Bad Moon over Rock Hollow - Part 1
A Magnificent Seven - Round Robin Story
by Flah7, J Brooks, NotTasha, Sablecain, Tipper, Violette
Sadly, I couldn't put all of our names on this story when setting it up in ff dot net. Please be aware that we all contributed to it.
A group of M7 writers needed an excuse to write a story. Luckily, we came across a list of 50 prompts that were used by the SGA-GenFicathon, which germinated a wonderful group of Stargate Atlantis stories on Live Journal. You should check out when you can.
This is not an SGA story. It's totally M7. We borrowed the list and used it to form this story. Taking turns, we chose a prompt from the list and wrote a short section to advance this story and try to make a little sense along the way. This is the result, and it's all for fun! We hope you enjoy it.
1) "A room with a view" - NotTasha
The man rested against the sill of the window. The curtains clung to his shoulders as he kept low, his gaze on the world outside. In one hand he gripped his rifle, ready to bring it into action when the moment presented itself. His other hand wrapped around the neck of a tall bottle of whiskey. It had been held in that grip for so long that he'd started to lose the feeling in those fingers.
The weight of the bottle rested on one knee as he half-knelt, almost genuflecting - waiting. Grit on the floor dug into the other knee and he considered changing his position enough to brush away the material, but it wasn't enough of a bother, and he had been waiting long enough for this moment. He could wait a little longer.
He kept still. Waiting, watching ready.
2) "Calm before the storm" J Brooks
In the street below, the townsfolk scurried for cover, casting anxious glances skyward. A rumble of thunder sped them on their way as the wind picked up and the first fat drops of rain bit into the dust like bullets.
He ignored the bystanders and the weather, all his attention focused on the two men standing in the middle of the road, arguing.
A tall figure in black was gesturing emphatically back the way they had come. The other man shook his head - his own ability to gesture, rudely or otherwise, hampered by the sling that bound one red-coated arm against his side.
Another clap of thunder startled everyone on the street. The injured man winced, then swayed, and might have fallen if the man in black hadn't reached out a hand to steady him. Keeping one hand on the smaller man's good arm, he raked the street with a watchful glare, passing over the watcher's window without pausing.
Eyes narrowed, the man in the window above lowered the whiskey bottle to the floor and raised the rifle to his shoulder.
3) "Anniversaries" - Sablecain
Squinting, Neville Wild lined the two men up in his sight. Though the rain was falling harder now, neither man had yet to pay it any heed. Wild knew his time was running out. This was his chance. He curled a calloused finger around the trigger. He took a deep breath and held it. This was it. It'd taken him three years to reach this point. Three years of gathering information. Three years of following false leads. Three years of hunting every backwater town west of the Mississippi. And then, he received word. Finally, his sacrifice and dedication had paid off. It had all fallen into place perfectly, obviously meant to be. Three years to the day he had lost her. Today he was going to take out the man who'd taken her away. Exhaling slowly, Wild pulled the trigger.
4) "Collateral Damage" - Tipper
Chris looked up even as the rain started to pelt down. His senses were on high alert ever since someone had tried to shoot Ezra yesterday.
Even though Ezra, for some stupid reason, didn't seem to want to believe it. He kept insisting that whoever had shot at them yesterday wasn't aiming at him, the dislocated shoulder he'd received while diving from his horse notwithstanding.
But, as Ezra fell against him, some sort of sixth sense drew Chris' attention to the window, spotting the rifle barrel sticking out, pointed straight at the two of them.
"Get down!" Chris shouted, driving Ezra into the dirt as the first shot rang out.
More bullets followed, and Chris rolled Ezra sideways, pulling both men behind the first cover he could find, which was the horse trough in front of the saloon. Dirt, mud and water splattered around them as the rifle continued to fire, blasting holes in anything it could find, mixing in with the rain that was beginning to come down hard.
Chris pulled his peacemaker, determined to fire back, and pain exploded up his right arm. Hissing in pain, he ducked down further, noting the rip in his black sleeve, and the blood staining the fabric. Damn.
And then he thought to check on Ezra.
5) "The best-laid plans" - NotTasha
"You've ruined it!" Ezra spouted. He held his Remington in his free hand as he tried to push himself into a sitting position against the trough. Hampered by the sling, it wasn't easy. He winced as his shoulder came into contact with the hard wood. "My jacket is absolutely ruined. Was there a reason to roll me about in this muck? No, sir! This will never come out completely."
