1878: Badlands, South Dakota Territory?
I was with a gang of bad men. I didn’t trust them; their names nor their stories of where they had been and what they had done. I don’t usually trust anyone really. Trust could be the death of you; if you let your guard down your neck may be snapped before you know why or who did you in.
And this isn’t something that at the time I wrote down in a journal, or wanted to remember. But it was an event I would never be allowed to forget. The participants and location remain vague to my memory, but this was a very long time ago, so dear reader, cut me some slack.
I was with this gang, partly for convenience of not being on my own for a time, partly for fun.. and partly because the membership was offered to me. After spending quite a bit of time on the trail it was nice not to be hearing my own thoughts. Thats why drink, opium and women were always a respite to me.
Anyway.. my memory that I cannot shake as of late, is this gun battle that I and this group were involved in. It was late at night and in the middle of this quiet town. We were doing something (crime of some sort I am quite sure) when the law, or vigilantes came upon us. And as the firefight broke out I took down two and edged around the side of this alley, hoping to get into a shadow, or a break for freedom.
As I did so I turned and saw two of the untrustworthy gang about to be gunned down. I aimed at the assailants and they went down quite quickly.. As the two morons that allowed their backs to be exposed looked at me in a somewhat thank you I felt a shot.. felt it before I heard it.. hit me right on the side. The force of it whipped me around and down and suddenly I was eating dirt. I don’t remember screaming but I am quite sure anyone feeling that would… I rolled over, ignoring the hopeful graze and plugged my attacker right in the chest. He went down and let out a strange noise as the air left his lungs for the last time.
I breathed a sigh of relief and turned back and put myself on my knees. Ahead of me was a dead quiet street flooded with deep shadow. I pushed myself up and lifted my shocked body and made my way, tilted and low towards the safety of the darkness. By the time I reached the first wall of white clapboard I was standing up slightly straight. I checked myself then, in the dark and felt wetness on my side, upper leg? I had to get to safety.
I crept in shadow up near the walls, and made my way down the street. The shock was taking a toll on my body and dizziness was setting in.. either that or the entire town was built on the cliffside of a mountain and I was heading down. Either way the starlit sky was spinning out of control as well, which didn’t bode well for my state of mind.
A few blocks up I turned down an alley. I couldn’t hear the gunplay anymore and wondered if someone was coming for me and how my gang had made out. Little did I know I was leaving a blood trail on the road and nearly every wall I touched.
Turning into the alley I found darkness to hide in and slid down the wall to half sit. I cocked my gun just in case.. and waited…
I must of passed out, because I woke up as at least two strangers were up on me and was talking about me in hushed tones. I lifted my gun at them and heard “Woah there.. he’s awake.. and don’t shoot friend.. “ identifying themselves as two of the gang I had been with.
They made the determination I was in a bad way, but since I had saved their lives and had been injured in the process decided to help. Suddenly they had me up, between them and we were running… well they were, and I was being dragged, to another part of town.
By now the pain was making itself known and I was in and out of consciousness. When I woke up several days later I found I had been hit in the thigh. Bullet had been removed but I would limp for awhile if not forever.. and have issues with the leg on cold nights.
Yes, I am hoping telling this story will get out of my head so I can rest well now.. knowing it is has been told. Thanks for reading dear Reader.
written by Dave R./ SMB copyright @wickedlydrivenmedia2017