9th February 1857, about six miles north of Jefferson City, Missouri
Morgan Fogg crossed the Missouri River near Cedar Creek and his horse had had enough. She stopped; planted her feet and essentially became a mule.
“I can’t entirely blame you,” said Morgan as he dismounted. “But right here.” The horse shook her head. Morgan shrugged and began unloading her. “Since we tore out I got nothing to eat. We’re about not exactly leaving Jefferson in the dust are we? Oh you got grass, you don’t care?”
The horse snorted as she continued grazing. Morgan patted the horse and began making camp. Was no good arguing with her.
Jefferson City, Missouri
“Is it ready?” snapped Frank Waterman as he bundled into the blacksmiths, his new companion the burly bearded German Klaus Mannheim by his side. The blacksmith paused in mid-hammer blow before continuing to strike the red hot piece of iron around the wagon wheel.
“It’s cooling,” shouted the blacksmith as he worked the metal. “Midday I’m a guessing.”
“Vhere are all your horse shoes?” asked Klaus noting the empty hooks on the wall.
“Some damn Injun swindler!” spat the blacksmith. “Asked if he could rent a dozen. Owes me eight dollars, the dirty red thief, as he never brought’em back!”
Klaus and Frank looked at each other and said in unison “Fog!”
“You see him,” the blacksmith waggled his hammer “You tell him I’m going to knock his lying tongue out his mouth.”
“Serves you right for taking an Injun at his word,” remarked Waterman. “We’re headin up to Doc Jensen’s to get some med-sin then we’ll be back.”
The blacksmith grunted and returned to hammering as The German and the handless bandit ambled up the street.
“JESUS H CHRIST, DOC!” screamed Ellison Quimby as Doctor Jensen dug into his knee to remove the bullet Morgan Fogg had put in a few hours earlier.
“It only hurts because you got the last of the morphine,” replied Jensen as he pulled the deformed ball of metal out. “Which was about a quarter of a normal does due to some other patients. You’ll be fine in a month or two.”
“I’m gonna kill that head scalpin’ mongrel!”
“You keep saying that like I give a damn,” said Jensen as he walked to the fireplace and grabbed a poker sitting in the hot coals. “Now bite down on something, this is going to hurt.”
“WaiAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Ellison screamed as Jensen cauterized the wound with the hot poker. He tried to clobber the doctor but his hands were safely secured in leather straps to the bed posts to prevent that.
“Try not to get it wet for a few days,” Jensen wiped his bloody hands clean on some towels as he turned to the unconscious Chinaman lying on the floor. “Now what in the Sam Hill am I going to do with you?”
“He’s only a Chinaman,” sneered Waterman as he appeared at the window of Doctor Jensen’s. “Let’im die.”
“Saints be praised, my favourite patients are here,” muttered Jensen sarcastically as he heard them enter the front of his premises.
Black Snake Betty sat in the carriage as the trail rattled towards Kansas City. She perused the Harper’s Weekly taking interest in the case of Dred Scott, a slave taking his owner, to not just court, but the Supreme Court.
“Something tells me it’s gonna get worse for it gets better,” she mused aloud. Murmurings from a few seats up caught her ear and she slowly lowered the paper to see a couple staring daggers at her.
“I thought animals had to ride in the open air carriages at the back,” sneered the woman fanning her face in disgust.
“You’re in the wrong carriage!” said her husband slowly and loudly. Betty folded the paper up neatly before standing and calmly walking towards them. Other passengers quietly watched as the woman in grey and black horseman’s outfit stood in front of them.
“Make IT go away Jethro,” whimpered the woman.
“Eye-za reel sorry for disturbin you white folk,” she said in a quiet stereotype voice. “I’ll be beggin’ your pardon for eye head on out to pick some cotton.”
“As well you s…” Jethro didn’t finish his sentence as his nose exploded across his face as Black Snake Betty’s knee spread it across his face. Like her name sake she was quick and had Jethro up and out the carriage window with a smash. She then grabbed the woman by her blonde hair and dragged her to the back of the carriage, opened the service door and pushed her out after her husband. Black Snake Betty wiped her hands clean when she felt the eyes of the carriage bore down upon her. She looked up to see everyone staring wide eyed at her. Slowly she straightened up.
Like a shot everyone in the carriage held their ticket up. Betty smiled and began to do her new job as ticket inspector.
10th February 1857, about six miles north of Jefferson City, Missouri
Morgan shot up as his horse grunted at the presence in the dark. His Colt Paterson was out and he grabbed a switch from the fire. “Who’s there?”
There was a sound of breaking twigs as a human shape came towards the light. Morgan clicked back the hammer.
“Easy there stranger,” said the voice from the dark.
“You best be tellin’ me what you’re doing mister,” Morgan said “Or I’m going to put you in the ground and go back to sleep.”
“Just saw the fire,” the man stepped forward with his hands up. Morgan looking around, this felt like an ambush, at the very least wrong.
“I just travelling by and was hoping to share your fire on this cool eveni…”
“Here!” Morgan tossed the switch at the man. “Have some fire and hit the trail.”
“That’s mighty nice of y…” the stranger’s words were cut off as Morgan fired a shot into the ground in front of him.
“Mister, you seem real eager to get shot!”
The man slowly crouched and picked up the switch. “I’m just going to sit a spell and then I’ll be on my way.”
Morgan’s gun followed him like a hawk watching a prairie dog as he studied the man. He was white, almost hard to tell under the layer of dirt on him. Possibly a miner. About in his late twenties. Strangest thing was the lack of possessions like a bindle or side sack.
“You’re one of them,” Morgan stated as he holstered his gun and took a seat by the fire. The man cocked his head in curiosity at the cease in hostilities.
