Tag: cowboys

Agents of the Vault – Part 24

Part 24 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  Trinity fallout!  Who survived?  Who didn’t?  What happens next?

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Agents of the Vault
Part 24
By Grant Baciocco

“I’m on a boat.” Was the next thing Charlie remembered thinking to himself.  “How did I get on a boat?”  His body was slowly rocking back and forth.  “Am I dreaming?”  He tried to focus his thoughts but they were cloudy.  His eyes were closed but in his mind he saw the single star shining through the smoke.  The last thing he saw after Jane was engulfed in flames.

As he focused, his senses slowly returned.  His body was rocking back and forth but he was not on a boat.  It was far to bumpy to be a boat.  His chest hurt badly.  The more he thought about it, everything hurt badly, but it was as if his chest was the epicenter of the pain.  He wanted to open his eyes, but he felt that that would cause more pain.  Every twitch of his fingers or wiggle of his toes seemed to cause lightning bolts of pain to shoot everywhere in his body.  Every jostle or bump from whatever vehicle he was in caused him pain.  Inhaling deeply, he opened his eyes.

The blue sky of dawn above the prairie greeted his gaze.  He got lost in the blue for a moment.  It wasn’t until he felt something pulling at his chest that he began to look around.

Without raising his head, he looked to his left and saw the wooden slats of the side of a wagon.  That explained the bumps.  He was in a wagon, not a boat.  He moved his eyes up to look above his head and saw two men driving the wagon.  He could see that one of them held a shotgun.  Neither of the men looked familiar, but all he could see was their backs.

Looking to his right he saw a man sitting next to him.  An older man with scraggly white hair and tiny, horn rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose.  He wore a white shirt, with he sleeves rolled up under a black vest.  He was set about his work, pursing his lips as he did.  It took Charlie a moment to realize that the work this man was working on, was him.

Charlie inhaled and tried to form the word, “What?”

The man working on him gave Charlie a sideways glance.  “Morning kid.”  He went back to his work.  “Just stitching you up now.  Removed that bullet.  Nasty sucker.”

Charlie had heard the words through the pain ringing in his ears.  He took a few deep breaths.  Then inhaled and formed the word, “Who?” weakly.

The man continued to work, bandaging Charlie’s freshly stitched wound.  “Doc Harvey.” The man replied.  “I work with the Agents of the Vault.”

At the mention of the words “The Vault,” everything came flooding back to Charlie.  The Vault, the gunfight, Jane, Grisom, the desk, the fire.  Images and words poured into his brain as if suddenly snapped back to reality.  He instantly had a million questions but knew that in his current state, one word was all he would be able to get out.


At the mention of her name, Doris’ head popped up to Charlie’s right and she gave out a low whistle.  Smiling made new pains make themselves known in Charlie’s body, but it was a pain he gladly accepted knowing that Doris was safe.  Doris nuzzled her head up against Charlie’s and Charlie’s eyes closed with relief and, again slipped back into the blackness.

The next time Charlie opened his eyes, he could instantly tell that the pain that had overwhelmed his entire body had subsided.  In its place was a deep, body wide ache.  He quickly decided that he could live with that ache.  He was inside now.  A wooden room with the walls painted white.  Slowly propping himself up on his elbows to look around, he realized that the room he was in, though brightly lit by a few lanterns and candles, had no windows.

He was shirtless and, looking down, he could see his chest, where Jane had shot him was bandage.  The skin peeking out from under the edges of the bandage was bright pink with hints of bruising beginning.  He sat all the way up and at the sound of doing so, Doris came scrambling into the room.  Her claws clicking across the wooden slat floor as she ran.  She let out a long whistle as she closed the distance between the door and the bed.  Charlie saw her and held up his hands, causing his whole body to ache.

“Easy!” he shouted, his voice dry and crackled from not being used.  “Easy girl!”

Doris leapt into the air.  Charlie braced himself, but she landed gingerly on his bed without touching him at all.  Charlie opened his eyes and got a big, lick that smelled of sulfur.  He reached out and scuffled her ears, ignoring the deep ache in his chest.  It was just so good to see her.

“You’re awake.” A voice at the doorway said, it was Doc Harvey.  He crossed to the bed grabbing a chair that was against the wall and brought it bedside.  He sat down on it and took out his glasses, hooking the ends of them over his ears.  “Let’s take a quick look at that wound and we’ll get you up and out of here.”

Doc began pulling the bandages from the wound.  Charlie decided not to look down and examine it himself.  He’d prefer not to pass out.

“You had a bottle of Whittenmore dirt on you.” Doc said as he looked closely at the stitches holding the bullet wound together on Charlie’s chest, giving them a gentle poke here and there with his index finger.  “You get that from Grisom?”