Chris gave him an unpleasant look as he clutched at his arm. "You'll get over it."
Ezra paused, gazing toward Chris' bloodied sleeve "Bad?" he asked.
"I'll get over it," Chris repeated the sentiment as he let loose his hold and picked up his peacemaker again. He hated getting shot. Damn fool thing to have happened. "What the hell were you doing in the street?" he growled. "I told you to stay put!" He gestured angrily toward the window above them. "You got a man gunnin' for you! You're already hurt worse than you think you are." Ezra nearly fainting in the street had scared the crap out of Larabee, but the ducked head had allowed him to see the rifle barrel in the window - the gambler picked a fortuitous moment to waver.
A bullet clipped the saloon sign above their heads, sending down a shower of wood.
Ezra scowled. "I was plannin' to prove you wrong!" He returned sharply. "He wasn't aiming at me!"
"How were you going to prove it?" Chris asked bluntly.
Ezra shook his head as another bullet struck, taking out more wood on the sign; it swung wildly above their heads. Rain hissed down loudly around them. People fled the street. "We need to get out of town," he muttered. A flash filled the sky and thunder rolled again.
"You're gonna get us both killed for whatever you done to that man," Chris went on.
Ezra turned toward Chris, giving him a look that Larabee couldn't quite interpret, and Ezra raised himself up above the lip of the trough to take a shot at the man who'd trapped them.
6) "Optical illusion" - J Brooks
"What in hell are you bastards doing to my town?" a voice boomed behind them.
Larabee whirled in a crouch, leveling his gun at the tin star on the chest of the stocky figure that had materialized out of the rain behind them. From the hiss of pain beside him, he could tell that Standish's attempt to mirror the movement hadn't gone well.
The rain pelted down harder, blurring visibility on the street. Another bullet splintered the hitching post rail beside them. Rufus Deeds, sheriff of Rock Hollow, kept his attention, and his pistol, on the unwelcome visitors from Four Corners.
"Don't know what sort of trouble you brought down on us, but I want you to take it with you when you leave," he said, jerking his head toward the town limits and the canyon country beyond. "And I want you to leave now."
"Get down," Larabee hissed at the pig-headed sheriff, not lowering his weapon. A fresh volley from the unseen shooter above bit into the trough. He gave a rough sideways shove, knocking a protesting Ezra back down into the mud. He turned his attention to the oblivious lawman. "Are you trying to get yourself shot?" he bellowed through the rain, waving his gun for emphasis. "Get-"
Another crack of the rifle and Sheriff Deeds stiffened. He looked down at his chest and the red stain spreading out from behind the tin star. He looked up at Larabee incredulously, mouth working as he teetered, then collapsed, face-first in the mud.
Larabee froze with his gun still pointing in the air where the sheriff had been standing.
Up and down the street, pale faces appeared in doors and windows.
The first cry went up. "They shot the sheriff!"
Other voices joined in, baying for blood.
"Get the rope!"
That was all he needed to hear. Reaching down, he hauled Ezra to his feet and started running.
7) "Animals" - Tipper
The rain hid a lot, so dense now as to hide buildings and people of Rock Hollow behind a thick fog of spray and mist.
Like a godsend, a large barn-like structure appeared before them, accompanied by the stench of tightly packed animals. Chris angled towards the pen in front of it, which was full of pigs and cattle, most of them lying down.
"You're not serious!" Ezra whined as he panted next to him. "There?"
"There." He snapped, grabbing Ezra's good arm and shoving him into the fence, so he would climb over. With only one arm, Ezra did so very ungracefully, landing in an almost sprawl on the other side, stumbling into a cow that looked up at him balefully. Ezra backed up sideways, nearly into Chris who had jumped over far more easily. With a growl, Chris shoved him unceremoniously towards the closed doors of the barn, gritting his teeth against the pain in his arm.
Chickens squawked where they'd been huddled next to the cows, using them as shelter. A few birds sailed up, disappearing into the rain. Mostly, though, the thick pack of animals barely moved, requiring Ezra and Chris to wind through them.
Chris kept his head down, and was glad to see Ezra doing the same, both ducking so that the animals would provide cover, hiding them from the men that were surely after them.
Within moments, they were inside the dry barn, the stench of animals thicker in here, and the door shut behind them. No one immediately followed. Perhaps their escape had confused the others.
Since there was no immediate pursuit, Chris quickly took stock there was another door leading out the back, a loft overhead, with windows, pens and hay. Rakes, shovels, axes and other barn implements were scattered about, hanging from posts. He stared the longest at the far doors.
