Title: Amazing, Arizona (11/??)
Spoilers: Certain characters are based on characters belonging to Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Disney, and various other companies. To name them would mean spoiling the surprise of who you'll encounter. If you don't recognize someone, it's either because you're not a member of the fandom, or it's an original character.
Summary: Driving a hijacked gold train southeast through the Arizona Territory in 1879, the Charnel House Gang's next stop on the line to Tombstone is the town of Amazing, a not-quite-normal place where people just want to be left alone. The Gang's plan to pillage the town and kill the inhabitants hits a snag, however, in the person wearing the tin star - Sheriff Raven Darkholme.
"Just a whore, Forktongue," Wolf sneered. "Lemme have her."
"Ah ain't no whore," Rose retorted.
"All women're whores," he said. "That's why they gots what they got between their legs."
"Shut it," Forktongue snapped at Wolf. He looked at Rose. "Ssso. You sssay you did thisss. How?"
"Ah kin fly, as you kin see," Rose said, her toes still a few inches from the dirt. "And ah'm strong, stronger than him. Ah surprised him, beat him down, shoved mah Colt in his mouth, and pulled the trigger 'til the blood came out his ears." She fingered the handle of the pistol in her holster.
"Forget about your gun for now," Forktongue warned her. "It will do you no good now. And you sssay you're ssstronger? Care to prove it?"
"Hit - him," Forktongue said, pointing his rattle at Wolf. "Hard asss you like."
"Now wait a minute," Wolf said. "Ain't no whore gonna hurt me anyway, but I ain't gonna stand here while you let someone get a free shot - "
Rose interrupted him with a powerful uppercut, her left fist shutting the mouth of his right head with brute power. His head snapped up several inches and he staggered back. A second blow, a right delivered to his other head now, almost laid him low.
"That isss enough," Forktongue told her. "You ssspeak true."
"I like her," Palmetto said, capering gleefully as Wolf regained his balance and shook his heads. "Can we keep her? I want to see her do that again."
"You sneaky bitch," Wolf snarled. His claws glinted in the sunlight as he spread his paws on either side.
Forktongue lifted his rattler's tail and planted it against Wolf's chest, pushing back deliberately. "Forgive him," he hissed at Rose. "He hasss two headsss, and yet only one brain, which unfortunately liesss between hisss legsss. Myssself, I am not human, and consssequently I do not concccern myself with beliefsss sssuch asss male sssuperiority."
"You ain't?" Rose asked, surprised.
He narrowed his slit eyes cunningly. "We intelligent non-human creaturesss are rare, true, but we DO ssstill exissst. Palmetto isss another. SSSurely you did not think all livesss you cannot underssstand are humansss with giftsss like yourssself?"
"Nevah much gave it thought," she acknowledged.
"SSSo," he said, becoming business-like. Which was almost ludicrous, coming from a giant snake. "You are ssstrong like usss, and you fly. Isss there anything elssse I should know?"
"Cain't be hurt by much," Rose told him. "Which I'll ask your mutt to keep in mind next time he thinks ah'm a whore."
Wolf growled at her, but Forktongue pushed him with his tail a second time. "You sssay that like you wish to join usss."
"You takin' the offer back?"
"No, no, it isss jussst . . . you wear a badge."
Rose took it off and snapped it between two fingers. "People lahk me, we're REAL good at keepin' the peace."
"And disssturbing it asss well?"
She smiled a little. "Ah reckon. Only, if ah'm joinin' you, we might as well head fer Tombstone. The town done cleared out, and there ain't much worth stealin'."
Forktongue smiled back. "I found what I came looking for. I heard - rumorsss of mutantsss out here. Ssstriker wasss a nuisssance. You may do - although I won't promissse to let you live if you don't pan out."
"Ah won't promise to knock you silly if one of you tries takin' a bite o' me."
"So whut, we're just leaving?" Whale asked, flabbergasted.
"You heard - what isss your name anyway?"
"Rossse - too weak a name. I will think of sssomething better. Rogue, perhapsss? Whale, Rogue hasss reminded usss that there isss much more money to be had in Tombssstone. More feeding too."
