**okay, in all honesty, does anyone care if i continue this story or not?

because honesty i don't have much motivation to write the story anymore. i don't really care for this story anymore. it was really hard for me to write this chapter because not only did things kept getting in the way of me writing this chapter, but i was suffering serious writer's block at points and i don't think this is my best writing. so yeah, i don't feel like writing the story on farther.**

Road to Damnation

Ch 5: The past hurts

Jake stayed just outside the town for a while, pacing back and forth, and thinking of what to do next, should he warn everyone in town of what was to come or just leave them to their fate? He really did not care for anyone in that town, so it did not matter much to him if any of them lived of died, but how was he supposed to stay around the town without being seen? Surely someone would spot him eventually, than Rango would surely find out and would surely want to know what he doing back in the town again. Then he thought of just getting it over with and killing everyone in town, if what the angel eagle said was true their all going to die anyway, but no that would not work, there were too many people for one snake to kill. Besides a lot of the citizens in that town had guns of their own, even though they would be too afraid to stand up to Jake and they bullets would not hurt him anyway, he still didn't want to take that chance. After thinking for a bit more, he had absolutely no idea what he was going to do and soon became very frustrated.

"Of all the towns in the desert, why did have to be this one?!" Jake said to himself.

Then Jake's thoughts soon came to Rango, come to think of it Jake did owe him from the last time he came to the town, in a way Rango saved his life. If Rango had not taken out that bullet from his gun at the last minute, the mayor would have shot him square in the face, not that the bullet would have killed him anyway because of his curse, but still it would have hurt a lot. Furthermore, Jake's true self would have been revealed and created a whole mess he would not want to get into. Besides Rango was the only person he had given mutual respect for, mostly just because he had done things no one else could do. So then Jake finally figured he should at least warn everyone in town of what was to come, only for Rango's sake. So then Jake continued on his way into the town, hoping someone would notice him right away this time.

Meanwhile, it was already the next morning in the town of dirt, most of the citizens in the town had already woken up and starting doing their daily business for the day. Rango had already ridden into town with beans and was in his office again, sitting at his desk, looking at the bullet he had hidden one final time. After thinking long and hard last night, he finally mind up his mind, he would try to find Jake and confront him about this, see if he was really one behind the train wreck. Of course he would wait until Beans was gone, he did not want her to find out, if she did she would surely try to stop him. His plan was to saddle up his roadrunner and leave town as quickly as possible and not tell anyone where he was going. But just as he about to get up from his desk to do so, someone burst through his office door again, it was the desert mouse Priscilla again; she was panting heavily as if she had been running and was in bit of a panic.

"What's the matter, little sister?" Rango said.

"Mr. Rango! Rattlesnake Jake is heading this way towards town!" Priscilla said after catching her breath.

"Are you sure it's him like time?" Rango said.

"No lying, it's certainly him!" said Priscilla.

Rango gulped a little bit and thought to himself "well, so much for that plan."

"Okay, don't worry, I'll handle him." Rango said.

Rango quickly got his gun and holster hanging on a hook by his desk, his gun was still fully loaded. He also took the one bullet he found with him too, to clarify if it was Jake's. Rango rushed out of his office and out in the middle of the dirt street. Sure enough he could see Jake slowly making his way into town. As Jake slithered his way in the town, the citizens started to hide in building and their shops fearing what the snake might do, but Rango stayed outside and stood firm, trying not to be so intimidated by him this time. Soon Jake was only a few feet from Rango and soon stopped, he said nothing and just stared at Rango intensely. Rango thought this was odd, he expected for Jake to be very talkative to make his entrance. For a few minutes they just stared at each other.

Finally Rango broke the silence and said "look, if you have come here to cause trouble again, I'm gonna have too…"

"I didn't come here to fight; I came here to warn you." Jake suddenly said interrupting Rango.

Rango was a bit surprise on what he said and soon said back "warn me? Of what?"

"Of a bigger danger that is coming to your town, far worse than me." Jake soon said.

"Bigger…danger? Like what?" said Rango nervously.

Jake paused for a bit, thinking of what to say, I figure best to tell the truth, but not the whole truth, so he soon spoke again "an another rather nasty rattlesnake by the name of sidewinder with his gang of other snakes with him."

