Author's Note: This is a western alternate universe for Hamish Macbeth where I have him as the sheriff of the small town called Sunnyside in south-eastern Wyoming. I am mainly only borrowing Hamish for this verse and am not profiting from him in any way. I'm just exploring the fact that Hamish loves westerns and so I have put him in a western setting. All other characters, especially Elijah Marshall, are of my own creation. Any reference to people deceased or living is purely coincidental.
Summary: Hamish Macbeth sets out to apprehend two bank robbers in the town of Kennewick but has to tread carefully otherwise he, along with his deputy and innocents in the bank, could wind up the robbers' next victims.
Wood from the desk splintered, marking another end of a bullet, followed seconds later by an exploding glass that showered Deputy Elijah Marshall with both glass and the water that had previously filled it. He tipped his head forward, allowing the glass to slide off the brim of his tawny hat before issuing Hamish Macbeth a stern glare.
'My, my Hamish, what fine timin' you have. Couldn't have picked a better day to visit the Kennewick bank?'
'Chust wanted a wee look around tae make sure that everything was all right,' replied Hamish in a voice that betrayed the adrenaline coursing through his veins. Who'd have thought that a wet, miserable winter day would bring out a gang looking to relieve the good folk of Kennewick of their hard-earned money? With the sheriff already engaged in business elsewhere, Hamish knew that there was a good chance that it was up to him and his deputy to settle things before they got worse.
'Why you grinnin' for?' snapped Elijah in a snarl that displayed the sudden focus of a man who spent most of his time caring for animals at his small house out beyond the town of Sunnyside. The folks of Sunnyside knew Elijah Marshall to be a quiet, loner of a man with a kind heart that was always reserved for wounded animals that he found. However, when called upon to help protect people who got caught up in the mess of criminals, the gentleness vanished and a man emerged ready to put down the criminal with deadly accuracy. This was not what Hamish loved most about his friend though, and couldn't help but grin even more at his friend's apparent annoyance.
'Och, ye know, it aint every day that we get a chance to put one down in Kennewick.'
Two other bullets struck the wall behind the desk where Hamish and Elijah were crouching. The grin did not leave Hamish's face as he emptied the shells from his revolver and replenished them one by one. Elijah just frowned disapprovingly at him, aware that the sheriff was hatching a plan and by the grin on his face, it was a dangerous one.
'What's on your mind, partner?' asked Elijah.
'We need tae draw them out,' replied Hamish, looking up quickly to make sure that none of the robbers had moved. The pair were still hiding behind the counter, a foolish place to hide as they had successfully trapped themselves. However, this would only make them desperate for an escape and desperation could prove costly, especially for the two innocent people that were on the floor, covering their ears and praying for a miracle.
'How do you reckon you're going to do that?'
'Not me, you,' replied Hamish with a small smile as he gave his friend a gentle pat on the arm.
Elijah sighed and closed his eyes. 'Not the water trough thing again...'
'Do ye take me for an idiot, Elijah?' Hamish whispered fiercely at him. 'No, no, I need ye tae pretend that you've been shot, okay?'
Elijah quirked a brow, ready to protest his superior's plan but experience taught him to trust Hamish's plans and he simply nodded. 'Just, don't get shot.'
Hamish grasped his shoulder and gave a firm nod, then turned his attention on the two robbers behind the now shattered window and saw the tops of their hats as they were cautiously peering over. He fired twice at the hats, hoping that at the very least, he could eliminate one of their targets. The shots, as true as they were, did not strike any of the robbers but put a pretty hole through one of the hats and caused one of the two to holler in fright. Hamish knew that he had come close. Glancing at Elijah, he saw that his friend's brow was furrowed in concentration on the task that was placed upon his shoulders like an overburdened wagon. But if there was anyone up to the job, it was Elijah.
Checking the entrance to make sure no one else had appeared, Hamish fired again at the counter before shouting, 'Why don't ye chust give yourselves up already! That way everyone lives an' we ken all go back to our homes!'
'We aint surrendin' to no boot-licking Scotch bastard!'
'Oi, watch your tongues if ye don't mind! There are ladies present! Now, what say ye come out real slow like an' chust lay your guns down an' we ken solve this like gentlemen!'
