Magnificent guns of sene.., p.1
Magnificent Guns of Seneca 6, page 1
What Others are Saying about Magnificent Guns of Seneca 6
"The Magnificent Guns of Seneca 6 takes what was started in the first book and cranks everything up a notch. This is quite possibly one of the best adventures you will ever read,"
Tony Healey, author of The Stars My Redemption
"If the first book was the literary equivalent of Firefly, Star Trek and Tombstone, this book stands as the author's Empire Strikes Back!"
Cheryl G., Early Reader Review
Magnificent Guns of Seneca 6
Published by Apiary Society Publications
Copyright 2012 Bernard Schaffer
Edited by Laurie Laliberte, courtesy of the Kindle All-Stars
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Guns of Seneca 6
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. No reference to any real person, living or dead, should be inferred.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Coward
Chapter 2: Sand Inside
Chapter 3: The Original People of Seneca
Chapter 4: Thasuka Witko’s Vision
Chapter 5: The Devastator
Chapter 6: The Grind Wheel
Chapter 7: Men in Masks
Chapter 8: The Preacher
Chapter 9: Treat 'Em Like a Million Bucks
Chapter 10: And Have a Plan to Kill 'Em
Chapter 11: The Passing of Betsy Clayton
Chapter 12: Gone Again
Chapter 13: Orayvi
Chapter 14: For Someone Else's Better Tomorrow
Chapter 15: The Man That You Fear
Chapter 16: Is Your Back Against the Wall, or Just Across the Line?
Chapter 17: Personal Jesus
Chapter 18: Thunderstruck
Chapter 19: Aquayanderen
Chapter 20: Prayer is the Key
Chapter 21: Wabash River
Chapter 22: I'll Be Home Come Hell or High Water, and I Know I Will See You Soon
Epilogue: Bart Masters' Decision
Interview with Bernard Schaffer
More Guns of Seneca 6
About the Author
Chapter 1: The Coward
The wagon approached. It came over the ridge shimmering in the heat, the driver unaware he was being watched. Bob Ford looked at the man standing next to him and tried not to smile. “Just like you said it would, Jim.”
“It’s not magic, Bob. Any fool can read a transport manifest.”
“Yeah, I reckon that’s true, but you knew just before it was coming. Like you got a gift." Bob’s eyes glazed over as he spoke. He looked like a young poet about to break into sloppy verse.
Gentleman Jim hiked his black scarf up over his nose and said, “I told you not to believe any of that nonsense you read about me in the papers, Bob. I’m just a thief.”
Bob adjusted his mask, trying to see through it. Just a potato sack with mismatched eyeholes, he had to keep his head tilted to the left to see through it. The wagon was nearly on top of them when Gentleman Jim unsnapped his Colt Defeater and said, “Come on!”
They rode hard toward the road, working their mounts until they caught the wagon, having to shield their eyes from the billows of dust and dirt kicking up from its wheels. The two bandits, Bob thought. He had a newspaper article tucked in his shirt pocket that read Gentleman Jim Strikes Again! Bob knew every word of the article's fourth paragraph.
The first paragraph recounted the incident of a stagecoach, struck mid-day by the aforementioned Highwayman. The second, victim’s accounts of the infamous outlaw, including the woman (there was always a woman) who said, “He looked mean and cruel at the other men, so that I swore he was about to send them to their maker, but when he turned to me he held out his hand and whispered, ‘You tuck away those pearls, ma’am. If I don’t take ‘em, people will begin to suspect I’m going soft.’”
The third paragraph recounted all the other descriptions of the bandit. Eyes blue enough to ladle water from. A young man. An angry young man. A polite, handsome, young man with six-guns that blazed like hellfire.
And then, the fourth paragraph.
Its words were burned into Bob Ford’s mind like someone etched them there with a laser. It was the one that reported Gentleman Jim was accompanied by a bold, mysterious assistant.
Mysterious, Bob thought. Bold. He adjusted his sack-mask and snapped his reins, charging forward around the side of the wagon to get the drop on the driver.
“What are you doing?” the bandit shouted.
“Come on!” Bob shouted, whipping his destrier’s neck until it screamed and pulled ahead of the wagon’s rear wheels.
The driver turned at the animal’s noise and jumped in his seat. He stuck his hand between his legs and came up with a shotgun. He spun with the weapon until the barrel was aimed directly down at the top of Bob’s head.
Gentleman Jim kicked his animal in the ribs and darted around the other side, trying to get a clear view of the driver. The wagon veered sharply to the left as the driver fired, sending a storm of buckshot flying past Bob’s ear.
Gentleman Jim yanked his Colt Defeater free and leaned into the saddle, pushing his animal as hard as he could until the driver’s back came into view. “Put it down! You’re caught!”
