Betas - Melissa & Sue
Main Characters: Vin, Chris, Buck
In answer to a prompt posted in a group I belong to. The prompt was: 'It was early in the mornin' when he rode into the town. He came riding from the south side slowly lookin' all around. He's an outlaw loose and runnin' came the whisper from each lip and he's here to do some business with the big iron on his hip.' - 'Big Iron' - Marty Robbins
The buckskin clothed rider on the black horse ignored the whispers he could hear coming from the people on the boardwalk. His hand wasn't far from the sawed off gun in the holster on his right hip. Bright blue eyes stared ahead shaded by an old slouch cavalry hat. He didn't look around, but a few folk noticed his gaze was never still. Those eyes didn't miss anything as he rode past the stores.
The rider turned his horse to the hitching post by the saloon. His gaze traveled up and down the street. He noticed people were watching every move he made. With a tip of his hat at several women passing by, he dismounted, tied his horse, and then stepped up onto the boardwalk. Once there, he again turned and glanced up and down the street, before he turned, pushed the batwing doors open and walked in.
Three men at the bar turned and looked at the stranger who stopped in front of the swinging doors. Two turned away while the center man leaned back, resting his elbows on the edge of the bar. His right hand close to his holstered revolver.
The big man pushed his hat back on his greasy dark head and a smile crossed his dirty, bearded face. Crooked, stained teeth appeared between thin lips as his mud-colored eyes roved over the newcomer from head to boots.
"Well, well, boys. Look what the wind brought to us this fine morning." The other two men turned back to face the buckskin-clad young man. With one look, they moved farther down the bar, putting room between them and the man standing between them. They didn't turn their gazes back to their drinks and their hands hovered near their guns.
The man to the right of the greasy-haired leader spit at the spittoon on the floor next to him."What's your name kid, so we can put it on your grave stone."
Icy blue eyes glanced at the man. "Name don't matter to ya, but it's Vin Tanner. You all are wanted by the law."
"Says who?" the third man spoke up.
Vin glanced at him then back to the greasy man. "Several sheriffs an' marshals. Some towns ya robbed too. And families of men ya killed."
Greasy laughed and looked the young man over again, a smirk on his face. He tipped his head. "And little old you came to get us?" he laughed. "I think we out gun you by at least two, but I'm sure I can take you with one shot. Go home kid, back to hide in your mother's skirts."
Tanner cocked his head then moved a couple of steps to the right of the door. A slow smile crossed his lips but he never took his eyes off the three men by the bar. He could hear men grumbling outside the door but they quickly scattered.
Outside - A few moments earlier..
The townspeople stared as another rider rode slowly into town. This one from the north side. His black clothes gave him a sinister look, while sea green eyes told them to back away. The iron on his hip screamed gunman. The black horse was pulled to a halt beside the tethered black the earlier man had ridden into town. The blond head swiveled as his gaze swept around the area. Everyone standing by the saloon doors quickly moved away, none of them wanting to block the deadly-looking man.
The black-clad man eased off his horse, flipped the reins around the post and stepped to the boardwalk. He stood looking around as he lit a cheroot and took a deep pull. A small smile lifted his lips as another rider came into view moments later. This man rode a grey horse.
A big grin graced the mustached face of the new man as he rode towards the saloon. He nodded his head at a couple of ladies who hurried into a store, muttering something about a shootout.
The grey stopped next to the two black horses and the big man's smile grew as he dismounted. He tied his horse and moved to the man in black's side.
"Junior found them I take it?" he asked.
"Yep. Inside. Let's go."
Spurs jingled as the two men stepped into the saloon and took in the scene before them.
They paused inside the door and appraised the situation. The blond nodded to the young man standing there. "How's it going?"
"Fine. They think I'm all alone and a kid," Vin answered with a chuckle.
"Junior, you've never been a kid." The mustached man looked across to the three men standing spread along the bar as he strolled to one side of the door. The black-clad man nodded at Vin and moved to stand beside him. Then his gaze locked on the three men at the bar.
The dirty-faced, greasy haired man's eyes widened, and he gulped. His mouth opened and closed several times. The man to his left mocked him. "Damn Frank, never knew you for being wordless."
Mud-colored eyes darted to his companion before they focused once more on the black-clad man. "What'er ya doing here Larabee?"
Chris Larabee smiled and cocked his head to the side. "Looks like we're here to help. You coming peacefully?"
