Felicity – One
~ Highway Robbery ~
To say that the New World was better than the Old World is a common saying here in the New World. Not that most of the people who do live here believe it, its all a matter of pride really. Those old world snobs in their stone castles and their vast cities think they are so high and mighty all because of a drop of blood in their veins.
I’ve seen more blood shed on the floor of the saloon of the high and mighty than that of the low brow. Shade Cross was not pretty but it had been the gang’s home for the last few months. We were settling up to leave soon, bags were packed and tents were stored in the waggons.
It would not be long before ol’Gideon had us somewhere else.
Wasn’t my fault this time that we had to move. I heard Clyde and Levi had got into some shootout in Shade Cross and gunned some lawman down in apparent cold blood. It ain’t cold blood when the guy shooting at ya puts a bullet next to your head.
But that’s beside the point. Gideon had it in Clyde and Levi’s head that they fucked up which meant they had to move. I say we should have cut the two away; they were not here that long and I ain’t been here that long either. Probably three months since I joined I reckon.
But yea, Gideon says we move, we move. He is the boss after all.
That was when Matthias rode in and told us of the score.
“What’s with all the hoofing there Matthias?” Clyde had called out from the nearby hitching posts and removing the clothes peg from his nose. Gideon had him shovelling horse shit after the shit he pulled in Shade Cross.
“There… there’s a… stage… coach…” Matthias panted, stepping off his horse and walking over to the nearby water trough and drunkard himself head first into the freezing water. Shaking his head clear of the dripping water; the hissing Matthias shook his head and stared back at Clyde just as Solomon strode through the camp.
“What’s you saying ‘thais.” The rugged Lead Enforcer of the Gang stepped up. I always had a thing for Solomon Sinclair. I’d hate to say it out loud because I’d be the butt of every joke from the girls and some of the boys but I’d let that Gunslinger do down right dirty things to me.
“A stage coach… it’s coming out of Shade Cross. Heading North to Farbank.”
“What’s so important about a stage coach?”
“Well, it’s got at least three armed guards with shotguns and rifles and caged doors.”
“A payroll coach?”
“Not just any payroll coach. The Banking Guild’s payroll coach.”
“What’s the Banking Guilds coach doing coming out of Shade Cross? Did it come in first?”
“Nah, this one went out from their yard, I think its carrying.”
“Probably enough to get us by for a while. Even so, we’re leaving and they won’t track us down while the gang is on the move. Even if they suspect us, they would see them leaving and suspect some local colour or some of the out of town gangs moving in.”
“Us? You mean just us two?”
“I’ll come!” Clyde called out from the hitching post.
“Unless we want a lawman gunned down again, I think we’ll pass Clyde. Now get back to shovelling. Gideon wants the horse shit ready to sell on at the next town. They pay good money for that on the farms”. Solomon warned and let Clyde to let out a groan as he got back to work.
“We won’t be able to do it, just us two. We’ll need someone else, two at most.” Matthias looked around and then met eyes with me. “We’ll take Filly, she’s a good arm and knows her stuff.”
Solomon turned and looked at me, lifting the brim of his leather hat as he stared right at me.
This was my chance.
“Yea I’ll do it. If it means you two don’t get me riddled.” I laughed as I strolled over, pulling up the arms of my shirt to wipe the sweat away.
“Yea alright, Filly you’re in.” Solomon grinned and looked back at Matthias. “Who else?”
“What about Franny?” I asked.
“Franny? You sure bout her?” Matthias asked, “I mean, two girls on the road with…” He paused and looked at me with an apologetic looks. “I mean, two pretty ladies on the road with two gunmen might look a little suspicious.”
“Not if we hold them up at Coyote’s Gulch.” I chipped in. “Have the horse lay down, as if with a bad foot. Stepped in a rabbit hole or some’thin’. Then when the Waggon pulls up, you two lovely gentleman remove them from their valuables. If any of them decide they want to get funny.” I quick draw the Darrington revolver from my holster and with a little flourish bring it out to aim at a nearby stump. “We incentivise.”
“I’m not sure about that.” Matthias began but Solomon interrupted with his stern and grit voice.
“I like it. I like it a lot.” He turned and scanned the gang. “I’ll go tell Gideon, ‘thias you grab Mrs Wheeler and Fil…” Solomon turned to look at me before putting his hand on my shoulder. “Get us some rifles from my waggon. Two Darrington’s and grab my Vanderbilt from my trunk; the one wrapped up in a leather wrap.”
