A villain who thinks he’s a hero explains his “reasoning” to an incapacitated Little Joe.
Rating: MA WC 2250
Warnings: Language & Violence—a brutal attack on a woman is alluded to but not described explicitly.
This is a disturbing story, told from the villain’s POV, but I promise it is *not* a death fic! 😉
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Relax, Joe. Ain’t nothin’ you got to worry about. I just gave you somethin’, is all. Slipped it in your coffee. I got it from an old gypsy woman a while back. It’s a special tincture to open up your eyes and ears a mite. If you relax, you’ll see what I mean.
I tried it myself once, so I know how it works. It makes you focus all your energy on listenin’ and seein’ what’s around you. It kind of frees up your mind, so’s you don’t have to worry about movin’ any or goin’ anywhere. You can’t move your arms and legs ‘cause you don’t have to.
Don’t look at me like that. Ain’t no reason to be afraid. Hell, you know I wouldn’t hurt you none. We been trail brothers long enough to know that.
You and me, we’re compadres, the best kind of brothers there is. Better’n real brothers.
Yeah, I know how they are. Real brothers’ll breathe down your neck, and get their noses in business that don’t concern them none. They figure it’s their job to look out for you, to get you to do things the way they think they ought to get done…to get you to do things they want you to do, no matter what you want to do yourself.
But trail brothers, we look out for each other. You and me, we’ve saved each other’s hides often enough to prove that. I’ve saved you from havin’ them real brothers of yours tan your hide, too. But you don’t owe me none for that. You’ve saved my neck a time or two, yourself. I’d do anythin’ for you, you know that.
But, you see, that she-bitch back there in Virginia City, she got your thinkin’ all turned around. I reckon maybe she got her hands on some kind of tincture herself, the kind that’s no good to hombres like you and me. She got you to thinkin’ you belonged to her, when you and I both know it’s supposed to be the other way around.
I tried to teach her some on that, to show her how you and me, trail brothers like us, when we find a good thing we share it. You’ve had my women often enough. I ain’t greedy on that count. Only reason I reckon you didn’t give me no time with yours was that spell she worked on you. I knew if anyone was gonna break that spell, it had to be me. So I went and…I….
I took her.
I swear to you it was like breakin’ a mustang, the meanest, orneriest kind of mustang there is. Might even be she was more like a wild cat or a she-devil than a mustang. I had to throttle her good; you ought to know that.
I reckon maybe I throttled her a little too good. Didn’t really mean to kill her. But…Joe…. She spit at me. And…and she had so much hate in her eyes. Damn near broke my heart to think how shamed you’d be about your woman hatin’ your compadre like that.
Shoot, Joe. Ain’t no need for you to cry over it. She had her claws in you so deep you just couldn’t see any better. That’s why I had to give you that gypsy woman’s tincture. So’s you could finally get a chance to open your eyes and see what that she-bitch done to you.
I’m just lookin’ out for you, Joe, like I always do. Like I got to do, on account of us bein’ trail brothers like we are.
Well, I’ll be damned.
Look at that.
How is it you can move your fingers like that already? Hell, when I took that stuff I couldn’t do more’n blink for a good hour or two. I reckon maybe you need a little more’n me, but….
Dang it, Joe, it worries me to give you any more. That gypsy woman said if you take too much, it’ll stop your heart just like it stops your arms and legs.
But I need you to focus on listenin’, Joe. Don’t be tryin’ so hard to move. You got to relax. You got to trust me enough to stop tryin’ to fidget like that.
I reckon…reckon maybe if I tie you up good and snug, tight enough that you know better than to fight it, maybe then you’ll let that tincture do its work and help you break free of that bitch’s spell. That’s what you got to fight, Joe. That’s all I’m tryin’ to tell you. You got to break free of that spell.
There. That ought to be tight enough. Now you just….
Shhh. What’s that? Sounds like someone’s comin’.
Don’t you worry none. I got my gun right here. I won’t let no one get to you. I’ll protect you. You know I will. I done it often enough.
I don’t hear nothin’ no more. Do you? You can hear better’n me right now. Come on, Joe. Let me see your eyes. Show me if you hear anythin’.
