As I embark on a new solo campaign, I decided to write quick journal entries to track my progress of the previous mission. Well, after my first mission this weekend, that project turned into more than 1500 words.
Anyway, thought I'd share what I came up with if anyone enjoys reading this stuff. I will say one thing: It has made me more excited and motivated to bust out everything and more onto the next mission now that I have a little storyline established!
Journal of Brimstone – By Gunslinger D-Steak
10.16.1888 – The Preacher’s Daughter
As I laid my queens full of fours down on the green felt, shooting a grin to each of my brothers who sat across from me, Father Gary hurried through the swinging doors of the Dusty Saddle Saloon in a panic.
I was used to winning poker hands, legitimately or not, but I was not used to seeing Gary in a saloon on an early Sunday morning (or late Saturday night from my perspective), not dressed in his fatherly garments, and above all, without his hair neatly combed and parted. Somehow, I instantly knew the sleep my body ached for would have to wait.
As expected, his eyes darted across the room and quickly landed on his targets: my older brother the U.S. Marshall “Dub,” everyone called him; my eldest brother “Mania,” some called him; our childhood Mexican friend, “Fella,” which no one called him; and me. Trouble always somehow found us, whether we were snooping for it or not.
And we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Gary said when he woke up, it had seemed brighter in his home than usual at this time in the morning. He began his morning routine: finding some slippers, splashing some well water on his face, and checking on his daughter Emily. As he approached her room, he saw why his home was illuminated this particular morning: the curtains to her bedroom window were torn and dismantled, and the window was open, letting in the entirety of the morning’s sunlight.
Emily was gone, yet her shoes remained.
Gary screamed, awoke his wife Bethany and rushed to the outside perimeter of his impressive home. He saw footprints: not one set, but several. And they were different shapes, different strides, and different impressions in the soft dirt.
The footprints seemed to march west toward the foothills, several miles away.
That’s all I needed to know. The town has been infested with rumors of something going on in the foothills, but nobody had any proof: just stories. Through my travels, stories are like asses: everyone’s got one. To follow up on them all would drive a man in circles, straight to the nut shop. This wasn’t a story though. Knowing Father Gary quite well, he’s not the type of guy to make up something, and certainly not naive enough to mistake deer tracks for someone, or something, else’s.
We, the Four Horses, some called us, quickly finished our drinks and our poker game (Hey, we’d been playing for six hours straight and had to finish), collected our belongings and weapons, and began our trek toward the foothills that didn’t yet have a name. Perhaps that would change, I thought to myself.
Indeed, the tracks Gary spotted were real alright. They twisted upon one another, the strides lengthened, and then shortened. They seemed to stop at times. Some tracks disappeared altogether, only to reappear again. I never heard of no flying deer before, but I’d heard of weirder.
As we began to predict, the tracks led us to a small coal mine that had been abandoned several years ago. I’d never been in here before, but Fella had in his youth. He worked odd jobs, and these mines helped provide for his family: beer, tequila, and cigars.
We began our descent into the abandoned mine, slowly losing the tracks that had led us here. I drew my trusty lantern to reclaim the light we lost with every step.
Nothing seemed out of place for the first 15 or so minutes. That is, until we found the room teaming with the egg sacks. And they were pulsating – something was inside. And whatever was in there was coming out, soon. The stench was hard to stand. What my eyes and nose were telling me was hard for my mind to wrap around.
My brother Mania – always the clumsy one – got a little too close to one of the slimy eggs, and it burst. Whatever was in there burned the left side of his face, just rat hairs away from his eye. If I hadn’t been so scared, and if it hadn’t looked like it hurt like the dickens, I might have laughed. I usually do. But this was something entirely different than getting kicked in the kidney by a mule.
We began picking up the pace as our fear picked up alongside it. Amidst our panic, we did find a few clues, promising us we were on the right track. A small teddy bear lay in the middle of the cavern, with a trickle of blood striped on its belly. Later, we’d find her glasses.
