Felicity – Three
~ Quick Draw ~
The room went quiet, you could hear a pin drop without trying. The tension was so deep.
“What did you say?” The oafish Orc snarled as he realised that all the people in the saloon were staring at him.
“I said, if you don’t apologise for your words, you’ll be sorry.” Solomon stared back at the oafish Orc of a man, his eyes unblinking, his gaze piercing and his body stiff. Like a statue.
Letting go of the hand, Solomon’s hands rested at his sides unmoving.
“Like I would apologise to a whore like her!” The oafish Orc laughed and looked around. “Why should I? You don’t scare me thug.” Walking over to Solomon the man puffed up his chest. Three others coming to his aid.
I stepped back and watched the crowds. This was going to be trouble.
“If you don’t apologise I will make sure you do.” Solomon snarled softly.
“Like what? You callin’ me out?” The man puffed up his chest again put his hand to his hip.
“Sure, if you want to end up as worm food.” Solomon snarled back.
“Worm food! You cunt! Out now!” The man pushed by Solomon and stepped through the bar, the room cheered at the sound and rushed outside. Solomon waited for the Saloon to empty out and finished his whisky shot.
“You don’t have to do this Solomon.” I stepped forward, slowly putting my hand on his shoulder and biting my lip. I couldn’t believe it, a man was calling out another man over me!
“I don’t have to but I am. No one speaks like that about a member of our gang. Especially someone like you”. Solomon turned and smiled at me, putting his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry. This ain’t nothing.” He laughed and winked back.
I wasn’t assured but Solomon knew what he was doing.
I sure hope he knew what he was doing.
Making our way outside, the oafish Orc was stood in the middle of the main street, legs apart and hand resting above his holster.
“I’m calling you out boy!” The man yelled from down the street, Solomon simply strode out into them middle of the road and turned to face his opponent.
“You really want to do this?” He asked simply.
“Sure as sure! You called me out! I ain’t no coward!” The oafish Orc yelled, his hand hovering over his holster.
Solomon stared back, spitting a gob of spittle to the side and taking a long breath. “Then so be it.”
The silence set in, the crowds knew what was coming. Someone was going to die today and it was going to be in a showdown.
I was terrified that Solomon was going to get killed. I was scared that it would be my fault, everyone would blame me and… and…
Then I saw it.
The calmness, the way Solomon stared at the man.
He was, smiling.
He was enjoying this.
My eyes did not leave Solomon as he stared into the eyes of his foe. The world slowed down and time took its time to pass by. Birds could be seen drifting in the air, insect wings fluttered in the breeze and a slight drifting of smoke and dust came across the no man’s land between the two.
The entire town was here, my eyes scanned the crowd. Drunkards from the Saloon, the average worker here for his dinner, a couple out on a date from the nearby city dressed up in their fine suits and informal dress. The top hatted gentleman in with his walking stick, probably here for business or something.
The mother passing down the street only to be tugged to the side by her young son wanting to see the bad men duelling.
Duelling, such a fine word, an arty farty word for an Old World. Here in the New World it was much more inelegant. No rapiers with raised hand, no fine flintlock pistols. Here was New World duelling.
Two men, or women or both, either end of a street with a six shooter. The first one to draw, the first one to aim properly, the first one to put a single shot into the other, the person who came out alive.
Blink and you would miss it.
Staring at them, my eyes darted to the other member of this dance of death.
He was sweating, the hand over his holster was shaking, sweating and unsteady.
He knew it.
Everyone knew it.
We were about to witness his death.
Within a blink of an eye, he drew his pistol.
The sweaty hand found the wooden grip of his six shooter and began to draw it out, pulling it out of the holster in an achingly slow draw. Time was still drawing out, I think Solomon once told me he thought of it as “Fight Time”.
We all watched this man’s death in slow motion, or was it just the few of us who understand a call out? The gunmen and gunslingers out here, nothing but cowboys and cattle.
My eyes quickly shifted to Solomon, hoping not to miss the draw but I did. Everything was so fast. I saw the bullet fly through the air as my eyes moved to Solomon, only to try and hurry back like a runner caught out of zone in a bat and ball game.
I managed to watch the shot hit the oafish Orc in the chest, his own pistil discharging off in to the dirt as his body tensed up at the impact.
