The sun hung low in the sky, the temperature was already beginning to drop and the Cavalry Soldier could swear he saw a scavenger bird in the distance.
This brief encounter, though minutes long, felt like it had stretched to hours. Each grimace, each arm movement, each threat was heightened to a degree neither of the Cavalry had known before. They had stumbled upon the Bandit’s Secret Hide-Out by chance while following up on some complaints about a violent local, known as Bandit 4, with guns mounted on a wheeled contraption. He was also known to be a lover of dynamite.
As they had rode closer to the Hide-Out they saw the hallmarks of this gang’s cruelty. A decapitated head, reduced to skull by the heat and animals, was sadistically mounted atop a sign. The skull continued to wear a hat, though it served no function other than to draw attention to its indignity. “Keep Out” the sign said, although the skull had rendered its wording entirely redundant.
The Cavalry Lieutenant had launched himself from his horse with a swiftness the other officer had never seen and began racing up the stairs. He knew from experience in dealing with unlawful types that surprise was a necessary advantage. There would be no such success today. Bandit 3 swung open the door, a full house of cards in one hand and a pistol in the other. Though he wore a top hat he was no gentleman.
Before the Cavalry Soldier had a chance to blast his bugle in a hopeless attempt at drawing attention to their situation Bandit 2 was already throwing a bundle of lit dynamite his way. If the explosion didn’t get him then surely Bandit 1 would.
After the dust had cleared, the sound of gunfire had ceased echoing through the hills, and the sun had finally dropped from the sky the Bandits gathered their loot and prepared to head to another secret location. Somehow they had been found out. While they packed their provisions they each couldn’t help but glance at the other two with a renewed suspicion. If there was a traitor among them they had better find out soon.
Later, once the gang had moved on, the Cavalry soldiers would find the missing safe, emptied, and marvel at the presence of a canon. This, combined with the two rifles inexplicably mounted on the roof of the structure, reminded the soldiers just how dangerous these Bandits were. After a few moments of silence where they remembered their fallen comrades, they continued on their journey to track down the Bandits and bring them to justice.