Question was, did they run? Or did they stay to figure out what the hell was going on?
8) "A trek through the pouring rain" - Sablecain
Vin glared out through the torrents of rain, controlling his desire to push his horse faster along the worn path. Behind him Buck and Nathan rode, both wrapped in serapes and hunched low over their saddles. Riding through the rain was a practice in misery, but no one even considered stopping to wait for the storm to pass.
"Think they're still there?" Buck had to almost shout over the pounding rain.
Vin half-turned in his saddle. "Depends on how things were going. Chris wanted to lay low and wait for us, but it sounded like Ezra wasn't having any of that."
The wire Larabee had sent from Rock Hollow had been low on details, but they'd gleaned enough to know that someone had taken a shot at Standish, and though they'd missed, Ezra had been banged up a bit. The incident had left Chris nervous enough to ask for a few of them to meet him and Standish on the trail.
"Should 'ave met up with them by now if Ezra pushed Chris into leaving instead of waiting on us." Nathan's words were followed by a resounding clap of thunder, lightning immediately crackled across the sky in its wake.
"Don't like it." Buck shook his head, sending water spraying about as Vin turned back to the trail.
9) "I see the bad moon rising/I see trouble on the way / I see earthquakes and lightnin' / I see bad times today"
(Credence Clearwater Revival) - NotTasha
"Moon's up," Josiah said as he rode alongside JD. The sky lit up at the same moment, followed quickly by the clap of thunder.
JD let out a little yelp, unintentionally giving his horse a kick. The bay jogged as thunder rolled. Bringing the horse back under control, JD scoffed, "It's daytime. There's no moon yet."
"Haven't you ever noticed the moon while the sun's still up?" Josiah asked as he tipped his hat, losing about a cup of water from the brim. It splashed onto the wet saddlehorn.
"Sure," JD said after a moment's thought. "Always struck me as an odd thing, like something wasn't quite right." He shook his head with a laugh. "Don't see how you could know it was up anyway." He nodded toward the dark, clouded sky. "Ain't seeing nothing in that sky today."
The battering of rain filled the air with a constant sound, like a murmuring of a crowd. Around them, puddles seemed to vibrate, their surfaces forever disturbed by the constant rainfall. In the distance, lightning flashed again.
"How would anyone know if the moon rose or not today?" JD went on.
"I know when the moon waxes," Josiah replied. "I know when it wanes. I know when it rises and sets. I pay attention to such things. There's plenty of myth and suspicion surrounding the moon. Some of it is very strange. Not all of it is wrong-headed."
"So," JD started, drawing out the word as they rode alongside each other. "What's a moon in daylight supposed to mean? Especially on a day like this?"
Josiah shrugged, his expression philosophical. "That, I do not know. But, I just have a very bad feeling." And the thunder cracked, so close that it shook the ground around them.
10) "So I start the revolution from my bed, 'cos you said the brains I have went to my head"
(Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis) - J Brooks
Leaving Ezra to guard the door, Chris scaled the loft ladder and made his way to the window. A bolt of lightning blasted the ground just outside town, illuminating the growing crowd of men and horses milling in the center of the street. He let out a frustrated growl. He'd hoped the rain would keep everyone indoors for a while, but Rock Hollow must have been fonder of its sheriff than he thought. They certainly were an unsavory looking group.
The flash faded and the town and its growing posse vanished from sight again behind the driving curtain of rain.
Larabee scrubbed at his forehead. The mob, not to mention the unknown assassin who started this mess, stood between them and the livery on the other side of town where they'd left their horses. They wouldn't make it far on foot, and not even the most dimwitted posse would ride by without searching this barn.
He clambered down the ladder again and stopped short.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he asked, glaring at the gambler, who was hauling cattle out of their pens and doing his one-armed best to crowd them all into the center of the barn.
"An old Irish proverb - oof! - comes to mind at times like this," Standish huffed, throwing his good shoulder behind one heifer's hindquarters and shoving the reluctant cow closer to the door. "Sometimes a good run is better than a bad stand."
He straightened, or tried to, and gave Larabee a crooked grin. Larabee's eyes narrowed as he studied the battered gambler. After the gunshot sent Ezra diving from his saddle, there hadn't been time to do much more than cobble up a sling and ride full-tilt for the nearest town.
"Did you hit your head when you fell off your horse?" Larabee asked, eyeing the cows suspiciously. "Because if you're thinking what I think you're thinking, this is officially the stupidest plan you've ever come up with."