The driver spun in his seat with the gun in front of him, bearing down on him with its wide barrel.
The bandit fired once and the driver’s head snapped backwards. He slumped to the floor and the destriers pulling the wagon panicked and crashed into one another, sending the carriage up on two wheels until its roof was nearly on top of his head. Gentleman Jim grabbed the forward carry’s lift bar and jumped into the front seat, throwing himself to the other side until it was back on four wheels. He took up the reins from the driver’s twitching hand and stomped on the brake pedal, pressing it to the floorboards until the animals finally stopped.
Bob Ford rode around the side of the wagon, face white as marble under his lopsided potato sack that was now scored with black gunpowder. His mouth twitched stupidly inside the mask, moving constantly but nothing came out until he gasped, “That son of a bitch almost shot me.”
Gentleman Jim snatched the riding whip off of the seat and grabbed Bob by the collar, holding him fast, and whipped Bob viciously across the top of the head until he split the sack’s fabric in a mess of tangled, bloody hair. Bob squealed like a pig but the whipping continued until blood leaked out of his shoulder blades and neck.
Bob screamed for mercy and covered his head with his hands and squealed for Jim to stop. The bandit snapped the whip in two and tossed the pieces on the ground, needing to bend forward to catch his breath. He looked at Bob in disgust and said, “You ever…disobey me again…and I’ll gut you like a fish, you dumb son of a bitch.”
Bob Ford could do nothing but whimper. His raw flesh stung all over, his shirt suddenly felt like steel wool scraping against his wounds in the damp mixture of blood and sweat and heat.
“Go fetch my ride,” Gentleman Jim said as he lowered himself from the forward carry. He pointed his pistol at the wagon’s rear compartment and said, “Get that door open and come out slow. I will put a hole in the first person who tests me.”
A voice called out from inside, “It’s just one man in here. I’m not armed. I’m coming out now, so don’t shoot.”
The bandit stepped back, keeping his gun ready. The door opened slowly and an old man stuck his
Gentleman Jim looked at the man’s face like it was something to be studied. Suddenly, his eyes widened in horror.
“Don’t do anything foolish, boy,” the man said.
The bandit grabbed him by the shirt and jammed the barrel of his pistol into the man’s jaw, using it to lift his head until they were eye to eye. He inspected the long thin scar across the bridge of the man’s nose, a line of ruined flesh that ran from the center of his brow to his cheek. The bandit sucked in air through clenched teeth and the gun shook in his hand.
“Listen to me, friend,” the man said slowly. “I ain’t got hardly two cent, but you are welcome to it. I got no problems with you lot. If I was any younger I’d be right out here with you’s.”
The bandit thrust his hand into the man’s vest for a folded document. He kept his gun on the man’s chin as he opened it and read it. “It’s a pardon letter from the Sheriff of Seneca 6,” the man said quickly. “I had to pay him almost every cent I had to let me back inside. I got kin there I ain’t seen in twenty-five years.”
Gentleman Jim looked the name printed on the letter and said, “Peter Phillips.” He looked back at the man and said, “They called you Whiskey Pete.”
Phillips smiled at him in confusion and said, “That’s right. How the hell you know that?”
Gentleman Jim took a deep breath and let go of the man. He holstered his gun and handed the letter back to Phillips, then turned to look over his shoulder. “You all done blubbering, Bob?”
Bob Ford reached inside of his mask and wiped his eyes clear while he held onto the rein of the bandit’s destrier.
Gentleman Jim shook his head and said, “Pardon my temper, Mr. Phillips. You can see the quality of associate I am forced to truck with. Take a good look, Bob. This here’s an outlaw from back in the old days. Back before the rest of us got soft.”
Bob Ford held up his hand quietly and waved at Peter Phillips. Phillips was dressed in a torn shirt he’d stolen from a sleeping drunk. His toes wiggled through his broken shoes. He stunk like roadkill and hadn’t bathed in weeks, but he stuck out his chest at the handsome bandit’s words and said, “That’s right. That’s just how we did it.”
“Get down off that destrier, Bob,” the bandit said. “Mr. Phillips, I’d appreciate if you rode with me for a spell. I’ve got some business to discuss with someone who has knowledge and experience in such matters. I think you’ll find my proposition to be profitable.”
“Proposition?” Phillips said, but the word he was thinking in his mind was profitable. “Certainly. I’m happy to oblige.”
Gentleman Jim smiled in relief, “I studied all the old greats from the time I was just a little kid. Read every newspaper I could find to see what you boys were up to. In a way, you turned me into the man I am today.”
Phillips took the reins from Bob’s hand and said, “It’s nice to finally meet young folks who respect the past.”
