Jack of Spades: 'Ill Wind'

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"Sorry."

The boy stood over me, as I lay in the mud, gasping for breath.

He had seemed almost nice, when he came into town, walking in during a helluva thunderstorm, with a tale of a wagon train hit by redskins. Young, not quite a man by the reckoning of most, with a dark coat pasted to his pale skin. He had seemed lost and alone and cold, and we took pity on him, gave him a place to stay for a while.

"I mean, I'm really sorry." He said, and I looked up at him, and the storm clouds behind him. He'd been here two days, and it hadn't stopped raining. The rain made it hard to judge, but I think he was crying.

I felt like crying myself. I was lying in the mud, a wound in my gut bleeding out into the street, with the burnt-out ruin of my entire home around me.

He'd slept in a room over at the Westerner's place. I think maybe Mary had been trying to get him to take a liking to her oldest, Beth, but now I guess I'd never know.

The boy had risen the next day, and shot the whole family dead. Bullets flew from his Gun, and tore into them as they went about their daily chores. The bullets went through walls and doors, and anything they touched, burned.

Despite the rain, and the damp, and the efforts of anyone who spent time trying to stop the burning rather than runnin', the house burned. And then he shot up the place next door. House to house he went, his black coat thrown up by the wind, and behind him, a trail of burning lives.

He shot up the general store, igniting a barrel of gunpowder, which fueled the flames of the town. By then, people knew there was a fire, and many ran to help. They died, burning, in the street.

That's what confounded me most. Of all the town, I wasn't burning. Dying, yes. With a boy with an honest-to-god Gun above me.

I could see the brand burning on it, a "J" above a Spade, and now that I was looking, the gun was shaking in the boy's hand. He'd killed an entire town, torn out our hopes and dreams, and burned them to the mud, and the boy was crying.

"I-I-'m really sorry," he stammered. "I don't know why you're still alive, a-and I wish I could tell you WHY I had to do this." His hand came up, and gestured at the still-smoldering embers of my home.

"I-It's the Gun. It...makes me do things. Bad things, Terrible things. Things so god-awful I have to keep goin' until I pass out, else I can't sleep." I was certain he was cryin' now, the tears streaking the soot under his eyes. "Sometimes, I tell myself it's a lesson. That you all did SOMETHING, and I'm punishing you. Or, or, maybe, it's so people hear about this town, and it makes them be nicer. But, the truth is, I don't know. I think, maybe, this Gun's just evil."

He managed a shaky smile. "You know what they say, it's an Ill Wind..."

He brought the gun up, there was a burst of thunder, and the world went black.

-TheWizened


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