Hammers slamming down and bullets ricocheting off of the wall and desk was the only response that Hamish was going to get. Elijah leaned out a little and fired two shots before immediately being answered by four. As one chipped a chunk of wood off the desk, down Elijah went, clutching his chest and crying out in surprise. To the casual observer, it was painful to hear, a wounded man's howls; but for Hamish Macbeth, who had known Elijah Marshall since they were boys, he knew that he was playing his part perfectly. Now it was his turn, and he prayed silently that this would work otherwise they'd both be dead.
'Och no, Elijah!' Hamish exclaimed in mock surprise as Elijah continued groaning on the floor. 'Elijah, Elijah! Ye can't die on me! Ye chust can't! I will nae let ye man! Come on, stay with me!'
Hamish inclined his head slightly and saw that already one of the robbers was making his way cautiously around with his pistol raised, but all his attention was on satisfying his curiosity. The second robber was still behind the counter, but standing stoically.
'Last chance!' Hamish shouted, throwing as much anguish as he could into his voice. 'Give yourselves up now or this bank will be your grave!'
'Surrender, to just one of ya?' laughed the first robber as he advanced on Hamish's position. 'Why we killed a man just up the road; you think we're going to die in some bank? You must be outta your-'
It was the last word the robber would ever speak as a bullet struck him in the chest and he fell backwards and hit the floor, dead. Hamish turned his gun on the second robber and shouted, 'Don't move or ye will join him!'
The robber raised his hands into the air and let the trigger cage rock on his finger as he glared angrily at Hamish, then at Elijah as the deputy got to his knees and drew his weapon on the robber as well. Shaking his head, the robber spat, 'I shudda known that was a trick! Damned coyote bastards!'
The air was broken by a bang and Hamish felt his body jerk at the impact of a bullet tearing through his left side from a shooter at the door. Hamish cursed himself for not minding that entrance but as he went to answer the shot, Elijah fired twice at the shooter. Both marks found their target and the man staggered backwards, tripping over a notch on the porch and falling onto his back, dead as well. This should have been the end of it, as Hamish still had his gun trained on the other robber, but the man, so desperate to be away, hastily lowered his arm and used Hamish's shock from being wounded to get the jump on him. Hamish's mind barely had registered what was going on when he heard another shot being fired and pain in his head. It took Elijah only the swing of his arm to set things right and as the second robber lay dead on the ground, Hamish staggered about the room.
'Hamish? Partner?' Elijah called out in concern as he cautiously went to the door and made sure that there was no one else. 'Partner are ya hit bad?'
'Och no, chust a wee... tiny...' Hamish felt his head growing light and his gun slipped from his fingers and hit the floor. In the next moment, Hamish was down beside it, face down.
Elijah came running back to him as the two innocent folk left the bank and hollered for the doctor. Sheriff McGrady and his deputy were already trotting over to the bank, having been called back into action only after the shooter from outside was laying dead at the foot of the bank. Poking his head into the bank, Sheriff McGrady wiped his mustache with the back of his hand and sniffed hard. He glanced curiously down at Hamish, who Elijah had rolled onto his back and was trying to keep as steady as possible.
'Aint that Sheriff Macbeth?'
'Yeah, it is,' replied Elijah coldly, but to Hamish he said softly, 'Easy partner, easy. Just breathe.'
'Why kennae hear ye?' asked Hamish weakly. 'An' why is everythin' so...' He winced horribly and felt blood trickling down from his hair to his cheek, which Elijah brushed away. 'We got 'em though, didn't we? Aye, course we did. We always do.'
Elijah smiled and stroked his hair back, then looked up at Sheriff McGrady and said, 'Hamish needs a doctor.'
Sheriff McGrady spat outside and sniffed again. 'Can't keep your noses in your own damn town, can you Marshall?'
'He's bleeding; he needs help.'
'I dunno about that.' He gripped his pistol belt, strode into the bank, and surveyed the bullet holes in the wall. Stroking his mustache he turned a scowl upon Elijah, who was now lifting Hamish onto his back. Sheriff McGrady stepped into Elijah's path. 'Why is it that whenever there is trouble in my city, you and your damned sheriff are always there first and I'm the last one to know about it?'
'I think we both know the answer to that one,' replied Elijah calmly, though his anger was clear in his bright eyes. 'Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get my now unconscious partner to the hospital before he bleeds to death from doing your goddamn job!'
Sheriff McGrady sneered at Elijah, but would not move, forcing Elijah to go around the man in order to leave. Such was the alliance in Kennewick. With a mutual dislike of one another, the only people who would be grateful for what the two lone stars of Sunnyside did for them were the good folk of Kennewick whose lives, as well as their money, had been selflessly saved.