in the area were a mixture of Comanche, Apache, and a few minor tribes. While not many of the tribes had much love for each other, or those of the town, all had been raided by those lead by the dridder whose name, Jack had found out, was Jessie. As a result, once Lahorn, a young Texan minotaur, had told Red Horn, who was a buffalo minotaur, that Jack needed help to rescue his family, the man had told his shamans to contact those of the other tribes, as well as light smoke signals for there were tribes who didn't have a shaman of their own. As a result, there was now over two thousand warriors surrounding the town, loosing an arrow every so often at one of the raiders, more to make them keep their heads down than anything else. After all, as Jack had told the chieftains, there were people who had the same desire to get rid of the raiders like they did in town, and it was best, for their sake, that no real attack be made until they were given a special white armband that would protect them from friendly arrows and bullets, and such.
"You got the armbands?" Jack asked, in a low voice, as to not let the enemy know that their men in that area had been taken out.
"Yes Wolf-Who-Looks-Human," said the Souix warrior, a buffalo minotaur, in an equally low voice. "We have more than enough for everyone of fighting age, including those who are humans, like you asked."
"That's good," Jack said. "Just remember, some of them will be scared, so put the bands in the room, where they can see them, and point to the one on your arm. Also, keep in mind that the dridder's men's bullets can still kill you, and at the moment, all you have are close range weapons, like knives, tomahawks, claws, teeth, and such, so don't go counting coupe just yet. Wait until me and Jacob start firing on the saloon before you launch your attacks from your respective areas."
"Alright," the man said, as he started to tell the others, as Jack and Jacob started to walk through town, being careful not to be spotted by the Mayor and Sheriff's men, as they fired in the direction of the warriors that surrounded the town. Over to the northwest area was where a lot of gunfire was taking place, as that was where the ranch hands from the Double D were at, trying to get their stolen cattle back.
"What do you think that our chances are?" Jacob asked, as he checked on his scattergun and revolver, to make sure that they were loaded.
"Sixty-sixty," Jack said, as he checked his own guns. "Sixty percent chance we kill them, sixty percent chance they kill us, and a whole lot of we'll both kill the other."
"My kind of odds," Jacob said, with a wicked smile, as he aimed at the saloon and fired both barrels of his scattergun.
"Exactly," Jack said, as he started firing his Henry, waiting for Jacob to reload his gun so that he could cover him as he went around back, so he could get his children out of there.
Then he shouted, "Hey Jessie, I wouldn't get comfortable in there if I was you! I'm going to kill you for everything you've done to the people of this town!"
"Bigger men than you have tried that!" came the dridder's voice, along with the gunfire from over a dozen rifles, scatterguns and revolvers. "What's this place to a dog who'd rather be a weak human anyways?!"
"I'll give you a hint!" Jack shouted, as the bullets whizzed by his and Jacob's ears. "She has Golden hair AND Blue eyes!"
"You're fighting ME over a WOMAN!?!"
"SHE AIN'T JUST A WOMAN! SHE'S MY WIFE!" Jack shouted, as Jacob unloaded one barrel, and started firing his revolver towards an open window, as Jack began making his move to get around back.
When Jessie heard those words, he put two and two together and realized that he'd had the perfect chance to kill Jane's husband the other day, right there in the saloon.
"Damn it," he said. "William, head to my Vila, and kill Jane. I won't let that dog see her alive. Wesley, go kill his kids. That will take the fight out of him. Get to it!"
Knowing better than to disobey their leader, the two men nodded and went out the back, William, a rattlesnake-like naga, heading to the Vila, and Wesley, a dragon, heading to the Sheriff’s office, where the kids had been held at.
However, Jack, who'd been under a window near where the dridder had been standing, remembered what he said he'd do to those two, followed the dragon.
When the dragon entered the Sheriff's office, he was tackled from behind.
"So you like to have young females, who aren’t even proper young ladies yet, pleasure you hu?" asked an angry voice. "Well, let's see how you like it when you lose your manhood!"
Then, the person got off of his back, grabbed him by his shirt collar, picked him up, and slammed his head into one of the cell doors.
