Temperance’s finale (The Initiation)

Total confusion can be seen in the bleary eyes of Temperance as she is dragged from her bed in the middle of the night.  Something is up, something is wrong.  She has known that something has not been right for a while now, she has heard the whispering.

Along with two fully coated Watch Dogs at either side, Temperance rides hard in to the night.  She is still sore from her over exertion the past few weeks, to overcome her weakness in the saddle.  It is still the dark of the morning, and the temperature is still biting cold.  She has an undecorated coat wrapped around her.

As they draw close to the town, Temperance is handed a pistol, a knife and a book of the faith.  All three items pressed in to her hands.  No expression can be read on the two male Watch Dogs, neither say a word to her and then they pull off leaving her to ride on in to town by herself.  Early spring frost and mist can be seen to rise from the ground, as the blackness of morning is slowly changing to dark blue.

The town is in total silence as she rides in.  A single man can be seen standing outside a building.  The man is dressed all in black, the shirt done up very tight around his neck.  Once Temperance stops in front of him and begins to tie her horse, the man hurries her in to the building.  There was once a family that had lived her, but all that remains is the blood.  Blood all over the floor and walls, there are also markings and etching forming words none of which make any sense.  Temperance can feel a frost rising from the scene before her.  She can make out signs of a struggle that had taken place here, and believes the man fleeing will be injured.

She steps back out from the building, still dark outside.  Morning is slow in coming this day.  She is alone here with only her horse and the man before her, the town’s steward, sat outside the town’s drinking and social house.

“I found that this morning.  I don’t know what had happened to the guy.  His family, his wife, two daughters and one son.  I put them in the chapel for now, it is cold in there and they should keep until we bury them.  Didn’t know what to do after that.  Looks like he rode hard out of town after that.  One of the horses is missing.”  The town is not a big place, probably no more than twenty family homes in all.  Maybe a hundred people reside here.

Temperance checks over the scene for any clues, and also speaks with the steward regarding who has gone missing, who it may have been who could cause such a sin.  The steward informs her that they know it was the husband who had done the deed.  The guy had been quiet of late, and he would not open up or talk with the steward even though he had tried countless times.  The husband has not any other family, and his parents had died a few years back.  The guy had not been out of town to visit anyone, in fact not even left the house all that much.  And when anyone would go to him he looked very nervous when anyone was around.

The town’s steward apologises for not being able to stop this, for not seeing this coming.  But Temperance reassures him that it is not his fault.  She asks him more question about the guy and his family, along with any other things of importance.  She even leads out to the stables where the horse was taken from.  Once there she found some trails and signs of the guy being there.  Finding blood marks and scuffs in the dirt and on the wooden fencing.  The steward shares with her that the horse that was stolen was an old horse and would not have travelled far.

Finding the blood and then the foot and horse prints she believes she has a lead to the direction where the guy has headed, and assures the steward that she should be able to find the sinner.  Checking with the steward what of importance may be the way the guy fled.  The steward informs her that there are no towns that way except for some scrublands, which are said to be a good place for a person to hold up if needed.  Before heading of after the husband she checks if the guy had any firearms.  The steward states that he is unaware of any, but some traders had passed through and mentioned that some of their wares had gone missing.  They had never stated exactly what had gone missing.

Temperance manages to gain time and ground on the fleeing husband.  Soon she sees the scrubland before her.  The sun now finally climbing it was up the horizon.  The dark blue sky slowly being pushed higher up and away as purples, pinks, and reds are mixing with the blues as the sun chases away the dark.  Temperance can now make out that there appears to be many places around that someone could hide out in.  And the sun is causing a lot of long shadows from all the bushes and cacti around.

Temperance rides around and comes in from the east direction, using the sun to her advantage.  As she slowly approaches her horses rears with a shock as something drops before her.  Looking down on the ground Temperance can see an eyeball and a small finger lying bloody in the dust.  She then is aware of the location of the man, but quickly gets her horse under control, throwing her coat over its head.  She then slips from her horse and leads it around a rocky outcrop, keeping her horse out of sight of the guy while she climbs a top the rocks.

