Chapter 1: The Devil's Red Eye
Fredrick "Ricky" Gordans was hitting it big time. Deadlock had just secured a mother load of a payload and Ricky could already taste the ritzy cigars and the expensive bourbon he would be splurging his future credits on.
Sure the cut he was getting was only a miniscule fraction of what the payload was worth and there would forever be a greedy corner of his heart grinding away in frustration that he wouldn't even see an extra dime of that money, but that smouldering burn was an angry old friend and rarely did he find himself parted from it.
Ricky surveyed the celebrating Guild Hall that was Deadlock from the rock it was built on, to the insignia etched into the Guild Hall's brass doors, to the raucous vulgar killers that populated the ramshackle building that doubled as a conference hall and a dive bar. Ricky hailed over the bartender (a crusty old curmudgeon known only as Bartender which was just the way the leathery old bastard liked it) with a howling holler to keep the booze ever flowing his way.
It didn't take long for a new jug to sail across the wooden countertop and clean into his open waiting hands. With thirsty snatching fingers Ricky grabbed the clouded glass jug and chugged down the alcoholic brew. He was just about to tune back into the bawdy jibber-jabber he had only been paying half a mind to when he momentarily caught the eye of the newest Deadlock gang member who had been staring at him from across the room.
Automatically, Ricky felt a sneer spread across his face. His lips curled in disgust as his eyes narrowed with disdainful ire at the sight of the rookie's presence. Then they filled with a piggish drunken rage when Ricky's black look was answered with a slow, wide shit-eating, shit-stirring grin before Ricky was casually, arrogantly, dismissed from his sight.
Abruptly Ricky got up to teach the little shit a lesson. He took a moment to luxuriate in the stench of fear that was wafting his way from the other gang members even as he felt a spike in rage from lack of notice from his latest piñata. He was one of Deadlock's most senior members, this pissant’s superior, and a giant of a man besides.
The brawn of his arms was the size of the rookie’s goddamn head.
Ricky charged into point blank range, bulldozing over and knocking down whatever, whoever obstructed his way. His meaty bell-ringing right hook was raised and already in striking motion when his target finally took notice of the commotion behind them and turned around. At the sight of Ricky's looming figure they flinched, hard, their body a blur of motion.
And then came a drill of pain.
Ricky stopped dead. A bullet had landed square between his eyes. A trickle of blood leaked round the piercing bullet and crimson drops trickled down his forehead.
Everything quickly went black for Ricky. The last sight Frederick "Ricky" Gordans ever saw was the smoking barrel of his executioner and the devil’s red eye glaring right at him.
Chapter 2: Unlucky Thirteen
Unlucky thirteen was a year of many firsts for Jesse McCree
Unlucky thirteen was a year of many firsts for Jesse and as shit luck would have it, most of them even occurred on the same unlucky night.
Jesse had been sitting on a stool near the back of the guild trying to find the delicate balance between being unobtrusive and seeming undaunted. Even with faking an extra two years older Jesse was still having a hard time racking up respect without stomping all over people's boots and toes. Few people mind being shown up by folks decade younger than them and Deadlock gang members were not one of them folks.
At only thirteen years old - just turned because today was his birthday - although lying an age of fifteen Jesse was still undoubtedly the youngest full member of Deadlock. He just got the ink last month that marked him as one of them, as Deadlock. It had been part of his initiation to becoming a full-fledged member, his promotion from being a dime-a-dozen lowly runner.
Deep in thought Jesse slowly and steadily drained his jug of beer, the alcohol killing his tongue’s distaste for it by sheer persistent familiarity. Familiarity was a powerful thing. A man gets used to things that are bad for him, and things he don’t even like, simply because they hang around like the bad stinking smell that hangs around shit. And rotting corpses. And often them nasty smells like to come in one foul package.
People talk about bloody corpses but they never mention the shitty ones. Weird that. Both the fact that corpses shit themselves and the fact that no one ever mentions that tidbit Jesse mused to himself as he tipped back the jug to drip the last drops into his arched expectant throat. As the final swill wet his tongue Jesse brought his head back down to earth from its stretch for the sky, his hand bringing down the empty jug clasped in it back from his lips to clank down on the wooden countertop Jesse was sat at.
Jesse stared unseeingly across the jubilating hall. He stared right in the eye of one of his superiors. With a well-hidden start and not wanting to make it seem he had been challenging him Jesse tried to give his trademark charming grin. Unbeknownst to Jesse drink had turned his charm to grease and had made the smile condescending and infuriating. Jesse quickly looked away from Ricky who had returned his smile with glaring daggers. But Ricky glared at everyone, a mean mug that one had, so that was no biggie Jesse shrugged to himself.
Drink had loosened Jesse’s guard. Drink had made him stupid. With his back turned, no longer facing and able to see his superior Jesse thought himself safe. So the commotion behind him slowly wriggled its way past his drunken laden senses. Jesse peered behind him.
Such heartfelt eloquence barely had the time to cross his mind. It was a lightning strike of panic; Ricky was right there, point black, moving to make him bleed and see stars.
Then the devil made a puppet out of Jesse.
His arm was raised, his pea shooter was smoking, and Ricky was dead on the floor.
A rope taut silence frayed. Then it snapped suddenly. As one rushing murderous mob the man's friends all surged forward to attack the lone boy.
Draw. BANG BANG BANG. Jesse fanned the hammer. In concert three corpses dropped to the floor with a single reverberating thud.
As if the thud was causing it Jesse felt a lancing pain knife his right eye and he too went down. On one knee he could feel the entire hall hold its breath and stare down at his lowered position. Struggling to play it off, his throbbing burning eye reflexively shut, Jesse looked down at the four warm corpses in front of him and started, in proper Deadlock fashion, to pilfer their shit.
Jesse scored several credits, a pack of cigarettes, and a harmonica on his thirteenth birthday. Not bad gifts from the devil.
On his thirteenth Jesse had three firsts; his first taste of drink, his first taste of Deadeye and his first kill. The last two were from the devil too.