Beyond Legacy | Sample


Note: This is a sample of one of my incomplete stories. Keep in mind that this is unedited, but despite it’s rough state, I think you’ll enjoy it!

Squeezing the smooth wooden grip of his revolver, a .45 Long Colt he’d spent plenty of time with over the years, Cooper stayed still and listened for any sounds of movement. Satisfied that his lead was still sufficient, he ignored the pain in his side and moved into a crouching position. The tall yellow grass provided enough cover to keep him hidden a bit longer still, but he wasn’t taking any chances.

The mountain side was in his view now, and he figured he couldn’t be more than sixty feet from the mountain pass. If he could make it, he’d have some cover, but with at least three gunmen close on his trail, sixty feet was a long way.

Dropping slowly again to his knees, wanting to rest just a moment longer, he was reminded of the pain in his right side. Reaching around with his left hand, Cooper gently pressed the source of the pain. An earlier exchange of bullets had been the cause, and he winced from the mild sting it was now casing. He knew it wasn’t anything fatal though—just a graze—but it still hurt, and made any normal movement of his upper body more of a chore.

After a moments rest, he took several deep breaths and resumed his crawl through the tall grass, heading straight toward the mountain pass, making sure to stay low and out of sight.

“We know yer in the brush Coop,” a voice finally called out from behind. “Why not let’s just end this. You ain’t gonna make it.”

Irritated by the confidence of his pursuers, Cooper turned in the direction of the voice and took aim, and pulled the lever back. With his finger resting on the trigger, he took a deep breath and stood just tall enough to see his target and adjust his aim accordingly. The gunshot echoed through the valley as Cooper dropped back down to his knees, once more taking cover in the tall grass.

He smiled as he turned back toward the mountain. One more down, he thought as he continued his slow crawl, inching closer to the pass that meant safety. But his small victory was cut short by the sound of footsteps approaching faster than he’d expected.

Ignoring the pain in his side, Cooper rolled to his back and flung his hat at just the right angle, so that it poked up just high enough in the grass to be seen. Gunshots followed, taking his hat quickly to the ground, and giving away the positions of two more men.

Cooper stood tall and, catching the two gunmen off guard, he fired off a succession of rounds in the direction of both men. The first man fell to the ground just as Cooper’s last round entered the second man. Shading his eyes from the setting sun, he looked out across the field long enough to feel confident that no one else was following him, then turned and began a sprint toward the pass.

Running was much faster than his previous crawl, and in under a minute he’d reached the pass. Just inside, he leaned up against the dirt wall of the hill side and collapsed. He wiped the sweat from his forehead onto the sleeve of his shirt and closed his eyes, relieved to finally be able to rest without the worry of being shot. Even the stinging in his side wasn’t enough to bother him now as his breathing slowed and he gradually nodded off.

He would have easily slept until morning were it not for the sound of men yelling out in the field. Cooper woke abruptly from his short nap and wiped the sleep from his eyes, quickly realizing that it was dark now.

While his eyes acclimated to the darkness, he sat still and listened to the conversation out in the field.

“Awe man,” a gruff voice called out. “Jake’s bin shot too. Looks perty dead ta me.”

At that moment, Cooper realized that he’d emptied his pistol earlier, and began frantically digging around in his vest pocket for more bullets. When his hand reappeared, he counted out six rounds and dropped the remaining few back into the pocket. He quietly opened the cylinder and tipped the barrel toward the sky, allowing the spent cartridges to drop to the dirt next to where he sat. Then, one by one, he loaded each new round and quietly replaced the cylinder.

Still gripping his pistol, Cooper dug the heels of his work boots into the dirt, pushing himself up against the hillside until he was standing. He kept close to the mountain and peered out into the open field, hoping to get a head count. Only five lights were visible, two near one of the men he’d shot, and the other three making their way toward the opening of the pass.

Reaching down to his vest pocket he pressed his hand against the remaining bullets. Without counting them, he knew he only had about a dozen rounds left, including those he’d already loaded into the revolver.

The men walking toward the pass were less than a minute away now, and he needed a plan. “Run or fight?” he whispered, shaking his head.

Without another thought, he raised his arm and took aim at the nearest approaching light. He calmly squeezed the trigger and watched the light drop, while the other lights in the field began to scatter until they’d disappeared.

“Thought you were smarter than that kid,” an old, familiar voice shouted. “Thought you’d be long gone by now.”

Cooper stayed quiet. He’d once thought the old man was his friend, but hearing Bailey’s voice only confirmed the truth that Bailey had been using him from the start.

“How bout’ you just give me the trinket you stole from me and I’ll make it quick for ya?”

“How bout’ you go to . . .” he whispered, not ready to give his position away just yet.

“I know you’re there Cooper,” Bailey said confidently. “See fer yerself.”