His feet took him back and he fell into the dirt, his pistol clanking to the floor in a heavy thud.
Time seemed to speed back to normal as Fight Time disappeared, my eyes dashed over to Solomon to see why he had drawn so quickly.
He had not drawn his pistol.
Stepping into the street, I had seen him unfasten the leather tie holding his holster to his thigh, I’d not thought about it at first but now I saw why. Instead of drawing his pistol up and out of the holster, retaking his time to fire from the hip and aim from there, Solomon had simply gripped his iron, twisted his leather holster in position and the moment he had brought his gun to the right angle, fired.
The hole in the bottom of the holster allowed unimpeded movement of the bullet as it connected itself through the street and into the chest of the oafish Orc.
Letting his hand relax and straightened his holster, Solomon tied the leather tie back and brushed down his vest with his hands.
“Alright Filly, let’s head home. I think we’ve had enough excitement for one day.”
I was left a gape. It had been so fast, so… so quick… so… clean. How had he been able to draw so quickly, so calmly.
“Solomon, that was… amazing! You’re so… you’re… so…” I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth.
“I know. It happens when you have to do what I do. When your entire life relies on the speed of your draw, the accuracy of your shot.” He paused and smiled softly at me.
I felt the world slow down again, something was happening, I did not know what it was but it was happening whether I knew it or not.
That was life, and how everything rolled around us.
Movement in the corner of my eye, with a slight turn of my eye I saw it. The man on the floor, the oafish Orc left in the dirt, he was moving. Laid out on his back, he had supported himself up with the help of a a hand behind him.
He had something in his hand.
He was lifting it up to point towards us, towards me!
No, not me.
It was a piece of iron, a backup or holdout pistol!
“So…” I began to try and warn Solomon, my mouth had barely opened when I watched Solomon shift his body, his legs remaining where they were stood while his upper body shifted around. His arm raised, it levelled and it bucked back.
Sound drew back into the world like a gunshot, no; that had been a gunshot!
Smoke drifted across my vision and the white powder smoke of a six shooter began to dissipate ahead of me.
Slumped on the ground was the body of the oafish Orc, his limbs splayed out and limp.
Thick red blood began to pool around the man’s limp corpse, staining the dirt black with his life essence.
“Un-honourable fucker.” Solomon swore and with a spinning flourish, slid his pistol back in to his cracked and well worn leather holster.
The crowd was shaking, they had not expected this!
“You all saw it, he drew his holdout, he tried to gun me in the back.” Solomon announced.
“How… how did you…” I began to ask, only for the sound of several more guns being cocked, the hammers clicking back in to position.
“You gunned down my brother!” One of the men form the saloon yelled, stepping out in to the street.
“Yes, yes I did.” Solomon turned to face the man and then spat in to the dirt at his own feet.
“I’ll gun you down for it!” The oafish Orc-brother snarled. “We all will!” Six other men around him clocked pistols and aimed them at Solomon.
How were we supposed to get out of this?!
“I don’t think so. You see, it was an honourable duel until he pulled his holdout, now you guys want to gun me down in the street, I don’t think so. Six verse one. I don’t think so. These odds ain’t so great.”
The oafish Orc-Brother laughed. “Of course they ain’t great! You’re surrounded!”
Solomon cracked a smile. “I don’t mean my odds, I mean yours.” Raising his hand in front of him, he held nothing in the fingerless leather gloves, pressing his finger and thumb together, Solomon smiled and clicked them together.
In a single booming pop, a pop that sounded like the popping of popcorn in a pan on a roaring fire; all six men let out howling screams as their weapons dropped to the floor. All that remained of their hands were bloody stumps or fingerless messes.
Each of their pistol’s had detonated in their hand, well not their pistols. The chambers, the bullets. All six shots in each gun had detonated.
“What are you!” The oafish Orc-Brother snarled, whimpering and holding his stump of a right hand.
“My names Solomon Sinclair, and I happen to be a Gunslinger.” My companion grinned and without even moving, his six shooter was in his right hand, aimed directly at the chest of the oafish Orc-Brother. “And if you want to get away with your lives, I’d recommend running, little piggy.”
Felicity – Three