Fate or Flight
Posted 27 December 2005 - 10:07 AM
Suddenly he jerked his head up as the prison cell door was abruptly thrown open, swiftly followed by the prison warden chucking the contents of his evening’s meal on the unwashed floor of his prison cell. Beergut looked at the food solemnly as the door was slammed shut and locked tight. With a pained lethargy he stumbled over to the food and ate anything he deemed still edible.
The past 2 months had been a testing time for Beergut, but he still felt that he had retained his sanity and could still think clearly. After all, these past months couldn’t compare to the past 20 years of trauma his mind had suffered.
As he finished the meagre scraps of bread and assorted pieces of half-cooked meat on the floor he crawled back to the corner of the room and returned into the depths of his mind.
When he had handed himself in to the authorities 2 months previously, he had already prepared himself to endure whatever hardships he had to face. Beergut’s life philosophy had radically changed over the past year. The horrors of his past had always haunted him throughout his adult life. The only way he had found to silence these memories and dreams of his past, was through alcohol and constant inebriation. He had been running away from his past for over 20 years. The turn-around had come a few months ago when he lost a dear friend in the town of Yokel. The pain and guilt he felt from that incident brought back inescapable memories of his past, but it also brought him the realisation that running away from these memories would not allow their pain to disappear. It spurred him on to quit alcohol and to face up to his past. It was the only way he could clear his conscience and close this chapter of his life once and for all.
Beergut sat crouched in the corner, reflecting on all of this. Despite being in prison and the fate that was near at hand, he felt a certain calmness. He was finally facing up to his past, finally enabling him to put his demons to rest. He felt enlightened, even happy in this knowledge, despite his conditions and the fate that awaited him.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 27 December 2005 - 01:40 PM
The ship was currently being prepared for Eddie’s most important venture yet, one that would be make or break for his newly founded trading empire. The workers on the ship all reflected this importance as they hurried back and forth with heavy crates full of trade goods to stock the ship with. Many of their muscles ached from the exertion but their loyalty to Eddie and his vision for towards his trading empire constantly drove them to work harder and harder. It was also of prime importance that the ship be stocked as quickly as possible as it was due to sail by midday.
Eddie walked serenely along the dock towards his ship, breathing in the fresh sea air and savouring it. The sea was his home, he was no landlubber and he was eager to put sail again. As he approached his ship, a strange man with an eye-patch and balding hair was running towards him in the distance. Eddie recognised that he must be a pirate and smiled at the past it reminded him of, but he also decided to stand resolute, his hand on his revolver. He didn’t know what this man’s intentions were and he wanted to be careful.
“Sir! Sir!” the pirate yelled out as he approached Eddie.
When he reached him, he stood there panting and asked Eddie frantically,
“Are you Eddie the Eagle?”
Eddie stood calmly, eyeing up the pirate, gauging his mood and then he replied cautiously,
“Yes I am. What is your business here?”
The pirate did not answer, instead he took out an envelope that was being held inside his trousers’ belt and thrust it towards Eddie. As soon as Eddie took it, the pirate scampered.
Eddie, standing outside his boat and facing the town, opened the envelope and the letter therein. As he read it, his crew continued their task of stocking the ship. Safe-hands, a crewmember and a fellow pirate back in the day, noticed Eddie studying the letter carefully and after he placed his stock in the ship, he walked outside, towards Eddie,
“What’s that you’re reading? Is it important?” Safe-hands asked, blissfully ignorant of what the letter contained.
“I’m still reading it.” Eddie replied blankly, his expression slowly turning into one of shock and horror as the letter’s message slowly sunk in.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:14 PM
“I’m calling a meeting and it’s to take place below decks NOW! We need everyone to be there. It’s urgent!”
“Is it to do with the letter?”
“Yes! And we need everyone in the meeting room now!”
Safe-Hands stopped what he was doing and began to gather all the workers together before informing them about the impromptu meeting. Meanwhile, Eddie raced back to the ship and headed straight for the drinks cabinet where he poured himself a glass of neat whisky to calm his nerves.
“Something wrong?” Mumbled Mad Mac as he shuffled out of the navigation room and saw Eddie fumbling at the drinks cabinet.
Eddie looked at him sternly and a took a deep breath to steady his nerves, “It’s Beergut. He’s in trouble and he needs our help.” Eddie downed the whisky whole.
“But we’re about to set sail on an important trading venture.” Mumbled Mac.
“I know, but I won’t be going on it. I also want you to come along with me.”
“Huh? Go where? Who’s going to take charge of the trading venture?”
“We’re going to Barrville, Beergut’s home town. As for the trading venture, all will be revealed. I’ve called a meeting which should be taking place any minute…”
As he said that, Safe-Hands and the dozens of workers who made up Eddie’s crew and workforce, crowded into the room. Eddie moved himself to the head of the large central table whilst everyone else sat or stood around it. Eddie took a minute to compose himself before addressing the assembled crowd,
“I received this letter a little over an hour ago.” Eddie said, placing the letter down on the table, “It seems our ex-comrade and my dear friend, Beergut, is being imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. More to the point…” Eddie sighed before continuing, “He is due to be hung on the 9th of next month. Less than a months time”
Safe-Hands gasped at the news. The other workers didn’t know Beergut but their expressions were of solemn understanding and sympathy. Eddie continued,
“I’m certain of the letter’s veracity. Beergut’s last words to me were, ‘I need to clear my conscience’. Only now do I understand what he meant by this. It appears that he has returned to his hometown of Barrville where he and his family have been wanted criminals for 20 years. It seems to me that he has given himself over to the authorities; however, in my eyes and in the eyes of whoever wrote this letter he is an innocent man. I may not know the details, I may not know the source, but I do know Beergut! I feel it is my duty to go to Barrville and rescue him from this injustice.”
