Pastures New

Fish in a Barrel

The “young” Wyatt Grainger turned out to be a man probably in his early 50’s. Riding through the center of Privelegio as if he owned it, which it seemed he practically did, he approached John and Ebenezer.

He quickly confirmed with Shepherd that they were the delivery crew his brother had sent and that the box contained his “merchandise”. His tone was neither threatening nor aggressive but the apparent way the villages had been treated clearly affected the groups opinion of him.

John jumped down from the box as Grainger instructed one of his hands to go check everything was “present and correct”. The crowbar easily pried the wooden lid, the party holding a collective breath in full knowledge there was nothing inside. How would this Grainger react?

A reaction was made for him as before anything else could be said Shepherd drew his pistol, pointed it at Grainger and declared “Nobody make a move”.

“Nobody make a move” must clearly mean something else in South Texas as Grainger shouted “It’s a trap boys, Skin out!”. Grainger and his men dashing for cover from the man that had just drawn on them. Shepherd, prepared for this reaction, took aim with his pistol and shot at Grainger as he fled. He could have sworn he hit him in the back and yet the older rancher rode on.

Taking Shepherd’s lead, Ebenezer pulled up his trusty shotgun, Sam and William unravelled the destructive gatling gun, and Quique took aim down his rifle. All hell then broke lose. Grainger and his men scattered in different directions to try protect themselves. John fired off a couple more shots, bringing down a ranch hand. Quique offered his lead to the fray but, above all others, the gatling gun, manned by Sam and William, sang out its song of death. One after another Grainger’s men fell before it like fish in a barrel.

The hail of gunfire was not all one-sided and John, closely followed by Ebenezer, took to the rickety saloon for some form of shelter. Considering the rear door as a strong candidate for Wyatt or his men to enter, John prepared himself. He was correct. One of the hired hands thundered through the door and into the room. Amazingly, despite John being the more prepared of the two, the desperate man managed to react first. Shepherd felt the heat and then sharp pain of the bullet as it entered his shoulder. Staggered and dazed he could no longer react. Ebenezer could though. Levelling his shotgun, he fired and missed. There was no time to bemoan the misfortune though and he reached out a hand for John. Calling on The Lord’s name a new kind of warmth entered the stricken Shepherd’s body and his eyes quickly snapped back into focus, his wounds miraculously healed.
Regaining his composure, John fired upon the man, just as a second entered through the main saloon doors. John’s aim was true and before the first assailant had even hit the floor he had whirled around and shot at the new Saloon occupant. Two more of Grainger’s men now lay dead.

Outside Sam and William continued to have success with the gatling gun. The street of Privilegio now running red with blood, the two men with the monstrous weapon allowing no respite.

Quique, although positioned in relative safety, made the decision to come down from the church roof and get a little closer to the action. Quickly sliding down the ladder he scurried over to take cover behind the well. The street was pretty much deserted now as those not already cut down by the gatling gun had made their way to the side streets. Quique’s keen eye picked out one such individual trying to make his way down the right hand side of town. Pre-empting the route this would take the man, Quique made his way over. Rifle at the ready the Mexican spun around the side of the building and confronted the man.

It was Grainger himself. Quique had the drop on him and offered an ultimatum to surrender. The nervous twitch in Grainger’s eye was the tell tale sign Quique need, this man would not surrender. The mexican’s rifle rang out but incredibly missed. Grainger took his chance and fired back, his shot clipping the side of Quiques head. The pain was excruciating and warm blood quickly flowed down and into his eyes, obscuring his vision. Quique now staggered defenceless.

One shot, then another. John Shepherd walked calmly down the street firing both pistols at Grainger’s back. Again Grainger stood unharmed. Turning to the source of the shots he returned the compliment. One shot fire, one shot hit. Taken clean off his feet, Shepherd lay in the sand, motionless.

Sam and William, who had just finished dispensing with troubles of their own (the Englishman almost taking a man’s head clean off with a homerun from his trusty cain), reacted to the gunshots and headed over at full speed. Ebenezer, recently reappearing from the Saloon’s main entrance, instinctively knew something was very wrong. Cursing his lame leg he put all he could into getting to John’s location as fast as he could. The closer he got the worse he could see the situation was. A battle that had originally gone so well was now turning into disaster. Realising that he would be no help to John if Grainger shot him too, the priest fired his shotgun, narrowly missing.

Grainger stood alone against all these men that seemed intent on taking him down. They had stolen his gun, trapped him and his men and then opened fire. Alone or not he would take his revenge and two of them had already paid for their crimes. The priest was next. Incredulously his aim, that til now had been so true, deserted him. The man of the cloth stood unharmed. “Drop it Grainger. The game’s up”. Another voice. How many of these devils had been sent against him? Turning to his left stood Sam Barnes, his stone face implying there was no room for negotiation. This was so unfair thought Grainger but, nonetheless, he levelled his pistol one more time. “Click” No, that was unfair. There was no time to think about this though as a loud bang rang out and smoke issued from a Texan’s gun. Grainger lay dead in the sand.

Joined by the jubilant townsfolk, they carried their wounded to the saloon. Assisted by a local woman of some minor medical skill, Ebenezer did what he could for Quique and John. Quique was not as badly wounded as initially thought, once the blood was cleaned away. John on the other hand was a different story. The old surgeon come priest stood over the stricken miner, his hands shaking from fatigue. Despite the urgency of the wounds, unless his hands could be steadied, Ebenezer felt he may do more harm than good.

A short rest and perhaps a shot of whisky later, Hogan stepped up. Shepherd was out of immediate danger, though he was due an almighty headache.

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