John could only shake his head at the mess in the hallway. Here he'd tried to go unnoticed and now after these had attacked him, he was the talk of the town.
The short walk down the stairs was tense for John. No sense staying in the room, a box of death where he hadn't the room to move.
John went to the table near the door after he settled with the bartender. Several men were sitting at it, they quickly moved when they saw John approaching. The bartender tentatively brought John a glass of the rot gut they served here.
John's hand flashed out grabbing the man's shirt sleeve. "Ya hear anything let me know. Hate ta have to kill ya."
"Yes sir." the bartender quickly replied.
A few of the men closer to the two started to move further away. John let the man go, watching as he scurried as fast as he could back behind the bar.
At first the bartender thought of grabbing his scatter gun then, thought better of it. He'd seen the man draw, to him being struck lightning or shot by one as fast as it, wasn't a desire of his. Best to do as the man asked no sense tempting death.
John sat there a while trying to figure out his next step. He knew that Greely was here though where at the moment was evading him.
The fact that the now seemed to have an ally within Greely's camp was also encouraging. Though he trusted the red brothers a lot more than those that he was a part of.
John's vision drifted across all the men in the make shift bar. A small wince went through John at the unending wave of stench that wash passed his nose.
His gaze settled on a few that had their holsters tied down. He'd hoped that the display in the street would dissuade most. A small sigh escaped his lips, knowing the idiots here, that thought they were fast, they'd wanna try soon.
Finishing his almost acid tasting drink, John stood heading to the doors. Might as well find a safer place to bed down.
His hand on the butt of his pistol, John knew that if any were going to make a move, they would now. Sure enough, as soon as he touched the doors, he heard a few rise from their chairs.
A step to the side of the doors had two men that thought to waylay John, falling on their faces. Both stopped reaching for their guns when they heard the click of both hammers of John's revolvers.
John backed up a step seeing a few more inside seeming to head in his direction outside.
"I suggest you toss them peace makers to me. Don't wan'em going off by mistake." John slightly growled.
Both men slowly reached for their pistols, John pointed at both their heads. This made both men stop, then one rolled away drawing his gun, firing.
The only problem was, John was nowhere near where the man's bullet hit. Another thing John had already shot the gun from the man's hand.
The other man stood his pistol pointing at where John had been. The man then swallowed hard as he felt the cold, steel barrel of John's pistol at the back of his head.
"I just got clean, don't really want brains on my clean clothes, drop it!" John commanded pressing harder into the man's head.
The man started to shake then dropped his gun. John kicked it away from the man. "Look mister, after that show ya had, everyone's gonna wanna a piece of ya."
John grunted as he backed up, looking everywhere he thought an attack might come from. He'd just got across the street when a loud report sounded. The man across the street fell, a spot of red on his chest that rapidly started to grow.
John took cover as he searched for who had the rifle he'd just heard. From cover John saw the glint of a barrel, drawing his pistol, John took aim and waited.
A slender arm appeared holding the forend of what appeared to be a Winchester appeared. John could only shake his head he knew that arm anywhere. He was sure when he saw her peek her head out, yep, the blond hair was a dead giveaway.
John saw movement across the street, several barrels were pointing out the double swinging doors.
John drew both revolvers with blazing speed, shooting all six of the guns from the hands that held them. Shit John thought, when he heard the scream, well, guess I was a littler high on that last one.
"Any of ya skunks wanna try again, I'm more than ready to show you the error of your ideas." John said, sweating a little as he only had four shots left.
A smile crept on John's lips, then again none of them knew that. Backing to the edge of the building, John slowly withdrew toward the livery stable. Might as well saddle up find a place to bunk in the woods.
Entering the livery, John looked around trying to see if anything was out of place.
"Hey mister, didn't expect to see you so soon." The young stable boy John had met a few hours ago said.
"So, you were going to sell my horse when i got killed?" John asked.
The boy backed up at the look on John's face. "Naw mister, I onlys work here. Sides da owner waits a week afore he does that."
John nodded he believed the boy, tossing him another silver dollar. The elation on the boy's face made John feel good for the first time in a while.
John had his mount saddled about to ride out, when he heard a few horses arrive. John drew his reloaded revolvers as he waited.
The boss had only been back in town half an hour listening to several men and the bartender. A shake of his head had him heading for the Livery Stable.
John tensed up more when he saw the mission boss appear. "Guess I'm gonna have to have a meeting. I warned them not to mess with you. Heard about the six that tried to ambush you. The one that thought he was faster than you. Then there is the six that you shot the guns from their hands. Well five of them, the last gota hole in his hand."
"Talked to the them like'n you said, didn' seemed interested. The one on the street called me out, called me a liar and a horse thief. Didn' take too kindly to it." John almost growled out.
Mr. Jones could only nod his head. He'd already confirmed all this. "As I said gonna have to have a meeting. Gonna loose too many of the crew if'n this keeps up. After I bury more'n ten I feel it's time ta get involved."
