Bobby lies on his back, listening to the machines. He’s innately still, inanimate, trying to figure his bearing in this cold, dark room. A man paces back and forth, at least his steps being audible.
Strapped down to the table, Bobby cannot see his face. The anxiety inside his frame is rolling off the charts. He has to know why he’s here, but nothing gives him a lead.
Bobby expends some air inside his lungs. His voice is course like a screeching record. None can make up what he tries to say. He mumbles through his words, and only succeeds at making the strange man know he’s now conscious. It appears the man had been waiting for him.
“You know Bobby, you have a resilient spirit. It makes me proud to know Wally chose wisely.”
Before it registers who Wally is, or why he picked him, Bobby feels a needle impale the side his neck, forcing a surge of pain where he falls into a dark episode of kaleidoscopic swirls.
Not a moment after, his world is filled with light. The full glare of sunlight staring down the small town that seems empty to young Bobby.
October 7, 1887 (Somewhere In the Middle Of Mojave Desert)
The sand bites his feet like small creatures nipping at his toes. He motions toward a shade, where an old lady sits staring at the distance. She rocks in her chair with a bottle of ale in her hand. Bobby takes a closer look and the worn paper on the bottle shows she’s taking sips at Johnny Walker.
Her face is worn of age. Dark wrinkles map her face, and not many teeth grace her mouth. Her eyes don’t fall on Bobby, as he approaches. She tugs at the beer every chance she gets, downing the sour liquid recklessly.
Bobby gathers his hands towards his belly, marking his reverence in the best possible way to initiate a conversation. Before the first word comes from his mouth, her eyes land on him, and she speaks with a voice that carries many years of quarrels.
“What are you doing here, boy? You lost your mother along the trail?”
Bobby wants to say he has no mother, but he’s not sure if he doesn’t. The memory of her is faint. He can’t guarantee if anything he says matters anyway.
“What do you mean? Fourty-five men in this small town, all shot dead this afternoon, and you tell me you ain’t lost your mother?” She scoffs. “I was the lucky one. The Outlier stared at me through his strange hood, face dark as the night sky and he walked away after blowin' some folk’s brains out… you shouldn’t be here, boy.”
Bobby’s gaze shifts to the distance, rows of open doors come in view, all without a person to close them. Piles of men block all the thresholds, all stacked like trophies on top of each other. Fear starts to grip Bobby, and his muscles tense at the slightest of sounds.
“That man you see there, lying next to the horse, that’s my Harry. He tried to use a rifle on him, but the Outlier kept coming. He fought bravely my little boy. His death was quick, right in my watch. Saw the gun tear through his brains like he was nothing. Foul man took his horse out, too!”
Bobby, with no words for her recollection, thinks this woman talks funny. He just listens to her rumblings, tries to piece together his presence inside this strange reality.
“You do dress funny, kid. I’ve not seen anyone dressed that way. Where you from? Havana?” He shakes his head, taking a glance at the old woman scanning his appearance with a questioning glare.
“I don’t know where you’re from, but you sure as hell shouldn’t be here, son. Just telling ya.”
The foul smell of the saloon almost chokes young Bobby. There’s not a living soul inside, and several men sprawl in physically impossible positions. Whatever it is that came here, it wasn’t waiting for a decent brawl. It was out for annihilation.
He walks carefully past the bodies and finds a note scribbled on the table. The person sitting opposite the paper is young, almost as young as Bobby himself. A red bandana slings around his collar, and a gushing scar pulses from the side of his head.
The drawing on the paper is a man in a hood. It trails off right after his shoulders and his face is covered in a hood with the darkness the old woman was speaking of. Three letters label the picture below. Though not nearly as visible, Bobby reads the words ‘RUN’.
“Did you see anything?”
The man’s voice sounds familiar now, even though he still can’t see him. There’s a calm resemblance to it, that of a caring father which Bobby disassociates with the nature of his environment.
The straps still dig in his wrists, and there’s no indication he’ll ever be free in a while. “Yes.”
“What was it?”
“Death… death everywhere. An old woman, speaking of an Outlier.” His voice starts to break. “There were so many dead people- I- I was scared- and-”
“Listen, Bobby. Calm down. I want you to tell me what you saw. Did you see anything, that thing, the Outlier?” He shook his head. The straps hold down his head, but it gives way for him to move his neck slightly. “Ok. I’ll leave you to rest. We should be able to find something next time.”
END OF PART 1…