Drew Suarez
United States
Florida
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Wow, last night we played SOB for the first time. Great game the story elements are very good. Just had to write down something. Even came up with the collective noun for a group of stranglers... a choke.

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Sometimes after the tavern’s shut down and before the sun rises, I pull my old weathered poncho out of the piano bench, slip it on and walk into the night. I let the quiet desert music fill the empty places in my soul that the notes of an old jangling piano never will...

“Wake up, Ivories, its time." The Marshal’s gruff voice pulled me to my feet. That’s right we were here, looking into the stories about this mine. The darkness that destroyed Brimstone was spreading and the good Marshal had rounded up a posse to check things out. The Marshal had a way of getting cooperation from folks. Looking at the shootist Harmony Endevor, called "Wild" by some, and the bandit Juan Rodrigues, known as Frijoles because of his love for bean, who was sorting sticks of dynamite, it made me wonder why he needed a piano player, no matter how handy he was with his fists. But you don’t turn down a "request" from Marshal Solomon Law.

Things went squirrely right at the start. This mine felt off, not that I spent a lot of times in a mine shaft, but this just wasn’t right. The shadows seemed to shift and move even when the old lantern the marshal carried was stock still. Wild bent down in that first tunnel and pulled up some coins spotted with blood. She pocketed them, but cast a glance around wondering of the story that they tried to tell.

We rounded a corner, and saw another sign that this was not just a mine, a circle of candles, still lit surrounded writing of some sort. Frijoles stepped forward to investigate, but he stumbled knocking a candle into the circle, and that when all hell broke loose. Monstrous unearthly spiders leapt down from the cracks in the roof overhead instantly amongst us. Demonic strangler-type things, all tentacles and teeth, advanced from deeper in the mine, and pushing those aside to get to us was a terror of the night, tall, lumbering, hellish. The Marshall blasted a spider with his shotgun, and then blasted another quicker than the first. Wild fanned the hammer of her pistol killing the eight legged alien creatures. I was further in the tunnel, separated from the other by spider and stanglers ducking the blows of the lumbering night terror knowing if it connected with more than one massive punch I was a goner. Then a blast shook the mine as Frijoles’ dynamite blew a hole in the creatures. But every silver lining has a cloud, and that blast knocked a gas pocket free for the air suddenly went bad. We were racked by coughs, fighting for air as we tried to fight the creatures. Somehow we fought our way past them into cleaner air and there amongst the bodies I found something. It was a gun of some sort, not heavy metal as a gunsmith might make, but curved, sleek and seemingly filled with a glowing light. I passed it to Wild, who took to it faster than a new colt takes to her mama’s teat. We also found bits of gold, some processed, and some still raw, and the strange Dark Stone that is now so prized, and so feared.

Pushing further in the mine we heard a voice as a prospector stumbled on to our group drawn, no doubt to the light of the old lantern. He spoke kindly to us, helped with the bandaging, and even gave Frijoles a shard of the Dark Stone. If this gesture was, in the end, a kindness remains to be seen. Then after we pointed the way to the exit, he left. And even deeper we made our way into the darkness.

More stranglers (as we now called the tentacled monsters) and spiders attacked, but this was at a narrow chokepoint in the mine. The Marshal and I managed to keep them from slipping past, while Wild armed with her new gun and Frijoles throwing the dynamite that seemed to be his answer for all manner of things made quick work of them. Then something seemed to draw Frijoles to a section of the room that we hadn’t explored yet. A need to scavenge a bit, or perhaps a need to relieve himself. He slipped into the shadows for a few moments, and then suddenly leapt back amongst us, shaking. He had a lit stick of dynamite clutched in his hand, his face pale and slick with sweat and fear. Wild reached out and quickly pinched the fuse saving us all, while the rest of us asked the bandit he saw. He refused to answer, and when we raised the lantern high the shadows retreated revealing no secrets. As we continued Frijoles stuck close and repeated looked back, but never spoke of what happened in the shadows.

Finally we reached the end of this section of the mine, now deep in the earth. The Dark Stone surrounded us, but that was not all. A huge Night Terror joined by a full choke of stranglers loomed in this all too fittingly named dead end. We were weary and strung along the mine tunnel, as the stranglers rushed among us, unnaturally swift it seemed. The night terror too was faster and quickly closed. Desperately we fought the stranglers knowing that the terror would need all of our efforts to defeat. One by one the stranglers fell to our efforts. And the others turned to fight the terror itself. Suddenly an opening showed as the last of the stranglers collapsed, and the hold out pistol up my sleeve flew into my hand. My shot rang in the darkness miraculously hitting the terror between the eyes and laying it down.

We caught our breath, and inspected this last branch. It revealed more Dark Stone, a trusty ax for myself and guns, normal ones, for the others, but the answers that we truly sought were not to be found.

As we made our way back to town the corrupting stories of the dark stone came to mind. I found myself sweating profusely no matter the weather, my skin slick even slimy to the touch. I pulled the poncho around me not wanting the others to know of this strange affliction.
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Roger Wingate
United States
Parker
Colorado
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Nice.
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