These are short stories occasionally put up on Fridays, and which you can read for free. Enjoy!
“We’re almost there,” Jeffrey said as he pulled Simms along on that wounded leg of his.
An arrow sailed right over his head at the words, embedding itself into the wall of the fort just inches from the open gate. At that gate, Pat swore under his breath but also managed to get his shot loaded. He brought his rifle up to his shoulder and pressed the barrel to his check to take aim.
“Ah!” he shouted.
“What?” Benny said beside him.
“Damn thing's as hot as a fire!”
Benny frowned. “You’ve fired it a dozen times since this attack has started…it’s too hot, could warp on you.”
“To hell with it,” Pat said, and he brought the rifle back up, careful to not get it too close to his face. Aiming carefully – he had to, for he was aiming directly over the heads of Jeffrey and Simms – he zeroed-in on the mounted brave and fired.
The shot was clean and clear and flew true. The brave was struck in the chest and flew right off his horse, landing on the ground hard and not moving after that.
“Good shot!” Benny said beside him, tussling his hair and clapping him on the back. Pat just smiled and started to rise up, though he touched that hot rifle barrel again too and pulled his fingers away with a curse.
“C’mon, boys, c’mon!” Benny shouted next, and after another twenty yards of staggering their way forward, Jeffrey and Simms made it to the gate.
“Close ‘er up!” Adam shouted down from atop the blockhouse, and with a wave and a nod back at them, Jeffrey started to do just that. Within moments the gate was closed, all six men safely inside. Well, not Simms so much.
“How bad is it?” Jeffrey asked him after he’d gotten the gate closed.
“It’s bad,” Simms said, giving him a stern look.
Jeffrey, still struggling for breath after half-dragging the wounded trapper back to the fort, looked down at it, then reached his hand out and touched the arrow shaft.
“Aaahhh!” Simms yelled. “Stop that!”
“You gotta get that arrow out,” Jeffrey replied.
“I will,” Simms grunted, “all in good time.”
“Got some whiskey right here to douse it, kill any infection,” Pat said, taking out a small flask he always kept in his pocket. He had to fumble about a bit to do it, juggling that hot-barreled rifle and swearing under his breath all the while. Beside him, Jeffrey narrowed his eyes, an idea coming to him.
“Give it here,” Jeffrey said, and Pat handed the flask over. Next Jeffrey turned back to Simms. “Let me just…” he started to say, reaching for the arrow, “…let me just….” He got his fingers on the arrow, acted very gently – which put Simms’ mind at east – then without warning he grabbed hold tight and jerked the arrow up.
“Aaahhh!” Simms yelled again, but the arrow came out clean, the point still intact atop it. “You bastard!” he said next, breathing heavily and with sweat starting to pour down his face.
“We ain’t done yet,” Jeffrey said, taking the cap off the whiskey flask. He took a quick drink then dumped a bit on the wound.
Simms winced, but didn’t cry out this time. Instead he gave them a hard look. “Oh, I ain’t gonna let you bastards sow me up, if that’s what you had in mind.”
Jeffrey smiled. “It wasn’t…now take a drink.”
He handed the flask over, and with another hard look Simms took it. Jeffrey nodded for him to drink, and the trapper did, a big swig. It was the moment Jeffrey had been waiting for.
Without another word – and with Simms looking up as he threw back his head to take that drink – Jeffrey grabbed the rifle from Pat’s hand and jabbed the hot barrel forward, right at the bleeding wound in Simms’ thigh. The tip of the gun barrel met the blood there and sizzled, for the barrel was still extremely hot from all the firing Pat had done. Jeffrey continued his push and the smell of burning flesh filled the men’s nostrils.
Simms screamed in pain as his wound was cauterized right then and there, and then, with a look of pure hatred at Jeffrey, his eyes rolled up into his head and he passed out, his breath misting in the crisp morning air.