Whale burped and picked at his teeth. He extracted a piece of chitin from between two incisors and tossed it aside.
Then there was a loud crack, and Whale cursed as he looked down and saw a dozen tiny rivulets of thin, red, watery blood trickling down his chest from little holes. "Fuckin' shotgun pellets," he muttered.
Forktongue's eyes bored into Rose's. The sound of a second shot didn't seem to concern him - and why should it? "Trick!" he shrieked. He spread his jaws wide, his fangs speeding toward Rose's torso.
"Sheriff!" Kay burst out. "What - "
"Forward!" Raven barked. "Do what we planned." She dove through the swinging doors of the saloon and drew both pistols, firing one into the gigantic, soft belly of the Whale. The other spat bullets that pinged off the well-armored head of the serpent. She had to buy Rose time to retreat from the full fury of the Gang, and the only way she could do that was by making them look in two different directions or more.
As a third arm snaked out of her body and began reloading one of her pistols while she kept firing with the one in her left hand, Raven's mind was tossed about. What had Rose been thinking, sacrificing herself to those monsters to save the town? She'd been about to put a bullet into the Whale herself when the sound of a shotgun split the air.
And there was the other question - who in hell fired those shots?
"Ambush! Ambush!" Palmetto screamed shrilly as a hailstorm of fire erupted from other town buildings. Rose flew directly upwards, the only direction she could go without blocking someone's fire. A bullet caught him in the eye and exploded gray matter all over the street. He collapsed, but a second later his corpse began pulsating with the energy of something inside trying to get out.
Forktongue continued to ignore the bullets that whined as they glanced off his scales. They weren't a worry. He cast a look upwards at the retreating Rose. "When you come down, we will find out jussst what can hurt you and what can't," he said before turning his gaze to the one other person who had shown herself.
Whale sneered as he focused his attention on the hotel, where some of the fire was coming from. His body was wet with blood, but not his lifeblood, the stuff that counted. No one spilled that, not with a pistol anyway. Bullets spent themselves before they could push through his immense layers of fat, and the liquid that flowed was closer to juices than blood. He spread his legs before charging forward, his short, stocky legs pounding the earth like they were hammers. "Little pigs," he grunted. "I'm a comin-in!"
Palmetto's body was torn apart from within as a new creature clawed its way out. "Can't kill me, nohow!" he screamed exultantly, his body drenched in purple blood.
Raven put two more bullets through his head, lifting him off his feet and throwing him back down on the ground. "Shut you up for a couple seconds," she muttered.
Her head snapped back as Forktongue and Wolf approached contemptuously. "Looks like the whore ain't the only mutie in this town," Wolf said, leering at her body. "Hey, bet no one's ever wanted to fuck a blueberry like you before. Want to try it out?"
"Mongrel," she breathed, putting four bullets into his chest. They flattened out against a pelt that was too thick and shaggy for them to penetrate. All she did was slow him down.
Forktongue, however, stopped entirely. "Not the only mutant," he said. "And where there are two, there may be three, or four, or - " He snapped his head behind him. "Whale!" he shouted.
Whale, however, had already disappeared through the enormous hole he'd smashed through the hotel facade.
"Your ticket is only good as far as Amazing, boys," Raven told them.
Then Kay leapt through the second-story window above the saloon doors, landing on the top of Forktongue's head with both feet first, pile-driving his head into the dust. She fell awkwardly, but got back up and crushed him across the face with a heavy haymaker.
Raven tossed two more shots at Wolf's shocked heads before retreating into the alleys of Amazing. He gaped at the snake, barely feeling the sting of her bullets on his cheeks.
"Get her!" Forktongue snapped, shooting him a look as he attempted to score a hit on Kay with his fangs but missed. Her doubled fists hit him from below, lifting his head several inches and making him see stars for a second.
Wolf felt himself getting hard. He howled, then ran after the blue-skinned woman.
Demona chuckled, satisfied with herself as she ran along the rooftops of Amazing. She'd come to see these people slaughter each other, and that stupid mutant woman almost lured the Gang back onto their train. Much as Athena once tricked a prince of Troy into attacking the Greeks from behind and thus extending the Trojan War for ten years, however, Demona had fired both barrels of her shotgun into a target as big as a barn door. Now the Gang thought they'd been attacked, and the townsfolk would have to respond. Their deaths would be sweet.