Ezra feigned offense. "That was not a fall, that was a swift dismount," he said, surveying the small mob of cattle, chickens, goats and an overfed burro with satisfaction. "We need a distraction, and most people find stampedes fairly distracting."
Larabee pressed a hand to his own aching arm, trying to come up with a plan that was a little less stupid. Failing that, he stomped to the barn door, swung it wide and stepped back as the cows began to shuffle out into the rain. Ezra circled around and unlatched the fence gate closest to town.
Both lawmen stepped back and waited. The cows bunched together, mooing unhappily and eyeing entrance back into the nice dry barn.
"Giddyup, cows," Ezra hissed, flapping a hand at the heifer closest to the gate. "Run! Go!"
The cows lowered their heads and started munching on the soggy grass. Larabee tilted his head skyward in resignation, sending a small waterfall of runoff trickling down the neck of his coat.
Unholstering his gun, he glanced over at the gambler.
"Ready?" he asked, pointing the gun in the air.
Before he could pull the trigger, a bolt of lightning snaked down and the tree next to the corral exploded in a shower of sparks and splinters and a deafening clap of thunder that sent the all reeling. Bellowing in fright, the cattle took to their heels, bolting through the gate and heading straight toward town.
11) "Not with a bang, but with a whimper" - Flah7
The Brown Swiss bolted free of the muddy corral. With a few bucks, strings of flatulence and flagging tails, the doe-eyed dished-faced cows bolted for the road.
Townspeople started to scatter, slipping and sliding in the mud, some going to their knees, others pulling their neighbors to the side of the lane.
The first of the dairy cows noticed the lush green spring grass that lined the lane. They slowed their ungainly gallop and eventually petered to a curious stop. The flatulence slowed, and swinging swollen udders that had briefly swung left and right became still.
With less than frantic moos, the Brown Swiss settled fell into line and began to pull and chew the sweet green grass.
Rain continued to fall, thunder rolled over head and lightning flashed across the sky.
Brown Swiss dotted the lane with heads down and tails swishing.
The billy goat chased the bank teller into the dike.
12) "Old habits die hard" - Tipper
Chris and Ezra ran along at the tail end of the stampede, keeping low, hidden amongst the slower cattle. Ezra had taken off the sling and the red coat to blend better (even though it was mostly covered in mud now) and his hat, and Chris had pulled his off as well, to make themselves less obvious as they escaped.
Between the rain, the cows, and the lightning, they were across the street and hidden in an alleyway next to the livery without anyone seeing them. They were only a few feet away their horses, a few feet away from leaving this damned town. Although, in this weather, riding out in this twisting, turning rain was beginning to look more dangerous than hanging around.
Chris glanced at Ezra, leaning against the wall next to him, breathing hard. With the gambler's hat off, Chris was able to see the blood running down the side of the man's neck for the first time, the rainwater causing it to swirl in ringlets.
And knew why Ezra had been close to fainting in the street this morning.
He grabbed the man's arm, and before Ezra could protest, grabbed his chin to turn his head, getting a good look at the side of his head. Blood was caked in the man's hair, over a gash that, while it might have stopped bleeding once, was open once more.
"What the hell is that?" Chris demanded.
"What the hell is what?" Ezra asked tiredly.
"Oh." Ezra winced. "That. Now that you know, mind not shouting?"
"You weren't bleeding when we came in last night, when you were checked out by the doc for that damn trick shoulder of yours."
"That's because it happened later."
"You went to sleep. I stayed up. Played poker. Met a man whosaid things. Then there was a bar brawl, and a bottle of whiskey smashed against my head." Ezra blinked. "Can we talk about this after we escape? My head is splitting, I'm cold, there are many, many people after us who think we killed their sheriff, and someone is trying to kill you."
Chris frowned. "Why didn't youWait, what? What did you say?"
Ezra lifted his head, his eyes strikingly pale in the dim light. A lightning bolt streaked across the sky above, making the gambler's face almost white.
"I said," Ezra repeated, "that someone is trying to kill you." He blinked slowly. "The man who said things, said things about you. And me. Mostly about how I should avoid getting in the way next time, if I knew what was good for me." He frowned then. "Why the hell do you think I was trying so hard you get you to leave town?"
Chris' eyes widened. "The riflemanhe was after me? Why? And why the hell would you think running was better than facing him?"
