Whore’s Gold


This story originally appeared on our now defunct 

Western fiction webzine The Big Adios.

They’re here all right.

I hear ‘em.

Hell’s waitin’ for me just outside this dusty old cooper mine. They’re madder than hell, lookin’ to kill me on a count I killed one of them.

I’d kill that son of a bitch again, if God let me.

Fat Boy came up to my room last night. All sweaty, drunk and dirty off their ride, lookin’ to ride me. Got no problem with that, that’s what a girl like me gets paid for. Well, used to. Had no quarrel with his notions of mounting me for a minute or two, but this Fat Boy wanted to beat on me first.

He slapped me good too, split my lip. He asks me, “You like that whore?” Told him, “No, I do not.” That made him happy, like he wanted me to hurt, only made me want to hurt him. He pulled his belt from his britches and came right at me.

Tried to whip me, I moved, but he kept coming, laughing like it was good fun. Wasn’t fun for me. Things happened so damn fast. I stepped back and found my straight blade on the chest of drawers.

Some boys like a good shave after they do their business.

Before I know it, I grabbed that blade and slit his throat. Ain’t never killed nothin’ before. Maybe a bug or two, but never no person. Seen a lot of folks get killed, never really bothered me, but when it was me doin’ the killing?

It felt damned peculiar.

Before I know it, I grabbed that blade and slit his throat. Ain’t never killed nothin’ before. Maybe a bug or two, but never no person. Seen a lot of folks get killed, never really bothered me, but when it was me doin’ the killing?

Felt sad, even though Fat Boy was a horse’s ass.

Didn’t have much time to think on it, I knew someone be coming soon. It’d be either Lady McAlister or Fat Boy’s friends. Hate to say it, but I was lucky I cut his throat so he couldn’t call on nobody for help. All he did was bleed like a pig and make god-awful noises.

Men make all sorts of noises ‘round here.

I had to run. I grabbed what I could fast. I saw Fat Boy’s Winchester against the wall. Ain’t seen a rifle that pretty since my Daddy showed me how properly to shoot one. Right before he and Momma got sick. They died shortly thereafter, Momma first, then Daddy. I fight every day to remember them, some days I wish I didn’t.

I heard girls down the hall say these boys were train robbers of some sort. Sounds ‘bout right, I saw Fat Boy bring in a leather bag. Didn’t think much of it at the time, but when I peaked in the bag, I saw more gold than I’d ever seen in all my sixteen years. I snatched up the bag, the Winchester and jumped out my window.

Never liked being no whore. Never liked the name, whore. Should have called it, didn’t have a damn choice. ‘Cause I didn’t have a choice in the matter at all.

Whore or starve, you choose.

Maybe this gold and this Winchester can get back who my Daddy and Momma wanted me to be. They’d kiss my forehead every night and say “sleep tight Kate.”

I landed from the window outside Lady McAlister’s hotel and stole closest horse I could find.  Rode all night and half a day ‘til I came to this old cooper mine outside of Yuma, seemed the best place to rest a bit.

I closed my eyes, imagined a life where I wasn’t no whore.

A life where I was Kate, it was nice, until I woke up hearin’ them outside.

Hell’s here. Rest of them train robbers, I suppose. They’re madder than hell and wanta kill me.

I peaked around the rocks so I can get a good look at them. Four in all, they all kinda look like the Fat Boy, probably brothers. The Older One steps up a few feet, give or take, to the front of the mine. I hide best I can, but I still have an ok view. I wipe my sweaty hands on my flower dress and grip the Winchester tight.

mccraryMike McCrary is a screenwriter, his short fiction has appeared at Out of Gutter, Shotgun Honey and he is working on his debut crime novel. He’s been a waiter, a dishwasher, an equity trader and an unpaid Hollywood intern. He’s quit corporate America, come back, been fired, been promoted, been fired again, and currently, from his home in Texas, he writes. You can catch up with Mike on Twitter.

“Trixie” from Deadwood © HBO Films.

“You in there, whore?” Older One calls out.

Grit my teeth and says, “I am.”

“You killed my brother?”

See, knew it. “I did.”

Older One spits, “Know what’s gonna happen here?”

“I can guess.”

“We’re gonna drag you out, strip you, me and my boys are gonna have a little fun, then we’re gonna tie-up whatever’s left of your whore-hide for the wolves to pick at.”

I swallow hard, “That was my guess.”

“That right?” He grins. “Let’s get to it then…”

Crack. My shot echoes for what seems forever.

The Older One’s head kicks back with a red blossom popping out the back of his head. Took a second for him to drop, like the rest of him didn’t realize what happened.

Didn’t feel bad about killing that horse’s ass at all.

The other three look around dumb as can be. They draw their pistols. I notice they have stuffed leather bags to their horses. Just like that one Fat Boy had.

As I ready my rifle, can’t help but thank the Lord for his many blessings.

Three horse’s asses up against Kate with a Winchester, like them odds.

~ fin ~