Part 23 of The Agents of the Vault is here! The final shootout on the streets of Trinity.
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Agents of the Vault
By Grant Baciocco
The first shot Jane fired caught Grisom in the shoulder and spun him. As he spun, Charlie fired right over Grisom’s head in the direction of where the shot had come from. As Charlie ran along the front of the hotel, he spied some barrels across the street and Brenner’s hat sticking up behind them. He crossed his left hand under his right and fired a shot off in that direction. Brenner’s hat sailed off his head.
“Get him Charlie.” Grisom shouted indicating Brenner, and Charlie ran down the wooden porch of the hotel toward the corner.
Grisom was on his butt, back up against the front railing of the hotel’s front porch. He cocked both his guns, grimaced in the expectation of the pain that was about to rip through his body, and then kicked himself up in one motion to a standing position and fired off two shots in the direction where Jane had fired from. She answered back with a shot, all three shots went wild.
As Charlie made the end of the hotel and dashed around the corner, Brenner fired three shots. Each just missed Charlie as he ran, but he was able to make the corner and turn it. Once around he took a deep breath and then slid his back a little ways down the wall so he would be lower when he swung around to fire.
Already he could feel the heat of the fire from inside the hotel radiating through the wooden slats. The hotel would not provide much of a hiding place for long.
Inhaling, Charlie spun the corner, took aim near the barrels and when Brenner popped up, he fired. Two shots. One, from his left pistol, going wide and the other, from his right pistol, catching Brenner in the side, sending the Pinkerton stumbling back behind the barrels, still on his feet.
Charlie didn’t hesitate, he sprung from the corner and advanced on Brenner firing both guns. Brenner’s head jerked back as a bullet passed through it. The Pinkerton fell to the dusty ground, dead.
A gunshot rang out up the street from him and Charlie spun to see Grisom falling back to the dirt. As Grisom’s body fell, it revealed Jane standing in the street, her smoking gun still aimed at where Grisom had been standing. Without thinking, Charlie raised his guns and began advancing on Jane.
Jane pulled the hammer back on her pistols and aimed them at Charlie.
“Boy!” she yelled over the growing roar of the hotel fire which thrust the twilight on the prairie into light and shadows. “Don’t be stupid. Just turn around and walk away. You’ll live. That’s about as good a deal as anyone here is going to get today.”
Charlie ignored her, the smoke making his throat want to cough as he advanced through it towards the Pinkerton. He was within 5 yards of Grisom’s body and through his peripheral vision, he could see a large pool of blood growing underneath him.
Charlie felt rage build up in him and felt his finger tighten on the triggers of his pistols. A shot fired and Charlie froze. His mouth open, he looked down at the bloodstain that was quickly soaking through his shirt. He dropped to his knees in the street.
Jane, a slow smile spreading on her face, slowly began closing the distance between them. Charlie’s arms dropped to his sides as she approached.
“You can’t say I didn’t give you the chance, boy.” Jane growled. “Now I hope you see you should have taken it.”
“I can’t let you take the desk.” Charlie said, his breath coming heavier, the pain of being shot starting to fill his body. “Can’t let you take Doris.”
Jane smiled. The pistol in her right hand aimed directly at Charlie’s head. “I will get one, or both here today, you can count on that. Grisom can’t stop me any longer. And now, you can’t stop me.”
Charlie began to raise his right hand, but the pain was immense. Jane stood backed and kicked the guns out of his hands. Jane pulled back the hammer on her pistol.
“Just close your eyes kid, it’ll soon be over.” Jane’s finger squeezed on the trigger.
Right before the gun discharged, Jane heard a sound behind her. A high pitched whistled, suddenly joined by a second creating an eerie harmony. Jane spun, expecting to see Grisom, somehow, still alive, but saw that behind her in the street stood Doris and Pahaat. Before Jane could register that it was the prairie fires making the sound that had now drown everything else out, they both opened up their jaws and engulfed her in a solid column of fire, consuming her completely.
Charlie fell backwards as the fire engulfed his enemy, he was vaguely aware of her screams as she ran wildly from where she stood. Charlie looked upwards. The sky was black ink above him, smoke rising up into it from the hotel fire was being illuminated by Jane’s burning body. Though the smoke he could see the faintest star shining in the night sky and he focused on that, as his hand slowly moved to his pocket, inch by inch searching for the small glass vial of dirt that was there.
His fingers closed around the vial and his world went dark.
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com