“Will do boss man.” I laughed and turned to get the gear. My cheeks burnt as red hot as the sun on the open planes near midday. Solo liked my idea! And liked it a lot! Even letting me go get his Vanderbilt rifle! No one ever touched that but him.
I got the two Darrington rifles from the waggon and opened up Solo’s trunk. He had so much stuff in here, he’d been part of the gang from the very start, him and Matthias. Gideon was like a father to them, to us all.
Gently pushing aside some of the smaller items, I managed to get the leather wrap out and quickly checked his Vanderbilt over. Such a beautiful rifle, old too. I quickly put the leather wrap back around it as not to get it damaged in any such way.
By the time I finished up with getting the rifles and the ammo for us all. Matthias and Francisca were mounting up on their horses. Solomon smiled as I approached and took one of the Darrington’s and tossed it up to Matthias.
The other rifle he tossed it over to Fran and had her stuff it in the saddlebag of her horse. “Pull that out when we give the whistle.” He instructed before looking at me.
“Sure am!” I grinned and mounted my saddle.
I loved riding out into the fields and prairies. I loved riding my horse and I love shooting my guns; being in the gang had all of these!
We took to the saddle hard and managed to get to the Gulch in only half an hour.
“Alright girls, set up. ‘Thias take up position on…” Solomon passed as he looked around before pointing to a raised ridge on the Gulch. “…that rise there. I’ll take this side. You ride in from the back and I’ll take the front.”
“Alright boss man!” Matthias nodded and turned to take his horse up the gully and across to the top of the ridge. He could easily bring his horse down the side of the gully and trap them in. Solo made his way further up and out of sight.
“Alright Fran, let’s get this ball rollin’.” I turned to Francisca and jumped down off my horse. Raising my hand in th air and making three clicks with my tongue, Darkie; my horse, settled back and then laid down on his side.
I loved this play.
We waited for the sounds of the stage coach to rumble through the valley, ‘bout an hour or so. Fran and I sat by the laid down horse and pretended to be trying to decide what was going to happen. When the coach sounds got closer, we began to argue.
“It’s your fault I’m in this mess!” She would scream.
“It’s your stupid horse that did this! Not me!” I would yell back.
“You and your stupid low-brow of a husband is the reason for this! If you’d kept your legs closed for those inter-species fuckers.” Fran would slog the first ‘true’ insult. Not a real insult of course; I never opened my legs for anyone, never mind out of my own species.
“You whore! Don’t you dare speak of Rathrak like that!” I would scream and slap Fran across her cheek, open palm but easily rolling it to lightly hit her yet give the loudest crack.
We practised this a lot.
If I had really hit Fran, I would have been dead in the dirt and left for the birds.
“Whoa now girls.” A voice called from the front seat of the stage coach as it rolled up close on the road. “No need to be throwing down out here. What’s happened to you two lovely darlings that’s put you in this precarious circumstances?” The gentleman on the side riding shotgun.
He looked half-decent. Human with a well trimmed beard, usual payroll security looking types. They were all wearing dusters to hide the weapons underneath.
“Oh thank the Gods you’re here sir.” Fran spoke out and stepped over to the carriage, putting her hands on the foot rail beside the gentleman riding shotgun’s feet. “My dear cousin and I were riding to Farbank for my sister’s second wedding, her first fell through after the man she was betrothed too decided to up and put his cock in a wild boar; he was never the same again after they had to cut it out, always walked with a strange limp…” Fran began and the gentleman on shotgun raised his hand slowly.
“It’s okay ma’am. We’re on our way to Farbank. We could give you two lovely ladies a ride.”
“But Bill, we’re told to get the coach right to Farbank and not stop for nothin’” The driver spoke, looking at his companion.
“We can’t just leave two lovely ladies out in the middle of no where, there are wolves, there are all number of creatures out here.” ‘Bill’, the shotgun man spoke and looked back to the girls. “One moment ladies.”
Jumping down off the high seat, Bill made his way over to the door of the stage coach and rasped his knuckles against it. A small slit appeared in the door and a pair of blue eyes stared back.
“Why we stop.” The voice asked, more a statement than a question.
“Couple of lovely girls stuck on the road. Heading to Farbank. I think we pick them up.”
