A murder of crows of innumerable amount circled in the sky above the two wanderers that were left standing beneath them. Two simultaneous cracks erupted from the graveyard below. The first crack was met with telltale crackle of metal hitting stone. The second was met by a meaty snap. One of the men collapsed violently with a cloud of pink mist flaring from his neck followed by a spine chilling choking and gurgling. The other man fell to the ground as well, but his plummet was brought about by relief and exhaustion, not out of defeat. He sat in the dirt and looked upon his rival as the victor. The other man convulsed and seized on the ground with blood damming his throat. He desperately teared his shirt and placed it to his neck, trying to preserve all he had left. The sitting man looked at his hands and held up his revolver. He pulled a bullet from his jacket pocket and loaded it into his gun. He spun the chamber and aimed it at the dying man.
He spun the chamber again and once again aimed the gun at the dying man.
The sitting man let out a bellowing laugh as the dying man’s lungs filled with blood and he began to suffocate. They looked at each other with the purest of hatred.The sort of hatred even the demons of the lost paradise could not muster. The sitting man smiled. Not to himself, but to his defeated foe. He wanted him to choke on his blood. He wanted him to suffer for the remainder of his life, as he would have to when the other finally died.
“Third times the charm?” He said as he gave a lopsided frown at the growing pool of blood around his quarry. He spun the chamber. Bang.
The dying man fell limp. The choking and coughing stopped, but the gurgling did not. The sitting man dropped his gun and let out a sigh that echoed through the graveyard. The crows above didn’t skip a beat, diving to the yard and picking apart the dozens of bodies scattered about. The only survivor of the massacre stood and winced in pain. Blood was seeping through his jacket breast and the gut of his shirt. Lines of deep red crossed across the graveyard. The final fates of a dozen or more men mapped out, with one line leaving the murder. The man shambled through the graves, and stopped at a gravestone falling to his knees.
“Sara Haster.” He read to himself, “It’s been a long time since I’ve heard your name Mom.”
The man sat before the grave, feet away was his brother, and just beyond that the fresh grave of his father.
“I’ve really messed myself up this time haven’t I?” He laughed to himself but it faded quickly as he looked up to the sky and found thin tears joining the blood dripping from his body.
“You always told me that before I die I need to find God…” He winced in pain as thick chunk of clotted blood dislodged itself from the hole in his gut, “But I don’t think your man in the sky wants to be found.”
He looked back at the grave and felt over the etched in name of his long late mother. He then moved his hand across the stone and felt the bullets that found themselves bedded in the marker. Some were mangled beyond reckoning, others were intact and covered in blood, slowed just enough by unfortunate men to be recognized as his bullets.
“You and Dad always told me I was too angry. That the world would have me die angry sooner than it would let me exist happy. I think I have to agree with you two there. I won’t die happy.” He stood up, and blood drained quickly from his chest, lessening the pressure on his lungs. “How is anybody supposed to know what to say to their family’s graves when they’re dying? All I can say to you Mom is that I have changed. Whether you are in heaven or somewhere else, I know you’ve seen the life I have had. I found happiness. But It was taken away from me, and here I am now. I don’t know if I feel better having said that.”
The man sauntered to the next grave.
“I think I made a mess here Sam. This isn’t your kind of thing, I know, but hey… I only got a little hurt…” He looked at the markings of the Grave. There were no bullets, there was only a name. “I would like to say that I should have stayed here with you and Dad. But I’m Glad I didn’t. You may still be alive had I stayed, but I never wanted you to see the man I could be.” The wind around the Man picked up and blew a storm of dust through the yard. “Save your breath Sam. When I finally die, ask Mom’s God if you can come yell at me in Hell. For being an idiot of course. Not sure what the visitation is like there.”
“Maybe they will let me keep my optimism in Hell.”
The man stood up from the grave and gave it a quick wink and continuing over to the unmarked mound of dirt that was a few feet away nestle under a Juniper tree.
“I came back Dad…” The man began sobbing uncontrollably. “I know I never did right by you, but I came back. I did it. I got them, all of them.”
“This world is not fair to those who have earned a peaceful life.” The man was barely able to speak now. Blood began clogging his throat. “But there are those of us who have to make sure some people pay for what they’ve done. We will never see each other again. You… Sam… Mom… You three died good people. That’s why I can’t die here. I was born angry, and I was told that was bad. But I think that was a gift. I never could’ve done this if I had no anger. And since I’m talking to myself now, I quite like being angry. When you learn what happened to me, don’t worry. I plan to die a good man too. I just have somethings to finish.”
The man stood up from the graves and walked over to his gun. He grabbed it and ripped some strips off of another dead man’s shirt. He stuffed the cotton into the bullet holes in his chest and gut and began walking back to town. Coughing and bleeding the whole way, but not dead yet. He would be a good man soon.