Morning all This is my first attempt at a real short story.Im quite impressed with my first effort,its short,moves fast and i like the plot. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.So this is my oppertunity to test it out on an international audience.I may or may not write another as i have a few ideas in my head.Im developing an idea for a futuristic story with a mean twist about global warming in my mind at the moment.
I looked down over the edge at the vast expanse of water far below.The muddy brown water was twinkiling and inviting in this devilish heat,but hell it was a long way down. “How far down do you reckon?” “Bout six fifty maybe seven hundred feet” replied Milligan as he tossed a pebble into the air. I watched it tumble down until it was no longer visible and waited for the splash in the water below.It hit the dirty water and sent out a ripple that sparkled in the blazing sun. “Nine seconds” said Milligan “Well it seemed a lot longer than that to me” “Yip! The longest nine seconds of your life” “How deep you reckon it is?” “There just aint no way to tell,but I dont see no rocks, they could be under the water but there aint no way to tell” he replied
I was thinking why couldnt we go north or south but I already knew the answer.It was a desert out there,nothing but sand,rocks and cacti and we had only one lame horse with that posse very close behind. Jakes was a good ole horse but he had come a long way and could not carry both of us and all that gold much further.It had been slow going since we lost the other horses and we had to stash most of the gold behind.The posse would be on us by sunset.
We sat on the rocks and surveyed the terrain on the other bank until Milligan finally spoke “If we make it we meet to the left of the large rock where the river twists like a snake” he said pointing to the spot.”If im not there by two hours after sunset move on without me.” “Go north along the river into the mountains, its a longer route but there is water and plenty of places to hide” “Its difficult for horses to follow and the posse gotta go ten miles south to cross ,that gives us some time to get lost, Jackson will expect us to make a break for the border across the shortest route and will try to head us off in the open desert” “Move only at night and hide well during the day, its only bout twenty miles to the border” “Damn hard luck if we dont make it” I said ‘We come hundreds o miles with that posse on our tails with more gold than the governments got ,darn pity to die twenty miles from the border.” Milligan was staring at the heat haze in the distance “Well the other boys aint made it an we cant take that gold to hell with us.”
It sure was hot, the sun forced its way down on us ,consumed us and burned our toes through our boots. We sat there looking out over the red roasting desert with the flies buzzing around after the moisture in our eyes. Milligan reached into his tunic and took out his flask “Ive still got a good few shots of whiskey left here ,we might as well not waste it.” He took a good long sip and passed it over. “Darn good whiskey’ I said. “plenty of gold to buy plenty more later’ said Milligan “What you gonna do with your share?” “Dunno, not had much time to think about it with riding so hard with that posse chasing, maybe buy my ole mama a house, settle down an find me a woman, an get a piece of my own ,grow some corn ,have a few cows and some little uns of my own. Im getting too old for this train robbing game. Milligan was smiling “You aint gonna do that, you going straight to the parlour an drowning yourself in women an whiskey together with me ,soon as we cross that border” ‘Yeah well plenty gold for that too” I replied
“We better get that gold off of Jakes and bury it,we cant carry all that with us,we come back later and get it. We each took a large handful of gold coins and tied them in our scarves.”That should keep us going till we get back” We buried the bags in a deep crack in the rocks and covered it over with sand and smaller rocks. I poured the remaining water into the billy can for Jakes. It was as hot as if it had jsut come off a flaming fire. I untied him ,removed the saddle and threw it over the cliff. Jakes just stood there an drank the water ,he seemed reluctant to go anywhere. “Hes sure to bolt soon as the shooting starts” Milligan assured me.
“How many bullets you got?” he asked I had only thirteen “Well thats a good lucky number, shoot six and you got seven left for the other side, thats a lucky number too, I only got ten, so ill shoot five , we not going down without a fight.” “Darn right we not going down without a fight even if its a fight we cant win.”
Milligan and I sat silently in the heat and smoked for what seemed like an eternity but which was in reality a little over an hour. We scanned the haze on the horizon and there they appeared, the posse had arrived. At first they were just a shimmering in the heat that slowly turned a rusty colour from the dust out of which emerged a column of men on horseback. “How many? I count eighteen” “Yeah I get nineteen, so we cant beat em, well this is it, you ready?” “Bout as ready as ever for a gunfight, not so sure about that there cliff though” Milligan smiled “See you on the other side.
” We crouched behind the rocks about fourty feet from the cliff, Milligan to the left and I to the right. They tried to creep up the left side and after a short while a single man emerged from around the low thorn bushes a little way down from me. I let him move a little closer, pulled the trigger and he fell backwards and lay still .It was deadly silent for a short while which was broken by the sound of Jacksons voice echoing from behind the rocks. “Give it up boys, your surrounded ,there is nowhere to go, come on down and we will share the gold and go our seperate ways” “Go to hell Jackson” screamed Milligan, his voice reverberating around the rocks “You aint getting no gold cause we dont have it anymore, its buried out there in the desert where youll never find it, we seen how you executed Willy and Josh back there an we aint in no mind for the same, if you want us you gonna have to come an get us”
They came quickly, First from the left. Milligan and I were both shooting. I saw two men fall, then they came from the right. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Milligan turn and run toward the cliff. Three men were approaching quickly, I fired and two went down, I pulled the trigger again and nothing happened. I was out of bullets. This was it, now or never.Time moved slowly, there was shooting from behind and something buzzed passed my head. The open space in front of me grew larger and larger. I wondered what had happened to ole Jakes. I was falling through the air ,the muddy water comming up at me fast. It was no longer inviting.
Jackson was standing at the edge of the cliff “Godarnit! a man would have to be a crazy bastard to jump off there” he snapped “Saddle up boys, if they survive they gonna make a break for the border, theres a river crossing ten miles to the south,we can head em off in the desert” He turned back and looked down over the edge at the vast expanse of water far below.
I waited to the left of the large rock where the river twists like a snake.The coolness of the night air was refreshing after the stiffling heat of the day. I waited for three hours after the sun had set and then reluctantly made my way north……..alone.
Have a great day all