“Oh yeah,” Damon took out a small bag containing a few gold ones and threw it to Ronnie, he caught it. “Thanks for the drink.”
“Don’t ya wanna hear how the res’ o’ the story plays out?” The sheriff asked, “before ya go?”
“Na,” Damon said, “I got what I came for, gentlemen, ‘night.”
Damon walked out.
Ronnie and the sheriff looked at each other quizzically and wondered what that was suddenly. Ronnie picked up the glasses and threw them in the wash and the bottle of Black Death whiskey and threw it away. The sheriff was still at the bar, drinking his Brandy.
“You notice anything suspicious about that fella?” the sheriff asked.
“That broad-shouldered one,”
“Well,” Ronnie said, “all the strangers that pass through here look suspicious to me, so you gonna hafta be more specific, sheriff.”
“I mean, you ain’t notice sumptin’ off ‘bout him?” The sheriff asked. “Like a bad feelin’?”
Ronnie pondered this a moment and picked up what the sheriff was getting at, “you mean the possibility that fella killed Billy Weissman?”
The sheriff nodded stiffly.
“I can see how you’d come to that,” Ronnie said, “Now that I think ‘bout it, Billy sho’ ‘nough used to be a brawler. Never let ‘imself lose to nobody, an’ if he did lose, he’d scrap it out wit’em an’ win that.”
The sheriff nodded in agreement as he sipped his Brandy and slammed the glass on the table, “Well, I’ma head back to the office, thanks Ronnie.”
The sheriff got up, wobbling a bit, and headed toward the door.
“You alrigh’, sheriff?” Ronnie asked.
“Oh, don’t worry ‘bout me, boy.” The sheriff said, “I’ll be fine.”
The sheriff staggered to the door and made his way out the Saloon.
Damon Blitz and Saber walked through the wood heading out of town in silence, the tension building between them could light a forest on fire. The moon shined bright in the sky with its all-encompassing light as the nights’ creatures moved in the shadows. The air was still and cold, smoke came from their breath when they exhaled but they strolled as if it were a summer day. The bare branches of the trees took on a menacing and sinister look, like malignant hands waiting to snatch the soul from your body and devour it with sharp and unforgiving claws. The sounds of uneven footsteps and howls filled the night, tinged with a low growling. Damon and Saber shot glances at each other and evil smirks played about on their faces. Damon knew it was Saber that killed Billy Weissman, no doubt. He didn’t need to hear the end to figure out Ronnie and the sheriff never found the killer, and that Marcellus Flint never did either. Marcellus, sure, Damon knew him. In fact, Damon’s even worked with him on occasion, Marcellus doing all the detective work and Damon catching—mostly killing—the perpetrators since the bounties often said dead or alive. Saber looked into the night sky with an expression that indicated musing of some sort, Damon looked toward the end of the woods leading into the unknown, a perfect place to kill Saber and collect his bounty.
Saber, on the other hand, knew Damon’s intentions. In fact, he recognized Damon as soon as he walked into the bar. That stiff back, the black overcoat, the jet-black hair and the pale skin, that casual and friendly voice he always used when talking to civilians. Yeah, Saber knew it was Damon, he wasn’t stupid. The two walked on in silence for some time until Damon broke the tension.
“So, Saber,” Damon said, “why’d you really kill that sap, Billy Weissman?”
“I told you,” Saber said in that low, grating voice, “I don’t like being followed.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Damon said, “I know that, but seriously, all you had to do was knock him out and be on your way.”
“You know good and well that’s not my style,” Saber said, “I fight to kill, not for fun or bragging rights. The fool should’ve known better than try to fight me.”
“Well, you should’ve known better than to engage in a game of drink.” Damon glanced at Saber with inquisitive eyes, “especially one you know you’re going to win.”
“I suppose you have a point, Blitz.” Saber said reflectively, “But, the past is the past, cannot be undone.”
“How right you are,” Damon said, “Well, we’re coming up on the edge of the woods,” Damon paused, “seems like a good place for you to die.”
“Quite the confident one, aren’t we?” Saber said, his voice tinged with a low growl.
“Well,” Damon said, “if prey runs every time it sees the predator, especially if the prey is itself a predator, wouldn’t the hunter of the hunter be confident.”
“You have a terrible way with words, Blitz.”
“And you have a terrible way of covering your tracks, but I’m not complaining,” Damon said, “makes my job easier.”
The two came upon an area where the trees formed a circle and the ground filled with scars of previous battles. The cool, soft wind blew, and their coats flapped in the breeze. The footsteps of nocturnal creatures were all that was heard in the distance as the residents of Deadman’s County turned in for the night. The two turned from each other and walked about one hundred paces then turned around. A fog slowly consumed the woods and the air developed a misty and mildew quality, Damon’s Treacherous Wolves emerged one by one until all nine of them surrounded him, growling and salivating at their newest quarry. On Saber’s side, one large Saber-tooth tiger emerged from the fog with intense gold eyes and a scowl that could melt steel. The tiger was calmer than a summer breeze as its shoulders alternated while it stretched out it’s jaws and legs, preparing to rip apart its new prey.
“Ah,” Saber chuckled, “The Treacherous Wolves,” he started, “haven’t seen them in a while.”
“I could say the same for your Saber-tooth,” Damon replied, “too bad its about to become wolf food.”
“Still the confident one,” Saber said as two more saber-tooth’s emerged, both bigger than the first one.
“Oh?” Damon said, “I’ll admit I didn’t see that coming.”
“I thought you might like it,” Saber flashed a sinister smile, “a little trick I developed to even the field if I ever came across you and your wolves.”
Damon shrugged, “I appreciate the gesture, really I do, but three against nine isn’t even last time I checked.”
“Trust me, Blitz,” Saber said, “you’ll find these aren’t the saber-tooth’s you faced last time around. These come with . . . special abilities, so to speak.”
“I’m sure,” Damon said, “Alright, enough banter. Let’s get this over with.”
“My thoughts, exactly.”
The Treacherous Wolves spread themselves out and the saber-tooth’s remained still, their eyes keeping track of the wolves. The sabers walked to the center and let the wolves surround them as they went back to back, Damon and Saber watched expectantly. The growls and howls of the wolves and sabers filled the air with terrible fright as the nocturnal creatures flew and scurried into the night. The smell of mist and mildew permeated throughout the battleground along with that of murder and savagery. The wolves stared down the saber-tooth’s with pale and unforgiving blue eyes as the sabers stared with demons dancing in their deep gold ones. The tension began to build to staggering heights as each group waited for the moment to strike, the moment anyone’s resolve faltered for a split second, the moment confidence wavered at the fault of a wrong thought.
Damon knew he had to be careful when dealing with his Treacherous Wolves, one moment of weakness and they’d turn on him without compunction. Saber, on the other hand, had no such problem. His saber-tooth’s were extremely loyal to him and would follow him wherever he went and protect him from all danger, which was probably one of the reasons Damon persisted in killing Saber. Why should that scum get animals that were loyal to him while I have double-crossers for protection? Damon thought but quickly pushed it out of his mind. He couldn’t afford a negative thought, even if it was true. He stared Saber down with merciless eyes and Saber stared back with eyes equally as merciless and twice as cold-blooded, the demons were not dancing but having a ball and an arrogant smirk played about Saber’s face. Damon kept his composure and took a deep, meditative breath, thick smoke coming from his mouth as he exhaled.