Beau aka 'The Shadow'
Determined yet reticent.
Very skilled with long-range rifles & Clandestine Reconnaissance
Vengeful to a reckless degree
The night was cold, the air was still, and the
the man I had my crosshairs fixed on. From
moon was bright. I could see the breath of
maybe a hundred yards away, in the
cover of the tree line and the darkness, I
had my scope on this man for what
seemed like an hour. Waiting, watching,
anticipating... The fire he, and his
soon to be dead friends, sat by was large
and emitted plenty of light. Enough
light to illuminate over half the campsite
in fact. The moon lit the areas where
the camp fire light could not reach. Seven
men still sat about, no doubt they were
reminiscing on the evil things they had done...
I just needed one more man to drift off..
before I began...I let the scope fall slowly from my eye
and lay the rifle quietly on the ground. I pulled
my flask from my pocket and took one final sip. The burn was a welcomed feeling. A pain that I had learned to love. It helped me forget but not tonight. Tonight I did not want to forget. Those memories were my drive, my fuel, the reason for my impending revenge...I could picture him now, clear as day. He was tall, taller than most men. A large frame, long hair, an unkept beard, and a
brow that was almost always furrowed. The sight of him was enough to make those who didn’t know him uneasy. He didn’t look like a man to be messed with.. and he was not. Hank was a former Union Sharpshooter and from the way he told it he was one of the best and most prolific sharpshooters of his time. He was an educated man too. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him but Hank came from a wealthy background. He was set to follow in his father’s footsteps as a politician. The war changed that though. The war changed him, the war and the loss of his wife and child that is. He never met his son. He couldn’t make it home for the birth and by the time he did return they had both passed. A sickness he was told took them both...
The war made him hard and the loss of his family made him cold. He began his life after the war as a bounty hunter. In New Hanover and surrounding states he was a feared and respected bounty hunter. It was the outlaws who feared him. Hank only took dead or alive bounties and never brought his targets in alive. With his background and skillset most targets Hank hunted never even laid eyes on the man who killed them.
Eventually Hank had his fill of killing. He purchased a cabin just north of Valentine and settled into of life of hunting and fishing. He kept to himself for the most part only venturing into Valentine to sell pelts or buy more whiskey. And this where I
“Beau.. Beau! Boy, don’t make me call for you again.” I was hidden behind an old stump out back behind the cabin. I relented though. Hank didn’t sound happy and he wasn’t much for hide and seek anyway. “I’m here, Pa.” I stood up from my hiding spot and trotted Hank’s way. “Boy, it’s your birthday today. Did you know that?” I did know of course. Hank and I always did something special on my birthdays and I had been counting down the days. Today was my tenth birthday. I wondered what Hank had in mind. Would it be another fishing trip down to the Dakota river? Or perhaps we'd
"Born the son of a warrior with the heart of a lion, Beau was taken in and raised by a life long friend of his tragically deceased father. He was taught how to survive, be independant, and live his own life... However it would take an unforgettable tragedy for Beau to finally become a man.
go watch the show in Valentine.. “Come sit beside me, Beau. We need to talk.” His voice sunk and his face grew solemn. I could tell this wouldn’t be a normal talk. Maybe this was another of those right from wrong talks. I couldn’t think of anything I had done wrong recently though.
“You’re old enough now, Beau, to understand what I am going to tell you. And no one knows when they’ll draw their last breath. I’d hate to leave this world without telling you about the man who brought you into it.” He could see the confusion in my face. For as long as I could remember I had always been here, here with Hank. Sure we didn’t have the same skin or hair color, nor did I look anything like Hank but that didn’t stop me from calling him father.
“I’m not your father. Not your real father anyway. I knew your father though. He was a good man and he was my friend. Your father was Native American, as you may have guessed by now, but he was not from around these parts. Your father was from as far south and as far east in the United States as you can go. He once told me he was the grandson of the infamous, Osceola, the war chief who embarrassingly defeated the US military multiple times in the second Seminole war. If that’s true, boy, then you’ve got warrior’s blood in you!” I was awestruck. My eyes must have shown that too. Hank patted me on the head and cracked a small smile before continuing on.
