Violence and death go hand in hand concerning the countless tales told of Tombstone. Those who spent their whole life in the famous town knew of the hell that existed and walked the streets in the silence of the night.
Tales history will ignore, the psychotic breaks are easier to explain, however the true deep dark incidents are difficult to put into words. Some do not wish to speak of them for the terror of reliving such incidents is as horrifying as the time it happened. Some are superstitious, unwilling to stir up the past in concern it will revive the demons.
Dreams or visions, one thing is certain, death.
Worms of the earth praise your gods, silver, gold, lust of the flesh. What good are your pitiful laws? Evil cares not for your hollow words. The very men who make the law care not for following such foolishness.
The heel of the serpent will mash your head!
I shall introduce this day one of my fine minions.”
“Hey listen up boys! Bill is buying the next round!”
A cheer roared at the small Tombstone Saloon. Back at a corner table a man stood.
“Hey Bill, you made your fortune huh?”
Bill raised a glass. “Not a fortune, but a big enough pay day to buy my friends a damn drink.”
All raised a glass. “Here, here.”
The atmosphere was light. Tombstones reputation for, well let us call it what it is, “the town to tough to die,” had a bit of a transformation happening. The Earp’s had a long established gun check, it certainly made an impact on the gun violence. In the aftermath of the OK Corral trials, the controversial clearing of any wrongdoing by the Earp’s, and the elimination of the cowboy gang. Wyatt and Doc Holiday’s presence in town grew to be less and less. Rumor was Doc’s illness had forced him to Colorado and Wyatt was ready to move on.
The group in the saloon comprised of a handful of minors and a construction crew. The mines were taking on water, flooding killed the extraction of ore, a couple weeks back the mining companies hired men to install and operate water pumps in an attempt to continue pulling silver from the ground. One of the private mines Bill owned was further up the wash, month before, the water table closed his biggest vein. He was very pleased when the water lowered in the main mines. His followed in kind and thus the drinks.
A place so evil, so much death, should by all accounts not be one bit surprised by the darkness which visited this particular night. Past couple evenings tales of dreams, river of blood flowing right down Allen Street. The others shrugged it off. It came up again at the poker table.
“No shit the spirits tell of rivers of blood, Carl. The ground is blood soaked, bullet ridden, silver rich and the damn cards won’t deal themselves if you keep babbling on and on about your dreams.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
Two more patrons entered, the first was known as Stick, didn’t know the second man. Stick stepped up to the bar. “Set me up.” Back to the bar both elbows leaned on the counter top.
“Just saw a man leaving your place, could swear your wife was wearing only her shoes.”
The group broke out in laughter, Carl took some slaps on the back, Stick downed his shot and turned back with a big smile. The fervor calmed Carl responded.
“Well hell, at least she ain’t bothering me.” Laughter busted out once again.
The second visitor took his leather slicker off and the barkeep spoke up.
“Two items son, first, what will ya have and second, you gotta check those guns. No need to leave though can check em right here.”
A gun fighter battle torn and road weary, injury to the face resembled a canon or dynamite shrapnel scar. Most of the face destroyed and patched together. Suppose if the room wasn’t so dark it would be difficult to stomach such a sight.
“Rye whisky.” Paused, peered across the room right to left. Barkeep tapped an empty glass and the rye bottle on the bar.
“Sorry son, it’s the law here.”
“These men unarmed?”
“Sure thing son, Earp’s don’t play games here.”
The man pulled a cigar from his vest put it in his mouth, struck a match across the scars on his neck, sounded like sandpaper, lit the tobacco and inhaled. Let go of the match and it burnt full descent to the floor. All eyes were on the match.
Pulled two guns and proceeded to shoot up the saloon. Barkeep first, shot in the face, turned right to the others, left hand shot Stick in the ear point-blank. Ten more shots rang out, no need to hurry, no one armed. He grinned as the men scrambled. A neck shot, the victim grabbed the wound with both hands and fell to his knees, a hole in the forehead stopped his attempt to live. Another shot square in the back as the next turned. Blood splattered everywhere. Cigar mixed with gun smoke filled the air. One patron almost to the front door, right shoulder to the gunman, he was the last man making a break for it. Bullet struck the rear of his jaw from behind. .45 long Colt shredded his face, tore the jaw right off. He lay on the ground shuddering, last thing he saw was the attackers boot heel approaching his face.
Evil stepped over the body and turned back to the bar, poured a shot, drank and dropped the glass. He kept the bottle and left the saloon. Chaos on Allen Street, two deputies rapidly approached up the boardwalk. Like a shadow the man swiftly crossed the road over to a closed mercantile, in one sweeping move kicked the door open slugged off the bottle and vanished into the dark building.
A citizen first arrived to share witness to the carnage quickly followed by the two deputies. Frozen in shock they stood still. One deputy noticed he was standing in blood and moved to the dirt street to grind it off.
From the Crystal Palace balcony a women yelled out.
“In the store, the killer went into the store.”
Both deputies looked to the woman then the store. In the front window, it was easy to see the burning red cherry of the cigar. They looked at each other and made a break for the front doors. Two more armed men joined at the same time. Another individual yelled.
“In the store, he is in the damn store!”
Four men stormed the building. They separated and swept the room. A black shadow moved across the windows and then the front door. Gunfire rang out, flashes of light, all weapons emptied in an attempt to deliver justice. The next light seen from the street, sparking of wicks flung in multiple directions.
“Clear the room and get down!”
Through a window on the second floor, the dark man got to the balcony ran and leaped to the next building. Below the dynamite exploded.
Front windows shattered, smoke, flames and debris burst to the street. One man made it to the door, body engulfed in flames from head to toe he fell face first to the ground. Two rushed to put him out, for a moment he screamed in severe howls of agony then silence. Fire quickly consumed the two adjacent buildings. A bucket brigade formed, the crews toiled valiantly to extinguish the flames.
Hours passed and the suns morning ascent exposed the devastation, six buildings reduced to nothing more than smoldering wood and ash. On Allen Street eleven bodies covered, seven from the slaughter in the saloon, four from the store fire. Locals fought all night to save what they could. Empty buckets, contents of the different buildings tossed about in the street. Soot covered, devastated and shocked, some sat on the ground and stared. Others paced, spirits crushed, heartbreak, more death more senseless death.
The only two who knew the whereabouts of Wyatt died. The efforts to slow the fire and save Allen Street took precedence before a posse headed out to find any signs to track.
Truth was he was gone. It was not to be the only tale of the man with no face.
Thank You for joining me today!
Check Out The Other Tales
Author @ Solstice Publishing
Debut Novel FROM THE ASHES
Novella SKELETON CAVE MASSACRE