Most chose to die.
From the Hollow, the sound of drums filled the air with a martial tune, and so I went to it.
A train station had sprung up over the night, and in the early morning light, the building stood crisp and clean. Tracks ran from west to east, disappearing into tunnels fashioned from the skulls of whales and other creatures I could not readily identify.
Still, it was not the tunnels or the building that my attention fixed upon.
No, I focused solely on the platoon of men who stood in a ‘U’ formation, their bayonets bright and glinting in the sun. An officer spoke proudly to the men, his eyes on them and not on North Road, which is where they should have been.
I climbed over the stonewall, drew the Colts and thumbed back the hammers. Soon enough, I’d discover if the men were merely passing through or if they were Killed Soldiers, ready to hunt me down.
The first man who laid eyes on me answered that question and gave me a bit of extra information as well.
His eyes widened and his hand, despite standing at the position of attention, reached for his cartridge box.
The rifles weren’t loaded.
I came to a stop a short distance away, and all the men turned their full and undivided attention to me.
“Gentlemen,” I greeted them, hands steady. “You’re here for me if I’m not mistaken?”
The officer cleared his throat. “We are, Blood.”
I nodded. “I offer you this advice freely. Leave now.”
Most of the men chuckled off my advice.
A few did not.
“What do you think you can do against us?” the officer asked, sweeping his hand toward his men.
“Kill every last one of you,” I answered. “Your rifles aren’t loaded, and it’ll be a hell of a time trying to bring those bayonets into play. Anyone doesn’t want to die, go on inside and catch the next train. I suspect my mother might catch hold of you soon enough, but it’ll beat bleeding out today.”
A few men, despite the angry words of their comrades, set down their rifles and entered the station.
“Kill him, boys,” the officer snarled, and the men lowered their weapons.
A few tried to load their rifles, and they were the first to die.
But they weren’t the last.