The Holts… Chapter 26
Chapter 26, Gunfight, cont.
…Dan Greene lay behind the overturned card table and held his leg. Blood coursed freely from under his hand. Two more shots rang out and two holes appeared just a little above his head in the green felt. He tore a strip off of his shirt and tied it around his leg, just above the gunshot wound. The blood flow slowed a little. He flipped open his pistol and dumped the spent cartridges on the floor. He quickly reloaded, listening for any movement. He spared a quick glance towards the door but couldn’t see much with most of the view blocked by overturned furniture. Gunfire was still coming sporadically from outside. He hoped that Pierre, Carlton and Kelvin were all right. From the sounds of it there was a least one of them alive out there. He looked at Joe Stokes again. He was laying on the floor a few feet away, his sightless eyes wide open. There was a spreading pool of blood from beneath his body. His revolver lay a few feet from his clenched hand. Dan hadn’t even seen him get hit. Joe, Bear and he had ran back into the bar and four men had opened up on them. Dan had emptied his gun then dropped behind a table, knocking it over on his way down. It was then that he became aware of the hole in his leg. He heard a wet cough and “Bear” crawled from around a second overturned table and collapsed beside him. He had two bullet wounds in his chest and a pink froth was bubbling from his mouth. Bear broke open his sawed off and fumbled the empty shells out. He reloaded and shut it.
Bear grinned weakly at him, “You ready to get this sonofabitch?”
Dan cocked his pistol and tensed. Where was Donni and Luke, briefly flashed across his mind as he came up in a fast crouch and swung his pistol over the table. Bear heaved himself up and leveled his shotgun. Dan saw the man behind the bar and fired twice, hardly taking the time to aim. Bear fired, emptying both barrels. The glass behind the man shattered and he flew backwards, taking one of Dan’s bullets in the chest and most of Bear’s buckshot in the face. Dan frantically scanned the smoke-filled barroom for any other signs of life. Bear fell back behind the table heavily, coughing.
Dan stood and limped towards the stairs refilling his pistol, “Cover the door, Bear,” he yelled as he painfully pulled himself up the steps. He’d just reached the top when the swinging doors in the front of the saloon flew open and two men ran in, guns blazing.
Dan threw himself down and aimed his pistol. He yelled as he saw one firing rapidly at Bear. He fired, emptying his pistol, trying to hit both of them. He saw one drop his pistol and go down and the other fell behind a table. He drug himself away from the railing and reloaded again. He lay there gasping for several minutes. He heard boots running and the sound of the saloon doors banging open. Cautiously he raised his head, ready to fire at anything that moved. The saloon was blue with the smoke floating sluggishly around in lazy swirls. Outside an occasional shot echoed. Nothing moved.
Bear lay, sprawled out, still gripping his shotgun. He wasn’t moving, no struggled breaths. The last man who Bear and he had shot lay behind the bar, his face ruined. Three other men were scattered around the bar, unmoving. It looked like two had run in from the back when the shooting started. Laying behind the bar was the bartender with most of his face missing. He finally saw Pierre LaForte, his body half-in and half-out of the doorway. His body was riddled with bullet holes. It didn’t look like he was able to get a gun out of his holster before he was cut down. There were the other men they had killed sprawled around the bar. It was just lucky that he was alive. It was just lucky that he was alive. He wasn’t sure how he had survived. All he could remember was what Donni always told him. Just stay calm and make your shots. You don’t have to be the fastest just the better shot. The last man that Dan had shot lay unmoving where he had fallen. Of the other one, that dropped behind the table, there was no sign. Dan groaned as the pain in his leg flared up. He wiped at the sweat on his face and waited. That was all he could do at this point. He knew that he couldn’t really walk anymore. Dark spots were coming and going in his vision every time he tried to move his leg. All he could do was curse himself. What good was it being the best shot of the group when he was so damn slow…
…Donni fired blindly at the figure as he fell with Luke on top of him. He felt a bad pain in his right shoulder as they hit the ground and cursed as he realized that he’d been hit. Damn it hurt. Luke rolled away from him, pointed his gun at the man, and fired three shots. Donni emptied his last three shots into the man as he was falling. Both he and Luke hastily reloaded.
“You okay?” Luke asked.
Donni grinned, adrenalin had surged back into him while firing, “I got hit.”
Luke laughed, “Does it hurt?”
Donni snarled at him, “Go to hell. Think we’re gonna make it?”
Luke crawled over beside him, dragging his leg, “Don’t know. I just hope that the others are all right.”
They looked at each other as they heard gunshots from the other side of town. The firing continued without let-up.
“Shit,” Donni said disgustedly, “Where the hell are the rangers?” he asked as he got to his feet then helped Luke up. They paused to look at the body laying in front of them. He’d been hit at least four times and was quite dead. Donni pulled out his second pistol and cocked it. His shoulder was stiff but he was still able to move it. They moved cautiously up the alley towards the street. They stopped by the edge in the deepest shadows available and scanned the wide street.
Two men were walking towards their alley, slowly with guns drawn. Donni aimed, “I’ll take the one on the left,” he whispered. Luke aimed and they both fired two quick shots. Both men dropped like sacks of grain and didn’t make a sound. Donni’s brow furrowed and looked at Luke, “I hope those weren’t Rangers.”
Luke looked at him with dawning apprehension as his eyes got wider. Then two other figures ran across the street and quickly disappeared, headed back towards the center of town. Both were carrying rifles. “Well those two aren’t Rangers. Let’s check the bodies then get those bastards,” Luke said staying in the shadows.
Donni carefully scanned the shadows around the street then headed over to the bodies while Luke covered him. They looked over the two they’d just shot. They weren’t rangers or lawmen. One looked familiar.
“Isn’t that one of Ben Hill’s men? One of the assholes with Buck we met in Tombstone?” Luke asked.
Donni nodded, “I never forget a face that ugly. I’m gonna kill that asshole.”
“Which one?” Luke asked.
“Both,” Donni replied as they turned and headed back into town. Heading in the direction of the two they had seen fleeing. They made the best speed they could with Luke’s limping…