The sun burned like hell. The air was dry like the sand. Sending a horse out in this kind of weather would be beyond cruelty.
But Rose passed through the wasteland, unbothered by the heat. Alone.
Finally, after many a day’s traveling, she arrived to the place she had been looking for.
Roger Gulch. The town of desperadoes. Where the toughest, most baddest men of Nowhere could found.
It was quiet. The many bullet holes and the red spots on the ground indicated that it not long ago had been anything but quiet. Not a sound to be heard on the street. Except for a cheerful whistling. It from the undertaker,the richest man in town who was on his way back to his little shop.
Rose found the saloon. Above the door hang a sign with the bar’s name: The Mermaid Lagoon.
As she entered the saloon, everyone inside paused at whatever they were doing, looking at the feared lady who had entered the not so respectable establishment. The cowboys who bragged about their accomplishment the the barmaid mermaids who listened lost all color in their faces. The poker playing Indians dropped their jaws as well as their cards, revealing that all four of them held nothing but aces. The piano player stopped hammering the keys and began to bite his nails. The mermaid on the scene choked in her own singing. The bartender began to grab as many of the liquor bottles as possible, trying to save them before all hell broke loose.
The only one who hadn’t noticed Rose was Buffalo Bob. He sat by the bar counter. In his mind, there was no one in the world beside him and his beer mug. He didn’t like to be bothered as he sat and pretended that the rest of the world didn’t exist.
“Hey, you! Bob! Yeah, I’m talking to you, ugly!”
Bob threw his beer mug at the bar mirror, shattering both. “Who said that!?”
“Down here, cupcake!”
Bob looked down at the bar desk. On it stood a little fairy.
She was about as tall as his beer mug, was dressed in a red hat and a grey-white poncho with purple stripes and holes on the back for her blue butterfly-like wings. And she looked like she was in a very bad mood.
“Can’t ya let a man have his beer in peace, shorty?”
“You can drink all you want after you helped my, dirtball.”
Bob stood up and kicked his chair away. Everyone else but Bob and the fairy left the saloon in a hurry.
Bob ground the few teeth he had left in his mouth. “Why you little- Don’t ya know who I am?!”
“Don’t YOU know who I am?!”
“I’m Buffalo Bob, squirt! I’m a wanted man! Two million and three dollars for whoever brings me in, dead or livin’!”
“And I’m Desert Rose. I’m wanted myself! Five million and seven and a half dollar for whoever gets me, dead! Now, are you gonna be cooperative or do this have to get ugly?”
“Ugly THIS, ya broad!” Bob hammered his massive hand at the desk, attempting to smash Desert Rose like a bug. But the fairy was fast and flew up and kicked him in the face with the force of a horse, sending Bob flying to the other end of the room. With an animal-like roar, Bob grabbed a chair near one of the poker tables and began to swing it around like an angry baseball player. Bob wrecked a few tables, the bar counter, the piano, but not the fairy. Bur Desert Rose hit him, first by rocketing herself in his stomach, taking the wind out of him, then on the chin as she made a uppercut with her tiny but powerful right fist.
Bob landed on his tail. His chin was hurting and his head felt dizzy. The fairy landed on his big nose. “Now then…” She said. “Are you gonna help me? Or maybe you still feel like tussling?”
Bob crossed his eyes at Desert Rose, made it clear that he was giving her his full attention. “No, NO! I give, I give! What ya want from me?”
“I’m looking for someone. And I hear that you are the only one who knows where to find him.”
“Who ya talking abo- wait… No…NO! You talkin’ about Stinky Pete?! No way, ya crazy dame! I ain’t telling ya nuthing! He’s mad, I tell ya! He will eat me for breakfast if he knows I rat him out!”
“Well, that’s unfortunate for you, Bob.” Rose’s eyes narrowed as she cracked her tiny knuckles. “Because if I don’t know where to find Stinky Pete ten seconds from now, I shall squeeze you. And I shall keep on squeezing you until all of them man-juices run dry!”
“… He’s in Marooners’ Rock.”
“GOLD! I FOUND GOLD!”
“So what? I found me some diamonds!”
“And I just found chocolate!”
Marooners’ Rock was the place where you could find anything as long as you had a pickaxe and enough patience. Stinky Pete’s gang were hacking and digging inside the mine, looking for treasures and sweets of all kinds.
“Phew, I’m exhausted…” Birdnose dropped his axe, stretching out. “I’m going out for some fresh air. You wanna come too?”
