He was an interruption.
The man stood, air rushing in and out of the wreckage of his face. Beyond him lay the path home, and I was ill-tempered at being delayed. As I came to a stop before him, he reached behind his back and retrieved a long, bone-handle skinning knife.
When he spoke, his words were low and long, the syllables slipping away from him but clear enough to understand.
“You can’t go home, Blood.”
I’ve an issue with pronouncements. Especially when they involve me.
“You’d best step aside,” I told him, dropping my hands to the butts of the Colts. “I plan on having coffee in my own parlor tonight.”
The man laughed and shook his head. “I’ve come to collect your tongue. Your mother’s request.”
“You are not the first Blood I’ve dealt with,” he told me, shifting the knife from one hand to the other, the movements lazy and casual.
“That how your face got so pretty?” I inquired.
If he could have sneered, he would have. “A lucky shot. I took his tongue. And the tongues of those before him as well.”
“And you aim to take mine as a gift for my mother.”
He nodded and sank into a fighting crouch. “I am quicker than you can ever hope, Blood.”
“Maybe you are.”
I drew both Colts and fired from the hip as he sprang toward me.
I wasn’t aiming at his face or his chest.
Instead, I shot for the hands. His skill with a blade was obvious, and I suspected he might try to switch the knife from one hand to the other in mid-leap.
One slug tore his left hand off at the wrist, the other shattered the knife, sending steel spinning into his chest and his ruined mouth.
He gagged on his own blood as he fell backward and to the side, trying to cradle his damaged arm to his chest.
There was no point.
I shot him in both ankles and then both knees. The pain pinned him to the ground, his shattered joints denying him the ability to flee.
I stepped closer as he held up his good hand, blood spurting from the left wrist. He muttered a word vaguely similar to mercy.
But I had none.
I aimed at his belly and put two more rounds in his guts. Then, as he writhed on the ground, I sat down.
I had plenty of time to watch him die.