Disclaimers: They are not mine. I don't make a profit from this.
Thanks to Angela B. (without her my stories could not be) and my best wishes to Laura.
Feedback is very welcome. (Be kind, I'm still learning English)
The legend of the Ghost Rider started in the Old West.
It began as a common event of any day of any year. A stranger passed through the town of Four Corners.
Staying a couple of days, he spent a good part of that time at the saloon... again an ordinary happening.
What wasn't so normal was the stories the man would lend to anybody gracious enough to buy him a drink.
The stranger talked about myths and legends. Some from ancient times and others from lands too far off.
His storytelling captured the attention of people of all ages and backgrounds.
The kids had liked the tales of brave heroes and their adventures.
Some of the saloon girls had been enthralled by the ones about princesses, kings and love.
Mary Travis had been seen taking notes about some legends that talked about Americans before the arrival of the Europeans.
Injun tales, somebody had called them.
There had also been a story that had captivated the seven peacekeepers of the town.
Unknowing to them the story had spun a different variation each time the man related it to each one of the peacekeepers.
The story of the Ghost Rider.
Buck, at first, hadn't put a lot of attention to the story about the bounty hunter for the devil until the stranger described how the condemned man had at first been a real bounty hunter, but had been accused of murder.
Trapped in a small cell waiting to be hanged for murder, the young man in desperation had claimed that he would give anything to get out of there, to stay alive.
Unfortunately it had been the master of all evil who answered him.
To be spared from being lynched by the small town where the murder had been committed, the young man had sold his soul to the devil.
After that the young man had become the Ghost Rider. He had been seen riding through the prairie engulfed in fire, riding like the wind, bringing tainted souls to his master.
His glare, at day was cold and undetached and could remind people that saw it, of the ice at the mountains, but at night it would be hot like the hell when he encountered guilty people and by forcing them to look in to his eyes, the souls of the innocents they had mistreated would burn them from inside.
The description had made Buck shiver.
J.D. had been fascinated about the tale.
For him, the stranger had explained how the devil had tricked a good man who had ended losing not only his soul, but his family at the same time.
The man had become the devil's bounty hunter and the most feared gunfighter around, as the bullets would hit him but wouldn't take him down.
That the man could make the tainted souls repent with just gazing at them in the eyes. He showed no mercy for any man or woman, because his heart was as black as a moonless night.
That the dark figure, on his equally dark mount, left burning tracks around all the territory.
Nathan heard the story about another tricked man.
However, this one had been spared the life of his closest family, but after having signed the devil's contract, his family (some people say it was the father, but the stranger had heard form a reliable source that it had been the sister) had been touched by insanity.
The guilt the young man had felt made him suicidal, but he couldn't end his life as the devil himself wouldn't permit it.
He became the devil's bounty hunter, chasing soiled souls making them repent, and then ending their suffering with his own powerful hands.
The man was supposed to be stronger than 10 men together.
At the end of the story Nathan left the stranger's table with an uneasy feeling.
It was on a quiet noon that Chris heard the story.
The stranger wasn't sitting at Larabee's table, but his voice was as clear to the gunfighter as is if the man had been.
What he heard was the tale of a good man that hadn't had many good things in his life and treasured friendship over his own existence.
The young man had a friend that he considered an older brother, but then said friend had lost everything, even the will to survive, and the older one had became careless, getting involved in brawls and shoot outs.
The stranger had pointed, to the ranch-workers he was talking with, that he believed the wife of the oldest friend had been murdered.
It had been in one of those brawls that the oldest friend had been mortally wounded. The younger man in a moment of desperation had claimed that he would give anything for his friend to stay alive.
Unfortunately, who had answered that plea had been the devil himself and the young man had signed the contract over his soul.
The story said that the friend had lived, but continued behaving as if life were a hindrance.
One night, the friends had a fight, biting words were said and in a drunken rage the older one had shot the good man in the back and left him to die alone.
That night the devil showed himself to the young man and reminded him of their pact. Since then the young man became the devil's bounty hunter.
A man that by day walked as any other friendly, even good looking human, but at night he spread the terror from hell on those who deserved it.
The story that Ezra heard over a game of cards wasn't unfamiliar to him.
It was about a mistreated slave that sold his soul to the devil so he could taste freedom once in his life.
The gambler had heard something similar from an old aunt when he was a child.
It was the after-events of the story what captured his attention. As the stranger explained how the slave had became free for a short while and then found himself in the middle of the Civil War.
Even in his newly acquired freedom, he was surrounded of death and suffering.
All that pain was making him go crazy, then one night the devil came back to him and offered the ex-slave the capacity to stop it. The ex-slave had accepted it, and since then, he became the devil's bounty hunter.
The stranger also commented that it was said that the condemned man can burn men's souls from the inside out by turning the people's sins against them. Knowing, by looking at the men's eyes, who is guilty and deserving of the punishment.
What Josiah heard wasn't a story of the devil tricking a man, but of a woman tricking the devil and escaping the pay of the debt by selling her own offspring to the demon.
It was the woman's greed and vanity that made her do the deal, but at the night that the contract payment should be collected, the woman had made her son accept the punishment as his own.
The young man had expected the devil's fury and to die. Instead he was offered the position as the devil's bounty hunter that he had to accept or suffer the torments from hell for all the eternity.
With time the man became very good at deception, and collected many greedy souls.
It was also said that the man would gamble over any event because he never lost a bet.
It was at the day that the stranger was going to depart that Vin heard the tale.
At first the story made the long haired man angry; it hit too close to the tracker past, then as the stranger continued, it mesmerized him.
It was about a young boy whose mother was sick and one night the devil appeared in their house and offered the young man the solution: if the boy sold his soul to him the devil would make sure that the mother wouldn't suffer anymore.
The boy had accepted it immediately, but by morning the young man had found his mother dead.
The boy, furious, had called out the devil, but the contract had been signed and sealed, and was unbreakable since the mother wasn't suffering anymore.
Then the devil offered, to the boy, to become his hunter.
He would still be riding and would have his own horse; something the boy loved, but being poor couldn't afford.
Having nothing left, the young man had accepted.
The stranger left the town with a sardonic smile on his face.
Not far from there, he was joined by another rider, who called, "Master, I have been waiting for you for three days. I didn't know you had business in a little town like Four Corners."
The stranger, turning amber eyes toward his companion, replied, "Not yet my pet. You know, each generation will have a Ghost Rider but, perhaps this time I'm going to have more than one... maybe even seven."
"It's so easy to trick those with a soft heart."
(and evil laughter is heard)