"'ppreciate it boss." John said.
"Got a new job for ya. We need a good scout, plus it might keep a good piece of the men alive. Might also get ya some peace from a lot of the men trying ta kill ya." Jones told John. He was glad to get John out of town, damn but the man had killed a passel of men as it was now.
"Sure, been a scout before, what I lookin for?" John asked.
"Got our town here, don wan any uninvited guests. Lots 'o the time we get a stray lawman through here. We need to know, also ya are to go at least a day or more out. That way, ya can get back at a full gallop lot faster than they can go. This is 'specially true of any wagon trains, we need the supplies, though, the women get made ta great whores 'til they get used up." Mr. Jones said. "We're always gonna need whores, any you find gets ya well paid."
"Alright, I'll leave in an hour, boss." John said as he walked his horse out of the Livery, Jones not far behind.
"Actually, I need ya to go now," Jones said then saw the look on John's face. Swallowing hard Jones said, "I need you out there as soon as possible."
John nodded then saddled up. "Alright boss just need a few things, then am on the way."
"Be quick about it need you out there as soon as possible." Jones said urging John to get going sooner.
John nodded then headed towards the saloon, if she was out there now, there was no telling what trouble she was into.
John went up the back looking for any sign of her. As he neared where he'd seen her, he found almost nothing. A nod of his head was the only sign that he appreciated her. Close to a room window he found one shell from a rifle. Ok John thought, she's left me a message, guess she was serious about what she'd said.
With a final shake of his head, he turned going back the way he'd come. Knowing her she was already waiting on him. John climbed into the saddle feeling at least a dozen set of eyes on him. Yeah, he thought, they were watching him too damn close.
The biggest thing though, was the fact that the boss Jones was watching him the most intensely. A small smile lit up John's face, the little pissant was scared of him good thing too. John felt the pure sleeze oozing off the man.
A turn of the reins had John heading out of town at a leisurely rate. John knew that she would have seen him following. He hadn't expected her to find him as fast as she had. He'd also hadn't expected to be with the wagon train, she was learning that was for sure.
He was going to have to sit down with her, though if she actually listened to him, remained to be seen. It was several hours later when he felt the last of the watchers from the town leave him.
Though he couldn't actually feel her, he knew she was out there. John figured that he was still to close too the town for her to show herself.
More than a few hours later the sun was starting to set when John decided to bed down. The camp set up; John started to set him a place in the trees. Nothing too obvious, for sure he'd be dead before sun rise.
Finally situated, John took to his bed roll well hidden in the branches. He'd just laid out when he felt her move into the camp, for a moment then she also took to the trees.
"So, you have decided to not listen to me after all," John quietly said.
Almost as if by magic a blond, very feminine, part Indian race, face appeared.
"You knew when we were joined, that I was this way. Here I thought that you enjoyed me as such." The blond woman said.
John sat up with a sigh, "there are many things that you are, that I would never want to change. Listening to me when there is danger, is one of them I wish you would listen more to."
"Have I not proven that I am quite capable?" The woman said with a toss of her hair from her face.
John shook his head, she was doing it again, like most women, she was using her charm to change his mind. Most of the time it worked, though in this instance, he was holding firm to his thoughts.
"You are more than quite capable, though in this case, even the both of us together would fail." John noticed that this seemed to get her attention. They had faced quite a few situations that most people would have given up.
"Husband," She said her features softening, "is it that desperate?"
"Not as much desperate as, the amount of scum of the earth that are here. You remember those brothers I was chasing near Mexico?" Here he watched he eyes open wide then she slowly nodded. "They had nothing to lose, they could care less if they lived or died. This is like that, though in this case it several hundred that are the same way. The fifteen or twenty I killed has done nothing to thin this herd."
"I remember them," the woman said. "They died to a man, here I thought that these were just criminals. I hadn't seen that they had the death wish. Husband, I can no more leave than I can take my life." the woman said.
Again, John was at an impasse, "Gosnih, I almost lost you last time. I was near to death, I had lost our home, I had lost you. I had become like the men of this town. If I were to lose you again, I would become one of them. I made a blood oath with your father so long ago; I will NOT go back on that. You are all that keeps me as I am now."
Gosnih, was staring at John the whole time, she knew much of this though the blood oath she had not. It explained a great deal when John had released her and the other women in that camp.
Lowering her head, she started to see just what John had been feeling when she finally recognized him.
"Husband, I will do all I can to aid you, if you wish me to remain hidden I will. Know that I will never be far from you again. It would be dishonor to the both of us if IO didn't." Gosnih said a look of confidence on her face.
John looked into Gosnih's eyes, seeing all her love, her fierce determination, though mostly that her dedication and loyalty to him.
John at that moment seemed to feel something that felt like a great weight on him break. A look around he could swear that everything appeared to be brighter, clearer, what the hell?
