Friday, May 11, 2012

Now Playing: Hellfire
New to these parts? To start the story from the beginning, click

Episode Fourteen of Hellfire

Episode Thirteen concluded with

              “Come on,” Dehner said as he led his companions up the stairway.
            When they reached the top, Hosea took the lead, moving quickly toward the room where he had talked with his wife the previous night. As he opened the door, the three men glanced toward the bed where Gail lay. The girl looked pale and was breathing rapidly, like someone in pain. Her hands clung to the white sheet that covered her as if it were a flag of surrender.
            “Wake her up, Hosea. But we haven’t got much time.” Dehner and Hooper stepped away as Rance closed the door. Hosea Rimstead was alone with his wife.

Episode Fourteen:

            He walked over to the bed and gently touched her on the shoulder. “Gail, wake up.”
            “Whaa—Hosea—what are you doin’ here?” 
            “I’m here with Stacey Hooper and Rance Dehner. We’re here to take you away from this here--”
            “Go away, Hosea, please, go away.”
            “Look, Gail, Beau Rawlins’ days are numbered. You don’t--”
            “Please, Hosea, leave.”
            “Look here woman, how many times have I got to explain to you, the Lord wants--”
            Gail’s voice took on a bitterness that stunned her husband. “You’re mighty good at tellin’ me what the Lord wants. Did it ever occur to you, Hosea, that what the Lord wants always happens to be exactly what you want?!”
            Hosea Rimstead took a step back from the bed, a shocked expression on his face. “You’re right…I never thought of it that way, but…you’re right.”
            Gail looked away. Her eyes fell on two roaches scampering about on the wall to her left. The young woman thought the insects looked like the happiest ones in the room. She turned back to her husband but couldn’t think of anything to say.
            Hosea crouched down beside the bed. “Gail, I’ve made some bad mistakes. But I have a need to preach. This part of Texas is called God forsaken. It’s not true. God forsakes no place and no one. I hav‘ta tell folks that. It’s somethin’ I just gotta do. I really think the Lord sent me here when I was headin’ for Collins because of you. I can’t do nothin’ without you. I love you so much, Gail. Please come back…”


            Stacey Hooper lifted his ear off the bedroom door. “It’s very quiet in there. At least our prophet is not prophesying. That can get very tedious and is certainly no way to win back a lady’s heart.” 
“He’s been in there too long…we better get them—”
            Dehner stopped speaking as Hosea and Gail stepped out of the room, hand in hand. Their faces reflected both happiness and determination. Gail was wearing her red saloon girl dress, the only clothing she had handy.
            “We’re ready,” Hosea said. Gail smiled firmly as if echoing her husband’s remark.
            “Well!” Stacey declared robustly. “You two certainly look ready for whatever the future brings.”
            Rance hoped they had a future. “Let’s go!”
            They ran down the stairway. When they reached the bottom, the gambler pointed toward the back door. “This way.”
            “Stop right there, Stacey!”
            Stacey Hooper froze and then slowly turned around, as did his three companions. “Why, Beau, it’s only a little past noon. What are you doing up at such an ungodly hour?”
            Beau Rawlins was standing behind the bar with a shotgun pointed at the intruders. A cigar bobbed playfully at one side of his mouth. The smile on his face was chilling: the look of a man who was about to, literally, blow his problems away. “Insomnia, Stacey. I can’t sleep some days, so I come here and get some work done. Heard you folks upstairs when I arrived, and just naturally thought about this scatter gun the barkeep always has handy.”
            Beau stepped carefully from behind the bar and approached the threesome. He noticed them trying to spread out. “I want everyone to stay close together. After all, nobody wants to die alone.”

Monday: Episode Fifteen of Hellfire