The crowd started murmuring in discontent through and it was Safe-Hands who spoke up to ask the questions that everyone was thinking,
“What about the trading venture? This is of utmost importance for us. We’ve been planning it for weeks. Everyone here is relying on its success and profits.”
“I’ve already thought of that. The expedition will still go ahead, but as I won’t be sailing with you, I shall be appointing a provisional captain for this expedition.”
Eddie then walked around to Safe-Hands and handed him his cabin keys. Safe-Hands looked astonished and alarmed,
“You not making me captain? Are you?”
“Absolutely. You’ll do a great job I’m sure.”
“But surely Mac would be more qualified to be captain than me?”
“Mac’s coming with me to rescue Beergut. Meanwhile you’re in charge.”
“Don’t worry. I have every faith in you.”
“Who’s going to navigate if Mac’s going with you?”
“Will can. After all, Mac’s been teaching him the trade for some time now. It’ll be the perfect opportunity for him to put those skills into practice.
“And to make one thing absolutely clear. I’m the captain for this expedition?” Safe-Hands asked tentatively, hoping Eddie had made a mistake, but Eddie was serious about leaving him in charge,
“Absolutely. You’ve had plenty of experience when you were with Redbeard and your contributions over the last 2 months have been invaluable. You’re the perfect choice and I’m sure you’ll do a great job.”
Safe-Hands was speechless. The idea of captaining the ship on such an important venture scared him, but he had been chosen to be the captain for this expedition, so Captain he would be. Safe-Hands sat there staring into mid-air as he let the rest of the conversation pass him by, waiting for the reality to sink in.
Eddie now closed the meeting, having addressed all of the major issues,
“I will be leaving with Mac immediately and I don’t expect to be back for at least a month, maybe two but when we have both finished our tasks, we shall re-unite and celebrate here.”
And with that, Eddie and Mac left the ship, taking with them the necessary food supplies, weapons and ammunition before heading off towards Barrville.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 29 December 2005 - 10:28 AM
The Mayor had called a meeting to discuss Beergut’s fate after sensing some opposition to his decision to have him hung. The meeting was mainly attended by the prominent upper class members of the town, including the town’s doctor, Zebediah Corlane. Zeb was a wise man in his late fifties, his greying moustache and beard hiding the worn features of his face. He had lived in Barrville all his life and had seen many changes, over the years. Being the only truly qualified doctor in the town, he had made it his duty over the years to be on hand to attend to the medical needs of every one of its citizens, be they rich or poor, young or old, criminals or law-abiding citizens. It was also him who had spent hours in vain trying to save George’s father, William Bardell, 20 years ago.
William was the Mayor at the time of the brutal stabbing that led to his death. The incident had occurred at midnight when three people had snuck into the Mayor’s house. They were after the vast quantities of money he had stored away in the basement, money due to be used to build a new school in the town. When the thieves broke in, they believed that the Mayor was out visiting a neighbouring town, but due to a hard day’s work, the Mayor had decided to rest at home, delaying his journey until the following morning. They entered the house silently by picking the lock on the front door. Once in, they had proceeded to the basement door, only to find that they were unable to pick its lock. In desperation, they started to turn the house upside down in search of the elusive basement key. The sound of drawers and cupboards being flung open and their contents rummaged through vigorously finally woke the Mayor who left his bedroom to investigate. As he entered his living room, he came face to face with the three thieves - a man, a woman and a child of about fourteen. In shock at being discovered, the man had tackled the Mayor to the floor whilst the woman took out a dagger and stabbed the Mayor up to ten times in the chest. All three of them immediately fled the crime scene afterwards.
Zeb, who was unable to get to sleep that night, had been strolling around the town at the time. He saw the three intruders running out of the Mayor’s house and identified them as Frank Portlock (a.k.a. Beergut) and his parents. Zeb knew immediately that something was going on and he had rushed to the Mayor’s house to find the Mayor, William Bardell, lying in his living room in a pool of his own blood, barely alive. Zeb tried everything he could that night to save the Mayor, but it was to no avail.
Beergut and his parents had been wanted criminals ever since and George Bardell had made it his mission to ensure that justice would be paid for the murder of his father, no matter how long it took.
Now, 20 years later, George was Mayor of Barrville and he had Beergut in custody. He was determined to finally see justice paid for the crime and in his mind that meant Beergut being publicly hung. Zebediah, however, was one of the key people in the town who opposed the Mayor’s stance on this and he wanted to use this meeting to try and talk some sense into the Mayor and stop the hanging taking place.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 29 December 2005 - 10:28 AM
“I have called this meeting to discuss the fate of Frank ‘Beergut’ Portlock, a member of the notoriously evil Portlock family, responsible for the murder of William Bardell, my father and ex-Mayor of Barrville. It has come to my attention that certain people in the town disagree with my decision to have Frank hung for his part in this appalling murder that has cast a grim shadow over the town ever since. The hanging, as you all know, is due to take place in two weeks time. I do not want any ill feeling to arise from people who are needlessly against it; after all, it is the only sane action to take against such a cold-hearted criminal. Let me remind you of the day of the murder, 20 years ago. Frank, his father and his mother broke and entered the Mayor’s house, disturbing the Mayor who went to investigate. On realising that they had been caught, they proceeded to stab the Mayor to death, immediately fleeing the scene of the crime afterwards. They were witnessed fleeing the scene of the crime at the time, so there is no doubt as to their guilt. At the time, I vowed that I would bring the murders of my father to justice, no matter how long it took. We are fortunate to have one of these perpetrators in custody at the moment and in two weeks time we shall all see this justice be served. Does anyone have any comments? Or has this answered any ludicrous questions against my decision?” The Mayor studied the gathering, hoping that no one would come forward to argue against him. Zeb, however, did. He stood up and looked at the Mayor directly and sternly as he spoke,
“You seem to have glossed over the facts I’m afraid. Frank was a child of fourteen at the time and was very much under his parents’ duress. There was never any evidence to suggest that he had any involvement in the actual murder. Neither is it likely that he was a willing accomplice to his parents’ crimes. In fact, there is evidence to suggest otherwise. Frank handed himself in two and a half months ago. He handed himself in because of the trauma of witnessing the incident, the paralysis he felt being unable to prevent the situation and the ill-deserved guilt he has since had to live with. He was never a willing accomplice to his parents’ crimes. If anyone had witnessed the way his parents beat him and tried to force him into following them, then you might understand more. Indeed, I have first hand knowledge that this was the case. The incident that I recall now occurred when Frank was but a young boy. He had given away a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine that his parents had recently stolen to a sick, poor man in the street and he had been beaten black and blue for it. I had to tend to his multiple cuts and bruises for weeks afterwards. I urge you not to allow your emotions to cloud your judgement and not to have Frank hung. You are merely using him as a scapegoat for the real criminals, his parents, who you have been unable to locate.”
The Mayor looked at Zeb with contempt. He wasn’t going to back down on his decision. This was his chance to close the chapter that the murder had opened and his chance to his justice for it paid. He replied to Zeb,
“You make some interesting points, but the facts remain. Frank was with his parents during the break in and the subsequent murder. He was seen running away from the scene of the crime with his parents. It seems obvious to me that at the very least he was an accomplice, willing or not. Also, on the subject of whether he was a willing or unwilling accomplice, that is just sheer speculation. On the matter of his age, he was fourteen, old enough to know right from wrong and old enough to make his own decisions. He chose to follow his parents into committing the foulest of crimes ever to have befallen this town. My decision stands. Justice will be served. Frank will be hung.” He gave Zeb a steely suspicious gaze as he finished his reply.
Zeb tried again,
“You’re taking a knee-jerk reaction with your decision towards Frank. Remember that you’re taking away a human life. An innocent human life.”
“One who takes another’s life through foul murder hardly deserves to have their life.”
“Frank didn’t murder your father.”
“But he was an accomplice to the despicable act. It’s just as evil.”
“Gah! I can’t reason with you!” Zeb cried, exasperated. He then stormed out of the building in despair.
The Mayor smiled smugly, believing that he had defeated Zeb. He asked the remaining people if they had any further questions on the subject. They didn’t, so the Mayor closed the meeting.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 01 January 2006 - 03:39 PM
Dishevelled and distinctly gaunt, the once rotund Beergut had been reduced to tying a string around his trousers to hold them to his shrinking waist. His eyes were drooping, his hair greasy and long. He sat huddled in the corner, feeling anxiety reaching him but not allowing it to interrupt his thoughts or affect his sanity.
The guards suddenly took to pounding Beergut’s cell door threateningly before one of them shouted mockingly,
“Hey! Dead man! Shame you couldn’t join the fun tonight! Still. Only 1 week left! Maybe you’ll have fun then! In hell!”
With that the guards chuckled and then walked off into the distance, their voices and chuckling slowly fading away. Then the irritating scratching sound started up again. It was a persistent high-pitch sound that Beergut had put down to rats.
Beergut’s thoughts drifted to the past and the terrible scenes of William Bardell’s murder that he had witnessed as a child. He had felt so helpless at the time and the images had lingered in his mind ever since. His parents were in the middle of raiding the Mayor’s house and as usual had forced the reluctant Beergut into aiding them in their crime. The crime of robbery was soon to change to murder though after the Mayor was awoken by the disturbance. Beergut, like his parents at the time, had been shocked to see the Mayor in his house – they thought he was out of town. Beergut then witnessed first-hand how the Mayor was violently thrown to the floor by his father whilst his mother unflinchingly thrust a dagger repeatedly into the Mayor’s chest, blood spurting everywhere, even splashing onto Beergut’s feet. It was a horrific sight that sickened Beergut and had been the source of equally horrific nightmares and flashbacks that previously he had only been able to suppress via vast quantities of alcohol. Beergut was calm now as he recollected these events with crystal clarity. He knew he would soon be able to close this chapter on his life and this comforted him.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 01 January 2006 - 03:40 PM
Then a steady, rhythmic bang replaced the scratching sound. Beergut broke away from his thoughts as his eyes slowly surveyed the room, trying to locate the source of the new noise. As he did so he picked the movement of a lone brick. With each bang it was being slowly pushed out, edging away from the wall and into Beergut’s cell. Finally it fell with a thud as it landed. A voice from the other side of the wall quickly followed this,
“Hey! Frank. It’s me, Jack. Jack Marlow.”
