Thefunkyone and I have been working on a little project of late. I figured I'd post this little preview... along with the complete prologue to the Sixes Wild novel.
Sixes Wild: Manifest Destiny Prologue
Cooler winds breathe through my fur, calling to mind other breath that's been there.
My name is Six Shooter, and this gun holds half my father's echo.
The other half? Well, this gun's mate now adorns that damnable lion's mantle, just another carnivore trophy. He's past due for a bullet— ah'll be sure to pay him with interest… one of these days.
For the most of folks, echoes just give you an edge, a hint of the skills of somebody you lost, tying you to them across the afterlife. Your frontiersman granddaddy's lucky fire striker might light every time for you, but it that's the sum of it. Once upon a time, that's all the guns were for me…
Paw still lingering on my revolver, I sit in the saddle, watching the Arizona sunset. Cooler winds breathe through my fur, calling to mind other breath that's lingered there. I slip off my pony and tie it to a scrub brush.
I stroll past White Rock's newest landmark-- a great washout across the sand. A smile of pride swaggers across my muzzle. I feel like signing my name as I amble through the long shadows the town casts on it.
It'd be reckless, even by a gunslinging hare's standards, to walk into town before dark. Nothing helps folk remember your face like a bounty on your head.
'Yote howls rise and fall a ways off. That would unnerve other folk. Other folk'd also give them trouble, whereas I figure they got no shortage and am keen to leave 'em to it. 'Course, if ya believe a certain bloodhound deputy, my ears are so pricked to echoes now the 'yotes might paint me up and have a dance around me.
I learned more about echoes than I ever cared to, during the business that saw me parted from my other gun. My daddy echoes through his guns-- he knew them like the fur of his paws, and I certainly ain't forgetting.
Since I'm here for the time being, I decide to make the time be useful. Reaching into the saddlebags, I pull out my cleaning kit and turn it over in my paws. Leather is soft, new, with a fancy foreign word tooled on the back. Lawbat says it means "freedom." Glad he gets the idea about me.
Inside, there's a couple of little brushes, cleaning rod, little bottle of oil, and a whole mess of flannel scrap. I spread a blanket on the sand, draw, and set down my iron, my back to a rock. I'm accustomed to this with two guns, always having one ready at paw. Walking the world with just the one makes a bun a twitch jumpy. I bite my lip and set myself to patience, if not ease.
Click the hammer back to half-cocked. Swing out the loading gate. Unload with ejector rod. One, two, three, four, five, six. Two's empty— I feel no urge to blast myself in the hind paw.
Chill cuts through my fur, leaves me wanting for something warm wrapped around me. Damn blanket itches. I miss my lawbat…
I remind myself I’m cleaning a gun, not sitting around a sewing circle. Hit the catch, pull the base pin, and tuck it in the corner of my mouth. Fix one of the little flannel squares onto the cleaning rod, swabbing out the barrel and chambers. Only when the last one comes out clean do I know I'm done.
Only a fool'd come back here. And yet here I sit…
Light's fading. Could be the iron's clean, but I get finicky with time on my paws. Coat the brush in oil and twirl it through the works of the gun, always pushing clear through before I pull back. Wouldn't do to ruin Blake's fancy present.
Blake. Who names a kid Blake? Doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of criminals. You can tell his parents wanted him to be a fancy lawyer type.
I give the gun another going-over with fresh flannels. Once I'm satisfied, I click the barrel back home and fix the base pin.
Smartest thing would have been never to come here. Second best would be riding out this very instant, never looking back.
Like to think I’ve got a good down-to-earth sense about me. So what in Sam Hill am I doing here? Not drowning in dinero, that’s for damn sure.
I never had this manner of trouble 'til six months ago…