“The government eventually won that war though and forced many of the remaining Native Americans
out of that area. Your father was on the move. He sought refuge at the Wapiti reservation. On his
trip his wife, your mother, gave birth to you. She did not survive the ordeal though... but your
father and you made it to the reservation.” “I met your father not long after he arrived. Hewas
delivering pelts to Valentine same as me. We met in the bar of all places. I was in a jam with
two lowlifes. It seems their daddy was one of my bounty targets a while back. They had me
backed right up against the bar. One had his revolver drawn, and the other a knife at my
Stomach.. I wasn't carrying a weapon other than my knife at the time and these boys had
the drop on me.” Hank must’ve seen the anxiety in my eyes because he paused for a brief
moment, I guess for dramatic effect... It worked! “In walks your father.. and after a quick
assessment of the situation, he intervened. I’ve never seen a man move that quickly! He
came from the front door to the bar in the blink of an eye. He wraps an arm around the neck
of the man who was pointing a revolver at me.It startled both of my would be attackers which
gave me the opportunity to disarm and overpower the one with the knife.” Your father and I
beat them boys silly and ran them out of town. We had ourselves a good night of drinking and
conversation afterwards. Our friendship was born that night. Your father's name was Beau..I call
you Beau in remembrance of your father. His name is the only thing you and I have left of him..Beau
is not the name your father gave you though. Your father named you ‘Walk In Water.’ You’re named after your father’s place of birth. You can choose which name you want to be called though.” I told Hank that I liked my father’s name and would like to keep it as my own. He smiled real big. I could tell he was happy.... That name meant a lot to him...
“Well for the next two years after that night your father and I were very close. We hunt together, fish together, drank together, laughed and hell I think we even cried together a time or two.” Hank’s eyes got a little misty as he told me this. I had never seen Hank cry and although he wasn’t yet, I could tell he wanted to. “In just his short time at the reservation your father had proven to them to be quite the huntsman. His specialty was gators. He even took me on one of his gator hunts in Lemoyne. Nasty creatures those things are but their skins fetch a decent price. What your father really wanted to hunt though was a grizzly.” Hank’s smile began to fade. He looked down at ground and his shoulders dropped a bit. It was now, even at my young age, I could tell that what I was about hear was not going to be good.
“And eventually he did. Hunting a grizzly is different than hunting a deer or even a gator though. Your father was inexperienced with hunting bears and that is what eventually lead to his demise. He stopped by my cabin on his way out. We shared a drink together where I tried to tell him that bears were different. They were smart and wouldn’t hesitate if cornered. I could tell he had heard it all before, probably from others on the reservation. He assured me he knew what he was doing. As he was leaving though I think his nerves may have got to him for a moment. He turned back to me and spoke of you.”
“Up to that point your father hadn’t spoken much about you. I knew he had a son but I had never met you. You were much too young to be out with your father and I. He mostly left you in the care of the women on the reservation while he was away.” “He told me your were growing fast. You were walking and even talking. He told me you looked like your mother. He also told me you were fearless. I told him that was just your age, you didn’t know about dangers yet. Your father disagreed though. He said you were different. Nothing frighten you. He told me when he returned from his hunt that he wanted to take me to the reservation to meet you.
I told your father I’d like that. And with that he turned back, mounted his horse, and rode off. It was the last time I ever saw your father.” Again Hank’s eyes said more than his words.
“It couldn’t have been more than a week or two since your father had left when two riders from the reservation rode up to my cabin. One of them I recognized, Chief Rains Fall. The other rider was holding a young child. That child was you, Beau. Rains Fall told me that your father’s horse returned without your father. A search party was sent out and your father was found. He had been attacked and killed by a grizzly bear. Rains Fall also told me that your father had requested some time ago that I assume the care for his child should anything happen to him. They had come that day to deliver you to me. I didn’t know what to say. Your father had never mentioned this to me and I knew nothing about caring for a child. But I took you anyway.”
“I’ve tried to be a good father figure for you, Beau. I taught you to read and write. I taught you right from wrong. And I’m going to eventually teach you all I know. I’m not your father though and now you know this. You can call me Hank from now on if you want to.” I told Hank that he was my father now and that I would continue to call him father. Hank scooped me up with both arms and nearly squeezed the life out of me with a hug. “Oh let’s not forget about your birthday. It’s about time you learned how to shoot a proper rifle...”
And did I ever... Hank gave me a rifle that day. A Remington Rolling Block Rifle to be exact. The same rifle he used in the war. He taught me all there was to know about rifles and how to use them. I excelled with rifles and it wasn’t long before I was making shots that would impress even the best marksman. Many times after shooting practice me and Hank would have a good ol’ fashioned knife throwing contest. Hank was good at that too but I was determined to be better. Hank eventually got me my own set of throwing knives and whenever I didn’t have a rifle in my hands, you can bet I had a knife. I got so good with throwing knives that I could hit a moving squirrel at nearly twenty yards. Life went on for many years without so much as a hiccup. Hank and I would hunt and sell our pelts locally for sustainment. I enjoyed this life and I could tell Hank did too. All was well.. until it wasn’t....
