Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Now Playing: Hellfire
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Episode Six of Hellfire

Episode Five concluded with:

As he pulled the trigger, Rance jumped sideways. He hit the floor as the man from the second story room ran to the railing and fired a shot that ricocheted off one of the gambling tables. Rance snapped off two shots toward the second floor. Both bullets hit the target. The gunman dropped his weapon. His body went into spasms and he plunged over the railing.
Instinctively, the detective began to jump to his feet when he heard a familiar voice yell, “Stay down!” Dehner flattened himself against the floor as a red spear cut the air over him and burrowed into a gunman who spun and fell without firing the weapon in his right hand.
Stacey Hooper was on his feet, smoke curling from his gun. “Welcome to Hellfire, good friend!”

Episode Six

“You’re slipping into a rut, Stacey.” Rance spoke as he got to his feet. “The last place we ran into each other was also a saloon .”
“Well, as Ecclesiastes instructs us, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’ However, that does not mean life is always predictable. Don’t holster your gun yet, my friend.”
The roulette wheel had stopped spinning. Everyone remained where they were, except for a small group of people huddled around Lars Olsen. Most eyes were centered on a large, well-dressed man in his late thirties who strode through the Quick Dollar in an almost regal manner, glancing at two corpses and a wounded man.
Beau Rawlins had a moon face and the beginning of a double chin. He looked at Dehner, then at Stacey Hooper. “You and this jasper you call a friend just killed two of my men and wounded another.”
“Our deepest condolences,” Stacey smiled benignly.
“I’m beginning to see what kind of hand you’re playing, Stacey. Times change, and a man has to change with them. Old friendships don’t mean much anymore.” He pointed at Dehner. “If you and this Jasper aren’t gone by noon tomorrow, I’ll have you both killed. Now, get out!”
“As you wish,” Stacey replied quickly. “But remember, Beau, competition is what fuels the engine of progress.” Both Stacey and Rance kept their guns in hand as they backed out of the saloon.
The moment the two men were on the boardwalk, activity inside the Quick Dollar resumed. The saloon became noisy and no one inside heard the voice that shouted, “Praise the Lord!” at Stacey and Rance.
“I forgot you were out here, Hosea!” Rance holstered his gun as he spoke to the bearded young man.
“Good thing the Lord never forgets where no one is!” Hosea’s voice remained a shout. “I’ve been out here praying. The Lord heard my prayers and protected you and Stacey.”
Rance’s face reflected surprise. Stacey Hooper laughed good naturedly. “Yes, Rance, I am friends with this present day prophet. We met the day I arrived. He was preaching in the street and I became an audience of one. Together we are working toward identical goals. Well, sort of…”
       Stacey glanced at the sky and continued to speak. “Hosea is right. The Almighty is with us tonight. He has provided a bright moon. May I suggest a ride out of town?”
“You think some of Rawlins’ men will forget about the noon deadline and try to kill us tonight?”
“Yes. Beau Rawlins has always encouraged his employees to show initiative.”

Tomorrow: Episode Seven of Hellfire