In truth, Jake was unsure if sidewinder still had his gang with him since the last time they met, he just assumed he did.

"Wait; there is a rattlesnake worst then you out there?" Rango said finding a little hard to believe anyone can could worse than Jake, the grim reaper of the west.

"Yes, if him and his gang come here, they'll show no mercy." Jake said.

Then suddenly something dawned on Rango, he remembered the town that was completely burned down he visited a few days ago, he remembered seeing snake tracks everywhere in that town. Once Rango came to that realization, all he could say in his mind was "oh fuck…"

"ummm….can you tell me more about this sidewinder and his gang? Do they like…umm…set entire towns of fire?" Rango said even more nervously.

Jake fell silent and his eyes widened a little.

"Yes they do, how the hell do you know that?" Jake said while suddenly getting closer to Rango's face, Rango stepped back a little.

"Because a few days ago word got out a town not far from here was completely in flames, nothing was left of the town." Rango said.

"Dam, he is working faster than I thought." Jake thought to himself.

Than Jake spoke to Rango "Yes, that is no doubt his doing."

"Do you think he will do the same to….this town?" Rango said.

"Probably, that is why I came to warn you, you and the rest of the lowly folk in this town better get out while you still can." said Jake.

"Get out? You mean leave? But-" Rango started to say.

"Trust me, if you want to live, you will do as I say." Jake said.

"But we can't all just leave this town, people's entire lives are here and we have nowhere else to go." Rango said.

"When sidewinder comes, it won't matter; you all won't have a home anymore anyway." Jake said.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the town, Mona was still asleep in the small empty shake just outside of town, then she was suddenly woken up my all the noise going on in the town, she could clearly hear two voices talking. So she soon slithered out of her hiding place to see what all the fuss was about, and once she did, her eyes fell upon the person she had searching so hard for, Jake. Jake seemed to be talking to that lizard sheriff named Rango. Mona wanted to rip his throat out right now, but she thought it would not be a good idea at the moment giving so many people crowded around. She would stay calm and collected, shame and humiliate him and then maybe tear in his throat out. She carefully sneaked up behind him, Jake was so deep in conversation with Rango, he didn't even notice she was there. Soon she was right behind him and finally spoke out in the soft but firm tone.

"Hello Jake."

Jake instantly fell silent, his eyes went wide with shock, and his conversation with Rango was completely forgotten about. He instantly recognized that voice, a voice he thought he would never hear again. He slowly turned his head, hoping to not see who he thought was there, but as she came into his field of vision, it truly was her. For a moment, Jake just blankly stared at her, still unsure if whether she was real. Then suddenly Mona raced in front of him hearing knocking Rango out the way and got close to his face. Jake was still silent and blankly stared at her.

Finally Mona broke the silence and said "well, aren't you going to say anything or just stay silent like an idiot?"

"Mona….? I…." Jake tried to say.

"Well, if you're not going to say anything, I am." said Mona as she quickly pulled out her gun in her holster with her tail and aimed it straight as Jake's face.

Jake still couldn't find the words to say anything.

"I've wanted a long time for this, now you will finally get what you deserve." Mona said as she cocked her gun with her tail, ready to fire it.

Everyone in town, including Rango was in bit of shock to see the new stranger had suddenly gone from friendly to a ruthless gunslinger just out to kill Jake.

"Now hold just one minute there, no one is killing no one in my town!" Rango said while quickly getting in between the two snakes.

"This does not concern you, sheriff, so be gone." Mona said was looked down upon Rango.

"It does so, I'm still the law around here and you aren't killing no one while I'm around!" Rango said firmly.

"You better listen to the lady, sheriff." Jake suddenly said

Jake then suddenly picked Rango up by the scuff of his shirt with his teeth and throw him to the side, not enough to hurt him, just enough to get him out the way. It seemed Jake had finally broke out of whatever daze he was in a moment ago.

"Oh, so now you ready to talk?" Mona said sarcastically with her gun still aim at Jake.

Rango got back up from being thrown and he was about ready to intervene again, but this time someone held him back by putting their hand on his shoulder, it was wounded bird.

