RAVEN #1 - DARK AS RAVEN Parts 2 & 3
Hell rode into Tucson that day with a smile on his lips, death in his eyes and a Colt 45 strapped to each thigh.
It was late afternoon, the sun hung low in the sky behind the horse and rider as they moved slowly up the side street in the Mexican part of Tucson, the two of them a dark blot against the shining orb behind them. The man sat astride a massive coal black gelding, his clothes matching the colour of the horse.
The rider guided the horse towards the Cantina to his left, he reined in at the hitching post where four other horses were tied up. He quickly dismounted and stepped up onto the wooded sidewalk after tethering his steed. He glanced back at the horse wondering if he needed a rifle. He had two, one hung each side of the saddle in forward facing boots. On one side a Winchester repeater and on the other a Sharps Buffalo rifle. Decided he probably didn’t need either of them.
He stepped up to batswings and pushed through them and quickly entering the adobe dwelling. He stopped just inside the doorway, eyes scanning the interior of the Cantina, all the people inside had turned to stare at the newcomer in the bar.
What they saw was a man standing about six feet tall dressed in black leather, pants, shirt, boots and knee length coat, on his head a leather wide brimmed, low crowned cowboy hat of the same hue, the brim shadowing his face so only the mouth and jaw line could be seen, the man was heavily built and broad shouldered, hard muscle stretching out the material of his pants and shirt. The man had long golden hair hanging down his back, at the moment tied back because of the heat.
He strode forward a couple of paces and stopped and then said in a clear strong voice
“Lookin’ for the McCrory brothers, anyone seen them?”
There was a shuffling of feet and few of the people inside quickly glanced toward the back of the bar.
The man saw the looks and looked toward the rear of the bar and asking “You boys back there”
“Who wants to know, Mister?” yelled someone from the back.
“Names Raven, got some business to discuss with the McCrory’s”
“Well you found us, step forward so we can see ya” said the same man.
The man in black went toward the voice, eyes scanning the crowd for any hint of trouble stopped about six feet from the table where four men sat, a bottle of Rye, four glasses and four empty plates scattered across it’s surface.
“What do you want with us longhair? we upset your boyfriend or something” said Glen McCrory, the man who had called out to Raven a moment earlier, laughing as he finished speaking, The other men at the table joined in the laughter, their merriment the only sound in the suddenly silent Cantina. The tension was a palpable presence in the suddenly strained atmosphere inside the bar, people immediately aware that trouble was brewing here.
“Hey your funny” said Raven “Dead funny” raising his left hand and pushing up the brim of his hat off his forehead so that his face was suddenly revealed.
Raven face was pale as though a ray of sun had never fallen on it, icy blue eyes dominating the face, a broad nose, a full lipped mouth above a firm jaw line, the features arranged so that they had a hard set to them.
“You boys are wanted for Robbery and Murder in Taylorville Creek, I’ve come to take you in” continued Raven.
“You a fucking Bounty Hunter Raven” asked Glen McCrory in distaste “I hate those bastards, living’ off the misfortune of other folk”
“Been a lot things in my time, McCrory, Bounty Hunter, Lawman, lots of things but this is personal, you killed two people I knew in the robbery, a old man and his wife, they were old friends of mine, that man was like a second father to me, you boy’s have got to pay for it” all this said in a steady monotone, no emotion in the voice or on the man’s face.
Chairs scrapped and footfalls sounded as people moved out of the line of fire, then
Raven shucked off his coat, the leather garment crumpling into a heap on the floor behind him.
People gasped and muttered in surprise and awe as what raven wore round his waist and torso.
It was gunbelt, but one unlike anyone here had seen before, plain black leather belt supporting two holsters strapped to his thighs containing Frontier Colt 45’s, two straps from the belt crisscrossed his body disappearing over the man’s shoulders and crossing behind again. The two straps in front each held two throwing knives in tiny scabbards, the people behind could see another weapon hanging between Ravens shoulder blades.
“You got a lot a balls mister but not a lot of brains if you think you can take all four of us together” said Glen angrily, rage colouring his bearded face red as he spoke.
“That’s right bro” said the man to McCrory’s right identifying him as Glen’s younger sibling and laughing again. The other two men guffawed in agreement.
“Four of you, but there’s only two of you now” said Raven.
“What you talkin’ about Raven?” asked Glen, confusion in his voice. The other three men looking around at each other, puzzlement on their faces
“Four minus two equals two” rasped the man facing the table, then his hands blurred into action and in a split second he was holding a cocked pistol in each hand, Raven fired both Colt’s twice and the two men with the McCrory’s flew backwards off their chairs each with a bullet hole in the centre of there chests and another in the middle of their foreheads, blood splashed the walls behind the men as they crashed unmoving to the floor.
