Debt Repaid

by Rod Drake

It was a strange, eerie fog, coming out of nowhere, swirling its ghostly way rapidly through the little town of Pyrite, Missouri, covering everything in minutes. Ben Morgan had a feeling that the fog was a sign, and not a good one; the diary of his great-great-grandfather had mentioned this day in 1872, 135 years ago exactly, when his ancestor, who was the same age as Ben was now, had shot Jesse James in the shoulder. It was during a bank robbery in Pyrite that Ezra Morgan put a .44 slug into James’ shoulder, a wound that history indicates bothered James the rest of his life, and one that he swore repeatedly he would like to kill the man who did it. But Ezra lived a long and full life, and Jesse James was shot in the back in 1882 by his “friend,” Bob Ford; it was a curse that James didn’t live to keep. From out of the fog rode seven riders, the James Gang, Frank and Jesse, with the Younger Brothers and the two Miller brothers, as though they had just stepped out of the Old West, but with the hard look of hell on them. Jesse James swung down painfully from his saddle, Colt .44 in hand, smiled a ghastly grin from the inferno itself and fired, killing Ben as he stood on his front porch, the debt repaid at last, then the outlaws vanished back into the fog which suddenly lifted and disappeared.


Rod Drake, author of Nuclear Physics Nightmare, lives in the neon fantasy city called Las Vegas where he can visit Lake Como, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, a 14th Century castle and a pyramid every day. Check out Rod's longer stories in Flashes of Speculation, Fictional Musings, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and MicroHorror.