Wednesday, 25 September 2013

500 Word Challenge: Nobody Likes The Hangman

Howdy partners! Today's 500 Word Challenge is set in the wild west. Why? Because I felt like it, that's why! Okay, so maybe this morning I was listening to The Hangman's Body Count by Volbeat, but don't judge me because it was inspiration! Besides, Volbeat rocks.

Anyways, this was the challenge: A character is lonely throughout most of the story.

Yes, that really was it. So here you go...

- - -

    There ain’t nobody who wants to be friends with the Hangman.
    Not surprisin’. I’m used to the nervous looks I get walkin’ the streets. They know it’s me. I’m the only seven foot tall giant in town with more muscles on me than railway workers.
    Folks don’t notice me when there’s a hangin’. They’re lookin’ at the man I’m gonna kill. They hoot and holler when the floor drops and he starts chokin’, his face turnin’ blue, tongue lollin’ out like a mutt’s and piss runnin’ down his leg. Never got why people got so excited. Death ain’t pretty.
    Soon as it’s over and I’m cartin’ the body out to be buried, they start backin’ away from me. This ain’t a nice town. Deputies are easy to buy, the Sheriff’ll frame anyone givin’ him the stink-eye, and the mayor’ll remove folk in the way of his profits.
    Least that’s what I hear. Ain’t nobody tellin’ secrets to the Hangman.
    I didn’t have anybody. Pa died in a barfight and Ma caught the pox. Couldn’t afford the doctor livin’ on our dry farm. But the Sheriff took one look at me and said, ‘You wanna help kill some bad guys, son?’
    I wasn’t smart. Thought he was gonna make me a deputy. Not a Hangman.
    After I got my dollar for hangin’ and copper for buryin’, I’d go to the bar and try to make a friend. Gold miner, cattle herder, shoe shiner, don’t matter. Any one woulda been better than no one. Soon as they saw me, they hurried away, scared that they’d get caught doin’ somethin’ wrong, and have to look at me as I pulled the lever and the rope tightened one last time.
    Never even bothered with lady folk. Even the ugly ones didn’t fancy sleepin’ with a big, dumb Hangman who only used his hands to put on the noose and pull the lever.
    I didn’t bother tryin’ anymore, even when new faces strolled in. Travellers and prospectors didn’t want to make friends with the Hangman.
    So I sat alone at my table in the bar. Nothin’ else to do.
    “This seat taken?” someone asked me.
    I looked up at the man, who was as big as me. His coat was dusted and dirty, like he’d been diggin’ graves himself. But there was no meanness in his eyes. Nothin’ that said he’d trick me.
    “Rest of the tables are full up,” he drawled. “I’m new to these parts and ain’t lookin’ for anythin’ but a quiet chat with a local.”
    I stared. “Sure you wanna sit with the Hangman?”
    His friendly smile dropped. “You this town’s Hangman?”
    I nodded. Then he did the damnedest thing.
    He smiled.
    He dropped into the chair across from me. “Finally,” he said. “Never thought I’d meet another man in my line o’ work.”
    I blinked. “You’re a Hangman?”
    “Used to be, ‘fore I decided to go trail blazin’.”
    I smiled.
    Only a Hangman can be friends with a Hangman.

- - -

Now that the challenge is all wrapped up, I'll be getting as much Cursed writing in today as I can. My day flew by waaaay faster than I thought I would and while it wasn't inefficient, there was so much more I wanted to do as far as writing goes. This hasn't been the first day I've had where I've wished I didn't need to sleep, but last night was hugely productive (thank you Kurtis!), and I'm very excited to continue working on Constance and Andromeda's story. It's changed a bit from the premise I posted a few days ago, but once it's revamped I'll put the new one up.


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