Interlude: The Hanged Vigilante

The Following interaction occurred while Reggie spent some time in stable-yet-critical condition. Unconscious in the hospital.

Reggie blinked against the blinding white light, his hand covered his eyes from the glaring sun. After his eyes had time to adjust, he looked around him and found himself standing in the middle of a barren landscape, rough white sand gritted beneath his boots as he shifted uncomfortably. “What the fuck!” he grumbled as he looked around trying to figure out where to go, or what the hell was going on. After a few moments he chose a direction and just started to walk.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking through unbearably hot desert, Reggie suddenly noticed the sounds of footfalls mirroring his own. Snapping his head around, he found himself staring directly at the Hanged Vigilante, a weather worn cowboy, whose face was twisted and swollen in the bloat of a hanging death, his hat crammed down over the purple swollen features of his head. About his neck, swung a noose.

“What the fuck is going on here, Vigilante?” He demanded, crossing his arms and glaring. The vigilante smiled, an incredibly forced gesture do to his deathwounds, What do you think? The voice sounded like the creaking of the gallows and the whistling of the winds, it was punctuated by the sounds of gunfire. Reggie smelled gunsmoke, just as he did everytime the Vigilante spoke.

“I think theres a goddamned pack of werewolves out there with some giant flaming demon-tree and I don’t have time to waste time playing twenty questions in some imaginary desert.” Reggie berated his geist.

The Hanged Vigilante beckoned Reggie to walk with him, but didn’t wait to start walking. After a moment, Reggie sighed and hurried to catch up. “Alright. Alright.” He grumbled, “what do I think? I dunno… Am I dead… again?”

The Vigilante chuckled, not far from the truth, but you didn’t die.You are walking that razors edge between life and death right now.

“Alright so, I’m almost dead. That’s just great.” Reggies paused to think for a moment, “Did I hurt it?” He asked. The Vigilante gave his a slight headshake.

If we are to succeed in our purpose you must be more careful. The Vigilante warned. You tend to be rash, charging in like a rampaging bull. Many things will play the matador and use your own blind force against you.

Reggie grimaced and stared over the flat harsh plain. He said nothing, he didn’t know what to say. A first, some might think, but Reggie’s attitude was all smoke and mirrors these days, a habit from his first life that he uses now to cover up remorse. Guilt. Despair. The Vengeful Colt was in his hand suddenly, though he didn’t beckon for it. The familiar weight was comforting.

A subtle breeze like a gasping breath echoes through his head, he knew it was the Vigilante sighing. She is comforting to hold, yes? The Vigilante said, his cowboy boots crunching on the sand as he stepped up beside Reggie, his bloated face just within Reggie’s peripheral vision, his face staring straight ahead as if his swollen eyes were trying to see what Reggie saw. Rely on her. But remember, also, that a razor wit is far more dangerous than any gun. That often bullets, or fists, or bravado can’t defeat everything.

Reggie remained silent, his mind dwelling on things. Last time he thought he was being clever Quincy died. Reggie followed not long afterwards, hanging himself in grief. In many ways his whole being was now driven and wrapped up in that guilt. Since that point he’d been afraid to think things through, to plan, and plot. He knew, somehow, that those around him would pay a dire price for his cleverness.

Foolishness. The entire sound was staccato of gunfire, Reggie was reeling from a sudden blow to the head. He raised the Vengeful Colt on reflex and found his fist empty. That empty wheezing laughter mocked him as the Vigilante held the Colt aloft. You are scared Reggie. For all your bravado, you let fear drive you. You lash out blindly in fear, when true courage would be caution, it would be thoughtfullness. Know your enemy, know yourself. You will survive longer. Our duty will continue.

Reggie pushed himself up, he lunged at the Vigilante mind roaring in rage. Instea dof dodging away, or trying to counter, the Vigilante stepped solidly forward into the blow, Reggie’s strike lost all impact when denied a full extension and then his head reeled as he took a pistolwhip to the temple. I knew what you’d do, it allowed me to beat you. I will always beat you because I know you better than you know yourself.

Reggie growled as he prepared to launch another attack, and stopped as the dirty hand of the vigilante extended offering to assist him up. Learning who and what you are will be a constant and tiring process. For now simply learn to control and know your surrounding. Reggie took his hand and allowed the Vigilante to help him up.

Concentrate and listen. Understand.



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