Greasy gulped, his eyes darted back and forth between the three men facing him. He had been sure he could take the youngster with no problem, but now. . . . He knew Larabee's reputation and he didn't want anything to do with the gunslinger. For a moment he wondered if he could get the man to leave. Before his brain could disagree he blurted out, "Larabee, this is none of your business. We're just talking to this kid. No sense in you getting involved. You're not needed."
Chris' smile looked like death at the door, the man thought.
"I think so."
The mustached man spoke up, "You came to our town and killed two people and robbed the General Store. You're wanted. So, come peacefully or else."
"Didn't take nothing that wasn't offered. We didn't kill those people," the third man spoke up.
"Witnesses described you all, clear down to the greasy hair, that dirty red vest, and that scar on the side of your face," Mustache told them, looking pointedly at each of the men.
"Who the hell are you?" Greasy snarled.
"Buck Wilmington, at your service. The three of us are part of the seven Peacekeepers in the town you were just in. We have orders to bring you back, dead or alive. Which will it be?"
As he finished speaking the man on the right reached for his gun.
Within seconds the gunfire stopped. Three men stood by the saloon door, guns in their hands. The three by the bar were down. The one on the right was slumped against the bar, blood flowing freely from a gaping hole in his chest.
"Who are you guys?" he muttered as he looked up at the other men.
"Your worst nightmare," Larabee answered.
The man smiled as blood dribbled out of his mouth. "Yep. Never thought it would catch up . . . t' me . . . " His head fell forward.
Buck holstered his gun and walked forward to check the three outlaws. Vin stayed by the door to discourage the townsmen from coming in. He slid his sawed-off back into its holster. Chris drew on his cheroot, then dropped it to the floor and put it out. With a glance at Vin, he walked outside and headed towards the livery. Several townsmen followed him while a few others stayed by the door.
"Chris, go for their horses? The undertaker? Or?" Buck asked as he stepped to Vin's side.
"Yep." Vin answered.
Buck shook his head and grinned then pushed the batwing door open. "All over folks. Go home. We've got this taken care of."
"I'm Sheriff Logan, what's going on here? Who are you?" A tall, painfully thin man with an old tarnished star on his tan shirt pushed two bystanders out of his way.
"Come on in Sheriff, we'll explain what happened." Buck pushed the door open and let the sheriff enter. With a few short sentences, he explained about the outlaws and what they did to the little town they were hired to protect. He ended with, "If you don't believe me, send a wire to Judge Travis at Four Corners. He sent us after these men."
"I know the Judge. Consider him a friend. I know he hired seven men to protect the town his daughter-in- law lives in. I believe you. Are you taking them back?"
"Well . . . I think if you have an undertaker here, we don't really want to haul them three days back to town. And if you could wire the Judge as to what happened, we'll just be on our way."
"Not a problem." The Sheriff turned around and looked at the men standing outside the door. "Jason, go get Tom Kelly, tell him he has some business here." A man waved and took off at a run up the street.
Chris walked up with two saddle bags over his shoulder. "Sheriff," he acknowledged the lawman.
"Mr. Larabee. I've been talking to your man here and he's told me everything I need to know. We'll take care of the bodies and I'll notify the Judge. Is that what they took?" Logan asked.
"Found everything they took from our town, plus some other things they robbed from the last two towns. I have wanted posters for those three in my saddle bags too."
"Not needed. They've been here two days. I've been busy and today was the first time I had an hour going through the posters. I planned to get a few other men and try to arrest them."
"Lucky we beat you to it Sheriff. Those men weren't about to be arrested. You'd just end up with dead people. They didn't care who they killed, and then they'd've robbed the town of everything they could," Buck told the tall man.
"I heard the shooting. I'm glad no one else was hurt. I'll let you go and will send a wire as soon as Tom gets here to pick these men up. Thanks for stopping a bloodbath in my town."
Chris nodded and shook his hand. Vin, keeping his head down somewhat, gave the man a two finger salute and Buck reached out and shook his hand. "Our pleasure Sheriff. We'll get headed home. Hope their horses will pay your undertaker's fee. Thanks for sending the wire."
The three peacekeepers left the saloon and mounted their horses. They then turned to the south and headed out of town.
Town people watched the three riders, with big irons on their hips, ride away, relieved they weren't outlaws as they first thought.
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