Oddly enough, when she'd emptied her barrels into the Whale, she'd been angry. Angry that those stupid humans chose peace when she wanted war, and war when she needed peace! But there was also anger at -
She frowned as she looked for a safer viewing spot. She'd been angry, she realized, with the arrogant sheriff of Amazing, Arizona. All the mutant's talk of defending the town, not needing her help, and then the bitch was willing to just let her deputy buy them off with the promise of her powers. She was as human as the humans. Demona had been disappointed in her copy.
Why disappointed, she had no idea.
"Impulsive idiot! You need to lead your people, not get them killed saving the white man!" Cactus Fire snapped as she plowed out of her teepee.
"I am leading our people," Lightning Flash said calmly.
"Leading them to their deaths," she retorted.
"The herds are disappearing, sister," he told her. He spoke as he worked at erecting a large stockpile of bows, quivers of arrows, and tomahawks, while the other Apache braves mounted their horses. "Some day, the whites will take their place, and our people will either die or be moved onto reservations. This is for our pride, sister. We will kill what the white man could not. By our deeds we will show we are the better men."
"And what of your women?" Cactus Fire reminded him.
"They will have new stories for our children."
"Father said we were to be chiefs together until you were ready to lead by yourself. Is my counsel no longer worth anything to you? To this tribe?!"
"I am leading. It is not you who decides when I am ready. It is I." He looked at his people. "You ride for the town. You ride for glory!"
The Apache whooped as they kicked at their steeds, but Chief Lightning Flash said nothing as he took a bow, two quivers, and a tomahawk in his arms. Then he vanished, leaving a trail of dust behind him as he made for the town with blinding speed.
His sister watched him leave. "Very well," she said, freely summoning her powers to her fingers. They burst into green flames that did not burn her flesh. "You are the chief. And when you are dead and they come for us, it will be up to me to protect our people."
Whale snarled as he smashed out the back wall of a second building. So far all he'd gotten for his trouble was lead and wood splinters in his belly. He'd shed it later, like he always did, but right now it was annoying.
The fat man turned about to his left. Facing him was a white man with reddish curly hair, and a colored youth. They were standing close enough to touch, but the only thing connecting the two was an odd light the color of rainbows. "Well," he said, slobbering. "Wonder if I should start with the white meat or the dark."
"Remember, like I showed you," Sean said to Thomas. "From your diaphragm."
"Still don't know what a diafam is, suh, but ah remembah," Thomas replied.
Whale lowered his jaw even as they opened their mouths, but their jaws had a lot less distance to travel. The air shimmered before his eyes for a second before he was assaulted by a high-pitched whine that made his eardrums bleed, and an invisible force that hit his body like a coal-powered train and started pushing him backwards.
"Gawd-DAAAAMN!" he grunted through clenched teeth as he was shoved onto his back and rolled down the alley behind the main thoroughfare several yards before crashing into the rear of a residence.
"Let's go, suh, befoe he gets up," Thomas said.
"I believe you're right, Thomas," Sean replied as they went looking for different prey. The sheriff had made herself clear - she had a specific person in mind for finishing off each of the surviving Gang members.
"Thankya, suh," Thomas added as they moved. "White folk don't call me bah mah name much."
"Well, if you'll call me 'Sean' instead of 'sir', I'll call you Thomas all you like," Sean Cassidy promised him.
Wolf growled as he smelled the air. He'd lost the blue-skinned bitch, and there were too many scents in the air. Smelled like pussy in every direction.
"Didn't anybody tell you that dogs are supposed to walk on four legs, Rover?"
One of his heads smiled, showing rows of razor-sharp teeth that gleamed like metal in the sunlight. The other turned and looked at Kay Starr, all by her lonesome, her chest heaving with exertion.
And what a fine chest it was!
"I've also done heard how dogs are supposed to fuck," he said cruelly as he turned slowly, letting her see him in all his raw animal power. "You know that too?"