A look back at Gosnih, showed that she seemed to be glowing. John closed his eyes remembering several of the lessons he and several boys of different tribes had gone through.
John's eyes snapped open in surprise, was this the spirit energy that he'd always heard the elders speak of? Slowly John scanned the area around seeing that everything was giving off a type of glow. A little concentration slowly reduced what he was seeing. A small smile crept to his lips, so that was how the others always found him easily.
Gosnih was staring at John, it appeared as if her husband had finally joined with the great spirit. A small smile crossed her lips, it was going to take all she had to hide anything around him now.
John's eyes settled on Gosnih again, "sleep we leave with the sun." A nod, she snuggled next to John. It had been far too long since they were this close. As she said, she would never let him get far from her again.
It was at least an hour before sunrise when John opened his eyes. He wasn't sure what had awoken him, though from the feel of it? He wasn't liking it either.
A look between the thick branches revealed movement, several hundred yards from the camp. A blink shifted his vision to that he'd had the night before. John shook his head, the idiots never learned, then he noticed there were at least a dozen. He also noticed; they were more armed than usual.
Leaving his cover John was behind the men in no time. Within ten minutes he had half of them tied and unconscious. The last six, they seemed to know something was going on as they stuck close to each other.
John's eyes narrowed; they didn't appear to be hunting him. No these seemed to be after easier prey, here he looked at his sleeping wife. He then shook his head she was awake on the move herself.
The last six entered the camp, moving far quieter than John thought they were capable of. The quiet of the night was suddenly disturbed as more than six revolvers went off filling both bedrolls full of holes. Two? John thought then nodded
The men were laughing 'til they heard a rifle being cocked, then the hammer of more than one revolver being drawn back.
All six dropped to the ground, even as the report of the rifle was heard. Two men screamed as, two rifle bullets found their pistol arms. The other four were trying to get to cover, when John shot the pistols from two more of the men.
John heard the rifle cock on the other side of the camp site again. "I suggest ya drop'em, 'fore ya get plugged." John said.
The two men threw their guns away then raised their hands. John had them tied with the others within moments.
Walking to the first the man's eyes got large, "why the hell ya here?" John growled.
The man was about to speak when Gosnih walked out her rifle aimed at the men in general.
"We were sent to get that whore," the first said then was dead as Gosnih shot him between the eyes.
"I suggest you watch what ya say," John said with a little smile.
A second man sneered at John, "What can that little whore do to." The man started then found that he could no longer talk, Gosnih had appeared behind the man, having cut his throat.
"Now then, I suggest you talk before I let you go," John said seeing a slight smile gracing Gosnih's lips.
The first three refused to talk, leaving John shaking his head as he shot each in the head.
"Now, I am kind of tired of this stubbornness," John said as he drew the hammer of his revolver back. "Gonna have ta just kill ya."
This of course had all the men talking, though they really knew nothing. Finally, they finished John shot the sixth one.
The last six started to yell, "we thought you were gonna let us go."
"I am, see if you are working with this bunch? Then you might as well be dead, I am death, revenge for all those you killed for money, for the women you tortured. The work ain't gonna miss ya, neither will I." John said as he drew the hammer back going down the line shooting each in the head.
A small smile crossed Gosnih's features, she would have gladly shot them for John. She had no problem after the stories she heard from a few of the women that had been there a while.
She would have tortured each of the men that were now rotting carcasses. She had wished to inflict even a small measure of the pain and suffering that they had. At least now this particular band would never hurt another woman.
John went through all their pockets looking for anything that might led him to Greely. He'd just finished when something one of the men had said.
John shook his head trying to bring what he'd heard to the surface. John thought harder trying to hear all the man as they tried to answer his questions. It was something about an area, John thought.
John stood stock still replaying what each had said, ah! John thought as he stumbled across what he'd been looking for.
Apparently, there was an area northwest of the town, that no-one was allowed to go to. There were men there that rarely if ever came to the town. There were also more than a few times that some of the better whores had been taken to that area.
John nodded his head, there had been a few times that a few men had spoke of that, some men had disappeared there. It was rumored that were a few men there the preferred men to women.
John shook at the thought of this, this was as bad as a few men he'd gone after that had a proclivity for animals. John had ended them as they also had a love of killin' people, no matter who or what they were.
John left the bodies, the scavengers would make short work of the them, they had to eat also after all.
As they rode back toward the town John advised his wife of what they were going to do. He also advised her of the warrior Tanaka, he would not put up with the way she was. He also had promised Tanaka that he'd help to find his mate and child.
Gosnih nodded when John said this, she would have to keep quiet while the warrior was near.
A day later they diverted away from the town as soon as the felt it near. An hour or so later they topped a rise to see a huge mansion type home situated in a clear valley.
John shook his head this place screamed fear John thought, good.