Bob Ford watched both men mount their destriers and said, “What am I supposed to ride?”
Gentleman Jim looked down at him and pointed at the dead driver in the forward carry. “You are gonna take that poor bastard’s body back to Seneca 5 and find out if he has any kin.” He reached into his vest and pulled out a small sack of severian, “Tell them you found him all shot up out here and this was in his pocket.” He tossed the sack at Bob and said, “So help me, it had better all get to them too. Every speck. I will know otherwise. I will verify.”
“All right,” Bob said. He climbed up into the wagon and moved the driver’s body over. “Should I wait for you in The 5?”
“I like how you conduct your affairs, sir,” Pete Phillips said. He looked at the small sack of riches in Bob’s hand and said the word to himself again. Profitable.
Gentleman Jim thanked him and said, “Wait until you hear what I got in store for you.”
“Pardon me,” Bob Ford said meekly.
“What?” the outlaw said.
“Should I wait for you in The 5?”
Gentleman Jim sighed and said, “I suppose so, Bob. If I left you there alone I expect you’d die of a broken heart waiting for my return.”
Both men laughed as they rode off, leaving Bob alone with the dead body in the wagon.
Less than a month later, the inmates at the Beltran 6 Interstellar Penal Colony watched the new prisoner arrive with grinning, leering interest. They called out to him and whistled, laughing as he staggered forward wide-eyed. “Keep moving, Ford,” the guard said, shoving him across the back. The chains connecting Bob Ford’s wrists were tied to the ones connecting his ankles, rattling as he shuffled barefoot across the cold concrete floor.
Levels of inmates rose on both sides of him higher than he could see. He looked up at hundreds of floors of jail cells and the thousands of arms waving and grasping for him through the bars. The guard put his hand on Ford’s shoulder and said, “Okay, that’s far enough.”
It went dark, except for the cone of a white, glaring spotlight centered on Bob Ford. The cacophony of the massive prison fell silent. “Here comes,” the guard said.
“Here comes what?” Ford whispered.
“On the count of ten they’re gonna open all these cell doors and let the inmates play with you for a little while. Kind of a welcoming party if you will.”
“Unchain me!” Ford shouted. “Unchain me you son of a bitch!”
“What’s the fun in that?” the guard said.
“Ten, Nine, Eight,” all of the prisoners began to recite in unison.
“Give me my hands to defend myself at least!” Ford screamed.
“Seven, Six, Five.”
“Go to hell! All of you!” Ford’s voice broke, going hoarse and cracking like he a schoolboy’s.
“Four, Three, Two. One.”
The spotlight went out, and Ford’s voice rang out in the dark, a single horrific scream of terror that echoed along the never-ending walls of the prison.
There was movement in the darkness and the shuffling of feet all around him. Ford dropped to his knees and covered himself, feeling his insides bubble and turn to water. He mewled and sobbed until someone grabbed him by the shoulder and said, “All right, that’s enough whimpering out of you.”
The lights came back on and Ford saw that several guards were standing around him, watching as he rolled around on the floor screaming for everyone to get away. Ford opened his eyes to see that all of the jail cells were still shut and all of the prisoners were pressed against the bars, watching him intently. “Wha-what?” Ford panted.
The prison erupted with laughter and the prisoners waved their hands at him in disgust and returned to their bunks. One of the guards yanked Ford back to his feet and started dragging him down the corridor toward the office at the other end. “Aw, Christ, he’s leaking piss all over the floor,” he said to the others.
“Get him cleaned up and then make him come back and mop it up.”
Ford hung his head and wept while laughter fell down on him from floors of prisoners towering higher than he could see.
At night the only option was to stuff your head under the thin pillow and hold it down over your ears. The crazies never slept. They screamed and chanted and gave radical political and religious speeches in full voice until the guards came along and zapped them with an electrical prod. There were screams and quarrels and the sounds of violations occurring in cells that there were not nearly enough guards to deal with.
During intake processing, they shaved all of the hair off Bob's body with a dull razor. His nether parts stung from the various nicks and cuts. His underarms were raw and sore and he had to lie on his back with his legs apart. There were no blankets on the bunks. Bob Ford covered his ears and rolled over to press himself against the cold wall.
That was the first night that Gentleman Jim came to speak with him. His bl
"I'm not talking to you," Bob said. "It was you who put me here."
The bandit kneeled down next to Bob's bunk and said, "I'm real sorry about that, Bob. But in all fairness, you did try and sell me out the first second they clapped irons on you."
"That was just talk," Bob said. "I wouldn't have let them take you and do this to you. Never."
by Bernard Schaffer / Contemporary / Crime / Mystery & Thrillers have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes