by Johnny Foxx
The first episode in a tale of the Wild West, following a gang of outlaws across the land.
This is my attempt to write something different than I normally do, throwing my hat into the ring of the Western genre. I'm kind of a fan of Western movies and games such as The Magnificent Seven and Red Dead Redemption. As you can probably tell, this series will be heavily inspired by and draw from such works, while also trying to put my own unique spin on the tale. I hope you enjoy the story, and if this gets enough feedback and interest, we'll see where it leads.
Ep. 1: The Beginning
So you want to hear a story of the old Wild West, do ya? A story of Outlaws and Lawmen? A story of murder and revenge? Love and Loss? Well, you come to the right old geezer. I'll be glad to tell you a story, if you don't mind buying me a beer.
It was the year 1880. Outlaws and scoundrels ran rampant across the western United States. It was a land of greed, lawlessness and bloodshed. Gangs of bandits robbed, raped and murdered their way to infamy, their names known throughout the country. One such gang was the notorious group of outlaws known as the Mc'Shay gang, led by none other than Robert "Bob" Mc'Shay.
Bob was the son of a Scottish immigrant farmer and a waitress at a saloon in a small mining town in Wyoming. His family never had much money as he was growing up, but being farmers they always had plenty of food. Then one fateful day, whether it be an act of God or just plain bad luck, their crops began to wither, and at the same time, what livestock they had started to succumb to an illness that caused their cattle and chickens to drop dead, their meat contaminated and inedible.
To make matters worse, winter was fast approaching, and there was no way that what little food they had left would sustain them long enough to make it through. Knowing he and his family would starve if he didn't take drastic action, Bob's father concocted a desperate and bold, albeit foolish plan. Gathering the owners of some neighboring farms who were in the same boat as him, the devised a plan to rob a bank in town.
Unfortunately, the posse of desperate farmers were far from criminal masterminds, and their plan failed spectacularly as they were all captured and hanged. The news of her husband's execution devastated Bob's mother, who died not too long after, some say of a broken heart. The now orphaned Bob was taken to an orphanage where he met three boys around his age, "Apache" Joe Williams, Thomas "Coyote Tom" Stone, and Franklin "Ferral Frank" North. The quartet of orphaned boys would later become the original founding members of the Mc'Shay gang, having chosen Bob as their leader, since the formation of the gang had been his idea.
Since he had heard of his father's demise which lead to his mother's passing, a deep hatred began to grow in Bob's heart and soul, a hatred for the so called Law, which had condemned his father, a desperate man who was only trying to feed his family, to death. At age seventeen, he and his newfound accomplices began their life of crime, running away from the orphanage and Bob himself seeing to it that the sheriff who had sent his father to the gallows would taste Bob's own brand of justice.
One night, as the sheriff was just finishing locking up his office, Bob ran up to him and pretend that he needed help, that his friend had just been robbed. He lead the sheriff to an alley where his friends were waiting, and clocked the sheriff in the back of the head.
He fell to the ground and the four young men began to pound, kick and stomp on him, Bob's blows landing the hardest of all, as he released his anger and frustration on the man responsible for his losing both his parents.
After about five minutes, the gang beating stopped, and Bob grabbed one of the sheriff's revolves out of its holster. He told the sheriff to stand and prepare to draw. If there was one thing his father had instilled in him, it was sort of a sense of honor. He may have hated this man with a burning passion, but he would still give him a chance to defend himself, now that he had released his fury, and it no longer clouded his mind. Even if it meant putting his own life on the line.
The sheriff shakily got to his feet, still dizzy and disoriented from the beating he had just endured. He shook his head to clear it enough to focus, and reached for his other pistol. A loud bang echoed through the streets as Bob drew his weapon, took aim and fired, all in under a second. If there was another thing his father had taught him, it was how to shoot.
The sheriff's pistol had just barely left it's holster before Bob's bullet found its mark between his eyes. And just like that, Bob had killed his first man. He and his accomplices quickly took what they could carry off the sheriff's body, before heading to the town livery and stealing some horses to make their escape. And so began the legend of Robert Mc'Shay and his gang of outlaws. Oh, but this tale is far from over. There were many other exploits that Bob and his gang partook in. I'll be glad to tell you about them, that is, if you'd be willing to buy me another round?