by Tonny

Part 3 of the Stupid collection


That’s what he heard them all say it was. Stupid, real stupid.

He was a bit angry about that. He thought it had been glorious!

JD could still see it in his mind’s eye, Chris walking towards those outlaws and shooting them down just like that. It had been great, awesome, everything he’d always believed a hero gunfighter would do! He’d cheered when yet another went down and then he had heard Josiah curse beside him.

“Idiot! Stupid, stupid idiot!”

He’d been real surprised and had looked back at Josiah, who was crouching behind some crates close to his own water trough. But before he could say something Josiah had suddenly turned pale and had called out “Chris!”

When he had looked back, Chris was down.

That really WAS stupid. Chris couldn’t be down. He couldn’t be! He was Chris Larabee, the best gunfighter in the whole west!

And he wasn’t dead, not at all. JD had been relieved, but he’d also felt a bit smug when it was clear Chris was still alive. See, he’d wanted to say. I knew he wasn’t dead, it’s Chris! He hadn’t though, because all the others had looked so angry. Except for Vin, Vin had looked... looked agonized. And afraid, very afraid.

That had been like a punch in the gut. JD had never thought he would see Vin afraid of anything. Like Chris, Vin was fearless.

Ouch! Shit!

JD cursed when the hot water he was carrying towards the clinic splattered over one hand. That hurt! He didn’t dare stop though. Nathan had been yelling at him to get boiled water and get it to the clinic like yesterday!

Finally he made it inside, panting and still silently cursing the pain on his left hand where the water had burned him.

A scream made him look up. What he saw froze him in place. Vaguely he felt someone take the basin full of water out of his hand, but he couldn’t react. He could only stare.

Chris was laying on Nathan’s bed half naked, back arched and his hands gripping the bars that made up the head of the bed. Nathan was splattered with blood and digging with something into the gunslinger’s side.

“Got it,” he cried. He started to extract whatever he had embedded in the gunslinger’s body and Chris screamed again. Something came out and fell with a clatter in a small ceramic cup on the nightstand beside the bed. Cloths were fished out of the bowl of hot water he had just brought in and used to clean the bloody mess.

JD felt bile rise up when he saw Nathan take a needle and thread and started sewing, right through the pale flesh. Chris was grunting now, trying to curl up in a ball, but Buck and Josiah were leaning on his legs and Vin was holding his shoulders back, his head close to the gunslinger and his lips constantly moving.

If he was saying anything, JD couldn’t hear it. All he heard was a strange roar in his ears. He felt weak in his legs.

“Ready,” Nathan suddenly said, cutting the thread. That JD did hear! He felt a relief so strong, it made him giddy. Chris laid back with a sigh, looking towards the night stand. A big bottle of whiskey was standing there.

“Give him more.” That was Nathan again. “He’s gonna need it. Still have ta get the bullet in his chest out.”

Vin had to hold the gunslinger up and help him drink. After a while Chris was laying back down. He was pale, JD noted. And thin, really thin. That surprised JD. Chris couldn’t be thin! He was always so... so... big, so room filling.

Nathan now had a knife in his hand and put the point in a ragged wound high in Chris’ chest. He pushed the knife in and Chris screamed another agonized scream. His hands were once more gripping the head of the bed and his back arched. He screamed again, writhing, trying to dislodge the men holding him down. Blood poured out of the chest wound.

JD bolted.

He thought he heard someone call his name, but he wasn’t listening. He had to get out of there, get away! Soon he was running down the stairs. He didn’t think about it, he bolted for the livery, for Milagro, his horse.

It wasn’t until he was in the presence of his beloved horse, arms around the long, arched neck, that he started to calm down a bit. He held on tight to his horse, shaking, trying to get the images from the clinic out of his mind.

The blood, the needle, the screams, the hands gripping so hard at the bed, the... the knife.... Hastily JD grabbed the bucket in the corner of the stable and started to puke.

God, it had been awful, gruesome!

It hadn’t been glorious at all....

4. Morning