"No, let them settle this." Wounded bird said.

Rango did as he was told and stayed back, but it was really worried these two were going to kill each other now.

Jake then turned back towards Mona and stared at with an intense glare now, same as with Mona.

"We both know I'll shot you dead before you have a chance to pull that trigger." Jake said.

"We'll see about that." Mona said back.

Then for a few minutes, Jake and Mona just intensely stared at each other, both not moving an inch, waiting for each other to make the next move. Mona still had her gun pointed straight at Jake, despite using it with her tail; she held the gun as steady as a rock. Jake did not have his gun ready, but it would not take much for him to shot her either way. Suddenly, as quick as lightning, Jake lunged at Mona, twisted her tail with his own which made her drop her gun, then he tossed her gun to the side, quickly wrapped his coils around her and then finally held his tail gun against her chin. Mona was taken by surprise at how fast he moved, especially for a snake his size; she didn't have the chance to fire one bullet.

As Jake stared closely into her face and held his gun to her chin, he spoke "first rule of a gun fight, don't shot at close range."

As Jake squeezed tighter on Mona's body and pressed the gun harder into her chin and seemed likely he really was going to kill her, but at the last second Jake pulled his gun away from her chin and loosened his coils around her a little. Then he drew closer and whispered in her ear "don't do this, it will give you nothing."

Then Jake swiftly uncoiled himself from her and threw her to the ground and then he quickly slithered off. Soon Mona slowly lifted herself back up, coughing from the dust and dirt. As she lifted herself back up, tears started to form in her eyes and she slammed her tail on the ground in frustration, all that hard training she had done while on travels seemed to be for nothing, Jake was still better than her. How could she be such an idiot to point at gun at him at close range? She knew she was going have to be a lot smarter now if she was going to kill Jake, she figured it was best to catch him when he least expects it and his guard was down, but she soon realized when is his guard ever down? Never. She slowly picked up her gun lying on the ground and slithered away in defeat.

Rango and the rest of the people in the town were utterly shocked and dumbfounded by what they just witnessed. Rango was sure they were going to kill each other but they didn't, Jake could have clearly killed that female snake if he wanted too, but he didn't, why was that? First Rango had to calm down the crowd of the townsfolk and make them go back to their daily business. Once Rango was done with that, he quickly caught up with Jake.

"What the heck was that all about?" Rango asked.

Jake quickly turned towards Rango and got close to his face and said "did you know that female snake was here?!"

"Umm…yes, she came here just yesterday." said Tango nervously.

"Did you also know she was looking for me?!" Jake said angrily.

"Yes, but-" Rango tried to speak.

"And you just let her stay here?!" jake said.

"Yes, but she seemed rather nice when she came here." Rango said.

"Well, trust me, that is just an act, she's dangerous, you better get rid of her." Jake said.

"What is the deal with you two anyway? Seems you have history with her." Rango said.

"That's none of your business. Now I say again, get rid of her or I will." Jake said.

"But why?" rango said

"No more questions!" Jake snapped back, so loud that is knocked Rango to the ground.

After that, Jake turned away from him and quickly slithered off until he disappeared behind the bank. Rango picked up himself up and dusted himself off. It was obvious Jake had some kind of history with that female snake; he would never have reacted as he did otherwise. It was obvious Jake was not going to tell him, at least not without his head getting bitten off first. So he figured he try an ask Mona, she seemed a lot nicer then Jake, at least Rango hoped she still was. Maybe she could tell whatever went on between them. Rango soon went over to small empty shack she had been resting and sure enough she was there, coiled up in a tight ball with her head hidden under her body, and sobbing a bit. Rango tried to be very cautious with her so not get his head bitten off by her too.

"Ummm…pardon me, madam." Rango said as softly as he could.

Mona poked her head out from under body and said "oh it's just you, sheriff. Don't worry, as soon as I kill that rattlesnake, I will leave immediately. "

"Umm…yeah, that was what I wanted to talk to you about, why do you want to kill Jake so badly anyway?" Rango said.

"That is none of your concern." Mona said in firm tone.

Rango rolled his eyes in frustration; clearly he was not going to get very far with her either.

