Amalthia's Fan Fiction

 

Amalthia
The Game
Rated: R Violence
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Email: amalthia@slashcity.com
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The Game

Jordan leaned against the bar; his right hand hung near the gun strapped across his hips. The lively and crowded bar didn't seem threatening at first until one looked closely at the hard and bitter frontier men. Their clothes dirty and smelly from long nights on the trail. The rough features and long beards testified to long summer days and even longer winter nights in the Montana wilds.

Jordan closed his green eyes and tried to block out the crude jokes and the shrill laughter of the salon girls. His father sat at one of the poker tables surrounded by a cloud of cigar smoke; gambling away the rest of Jordan's inheritance. Four other men sat at the table and playing five-card stud. The only exit to the outside world ceased to exist once everyone crowded in to watch the dancing girls. Men stood in the small doorway straining to see over the heads of the other men to watch the gaudily dressed women "dance" on the small wooden stage.

Jordan turned around and ordered a drink ignoring his image in the mirror behind the bar. He slowly nursed his beer and tried to look like he belonged there in the dingy bar. A few of the barmaids came up to him batting their eyes and started touching his long red hair and his smooth cheeks, and in explicit terms told him what they wanted. He always declined blushing in embarrassment.

Jordan turned his attention back to the card game hoping that this time his father wouldn't lose all their money. He didn't like parting with his dead mother's jewelry. The jewelry was all he had left of her. So far this game his father won more than he lost. Jordan, knowing he and his father had to wake up early the next morning, gulped down the rest of his drink and shoved his way through the crowd to reach the table his father occupied.

"Father come on we have to go!" Jordan had to shout to be heard over the loud music and all the talking.

People in the surrounding tables stopped to stare at Jordan. His fine

English accent set him apart from everyone else. And in the barroom it made him a definite outsider. His father tensed up in anger at Jordan for talking.

"Shut up boy an' go buy ya'self anotha drank! Your old man ain't finish'

yet!" His father drunkenly yelled even though he wasn't drunk

The other men at the table started laughing and telling Jordan to go back to where he came from, while his father dealt out another hand. It hurt to see his father making fun of him, but Jordan should have remembered not to talk to his father in public.

Jordan weeded his way back through the crowd. His eyes started watering and he could feel his face turning light red in humiliation. At the bar he ordered another drink hoping to drown away his acute embarrassment.

Jordan turned around and continued to watch his father gamble away their money, from where Jordan stood he could tell his father wasn't doing so well. Usually after his father won a few rounds he would call it quits and they would leave town a few coins richer. Although, once John started drinking all reason seemed to evaporate from his father's almost baldhead.

However, tonight his father barely sipped from his glass of whiskey. Jordan settled down to watch the game ignoring everyone in the room. From John's pained expression Jordan could assume his father was losing. At first it looked as though John lost due to pure carelessness, but as the game progressed and Jordan started watching the other players he noticed two of them stacking the cards as they shuffled. Occasionally, one of the men would slip a card under the table only to pull it out when needed.

Jordan's mouth dropped open in shock. He didn't know if he should tell his father or go tell Robert, the town sheriff. Jordan heard stories of men dying over poker games after someone accused them of cheating. He couldn't remember if the person accused of cheating usually died, or the person accusing the cheater. Jordan could only sit and watch, hoping his father would not lose their money.

Jordan franticly searched the crowd anticipating Sheriff Robert's arrival at any moment. Sheriff Robert made it his job to visit each of the bars in town every night to make sure the crowds didn't become too wild. Jordan didn't know for sure if cheating at poker broke any laws, but he could at least ask the for the sheriff's advice on how to handle the situation.

Two stools away from Jordan couldn't help but overhear these two men talking to each other. Their loud voices tried competing to see who could be the loudest.

"George! Did you hear about the shooting at the Wilson's Ranch? I heard sheriff Robert was injured!"

The gray hair, George, shouted back. "What! Bill I didn't hear a word you said!"

"I said Sheriff Robert was shot today!" Bill yelled even louder into

George's ear.

"What! Sheriff Robert got a shot today!" George cupped a hand around his ear as if it would help him hear any better.

Bill tried again only louder. "I said! Sheriff Robert was shot today!"

"Speak up young man! I can't hear you!"

Jordan stifled the chuckle forming in his throat. What an idiot!

Couldn't Bill tell George couldn't hear a stampede from a foot away? Jordan groaned once the full impact of what Bill hit him. Sheriff Robert would not be coming tonight. Jordan closed his eyes in despair almost resigning himself to the loss of another precious piece of jewelry.

Just then one of the cheaters started laughing shrilly after winning the game. It was almost too much to bear. Jordan didn't do anything until after his father's big pile of coins had dwindled down to a mere pittance. He might not like his father all the time for being a crude person, but underneath the gruff exterior his father had a good heart, and these men had no right to do this to him.

