Mayhem is everyone on this splattery New Year's Eve!
On New Year's Eve 1899 the ball isn't dropping but bodies are falling all around! A bloody vengeance that spams over lifetimes is about to conclude! Shotguns and rifles are nice, but an undying revenge can't be stopped!
Satan's Shotgun by Daniel Wilder
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I had me a revelation come New Year’s Eve of 1899… Jesus weren't nothin’.
I reckon I could resurrect myself like a right heavyweight champion… long as my boy’s bones held out that is… but admittedly I couldn’t hold a candle to that water to rotgut routine, and I sure as fuck couldn’t walk on water, and there sure as shit aren’t any virgins in my vicinity… I guess I truly meant that coming back from the dead wasn’t any great shakes.
What brought me to that bit o’ revelation were the events of nearly 12 years prior… 1887 if you can cipher… the night Gideon Pharoh’s Nightmare Zodiac Death Gang came a-knockin’… and that’s exactly as those hocus-pocus braggarts billed themselves too; Nightmare Zodiac Death Gang… should have spent more time practicing with pistols than coming up with candy-ass gang titles, but I digress…
Ya see, I was a simple man then… farming… maybe a bit of trapping, not to mention interpreting for the local tribes and those they cottoned to trade with. It wasn’t the high life, but it was good enough for me, ‘Lizbeth, and our boy… Lazarus.
That name was a bit of on the nose serendipity that the fates served up to us by the by, let me tell ya true… and I sure as hell wasn’t amused.
T’weren’t eighteen months after our boy’s birth that that sack-headed side-winder Gideon and his posse arrived on our doorstep and ended his life… and his momma’s… but as was their folly, they never checked if my heart had stopped… and to be fair I never asked them why they were so sore with me and mine, so yeah, mistakes were made all ‘round on that day.
So, once their devilish deeds were done, they headed off into the still night with nary a thought of the hell they had born that day… and still my heart continued to beat… like a native drum… a doom dirge banging away to attract any midnight mother fucker within six hundred and sixty-six yards… and attract it surely did.
The shaman entered what remained of our home casual as can be… the fully bandaged man he lead on a leash followed seemingly devoid of thought as well as grace.
He slinked his way over to me like a mongoose, all sinew and glide… the bones around his waist clanking together like the gnashing teeth of some desert devil risen from an unholy hell ready to feast.
As my eyes strained to focus, I saw that bastard light a fire of green flame… a flame he used to rend the prone form of my boy to ashes and bone in as much time as it takes to tell.
I admit the darkness took me then as I was a powerful sight weaker in constitution than I am now… though I have a dread vision of that bandaged fella placing a lip-less mouth o’er my own and blowing a dust that reeked to high hell of rot deep into my lungs that made them feel as it they were filled with the fires of ol’ Scratch himself!
I came too walking along a trail deep in the nearby Adirondacks, a foul scented wrapping from the shaman’s… friend… tied tightly around my eyes. While you may get to thinking that would seriously impede my journey, the exact opposite held true… I could sense where I was going, and just where the first of those I sought were hunkered down.
So onward I trekked; my boy’s bones rattling in the leather sack strapped to my left shoulder.
That same rattle let any man or beast in my path know that I surely was not to be fucked with as I began my stride along revenge’s rough road.
I walked those wicked woods until the sun fell low, and the sky was streaked in hues of lavender and rose… and it was then I came upon the cabin on New Year’s Eve, painted as it were in two differing colors… sky blue and soft pink… the abode of Gemini, two doses of poison in one pill.
The smoke that poured from the chimney let me know those that needed correcting were home sweet home.
I didn’t stand on formality…
The door exploded inward from the impact of my left shit-kicker, splinters spreading out like buckshot acting as my callin’ card.
It took me a fraction of a second to realize no one was visible in the room, magic eyewear or no… but I could smell them just fine.
Naturally, they didn’t surprise me none when the exploded from the shadows of the cabin’s ceiling… however the fact they could move together like a great spider in their conjoined state definitely raised an eyebrow.
I unloaded my rifle with a thunderous roar. The shot tore a nice chunk in whatever the lady side of this thing was called, but she wasn’t going down by a long shot.
Before I knew it, the male side of the equation had maneuvered himself in such a way that he both knocked me to the ground, and managed to wrap the fleshy band that kept these two eternally bound around my neck.