There was gasps and muttered words from others in the bar at the speed of the fast draw, one man muttering that Raven was the fastest he ever saw.
“Two like I said” muttered the man holding the guns. They were Frontier Colt 45’s, each pistol modified by John Ryker, the famous gunsmith turned gunslinger, to there owner’s wishes, the two trigger guards had been removed, the barrels cut down so they were level with the ejector rods, front and rear sights filed off, all to allow that extra bit of speed that meant the difference between living and dying to Raven
His hands moved again and the pistols were back in their holsters.
“Dead or Alive, dead’s easier” drawled Raven “Less trouble” right hand streaking over his over his right shoulder and pulling the weapon holstered between his shoulder blades. The boom as the weapon discharged was deafening as it slapped down into Ravens left palm and was aimed at the younger brother
The sawed off double barrelled Purdey shotgun, also modified by Ryker so that the two barrels were level with the front grip, the shoulder stock carved into a pistol grip, blasted a gaping hole in the man’s chest and for a millisecond you could look right through the body, then blood filled the hole and flooded out as the McCrory’s body flipped backwards over his chair with the force of the double blast hitting him.
“Fuck you Raven, that’s my brother” roared McCrory coming to his feet and beginning to draw a revolver tucked into his waistband.
Raven dropped the Purdey, hands flashing to his chest, crossing over and then arching toward the man pulling his pistol.
McCrory screamed, dropping his pistol, reeling backward as he clawed at his face, the two throwing knives Raven had just released jutting from the man’s eyes, blood trickling down his face like crimson tears, he dropped to his knees, more red gushing down his face as his fingers were lacerated by the razor sharp blades as he pulled at them. , Still shrieking in agony he pulled the two knives free with an ugly sucking sound, more blood gushing as the two blades were dropped to the floor.
Raven sighed, stepping forward as he slowly drew a pistol, calmly placed the barrel against the screaming man’s forehead and shot him once through the head. The high pitched keening stopping abruptly as the dead man toppled to his side, blood and brains spewing from the back of the man’s shattered head.
Raven holstered the pistol and then retrieved his weapons from the blood soaked sawdust strewn dirt floor, wiping the knives on McCrory’s shirt before putting them away and reloading the Purdey before stashing it behind him in it’s holster. He strode to the bar and ordered a beer, downing it in a couple of gulps.
“Sure is thirsty work, killing” he muttered to no one in particular.
“Want another Mister” stammered the Barkeep nervously “On the house like that one of course” he continued nervously.
“Sure” answered Raven, grinning his thanks, He turned round “Any of you men want to earn a few bucks and load the bodies onto their horses outside for me” he asked.
A couple of Mexicans nearby nodded and Raven paid them, watching as they started the grisly task, The barman came round the bar to collect some glasses, picking up Ravens’ coat and handing it to him as we went back behind the bar.
“Thanks” muttered the man in black shrugging into it as the two Mexicans came back inside nodding to him that the job was done, he finished his second beer in one long swallow. He strode outside without looking back, got onto his horse and rode out back the way he had come in, the four horses trailing behind him as he went, gradually disappearing into the sinking sun hanging low in the cloudless sky.
“Jesus” said the author “that’s some story” a look of disbelief on his face.
“That ain’t no story mister, that’s just the truth” said the old man “I should know, if anyone should” he continued oddly.
“Sure, sure” whispered the other man still writing in his notepad, excitement on his face, he knew this was hot stuff.
“Gotta be going Mister, the wife will kill me if I’m late for supper” said the old man suddenly, a smile on his face as he stood up.
“Right, Right, But I want to hear more about Raven, where can I reach you, take my card” he urged fumbling it from his wallet and handing it to the other man who squinted at it before pushing into the top pocket of his shirt.
“You’ll be in touch soon?” asked the writer as he packed up his stuff into his rucksack.
“Yeah soon” promised the other man.
“Your name, I don’t even know your name?” he asked hurriedly, the man had answered an advert in the Tucson Times and had agreed to meet him here after a phone call.
“Raven, Jon Raven” he said grinning.
“But that’s not possible, you can’t be him”
“I’m not, I’m his Grandson, that’s how I know all this, My Pa told me all about him”
“But how did Raven start?”
Well that’s a whole different story Mister” smiled Raven turning and walking out of the door.