“Yes, sir.” Charlie replied.  “He gave it to me right before the final showdown.”  Charlie suddenly turned to Doc and grabbed his hand, “Girsom!  Where’s Grisom, did he make it?”

Doc looked up at Charlie and sighed, “No kid, I’m afraid not.”

Charlie was silent.  Doris, who understood what was being said, scooted herself under Charlie’s arm.  He squeezed her tight.

“The Whittenmore dirt is powerful stuff but it doesn’t work miracles.” Doc said, beginning to reapply the bandage to Charlie’s wound.  “He died defending a piece of history, that was his job.” He added matter of factly.

Charlie looked down at Doris, trying to not let Doc see the tears forming in his eyes.  “So, the desk made it?”

“Oh yes,” Doc said.  “Came through just fine.  You did a fine job keeping it safe.”

“It was Grisom.” Charlie replied.  “I didn’t do anything.”

Doc stood and wiped his hands on his vest.  “Don’t sell yourself short kid.  If you hadn’t been there this could have all gone differently.  Because of you the desk is here in The Vault.  And as an added attraction, we now know of not one but two Prairie Fires—“

“No.” Charlie immediately cut him off.  “The Prairie Fires don’t belong to The Vault.  Doris is mine and Pahaat needs to be returned to the indians.”

Doc laughed, “Of course.  If you were listening to me I said, ‘We know about two Prairie Fires.’  I didn’t say we now have two of them.  We have no plans on keeping them and would prefer returning them to the wild.”

Charlie nodded, still shocked at the news of Grisom’s death.

“I have to ask.” Doc continued.  “What did you do to Jane?  We found her, burnt to a crisp.”

Charlie searched his memory of the night in Trinity and it was fuzzy.  The last thing he saw of Jane, she had burst into flames.  He turned back to Doc.  “The Prairie Fires.  They got her.”

Doc looked over at Doris who was now on her back, paws up in air, loving her belly being scratched by Charlie.  Doris looked up at him and gave him an upside down smile.  Doc shook his head and let out a whistle, “They can be vicious if they want to be.”

Charlie nodded.  “So what’s next?”

Doc sighed, “Well, we’ve been talking a lot about you here kid.  With the reports that Grisom sent back about you and the way you pulled through two nights ago, well, we figure you’d make a right fine proper Agent of the Vault.”

Charlie turned and looked at Doc.  “But, I don’t know nothing.  Outside of what Grisom ever told me.”

“Well, of course not, but you’re here now, in the The Vault.  We’d tell ya all you needed to know.” Doc said, “You and Doris could go out on missions, you know, if you’d want to.  We’d love to have you.”  Doc reached into his pocket and pulled out a small piece of folded leather.  He tossed it to Charlie.  Charlie opened it up and saw Grisom’s badge.  “Whether you decide to join us or not,” Doc said as Charlie ran his finger over the silver badge, “I think Grisom would have wanted you to have that.  If you decide to join us, feel free to consider that your badge.

Charlie nodded, then looked up from the badge in his hands. “Could my first mission be returning Pahaat to the indians?”

“I don’t see why not,” said Doc, smiling.  “Sounds like a good place to start.”  Doc turned to leave, “You just rest here and when you’re feeling up to it, we’ll set you up and send you out.”

“Thank you,” Charlie said.

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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Agents of the Vault – Part 23

Part 23 of The Agents of the Vault is here! The final shootout on the streets of Trinity.

If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think of the story in the comments here, as we go along.

Also, if you prefer a PDF version of this part to read, CLICK HERE for that.

Finally, if you’d like to support my projects, visit www.patreon.com/saturdaymorningmedia

Agents of the Vault
Part 23
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

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Agents of the Vault – Part 22

Part 22 of The Agents of the Vault is here! Grisom and Charlie realize the hotel is on fire!

If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think of the story in the comments here, as we go along.

Also, if you prefer a PDF version of this part to read, CLICK HERE for that.

Finally, if you’d like to support my projects, visit www.patreon.com/saturdaymorningmedia

Agents of the Vault
Part 22
By Grant Baciocco

Both Charlie and Grisom had heard something come crashing into the kindling dry lobby room below them.  They both reached for their guns.  Grisom winced as he drew his and then again he attempted to lift himself  up off the edge of the bed.

“You should sit.” Charlie chided, helping Grisom steady himself.

“If Jane ends me today, I’ll be on my feet when she does.” He said through grit teeth.

Both Charlie and Grisom kept their guns trained at the door, expecting Jane and her Pinketons to come busting through at any second.  They both held their breath, fingers on their triggers and it wasn’t until they exhaled that Charlie made the discovery.

“Smoke.” He said, looking down at the whips of black smoke coming up through the thin floorboards under them.

“She’s burning us out.”  Grisom said, looking around.

“How are we getting the trunk out?” Charlie asked, looking towards it.