"Please miss, I need to know, if it for a crime he is done, I can handle that." Rango said.

Mona sighed, and then looked down case for a bit and then said "no, it's not that. If you really must know, let's just say he hurt me…deeply and I want him to pay for it."

"Hurt you? Did he beat you?" Rango asked.

"No, far worse. Now please leave alone, I want to get some rest now." said Mona as she turned her head away from him.

Rango decided not to press the issue in fear of making her angry, so he simply walked away from the shack. Rango really did not get much more information as before; all he had to go on was Jake had hurt her badly, most likely emotionally, but Rango soon thought what could Jake have done that was so awful?

Meanwhile, Jake was resting behind the old bank trying to get out of the sun and also trying to think of what to do next. Even though he really did not want to be in this town now, he had no choice but to stay in order to wait until sidewinder appears and finished the job he was given, but that was proving difficult, not only did have to deal with that annoying sheriff, but Mona was here too who was out for his blood. Jake could easily kill her if he wanted too, but he couldn't find it in himself to do it. Ever since he left the gang he had wondered what happened to her and wanted to see one last time to know if she was alright. Well, he got his wish, but he wished it had not come at such bad timing, he needed for focus on his job now, not on some past love, but she definitely had to leave town too, Jake did not want her tangled up in the chaos that was to come. But Jake knew she was not going to leave until she got her revenge. Jake thought maybe if he explained his side of the story to her why he left suddenly without coming back, she would understand better, but he knew in doing so he would have to reveal his secret to her. Jake thought if it was worth her safety, he would do it, but she probably wouldn't believe him anyway. Jake finally figured it was his best option and made his way through the town to find her again.

He searched his way through the town until he came upon the small empty shack she was sleeping in, she still had her head buried under her body was still sobbing a bit. Jake knocked on the wood wall outside to get her attention. Mona immediately lifted her head up and once she saw who it was, she scowled and hissed a little.

"What do you want? Try to kill him again?" she said angrily.

"No, I'm not gonna fight you, I just wanta talk." Jake said.

"I have nothing to say to you." Mona said as she turned her head away from him.

"If you let me explain…" Jake said while trying to move closer into the shack.

Mona suddenly reared up and got in Jake's face, making him back up a little and she soon said

"Explain what? Explain how you left him for DEAD?! Never came back after all these YEARS?! Or was that all part of your plan, to leave me hanging while you escaped?!"

"No, those were not to intentions. Now if you shut your yap for a few minutes and let me explain, you would understand!" Jake said.

"Hmph, I don't care whatever excuses you have." Mona said.

"No excuses, it is the truth, but you probably would not believe me anyway." Said jake.

"Okay, try me." Mona said.

Jake let loud a long sigh and started to stay "well, truth is I did die that day."

Mona's eyebrows perked up a bit as if both shocked and confused in what Jake had said.

Then Jake said again "do you remember the train robbery sidewinder made us do that one day?"

Mona brows pressed together and narrowed her eyes and said "clearly."

"Well, after me and sidewinder got on the train and you, Jackknife and Tajo were still chasing the train, a gun man jumped us, sidewinder engaged the gunman in battle, I did not. Then suddenly a second gunman jumped me from behind, I didn't have time to react so was shot and fell off the train. I didn't know what happened to sidewinder from there, but I assumed he survived the fight. Soon I was lying on the ground, bleeding to death, I knew I had to move quickly or I would die. I was in a panic at the time, unsure of what to do, so my first thought was to run. So I desperately dragged my dying body across the desert looking for a place to hide. Eventually I managed to drag myself to a hiding spot under some rocks, but by the time I got there I was too weak and lose too much blood, so I soon died."

After Jake finished saying those last words, there was a moment of silence. Mona's eyes soon widened on shock and was about to say something, but Jake stopped her and continued to speak.

"Unfortunately, my story does not end there, naturally after I died my soul was sent to hell for the deeds I had done, I expected to spend the of my eternal afterlife there, but by some strange twist of fate a demon serpent god of some kind decided to take pity on me and offered me a deal, he would give me my life back if I worked for him, sent souls down to hell for him. At the time I thought it was a good idea, but in hindsight it turned out to be a very stupid idea. The deal didn't come without a few strings attached."

