Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Now Playing: Hellfire
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Episode Seven of Hellfire

Episode Six concluded with:
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.”

Episode Seven

“Where do you have in mind for us to go?”
“As you may have already surmised, Hosea has me pondering the wisdom of the Good Book: ‘Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.’ Indeed. Some unfortunate fool thought he could start a large ranch in this God forsaken… excuse me, Hosea… part of Texas. He had a rather daft plan for bringing in water. It didn’t work out. Now all that is left is a dilapidated ranch house and some line shacks. However, it will suit our present needs. Come gentlemen, we must not dally much longer!”
The three men mounted up and began to ride. The threesome had ridden in silence for about fifteen minutes when Dehner quickly glanced backwards. “I see a dust cloud moving toward us. Can’t tell how many riders there are. Six at the most. Probably less.”
“I anticipated this,” Hooper’s voice was thick with amusement. “Beau wants me dead. That noon deadline he presented back at the Quick Dollar was a ruse, and a very poor one.”
“How’s that?” Hosea asked.
“Hellfire is a town dedicated to sloth. Everyone is asleep at noon. Almost no one would know whether we had left town or not.”
Rance Dehner felt uneasy. He couldn’t figure out Stacey Hooper’s motive for being in Hellfire and forming an alliance with Hosea Rimstead. “Why does Rawlins want you dead? From what Rawlins said, the two of you used to be friends.”
The question put a smirk on Hooper’s face. “We were friends to the extent that two gamblers can be friends. But now Beau has become a businessman, and he believes I am plotting to move in on his territory. Thank goodness, he doesn’t know the real reason I am in Hellfire.”
The men once again became quiet. Dehner and Hosea waited for Stacey to tell them the real reason he was in Hellfire, but the gambler didn’t oblige.
Dehner changed the subject. “I hear laughter from our pursuers.”
Stacey nodded his head. “At this time of night, the entire population of Hellfire is inebriated.”  
“The devil’s brew has been the ruin of many a soul,” Hosea lamented.
 “Yes. But tonight Beelzebub’s bottles may be our friends.” Stacey looked back. “They aren’t making very good time. Let’s ride a bit faster. There are a few things we need to get done before we confront those villains.”
They spurred their horses into a gallop over the flat, dismal land. The few bushes and trees they rode past were withered and bent, as if this portion of the territory was a monument to death.

Tomorrow: Episode Eight of Hellfire