Bury Me in Smoke

📅 Published on April 7, 2021

“Bury Me in Smoke”

Written by Drew Blood
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 15 minutes

Rating: 8.50/10. From 6 votes.
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The old man’s eyes were cobalt. Deep blue as the North Atlantic and just as stormy. Effortless would it be to imagine an old and proud 44 gunship skudding under topsails with the wind, Wandering Albatrosses gliding with ease above the ship’s wake, the great birds supported by their vast wings upon the tumultuous winds. So deep blue were his eyes. And hard? Cold steel ain’t in it my friends. Now, those same cold stormy eyes were staring down the tinhorn upstart who had ridden into the dusty little Texas town half an hour earlier. The young saddle tramp had tied his horse and gone straight over to the saloon. After looking the place over briefly he grinned, walked through the double swinging doors and made his way over to the darkest corner of the place. His boots clopped to a loud stop just before the edge of the shadows. Dry and rough with the trail dust from the countless miles of riding, the young man’s voice came out in a husky tenor.

“You be Davis Fallon.” It wasn’t a question, but more of an accusation. The entire saloon went quiet at the mentioning of that name. The old gunslinger,  who was indeed the notorious outlaw and gunfighter, Davis “Black Bones” Fallon, who had picked up that little moniker during the war between the states when as a colonel in the calvary, he ordered his men on countless occasions to pile up the bodies of the fallen enemy and torch them. The only thing left after these gruesome bonfires were a few charred black bones. The name stuck. Now he sighed and with not the least hint of fear said “Aye,” and after a pause continued, “You don’t have to do this boy. You can turn around and just walk out of here. You understand me? I’m giving you a chance to live, boy. A bit longer, anyways.”

“What in the hell does that mean?” Said the young man his face reddening with anger. Black bones replied coolly, “I mean I have no doubt that your mouth will get you killed sooner than you think. You ain’t cut out for this kind of madness, boy. You ain’t got the soul for it. I can tell, hear me. I have built several graveyards full of idiots like you in them.”

“Get up, you son of a bitch!” yelled the younger man.  “Don’t you know who I am?”

Black bones replied with little interest, “Yeah, I do.” The other man’s chin went up as he puffed his chest out. “You,” continued black bones, “are my soon-to-be next victim.” The tinhorn’s face drained of color.

“Hold it!” the barkeep intervened. “Take this out into the street. I’ll have no shooting in here!”

The younger man looked in the direction of the barkeep only to find himself staring down both barrels of a fully-loaded sawed-off shotgun, both hammers cocked. Black Bones chuckled, stood, and tossed two silver coins on the wooden table. Then he rolled his cold blue eyes up to look at the young man and said, “I guess maybe we should take this outside, boy. After you.”

Black Bones followed the young man out through the double doors into the streets. The grin never left his face. Suddenly everyone in the bar rushed to file outside. They were not going to miss the chance to watch the legendary gunslinger pull his irons. It would be something to talk about for all time. Many of them couldn’t believe their luck the grins never leaving their faces either.

The two men walked a good piece away from each other in opposite directions both stopping and turning on their heels to face each other. The young man was nervous, very nervous and it showed by the tremor in his hand and you could hear it in his voice when he said, “Just so you know, I’m Tom Ryan… junior.”

There seemed to be a slight hint of recognition in Black Bones’ old eyes and the young man picked up on that. While slightly nodding his head he said a little louder, “That’s right you bastard, you killed my father some years back and I swore one day I would become the best and I would kill you. Well, here I am, you son of a bitch! I am the best. Something you will soon find out old man!” The old man only grinned wider and said, “If you really want to pull iron with me boy… Then, hell, son, I will oblige… But before you nod that empty head of yours chew on this for a spell…the very second you do nod, you will be roasting in hell the very next.”

“You go to hell old man! You killed my daddy…shot him in the back…I know that you did…you couldn’t have done it any other way…he was the best there was you fool!

“Your daddy was a goddamn fool boy, same as you. He only thought he was the best. Then he met me and I don’t recall any holes in his back besides the two that were put there by the lead that went through his heart first. Now…that’s enough talk boy. Shut your mouth and pull those irons if you got the backbone…Come on your little bastard….bury me in smoke…” he began to laugh. The old man stood in the middle of the road laughing. His posture was very relaxed but his eyes spoke nothing but death. He continued laughing even as the young man made a quick reach for his gun. A very quick move. Suddenly two shots rang out so close together they could have easily been mistaken for one shot and as the young man fell in a crumpled heap to the dirt the old man was laughing still. Then he stopped and all was eerily quiet. The crowd of town folk could only stare, their mouths agape. This was like nothing any had ever seen.  He stood there looking off to the West for a moment, gun still smoking in his hand that was now hanging limp at his side. He seemed to be in another place. Then suddenly his eyes cleared. He holstered his pistol, turned on his heel and walked away towards the hotel. Then he stopped suddenly as if to remember something. He reached down and pulled his pistol again, popped open the cylinder and ejected the two empty shells. He holstered his gun again after loading two fresh rounds, then resumed his walking. When the hotel’s doors finally closed behind him, two men in black suits ran out to the young man. They both looked up at each other with incredulous eyes. The young man had two perfectly placed holes right over his heart. His pistol, still clutched in his hand, never cleared leather.

