Monday, May 14, 2012
Now Playing: Hellfire
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Episode Fourteen concluded with:
“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.”
Stacey remained cordial, as if he had just lost a friendly game of cards. “Very well. Do what he says, friends. I’ve played Beau many times over the years and beat him more often than not. But it appears that Beau has won the main event.” As he eyed his companions, the gambler gave Dehner a short but significant glance.
The detective looked carefully at their captor. Beau Rawlins had a pearl handled revolver in a fancy holster strapped to his waist. The gun appeared more for show than use. Rawlins was a man who hired others to do his killing. He was now standing in unfamiliar territory.
“I have a little confession to make, Beau,” Stacey Hooper spoke wistfully. A man resigned to his fate. “Last night, I stole some money from the Quick Dollar. Allow me to make restitution.” He started to reach inside his coat pocket.
“Freeze, Stacey!” This time, Beau’s shout was filled with panic. His eyes grew large and were fixed entirely on the gambler. He took another step toward his prisoners. He wanted one shot to do the trick.
Dehner dropped to the ground and rolled toward Beau Rawlins. He plowed into the man’s legs. Rawlins stumbled and fired the shotgun. The shot went toward the ceiling and hit the chain holding the chandelier. The chandelier dropped, colliding with two of the round tables. An explosion of flames erupted and spread quickly.
Beau regained his balance and reached for his sidearm. Dehner buoyed to his feet and landed a hard punch under Beau’s left ear. As his head swiveled, Rawlins spit the cigar from his mouth into the flames. A new gust of red surged as the fire gained more strength. Rawlins staggered backwards and fell into the red blaze. Terrifying cries of pain now came from inside the inferno. Stacey Hooper fired two shots into the fire. There was one more horrifying screech, then the voice of Beau Rawlins was heard no more
“An act of mercy,” Stacey declared.
Dehner coughed from the smoke. “We’ve got to get out of here!”
Hosea and Gail were already standing by the door to the storage room. Rance and Stacey quickly joined them but Rance shook his head when Hosea started to open the door. “By now, at least some of the guards are outside. The front door is locked. They know we will be coming out the back. We’ll walk into a hail of bullets.”
Gail put a hand to her throat. “So, we burn to death or get gunned down by outlaws!”
Tomorrow: Episode Sixteen of Hellfire