Ezra smirked. "Because he doesn't want to face you. He just wants to kill you. And when I find out someone's gunning for me, I tend to run." He tried to shrug and winced slightly, gripping at the sore shoulder. He snorted a laugh then, looking up at Chris again. "What can I say? Old habits die hard."
13) "Trial and Error" - Sablecain
Neville Wild watched the chaos in the street below and cursed under his breath. People and animals roamed everywhere and in the mix, he'd lost sight of Larabee. If only that damn gambler would stay out of the way. Twice now the man had managed to get in the way of his revenge. Wild growled, spinning away from the window, he knocked the whiskey bottle over. Ignoring it, he quickly reloaded his rifle, fumbled for his pack and hurried from the room. The hallway was dark and deserted, no one around to hide from, but Wild stuck close to the wall as he headed down the back stairs just in case.
He'd seen the townsfolk chasing Larabee and Standish after the Sheriff's shooting. He was almost tempted to leave them to the lynch mob, but his need for revenge wouldn't let him take the chance that Larabee might escape again.
Wild made it to the base of the stairs and the back door, kicking it open, rifle raised, he managed to startle a donkey. The animal brayed angrily at him but moved away, warily. Rain instantly soaked Wild, as he strode through the muddy alleyway behind the saloon. He knew if Larabee and Standish had any smarts about them they'd be trying to make their way toward the livery.
Patting his waterproof pack reassuringly, Wild smiled knowingly at the contents shifting beneath his hands. It'd be a cold day in hell before he'd let Larabee get away again. Shooting the bastard hadn't worked so he'd just have to move on to his next plan. One way or another, Larabee was going to die today.
14) "Don't look now" - NotTasha
"Can we go now?" Ezra asked wearily.
Chris sighed, Ezra truly did not look good, what with the mud and the blood and his pallid complexion beneath it all. Not getting an answer, the gambler turned to him, and fixed him with a pleading eye.
"No," Larabee responded.
Ezra groaned. "Why did I know you'd say that? And how, pray tell, should escape the mob and the shooter and the atrocious weather and the asses?" He gestured one handedly to a donkey that loped past, braying as if annoyed.
"The others are coming."
"They're not here yet," Ezra responded.
"They'll come," Chris assured. He watched as the donkey disappeared into the rain. People still milled in the street, searching. He leaned out a little further from the alley, wishing that the rest of the crowd would clear out. It was only a matter of time before someone tried the livery in their search.
Ezra suddenly leaned against him, mumbling, "My head hurts explosively."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Chris asked, trying to keep the concern from his voice as he offered one arm to keep the gambler upright the other hand kept his peacekeeper steady.
"If I did explain it all to you, you would want to stand your ground and fight the son of a bitch, when all wisdom said it was time to flee. Am I right? Since that wouldn't work, I set out this morning to find the fool and set him straight. That failed miserably."
Chris scowled, continuing to watch the street, waiting for their chance.
"Don't look now," Ezra stated as he straightened, "But here comes trouble."
And Chris turned in time to see a man with a rifle and a pack move toward them. And from somewhere up the street a townsperson shouted, and people started running.
15) "Three strikes" - J Brooks
"Larabee!" Neville howled, weaving down the middle of the street, waving an object he'd just pulled out of the lumpy pack.
The lawmen risked a quick glance around the corner of the alley and let out a simultaneous groan,
"Dynamite," Ezra spat, slumping back against the stable's exterior wall. "Well now my day is complete."
As the townsfolk scattered, Neville staggered sideways into a saloon and touched the dynamite's fuse to the nearest lantern, then tottered back out into the rain juggling dynamite, rifle and pack awkwardly in his arms.
The lit fuse sputtered in the downpour and went out.
The drunken shooter gave the sodden dynamite a disgusted look, tossed it aside and reached into his bag for a replacement. Retracing his steps to the lantern, he lit the second stick and headed back into the rain, taking a little more care this time to shield the flame.
"Prepare to meet St. Peter, Larabee!" Neville howled, waggling the dynamite in the general direction of the stables. He raised it on high and gave it an almighty lob only to have the explosive slip through his fingers and fly into the street behind.
The dynamite landed with a wet plop, spitting white sparks, right at the feet of particularly rotund cow.
The animal eyed the hissing object with mild interest and lowered her head for an experimental nibble.
"Moo-?" she began.
The dynamite exploded, sending mud and ground beef showering down on the stunned townsfolk, who started shrieking and scattering in earnest.
