Four of Diamonds: 'Prisoner'

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-Slightly more edited for typos-

What? Yeah, I've carried a card before. Never used it, I didn't dare touch the blamed thing. It was back in Okaone. Some little town in the middle of no where. Injuns live there, almost half the population.

Anyway, you know how it gets hot, here? And sometimes there's the slightest breeze, nothing big, just enough to shake the grass and make it barely tolerable? It was just like that. I was with a wagon train, trading in a circuit between towns. Towns that small ain't got no railheads.

So everyone is packing up the wares, we've delivered what was ordered in the last circuit, and we've sold off what we're gonna sell this time. The wagon master starts getting everything in line, we're about to set out, and we start seeing smoke on the other side of town. The wagonmaster, name o' Stanely, doesn't want to slow down, or risk the wagons, but doesn't feel good about just leaving the village to burn, so he sends some of the guards and I over to lend a hand.

--

What? Jess shutup, you. I was faster back then. And I didn't have a dead arm. I was fast though, that's how I got the job; I ain't no Gunslinger, but I can pack iron like anyone else, and I'm a good shot, and fast too. Well, I was.

Anyway, we're running on over, turn the corner and stop dead. There's a dozen plus bodies in the street, and there's this psychopath with a can of kerosene, and he's splashing it all over the burning buildings and bodies. Laughing hysterically, too. I think we all reached for our guns as soon as we saw him. He did too, but first he put the can down. The moment he reached down, I saw his gun. Bone white. And with a red Diamond on it. I knew I was a dead man. KNEW.

--

I'll admit, it crossed my mind just giving up. Or trying to run. Was short, though, I knew I wouldn't have gotten anywhere. He was busy killing and burning everything in the town, from what I could see of the street. And a diamond, I knew I couldn't get away fast enough.

So we're all drawing, and of course, he draws first. Despite carefully setting that kerosene can down. He brings it up to his shoulder, almost leisurely, except a dozen times faster than I could ever move. And his face... it's frozen in agonized concentration. You ever find something you have no hope of moving, and push on it? As hard as you can, just for the sake of trying? Like that. Giving it his *all*. And still, I've got my gun out of my holster, just, and a gunshot rings out. Jerry, to my left, falls backward with a hole in his head. I get my gun about a quarter of the way up, and Tom takes a shot through the head to my right. Both of them dead, and I know I'm next. I give up on lining up for a body shot, and just pull the trigger. Saved my damn life.

--

Goes right through his knee. He fell over on his face, and dropped the gun. There's a second shot, and the Gun goes sliding to my feet, and I'm amazed that I'm alive.

To be quite honest, I just stand there for a moment, and look at my iron. I went up against an actual Card, a real GUN, and not only didn't die, but won. I was awful proud, even if we had outnumbered him three to one.

The guy rolls over, though. He ain't dead, a knee shot won't kill you. Actually, I recall, I just started wondering why he wasn't screaming. A shattered knee hurts. And then it hit me, or rather, I realized HE had hit me. My right arm was dead. I couldn't move it. At all. Still can't, as you well know. A doc off in Dodge tol' me the bullet shredded something in the shoulder; the arms fine and all, but I just can't move it. Fingers are fine, just not the arm.

Sorry, I've griped about that before. You've heard it. Anyway, I walk up to the Gunslinger, and he's looking up at me. I couldn't move my right arm, so I took the gun out with my left hand, and pointed it at his head.

I'll never forget what he said. He just looked down the barrel of my slug thrower and said 'Thank you.'. Quiet as you please, and heartfelt.

--

What? Of course I pulled the damn trigger! If you'd heard him, you would have too! Plus... his eyes. From that close I could actually see them... If anyone has ever looked into the pits of hell, it was him. I don't know what he'd seen, but I didn't want to.

After that, I went and picked up his gun. Not with my hands, mind you. Not after what he said. I took my shirt off, and wrapped that around my hand. It was a beautiful piece, mark you. A bit terrifying, though. Bone white, slightly blackened in places. Like it'd been burned clean in a fire. I never actually touched it, mind you, but it put me in mind of a real bone. Human bone. The end of the barrel was shaped like a demon's mouth, too. Spitting fire. And on the handle, one side was a red diamond, the other a red '4', looking like someone had cut them in with a knife.

I wrapped that up in my shirt, and never touched it. Spent the rest of the circuit practicing my left hand shooting, and that got almost as good as my right had been.

The Gun? Sold it to a nice genn'lman from England, dapper type, said he worked for... Something-ham Small Arms, one of those shooter companies. They'd sent him out here to see if he could find a sample of the '"Legendary Wild Cards". Yeah, they weren't too sure they were real, but if they were, they were hoping to aquire a sample.

What do you take me for, a total bastard? Or just plain stupid? Of course I warned him. Before I even mentioned a gun, I told him the whole story. He was listening to anything that had a Card in it, I thought I could make some money if I sold it to him but didn't want to unless he understood. He seemed to, so I agreed. I even cut the price he offered by $25 just to get him to swear to be careful with that damn Card.

--

Turned out to be useless, though. This letter you asked me about that got me started, he's writing back to say that the gun vanished from a locked briefcase he took with him on the Centeral Pacific. He had it in his lap the whole time, and it wasn't there when he opened it in Philadelphia.

Yeah, I figure it's probably the Dealer. I've seen a Gun, I can believe in a Dealer. But... I don't know, if there's any gun that would go and seek out a 'slinger on it's own... I bet it would be that one. And I'd hate to be the person it found.



Wild Cards
Spades: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - J - Q - K - A
Hearts: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - J - Q - K - A
Clubs: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - J - Q - K - A
Diamonds: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - J - Q - K - A
Jokers: Red Joker - Black Joker
Introduction - The World - Gameplay - Stories of the world
On the Attainment, Ownership and Passing of The Cards
Variant Rule: Hands