Henry is slowly sipping on a glass filled to the brim with a honey coloured liquid. His burlap and denim clothes no longer the light blue so recogniseable on miners but rather discoloured matching the dust all around us. Every inch of open skin is covered in bruises and cuts and his eyes carry the tell-tale look of survivors guilt.
“Some of those men were like family to me,” He said twirling his glass. “I was the first one down there, hurling boulders to get those men out and after all that work there coming to kill me. I’ll do whatever I can to help you, please just put my friends out of their misery and stop them from hurting anyone else.” “Dixon said something about dynamite?” I asked.
Henry nodded. “We dug deep into the earth, so we kept some on hand to help with clearing the way.” Henry continued to explain to us the layout of the mine and the quickest way to get to the dynamite once we were inside. Henry was very thorough with his explanation, giving detailed routes and tips of the quickest way to get in and out of the mine. Before I knew it dusk had fallen on the small town of Colmbstock. Just as we were about to leave, Dixon rushed towards us.
“You can’t go outside,” he said harshly. “Those things will out of the mine soon, it’s not safe. Why don’t you stay with us for the night. It would be easier to stay safe with 4 more people to protect us.” Agreeing with the Sheriff we each grabbed a chair and gathered around the bar. My distrust for Dixon had faded and we each grabbed a filled glass.
“We should try and capture one of them,” I suggested taking another swig from my drink. The liquid burned but kept me warm in the cold saloon. “Might be able to get information out of the creature before we kill it.”
“Good idea,” Sir Longbeard agreed. “Would be nice to know what we are getting ourselves.”
The entire bar stiffened as the sound of grinding gears and screeching metal was heard as the elevator was slowly being pulled up from the depths of the mine. We stood around waiting before deciding that we would start sleeping in shifts, always keeping one person awake to stand guard. I created myself a makeshift bed in the corner and sleep took me quickly. It felt like only a few seconds had past when I was awoken by Jonah.
“Your turn,” he mumbled, pulling me out of my bed and falling into it. His first snore echoed in the room before his head even hit the pillow.
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and started slowly walking around the room, trying hard to stay awake. Once or twice I saw the shadowy figure of a crooked man walk past one of the windows. Just as my shift was coming to and end I heard it.
Light scratching at the door.
I looked out of the window closest to the door. A lone figure stood in front of the door, dragging his nails on the wood. His limbs stood out at weird angles and his eyes looked pale and cold. I moved around quickly and quietly gathering everyone. We stayed low and moved away from the door so as not to be heard.
“We could wait it out?” Dixon suggested, his voice low. “None of them have managed to break into the saloon yet.”
“There is only one,” I said. “This could be the perfect time to see what we are up against and maybe thinning out their numbers a bit”.
“You sure it’s only one of them?” Sir Longbeard asked.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” Jonah asked, with a cocky grin.
It took us a few minutes to prepare our trap. Gerared and I stood at the door, waiting to move the furniture blocking the door. Jonah stood next to the door ready to rebuild the barricade once Gerared and I pulled the crooked man in. Longbeard was standing by with his rifle held ready, in case anything went wrong.
The light scratching was still going on outside as Gerared counted down.
I worked quickly, grabbing and pulling any furniture I could get my hands on. Before I knew it my hand was on the door and I was looking at Gerared who gave a curt nod. The crooked man was surprised that the door it was scratching wasn’t there anymore and that a man was charging at him. Gerared pulled out his dual huntings knives and slashed wildly cutting through skin easily but drawing no blood. I was next out of the door, the claws that were strapped to my hands moving quickly, racking deep furrows across the man’s chest. Luckily for us the creature stumbled into the saloon of its own accord, a blank expression on its face.
“Rest in peace, scum!” Sir Longbeard cried as he pulled back the trigger of his rifle. The rifle was a mechanical marvel capable of killing someone from well over 40 feet away. In the close quarters of the saloon where the target was only 3 feet away, the shot punched a fist size hole through its chest and knocked it to the ground.
Jonah moved quickly, rebuilding the barricade and stopping anymore of the crooked men from entering. Just like that the fight was over. Sheriff Dixon moved to the body and turned it over. “That looks like Tom Brown,” he said sadly. “One of the men that was taken last week.”
Gerared walked over and hit Sir Longbeard on the head. “So much for taking it alive and questioning it, you idiot!”
“The thing was dead anyway, how do you even question a deadman?” He retorted.
Gerared opened his mouth, closed it and walked away. As the adrenaline of the fight wore off I was forced back onto my bed and sleep wrapped her arms around me.