That same bit of flesh began flexing and throbbing until I couldn’t draw a breath, the various veins and sinew contained under that warm sleeve pulsing like a bag of snakes.
Things began swirling and growing ever darker… that’s when I died for the first time.
The shaman appeared shortly thereafter though my enemies never noticed, although if they did I wager they’d have been confused as all get out. See, that fella simply strolled in, leaned low, and whispered in my ear.
“Use a bone?”
I didn’t quite gather what he was on about, but it seemed like a question I should answer in the affirmative.
He reached into my rucksack, pulled out one of the twelve bones of my boy that clattered inside and shoved that rune covered ivory femur right in my mouth.
It dissolved on contact with my tongue, and I was back in business.
I sat up, puked, and roared at my killers who had now sat down to a nice warm meal after their deed was done.
What I did next would become a bit of a legend.
See, I grabbed the steak knife out of the hand of the twin closest to me… who honestly didn’t even resist… probably the shock of a corpse interrupting his din-din.
Anyway, I took that blade and commenced to slice that ribbon that held them together like a rabid wolf. But then I had a pang of conscious… these two have been together since day one, so it would be a shame to take that away from them.
Fortunately, I learned to sew at a tender age.
I can only imagine the look on Gideon’s face when he saw one… or two… not sure how they counted themselves… anyway, saw a member of his posse fixed mouth to crotch of their opposite number like those Yin-Yang symbols the Chinese fellas out west were so fond of.
And “imagine” it would have to be as once my work was done I sunk into the Earth outside the Gemini’s doorstep and there I slept for a full year.
And so it went; at the very end of each and every year I’d rise up and put a murder on one of those psychos.
Pieces… hard to breathe with concrete in your gills.
Taurus… let’s just say he wasn’t just a bull from the shoulders up, but that would be his undoing when I rammed that tally-whacker straight down his throat.
Aries, Leo, Cancer, Sagittarius, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, Aquarius… dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, and double dead… don’t ask.
Year after year I fought, and year after year I lost a little bit more of my boy, piece by piece.
Finally I came to Scorpio, and if you think the other menagerie made for a one-of-a-kind corpse gallery I can assure you all that the final member of that gang… minus their ringmaster, but I’ll get to his arcane ass in a tick.
See, after the decade and change of carnival exhibits I’d tussled with I wouldn’t blame ya none if you wagered Scorpio would be some kind of insect man, but it wasn’t, hell it wasn’t even a man.
As you could guess from the hiring of those darling siblings I jawed about earlier, Gideon didn’t give a single shit if those that worked for him were men or women… a real rarity as far as evil posses went in the late 1800’s… course half those mother fuckers would be a right challenge to even classify as human.
When I sauntered up to that gypsy wagon lady Scorpio called home I could just tell I was in for a hell of a time.
The scent of burning herbs filled the air, and the roaring flame burning brightly beside the gaudy wagon was doing a solid job of roasting a large pheasant.
I hunkered down by the fire… it always feels good to warm my hands after pointing my boots towards the sky for twelve months.
The lavender and crimson curtains that covered the entrance to the wagon parted and she appeared. A raven haired beauty with eyes as cruel and cold then a whole nest of vipers could possess.
“I told Gideon doing your wife and boy was a grave mistake.”
“Well, it’s a mistake that will surely put you in your grave, Missy.”
She laughed, and I had to admit it was an unbelievably delicate thing.
“If that is to be my fate there is little I can do to change it.”
I spit at her feet. “Yup.”
“Won’t you come inside a moment?”
“It’s your funeral, you can have it any way you want.” I entered the wagon, and beheld the interior which contained nothing save for an opulent bed. I sat down and waited for the show to start.
She slid into the bed beside me, pushed me down, and started to rub up against me all feline like. I grabbed her hair, tugged it hard and whispered the most romantic thing I could think of into her ear…
“This is for ‘Lizbeth!”
I drove the blade of the hunting knife through the back of her head before she could even realize I had pulled it from my left boot.
She made that weird gargle whistling exhale thing that you never really get used to and then the light in those big brown eyes went dim.
“Should have started with this one.”
I managed to remove my knife from her skull and kick her ass right out of the wagon in a near seamless movement.
I heard her hit the ground and then…
Her skin flew through the curtains and collided with the far wall of the wagon with a sickening sound akin to pig innards being thrown at a whore-house.