Jake phased for a moment to collect his thoughts on what he was going to say next. Mona still stared at him in complete puzzlement.

"When I am called upon to do his jobs, take souls to hell, I turn into this monstrous thing, a demon from hell of some kind, my whole body becomes a flaming inferno and a loss all consciousness of my mind left with only one thing on my mind, kill. Also I can never die again, I can still be hurt, but I can't die. This thing is like a curse, the longer I bring souls down to hell, the longer I live, but the pain I often endure is unbearable. So that is why I never came back, I didn't want you to see me like this, see what I have become and I didn't want you to get hurt." Jake finally finished explaining.

When Jake finished speaking, Mona's expression changed to almost unreadable, she no longer showed surprise or anger she just blankly stared at him for a moment. Jake was unsure if was too much disbelief to stay anything.

Finally Mona spoke out "that is the biggest loud of rubbish I have ever heard."

Jake rolled his eyes and sighed again, he figured as much she would not believe him.

"Fine then, I will show you. Shoot me." Jake said.

"What?" Mona said back a bit confused.

"I said shoot me." Jake said again.

"I don't understand-." Mona tried to say.

"Just do it!" Jake shouted as he suddenly got up close to Mona's face.

Mostly out of fear and reaction, Mona quickly pulled out the pistol in her holster and shoot Jake square in his front side. Jake winced back in pain once he was shot; Mona was in bit of a shock at what she had done.

"Jake, I'm sorry!" Mona shouted.

"No…now you watch…" Jake said trying to say while enduring the pain.

Mona looked at his bullet wound and saw it did start to bleed a lot, but then she saw the bullet slowly started to push its way out until it was completely out of the wound and dropped to the ground, then the wound slowly started to heal itself. Mona also noticed during this Jake's eyes started to glow intensely brighter than before, his thin pupils becoming nonexistent. Mona started to get really scared of what was happening to Jake and of what was going to happen next. After a few intense minutes of Jake growling in pain and his eyes glowing unnaturally, it was all over, Jake's eyes soon returned to normal and the bullet wound was completely healed up as if was never there.

Jake then turned back towards Mona and said "now you believe me?"

Now Mona was pretty much shocked to speechlessness, but she still try to speak out

"Jake….I'm…I'm not sure what to say."

"Just say that you believe me." Jake said

"Yes, I do, but I still don't understand, how is this possible?" Mona said.

"What? Don't believe there is a hell?" Jake said.

"It is a little farfetched to believe, but I know what I clearly saw with my eyes." Mona said.

"Hmph, believe me, before I made a deal with the devil, I didn't believe it much either." Jake said.

"So, is that it? You died, were sent to hell, made a deal with the devil and now you come back has his personal servant?" Mona said.

"Yes, in a nutshell." Jake said.

"Well, while your intentions were good, you should of least got back at sidewinder for what he did to you, for what he did to us." Mona said.

"Believe me, you don't know how much I wanted too, but I was afraid I would not be able to control myself and you would get hurt in the process." Jake said as down case his head a little bit.

"While that is kind of you, I still can't forgive you." Mona said.

"Well, what about you? How did you get here? How did you escape from sidewinder?" said Jake lifting up his head again.

"Hmph. Like you would care." Mona said.

"I do! Now please tell me." Jake said.

"Well, believe me it was not easy, I escaped just by the skin off my back. I suppose I should start from the beginning, shortly after you disappeared during the train robbery, sidewinder came back to me, Jackknife and Tajo without you with him, he was furious that the robbery failed. We decided to go through with your plan even though you were not there, but sidewinder was too much for us and we were quickly defeated by him. He killed Jackknife and Tajo, but for some strange reason he didn't kill me, probably his own sick and twisted way of punishing me. He stripped me of my rank and just kept as his personal whore, I was nothing but a sex toy to him." said Mona as she lowered her head and closed her eyes, as if it was very painful for her to remember it.

Jake gave off an angry glare in his eyes; sidewinder had hurt her greatly. "How dare he abuse her like that!" jake thought to himself.