“My God,” the undertaker said, “never did see the like.”

Having walked through the front doors of the hotel, across the foyer, up the rickety old wooden stairs, and down the short hallway to his room, the old man now sat on the edge of his bed with his forehead resting in his tired old hands. He was uneasy in his mind. Though he had done so many times throughout the years, he never liked having to kill the younger ones. It always bothered him. This cold-blooded killer who had escorted many a soul to the afterlife still had a softer spot in that black heart of his. He could remember very clearly how reckless and naïve he was at that age and knew that given time most of the young men he had had to kill in the past would have mellowed and changed temperaments the same as he had done. Finally he decided there was nothing for it but to move on. No help for it. The young were always going to behave like the young and the old man would have to continue putting them down as they came. There was never any talking sense into them. He absentmindedly rasped his fingers on his jaw making the sound of sandpaper on wood. The old gunslinger stood and took his gun belt off hanging it on the bedpost with the pistol positioned for easy access should the need arise as it had several times over the decades. Davis walked slowly across the small room to the window that faced the main street and peeked out from behind the curtains. Down below in the middle of the road was a dark patch of wet dirt where the young man had lay dead. He closed his tired eyes briefly and then walked back over to the bed. Sorrow in his heart. A deep sadness that had followed him for countless years. He then kicked off his old leather boots that had once been considered nice, picked them up and parked them neatly next to his bed. He sat back down on the bed, stretched his arms luxuriously with a yawn and lay back on the bed swinging his legs up with a small grunt. Within seconds of closing his old tired and curiously hooded eyes, the old man was fast asleep.

That night, as on most nights the old man suffered. He was tormented with night terrors. Always the same. In the dream, the location changed nightly but the gist of the nightmare was always the same. No matter what town, no matter what backdrop and no matter what he was doing, there was always an unstoppable evil pursuing him. A pure evil almost elemental in nature. Every night the evil would finally catch up to him. No amount of running and no amount of slyness or cunning could throw off the pursuer. It always found him. And every time the darkness would catch him it seemed to reach a smoky black hand into his chest as if it was searching for something. As if it was reaching in to take his very soul. Davis, on more occasions than he would care to know would always wake breathing heavily, both he and the bedclothes soaked in sweat. And tough and battle-hardened as he was it never failed to bring tears to his old bloodshot eyes when he would realize it was only a nightmare. This night was no different than most of the others. Davis sat straight up in bed in a cold sweat breathing heavily his head pivoting around in quick terrified movements, squinting at the darkest shadows in his room, trying to get a better look to see whether or not something would step out of those shadows and carry him off to Hades. Finally, he calmed down enough to sit up on the edge of his bed to better catch his breath. Davis found a match on the table and struck it to light the lamp. For just a few seconds the match glowed brightly, a pulsing red heart in the darkness. Then he lit the kerosene lamp and turned the flame up to better light the room, easing his anxiety. Chasing away the tyrannical darkness and eradicating the shadows. Davis leaned over and reached into his leather bag and brought out his makings. With deft hands he rolled himself a cigarette. He lifted the oil lamp and lit his cigarette from the wick. He inhaled greedily and let the think smoke roll from both nostrils as he exhaled. He was beginning to calm down now when a sound came to his ears that stopped him cold. It was coming from the hallway just outside the door to his room. It was the sound of a coin rolling in a big spiral as if someone had accidentally dropped it. But instead of someone stopping it to pick it back up, it continued to spiral and from the sounds, it was tightening in on itself, the circles becoming smaller and smaller until finally the coin could be heard spinning loudly and getting louder as it began to settle on the wood floor. All this time Davis sat stock still on the edge of his bed, afraid to even breathe, but he didn’t know what. With a shaky breath, Davis said quietly to himself, “it’s nothing.” Deep down though, he knew he really didn’t believe that. Instead of getting up to investigate, his heart told him just to stay right where he was and try to get some more sleep.