“We don’t.” Grisom replied, grabbing spare bullets out of his bag at a great deal of pain that he tried to ignore.

Charlie stood dumbfounded.  “It’ll burn.”

“It won’t.” Grisom said, stuffing the bullets into his pockets.  “The trunk has enchantments on it.  No harm will come to it.  It can’t be opened, it can’t be burned.  Let’s just hope it the desk survives the fall when this building burns and it falls to the ground floor.”

“There’s no way out of here but down the steps and out the front door, if it ain’t blocked by fire yet.” Charlie said, gripping his pistol tight.

“Then that’s the way we go out, I’ll go out first, draw their fire, you follow behind, but we going out one way and one way only.”

“How’s that?”

“Guns blazing.”

Charlie nodded and helped Grisom towards the door.  Thick smoke was wafting up the stairwell.  As they got to the top of it, they could see the fire was to the right of the stairs and they had a clean shot to the door.

Charlie smiled, “Let’s hope the stairs hold out otherwise, we might fall into the fire.”

Grisom smirked, “I think the real fire is waiting for us out on the street.  The flames downstairs might be the easy way out.”  Grisom pulled the handkerchief tied around his neck up over his face.  Charlie followed suit.

Charlie helped Grisom down a step at a time.  Both tried not to choke on the smoke as it filled their lungs.  Blinking their eyes to keep them clear.  When they’d reached the bottom step, Grisom took his arm from around Charlie.

“Okay kid.” Grisom said, “Let’s do this.  On three.”

Charlie nodded.


Charlie gripped his pistols in either hand.


The heat from the fire in the room behind them grew, about to propel them out into the street.


Grisom was out the door and into the street.  Charlie crossed the threshold of the hotel as he heard the gunshots begin.  Unsure if it was Grisom’s or Jane’s gun that was firing, he raised his guns and stepped out on to the porch of the hotel.

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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Agents of the Vault – Part 21

Part 21 of The Agents of the Vault is here!  After the initial firefight, Jane regroups and plots her next move.

If you want to subscribe to the Grantcast, you can do so with iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think of the story in the comments here, as we go along.

Also, if you prefer a PDF version of this part to read, CLICK HERE for that.

Finally, if you’d like to support my projects, visit www.patreon.com/saturdaymorningmedia

Agents of the Vault
Part 21
By Grant Baciocco

Brenner had made his move towards the buildings when the shooting had begun.  He had seen Morgan, who was behind the hotel building, fall dead when the shooting had started and rushed to help Jane whom he found taking shelter behind the general store.  Jane was horseless, having been thrown in the confusion of the gunfight with Grisom.  Brenner rode up, dismounted and crossed to her.

“You okay?” Brenner asked.

“Fine.” Jane replied.  “I got a shot into Grisom though.”

“Is he dead?”

“I wouldn’t bet money on it.” Jane replied.

“They got Morgan, he’s dead at the back of the hotel.” Brenner said.

Jane didn’t reply, her eyes focused on the hotel.

After a minute of silence, Brenner spoke, “Where are they now?”

“Holed up in the hotel.”

“What’s the plan?”

Jane was silent for a minute.  “We need to flush them out.  Let’s burn the hotel.”

“But isn’t the trunk in there?  And the prairie fire?”

“Yes.  Grissom won’t let either burn.  He’ll get them both out of the hotel. We’ll just hope to snag the prairie fire as it tries to escape the building.  But I’m tired of waiting, this ends now.”  Jane began rooting in her bag for a box of matches.  “I hope we’ll get both, but at this point I’ll settle for just the trunk and Grisom dead.  We have the other prairie fire, perhaps we can use it to lure the other one out.”

Jane grabbed one of the dried out tumbleweeds that had collected against the side of the general store and struck a match.  A small flame ignited and she pressed the matchstick against the tumbleweed which caught quickly and began to burn.  “Cover me,” she told Brenner and began to move from behind the hotel to the street.  Brenner followed closely behind.  He peered around the corner of the store and aimed his revolver up at the windows on the second floor of the hotel.  There was no movement.

Jane sprinted across the street, leaping over Leland’s dead body.   The tumbleweed in her hands almost completely engulfed in flames.  She tossed the burning bush in through the front door of the hotel and ran back across the street to where Brenner was watching for any movement.

“You think the building will catch?” Brenner asked when she had returned.

“That building is drier than the tumbleweed.  It’ll catch.”  She unholstered her pistols and cocked them both.  “Cross back around to the other side of the general store so you have a view of the front and far side of the hotel.  Just in case they come leaping out the window.”

Brenner nodded and moved out behind the building.  Jane watched the door with her eyes squinted.  Soon enough, thick, black smoke began to roll out the door an up into the sky.

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media – www.SaturdayMorningMedia.com

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