Ross Chapter 1: That’s Mine

I clung to Saul’s throat so tight I could feel his pulse against my hand. Saul gargled in his stupid Cajun accent, "After all we’ve been through you tryin’ to kill me?"

I harshly whispered at him so none of the soldiers in the camp would hear us, "You try runnin’ off with the map, and you think I ain’t gon’ kill you? Asshole like you deserves to die thirty times for that! We was brothers Saul!"

"Maybe we can" he coughed, "figure things out... Help!"

I pressed harder and looked into his desperate eyes "Ain’t nobody gon’ hear you over that storm outside!"

My mind was flooded with rage. My body had the energy to kill Saul a thousand times.

I could hear footsteps outside in the mud. The steps ripped my focus off of Saul, I could hardly hear them over the rain and Saul’s incessant slapping and clawing at me, but the steps were right next to the tent. Saul’s eyes shifted toward the flap. With the steps outside, I turned to look. As I was distracted, Saul threw me on my back, then made a break for the tent flap. He paused and found a dripping wet barrel in his face. The gun guided Saul back as a tall fit man entered the tent. He was well dressed and clean shaven, he wore a black coat over a purple vest and white button up shirt. His hat was black and the brim was short, not something you see often this far west.

The man cocked his revolver and signaled for both of us to sit down on the floor. Who was I to argue? I had no gun. The man checked the time on his pocket watch then said loudly and clearly, "Which one of you goes by the name of Saul?"

With handprints on his throat and his voice raspy, "That would be me suh"

"Well, pull up a chair!" said the man happily, "We’ve got some business to discuss"

I angrily shot up off the dirt, "Was you gon sell this man my map Saul!"

The man’s gun turned to me and I got the message, he said, "Now Saul, let me see your face, and please remove your hat as well as any wigs you may be wearing"

Saul nervously took off his hat and gulped as he looked this man in the face. The man pulled up two chairs, he grabbed Saul’s arm and sat Saul in a chair and left the other empty. He grabbed Saul’s hair and yanked it tight. I suppose to make sure it was real. Then the man looked into Saul’s eyes and chuckled, "She was right, they are black and hollow!" he sat in the chair across from Saul and smiled as he took a sip of some whiskey from his pocket, "Well it seems I have the right Saul. Would you like a drink?"

"Yes suh" the man didn’t allow Saul any of his whiskey "uhm, what’s this all ’bout? Who’s this woman you talk’n ’bout?"

"Oh just business, for me at least, does Mary Ann ring a bell?" He sidetracked, ’Oh, may I open the tent flap to let in some air? It’s a little stuffy in here!"

That last part was directed towards me, I nodded and he seemed to insist I opened the flap. Fearfully I crawled to it and the pitter patter of rain became a bit louder, the tent a bit colder, my face wetter. The lighting would flash occasionally exposing the backs of some military R&R tents against the dark night. Saul mustered up some courage, "Mary Ann? My sista? Who are you?"

"Yes your sister sent me" lightning struck and he counted a moment under his breath until the sound hit us, "My name is Jay, sorry for not introducing myself"

"What does she want su..."

The roar of thunder rolled over us again and Jay shot Saul down. I panicked and leaped to the corner of the tent. Saul had a permanent look of shock in his face. Blood ran down his body and stained the dirt floor of the tent. He twitched occasionally, but the bullet pierced his heart and he was going to die shortly. I had a slight feeling of sadness, but I was happy he was dead. The greatest emotion I felt was fear.

Jay holstered his pistol and shut the tent door. He removed Saul’s body from the chair and gestured that I sit in it. Given that he was armed and I wasn’t I sat in the chair willingly, avoiding the blood. Jay pulled his seat across from me, "Don’t worry buddy, nobody hired me to kill you. However Mary Ann paid me in advance, and for a completion bonus she said the two of you were hunting for treasure. Now, Ross is it? Where is our map?"

I quickly jumped up and searched frantically through Saul’s pockets. Once I found the map I gave it to Jay. He happily looked at it, barely taking him a minute, "I assume you two have found quite a few leads on this treasure here?"

I dumbly nodded my head, to which he responded, "Go ahead and speak, I won’t hurt you bud"

"Uh yes sir, we was headin west, somewhere ’round a rail town, just before the Rockies. We’re almost there"

"We’ll get moving in the morning, you better get rid of Saul’s corpse before the army finds it"

Next Chapter: Jay Chapter 2: The Road