The Second Chat

"This place is still full'a the regular kooks eh Mani?"

Elijah was standing in the saloon. He had burst through the door, only to find Anoleia being assaulted by two men. Elijah gunned one down as Anoleia took out the other. Dust still billowed down the street. A heavy clanking came from outside the saloon and Eli turned to look outside through a window. He could still smell the sharp, tangy smell of gun powder hanging in the air. As he looked, he noticed the massive mechanical beast in the road. At that moment all he could do was close his eyes.

His bill was paid, and he was sitting at a table. It was smokey and dark in the Devil’s Hollow. Mani stood at the bar cleaning a glass with a dirty rag, his Bright green eyes glancing around hungrily. Eli looked around the table he was sitting at. There was only one other occupant: A man with the attire of a gambler. He was so tall his head and shoulders rose into the darkness of the saloon. He wore glasses, and the light reflected off of them. It was the only thing that told Eli the man had a head. They seemed to be mid conversation, and Eli had a deck of cards in his hands. It seemed like he had been shuffling them for a long time. He couldn’t focus on any other part of the room. The man sat as if he expected Eli to keep talking. On a hunch, Eli continued the story he’d started with Mani.

So, were on the train barrelling out of this tiny town. I have my guns trained on this woman, and she’s insanely. It’s as if she’s lost her very mind. Mae is fiddling with the controls of the train and panicking as a bridge starts to come closer and closer. She’s cussing an puffing, and I notice she’s pulling on some lever in the middle of the train. Moments later she’s pulled it down and the train starts quaking and shaking and groaning like an old mad, all the while slowing down. Eventually the damnable thing stops. Right on the tracks, but with most of the carriages still on the track behind. We all sigh for a moment, the reality of our situation sinking in. Not one of us knows what’s going on. And then, looking out the window at the bridge, we see some package strapped to the supports. Moments later, it’s as if the very world itself just cracked open. A massive explosion tears the bridge apart and knocks the engine and support carriage off to the side of the ravine. They crash onto a small lip of the cliff, while the rest of the train rolls into the ravine proper. It hits the ground and goes up in an outrageous explosion. Right obscene it is. Still, somehow, against all odds, I’m alive. Not only am I alive, but so are Mae and Anoleia. The mad nutter though is gone. Id swore I grabbed her as the train travelled through the air, but she must have fallen out of the compartment window.
We crawl out of the engine car as quick as we can, and find that the Asian fella is still up and kicking too. So is Big W. We all manage to get off the train even as it falls into the ravine following the other cars. Still, were alive. As I start looking for a way to climb out of the ravine, a posse ride up to the edge. The Asian fella has stated trundling down some path and is already out of sight. So when they start holler’in out for him, he’s nowhere to be seen. So I tell ‘‘em he ain’t here and ask for a rope out of the ravine. No such luck i’m afraid. Even as I am talking to ‘em, they draw their weapons to fire on us. An then in the same breath, Big W has drawn his giant 9 iron and unloaded on them. Shoutin’ something incomprehensible and thrashing around like a man possessed. Quick as that everyone is running for cover. An me, i’m looking around and I see this great big mechanical horror down at the base of the ravine claw its way out of the wreck of the steam engine. Steam is pouring out of the thing and its staggerin’ about like a drunkard, and then it looks up with these horrible staring red eyes. Looks straight past me at the brigands on the ridge and holla’s something I couldn’t recognise for the life of me. Then it raises this giant gun, points it straight up and unloads on the fellas on the ridge. I hit the deck as its happening, hoping no lead’ll bounce around an off me. Blood and bone showers down from above, and I look about to notice all the others from the wreck have already high tailed it. So I reach deep, pluck some luck from a hidden well and run headlong down the cliff path towards what I assumed was a cave. Bullets pinged around the ravine but I don’t think any came my way. I barrelled into the cave. Turns out while I was hiding from the gun toting monstrosity, the Old man had been repairing a mine cart. So as i’m running into the cave he’s beckoning people towards it, and I just hop right in there. Doesn’t even click where this thing is going till he’s kicked us off and were rolling down into the depths of the ravine. After ten minutes of insanity that I’ll be better off forgetting we explode out of a cave entrance, rocket down some more tracks and then fly off into the air because the track is broken, then crash into some slop and the river itself. Then, after a bit of chatting because everyone likes to chat, we all decide to walk in the opposite direction of the big death machine. An all-round good plan. That leads us to a derelict mining office. Inside, is not much really. A bit of junk upstairs, and a map of mining contracts downstairs. Well, there was also a big ole door that leads into another mine shaft. Course, while we were figuring that out the old fella decided to throw stuff out the window. I don’t really know why, though I heard something along the lines of “it wasn’t worth our time because it broke” said at one point. Still, the noise it made managed to drag the iron terror to us. Seriously, that thing was quick. It wasn’t a minute after the noise that it turned up with a big piece of the train wreck in tow. Dragging it along like tree branch no less. Off we all trundle into the mine shaft, but not quick enough that the mad thing doesn’t bash in the roof of the office and chase us in. There we are scrambling up a ladder, and the damned beast is shoving a gatling gun in the door we’d come in and firing off thousands of rounds at us. A miracle any of us got out of that mess alive in all honesty. Still, we did. An the metal monster couldn’t follow us to boot. So from there, we just sorta walked. Uphill, towards the fresh air. The map helped. And we walked. Eventually we came out into the light and the air, and then it was another bastard long walk back to the town. We spent half of it debating how we would try to get our stuff back. The other half was spent with me being confused. Ya ’see they were arguing to sneak in and then sneak out. I ain’t much of a sneaker though, so I wanted to talk the sheriff down. Well, turns out my daft compatriots are just as useless at sneaking. So why on god’s green earth did they feel the need to argue? Well, I still don’t know, and don’t right care. Now, a lotta stuff happened once we got into town, but i’m gonna save that story for just a moment. Got to wet my whistle if ya get my drift.

With that, Eli rose from the table, slipping the cards into his pocket. As he did so, he opened his eyes, and looked on the chaos that was about to unfold.



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