The voice on the other side of the slit, I could only see the eyes, seemed to mumble something to others in the carriage and then turn back to the slit. “They ride on back with you guys. No one gets in here.”
“Will do boss.” Bill grinned and approached us again. “Looks like it’s your lucky day ladies, come on up and we’ll get you two to Farbank for your sisters wedding.”
“Thanks Mr Bill.” I grinned and stepped up to the carriage, letting him take my hand and help me up onto the high seat of the front seats; the roof was a solid wood and metal box so one of us would sit at the front with the driver while he sat at the back seats with the other one of us.
“Only a down right crook would leave you two stranded out here.” Bill smiled and spoke softly all the while taking the chance to fondle my arse as he helped me into the seat. I swear I even felt a cheeky finger run along the crack of my arse and to my crotch.
He’d be the first to get shot in this. I’d make sure of that.
Bill was helping Fran on to the back of the carriage when the first whistle came.
“Gentleman…” A solid, booming voice called out. Sat upon his black mare, an Ilmarian Stallion brought over and kept by Solomon for most of his life. He held his rifle with one hand and the butt pressed into his leg while his right hand rested on his hip, his holster.
“I am here with the intention of stealing your valuables, of which none of those you carry will be taken except those that belong to the company you work for. My companions and I in the valley around us have you in our sights, do not mistake my politeness for ineptitude. I am only giving you the chance to surrender without any injuries to your persons and dignity.”
Damn the man knew how to make a speech.
Bill looked around nervously at the top of the ridges, knocking his hand three times on the top of the stage coach before yelling back.
“Damn thieves!” He brought his rifle up to his chin and aimed.
Francisca punched the man in the face and placed her boot into his chest, knocking him out and over the side of the seat. The driver began to pull out a pistol from his side but I stopped that quickly.
“I don’t think so friend.” I politely requested, my pistol pressed into the crook of his chin. “Put your hand on your holster and throw your iron out to the side. Nice and slow.” Ever so slowly, the driver sighed and pulled his pistol out, tossing it to the side before looking around at me.
“Damn harlots. I knew this was a trap. Whore’s like you are always…” He regretted even starting that sentence as I broke his nose with my pistols grip.
“We all savoury here Filly?” Solomon asked as he trotted up.
“All good here Bossman. There is at least two in the coach, maybe more.” I replied back, keeping my aim on the whimpering driver.
“Alright, then we’ll deal with them then.”
Three gunshots rang out in the air, a rifle. One after another. Solomon was not even phased.
Looks like Matthias had his part to do now too.
Strolling up to the carriage door, Solomon rasped his knuckles against the metal.
“Alright boys, I know what you got in there and I am only going to ask once. Come out nicely or there will be mishaps a happening.”
There was silence, then the slit opened. Solomon stepped back quickly as the double barrelled sawn-off shotgun fired both chambers in to the dirt behind him. With a sigh, the Gunslinger grabbed the end of the barrel and yanked it at the door. A loud clang left vibrated through the door before loud yelling came from inside.
“Mishaps then.” Solomon signed and grabbed something out of his belt. A small stick with a rope like end sticking out.
He lit a match and lit the end of the fuse, slipping it into the slit like posting a letter. He stepped to the side and put his hand over the ear closest to the door.
There was a loud pop and the hinges on the door gave way, the steel door simply fell forward and hit the dirt.
Inside the now ruined carriage was the partial remains of three men.
Or maybe four, it was hard to tell. One might have been without shoes.
“Alrighty ladies. Sorry about that.” Solomon apologised to us and stepped inside the carriage.
Three more shots rang out on the hills behind us.
A single gunshot came from inside the stage coach and with the screeching of metal, Solomon brought out the battered and slightly charred lock box.
“Seems heavy, some nice loot in here maybe.” He grinned. Putting it on the floor, he shot the lock holding it closed and flipped open the lid with his boot.
He was right, there was some nice loot in here. Bills, coins and even some paperwork. We’d let Zachariah take a look at those but it was enough money to split the four ways and with the gang’s share, still be comfortably happy with this caper.
“Alright ladies. I think its time for us to leave.” Raising his rifle, Solomon fired it into the air and then mounted his horse.
Matthias got the signal to leave, Fran, Solo and I rode away into the sunset and a whole lot richer!
Felicity – One