He was dying; he could tell that much in the pain clouded recesses of his mind. The bullet had hit it’s mark embedded deep into the flesh of his chest. A wound like that would need immediate medical attention and the nearest town was a good half day’s ride on horse back from this damnable town. This desolate pile of wood with it’s abandoned wagons and rotted skins surrounded for miles by desert waste land, bordered with ragged mountains that loomed over the tiny settlement, casting hulking shadows across the town.
The thick coppery scent of blood stung his eyes and nose as the last few minutes of his life passed before his mind’s eye. He could remember having travelled for a good few days in the blistering heat of the west’s deserts and the sticky sensation of the leather as it rubbed and clung to his sweaty back as he leaned ever so casually against the rickety fence of the old stables, waiting for the duo of sheriffs that had been following his path for the past days.
He remembered glancing over the town as he waited, listening to the wind whistling through the streets and blowing sand around, as he looked over everything from the buildings with their faded paint, to the silent grey gelding that had been tied to the front of the town’s bar. He could remember when his glancing eye was caught by the solitary form of the broken wagon; it’s rotted spines crippled by the neglect of it’s abandonment, and it’s decaying flaps of material slapping against itself in the harsh blow of the wind.
He could see as finally, just after the sun reached it’s peak in the sky, the men he had been patiently waiting for finally arrived. Both with their weathered faces, wrinkled and creased from age and life. Their hard eyes squinting against the sun as their dirt speckled dusters flew out behind them in the wind.
He could hear the silence broken only by the steady chinking of their spurs as they sauntered nonchalantly towards each other. The sound of his heart roared in his ears as he tired to ignore the shaking of his hands.
He saw himself stop in front of the two men, just outside the swing doors to the saloon, glancing briefly over the ripped ‘wanted’ poster on the wall behind them. He recalled the feel of the sudden dryness of his mouth as he pulled back his trench coat to reveal his two guns strapped to his sides.
He could still remember the chilling silence, staring at each other, waiting for the right moment to move. And then like some unspoken command all burst into action; pulling out their guns; throwing themselves into the bar; firing at the bounty they had all been chasing the past few days.
His bounty’s face would be something he could never forget: a pudgy, greasy face twisted into a feral snarl, bearing his teeth with a strip of meat hanging from them as he fired mercilessly, killing the two other men instantly and striking himself in the chest.
All this past through his mind in mere seconds. He groaned lowly and clutching his wound, rose weakly to his feet, and staggering over to the bar’s entrance. He passed through the rotted swing doors, lifted his gun as best he could aiming with his rapidly blurring eyesight. Faintly in the distance he could make out the shape of his quarry fleeing into the horizon on the grey gelding. He scowled stubbornly and fired at the rider quickly, before his weak body was flung into the wall from the recoil of his gun. Hitting the ground with a heavy thud, next to the bodies of the two other men, his vision faded to black.