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Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Scarlet Ranger

She stood and watched as the town slowly burned. She hadn't lived there in ages, but had once considered it home. A part of her knew that this would never be home again, and any who may have known her here were long gone from this world. 
Her guns, still drawn, hung loosely in her hands. The twin barrels, still hot from the firefight that ignited the inferno, had faint wisps of smoke trailing steadily from the ends.  In all, nine men and four women lay dead in the cobbled street by her own hands--nearly a quarter of the town's population. The rest struggled to put out the flames that had leapt to life when an errant bullet shattered a kerosene lamp in the blacksmith's shop, seeing the open oil pan below it ablaze. 
The wind gusted, announcing the arrival of the storm front that had been looming on the horizon. She brushed the windswept hair from her face and holstered her guns.  She needed to get out before the others controlled the fire and found the courage to come after her.  There had been enough death for one day.
Thunder rolled ominously across the plains as lightning ripped apart the sky and illuminated the purple-grey storm clouds.  The leading edge of the rain marched steadily across the plains towards the town, and although it would help to extinguish the fires it would not stop for many days to come.  The first of summer's great storms had arrived, and the loss of people and supplies could very well make this storm season the last this town ever saw.  She couldn't help but laugh inwardly at the irony of being the end of the town that was her own beginning.
She was given a wide berth as she walked to the stables and collected her horse.  She rode out of town straight into the heart of the storm, her long red hair flowing freely behind her.  The lightning crashed again, briefly illuminating her ageless features as she rode on and faded from existence.