The fate of Jack
|Check out Part Five and all other preceding chapters.
Since there are four possible fates for Jack Clawtooth, here are all of them.
Part Six A. Jack dies, never seeing Jane in this life again.
"Stranger, your friend won't get back here in time for you to see Jane," the kitsune, who's the hotel owner, said.
"In that case," Jack said, coughing up blood. "I need you to give Jane a message."
"And what would that message be?"
"Jake says, 'Lambchops.'" Jack said, with a smile. "It's what her brother always called her. Only the three of us know what it meant between them. It means, 'I'll be there for you Jane, no matter what.' Tell her that for me."
"I'll tell her that," the kitsune said.
"Thank yo-" Jack managed to say, before a coughing fit took over.
"Take it easy," the kitsune said, as he held his hand. "Besides, it's me and everyone else who should be thanking you. If it wasn't for you, we'd still be living under that spider's web, and afraid. You freed us."
"I know," Jack said, with a smile, just before his body fell limp.
With that, the kitsune closed the man's eyes, stood up, and saw Jane running towards him, with the one-eyed werewolf he'd fought along side of, whose name was Jacob, walking behind her.
"Is he alive?" she asked.
"If you mean Jessie, he's dead," the kitsune said. "This stranger here killed him at the cost of his own life. From what he told me last night, I think that he said that he was your husband."
"Did he have anything to say for me before he died?" Jane asked, kneeling down beside Jack's body, not really recognizing it, as she'd never seen him in his human form.
"Yeah," the kitsune said. "'Jake says, "Lambchops."' That was the message he told me to tell you."
"That was my brother's pet name for me," Jane said, as a tear rolled down her cheek. "Only he and my husband ever called me that. I wonder why he is in his human form though."
"Well, here's the thing," Jacob said, as he got down next to her and the body. "In all of the time I worked along side of him, he never used his wolf form. He said that it was because he was trying to become as human as possible. I guess it is because he wanted to prove his love to you, and to himself."
"He didn't have to do any of this," Jane said, as she put her hand on Jack's face. "He could have just stayed away from town or something."
"I don't think that he'd have it any other way," Jacob said. "He did this all for you."
"I just wish that I could have said good-bye to him," Jane said, as she grabbed a hold of Jacob, and started crying on his shoulder.
"I know," Jacob said, giving her a gentle hug. "I know of no man remotely like him."
That evening, after the bodies of the fallen townspeople, Indians and outlaws had been taken care of, in one form or another, a crowd of people stood around one grave in particular.
"It's hard to believe that he's dead," Lahorn, a Texas minotaur, said. "I mean, he's the toughest guy that I knowed."
"He twer no ordinary man, that's for sure," said Lefleet, a Southern centaur.
"He was a good friend to the end," Jacob said. "I won't deny that."
"He was a good husband and father," Jane said.
"Him brave warrior," said Red Horn, a buffalo minotaur who lead the local Souix tribe. "Him save daughter, so I help him save family, as we be blood brothers. I no forget Wolf-Who-Looks-Human."
With that, people started to leave. Jane however, stayed next to the grave.
"Oh Jack," she said, as she put the blue harmonica she'd bought him for their anniversary on the grave, crying softly. "If only I could have been able to say 'I love you' and 'Good-bye'"
Then, as she started to leave, she heard a harmonica playing an off-key version of "My Darling Clementine"
When she looked back, she saw that the harmonica was gone, and written in the dirt was "Lambchops."
Part Six B. Jack sees Jane one last time.
"Just hold on stranger," the kitsune said. "I see that your friend is coming back, and he's carrying Jane as well."
"That's good," Jack said, coughing up some blood. "There's so much that I want to say to her, yet so little time left."
"Hey, there's always time enough to tell her everything," the kitsune said, as he held Jack's hand.
"Yeah, there is," Jack said, as he caught sight of Jane's golden hair.
"Jack, is it really you?" the woman asked, kneeling down beside him.
"Yah, it's me," Jack said. "You and the kids, and the rest are safe from that monster."
At this, he started coughing up blood again.
"Jack, don't die," Jane said, as she held onto his hand. "Don't leave me. I love you, so much."
"As do I Jane," Jack said, with a smile on his face. "As do I. However, fighting those monsters has killed me. However, I promise you this; I'll always be there for you. Now, could someone get my harmonica out of my pocket? I have a song that I want to play."
"I'll get it," Jacob said, as he picked up the blue instrument, which had somehow survived the fight. "Though I don't think that you should play anything in your condition."
"In that case," Jack said, coughing up some more blood."I want you to play 'May Darling Clementine', in the same way that I played it. Can you do that for me?"
"I'll do my best," Jacob said, as he put the instrument to his lips.
