SPELLSLINGER - PART II (continued from November 5th)
When the half-town was completed to his satisfaction, Rune spent a moment admiring his handiwork. Then he remembered he only had a couple of hours before the illusion would fade, and he’d be left standing out on a glacier at fifty below zero.
Rune looked left and added a stairway going up to nowhere. He plunked a piano with a mustached player under the steps. A tinny version of Buffalo Gals overlaid the background chatter. Glancing at the bar, he added a barkeep with a white apron polishing glasses. On the customer side of the bar, he conjured a few cowboys hefting mugs of beer. Looking to his right, he set up a poker table with more cowboys. One player was garbed in a black suit, black hat, black tie, black hair, a black cigar (unlit), and a black pencil-thin mustache. The villain.
“Black Bart,” Rune said with a throaty growl, “I told ya to stay outta my town. Now I’m gonna have ta bring ya in.”
Black Bart jumped to his feet and pulled a derringer from his waistcoat. Rune liked the brocade vest and quickly added a watch chain. Black Bart obligingly stood still waiting for Rune to complete Bart’s stylish outfit.
Rune drew his own gun from its holster. “Don’t make this any harder than it has ta be, Bart.”
“You’ll never take me alive, Sheriff Rune!” Bart pulled the dance hall girl in front of him as a shield. The girl shrieked and grasped the arm encircling her neck.
Rune lowered his pistol. “You can’t hold onto her forever, Bart.”
The villain sneered and dragged the girl across the saloon floor toward the swinging doors. “I can hold her long enough to get out of here.” Rune snapped a glance at the saloon gal, and she put on a show of struggling. When Bart reached the door, he shoved the girl away from him and fled into the street.
Rune chased after him, but stopped a moment to help the girl to her feet. She gave him a simpering smile and a wink. Rune jerked away. “Eww! I didn’t make that up.” Then he forgot about the girl and dashed into the street just as Black Bart mounted his horse—a black horse, of course—ready to ride out of town.
Rune raised his pistol, but knew he couldn’t shoot Bart until the bad guy shot first. It’d be against all good guy rules. Bart obliged by raising his derringer and firing a round at Rune, who easily ducked to the side. The bullet smashed into the wood door jamb. Bart jerked his horse’s head around, and dug his spurs (when did Bart get spurs?) into the steed’s ribs. The horse leapt forward putting Bart’s back to Rune. Good guy rules kicked in again. He couldn’t shoot somebody in the back, even if they were fleeing.
He had to stand and watch Bart’s horse gallop to the end of the illusion and disappear. Rune jammed his pistol back into his holster. This wasn’t right. He should have come out of the saloon after Bart, who’d be standing in the street, then they’d have a shoot out like he had imagined. Bart wasn’t supposed to run. For that matter, Bart shouldn’t have had a horse tied out front at all.
The street stood empty except for Rune. There were people here before; he just had to get them back in place. He closed his eyes and concentrated, imagining the old west folk with their buckboards, cowboys riding down the street on horses. He opened his eyes. Then his mouth dropped open. There were people all right, but not what they should be. Two men dressed in black leather jackets stood next to their Harley Davidson motorcycles. A woman leaned against the wall by the saloon door. Her silver, skin-tight outfit was so not western, and her wraparound silver sunglasses were definitely not. Rune flinched.
He turned around to see his carefully constructed town melting and morphing into something entirely different, a melange of different centuries, none of them the old west he had envisioned. “What the...?” Shaking his head in confusion, Rune disappeared the bikers and the, what was she? A woman from the future or something from a movie he’d watched, he couldn’t tell.
A lightning swift conjure restored the clapboard town. It now milled with cowboys with Stetsons and six-shooters and ladies in long skirts, their petticoats swishing the dust.
Rune scanned the street for any more out-of-place people. Satisfied that only the old west people remained, he turned to go back to the saloon. A horrible metal-shrieking sound made him whip back around. A Conestoga wagon, appearing out of nowhere, began wrenching and twisting, then rising and transforming.
“Aw, jeez! You’ve got to be kidding!” Rune yelled staring up into the face of the impossible robot. Rune grabbed at his holster and drew his wand instead of the gun. He cast a spell toward the metallic giant, but it didn’t poof away. Instead, it took a gut-wrenching, clanging step in his direction. Rune ran for the saloon.