Sweet Nell was lashed to the train tracks. Struggling against her bonds only seemed to pull them tighter. The train to Tombstone was approaching fast. She could feel the vibration running through the steel tracks and hear the rhythmic beat of the locomotive bearing down. But, the sound of the train would never be loud enough to drown out the evil laugh of ‘Black Heart Bill’ as it echoed down the canyon. Bill pulled his black Stetson low over his eyes and laughed as he watched Nell’s certain demise. He already had the device. That was what he had come for. Killing the girl was just icing on the cake – an afternoon’s entertainment.
It looked like curtains for Nell.
As luck would have it, ‘Danger Dan’ was riding nearby and heard Nell’s cry for help from the rim of the canyon as he happened past. A quick assessment told him all he needed to know and he fearlessly turned his faithful steed, Scout, towards the place where Nell lay bound with coarse rope, helpless, on the tracks.
“I’ll deal with you later, Bill,” he yelled to the villain as he galloped past; his focus on saving the damsel.
Cutting her bonds just in the nick of time and pulling her to safety as the Tombstone train barreled past, just inches away.
He held her softly in his arms and they looked deep into each other’s eyes; her blonde tresses were perfect, not a hair out of place, her breast was heaving. She was a vision. Dan paused and gulped. Without warning Nell pulled back quickly. “Crap, is that a spider?” she yelled as she crawled backwards and away.
“Oh my God,” Dan screamed and stood quickly, brushing his tunic, “get it off, get it off!” Nell got to her feet and rushed to him. It was difficult to get close as he flailed in panic, arms waving all about.
“It’s OK, it’s OK. It’s just a leaf. It’s not a spider.” She said gently, over and over, until Danger Dan calmed down and his arms rested at his sides once again.
“I knew that.” He said, and shuddered one last time.
The Tombstone train pressed onward and on the other side of the tracks Black Heart Bill whispered, “curses, foiled again,” in a voice so soft only his horse could hear. He twirled his mustache, slipped the device into his saddlebag and made good his escape. He was long gone by the time the train finished rumbling past. His lead was too great; it was useless to pursue him. Dan held tightly to Scout’s rein. Throwing his head back he yelled, “I’ll get you yet, Black Heart Bill.” The canyon walls eerily echoed his promise back to him as the sound of the train receded in the distance.
He sensed Nell next to him and turned. Her blue eyes were plaintive, looking up at him. One lock of his dust colored hair had fallen over his forehead; she reached up and brushed it back behind his ear, “Um, thanks for saving me from the train and all.” She closed her eyes and pursed her lips in anticipation of true love’s kiss.
“Oh, sure thing.” He said, “You know I’m not really scared of spiders. Don’t you?”
She opened her eyes and looked questioningly at Dan, “Of course… I mean like, your name’s Danger Dan. You can’t be scared of spiders if your first name is ‘Danger’.”
“Danger is my middle name. My first name is Francis but nobody ever calls me that. You can call me Danger, or Dan if you prefer. Please don’t call me Francis. I’m not sure why I even told you that. You must promise not to tell anyone else.” He reached into his tunic pocket and pulled out a sugar cube for Scout. “Well, I guess I better get going.”
“Oh… yeah, me too,” said Nell.
Dan swung up on his saddle and turned Scout towards the west. Leaning down he kissed his horse on top of the head, waved to Nell and said, “Bye, maybe I’ll see you around.” He clicked his tongue twice and headed into the sunset at a trot.
“Yeah, see you ‘round,” Nell said. She put her back to the sun and started walking towards the ranch. It should only take two or three hours to get home. She never looked back, she just kept walking.
If the Speakeasy is open a click on the badge, above, will take you there. You can learn more about what this is all about and play along, if you are so inclined.