Then, the voices began. The deeper in the cave we went, the more intense the feeling. And this wasn’t internal fear or dread – this was a palpable denseness. This was as black as black could ever become.
And that’s when we were attacked.
My lantern first enveloped a large two-legged beast with dark fur and piercing yellow eyes. Scared my shit out of me. Amidst my shock, the lantern sprayed light across the long passageway and revealed not only the largest spiders I’d ever seen, but the largest bug I’d ever seen, period. And they looked mad that we were there. Lastly, in the distance, something darted in the shadows. It appeared to be wearing a purple robe, and from what I could tell, it looked like a squid was hanging from its face.
Almost immediately, a shotgun discharged within inches of my ear disorienting me. Even through my brother Dub was a man of the law, he’d rather shoot first and ask questions later, after everyone was dead. I began shooting and then quickly loaded my dead-eye bullets which I had brought with me because I had a feeling this was not going to be our normal run in with bandits. I too found myself firing into the dark alongside my three compadres.
We had stepped into the middle of something bigger than us; something difficult to describe. Yet, it’s these times I feel the most comfortable – next to my brothers, amidst the chaos of a gunfight, only relying on my wits and the communicative grunts of my brothers, for which we all knew what one another was trying to say.
And that was it. We had taken our share of wounds: the beast clawed me across the chest, Fella had a few deep spider bites, and whatever shit the thing in the shadows was shooting at us caught Mania. Poor guy is going to need some skin grafts after this one.
We found some odd trinkets. I found an old dusty cross that seemed to shine in the darkness. I don’t know what it does, but I know someone who’d like it – and who’d like to pay me for it. Fella found an odd golden ball – maybe Chinese. He’ll do the same, although finding a buyer for his artifact will be a little more difficult.
We found some money as well. Why these monsters had gold on their person was a mystery, but we didn’t care – it all spends the same.
Lastly, glowing purple stones, almost like diamonds, were scattered around the arena. We took a few chunks as it perhaps had something to do with what was going on.
We bandaged ourselves up, and it didn’t take long to find Emily’s body in a room with a large hole in the middle. Well, not just the poor preacher’s daughter, but also her other-worldly assailants.
It appeared this posse of whatevers, who glared back at us, were fixing to drop her down the shaft.
Another fight broke out, but the outcome of this one wasn’t for the faint of heart. We were overwhelmed by similar beasts from the first fight, but twice as many. There were also dogs that flashed across the room with what looked like tentacles coming out of their mouths. And in the distance, I saw humanoids with tattered clothing slowly walking toward us, with piles of dead bodies behind them.
What the hell we just walked into was too much for any of us to comprehend. Or was it indeed hell we had found?
Fella lit some dynamite and let it go, destroying a few of the walkers, raining fingers, legs and other chunks of flesh onto the fray. Yet Fella’s antics just seemed to anger the rest of the monsters even more.
In these moments, it’s easy to forget why you are there. Hell, it’s easy to forget who you are, what’s up and what’s down, and who these other men are next to you telling you to wake the fuck up.
Poor Mania took another blow to the head by the furred beast. He’d had enough, as the preacher’s daughter lay clearly dead just meters away from us. It was time we had called it a night.
I grabbed Mania by the collar and began dragging him toward our own footprints we’d left and probably shouldn’t have made to begin with.
Pistol and shotgun blasts rang through the cave behind us as we all hysterically ran out of the mines as quickly as three man can while carrying a fourth.
We’d returned later that evening, leaving Mania at the doctor’s and finding Father Gary wasting away at the saloon. We told him the horrific news and placed three items on the bar top: a teddy bear, a pair of glasses, and some odd glowing stones as proof that something was brewing in Brimstone.
Very nice. These can be a chore to write, but they are always a fun read. Good job.
Thank you sir. Indeed, a chore, but a fun one!