"It's going to take a lot more than that to kill me Dog!" he shouted, turning around fast enough, that his assailant was unable to release his grip, and was slammed against the cell door himself, forcing him to let go. However, it was at that moment, that his groin erupted in pain, and blood started to gush out from that region.
"No!" he shouted in anger, as he looked to see his assailant, the werewolf he'd played poker with the other day, who was still in his human form, stand up, holding his manhood in one hand, and a bloody Bowie knife in the other, both of which were covered with his blood.
"I told you that you'd lose you manhood," the werewolf said, tossing the thing on the floor, and cutting it up with his spurs, which were different from his normal ones, as these ones had actual blades on them. "Now let's see how tough you really are, saloonkeeper."
Meanwhile, Jacob was once again regretting the lose of his eye. While his scattergun and revolver were useful in making the Mayor's men keep their heads down, they weren't doing much good at killing them. Also, he was running low on shells and cartridges.
Suddenly, he saw a kitsune pop out from around the corner of the building next to him, and fire a shot at the saloon with a smoothbore musket.
"You all right?" he asked, ducking back behind the building, so that he could reload his weapon, which could fire maybe four shots a minute.
"I've been better," Jacob said, as he poked the end of his scattergun around the corner and fired both barrels. "Could use more shells and cartridges though. There are at least a dozen of them in this place, and a hundred others in town!"
"I know that!" the kitsune shouted, as he finally got his musket reloaded. "I killed a few on the way here when I heard the shooting and some Indian warrior passed me an armband telling me that would help protect me. As for shells and cartridges, I've got a couple of boxes with me. No good for me, as I have this musket and a ball-and-cap pistol that my father gave me when I moved out here long before the war between the states. However, seeing as how I figured that someone might need a box or two, I took them with me after I killed the guys who had them."
With that, the fox-like man tossed a couple of boxes at Jacob, who caught them with relative ease.
"Thanks," Jacob said, as he reloaded his revolver with cartridges from the box.
"No problem," the kitsune said, as he fired his musket, killing one of those inside. "That one's for me!"
Back at the Sheriff's office, which was burning by now, Jack, who has suffered from a few burns and scratches, stands over the body of one very dead dragon.
"I guess you weren’t so tough after all," he says, sheathing his knife, and grabbing a set of keys, which he uses to free his children.
"Come on," he said, picking them up, as pieces of burning timber start to fall around them. "I best get you out of here."
It was just as they got out that the entire place collapsed behind them. "That's why dragons should keep their mouths shut when they get angry," he said, looking at the fire that was still burning. "They can't control their fire lungs to well if their temper gets out of hand."
"Do I know you from someplace?" the girl asked, looking at him. "You seem familiar somehow."
At this, Jack looked at his daughter and said, "I'm a friend of your father. That's all that I can say." With that, he touched a spot on the back of each of his children's necks, causing them to fall asleep.
He then saw a couple of whores hiding in the alleyway, one being the one he'd saved the other day. "Take these two and put them someplace where they'll be safe," he said, as he got his revolver out, and fired at a man who'd been trying to sneak up on him from the rooftops, killing him. "After all, they shouldn't see this sort of stuff."
"Right," the woman said, pointing at a couple of the others. "Just for you to know, the whole town is fighting alongside of you and the others.
"That's good to hear," Jack said, firing a shot off at another man. "Now, if you don't mind me ladies, I've got some rodents to kill."
At this, he started running towards the Vila, as the "Mayor" called it, as he was part Italian or something like that.
Meanwhile, William, who was heading towards the Vila, was encountering plenty of surprises, like town's people shooting at him when they saw him, or killing his men when they saw them. In fact, he saw a human beat a dragon to death with just his hands and feet.
"How could this be happening?" he was wondering, when a bullet slammed into the wall, just above his head. Turning quickly, he saw the stranger from the other day, who proceeded to fire a Henry rifle at least five more times in his direction, just barely missing him, before he turned around and fired at someone who'd been pointing a rifle at him, killing the man.
"This is your Fault!" William shouted. "We had it going good until you just had to show up."
However, the stranger just looked at him and asked, "Do you know what it is like to be on the other end of a leash and collar? It's just like having a noose around your neck, only not as tight."