“Jack? Jack Marlow? That’s a blast from the past!” Replied Beergut, scarcely understanding what was happening as he tried to bring himself back into reality.
Jack and Beergut had grown up in Barrville together and been childhood friends. In many ways Beergut, despite being younger, had been a mentor to Jack during their childhood. Beergut was among the few people that Jack would ever listen to and it was only Beergut who had saved Jack countless times from causing trouble and getting on the wrong side of the authorities. Jack, a slow learner and overly optimistic, had always relied on Beergut’s help and advice. Without Beergut, he had found himself betraying the laws of the town and the country and also found himself travelling with pirates for a short time. He had returned to Barrville a few years ago, but unable to find a decent job had resorted to petty crime to sustain himself. He had quickly become the bane of many of the townsfolk who had given him a nickname that Jack now wore proudly. Jack was apprehended shortly after Beergut was thrown into jail. He had been found posting a letter calling for a rescue attempt to save Beergut. The Mayor had immediately sensed this as an opportunity to get rid of Jack by putting him on death row. The simple Jack hadn’t really comprehended why he was in here or really thought about his fate. He main goal was to get his friend, Beergut, rescued and his certainty that one of his several letters to his old pirate mates would help achieve this goal.
Jack started talking to Beergut in an upbeat manner,
“Yeah. It’s me. Although I’m, also known as ‘The Crow’ now” Jack smiled to himself.
“Yeah. I’m known as Beergut now.” Beergut replied.
“Beergut eh? Shame you can’t get alcohol in this place!” Jack replied chuckling chirpily.
“Doesn’t concern me. I gave up alcohol before I came here.”
“Ah. So its an iconic name then!”
“You mean ironic. And no, it isn’t. Or at least it wasn’t. Perhaps it is now though.” Beergut said pondering.
Beergut stretched his legs out and slunk against the wall. He sighed deeply. Jack piped up again optimistically,
“Hey! Cheer up. You’re going to be rescued. I got letters off to many of my mates with the instructions to give the letter to one of Redbeard’s crew who knows you. I know they’ll come to rescue once they’ve received the message.”
“Redbeard’s dead Jack.”
“Yeah, but doesn’t matter. Redbeard was famed for being a bastard. One his remaining crew will come and help you though, I’m sure. The people I sent the letters to are capable men. They’ll find someone who will rescue you. I promise you.”
Beergut merely stared at the wall in front of him, his mind not processing the information fully. He was returning to his thoughts. Behind his sullen eyes he was beginning to replay the events that occurred just over three months ago. These were the events that had led to Redbeard’s demise. More importantly, he was replaying the events that led up to the death of a dear friend shortly before Redbeard’s demise. It was a sad moment that had sparked the change in Beergut’s outlook of life and in many aspects was the reason he was here.
The pirates that Beergut was with had found themselves in the town of Yokel. Events between the locals, the pirates and outside forces had strained everyone who had experienced the tumultuous strife that had occurred during that short space of time. It had brought out the best and worst in everyone.
The dear friend that had died during this time was a dwarf called Toto. Toto had accidentally found himself attached to Redbeard’s crew a few years back. He was constantly bullied and disrespected, the only reason Redbeard kept him n board was for the pirates’ own sadistic amusement as they tortured him. His treatment by the pirates had worsened manifestly during the Yokel crisis. Beergut had always been silently outraged by the pirates’ treatment of Toto but the extreme maltreatment he received in Yokel had spurred him to actively protect Toto, much to the anger of the pirates. This included running out to protect Toto after he had been thrown out into the town in the midst of an invading Indian invasion. On numerous occasions Beergut had tried to protect Toto from the pirates cruelty but Toto died in Beergut’s arms during the crisis. His death had brought back unwanted memories of the dreadful scenes of the Mayor’s murder, which he had so far escaped through excessive, near constant inebriation. It was at this point that he realised the need to face up to his past. This was when he decided to give up alcohol and after the crisis was over, had separated from the pirates to hand himself in to the Barrville authorities.
As Beergut stared, apparently vacantly, these thoughts were running through his mind.
After a long silence, Jack spoke up again reassuringly,
“You alright Frank? You heard what I said didn’t you? We’re going to be rescued!”
Beergut merely mumbled incoherently, focusing on his thoughts.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 05 January 2006 - 10:18 AM
Zeb overheard a pair of gossiping middle-aged women excitedly discussing the hanging and eagerly anticipating the chance to see such a ‘vile criminal’ hung publicly for all to see. If that wasn’t enough to make Zeb feel sick, the next couple he overheard talking were discussing the week’s holiday that the Mayor had granted the entire town in celebration of the death of ‘The Mayor Killer’. Indeed, this holiday had been advertised on the multitude of posters publicising Beergut’s hanging which was due to take place next Monday morning. Only four days away. The holiday would officially begin with the hanging of Beergut.
Zeb felt disgusted and appalled, yet frustratingly helpless. He decided to go to the prison where Beergut was being held. There he would try to convince the guards to allow him to visit and talk to Beergut.
