"I've always been lucky with one-eyed jacks."

The dynamite flipped...

The earth had a way of remembering. It remembered those who treated it well.

The first men who lived on the land that would be called Rose Creek were kind but driven away by the army. The settlers that took their places were farmers, simple people who tended it well, though not as well as the first people. Then came the whispers of gold and the first miners, old trenchers who set to the hills with a bucket, pick-axe, and sluice; they weren't too bad.

But then came the man called Bartholomew Bogue, his small army of miners, foremen, hired guns… and dynamite. It liked that even less.

...Flipped...

If it had a way to do anything, it would have pushed that man and his entire army into the desert to die and gladly. It couldn't. It waited. Men died, good men who treated it well. It waited, the farmers' blood soaking into the soil as the bodies baked out in the sun for days before the preacher was finally permitted to bury them deep within it.

...Flipped again...

The woman brought back more men to this patch of earth, her own small army. Men died, mostly men who had done harm to it. That earned them some leeway as far as it was concerned. But only a week to prepare meant harm had to be done. To preserve these people, these farmers that had coaxed so much life from the earth, only to have so much death visited upon them, it would permit this: the trenches being dug deep in it, the explosions it knew were coming, the poor attempts at target practice...

And the evil man returned with a new army and his devil of a gun, and so many men died: the good men, the wicked men... The Gatling gun didn't differentiate. It killed them all equally, as all great and terrible things do.

...Flipped one more time...

The crazy Irishman rode out at the wagon, with the Cajun, his partner, and the lawman firing backup, riding towards the devil of a gun. The men chasing him dwindled away to nothing, only their horses chasing him. The Cajun died before he hit the ground, his partner never even hitting the ground, both victims of the Gatling.

The men at the gun started firing at the Irishman. He fell off his horse. He kept moving forward, until one last shot brought him to his knees. The one-eyed man lit a smoke for him then raised his gun to put a final bullet in him. The Irishman fell over for several long seconds, long enough for the one-eyed man to start to walk away... only to come up with a lit stick of the dynamite. One of the men on the wagon tried to alert the others to the explosive, but it was already too late.

"I've always been lucky with one-eyed jacks," the Irishman said and threw the dynamite. It flipped... flipped... flipped again... flipped once more time, only to land beneath the wagon. The wagon exploded, debris raining down. The men on and near it died, cut to pieces or incinerated in a heartbeat. The Gatling gun was gone. The Irishman was blown backwards, a few new holes in him from the wagon's remains.

And this was something it could affect, at least a little bit. This would be its thanks to these men who saved the farmers that treated it so well and had been so poorly treated in return: it would keep this one man alive as long as it could. His blood mixed into the ash, seeped into the ground, but he was still alive. It was just as well, then, that it seemed that that horse of his was on its way back with assistance.

Horse hooves beat into the dust, two sets pounding hard and fast at the Irishman. He did not hear them. He might not have even felt the muzzle of his own horse as it tried to push him upright. He definitely did feel the Mexican man grabbing him up, packing cloth-parts of a sash, bits torn off an already bloodied shirt, anything else he could find-into the worst of the wounds. Words fell from the Mexican man's mouth, but they were quiet, private, meant for the Irishman and him alone. He picked up the other man, who cried out then collapsed, got them both on one horse, and lit out back towards town, the Irishman's horse trailing behind them.

He still lived. Maybe, just maybe, that would make all of this a fair deal: one man's life saved against all these others that had been lost.

The earth had a way of remembering. It remembered those who treated it well.

And sometimes-just sometimes-it would return the favor.


14 December 2016

This is what I've been working on. This movie has completely taken over my life. I've written over 100,000 words of The Magnificent Seven since November 2016. If you want more of it, follow the links on my profile to my AO3 profile. You can find it all there. I promise it's all better than this one. Enjoy!

~Apollymi/Adora Addams