Suddenly, the man rushed him, tossed a lariat loop around his neck, jumped on the top of a roof, hauled him up, and tied the end to a beam. William's last images of this world was that of the stranger's eyes looking into his as he struggled for breath. However, he had a slight smile on his face, as he'd bitten the man in the arm during the struggle, and few people survived being bitten by a naga as they had highly potent venom.
As Jack looked at the dead Sheriff, he felt his arm go numb.
"Dimmit!" he said, when he saw the bite mark. "The snake must of bitten me when I put the noose around his neck."
Even in small amounts, naga venom was highly deadly. If he was lucky, he had, at the most, an hour to live. However, there was a way to counteract the venom, to be bitten by dridder and be injected with its venom, as the two highly deadly venoms could neutralize each other for some reason that had yet to be explained. Of course, there was a dridder in town, two of them in fact, the Mayor, and the mayor's daughter.
"I'll go for the Mayor," he thought, as he took his bandana and made a bandage out of it, using it to slow the spread of the venom. "Chances are that, during the fight between me and him, he'll bite me. After that, it will be up to luck."
Meanwhile, back at the saloon, Jessie watched as another of his men fell dead. The two who'd been firing at them had been reinforced by several others, including a rakshasa that had his right arm in a sling. The man had been trying to join the gang the other day, but when that werewolf showed up and shot him, and after the werewolf talked to the man's younger brother, when the kitten tried to shoot him for it, he'd realized how foolish he'd been, and when the fight started, he joined with the rest of the townspeople.
"Damn it," Jessie said, as he fired his pistol at the werewolf who'd been doing a lot of firing at him with his scattergun, just missing him. "Where are Wesley and William at? It shouldn't take this long for those two to kill two children and a woman."
"I know where they are," said a very familiar voice, as a bullet entered the back of Jessie's last remaining gang member. "They're in the same place he's going to be in a moment, and you will be after him, Hell."
As Jessie turned around, he saw the werewolf from the other day, still in his human form, pointing a Colt revolver at his head.
"I'm going to take a wild guess and say that your name isn't Jacob," he said, looking the man dead in the eyes.
"My name is Jack Clawtooth," the man said. "Husband to Jane Clawtooth-Greenscale. Father to Jane and Jack Clawtooth. I served in the Union Army from sixty-three to sixty-five. Three years ago I killed a New York City cop and became a wanted man in my home state. Three years ago was when my wife left me, and took my children. For three years I've searched for them. I was going to tell Jane that her husband had died, leaving me a message, to tell her that he died loving her. Of course, thanks to your friends, that's probably all that I'll be able to tell her."
At this, Jessie saw that the man was badly burned, bleeding heavily, and had naga bite marks on him.
"I hope that you don't expect me to bite you to save your life," he said laughing.
"No," Jack said, cocking his pistol. "I expect you to die." However, when he pulled the trigger, there was a hollow click. The chamber was empty, just like the next one and the next one, and so on,
"Looks like you forgot to re-load your iron," Jessie said, as he cocked his own pistol and pulled the trigger. However, just like Jack's there was a hollow click, followed by another and another, and yet another.
"Looks like I can say the same thing," Jack said, as he dropped his revolver and pulled out his Bowie.
"Doesn't matter," Jessie said, with an evil laugh. "When I'm done with you, I'm going to kill the whore and your pups."
At this, Jack's ears started to twitch rapidly. "Oh you should not of called Jane a whore," he said, sheathing his knife. "Because now I'm going to beat you to death instead of just cutting your head off."
Meanwhile, outside of the saloon, Jacob and the others noticed a distinct lack of gunfire and stopped firing.
"Something's going on," said the kitsune. "It's gone quiet in there."
"Yeah," Jacob said. "Too quiet."
Suddenly, amidst a shower of wood and splinters, Jessie came flying out of the saloon, leaving a very large gaping hole in the building, not to mention a trench in the street.
"Impossible!" the dridder said, standing up on his spider legs. "There is no way that a werewolf, even in their wolf form, can be that strong."
"Who said that I was a pure werewolf?" Jack asked. "I never told you that."
"Then what are you?" Jessie asked, blood coming from his nose.
