Ghost Town

     prompt-august-2013

Creative Writing Ink – writing prompt http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

The gunslinger stopped and listened. He thought he heard a scream but must have been only in his head. He was on the edge and he desperately needed a drink. He looked around and thought how familiar this abandoned town appeared to him. But most of the towns look alike. He shuddered and resumed his slow pace down the row of  empty buildings towards the silent church in the distance. The air smelled of rotten wood and oddly also of freshly cut grass. There was no wind, not even a breeze. The town was abandoned in a hurry by the looks of it probably some years ago, but he still felt he was being watched.

He did not survive as gunslinger all these years without developing a sixth sense for these things and his hangover sharpened his senses even further. And he realized he was afraid, but afraid of what? His body tensed instinctively and his mind became a weapon, state of mind he was only too familiar with. The gunslinger in him took over. On the outside he looked calm as he continued his walk. But something was not right. The church seemed to be further away than he originally thought, only few steps but he is now walking for minutes and is still not closer. And then he heard it, there was a quick shuffling of feet and the door on the closing store burst open and banged on the opposite wall. His reaction was too quick for the eye to follow, in a split of a second he went down to one knee, his body turned little sideways, movements that came to him automatically and that saved his life many times. His hand was just a blur as it went for the gun, but touching just an empty void on the belt where his old revolver usually was. He tried to remember if he put it on this morning, but could not. In fact he could not remember much about this day before he came to this town. He looked towards the store but there was no one there and the door was shut. The bell on the church sounded once but was muffled halfway through as if the sound had to travel through water all of sudden. The Gunslinger relaxed, got up to his feet and continued to walk. He felt naked without his Smith&Wesson and he was fighting the urge to run. He won’t give them that satisfaction, he said to himself, but he also had a suspicion his feet would not manage a run in any case. He was now paralyzed with fear, but there was nothing else to do than to finish the journey. His feeling of being watched only intensified and he could see some movement out of the corner of his eye and he thought he could hear some whisper in the distance. And still the church was as far away as ever. But he reached it eventually and after few breaths he pressed down the handle and opened the door. A bright light blinded him seemingly coming from everywhere and he fell down to his knees holding his eyes. And that is when the realisation came, he could see the thousands of times he walked through the town, the thousands of times he reached for the weapon which was not there, the thousands of times he reached for the handle of the old church. Fear completely overpowered him as another memory hit him like an oncoming train. He did something unspeakable in this town, in this very church. He opened his mouth and uttered a horrifying and desperate cry: “NOOOO….”

On the road the gunslinger stopped and listened…

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