As he approached the small building at the outskirts of the town he could see a guard standing resolutely outside the door. Zeb approached the guard confidently,
“I wish to visit a prisoner.” Zeb told the guard firmly. The guard gave him a quizzical look before replying,
“You know visitors aren’t allowed here doctor. This is death row.”
Zeb, already prepared for this, reached into his jacket and pulled out an unopened bottle of whisky. He handed it to the guard whilst saying authoritatively,
“I wish to visit Frank Portlock.”
The guard took the bottle of whisky, smiled and took Zeb to Beergut’s cell. Before he opened the door, he gave Zeb a few ground rules,
“I’ll be listening in to every word you say. If anything untoward happens, we’ll be in there like lightning to throw you out. Understand?”
“I understand.” Zeb replied calmly.
Beergut saw the cell door open and an aging man walk into his cell. Beergut couldn’t work out who he was. As Zeb sat down next to Beergut, Beergut inquired, “Yahoodiwhahe?”
“I’m Zeb. The town’s doctor.”
“Oh yes. I remember.” Beergut said distantly.
“How are you?” Zeb said, trying to engage in conversation.
“I could be better.” Beergut said dryly, yet remotely. Lately Beergut had been finding it nearly impossible to focus his mind in reality. His mind was mostly in his dreams, floating through the mists of time and reality.
“You know you shouldn’t be in here. It’s a grave injustice.”
“It’s fate.” Beergut corrected as he struggled to bring himself back to reality.
“Man’s destiny is his own. Fate is a comfort concept for those who cannot deal with reality. You don’t have to give up reality. You don’t have to give up your will. There is still time.”
Beergut brought his mind back into reality, focussing on the conversation. He looked at Zeb sympathetically as he replied philosophically,
“I’m not giving up on reality. This is reality. As for fate. No man has total free will over their destiny, but equally, no man’s life is totally controlled by fate. Fate is the journey on the train line that represents our life. We may choose which track to follow. When we reach a station we may choose to change tracks. But once you find yourself on a track, fate is guiding us until we change tracks or come to the end of the line.”
“So change tracks.” Zeb said, although he wasn’t sure how Beergut could. There was only four days left until the hanging, but Zeb didn’t want to allow this grave injustice to happen, but he didn’t know how to stop it either.
At that moment, Jack’s voice came through the missing brick in the wall.
“He’ll be changing tracks soon enough! He’s going to rescued!”
On hearing this third voice, the guard at the door shouted for assistance. Moments later four guards thundered into the cell. Two of them took hold of Zeb and marched him out of the prison. One of the remaining two spotted the loose brick, pointing it out to his fellow guard who proceeded to find a wooden panel to nail over the hole. While this was being done the remaining guard in the cell walked menacingly over to Beergut before kicking him several times in rage. Once the hole had been sealed, the guards walked away and locked the door tight, leaving an agonising, weary Beergut trying to contain his physical and emotional pain.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 05 January 2006 - 11:39 PM
Eventually he sat at his study desk and sighed. He thought about Beergut’s innocence, he thought about the Mayor’s stubbornness and thought about what would happen if Beergut was hung. With the support and mania the Mayor had raised from the rest of the populace in preparation for Beergut’s hanging it could potentially give support to knee-jerk reactions towards crime. It made Zeb worry that this sort of justice would become commonplace. Zeb rose, with this thought in mind, and left the house. He marched purposefully towards the prison. If no one else would save Beergut, then he would at least try to.
He approached the guard at the door and noticed it was the same one he had spoken to earlier. Zeb spoke in a serious and solemn tone,
“The Mayor has sent me to check on the health of Frank Portlock. He wants to ensure that he will be alive and well enough for Monday.”
The guard looked at him inquisitively,
“He’s being hung on Monday.”
“I know. The Mayor wants the event to go without any problems. He doesn’t want the prisoner to appear ill or in any other state that might arouse the crowd’s sympathy.”
The guard gave a short sharp laugh before saying, “I doubt he’ll get any sympathy!” He motioned Zeb to follow him inside the prison. As they entered two other guards followed behind them. When they reached Beergut’s cell, the guard knocked loudly on the cell’s door. He shouted,
“Hey! Dead man! You alive?”
“I am… until Monday.” Came Beergut’s emotionless response.
The guard laughed sneeringly and then turned his attention to Zeb. He smiled as he asked him,
“Do you have anything you wish to give us? Last time it was whisky…”
“I don’t have anything on me I’m afraid apart from my medical equipment. I must see Frank urgently. It’s on the Mayor’s orders.”
At this point the two guards who were following them moved behind Zeb and taking either arm restrained him. The guard in front of Zeb laughed again,
“Wrong. It’s on the Mayor’s orders why we’re imprisoning you here. The Mayor ordered us to imprison, in here, anyone who tried to aid or visit Frank Portlock. Since you have no bribe for us, we’re following those orders now.” He motioned to the guards restraining him,
“Throw him in an empty cell.”
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 06 January 2006 - 11:35 PM
It was early evening; the light was just beginning to fade. Eddie and Mac were in a saloon discussing and finalising their plan.
"Mac. Do you have your speaking aid in?" Eddie inquired as they sat down with their drinks.
"mmber krff dassn mfph." Mac started playing around with the strange device he had in his mouth to make his speech clearer. He finnally got it working. "Yes."