"I'm part Witch Doctor," Jack said. "One of the most powerful magic-users out there. I can use your strength against you. Even if I'm dead, I can still save this town from the likes of you."
"Oh really?" Jessie asked, as a makeshift stake, a large broken piece of wood, erupted out the front of Jack's chest, causing him to double up in agony. "I also know magic, like moving objects, and people, with my mind, even from a distance. If fact, I could cause your beloved Jane to stop breathing with just a mere thought."
"Oh no you won't," Jack said, coughing up blood. "Because now, I'm going to break an important promise that I made three years ago."
"And what would that be?" Jessie asked, as pieces of wood began to whirl around the pair.
"I promised to never use my wolf form, not even if it meant the difference for life or death for me," Jack said, as he pulled the piece of wood out of his chest, causing a large amount of blood to spill out. "However, I never promised that I wouldn't use it to protect my wife and kids."
With that, his eyes turned yellow, his face elongated, his teeth became sharp, his ears grew and became triangular, his body grew larger and broader, causing what was left of his clothes to tear and fall off, hair grew all over his body, his nails became claws, and a tail grew from the lower part of his spine.
"Now," he said, in a very deep voice. "Let's see if you can face me!"
With that, as the pieces of wood started to fly towards him, Jack rushed the dridder, knowing that his death was imminent no matter what he did, so he decided that, at the very least, he was going to take the spider to Hell with him. As the first volley of makeshift spears pierced his body, he took out two of Jessie's legs, leaving six left. However, as he went for the third, his leg went numb, causing him to stumble.
"What's the matter dog?" Jessie asked, with mocking concern, as he struggled to regain his own balance. "Are you taking a dirt nap?"
"Not yet," Jack said, with a groan, as he struggled to get up. "I ain't gonna die, until you are."
"How can you kill me, when your face is in the dirt?" Jessie asked, as he leaned down to look at the dying werewolf.
"Like this!" Jack said, shoving his hand in the man's mouth, causing him to bite down, which caused Jack's hand to clench up, blocking his airway. "I'm going to have you to choke on my fist, and you won't be able to do a thing about it. Your fate was sealed the day you came to this town. It was sealed the day you took it over. It was sealed the moment you forced my wife to be yours. It was sealed the day you sold my children into slavery. It was sealed the day you had a daughter with my wife. And, it was sealed when I first laid eyes on you yesterday. You should of killed me when you had the chance, because now I've killed you."
As Jessie struggled to get the werewolf's oversized fist out of his mouth, he started seeing moments of his life flash before his eyes, like the battles he'd fought, faces of those he'd raped, killed, or eaten.
Then, he saw something that no living mortal ever saw, the gates of the Afterlife, two of them. One was golden, and had the sounds of joyful music behind them. The other had flames surrounding it, and there were screams of terror behind them. Then, one gate started to open, the one where screams were heard, and despite his best efforts to resist it, a powerful force pulled him in. As the doors closed behind him, he saw something that was worse than any nightmare, he saw The King of Hell.
"I've been waiting for you for a long time," the demon said. "We have special punishments for those who steal another man's wife."
Suddenly, Jessie found himself strapped to a bed, facing a woman, with a long spiked whip.
"It's been a while since I've had one of your type to play with," she said, in a voice that made the King's voice seem pleasant in comparison, as she got the whip ready to do its job. He was going to be there for a long time, ten thousand years minimal.
Back in the world of the living, when Jack saw Jessie's eyes turn white, and his body fell down, he let out a sigh,
"It's finished," he thought, as he pulled his hand from the dridder's mouth."The town is free of this monster, as is Jane. Jane! I got to tell her, tell her that I love her."
At this, he tried to get up, but his body wouldn't let him.
"Jacob," he said, in a tired voice. "Get over here."
"What is it Jack?" the werewolf asked, as he came over, just as Jack's body reverted to its human form. "Do you want me to get a doctor for you?"
"No," Jack said. "I need you to get Jane. She's in the mayor's place. I need to tell her that I-"
"Don't talk," Jacob said. "I'll get her. You just hang in there Jack."
"Hurry," Jack said, his breathing becoming ragged.
With that, Jacob started running, hoping that he could find the woman, and get her to Jack in time and hoping beyond hope that the man would live.