Larabee and Ezra exchanged a flabbergasted glance. Neville, undeterred, picked himself up off the ground, brushed something unsavory out of his hair, fished around in his bag for a third time, and repeated the procedure with the saloon lantern. He stomped closer to the livery, the sparks from the fuse glowing red-hot through the rain.
"Ezra," Larabee said, grabbing the gambler by the collar and giving him a shove toward the back of the alley and whatever lay beyond. "I'm starting to think you had the right idea in the first place RUN!"
An arc of bright light spiraled through rain heading straight toward the alley. On the third attempt, Neville's dynamite sped toward its target with uncanny, and entirely accidental, accuracy.
The lawmen dove for cover as the world exploded in noise and flame.
16) "Only in my dreams" - Flah7
Something warm and wet tickled over his lips. Larabee moaned crinkling his brow. He raised a heavy mud-covered hand and swapped lazily at the warm tongue and lips that nibbled at the corner of his mouth.
He wished whichever saloon girl he took back with him would stop. His head pounded, his stomach rolled and he just wasn't up to any more carnal pleasures at the moment. Wherever that was.
"Mr. Larabee," Ezra's voice was unmistakable.
Pictures of a purple dress sprang to Larabee's muddled mind. He suddenly sat up. His head exploded as his stomach erupted. He twisted to the side, his elbow sinking further into upturned mud and vomited; onto the furry small hoofs of a curious donkey.
It brayed its displeasure, and nudged the gunslinger with its long eared head.
"Mr. Larabee, I do not believe we should be dilly-dallying here with your new acquaintance."
"Shut up, Ezra."
"His satchel may not be empty." Standish slowly climbed to unsteady feet. Mud caked his clothing, plastering it his skin. It was terribly uncomfortable.
Their dynamite toting assailant was nowhere to be seen.
Buck, Vin and Nathan had heard the explosions. They rounded the bend in the muddy lane at a gallop. Mud splatter dotted the horses' chests and underbellies. The threesome suddenly hauled back on their reins, pulling the horses to a stuttering stop. The horses sat back on their haunches and slid to a halt in the middle of the road.
Just down the short lane lay a barn and yard in ruin. Broken fences, gates hanging by a single hinge and torn up grass marked untold mayhem.
A chicken roosted in a low lying branch watching them with an unblinking dark eye.
"Looks like they didn't make it far from town," Buck pulled his serape a little tighter over his coat to keep out the rain.
"Reckon not," Vin agreed.
A large tan and white goat trotted by, worrying at something dangling from its mouth.
"That goat chewing on a trouser pocket?" Nathan asked.
Buck shrugged. "Don't look like nuthin' Ezra would wear."
Somewhere out of sight, a donkey heehawed followed by the unmistakable sound of another explosion.
17) "Between a rock and a hard place" - Sablecain
Ezra was thrown into Chris with the next explosion, sending both men back down into the alley's boardwalk as wreckage from the two buildings forming came down on top of them. The rain continued to pour as water pooled beneath them. Ezra groaned and tried to push himself off of Larabee's legs, but shouted as a wave of pain hit him squarely across his left leg. He was pinned.
"Ezra, get off me!" Larabee pushed at Standish, adding to the agony shooting up through Ezra's leg. They were under even more rubble. It was hard to move.
"I can't," Ezra growled back. "I'm pinned."
"What?" Chris managed to get his elbows beneath him, managing to shove the closest debris aside, finding himself still rather cocooned in the mess.
He twisted his upper body up enough to look down the length of Ezra's body. The southerner was sprawled across the lower half of Chris' own legs. It was hard to tell what else trapped him under all the splintered beams.
"Great." Chris flopped back down with a frustrated sigh, groaning as the displaced mound of broken boards fell back into place on top of him, and another wave of nausea passed though him.
They laid there for a moment, rain dripping down through the cracks and crevices of the debris that buried them.
"What's that?" Ezra broke the silence.
"Rain?" Chris offered.
"No, no. That sound."
Chris listened another moment. "Probably another damn jackass."
But the sound was growing louder now. Someone was digging them out.
The pile above them shifted, more broken bits of wood rained down. "Hey!" Chris shouted, worrying over Ezra's lack of complaining. "Take it easy or you'll bring the whole thing down on us!"
A space cleared above him allowing the rain to assault him with renewed force.
The scowling face of their assailant appeared above him. The man's hat was missing and his thinning hair was plastered messily to his long forehead. His eyes danced with a deranged glee as he aimed his rifle into the hole at Chris. "You really think I care?"
To be continued