With some confusion, Cooper peaked around the wall just enough to see where Bailey was standing. He could see the light radiating from the small tablet Bailey held up.

“Been trackin’ you this whole time kid.”

A sick feeling in his gut began to grow. When he’d started working in the mine over a year ago, they’d put an implant in his neck, a requirement for all miners. The company sold it as a safety precaution, so he hadn’t thought twice about it at the time. But he also never thought he’d be in the mess he was in now.

“That trinket’s been causin’ some interference, but not enough to keep us from findin’ ya. Just give it up boy. Let’s end this nonsense.”

Bailey’s arrogance was too much for Cooper to take. His hand instinctively found the spot in the back of his neck where they’d put the implant. The bump was small, but noticeable. His hand shot back down and reached into his pocket, only to find that his knife was missing. Knowing he was short on time, and not wanting to waste anymore of it, he swung his gun up and rested it on his neck, aiming out enough that it wouldn’t do too much damage. At least that’s what he hoped.

The shot echoed through the canyon and out into the valley. Cooper ignored the ringing in his ears and pressed the hot barrel against his neck in an unsuccessful attempt to cauterize the wound. Grunting in pain, he pulled the gun away and prepared to move.

“Did someone get him?” Bailey yelled. “He ain’t on the monitor no more.”

Cooper stumbled away from the dirt wall and began a drunken run through the pass and away from the men pursuing him, but he quickly discovered that the ringing in his ears had given him a mild case of vertigo. He only made it about twenty feet before falling to the ground.

Struggling to his knees, Cooper crawled as best he could to the hillside and leaned against it, facing the opening of the pass. Seconds later he could barely make out the silhouette of a man walking in from the field. Cooper took aim, trying to ignore the dizziness, and fired at the dark figure, but he missed. His eyes closed tight and he shook his head in a vain attempt to get back to normal. Before he even looked up again, the sound of a bullet whizzed past him. Still able to make out the silhouette up ahead, he lifted the Colt, and gently squeezed off another round. Immediately the shape disappeared, followed by a faint thud as the body dropped to the ground.

“You’re running out of men Bailey,” Cooper yelled, disguising the pain he still felt as best he could.

“He speaks,” Bailey called back. “Hoped one of them last few shots had met up with ya.”

Hearing the tone of frustration in Bailey’s voice, Cooper couldn’t help but smile, but he knew this wasn’t over yet. He stayed quiet and kept watch, waiting for anyone brave enough to enter the pass. He remembered seeing at least five lights earlier, and figured that, if his numbers were right, he’d have enough bullets, to finish the job without reloading—so long as he didn’t miss.

“And here I thought we was gonna be friendly,” Bailey said, interrupting the brief silence.

Again, Cooper kept quiet, knowing it would only add to Bailey’s frustration.

“You still with us son?”

With the dizziness beginning to fade, he decided now would be a good time to move. Standing a little easier this time, he turned and continued into the pass, moving as fast as he could without making much noise.

“Cooper!” Bailey yelled. “Yer a dead man!”

His voice was noticeably further away now, which meant he hadn’t started following just yet. Cooper slowed his pace and moved closer to the hillside, turning back toward the opening of the pass to make sure Bailey’s men weren’t following either. It was still dark and hard to know for sure, but for now it looked clear, so he decided to sit and rest a moment.

With his eyes somewhat acclimated to the dark, Cooper surveyed his surroundings. The mountain pass was narrow, maybe thirty to forty feet wide at the base, and the slope up both sides was steep enough he wouldn’t be climbing out. The pass offered very little in way of vegetation of any kind, just patches of wild grass scattered throughout. With nowhere to hide, and no way out, his only option was to keep moving and hope there was a way out up ahead.

He didn’t rest long, knowing they’d be after him. Fortunately, the ringing in his ears had mostly stopped, his neck still throbbed from the trauma of removing the tracking device. He hoped that moving again might help him forget, but the moment he took his first step, the sting in his side began to flare up. All he could do was push forward and try to ignore it.

An adrenaline rush, several minutes later, finally extinguished the pain he’d been enduring as the loud thunder of rock and dirt sliding down the mountain grabbed his full attention. He froze and stared off in the distance, but couldn’t make anything out except for the pile of earth that had built up on the ground ahead.

Looking up toward the hillside, he strained his eyes, trying to see what might have caused the slide, but it was still too dark to see much. Then, in an instant, Cooper was knocked to the ground, landing flat on his back.

As the sound of a gunshot echoed through the pass, Cooper suddenly realized he was standing again, only without any sign of pain now. Confused, he looked around and noticed a man lying on the ground just a few steps in front of him.

Cooper moved close enough to see the man’s face, and froze. Even in the dark he recognized the man to be himself. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “Can’t be.”

His mind raced to find some other explanation than the one he knew to be true. He was dead.

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