Then, he started to play, in tune at first, but, as per Jack's request, he started to play it off-key, in the same way that Jack had played it, just before the fight started.
"You're right," Jack said, with a chuckle, and coughing up some blood. "That is awful."
Then, as his vision faded, Jack looked into Jane's blue eyes, and took a deep whiff of her golden hair.
Then, with smile, he said his final words, "Jake says, 'Lambchops.'" At that point, his body fell limp.
About thirteen years later, a young werewolf man walks out of a white painted church, holding onto the hands of a young human woman, gently giving her a kiss.
"You're just like your father Jack," an older woman standing behind him says.
"I know mom," the werewolf says, turning his head. "I'm kind of reminded of that every time I walk past the statue of him in the middle of town."
"I know that son," the woman says. "You look exactly like him in both your human and wolf forms."
"Yah," Jack says. "I just wish that I got to know him better. Do you think that he'd be proud of me?"
"Oh your old man would be proud of you," says an older one-eyed werewolf. "I know I am."
"Thanks Uncle Jacob," young Jack said. "I just wish that I got to know him myself. All that I really remember of him is that he always played that off-tune version of 'My Darling Clementine'. I just wish that he could have been here today to see me marry Snow Calf, the daughter of his one friend."
"Your father was a great warrior," says an elderly buffalo minotaur. "I was proud to call him a blood-brother, and now I'm proud to call you a son. His spirit lives on in you. You have the same eyes as him."
"Thanks Chief," Jack says. "Though it does seem to be a lot of weight that people seem to put on me every time people say that I'm like my father."
He then turned away, and started walking down the street, everyone congratulating him and such. Suddenly, he saw something that caused him to stop. Standing just at the entrance of an alleyway was his father. How Jack knew this, he didn't know. He then saw his father pull out a blue harmonica, the very one he carried in his pocket, watched him put it to his mouth, and start to play a very familiar tune, an off-key version of "My Darling Clementine."
Part Six C. Jack Survives his Wounds, But Leaves
A few weeks later, Jack sits in a chair, thinking about something. By a miracle of some sort, he had survived his wounds, but he still bore the scars of his fight with Jessie and the other two leaders of the outlaw group. From his view on the porch outside the hotel he'd been staying at, he'd watched as the townspeople rebuilt the place. He'd watched as the children started to go back to school, with Jane teaching them. He'd watched as his children recovered from their experiences at the hands of the outlaws. He saw how Jennifer, the daughter that Jane had had with Jessie, start to come out of her web, and start to be with the other children.
However, the thing that was on his mind was whether or not he should stay in town with Jane, or leave the town, and see about cleaning up the country of other groups like the one that Jessie ran. He knew that after the war many former soldiers on both sides had gone home to find themselves without a home or a job. As a result, many had gone west, looking for a job, in one way or another. While many had found one, there were those who turned outlaw. He knew how they terrorized many innocent towns, rustled cattle, robbed stagecoaches, and more. He also knew that regular lawmen couldn't handle these sorts of army-trained men, especially those with nothing to lose.
He then turns his head and takes a look in the mirror. The image was not the man that Jane had married. He was marked by the things he'd seen and done. He then saw Jane walking down the street. The woman looked at him and walked over to the motel.
"Jack, are you thinking about something?" she asked, as she sat down next to him.
"Yeah," Jack said. "I've been thinking about leaving town."
"Why are you thinking that?" Jane asked. "You belong here."
"Don't get me wrong Jane, I'd love to stay," Jack said. "It’s just that, this place isn't for me. Also, there are others like Jessie out there. The law can't stop men like him. Besides, once word of this reaches the cities back east, you can rest assure that the US Marshals will be after me. There's still a bounty out on me for killing that cop in New York. That and I broke out of a Texas prison three months back, as I was arrested during a bank robbery, and for the murder of a deputy, though technically I didn't do anything except get caught up in the confusion."
"What happened that you were arrested?" Jane asked.
"A man killed Lahorn's older brother, and it took him five years to track the guy down," Jack said. "As it turns out, the man was a deputy in a town that I was at. Well, he came up with the bright idea to rob a bank that I was getting some money from, to attract the guy's attention. Of course, it didn't help much that me and the man had had words in the past, and during the robbery I'd pulled out my Colt and fired a shot near him, trying to hit Lahorn in the arm and he got in the way, getting hit in the shoulder before Lahorn gored him to death with his horns. Needless to say, everyone figured that I was involved somehow and I was locked up in the same cell as Lahorn. Well, I got us out, and me him and Lefleet fled Texas as fast as we could. But there is another reason."
"And what would that be?" Jane asked, as she put her hand on top of Jack's.
