The Unforgiving Country: The Apache Wing, Hall 2B

Hank rubbed his moustache. “Comin’ in thick this year?” Davey had always said. Yeah, Hank thought, real thick this year.

His pony was dead. Ol’ Duke caught a charge to the forehead, nearly ripped right through his skull into Hank. God only knew what happened to Jen. He thought he saw her dive off her pony when it bucked, but by then the charges were bursting through his periphery. He hadn’t been able to look out from behind the trash compactor yet.

“Hell, Hank, what have you got to lose?” he asked aloud.

Duke stared up at him from the floor. Hank looked somewhere else. “Yeah,” he answered himself, “don’t think Mr. Wayne’s gonna make any new pictures.”

Charges smashed into the compactor, one after the next. Hank tried to ready his gun. “An’, shoot, Kirk only went back West a couple times.”

The compactor’s shattered guts sputtered and shrieked but couldn’t start anymore. The charges were at least halfway through. “You’ve done this a million times, Hank,” he hissed.

He felt for his old badge.

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