Jordan stood up and boldly strode to the table pushing people out of his way. All five men looked up as Jordan approached the wooden table. This time Jordan didn't look timid or afraid of them; instead he looked at the men as if they were beneath his notice.

"Father I'm afraid you have been cheated. By those two men there." Jordan slowly pointed at the two men sitting across from his father.

The man with the shrill voice stood up in outrage. "What the hell do you mean? We didn't cheat! It's not our fault your father can't play poker!"

Jordan walked around the table and punched him in the face so hard and fast the man fell down in surprise. The man's partner in crime jumped up and tipped the table over dumping all the money on the floor. Everyone moved out of the way and the bar turned quiet with all the tension building.

John sat on his chair still stupefied by the sudden display of violence his son demonstrated. He always thought his son had a weak backbone, and would never be much of a man. He could only assume his son drank too much at the bar.

Meanwhile, the man on the floor screamed up at his partner. "ROB! KILL THE

BASTARD!"

Rob looked at Jordan with an evil smile and said in a calm and soothing voice as if he was talking to a friend about the weather. "Don't worry Andy

I intend to kill him."

Jordan reached for his gun, but Rob moved so fast that he already had a gun to

Jordan's head even before Jordan touched his gun. Jordan's eyes widened in surprise when he saw a barrel of a gun press into the side of Rob's head.

"Drop the gun or I'll splatter your brains all over the floor." Jordan almost sighed in relief when he heard his father's voice.

A shrill voice rang across the otherwise silent barroom. "NO! You

d..d..drop your gun! Or I..I'll blow your head off!" Andy's voice shook as much as the arm holding the gun.

Jordan could feel the sweat dripping down his face. The dance hall music stopped and some people left the room not wanting to be accidentally shot.

No one said a word, as the men stood locked together knowing one wrong move could start a blood bath. The choice left their hands the minute the door to the saloon banged open.

Andy a nervous wreck already squeezed the trigger his shot going wide and hitting the piano by the stage instead of John. Jordan dropped to his knees; he felt a bullet pass over his head. John fired at Rob, but Rob was already moving and John ended up hitting Rob's right arm instead. The gun fell from Rob's hand as his arm went numb. Jordan reached down and pulled his gun out of the holster. He cocked the gun while aiming at Rob and before Rob could retrieve his gun Jordan shot the man in his chest.

Rob went flying backwards over another table, knocking all the coins to the floor. Blood rushed out through Rob's chest wound as the man tried dragging himself over to his gun laying on the floor a few feet away from him just before he died.

Andy screamed as he saw his friend's body flying through the air. He started shooting his gun wildly and randomly in the general direction Jordan rolled. John shot Andy before the man could accidentally shot someone else. Andy fell down clutching his stomach trying to unsuccessfully to keep his guts from sliding out of his body. He started whimpering in pain and terror as he felt the warm blood wash over his cold hands.

"OH.. Oh... Rob! Help me!' Andy started choking and groaning in pain and shock. 'Oh God! Oh God! I don't want to die!" The man started crying pitifully.

Someone in the background yelled. "Put him out of his misery!"

Jordan stared in shock at Andy. He never wanted this to happen. He just wanted the men to give back their money and admit to cheating. John walked over to Andy and shot the man in the head ending the man's whimpers. Jordan flinched at the sound of the gun going off again and dropped to the ground.

Jordan looked up from his prone position at the feet near his head.

"Sheriff Robert!" Jordan exclaimed in surprise and scrambled to his feet.

The sheriff started telling people to go home and he had one of his deputies clear the barroom. He walked over to the two dead bodies, and using his foot turned over Rob.

The sheriff stared in mute surprise at Rob.

After the sheriff finished inspecting the bodies, which turned up an ace hidden under Rob's sleeve, he walked over to Jordan and John. "Mind telling me what happened?" The sheriff asked looking at Jordan.

Jordan couldn't stop staring at the dead bodies. "I saw them cheating my father and when I confronted them, they mocked my father, so I punched the one called Andy. Sheriff I swear I didn't know they would pull guns." Jordan pleaded earnestly with Robert assuming he would go to jail for causing the fight in the first place.

John spoke up after Jordan quit talking. "After Jordan punched Andy, Rob pulled a gun and then all hell broke lose. I'm sure you saw the rest."

"I wouldn't worry about going to jail those two men are wanted in four states on five separate charges of murder. These two men deserved it." The sheriff walked away leaving both father and son stunned.

"Wait!" Jordan called out after the sheriff. "I thought you were shot."

The sheriff looked at Jordan and started laughing. "Were you listening to old Bill and deaf George?" Jordan nodded his head. "I didn't get shot at today I had to get a rabies vaccine shot today. Damn coyote scratched me, earlier today."

Jordan and John looked at each other looked at each other and started laughing. "Come on lets pick up the money and leave this town. We still haven't seen Alaska yet." John said as he started picking up loose coins off the floor.

The End