Alright. Maybe…maybe it was just a bunch’a dumb ki-yotes.
I guess I’m just a bit jittery, is all. I figure they’ll have found that she-bitch by now. That’s why I brung you out here, instead of holin’ up somewhere’s in town ‘til the tincture finished doin’ its job. I had to get us both out of town. Don’t want to see you in jail any more’n I want to see myself. They’ll string a man up for killin’ a she-bitch same as if she were an upstandin’ member of society.
Folk’s sense of justice never did make much sense to me. You know what I mean. I know you do.
Maybe another cup of coffee’ll calm me down. Wish I could take some of that tincture, instead. But one of us has to keep a lookout.
After I get you to see clear again, I figure maybe you and me ought to head down Mexico-way. They won’t care none about no American she-bitch. I know a few senoritas I’m sure you’ll take a fancy to. They’ll show you a good ride. A whole lot better’n that she-bitch, that’s for sure.
She sure was tight. I’d swear you never even broke her.
Damn, she really did have her claws in you.
Come on, Joe. Ain’t no need for tears like that. She didn’t hurt me, none.
Fact is, I ain’t never had a tight gal like that. Was kind’a fun breakin’ her in. Felt good, too, knowin’ I got to her before it was too late to cut you loose. If I’d’a waited any longer, she would’a hooked in all the rest of your family. Then I’d have to fight ever’ last one of ‘em to get you free again. I’d hate to have to do that. Trail brothers matter more’n kinfolk; I know that. But that don’t mean it wouldn’t hurt you to see anythin’ happen to your kinfolk. I’d hate for you to have to hurt like that.
What the hell? Stop thrashin’ like that, Joe.
Damn. I reckon I’d better give you more of that stuff after all. You got some constitution, that’s for sure. Just give me a minute. I got to get the bottle out of my saddlebag over here, and—
Adam? Hell, Adam! Don’t tell me she got to you, too?
“I said, drop it!”
It’s just a special tincture. I’m helpin’ Joe to break himself free of that—
“You think you’re helpin’ him by tyin’ him up, too?”
Come on, Hoss. You know me. We’re compadres, Joe and I. We—
“If you don’t drop it right now, I swear I will put a bullet right between your eyes.”
Alright, Adam. Alright.
Dammit! See that? See what you made me do? It’s broken! I can’t help him with it, now! It’s your fault. All your fault. I got to protect Little Joe. I can’t let you—
Y…you shot me! Ain’t…supposed to…ain’t…shouldn’t….
“You all right, Joe?”
Hoss? No! Leave…leave him be. I didn’t…couldn’t finish. I…didn’t….
“You drugged him. Didn’t you?”
I had to, Adam. Had to…break the spell. The…she-bitch.
“Easy, Joe. Don’t you worry, none.”
Hoss? That’s what I…tried…to tell him. Nothin’…to worry about.
“Nothing to worry about?”
“You kill his girl, drug him, hog-tie him and tell him there’s nothing to worry about?”
“I ought to kill you right now.”
“Don’t do it, Adam.”
“Why not, Hoss? Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t pull this trigger.”
Joe? You…sure do got…a…a strong…constitution.
“I’m sorry, punkin.”
Had to…. I had to do it, Joe. Don’t you…see?
“You killed her?”
Don’t…don’t look at me like that, Joe. She was…she was…devil.
“I loved her.”
“I loved her.”
“Adam? I need a knife. These knots are tight as—Adam! Look out!”
That last gunshot was the loudest and clearest sound I ever heard. And I keep hearin’ it. It echoes through my mind day in and day out, almost like I took that tincture myself, like I took it and keep on takin’ it. ‘Cause now…now that’s all there is. Sounds and sights. Can’t move. Can’t hardly breathe. Can just lie here and think to myself. Tell myself I only done what I had to do. And I’d even do it again. ‘Cause that’s what trail brothers do. And that’s what Joe and I were. Trail brothers. Compadres.
Other Stories by this Author
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- A True Cartwright (by freyakendra)
- Bedeviled (by freyakendra)
- The Grizzly and God’s Hands (by freyakendra)
- A Proper Friend (by Freyakendra)