* * * * * *

The next day, Black Bones decided it was time to move on from the small Texas town. He didn’t like the feel of the place anymore. Had to keep moving if he didn’t want to lose his sanity. The events of the night before had unnerved him. He couldn’t put his finger on it but he had an overwhelming sense of doom that was slowly coming over him. He had felt this in one form or another several times throughout his life but never to such an extent as this. He knew something was on his back trail just as he knew that whatever it was was inevitable.  in what form the danger would take he could not say, he just knew. Felt it in his bones. Davis put his few possessions in the saddlebag he kept in his room then threw it over his shoulder and went downstairs to the lobby and squared up with the innkeeper. As he stepped outside, he was about to make his way over to the stable to get his horse but on a whim decided he would like to have one more drink at the saloon before hitting the long and lonesome trail to wherever the wind would blow him next, as it had done for the past 40 odd years. Black Bones looked up into the sky with trepidation in his heart. There was a storm on the horizon growing stronger and darker by the minute, and it was definitely headed for Agua Caliente. Or was it him it was headed for? He put it out of his mind and made his way across the dirt road over to the saloon and as he did town folk would stop what they were doing to look at him. The magnificent display of skill with his gun was still fresh in their minds. It was all anyone could talk about all that evening. Davis paid them no mind and walked through the double swinging doors.

There was only a couple of people in the saloon today and they were over at a table playing cards. Each man intently focused on the game. Black Bones made his way up to the bar. “What will ya have, Mr. Fallon?” The barkeep asked.

“Give me a bottle and a glass.”

“Yessir, Mr. Fallon.”

Davis eyed the man warily. Yesterday the barkeep had been as rude to him as he normally was with all his customers. Now the man had a big smile on his face and a nervous demeanor. Davis decided he had changed his way of talking to him because of yesterday’s excitement.  He threw the silver onto the bar top and was about to turn and walk away when the barkeep said, “Umm, Mr. Fallon, sir. I just wanted to tell you that I had that greener aimed at the young man yesterday. I….I never had it on you, sir. I swear. I….I would never disrespect you like that.” Davis eyed him just long enough to make him look quickly away and without another word spun on his heel and walked over to the darkest corner of the place and sat at his usual table. He liked this table. It allowed him to keep his back to the wall and his eye on the door. A habit he had picked up by necessity after a few close calls in his younger days. He was a much more careful man now and was smart enough to learn from his mistakes. Davis drew the glass close and tipped the whiskey bottle to pour, a slight clink as the bottle met the rim of the glass. When he looked slightly back up to drink he saw with a shock that there was a person standing right in front of him at the table.

“Goddamn, son!” Davis blurted out while sloshing a bit of whiskey from his glass, the amber liquid running down and dripping from his fingers. The new stranger only stood calmly and cocked his head to the side with a lopsided grin on his face. He was dressed all in black and Davis noticed that his clothing was impeccable. He figured the hat the man was wearing had to be an expensive one because he had never seen that particular style before. Davis noticed that it was coal-black as well. Davis had never seen this man before but he knew right away that he did not like him. There was something about his face that was wrong or off. Davis couldn’t quite place it. Perhaps it was the facial hair that gave him an ill feeling. The stranger wore a mustache neatly trimmed but long that curled up slightly at the ends. He had a patch of hair just under his bottom lip that was as jet black as the mustache and the hair on the stranger’s head. Other than that there was not so much as a hint of stubble anywhere on the man’s sharp cut jawline. It could have also been the man’s eyes that unsettled Davis. They were so dark, they could’ve been black. The way he just stood there with that grin on his face unnerved him. The longer the man did not answer the angrier Davis became. Finally, he said sternly, “You gonna say something or are you gonna stand there with that stupid grin on your face all day?” Davis was beginning to think that this would be a repeat of yesterday. Here was another young upstart gunfighter who wanted to prove himself. This was really getting old he thought. The stranger in black did not answer but instead reached slowly into his coat pocket and withdrew from it a silver coin. With ease and quickness, the man flicked the coin across each slender finger as Davis watched. “Ain’t that special,” he said sarcastically and sneered at the young man.

Still without a single word being said, the young man very slowly reached down with the silver coin poised between the tips of his index and middle finger. Just before the coin touched the table the stranger flicked his fingers in a way that made the silver coin begin to roll in a circle right there on the wooden table. Davis had previously been unable to take his eyes from the coin but now looked up into the eyes of the young stranger with both anger and alarm.

“So,” Davis said in a low tone. “So you like rolling coins around huh?” There was a slight tremor in his voice and hearing it angered Davis even more. He would be damned if he would let anyone, especially this young tinhorn put fear in him. Except for his drunk father when he was just a lad, no man had ever inspired fear in his heart. Ever.