“Excellent. Out of interest, did you notice the name of the saloon?” Eddie asked casually.
“The solitary Sheriff? What about it?” Mac replied gruffly.
“I don’t know. It just seemed… familiar. Anyway. On to the plan.” Eddie replied. Mac unfurled a large sheet of paper he had in his sack and placed it on the table. Mac had used the information from the locals to draw a map of the town with particular detail focussed on the prison where Beergut was being held. Eddie began studying the map,
“So. To recap. Our plan is to approach the town from the south-west. We should then be able to move up this hill overseeing the prison. You’ll be stationed on this hill with the task of eliminating any guards patrolling outside. I’ll then enter the prison and eliminate any guards inside and then break Beergut out.” Eddie said. Mac nodded. Eddie began thinking about the plan in more depth. It was Mac who designed the plan and had marked it all on the map, but Eddie was still uncertain about some of the details. He knew Mac had probably thought of the problems already. Eddie just needed to know what his solutions to them were.
Eddie expressed these concerns to Mac, “Few things. First of all, aren’t we going to be noticed on the hill?”
“You’ll enter from the south, along the flat section next to the hill. I’ll be on the hill overlooking the prison and covering you.” Mac replied, clarifying the plan.
“But won’t you be spotted there?” Eddie repeated his question.
Mac answered by pulling out an overall he had been adapting during the journey. It had started out as a normal overall but Mac had been sowing sandy coloured patterns of cloth into it. “Camouflage” Mac grunted.
Eddie was impressed. He knew Mac would have prepared for every eventuality.
“I have one more question. How am I going to break into the prison?” Eddie asked Mac.
Mac pointed to the invention he had been creating and was currently laying against the saloon’s wall by their table. “What did you think this was?” Mac grumbled discontentedly.
“No idea. I was hoping you could tell me?” Eddie said. Mac sighed,
“It’s a personal battering ram. The wide ‘pole’ is made from a light wood. I’ve carved handles into the right hand side of the wooden pole here and here. It has been reinforced with a coating of metal and the end has a solid iron tip. You also have a ‘shield’ on the left hand side of the handles. When you charge with it, you should bury your left shoulder into this shield. The shield will negate the impact’s damage to yourself.”
“Insane.” Said Eddie happily. He knew Mac was called Mad Mac for a reason.
“I also have this.” Mac pulled out a tripod. “This will steady my aim when firing from the hill. It’s especially useful if you’re drunk in charge of a rifle. As I will undoubtedly be.” Mac slurred as he finished his drink.
“Genius.” Eddie replied. “I think we’re all set now. How are we going to get there? On foot?”
Mac looked out of the window and saw two horses tied up outside. Mac’s eyes lit up. “Steal those horses!”
Eddie and Mac sauntered out of the saloon and casually began attaching their equipment and assorted inventions onto the horses. Passers-by just assumed that the horses belonged to them. Within a few minutes Eddie and Mac were off. They intended to strike just as dawn broke, to give enough light to see but early enough to retain the element of surprise.
As they trotted into the distance, the owner of the saloon, a young man in a white suit, ran out of the saloon. He saw with alarm that his horse was being ridden off into the distance by a stranger.
“Bastards! Come back! That’s my horse! My horse!”
Another young man, the owner’s business partner, a young Mexican man, ran out seconds later,
“Not again!” He cried as he saw both of their horses being ridden off into the distance.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 07 January 2006 - 10:40 AM
Meanwhile, Eddie was bringing the horses around the side of the hill. He had placed the personal battering ram on the ground just out of sight of the prison. Once the distraction had been set he would rush back to use it to break open the prison doors. He rounded the hill and as soon as he glimpsed the prison he let the horses go, slapping them hard to make them bolt forwards.
The horses ran straight towards the prison and on seeing the dumbfounded guards veered off to cause chaos in the sleeping town’s centre. This was Mac’s signal. He watched as the guard on the door left his post to talk to the patrolling guard at the side of the prison about what they had just seen. Mac followed him with his sights, steadying them with his tripod.
Eddie rushed back and picked up the battering ram and awaited his signal from Mac. Seconds later two consecutive shots were fired and Eddie took his cue. He began his march towards the prison door. He knew Mac never missed.
Inside the prison Jack had heard the gunshots and immediately connected them with a rescue attempt. He couldn’t help himself from being excited by it and he started shouting with joy and punching the air. Zeb had pricked his ears up at the noise and was intrigued about what was happening. Beergut, however, paid no attention to the noise. He was becoming less and less concerned with events happening outside; instead he was focussing on what would be and on what must happen.
