The Peacock Claim: Part 2

The Peacock Claim

By: D.E.Hague

Part: 2

“You dead Jon?” Minnie asked Jon’s corpse as she pointed her revolver at the back of his lifeless head. She watched the flies fight for the best spots around the bullet wounds.

Minnie uncocked her revolver and holstered it.

“You weren’t that bad of a kisser,” Minnie said as she nudged her boot into his ribs.

Taking a knee, Minnie grabbed Jon’s body at the shoulders and rolled it over to its back.

Minnie ripped open Jon’s silk buttoned shirt.

A gold chain was looped around Jon’s neck. The chain ran through an eyelet which was connected to a blood covered golden medallion.

Minnie grasped the gold chain and yanked it and the medallion from around Jon’s neck. She held the medallion up to the sun and studied its inscription.

Minnie looked over at the boy, “Hey kid.”

The boy looked at Minnie.  His teeth were biting hard into the red handkerchief gag.

With the medallion dangling from her fingertips, Minnie walked over to the boy. She held it in front of the boy’s face, letting it sway back and forth in front of his nose.

“Now listen. I know we have our differences,” Minnie said as she spun the medallion around her wrist. “But, we each are currently plagued with several problems.”

The boy yelled muffled curses into the gag.

Minnie stepped back and put her fists on her hips.

“That temper of yours is yet to aid you.”

The boy stamped his heels into the dirt as he yelled louder into the gag.

Minnie threw up her hands and shook her head. “Ok.”


Minnie slapped the boy across the face.

“You’ll die here, tied to a dam dead tree stump.”


“Your judge Daddy was too busy hanging folk to grow you up.”

The boy looked away from Minnie.

“You tried, but it’s just you and me now.” Minnie pointed with her thumb over her shoulder. “Out here burning to death.”

Minnie watched the boy’s eyes as they rose to her gaze then shifted to the medallion twisted tight around her wrist.

Minnie started circling her wrist unraveling the medallion.

“Now you are the only one that can read the gibberish on this here thing,” Minnie said as she put the medallion around her neck. “And you are holding an empty deck.”

The boy shrugged his shoulders and looked away.

“Really?” Minnie said kicking dirt at the boy. “I ain’t got time, there is a slug lodged in my ribs and I got to tend to it.”

Minnie nudged the boy with her boot.

“Hey, you must really want to die or something.”

The boy looked back at Minnie. He mumbled calmly into the gag and shrugged his shoulders.

“So, you are going to help me?”

The boy shook his head yes.

“Help me to the Peacock?”

Again, the boy shook his head yes.

Minnie walked behind the boy and took out her folding knife. She pressed the flat of her blade to his cheek.

“Nothing funny.”

Minnie cut away the ropes that were holding the boy to the tree stump and then the bindings from around his legs.

The boy pulled the gag out of his mouth and let it hang from his neck.


Minnie motioned for the boy to follow her. Together they walked over to her saddle bags which she had left at the edge of the lakebed.

“Here,” Minnie said handing the boy a canteen. “Just sip at it.”

Minnie took a swig from her whiskey bottle as she watched the boy chug from the canteen.

“Hey! Kid!”

Minnie snatched the canteen away from the boy.

“What the hell,” Protested the boy.

“We need to save that.”

“What’s it matter?” The boy wiped water from his chin. “We die tomorrow or two days from now?”

“I don’t intend on dying out here.” Minnie said pointing towards the horizon. “Your bringing me to it.”

“What? You gonna shit out that slug in your ribs?”

“Dammit, that’s my concern,” Minnie said as she raised a fist towards the boy.

“This is what it does to people.”

“What’s that?” Minnie asked lowering her fist.

“You have a bullet in your ribs and all you can think about is the Peacock.”

Minnie stared at the boy.

“Me and my Pa got to see many men stare fortunes straight in the face. Of course they get all crazy about it.” The boy spit at the ground. “But this gold, it’s etchings, it’s shine. Drives men..” The boy looked up at Minnie. “And women, just drives them all mad.”

Minnie looked down at her ribs. “Well I don’t take bullets for nothing.”

“That Jon fella got us all in bit of a spot, didn’t he?”

“No shit kid.”

“Names Austin.”


Austin shook his head yes as he motioned for the bottle of whiskey.

Minnie chuckled as she handed the bottle to Austin.

“Alright, Aus…tin. What do you have to say other than the obvious?

Austin sipped from the bottle then passed it back to Minnie.

“Well, Jon managed to do one thing right.” Austin looked around the lake bed. “Got us forced into one direction.”

“What is that?”

“It’s best we don’t go to the Peacock claim.”

“Wait, you saying we are near it?”

“It’s a cursed place.”

“Well don’t you worry; we’re already plenty cursed.”


“We need to get going,” Minnie said looking over at her saddle bags then down at her bloody hands. “How far?”

Austin squinted towards the west. “Rest of today. Bit tomorrow.”

“And your good on getting there?”

Austin started laughing.

“I thought you were the smart one.”

Minnie jammed her fist on her hips. “What you getting at?”

“You all been after me for days. Shooting up the territory to get at me.” Austin was laughing so hard he was hugging his waist. “But you are the only one to have asked me if I can still get back to the Peacock.”

“Hey, I was busy ducking bullets.”

“You lot are a bunch of Shanies,” Austin said before he began laughing uncontrollably.

Minnie watched as the boy sank to his knees and his laughter turned into sobs.

“Hey, kid?”

Austin punched the ground.

“My Daddy is dead cause that dam claim.”

“I’m…sorry.” Minnie stepped towards the kid. “I had nothing to do with that…after we broke out I was… on a horse…riding away.”

Austin wiped his eyes and stood up.

“Just leave it,” Said Austin as he walked over to the saddles bags and picked them up. After two tries he slung them over his right shoulder and turned towards the west. “We got some walking to do.”

Minnie walked over to Austin. “Here.” she said as she took the saddle bags.

“We keep a good pace, bout two hours be at some fresh water.” Austin looked at Minnie’s wound. “Be a good place to tend that.”

“Well, lead the way.”

Minnie followed the boy as they headed West into the desert.

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