Go Alone. (Chapter One- Part Two)
My hearts turned to stone
If you asked any of the local girls, they would tell you that Adam Glover had always been an attractive man. Many years of hard labor had toned his tan body impressively. At 6 feet tall, he towered over his Irish father and most of his friends. "It's your mothers blood!" his father would spit in his thick Irish accent, "It's that damn dirty German blood!" Adam's mother had passed away from pneumonia when he was very young and he didn't remember much of her. Nevertheless, his bright hazel eyes and dazzling smile always caught the eye of all the girls in town. And he noticed. Adam would often ride his horse through town, hat tipped low, sleeves rolled up, flexing impressively as he passed flocks of swooning girls. All that changed the day he met Haley...
These days, many men wore hats. They had to find a way to protect themselves from the harsh desert sun. And yeah, sometimes, in bad sandstorms or even squabbles with other travelers, the hats got damaged. Many men had ripped hats.
However, the man with the dead hazel eyes recognized this particular ripped hat. If he could feel, he would feel joy, triumph, if he still had feelings, he would smile at this discovery. Instead a hiccup of satisfaction briefly bubbled over in his chest.
The gunslinger had seen this hat before.
He had been looking for it for what seemed like years.
The man in the hat had been the first to arrive at his house on that faithful night.
Adam heard a knocking on the door. Putting down his glass of whiskey, he gingerly skipped across the room. "Company? At this hour?"
He felt his hand grip around the handle of his pistol. He didn't remember reaching for it. But his hand was glued to the weapon. The hunger had never been stronger. Releasing it finger by finger, the man without a name dismounted his horse and entered the saloon.
Every head turned as he burst through the door.
It wasn't unusual for the dregs of the town to stumble to the local watering hole for a drink, even this early in the day, in fact the bartender usually knew when to expect the regulars and had their drink today.
But there wasn't anything regular about our gunslinger...
He walked in, perfectly aware of the silence he left in his wake.
He took a seat on a broken down stool, removed his hat, and placed his revolver on the bar.
"'scuse me son, is there anythin' I can getcha?" the barkeep nervously stammered.
"I'm looking for someone"
"There's a brothel right downtown, the gals ain't bad"
"I'm looking for a man"
The barkeep made an uncomfortable face.
"Uh... Well I don't know about that stuff sir, not judging but I-"
"I'm looking for the man with the damaged hat. His horse is outside"
The bartender started to sweat.
"I... Uh... We-... I never heard o' anybody like that"
The gunslinger traced the hilt of his revolver with his trigger finger.
"You know the funny thing about fear?" the gunslinger asked. The bartender said nothing, praying that it was meant as a hypothetical question.
He wasn't wrong.
"Fear can make a man do stupid things. Run. Hide. Kill. Lie."
The bartender shifted uncomfortably.
"I don't see where you're goin' wit-"
"You see. Lying is the worst. Running and hiding can get you away from your problems, but lying... In the end, all is known, and the liars are the worst of the cowards"
"Lying can't possibly be worse than killing" growled a voice from the end of the bar.
The gunslinger actually smirked.
"Once upon a harvest moon, I might have agreed with you stranger. We all tell lies, but killing is for monsters. I could never take a life."
"So what changed?"
The stranger got up and started moving towards the gunslinger...
He wasn't wearing a hat, but the beast who once called himself Adam Glover recognized him at once...
"A monster, friend." The gunslinger slowly wrapped his hand around the gun. "I crossed paths with a monster."
"You're awfully judgmental pal... Who are you to call a man a monster?"
The man with the ripped hat was still too far away, but the gunslinger could smell the bourbon on his breath. "I mean, if we're all judges, I think some mick from outta town, who barges into my bar, mouth runnin' like wild horses. Well, I might just call him a monster."
The stranger stopped a few feet away from our hero, who let out a rare chuckle.
"Well... You know what they say", he turned, faster than a rattlesnake and pointed the gun in the face of his first victim...
"It takes one to know one"
And he pulled the trigger.