The remaining guard inside the prison had looked out of the window of the guard’s quarters immediately after hearing the gunfire. On seeing the two dead guards’ bodies laying the ground outside he rushed to the door in alarm. As Eddie began his run up to the door the guard reached the door just in time and began bolting the door tight. He had locked the first bolt in place when the ram made its first impact on the door. The guard trembled in fear at this unexpected disturbance. He bolted the remaining bolt as fast he could with his quivering hands. A second impact befell the door as the solid iron tip made itself known, denting the door as it hit it with Eddie’s full force behind it. The guard squealed pathetically as he ran to the end of the corridor. He turned to face the door and fumbled for his revolver. A third impact occurred, weakening the hinges with Eddie’s determined force pushing Mac’s invention to its limits. The guard began to sweat profusely; he just hoped that the noise would have attracted the attention of the locals and the other guards in the town. He needed support and he needed it fast. A fourth impact thundered home together with a cry of determination and strength from Eddie. The bolts snapped, the hinges loosened and the door was on its last legs. The guard took a deep breath and focussed his revolver on the door. He prepared himself for whatever was going to come through. Eddie took his final run up; the guard remained focussed on the door. With a thunderous roar the door was ripped from its hinges and crashed onto the floor. Eddie continued running, the guard began firing. The first bullet ricocheted off the iron tip, as did the second. The guard had no time to fire any more ammunition as Eddie drove the battering ram forwards crushing him against the wall of the prison.
Eddie laid down the battering ram and rummaged through the dead guard’s clothing. As found the keys to the cell doors. Mac ambled in,
“Hurry. More guards be approaching soon.”
Eddie noted this and started shouting Beergut’s name out in the hope of a reply so he could locate his cell. Beergut picked up the sound of this familiar voice but at first could not believe it to be true. He pulled himself up and wandered over to the door. He listened acutely.
“BEERGUT!” Eddie cried.
“I’M HERE!” Beergut shouted back, bemused at was happening.
“Mac? You hear that?” Eddie said. Mac nodded.
Eddie wandered over to the sound of Beergut’s voice and shouted again,
“I’M HERE!” Came the reply.
“He’s in here!” Eddie said excitedly as he plunged the master key into the lock. The key turned and the door unlocked. As the door was opened it revealed a gaunt, dishevelled Beergut. His eyes looked tired, they looked as though they had tales of woe to tell. Eddie was shocked. He had never seen him in such a state before.
“My God!” Eddie muttered in shock and disbelief. Mac nudged Eddie.
“We’ve come to get you out of here. We’ve got to be quick though. More guards will be coming soon.”
Beergut looked at him sympathetically, “I appreciate all this. But I’m staying here.”
“On death row?”
“I never wanted to be rescued. I came here to face up to the events from my past. I came here to close a chapter on my life, one that has caused me and others such strife.”
Eddie couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “But your being hung soon.”
“On Monday.” Beergut replied calmly.
“You won’t be closing a chapter on your life. You’ll be closing your entire life!” Eddie was starting to panic. He needed to get Beergut to follow them out soon or they would be caught by reinforcements.
“I came here to face up to my past. I came here to rid myself of past crimes and sins. I made no assumptions on what my fate would be when I cam here, only that I would accept and endure whatever it had in store for me.”
“But your innocent. The Mayor has no right to do this!”
“And how do you know that?”
“I know what you’ve been accused of and I know you!”
“Its true, but its not the Mayor who chose this path for me. It was fate. What must be, must be and I hope you can understand that.”
“Come on Beergut. We have to go.”
Beergut looked at Eddie kind-heartedly, “I’m not going, but there are people here who need to rescued. People who have no reason to be here. Jack Marlow. An old friend is in the cell next to mine. Zebediah, the town’s doctor, who tried to help me the other day. I believe he’s in the cell opposite mine. Rescue them. Rescue them for me.” Beergut put a comforting hand on Eddie’s shoulder. Eddie nodded and understood. He proceeded to unlock Jack and Zeb’s cell doors. Both were delighted to be free.
At that moment shouting could be heard in the distance. Eddie motioned everyone to run out as fast as they could and to follow Mac to safety. Eddie ran behind them.
A couple of minutes later four guards charged into the prison, revolvers and rifles at the ready. They didn’t see Eddie’s escaping party but they did see the disturbing sight of three dead guards and three unlocked cells. “Bloody Hell!” One of them exclaimed.
They soon spotted Beergut standing in his cell and cried a sigh of relief. They immediately pushed him back into his cell and one of the guards stayed in there with Beergut, kicking and punching him in frustration at nearly losing him; they all knew what the Mayor would do to them if Beergut escaped. The other three guards all stood outside his cell, guarding it strongly.
Eddie’s party had managed to escape and blend into the crowd.
“Where’s Beergut?” Jack asked Eddie with concern. Eddie replied solemnly, “He didn’t want to be rescued.” Eddie still couldn’t believe what had just happened and it was barely sinking in.
“But you were meant to rescue him! You’re from Redbeard’s crew right?”
Eddie looked at him inquisitively, “Was. Why?”
“I sent you that letter! You were meant to rescue him.” Jack’s eyes were welling up.
“We couldn’t save him.” Eddie repeated.
“No!” Jack cried and then a few moments later, “You’re just going to let him die? No!” Jack ran off in despair. Eddie looked on earnestly.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 07 January 2006 - 06:46 PM
“We’ve lost him. I just can’t believe it.” Edie said, still trying to make sense of Beergut’s decision. They all looked at each other blankly. None of them could quite believe that Beergut would be dead in less than two days time. Zeb spoke up,
“What I find most reprehensible is that Frank or ‘Beergut’ is innocent. He was there at the scene of the crime but…”
“…You saw him at the scene of the crime?” Eddie cut in.
“I saw him escaping with his parents at the time, but I’m sure of his innocence.”
Eddie nodded, listening intently. Maybe he couldn’t understand Beergut’s decision, but he could at least try and understand the circumstances that led up to it. Zeb continued, relating the story to them.