Kay swallowed, as memories she wasn't tolerably fond of crept unbidden into her head. "I know how to put a dog down when it ain't right in the head," she said. She didn't like the way he palmed himself below the waist. If his mind was on fucking instead of fighting, then that was in her favor. But the sight sickened her.
Wolf grinned. "Come on then," he said. "Put me down."
"God-damned hu-mans," Palmetto cursed under his breath. Shot twice in two minutes, and now he found himself all alone in the main street. He kicked at one of his own corpses, his veins just barely pulsating below the skin. He wasn't afraid of dying. He'd been shot dead twenty times in one fight with the Yankees, and he'd slept pleasant dreams that night as a Yankee skull lay nestled in his arms.
What he was afraid of was missing a fight, but the fight was out of sight. There were gunshots and cries from every direction, it seemed, and Palmetto was in an agony of indecision trying to figure out which way he should go. If he'd aknown this would happen, he'd have just waited with the choo-choo.
"Choo-choo," he breathed, snapping his head back the way he'd come. If these sneaky, motherfuckin' humans had ambushed them out here, then what were they doin' to his train?
"Oh no, you don't," Palmetto growled. He began loping back down the street. "Ain't nobody stealin' what I rightfully stole."
He made it fifty feet closer to the train station when a tomahawk caught him in the back of his head, caved his skull in, and spilled brains all over the street.
Chief Lightning Flash came to a halt. At the speed he'd been running, the weapon hurled from his hand had moved faster than the sound it made in the air. He reached down and prodded the alien corpse with two fingers. "My kill," he said.
He felt something bulging beneath his fingers, and it was only his unearthly speed that saved his life, if not his face from being showered with purple blood, as two claws exploded from out of the creature's body. Lightning Flash fell back ten feet, screaming in anger and disgust as he felt his face dripping with something close to blood, but not quite.
Palmetto used his teeth and claws to tear the rest of the way out of his last body. Then he capered in the dust when he saw the Apache warrior soaked in ichor. "Hee hee!" he shrieked. "Palmetto's a survivor, that's what I am!"
The chief didn't understand what he said, but he more than understood this fight wasn't close to over. He unslung his bow and put an arrow in Palmetto's eye before he could even end his celebration.
"This could take a while," he said to himself as his own eye caught the movement in Palmetto's body and knew what would happen next.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me," Demona hissed as she stood up and dusted herself off. Of all the stupid - she just had to stick around and watch, didn't she?
Her hiding place with its view of three different streets and alleyways didn't exist any more, because that oversized Gang member had smashed through it and knocked it into rubble. Without her wings enabling her to glide down safely, she could have broken a leg.
Now was the time to climb onto the roof of another building and glide back home. She'd come to watch them tear each other apart, not find herself sucked into the battle as well.
Demona swore as she heard that voice behind her. "Sheriff," she said grudgingly. "How are you doing, now that your oh-so-special plans are up in smoke?"
"Things ain't going so badly, I reckon," Raven replied as she approached slowly. Her eyes caught the shotgun in the gargoyle's right hand, and she quickly deduced that the creature had been the one to start the shooting.
Demona snorted. "I saw how you tried to buy your town's safety with your deputy," she sneered. She didn't even bother to look at the sheriff. There was nothing permanent the sheriff could do to her.
"That was Rose taking her own fool initiative," Raven said heatedly. "I would've stopped her if you hadn't interfered!"
"Face it, human. You may be blue on the outside, but inside you're as blackhearted as every other white person on the planet. Pity. I might have been willing to believe you were different."
"Different from what, you? You came just to stir up trouble, creature. And you're doin' it now by jabberin' at me when I need to be protecting my folk, and puttin' down those murdering monsters like they deserve," Raven told her. Without waiting for Demona to speak again, she brushed past her and ran in the direction she'd been going.
"You should be more scared of me, human," Demona breathed, insulted. She reached into the pouch at her waist to reload her shotgun.
The weapon was yanked from her hands from behind, and she turned to face this latest intrusion. "You - "
Whale smiled down at her. "Ain't this a fine how-do-you-do?" he said. "Breasts, thighs, AND wings? Aren't you the biggest and tastiest-looking chicken I ever done seen?"
It looked like he had swallowing on his mind too.
To be continued . . .