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Hijacked Chapter 1: Stepping over bodies and broken glass

In the middle distance the rider’s dirty grey coat fluttered in the wind, almost out of range. Roy had his six gun ready. He extended his arm and took aim. The rabbit’s foot attached to the handle of his colt dangled and swayed in the wind. Roy’s heart beat at double time as he watched his target get smaller and smaller. He heard it in his ears as he adjusted for wind and began squeezing the trigger. 
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The world was a ball of ice so early in the morning. The air is so cold you could freeze a horse dead if it stood too long. 

He tracked Orion and the little dipper as they rode across the frozen wasteland kicking up small plumes of snow from the horse hooves. The horses began to steam after a while and to Roy Figgis they looked like the steaming horses of damnation riding across the cloudy expanse. Teddy Bishop's horse broke through and twisted a leg. The screams sounded like the maws of hell itself before Teddy let one fly from his big LeMat revolver. The echo of the blast rolled across the expanse and Despacio cursed at him from his horse. Teddy rode bitch for the rest of the way. 

The sun was barely an idea when they spied the small cabin, a dot across a frozen lake. After what happened to Teddy, all the men dismounted and lashed their horses to the small band of furs that bordered the puddle-like pond. Roy patted Ember on the nose and held out a handful of barley from his pack, his heart twisting at the thought of being in the same position as Teddy. The snow acted like a spotlight and the receding moonlight kept it lit up well enough that they didn’t need lanterns. Like a slick of grease the dozen men moved silently over the pristine floor of the hillside before descending on the cabin. 

When they were within striking distance hell itself seemed to come untethered from the ground. The first few kills were quiet as they could be, but Despacio missed the third man’s heart and plunged his knife through bone and chest plate. The man, a dark shape in the dim light of the cabin, sat bolt upright screaming. After that it was a bloodbath. Men moved for holsters or grabbed for repeaters slung over bed posts. From what Roy could see through the melee, Despacio’s men were coming out on top. He himself had taken two men out at the card table with his knife and put three bullets into a moustachioed man reaching for a sawn off double barrel. 

Pale blue light of the coming dawn suddenly illuminated the carnage as one of Willard’s Gang shouldered his way through the back door. 

“God Damn it Roy you better hit that sonofabitch. He gets to Howard he’s gunna bring hell down on us.'' Despacio grappled with a man in red one piece long johns as he barked at Roy. Roy shoved the man into Despacio’s buck knife as he ran across the cabin after the loose man. 

Roy shouldered through a wooden door that was frosting over. It slammed against the side of the cedarwood timbers and revealed a small stable out back. In the middle distance the rider’s dirty grey coat fluttered in the wind, almost out of range. Roy had his six gun ready. He extended his arm and took aim. The rabbit’s foot attached to the handle of his colt dangled and swayed in the wind. Roy’s heart beat at double time as he watched his target get smaller and smaller. He heard it in his ears as he adjusted for wind and began squeezing the trigger. 

The blast was deafening in the cold air and Roy’s ears let out a ringing so terrible he had to bring one gloved hand to cover his right ear, cursing at the ground as he did. Roy’ eyes never left the rider. He watched the rider’s hat disappear momentarily in a red mist and he slumped over the reigns of the galloping horse. Roy watched it fade into the darkness of the surrounding greenbelt. That put Roy at five head shots against 

Teddys three, he’d have to tell him when this was over. He replaced the revolver in his holster, his fingers remaining on the small chain leading to the rabbits foot. So far his luck had held out. 

He stood looking into the darkness of the forest where the horse had disappeared. The thing would be dead by noon if the temperature kept up. Might be worth tracking for meat. The exuberance behind him wrenched him from his thoughts and his heart rate doubled again, sounded like what they came for was right where the old buzzard said it would be. 

He walked through the chaos of the Humphrey Twins dumping night table drawers out and stomping around trying to find loose floorboards. He walked by Teddy who was pocketing half a bottle of good bourbon, his eyes far away out the small window as sunlight painted the horizon, no doubt thinking of his horse out there. Roy clasped him on the shoulder as he walked by. Teddy shook it off. 

Roy cast a glance at him and then it fell to the corpses lolling over the table. He stopped. The icy air in the cabin made his breath come out in white plumes. The smell of old tobacco and sweat clung to the place like a bad reputation. Roy squared his shoulders and looked closer at the two men. They sat naked from the waist up, one in a yellowing A shirt and the other in nothing but suspenders. Both of them had deep crimson gashes where Depsacio’s guys cut their clean shaven throats. Roy turned to Teddy. 

“These boys like this when you come in?” 

“Course.” Teddy answered “I done one of ‘em myself. Colter right there beside me.” 

Roy hollered in the small cabin. “John Boy, you cut up these two men with Teddy? At the table?” from one of the bedrooms Roy heard John Colter’s muffled response but couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Despacio called over the noise, taking Roy’s attention from the two men, why he was stuck on em he couldn’t say. 

“Damn it Roy you get your ass in here and help me make heads and tails of this, shit son that book learning you done all those years and you’re pissin on about a couple dead ones.” 

Roy took one last look at the bodies while Teddy popped the cork of his pilfered whisky and tipped the bottle back. 

“Christly god damn cold. Took me weeks to break that horse.” He muttered as Roy made his way across the floor, stepping over bodies and broken glass. He walked into the bedroom where the bearded man in red long johns lay splayed across the bed, his glassy eyes staring skyward, wide with shock as if he’d already taken in the face of his maker. 

Despacio was bent over a bloodstained piece of paper. Ink scrawled writing crawled across it along with a hand drawn map. Despacio worried over it, half squinting as if it was giving up all its secrets to him, even though Roy knew he couldn’t read a word of it. Lucas Despacio was born into the gang, by the time he could talk he was cussing, and by the time he could walk he was picking pockets. A man didn’t have to read to tell another one to reach for the sky or he’d be put in the dirt. 

“What’s this say Roy? I got a hunch that’s Rapport Station, but by god I can’t make anything from these chicken scratch.” 

Roy moved an oil lamp closer and began reading. As he finished he felt his mouth dry out as if they were in the middle of the Bressa Desert instead of up in the damn mountains. He read the note twice more and was working on a third before Despacio cuffed his shoulder. 

“Damn it Roy even I know it don’t take that long, what’s the blasted thing say?” 

Roy swallowed, a dry gulp escaped from his throat. 

“Gaming Car. King Shepard Line.” he sputtered so quietly Despacio leaned in, squinting as if it were Roy he was reading now. “Rapport Station. Nine AM” 

Despacio started whooping before Roy could finish, causing the rest of the guys to crowd the doorway like a bunch of kids on Christmas morning. 

“What’s that give us?” Despacio asked, his dark eyes shining. Roy snapped open his pocket watch, wiping the frost off the glass with one closed fist.   

“Just under three hours.” he said 

“Mount up men.” Despacio called. “We got ourselves a train needs robbin.” This was met by more exclamations of joy from The Flint Rock Boys, Boden Humphrey fired a couple shots into the ceiling before his brother slapped him in the back of the head and he holstered his gun. 

They made their way out, back toward the horses. Roy eyed the two men at the table up but this time it was in a fleeting glance, his mind already on how much his cut would be. When the ice cold once more hit his chest like a shotgun blast. Roy Figgis was smiling.