The taste of fear was something completely new to Black Bones and he found it to be quite unpleasant. The coin began to spin on the table becoming louder and it was more than Davis could take. He reached up and slammed his hand down on top of the coin ceasing its motion and bringing complete silence to the saloon. By this time everyone who was there had taken notice of the exchange while the town folk who had seen the stranger walk through the tavern doors had spread the word and rushed over as soon as they could to see what promised to be another phenomenal show of skill on the part of Black Bones. Wasn’t no way anyone was going to out-draw the old legend but it was just watching the speed of his draw that was the real attraction. The tension in the place had just about reached the breaking point and the silence was deafening. Finally the stranger, without saying a word, flicked his dark eyes toward the doors and then quickly back to Davis. The meaning of the gesture was clear and though the stranger was a young man, this was one that Black Bones very much look forward to killing. He didn’t like games and he didn’t like people who played games. As he pushed back his chair and began to stand a grin slowly formed on his old rugged face. He was going to enjoy killing this stranger. Without a care in the world, black bones walked past the little wooden table and deliberately put his back to the stranger as he walked out of the tavern and into the dirt street under an ever-darkening sky. The young stranger followed. It did indeed look like rain.

The old man stood in the middle of the street that was slowly becoming wet as a light drizzle began to fall with bursts of thunder and lightning on the outskirts of town. The wind was beginning to pick up and the legendary gunslinger’s duster was whipping around behind him, his long gray hair streaming out sideways with the gale. The sudden coming storm didn’t bother Black Bones in the least. The old man had pulled his iron in every kind of weather there was over the past four decades. He stood as relaxed as ever fully confident in his skills and stared down the young stranger as the tempest blew and the rain began to fall heavier, blowing in sideways now. Visibility was still okay. The sides of the main road were lined with just about everyone in town. The younger people in the town were perched up on top of the buildings with their legs hanging over the edge. Some were sitting on limbs in the few trees that grew between and along the old buildings. These people were not going to miss another chance to watch the old man put another young punk down. Lightning flashed bright above the two men and the boom of thunder was deafening. Neither man flinched. The two combatants were only focused on each other. Witnessing this level of patience was becoming unbearable for some of the people watching. Some were growing restless thinking neither man was willing to pull their gun. Then suddenly and without warning the witnesses saw through the thick rain some type of quick movement from both men and before they could even see what happened, two loud gunshots rang out. As they struggled and squinted to better see what was happening, there came suddenly a collective gasp from the crowds. Black Bones, the most deadly, most feared gunfighter in the land for over four decades, took a half step backwards with an audible grunt of pain and then sank to his knees in the mud with a splash. He had time to look down and see to blossoming red roses in the center of his chest and to realize, with something like shock, that though his hand was on his pistol, it never cleared leather. Davis Black Bones Fallon pitched forward, dead before his face hit the muddy street. The sudden and absolute end to a legend. Another bright flash of lightning and a clap of thunder that rattled windows in the little shops along the side of the street sent most of the townfolk running for shelter now that the fight was over even though they could not understand what had just happened. Some townsfolk however remained and watched on as the stranger in black, who had just seemingly done the impossible, trudged slowly up the street through the mud and driving rain toward the body of the old man. Cocking his head to the side to block the blowing rain from his face he reached Davis and squatted down next to him. The town folk strained to see what was taking place. What the young stranger was doing was still a hot topic for debate many years later. Some of the witnesses who had been there swore that the stranger had reached into black bones coat and taken something from the old man. Others say he had reached in and taken the old man’s money. Still others swear that as they watched, the young stranger had only placed his open hand on the chest of the old man and simply stood back up, walked to his horse and rode swiftly out of town in the torrential rain with thunder and lightning flashing and booming all around him. The only person who truly knows what happened was the young stranger but he had not been sighted anywhere since that fateful day in the little Texas town of Agua Caliente.

It just so happens I know who the young stranger really was who rode into town that day and claimed the life of the single most deadly outlaw and gunfighter the old American West had ever seen. You see I was there that day. Yes, sir, I was there and not only witnessed the gunfight, but took part in it. You see, I was the young stranger who rode into the dusty little town that day. The old man happened to have something that was mine and he was loathe to relinquish it to me. Now, I am usually a very tranquil person but have been known to get a little rough with people from time to time when they do me a wrong and old Davis Fallon had certainly tried to do me a wrong. His mistake was allowing hubris to take hold of him a little too much and forgot just what our little agreement had been. He got his priorities all mixed up, you understand. He thought he had pulled one over on me and truth be told, he damn near did. Then again when Black Bones rode down at midnight to those dusty crossroads just to meet up with little ol’ me and strike a deal to become the quickest and deadliest gunslinger in the land in exchange for his immortal soul, he had to know that one day I was going to come looking for him. Because whether you are a beggar, a king, or a deadly gunfighter…no man is exempt from givin’ the devil his due…. no man.

Rating: 8.50/10. From 6 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Drew Blood
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Drew Blood


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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