“Ah, here we go… “ I said as the giant scorpion “clickety-clacked” through the entryway. The odd thing about this here scorpion had a great set of breasts and a tail equipped with rather ornery lookin’ cock where that poisonous sting should of rested.
“I’m going to fuck you one way or another, lover!” the beast spat from a mouth full of spear-like teeth and bad intentions.
“Get in line sister.”
I drew my iron and unloaded on that nightmare with barrel a-blazin!
That damn tail whipped at me again and again as Scorpio’s face looked like a vat of prize-winning chili… and to my horror the loads that appendage shot were some sort of acid. While the walls of the wagon began to dissolve the bitch stopped her bucking.
Well fuck me silly, I didn’t die this go around. I wonder if I’ll still take a dirt nap?
“Yup.” I said as I folded into the cold earth.
For the first time in years I dreamed.
I saw my family… the unspeakable terror life had become… the soul-crushing scream into the abyss I’d make year after year as I was reborn to put down one monster after another… and I saw that burlap headed bastard that had made this all so.
And I saw children… unfamiliar children with their faces tinted a glowing blue the exact hue of which I’d never seen the like of before.
Guess what day it is?
That’s right, the day I end the life of that masked son of a bitch and finally rest in peace. That’s the theory anyway.
The morning of New Year’s Eve of 1899 I had that “Jesus” thought I mentioned at the start of this yarn… and I found my self wandering the streets of ol’ Manhattan Town, beastly bandages in place.
Everything was cold gray… until I got that unholy vision that Gideon was well and truly a man about town… though he wore a false human face over his rough mask.
I followed him around a pace, but he seemed to make stops at random, and although he made no indication that he knew I was there, but I knew damn well he did.
Finally he got the drop on me after a rather well-executed disappearing act in the Bowery.
“Let’s retire to my residence and talk this through, eh dead-man?” he purred.
“Yup” I answered.
We entered the luxurious townhouse Gideon called home.
“Please, relax.” Gideon said, gesturing to an array of sofas and chairs that festooned his abode.
I took a load off on a nearby Persian rug… that furniture was doubtless cursed and would spell my doom if I dare put my ass upon it.
“Are you a gambling man?” he asked.
“Not by nature, no.”
“I am. And if I had to play my hand, I would wager you want to know why I chose you and your kin to slaughter.”
“The thought had crossed my mind a time or two if I am to be honest.” I answered true.
“I had heard that if you do someone a cosmic level injustice… like a random killing for instance… then powerful magic is revealed to those willing to travel a dark path.”
“You heard rightly.”
He gestured toward my rucksack. “The magic?”
“Your son became the rarest of magics? You should be kissing my feet for this gift.”
“I see it a tad different.”
“I wager you do. Nevertheless, my theory was correct.” “Nevertheless you should have listened to your pet bug.”
“Scorpio? She was always the most in-tune of my menagerie… “
“Was is the operative word.”
“I care little that you killed any of those sideshow attractions.”
“You’re all heart.”
“No, I’m all business.”
“How so?” I queried.
“Let’s say you give me the last bone in your sack, and I let you walk out of here and live a long and happy life.”
“Let’s say I do… what does that give me? An eternity without those I love… those you took from me.”
“True, but a life is a life.”
I thought on this a spell… and I had me a revelation, hold on… you’ll see.
“Fine, you want the bone, here it is.”
I removed my son’s skull from the sack and held it up for that snake to see.
“Glorious… please, let me hold it!”
The shaman spoke into my ear for the last time. I nodded.
I tossed my boy’s skull to Gideon… and as that bone grew ever closer, I drew my pistol and fired!
The skull exploded when the bullet hit the bone.
The shaman laughed.
His Egyptian pal laughed.
Gideon however, did most assuredly not laugh.
The shards of the skull became as unto missiles and pierced Gideon’s mask in a hundred razor-sharp volleys.
He did that gargle thing and fell like a sack of potatoes.
“That’s that then.” I said.
I waited for some sort of cosmic redemption… would I stand before my family once more? Would I finally be able to rest?
A glowing letter “A” appeared in the sky.
A glowing “S” followed.
And another “S”
“Ass… real cute.” I thought as I finally succumbed to the darkness.
“Yeah man… this game is so easy if you have enough quarters.” Todd said. “I’ve beaten it like a hundred times.”
The duo walked away from the cabinet as the attract screen of Satan’s Shotgun called out to the next player… and ‘Lizbeth and Lazarus died anew.
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