The Shotgun Wedding of Abacus Jones, Soulless Cowboy
By: Andrew Thomas Prenger
It weren’t the first time somebody’d locked me in a casket. What was odd was that they didn’t seem too eager ta’ bury me. I tried ta’ keep my wits about me, but it was hard without any light. Best I could figure we’d been travellin’ for about two days.
I could barely hear my three captors talkin’ through the cheap pine. They were a jovial sort, their conversation often punctuated with bouts a’ laughter. Glad they were having a good time. It was good ta’ die in high spirits. Because when I got free of the casket I was gonna’ murder the hell outta’ them.
The only thing worse than being trapped in a casket for two days with nowhere ta’ relieve yourself was being trapped in that same box with the ghost of a woman you killed. Well, truth be told, I didn’t kill her. Not really. Though I was kind of the reason she died. What happened was that she needed a human soul ta’ sacrifice, but ended up usin’ me instead. Needless ta’ say things went bad and she got pulled down inta’ hell. Later, through events completely outta’ my hand involving a room with walls made outta’ flesh that I didn’t care ta’ relate presently, she got dragged outta’ hell. Now she was doomed ta’ haunt the earth and me specifically until I killed whoever was responsible for her death.
She didn’t seem ta’ know that I was responsible. Hell had taken a sledgehammer to her mind. She didn’t quite know who killed her or why she was dead. She spent her time pesterin’ me to get her revenge though she didn’t know who ta’ get revenge on. My one bit a’ luck was that she couldn’t manifest all that time. She’d disappear for long stretches a’ time, goin’ wherever ghosts go when they ain’t haunting people.
Right now she was floating above the casket, pressin’ her face through the wood so it was right against mine. Even in death she remained a wrinkled old woman with gnarled teeth. Her time in hell didn’t improve her manners none.
“You’re not even trying to escape anymore. You don’t know where they’re taking you!”
“Know why I ain’t trying to escape? Because it’s pointless.”
“As long as you’re alive it’s not hopeless.”
“I said pointless, not hopeless. I can’t get my strength in it enough ta’ pry the top off. Look at my fingers.” I held up my hands. Trying ta’ get out resulted in me losing a couple a’ fingernails. My fingertips were caked in dried blood and ached, “I figure there are two ways this is gonna’ shake out. One, they aren’t gonna’ be expecting me ta’ be alive after a couple days in a wooden box. If that’s the case, when they open the box I’ll jump out and surprise them and punch them in the throats.”
“What’s the other option?”
“Well…they might know that bein’ in here without food and water won’t kill me which means the possibility that they are takin’ me to someone who knows my true nature. If that’s the case then once they open the box I’ll be tortured then killed.”
I found that bounty hunters had started playing a bigger part in my life. Guess my past was finally catchin’ up ta’ me. Part a’ the problem of being a monster killer was that not everybody believed in monsters.