“Na, I’m good.” Hairless kept hacking the rocky wall with enthusiasm. “But how about you go get me a soda?”
“Sure. Chubby, you want something?”
“Be back in a sec.” Birdnose picked up a lantern and left.
But he didn’t come back.
After a while, the boys had noticed that their friend had been gone for about ten minutes.
“What’s taking him so long?” Hairless dried his bald sweaty head with the back of his dirty sleeve. “I could use that soda right now.”
“Hey, there he is!” Chubby pointed toward a small light that came toward them. “Birdnose, what took you so lo-”
One of the three glass lanterns that laid on the stonefloor shattered in a thousand pieces by a gunshot. It wasn’t Birdface who had arrived.
It was a fairy.
A little fairy who had her arms around the handle of a pistol and could just about place her tiny fingers around the trigger.
“Stick ‘em up, brats!” She said. “Or I will shoot!”
The two boys exchanged looks. Then Chubby said; “You ain’t for real, are ya? Seriously, You are the least threatening thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a kitten when it-”
Chubby and Hairless made a small scared jump as their pickaxes were now only half sticks. They both now held their hands above their heads.
“Can the smart talk, or the next bullet will burst that fat tummy of yours, kid!” Rose now pointed her gun directly at Chubby. “Now, you are going to bring me to your boss, or you won’t need worrying about breathing no more.”
“I don’t like this…” Chubby gulped. “Pete won’t be in a good mood, knowing I helped someone find his private home.”
“You like holes in your head, kid?”
“Then keep moving.”
Chubby led Rose through the secret underground tunnel that only the Long Gone Boys knew about. Chubby was unsure what to be more scared of: the fairy who illuminated the dark tunnel with her glowing body(who also held a gun with it’s barrel toward his neck), or whether or not his boss would be merciful despite him betraying his trust. After some time, they finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Please…” Chubby wimped. “Don’t make me go in there.”
Rose rolled her eyes. “Fine! Beat it! Get outta here.”
Once Chubby had left, Rose dropped the gun. Her arms were tired, and they were hurting like hell. Sure, she was tough, but steel was still not too comfortable near her fairy skin.
Rose took in a deep breath. The years of training, the weeks of searching, all of it was going to pay off today.
She could finally avenge her.
Rose cracked her knuckles and neck, and then entered the underground cave that was the home of the kid known as Stinky Pete.
It was as if daylight was inside this cave. Orange crystals were attached to the stone walls and roof. Their glow illuminated the cave. On the ground was soft, fresh grass. mannequins were placed around the home of Stinky Pete. They were all dressed in blue nightgowns and wigs with curls. They had arrows sticking out of their heads. In the middle of the room was a tipi, and next to it, a goat. The animal noticed Rose and began to bleat loudly.
“Ah, shaddap, Wendy.” A voice came from inside the tent. It was the voice of a boy. “I already know we have guests.”
Out of the tipi came a boy wearing an Indian chief war bonnet. The kid had hair red as fire and a naughty smile.
“You named the goat?” Rose asked.
“Yep. At first I wanted to name it Maimie.” Pete nuzzled the goat between its horns. “But then I decided to name it Wendy instead. Because it’s stubborn, won’t listen to me, AND it smells. Kinda like her.”
“Sentimentality doesn’t suit you, Peter Pan.”
“Stinky Pete. My name is Stinky Pete. I change my name when I remodeled Neverland into Nowhere.”
“Remodeled it?!” Rose grinded her teeth. “You TORE IT APART, then made it into this… this…”
“What?” Pete began to pick his nose with his little finger. “I can do with this place as I please. It’s mine. So if I get tired of playing pirates and jungle island adventures, I replace it with the wild west. Goes well with the Indians when you think about it.”
“It’s not yours! It was NEVER yours! The fairies lived here first! They ALLOWED you to live here!”
“Their mistake. Like it was their mistake to tell me what to do and not to do with Neverland when I made it into Nowhere.”
“So you had to kill them all?! Even-” Rose breathing got funny. A tear fell from her left eye. “Even… Tinker Bell?! She did everything for you! She only wanted you to be happy! She loved you! You were her world! Didn’t that mean ANYTHING?!”
Pete laughed. “Who the heck is Tinker Bell?”
Screaming like an angry bird, glowing harsher than ever before and filled with rage, Desert Rose flew like a tiny comet toward the boy who would never grow up. Pete laughed as he fetched his tomahawk, ready for battle.
The fairy was sure that this would be the day where she would avenge her love.
The boy was just as sure that this would be the beginning of a beautiful enemyship.