Free Fiction Friday: High Noon

Here’s a little short I have written based on a series I’m working on, kind of a high fantasy-Western series. Elves and cowboys and gunslingers and magic and wonderfulness. The Lawmaker is the main character in the series and more information will be coming when I have some for you!

This one is called “High Noon.” Enjoy.

-Kai Kiriyama

-High Noon-

The town was a dusty little place, barely a spot on the map. The population was mostly made up of prospectors and farmers who hadn’t been lucky enough to own properties in the Ten Cities when the boom had hit and construction on the railway had begun. Buildings lined the main road, it was what was to be expected in a human settlement. Nothing fancy, and it was made worse by the fact that things had not been as prosperous as they could have been.

Rumours has circulated about this place. They said that the town was run by a changeling, or maybe a skinwalker. It depended on who you asked. They claimed that he was a man as big as a house who turned into a bear whenever he was displeased, or when something didn’t go his way. The city was supposedly filled with the bones of the people who angered the skinwalker, and he feasted each night on the flesh of stray travelers. It didn’t really matter in the long run, the people lived in fear of the supposed changeling, and were not strong enough to do anything about it.

It was nearly noon and the streets were deserted. The skinwalker issued a challenge every day at high noon; if any man woman or child was brave enough to face him, and if they could best him in a fair shootout, he would leave.

No one was brave enough.

So the changeling issued his challenge to the empty streets every day. And every day as the clock moved past high noon, the changeling strode off, back to the saloon to drink and eat his way into a stupor and run the city’s stores into the ground.

His spurs jangled as he strode through the empty streets. He stopped in the middle of the main road and waited. The wind blew his long, dust-coloured hair from his shoulders and revealed the subtle point to his ears. His wide-brimmed hat concealed most of his face, but it was clear that he was pale-skinned, paler than any man who wandered through the world the way he did ought to be. He rolled his shoulders, letting the thick woven poncho fold itself neatly around his neck, covering the familiar oak-leaf star pin that adorned his poncho, and freeing his gun arm for the challenge that waited. He stood in rapt silence, his slender form casting the only shadow in the street, his breathing the only sound beyond the sound of the wind.

Faces appeared in the windows, watching to see who was foolish enough to challenge the skinwalker that had taken the town by force and held it in his stranglehold. Whispers began to ripple through the buildings, through the brothels and inns. No one was willing to believe that it was who they thought it was challenging the skinwalker.

The lumbering shadow that was the supposed skinwalker appeared before the tall, lean man. He stared the huge man down. He was tall, yes, and built like a barrel with tree trunks for arms and legs. The “skinwalker” was a hairy beast of a man, probably half-giant if the slender gunslinger had to hazard a guess, and he wore the skin of a bear. 

“You’re no skinwalker.” The lean man drawled.

“And you’re a skinny half-elf with something to prove.” The lumbering man replied. 

The half-elf shrugged. “I’m here to free the people you have wrongfully enslaved.”

The bear-man’s laughter echoed about the streets, bouncing back and forth in a horrible chorus full of malice and disbelief. “We will see about that.” He growled.

“We draw when the clock strikes twelve?” The half-elf asked.

“Like gen’nlemen” The bear-man agreed.

“Then perhaps you had best make peace with whichever god you worship.” The half-elf replied casually, as though it was nothing to best a man of this size in a gunfight.

“I will not be seeing any gods any time soon.”

“You are not the first man to say those words to me.” The half-elf threatened. “Nor, do I suppose you will be the last.”

A hush settled over the bear-man as the casual tone to the half-elf’s words. He scowled and turned his eyes towards the clock overlooking the town. The seconds ticked out int he rapt silence and the long, lonely tone of the clock’s bell began to chime out the hour.

As soon as the twelfth chime sounded, a gunshot rang out as the bear-man moved to draw his gun. The half-elf turned his back on the huge man and began to walk away.

The bear-man opened his mouth to shout an insult at the other man, but a gush of black blood spewed forth from his mouth and he fell over, face first, into the dirt.

No one had even seen The Lawmaker draw his gun.

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About kaikiriyama

I'm a writer. I write everything from shorts, to novels to screenplays and then some. I like comic books, ponies, zombies, pokemon, monsters, demons, vampires and mythology. I walk a fine line between badass, scary and girly. View all posts by kaikiriyama

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