Rotten Hell (A flash fiction challenge)


Just lost another finger. It fell off. All of it. The entire thing. At the first knuckle right up next to my hand. It turned to mush and fell off just like the other two. That makes three gone from my left hand now. That's troublesome enough for a gunslinger but my piano playing days are over for sure. No more Für Elise, Cannon in D Major, or Moonlight Sonata. No more Beethoven . No more Bach. No more Chopin. No more Mozart or Schubert. My heart is already dead. And my soul, it's dying along with my flesh.

I can't say I wasn't warned. I was warned. And she was warned. We were both warned. Can't say we weren't. Fuck. Goddamnit anyway. Who does this? Fucking savage. Her grandfather. His own flesh and blood. He doesn't know who he's fucked with. Has no fucking idea. Animal. That's what he is. A fucking animal. A motherfucking demon. I'm going to send him back to Hell where he belongs.

Compared to what he did to her. What he did to me ... that's nothing. Dip a fucking raven's fucking feather in some hocus pocus fucked up voodoo venom potion bullshit and rub it up and down my left side while chanting some fucking curse. Goddamn medicine man. Heathen. I'll put a bullet in his skull. Right in his goddamn skull. Rapid cranial evacuation. That'll kill him. That kill this curse. And it'll kill him. Dead. Forever. Won't grow my fingers or toes back but it'll stop me from losing all of them. As long as I can find him before it gets my shooting hand. My trigger finger. I'm going to put a slug between his eyes.

I've seen people killed before. In every way you can imagine. Shot. Stabbed. Bludgeoned. Hanged. Burned. Poisoned. Dragged behind horses. Trampled. Snake bit. Heads cut off. Tossed off a cliff. Done half those myself. But what he did. Cut her open like that. His own granddaughter. His own blood. And pull her guts out and feed them to the dogs while they're still attached. While she's still breathing. Still alive. All because I loved her. And she loved me. Because were loved each other. Killed her. Just because we were in love. Oh yeah, there's a special place in Hell waiting for him and I'm going to send him there. Yeah. I'm going to send him there. I'm going to send him.

The stench. It's sickening. Three fingers. The pinky, the ring, and the fuck you finger on, or off of actually, my left hand. And two toes off my left foot. The littlest little piggy and the one next to it. I'm not so slowly rotting away left to right. Ulcers. Open sores on my arm and leg. Looks like rattle snake bites. It's sickening. Rotting away like this.

I saw a fella once with two fingers on his hand. In Abilene. No, in Texarkana. Just two fingers on his shooting hand. Or what used to be his shooting hand. Fucking gun blew up and ate three fifths of his digits. Or three tenth if you're counting both hands. Whichever way you count he only had two fingers left on his right hand. His thumb and pinky. Looked like a claw. Like a crab. He wasn't a bad looking fella. In the face he wasn't bad looking. Not that I go around looking at not bad looking fellas. But, I recall how missing those three fingers, only having two left, on that one hand, made him ugly. I've been told before that I'm not a bad looking fella myself. Wonder how ugly I am now? Christ. The delirium's setting in. Need to pull it together. The stench. Fetid flesh. My god, the foul, putrid stench.

Afraid to take my boot off and look. Afraid it'll pull my entire foot off. Too painful to take it off. Too painful to put it back on if I did. Can't really do it with one hand anyway. Can't find my boot jack. Hurts like hell to stand up. Need a whiskey. There's not a enough whiskey in this town. That's okay. Can't pickle myself just yet. I've got something that needs doing. I've got somebody that needs killing. And I have to get to it. Running out of time. A smoke. That's what I really need. A cigar to drown out the smell. And a match. I need a cigar and a match.

He picks up one of the two Peacemakers lying on the bed. He opens the loading gate, thumbs the hammer back to half cock and rolls the cylinder down his right thigh. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Five of the chambers have big fat .44-40 Winchester Center Fire cartridges stuffed in them. The sixth is empty. He tucks the revolver between his knees and plucks a brass case filled with 40 grains of black powder and a 200 grain round nose flat point lead slug from a leather loop on his gun belt. Rolling the cartridge between his forefinger and thumb he holds it in front of his face and watches as the light glints off the rim of it. He loaded these himself and knows they're powerful enough to penetrate a grizzly's skull. A man, no matter how tough, doesn't stand a chance against them. He knows that too. From experience. He drops the round into the empty hole and closes the gate. You shouldn't carry with a loaded chamber under the hammer but fuck it, he was going to need every bullet he could load. What's the worst that could happen? Blow a toe or two off. He chuckles to himself and repeats the process with his other Colt. Most of the finish was gone from both guns and the front sights had been filed down so not to drag when being drawn. Polished steel. Between them they had twenty seven notches carved into their grips. He returns the deadly brace to their home, two matching leather holsters ornately carved with flowers and adorned with turquoise and engraved conchos made of Mexican silver. There wasn't a more beautiful rig ever made. He took a few seconds to admire it before checking to see if the Winchester was fully stoked.

Fifteen pills in the tube and one chambered. Six plus six plus sixteen. Twenty eight to get it done. If I can't do it with that I've probably chosen the wrong profession. I just need somebody to help me buckle my gun belt and saddle my horse. Have to make my way down stairs. Have to get going. Running out of time.

He slings the gun belt up on his shoulder and over his head and wears it across his chest like a bandolier. Placing the butt of the rifle in his armpit he uses it as a crutch to make his way to the door, into the hallway, down the stairs, and up to the bar.

"Don't look at me like that. Stop fucking looking at me. All of ya. It's not contagious, motherfuckers. Yeah, I got this way from fucking somebody's granddaughter. And my cock's probably going to fall off. But it's not contagious. Jesus fuck. Help a fella out. At least go get my horse and get him saddled. Somebody. Anybody. Don't make me start shooting people. I don't want to have to reload these guns. That's really going to piss me off."

"It's hot in here. Anybody else think it's hot in here? Somebody better be getting my horse. Bartender. A whiskey. No, a sarsaparilla. No, bring me a whiskey. Leave the bottle. And a cigar. The longest fattest one you have. And a match. I need a match."

What the ... you've got to be kidding me. Van Gogh. Fucking Van Gogh. My ear just fell off. The rot. The black rot is creeping across my face. Don't want to look under my shirt. Or inside my pants. I'm ugly now. Positive of that. Where's my horse? I have to get moving. Running out of time.

"Somebody better be getting my horse. Where's my goddamn horse? If he's not here saddled and ready to ride in three minutes I'm going to start killing. Who has a watch? Anybody have a watch? Okay then. I'll start counting. Maybe I count fast. Maybe I get to one hundred eighty before the second hand does. There ya go. See how easy that was? I knew one of you fuckers had to have a watch."

It hurts. It itches. And it stinks. Not sure which is worse the hurt, the itching, or the stink.

Suck it up. Suck it up, fucker. You can do this. You have to do this.

"Ah, my horse. Not a second to spare.Thank you, boy. I'd give you a tip but if I put my hand in my pocket it might stay there. You understand."

Have to get up. I have to stand. Need to hurry. Running out of time.


My boot's leaking.


Tim Morehead