A man with a limp in one leg walks up to where Temperance and her horse once stood.  He has blood covering him with a knife in hand and a holstered gun by his side.  He has an unshaven dirty face as he shambles along, furtively looking back and forth as he raves at no one in particular.  The echoes of his voice bouncing around the scrublands.  The madness and hatred in his voice is unnerving, making Temperance catch her thoughts and hold her breath with indecision, the man now next to the rock she hides on.  The man is so close now that Temperance can smell the odour of sweat and blood from his approximation invading her senses.  Temperance’s horse walks on out from behind the rock drawing the guy’s attention, and he pounces in that direction knowing that someone should be near by.  With the guy going that way Temperance goes the opposite way around the rock and down from her perch.

The man grabs a hold of the horse and leads it back to his camp.  The guy still frothing and raving at the mouth, Temperance quietly follows him back.  “Demons in them.  The others wouldn’t understand.  There’s demons.  I had to cut them, to purge them out.”  The knife still in one hand as he leads the horse with his other.  The husband then stops and reaches in to his satchel, pulling out a small severed foot, the bone still sticking out from the flesh.  He rubs it gently, “That was the only bit that was good, there was no demons in that bit.  I’ll keep this to remember you.”

Temperance draws her gun and points it at the back of the guys head.  Knowing that this man has lost all the good within him, and only have demons swimming in his mind.  The sin he has committed on his family can not so easily be forgiven.  Temperance decides that she will have to face a demon of her own on this, and pull the trigger on this man’s madness.

Temperance can feel the cold metal of the trigger pressing against her index finger, as if there is a great weight pressing against it.  Yet it feels so easy to press.  Her mind races with the emotions of her feelings towards mindless killing, and how she felt about what Ambrose, Jesse, and Joshua done in the name of the King of Life while she rode with them.  She mutters passages from the Book of Life, hoping that this will help calm her mind and nerves.  What makes things worse for her is that she is suddenly aware that the man has turned around and is now facing her.  He begins to whimper and loosen his bowels as he stares down the barrel of her gun, looking more vulnerable and a victim than before.  He drops to his knees before her.  Temperance can feel the Book of Life pressing against her chest in her pocket.  She hardens her heart to the situation, visualising the image of the home the guy’s family once lived with all the blood everywhere.  She pulls the trigger closing her eyes and holding her breath, tears squeezing out from the corners of her eyes.  Temperance hears her horse jump and then quickly followed by a wet thud.  The gun blast echoing in her ears like a distant thunder.

Next thing Temperance is aware of is that she is knelt on the floor, vomit dribbling from her mouth and her gun beside her.  She struggles without really looking at putting the dead body of the husband on the back of her horse, and rides hard through the day with the sun beating down on her like a judge’s stare.  But instead of going back to the town she rides all the way back to Bridal Falls.

During Temperance’s journey all she can think about is what has just happened, the images of the blood stained house and the dead man on her horse.  She never stops once or has any water to drink.  She finally arrives over exhausted and blistered, collapsing from her horse as she arrives back at the seat of the faith.  People rush around her as the comfort of dark envelope her, her head cracked on the hard ground she hits.

The other Watch Dogs rush her in to be taken care of by their medical experts.  Demons whisper in Temperance’s ear toying and pulling on her heart strings.  Teasing her that death would free her from her torment.  Her skin begins to turn cold as the demons bring the dead man to aggravate the pain she is going through, squeezing her soul and her eyes dim.  The medical team fight to save her body and soul from the pain and torment.

After a day of lying in bed without waking, the Watch Dogs done all they can for her body and soul, it was left for her to fight and come through if her mind wanted to.  She thought upon her time with her town, and when the three Watch Dogs arrived.  The realisation of what it is to be a Watch Dog.  And as her eyes finally open with a renewed light behind, she hears a voice, “Welcome sister.  You are a Watch Dog now.”


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