"There are other men like Jessie out there," Jack said. "Ex-soldiers with nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and they'll take it by force, just like Jessie did. The law can't stop men like them, and more importantly, they won't help towns like what this one was, a town where harming a human, like you, is a hanging offence or something. Hell, they'd probable help them out in those cases. After all, in most places, non-magic using humans are on the bottom of the social ladder, as well as the food chain, and you'd know about that. Places like this wouldn't receive any help from the US Marshals or other large law enforcement groups. Someone like me though, could take on those groups and protect those places, and their people."
"But, you could be killed," Jane said, as she looked into Jack's eyes.
"Jane, the werewolf you loved died the day your brother died," Jack said, looking away from the woman he loved. "These last three years have changed me. For the last three years I've tried to become human, to understand what it is like to be one. However, no matter how hard I try, there is still that monster inside of me. I've killed well over fifty men in the last three years, mostly using my rifle and revolver, and my Bowie knife at times, but there were more than a few that I killed with my bare hands. Now, they tended to be attacking Indians, rustlers, and other such peoples, but they all affect me."
"But that's not reason enough for you to leave," Jane said.
"It is for me," Jack said. "Besides, while I'm sure that the people who live here would protect me for what I did, I can't take that chance. I'm leaving today, in the evening, when it starts to cool down."
"Is there anything that would make you change your mind?" Jane asked. "Like the children?"
"It's for the children that I'm leaving," Jack said, looking at the woman. "There's a four thousand dollar bounty on my head at least, two thousand from New York, a thousand from Texas, and a thousand from various peoples for killing their brother or whatever. If those people show up while I'm here, they'll use the children to get to me. But if I'm not here, they may not come here, or they won't realize the connection between me and you. As it is, all that the children know about me is that I knew their father. If they don't know who I am, they won't think that their father left them when he could have stayed."
"So, you're leaving for their safety?" Jane said, in a questioning manner.
"Yeah," Jack said.
"Just promise me that you'll come back at some point," Jane said, grabbing Jack's hand.
"I'll try," Jack said, as he gave the woman a gentle kiss.
Later that evening, Jack left the town. When Lefleet and Lahorn asked where he went, Jane only said that Jack left to keep them safe from his enemies.
After this, the story about Jack Clawtooth becomes interesting. Some say that he shot it out with outlaws in Tombstone. Some say he killed a corrupt lawman in Dodge City. Some say he was shot and killed by the Mexican Army. Some say he went to Canada and became one of that country's Mounties’ officers. Some say he was a prospector during the Alaskan Gold Rush, Some say he fought in the Spanish-American war. There were many tales as to what happened to Jack after he left the town.
What is known is this, in 1910, an old white haired human, with several old scars came to town. When someone asked him what his business was, he told the man that he was there to see Jane Greenscale. This troubled the townsperson, as Jane Greenscale was his grandmother. After telling the stranger that the woman was dead and buried in the cemetery, he asked who the man was. The stranger replied that he was a friend of her husband's and headed in the direction of the cemetery. During the night, someone played an off-key version of "My Darling Clementine." In the morning, the townsperson came across the stranger, laying on the ground next to the grave of his grandmother, dead. Written in the ground was one word, "Lambchops."
Part Six D. Jack survives his wounds and Stays
A few weeks later, Jack was sitting in a chair on the porch of the hotel he was staying at. By some miracle, he'd survived his wounds. In fact, at one point, he thought that he was dead, as he'd seen the gates of the afterlife, one where only screams were heard, and one where the sound of joyous music was heard. He had looked longingly at the gate where joyous music was heard, but he felt that he wasn't pure enough to go to that place, so he'd gone to the place where screams were heard. However, he'd been stopped by the King of Hell. The demon told him that he wasn't destined for there, as he wasn't evil enough for Hell. With a smile, he'd gone to where he heard the joyous music, but the gates didn't open. He'd asked what was going on when a figure appeared before the gate. It was Jake, his dead brother in-law. The small dragon had told him that it wasn't his time yet, and he'd been sent back to his body.
Now here he was, sitting on a porch, wondering what to do. He was worried that when word got out, Jessie's friends and kin would be after him, as well as other outlaw groups, and even the law itself. After all, there was a four thousand dollar bounty on his head, two thousand from New York, a thousand from Texas, and a thousand from various others, for he'd made a lot of enemies over the last three years. He didn't want to get his family in trouble, as they'd be used against him.
But then he did some thinking. Given how the people considered him to be a hero and a savior, it was unlikely that they'd turn him in if the law showed up. Also, the US Marshals would have to bring a large amount of men if they wanted to get past the Indian tribes. After all, they were very fierce warriors, and often times caused the Army to run. As for the outlaw groups, once word spread about how one man whipped out Jessie's gang, just the mere mention of his name would leave them quaking in their boots.