“I don’t quite get your meanin?” he replied as he shuffled closer towards the fire to rekindle the switch.
“When I was a child my father use to tell me stories,” Morgan told the man as they looked at each other through the smoke. “Tales of buffalo men. Stories of Iktomi the spider women. The children of Malsumis.”
“Mal-soo-mis,” Morgan corrected. “Spirit god who seeks mans destruction. They were the ones that fascinated me, the ones my mother dismissed as nonsense, like most of my father’s beliefs.”
“You’re a half-breed,” the stranger said, but without any of the usual malice and distain.
Morgan nodded and stoked the fire. “Every night for as long I could remember he’d tell me a story of his…my, our people. But it was the children of Malsumis who captured my young mind.” Morgan pulled out a pouch from around his neck on a long leather string. It was a beaded bag with tassels about the size of his palm.
“You’ve got a woman’s purse,” sneered the stranger.
“Not quite,” Morgan opened the bag and poured some sand from it into his hand and then back into the bag. “It’s a protection pouch.”
“To protect you from Malsoo?”
“No, if Malsumis comes for you you’re dead. This is to protect me from his children,” Morgan looked straight at the stranger. “From you.”
The light caught the man’s eye that made it glint, revealing the animal within. He smiled revealing his nasty yellowed teeth that had points slowly growing. Morgan dribbled the sand through his fingers. “I never really believed creatures like you existed, you were just stories. But my father…he believed and drummed it into me to keep my protection pouch on me at all times as it just may save my life one day. It did once when I was at West Point.”
The stranger chuckled menacingly. “You Injuns.”
Morgan poured sand from the pouch into his hand and back again, making some lines on his face with the mixture before clutching onto a handful. “Yeah us Injuns are always worried about things; white men, cholera, railroads…monsters.”
“I wish you hadn’t put sand on yourself, it gets in my teeth.” said the stranger as he shifted into a wereform; bones clicking and fur spurting from his hands, arms and face. The grey mare reared up and bolted into the night. “I’ll have her for desert.”
Morgan’s eyes widened in fear and disbelief at the creature before him, this snarling half man half wolf. Morgan sniffed his hand and exhaled looking at the monster; he stepped towards the beast and hurled the dust at it.
“As if sand c…”
The night echoed with the small explosion as the sand hit the torch in the wolf man’s hand. It shredded the lupine’s hand like he’s put it in a blacksmith’s furnace. Screams part man and part animal ripped through the darkness a sit scrambled to its feet.
“What did you do?” snarled the frothing beast as it swung its head side to side to attempt to clear its dazzled eyes.
“Peyote, silver flakes, aconite and…” Morgan drew his gun and a black stone knife from his boot. “Black powder. My people use it for vision quests and for keeping monsters at bay. Can use it in a cannon as a last resort too.”
The wolf man leapt at the voice only to land in the campfire, singeing itself and yelping. Morgan rammed a kick into its ribs knocking it sideways as he scanned for others. Morgan fired a shot hitting the animal right in the top of the head. The bullet burrowed into the skin which would’ve easily killed a man at this close range but it merely stuck out like he’d been stung by a hornet.
“DIE!” The wolfman leapt again, this time on target hitting Morgan square on. The pair rolled and Morgan pushed up with his legs flinging it over and into a tree. The wolf man was back on its feet in a flash but paused. He then swatted his nose like he was being pestered by flies.
“That’d be the peyote,” smiled Morgan as he swayed back and forth. “Most pale faces can’t handle it.” The wolf man swung wildly like a drunk. Morgan fired another shot into its belly, again more annoying that damaging. “Colours, movement, sounds.”
The wolf man swung again and if it wasn’t for the drugs Morgan would’ve lost is head and not just his hat from the attack. Morgan stabbed the obsidian blade into the animal’s ribs and twisted. The beast roared and lashed out. Morgan got his right arm up which cushioned the blow but the crack was sickening as it broke. Morgan flew across the camp site as his gun scattered a few feet away. The wolf man grabbed and pulled it free leaving a nasty chunk gaping in its side, blood gushing.
“&^%$ Indian!” screamed the wolf man looking at wound that wasn't healing like it should.
Morgan dive rolled, scooped up his Colt and jumped into the beast with his own blood curdling yell as the peyote on his face tingled. He grabbed onto the nostrils of the wolf with his right hand sending waves of pain through his body. The wolf raked claws down Morgan’s back trying to remove him as his jaws snapped dangerously close to his face, but Morgan dug his foot into the gaping side wound clung to its snout. The aconite and silver flakes sped up and slowed down the animal’s metabolism which pushed the peyote around its body. Morgan rammed the Colt into its ear.
“How about YOU die!” He squeezed the trigger again and again and again until it went click. Blood gushed from the close range shots into its head but the beast simply dumped him and scurried away; straight into a tree at speed that stopped the animal cold. The night went deathly quite as Morgan stood there limply, arm uselessly dangling by his side as the wolf beast inhaled in small short bursts. Morgan opened the Colt, tipped out the bullets and reloaded. He snapped it shut, stepped over the near dead creature and fired six more shots into the chest. Morgan then spat a glob of phlegm and blood onto it.
“That’s what you get when you cross Morgan Fogg!”
Morgan stared down at the creature. Even dead it was menacing. He looked up when he saw the sky was lightening, it was dawn!
“How long have I been standing here?”
There was a snap of twigs. Spinning like a rummy he raised his gun and fired but there were no bullets. The grey mare paused, curiously looking at her rider. “Thanks for your help,” murmured Morgan as he staggered towards her. He flopped onto her flank and slowly hauled himself into the saddle.
“Let’s go” he whispered into her ear as he left his campsite and promptly passed out on her neck.
To be continued…
More in the Wild Western Roundup: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic-8/wild-western-roundup-1657135/