Mona soon began to speak again "after that, he went off to recruit more snakes and with no one to oppose him, it was rather easy. He mostly went after snakes that were abused, abandoned or outlaws themselves; he lured them in to join him just as easily as he did with us. Over the years, he gained more and more snakes to join him until he created a huge gang and he continued on his town raids."

Jake grinded his teeth and snarled, he looked like taking down sidewinder was going harder then he thought.

"As for me, during one of sidewinder's town raids while he was distracted, I ran to try to make my escape, of course he saw my fleeing and sent some of his gang members after me, but I was able to out run them. I knew I was not out of danger yet, so I just kept running until I could run no more, not caring which direction I was going. I soon came to a town, that thankfully I had not seen sidewinder's gang yet, the people in that town were surprisingly nice to me and gave me a place to stay for a few days. After that, my mind only went to one thing, you, how you left me to continue to endure the torment of sidewinder, he did hurt me greatly, but you hurt me even more for abandoning me, I knew you were still alive, so I decided to seek you out and get my revenge for what you did to me." Mona continued to say as tears started to stream down her face.

Jake no longer had an angry expression on his face, but now on of sorrow and regret.

Mona tried to collect herself to continue speaking and soon said "I knew I had to change my identity in hopes of not getting found by sidewinder, so I changed my name and got rid of everything I had. So from then on I went from town to town looking for you and avoiding sidewinder at the same time, stealing whatever I could from people along the way. It was a long hard journey, but I never gave up, my drive to kill you is what kept me going. Finally, I got word you were recently in a town called dirt, so I went there and here I am now."

Jake still had the sad expression of regret on his face, he leaned his head down to hide his eyes under his hat.

Finally he said "I'm sorry, sorry I was not there for you."

Mona was quite surprised he would say something like that.

Then Jake soon took notice of a large scar on Mona's underside half way down her body.

"Let me guess, sidewinder?" Jake said lifting his head up again.

"Yes, it's from the day he almost killed me." Mons said.

"I promise, I won't let that bastard touch you ever again." Jake said.

Mona looked straight at him and looked into his eyes, she could tell he was serious on what he was saying, maybe she had be wrong about him, that he really did care about her.

Then Jake's expression turned to serious again and said "but now we got bigger problems, sidewinder is coming here to this town, which is the reason I came back here in the first place and if what you're saying is true, then this town doesn't stand a chance."

"How to you know that?" Mona said.

"Let's just say a little birdy told me." Jake said

"Look, if sidewinder is coming here, I need you to leave here quickly." Jake said.

"No, I'm staying, if anyone wants revenge on him more than you do, then it's me." Mona said.

"I don't want you to get hurt." Jake said.

"Please, I spend years being tortured by that snake and nearly traveled across this entire desert to find you, I can handle myself." Mona said.

"You may see some things you will not like." Jake said.

"What? Wait…you're not going to change into the demon thing you said you were, are you?' Mona said.

"Not sayin' I won't, if I do, you better stay as far away from me as possible, I might not be able to control myself, I could kill everyone and everything I see." Jake said.

"Oh Jake, I'm sorry this had to happen to you." Mona said as she nuzzled his nose a little bit.

"It's not your fault, it's mine alone. Hopefully when all of this is said and done, I will finally be rid of the god forsaken curse and be back to my normal life." Jake said.

Then Jake phased a bit as if it was hard to speak the next words "and if I do, I want to start over…..with you."

Mona gasped and was quite taken aback by him saying that, she never thought Jake truly did have feelings for her.

Mona then turned away from Jake, her head downcast and said "your hurt me, Jake, I don't know if I can forgive you for that."

Jake leaned his head down again in disappointment and said "I understand, but at least think about it."

Mona shifted he eyes back towards Jake, but still did not turn her head back towards him. She could see how sad he was. "I will." She soon said.

"If you're staying, you better be prepared to fight." Jake said.

"That I will be" Mona said back.

After that, Jake finally left the empty shack Mona was resting in and headed back to his spot behind the bank with his head hung low. Mona soon poked her head out and watched him go. She now knew that underneath all the anger and hatred, he was really hurting inside and that perhaps he had changed since they last met.