Then, Jack heard a familiar voice saying his name. Looking up, he saw Jane coming over from the other side of the street. Over the past couple of weeks she'd been walking outside, regaining the strength that she'd lost since she'd been imprisoned by Jessie over a year ago. It hadn't been easy, but at least she was walking on her own two feet, albeit with the help of a cane. As for the children, they had also improved, as Jack Jr., Jane Jr., and even Jennifer, the daughter that Jane had had with Jessie, were coming out of their shells, and were slowly getting over the torment that they'd been through, though Jack could see that certain scars would remain.
However, the sight of Jane walking towards him was enough to cause him to smile.
"Good afternoon Jane," he said. "How's the school coming?"
"Well, considering that the children in town have been out of school for over a year, not bad I guess," she said, as she sat down next to him. "Though, it could be worse, most seem to remember how to count past ten, and spell more than their names, as well as write in a manner that is readable."
"I guess that is good," Jack said. "Wouldn't be surprised if their parents came to your night classes, if only to check up on you."
"Oh that they do," Jane said. "However, I have a question for you, are you planning on leaving town?"
At this, Jack smiled and said, "For three years I searched for you. I'd been planning to tell you that I was a friend of your late husband, and to tell you that he left me a message to give to you, to tell you that he still loved you and everything. After that, I probably would have left, never to see you again. But now, I just don't see myself leaving, especially after everything that's happened."
"Do you mean that?"
"All the gold in California and the silver in Nevada couldn't drag me away from you," Jack said. "Besides, knowing my luck, I'd probably have to leave the area anyways, as I’d get into a fight with the wrong person, much like in New York, and Texas."
"You're wanted in Texas?"
"Got caught up in a bank robbery that Lahorn set up as an ambush for this one deputy who'd killed his brother some years prior," Jack said, with a nervous chuckle. "Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to sticking around to get hung, so I broke myself, and him, out of that jailhouse, and we fled Texas with Lefleet. From what I've heard, there's a thousand dollar reward for me there."
"Well, I don't think that you have to worry about the Texas Rangers coming all the way out here," Jane said. "In all the time I've been here, the only ones that showed up, before Jessie and his gang of murderers took over, were the cowboys that were pushing cattle on their way to the markets in Abilene. The sheriff that we had, not to mention the deputies, was quick to set them straight, in regards as to how to treat humans in town, as he took one that had tried to rape one of the whores, and broke his arms and legs, before tossing him back to his group, and told them that the guy got off on a light punishment, as all the humans in town were not to be touched without permission from certain people, one of which being the mayor."
"I heard something about that," Jack said. "Something about the previous mayor having a human for a wife and that he wanted to protect her, and her kin, from harm."
"That's the basics of it," Jane said. "There is more, but that is what started it."
"Sure wish that I could of met him. We could have been good friends."
"Yeah, his wife and I were good friends. But when Jessie showed up, well, it wasn't very good. From what I heard she was, well, you can get the idea."
"She was killed."
"Yah, along with many others, especially those who were, human, like I am."
"I kind of got the feeling from the hotel owner, when he was talking about how some of his clients were humans."
"So, do you want me to tell the kids about who you are?" asked Jane. "I've noticed that you haven't been in your werewolf form since your fight with Jessie three weeks back."
"Let me just say this Jane," Jack said. "Three years ago, after you left me and I had fled New York, I made a promise to not use my werewolf form, not even if it meant the difference between life and death for me, and you know full well that I tend to keep my promises. True there have been times that I've done a partial shift, like my eyes, ears, and claws, but that's usually when someone has seriously angered me."
"So, why have you been in your human form? You were never in it when we were together," Jane said.
"At first it was to disguise myself," Jack said. "Since no one knew what I looked like in this form, I was able to use it to get out of the state. After that though, I had something of a dream, a dream in which I was in my human form, on a quest of sorts. I thought that it was telling me that if I wanted to find you, I'd have to become human. However, I seem to get the idea that that was not the message."
"What do you think it meant?"
"I wouldn't know," Jack said. "Maybe it was to find a place where I could settle down and find peace. And I get the feeling that this might be that place. Ever since I defeated Jessie and helped free this town, and found you, and the kids, it feels as if a burden was lifted off of my shoulders."
"Well I do hope that you do stay here," Jane said, as she laid her head on one of his shoulders. "The kids keep asking me about you, things like how I know you, and how you know their father. So far all that I've told them is that you were a friend of their father, but I don't know how much longer I can just keep on saying that."
"You can tell them the truth Jane," Jack said, as he gave Jane a gentle kiss. "You can tell them that their father has finally come home."
"We're going to need to get remarried you know," Jane said, as she smiled at him.
"In that case, we better find ourselves a priest."
With that, the two gave each other the first real kiss they'd both had in a long time.
I hope that you enjoyed the story.
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