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Rye James

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Member Since: Mar, 2007

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Fury At Sundown
By Rye James
Monday, November 05, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Rye James
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Western short story

Tom Connors rode down the street noticing that there wasn’t much activity going on. He only saw a couple riders and only a few old-timers sitting in chairs outside the barber shop. The town seemed devoid of any life or energy. He’d seen it before though. Sundown wasn’t the first town he’d been hired to clean up. He stopped his horse in front of the Sheriff’s office and dismounted his Thoroughbred. Connors took a look back toward the town before slowly making his way into the office. He could tell it hadn’t been occupied in some time. The desk was cluttered with papers that had dust littering on them. There was a chair turned over on the floor along with debris scattered around the floor. He went back into the jail cells and saw more of the same. As he came back into the office he noticed a man walking from across the street in his direction. Connors noticed the man wasn’t wearing a gun and was dressed pretty well. “Are you Tom Connors?” the man asked. “That I am.” “We’ve been waiting so long for you.” “And who might “we” be?” Connors wondered. “The town committee of Sundown. We’re the ones that hired you.” “Oh. I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner, but I had other business I was obligated to attend to first.” “We understand. We’re just happy that you’re finally here now.” “Well, tell me the situation.” “As you can tell from looking around here we haven’t had any law here since the Sheriff was killed four months ago.” “Let me guess…women and children are afraid to leave their homes, men are afraid to cross the street, and everyone’s just plain plum scared. Except for a chosen few who probably been buried by now.” “That’s about right.” “Tell me about the fellas that got a stranglehold on this town.” “Well, there’s five of them. There really isn’t a leader among them, they all pretty much do whatever they want. They’re just plain mean, fast with their guns, and they’re not afraid to use them.” “Where can I find them?” “Every few days they come to town causing havoc. I reckon they’ll be here later tonight most likely.” “Well, you come and get me once they get here.” “Where are you gonna be?” “Right here,” Connors told him. Connors went back into one of the cells and laid down on a cot. Cleaning up towns with no law was his specialty. He didn’t usually stay too long. He was rarely welcomed after his business was done. Towns were thankful that he did what was needed but his abilities with a gun usually invited the kinds of trouble that the towns wanted to get rid of. After a few hours the leader of the committee came running into the jail and woke Connors up letting him know that the gang had arrived. “Is there anything you need us to do?” “Just stay out of the way.” “You can’t take all of them on at the same time can you?” “I reckon we’ll find out, won’t we?” Connors stood on the street in front of the jail watching three riders coming closer to him. The riders stopped their horses in front of the stranger to size him up. They were always cautious when strangers came into town. “Something we can do for you, mister?” one of the riders asked. “Can’t say that there is.” “Well what are you doing here?” another rider asked. “Cleaning up riff-raff,” Connors told him. “And just what do you mean by that?” the first one angrily asked. “I mean you boys need to find yourselves another town.” “We like this one.” “That’s too bad. I’ll only give you one chance. You can leave on a horse or you can leave in a casket…it’s your choice.” “Mighty big talk for a man that’s outnumbered.” “I’ve faced tougher men than you,” Connors responded. The rider in the middle quickly reached for his rifle drawing it from his horse. Connors lightning quick draw of his Colt fired two shots into the man’s chest dropping him from his horse. He was dead before he even hit the ground. The other two riders looked on in amazement at the speed at which the stranger could draw his gun. Connors holstered his gun. “Either of you two wanna join him?” Connors asked the pair, without getting an answer in return. “I’d suggest you boys ride out.” “What’d you say your name was?” “Tom Connors.” “I’ve heard of you.” “Nothing good I hope.” “You haven’t heard the last of us.” “If you come back you’ll never hear anything ever again.” The riders turned their horses and started to ride back out of town. Connors watched them closely in case they tried anything. They didn’t ride too far before trying to surprise the gunslinger. They quickly turned their horses, one of them jumping off his horse with their guns blazing. Connors first fired at the man still mounted, hitting him in the left arm. The man that jumped off his horse fired a couple shots that missed his target. Connors did not however, as he killed the man with a single shot to the head. The other rider tried to ride out, spurring his horse on, but to no avail. Connors unleashed two more shots that lodged into the man’s back causing him to fall of the horse. Connors checked on all his victims to make sure they didn’t have an ounce of breath left within them. Connors told everyone to leave the bodies laying in the street so when their buddies came looking for them they’d see them laying there. “That sure was some impressive shooting,” one onlooker came out to tell him. “I was off,” Connors replied. “You didn’t miss a shot.” “Missed all of them.” “Huh?” “Didn’t hit a single spot I was aiming at,” he said before walking off. A few hours later the remaining two members of the group came riding into town looking for the rest of them. As they rode through the street they saw the cold bodies of their friends. They became visibly angry and started yelling at whoever was listening. “Who did it?” one of them shouted. “If you don’t come out and show yourself we’ll burn this stinkin’ town to the ground. We’ll kill every single man, woman, and child here.” “I reckon you’d be looking for me,” Connors calmly told them, walking into the street from the saloon. “Who are you?” “I’m the new welcoming committee.” “You did this?” “Yep,” Connors said before spitting at the direction of one of the dead bodies. The two men became hesitant and looked around not believing that one man killed three of their group. “It’d take a good gun to take down them three.” “Better make it five,” Connors responded. The riders laughed at the confidence of the stranger before them. “Give us time to get off our horses and we’ll see how good you really are.” “Suit yourself. Don’t know how you’ll do it though, looks like your foot’s tangled up in your stirrup,” Connors pointed out, tricking the man into looking down. The rider looked down long enough for Connors to remove his revolver from his holster, holding it in front of him. The riders drew their weapons as Connors raised his gun firing a round at each man knocking them both of their horses. The first rose to his feet after being hit in the left shoulder only for Connors to fire two more bullets into his chest killing him upon impact. The other man slowly rose to his feet and raised his weapon only to have it fall from his hand when Connors shot him through his throat. Connors holstered his weapon and made way for his horse. He mounted the only friend he had and rode out of town. “Much obliged to ya, Mr. Connors,” one citizen yelled to him. Connors heard him but didn’t respond back. He didn’t even turn around to see the the result of the violence that came through his hands. He didn’t need to. It was the same result that happened in a dozen towns before.  

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