“Frank’s parents are the real criminals. Although I never knew Beergut that well, from what I did know of him it was clear to me that he was nothing like them. His parents had been plaguing the town with crime for a long time. Mainly stealing and conning folk out of their money, but they were never caught, despite their notoriety. Personally, I suspect they used bribery to keep themselves from being caught by the law.”
Eddie and Mac were both paying attention to the story. They were finding out things they had never known about Beergut. Zeb continued.
“From the occasions I dealt with Beergut when he was a child it seemed obvious to me that he was the exact opposite to his parents. In fact, I witnessed on one occasion his father beating him and forcing him to aid him with his acts of theft. I reported both the theft and the abuse to the authorities at the time, but nothing was ever done about either incident.”
“And what about the murder that Beergut is accused of?” Eddie inquired.
“His parents tried to loot the Mayor’s house; thinking he was out of town at the time. He wasn’t and when he was disturbed by the noise of the break in they killed him in cold blood. In front of their child - Beergut. I have no doubt in my mind that Beergut had no direct involvement in this. I also believe it to be an event that has scarred him irreparably ever since.”
Eddie thought back to Beergut’s last words to him after the events at Yokel over three months ago, ‘I’m going away to settle my conscience.’ Eddie was slowly beginning to understand. The excessive drinking, the cold sweats and nightmares. It was something that Beergut had never been able to forget or deal with, however much he tried to block the painful memories out.
“It has scarred him. But only now do I realise it.” Eddie interjected. There was a moment’s thoughtful silence. Mac broke it,
“So what’s our plan now?”
They all looked at each other blankly. Eddie took a deep breath, “We’ll be there on Monday morning.”
“And rescue him at the last minute?” Mac inquired.
“I don’t know. I just don’t know.” Eddie shook his head, a wave of despair and helplessness passing over him.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh
Posted 09 January 2006 - 10:34 AM
The cell door creaked open. A priest walked in to give Beergut the last rites. Beergut struggled to bring his heavy, worried breathing under control but he tried to compose himself and relax as best he could. The door was closed and the priest began the ritual.
It begun with Beergut’s confession to the priest and to God, which made him feel more at ease straight away. They then moved on the Apostles Creed and the Lord’s Prayer before ending with the blessing.
Whilst it renewed his faith, it didn’t subdue the surmounting horror of the situation. After the priest left, Beergut stood up and moved to the iron barred window. He could see the streets beginning to fill with anticipating citizens. He felt his anxiety returning again with full force.
Tears began forming as the keys events of his life flashed before his eyes. He wept as he recalled the horrors of his past, of a world that had gone very wrong for him. He heard the guards approaching and he tried to regain his composure.
The cell door opened and the guards entered to find Beergut standing by the door, ready to be marched out to the gallows. His posture was one of confidence and defiance, but his eyes showed his true feelings of terror. They bound his hands together and then took him towards the gallows.
Led by the guards, Beergut begun the solemn march towards death. He was marched through a clearing through the thronging crowds and as he passed through them they jeered and threw rotten food and stones at him. The guards had to quieten the riotous crowd in order to allow Beergut to walk up the steps to a stage next to the gallows. There, with a guard behind him, he stood next to the gloating Mayor.
Eddie, Mac and Zeb were watching at the back of the crowd in silent disgust. As Beergut nervously scanned the mass of spectators, he caught sight of them. He smiled as it brought forth memories of his past friendships.
The Mayor addressed the fervent crowd,
“Greetings, fellow citizens. We are here to witness justice being served for the most heinous crime in this town’s history. We are here to witness the hanging of Frank Portlock, a member of the infamous Portlock family responsible for the horrific murder of the town’s Mayor twenty years ago. I said at the time that no matter how long it took, we would see justice for the crime. It has certainly been a long time, but that makes the justice even more poignant. Let this be proof that in this town, no crime ever goes unpaid. Let us have our justice today!”
The crowd gave a boisterous cheer. Eddie, Mac and Zeb looked on horrified. Eddie’s heart sunk dramatically as he watched Beergut being directed towards the gallows. Before he reached them, however, he shrugged off the guard, momentarily breaking free,
“WAIT!” he shouted. The guard immediately went to restrain him, but the Mayor told him to let Beergut have his final words. Beergut focussed his gaze on Eddie as he spoke,
“Don’t worry about me. I accept what fate has willed to happen to me. And remember, life is just an illusion. Reality is on the other side! I’ll see you there!”
The guard grabbed Beergut as soon as he finished speaking and directed him to the noose. Eddie watched, horrified and with tears in his eyes. He was helpless to stop the event from occurring. His stomach was churning as he watched in shock.
Beergut’s head was in the noose now and his feet were resting on the trap door. Within seconds the Mayor himself released the trap door to rapturous applause from the crowd. Beergut briefly writhed from the strangulation, but within minutes his body became limp and lifeless, hanging from the rope. Mac and Zeb looked on in horror. Zeb broke down in disgust and anger at the violation of justice.
On seeing Beergut’s final jerks of life, Eddie immediately ran to the corner of the nearest building. He rested his hand on the wall and vomited in disgust, the memory of what he had just seen already scarring his soul with pain. He then staggered a few steps forward, the images already haunting him and collapsed on the ground in a fit of despair.
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SUPER BUNNY Says: Meh