And did I ever... Hank gave me a rifle that day. A Remington Rolling Block Rifle to be exact. The same rifle he used in the war. He taught me all there was to know about rifles and how to use them. I excelled with rifles and it wasn’t long before I was making shots that would impress even the best marksman. Many times after shooting practice me and Hank would have a good ol’ fashioned knife throwing contest. Hank was good at that too but I was determined to be better. Hank eventually got me my own set of throwing knives and whenever I didn’t have a rifle in my hands, you can bet I had a knife. I got so good with throwing knives that I could hit a moving squirrel at nearly twenty yards. Life went on for many years without so much as a hiccup. Hank and I would hunt and sell our pelts locally for sustainment. I enjoyed this life and I could tell Hank did too. All was well.. until it
Wasn't.... It was the evening before my eighteenth birthday. In the morning Hank and I were set to leave on a hunting trip. The trip would take us towards West Elizabeth and into a valley north of Lake Owanjila. Hank and I were sitting on the porch of our cabin, smoking celebratory cigars, when two riders approached. As they grew closer I noticed their rough and greasy appearance and overall grim look. “Good evenin’ to ya.” The first rider said. “Evenin” was all Hank could muster. “Me and my friend here seek shelter, just for the night..” I could tell Hank had the same impression I did of these two. They were up to no good. “We got no room.” Hank said. “Oh come on now feller, we mean you no
Wasn't.... It was the evening before my eighteenth birthday. In the morning Hank and I were set to leave on a hunting trip. The trip would take us towards West Elizabeth and into a valley north of Lake Owanjila. Hank and I were sitting on the porch of our cabin, smoking celebratory cigars, when two riders approached. As they grew closer I noticed their rough and greasy appearance and overall grim look. “Good evenin’ to ya.” The first rider said. “Evenin” was all Hank could muster. “Me and my friend here seek shelter, just for the night..” I could tell Hank had the same impression I did of these two. They were up to no good. “We got no room.” Hank said. “Oh come on now feller, we mean you no harm and we just wanna rest a bit. Have a heart.” The man pleaded. His smirk though betrayed his words. “No.” Hank said, as sharp as a knife. At this point I saw the man who’d been communicating with us begin to reach for his side arm. Hank was having none of that though. In a flash he had his colt drawn and aimed at the man. I followed suit and drew my colt as well. I had my sights on the silent rider. The first rider threw his arms in the air in a display of surrender. “Ok, pardner. We’ll be on our way. You should know though that you just pointed your guns at members of the O’Driscoll Boys. We don’t take too kindly to that.” With that both riders turned around and began back down the path. Over his shoulder the first rider murmured “Be seeing you..”
my heart would leap from my chest at any
with splitting pain..the morning sunlight
the side of my face..The pain was
in my mouth and my entire head throbbed
Hank and I finished our cigars and whiskey
and went to
bed without even a mention of what had just
occurred... In the morning we’d just be gone
that...only our mysterious riders had other
plans...I woke abruptly to sound of the cabin
My vision was still blurry from sleeping
but I could make out at least four grown
reaching for my colt when the butt of
immense and the taste of blood filled
faded to black... I woke up to the cold
me clean on
way through the cabin door.... I was
down and this time, the world
hear my heart beating. It felt as though
water on my body. I could almost
time. The taste of blood still lingered
bleeding through the trees only made
my head hurt worse. My arms were bound
behind my back but my feet free. I then
pulled myself to a seated position but the
feeling of a revolver barrel to the back of my
head and the sound of a hammer
cock stopped me from rising any further
At last I looked up. Up to the faces of the men
who stood over me.... There
were three men in front of me and I could
hear others moving about behind me.I recognized
one of the men standing
before me as one of the riders from the previous
night. He and I made eye contact.He didn't speak but
with a head nod for me to look back. I turned my
head around and what I saw immediately made me sick
to my stomach..Hank's lifeless body was dangling
from a rope tied to a wooden support beam over the cabin
porch...I couldn’t look. I turned away as tears began to
stream down my cheeks. My stomach turned and I couldn’t keep my dinner from the previous night down. The men around me began laughing as I collapsed onto the ground in a pool of my own puke and tears. “That’s what happens, boy, when you threaten the O’Driscolls.” I didn’t even need to look up to recognize that voice. It was the rider who spoke the night before. “This cabin here belongs to the O’Driscolls now.” I looked up in time to see the bottom of boot just before my world went dark once more.
The sound of rushing water and the creaking of a wooden bridge filled my ears when I woke. I was hogtied and draped over the back of horse. My head once again felt like I’d just been stabbed through both eyes. The squinting from the pain made it difficult to see just what was going on at first but as my vision returned I didn’t like what I saw. I was on a narrow wooden bridge over the Dakota river. There were two men carrying a body to the edge of the bridge. With one strong heave they tossed the body over the rope guard and into the river. I could only assume that was Hank’s body. They began making their way back to me. I knew I was next. I had two options far as I could tell. Play dead and hope I didn’t hit a rock on my way down when they tossed me or let them see I’m not dead and hope they reconsider what they’re doing. I quickly came to the conclusion that if they knew I was alive they would most likely put a bullet in my brain and then toss me. I went with the first option.
I don’t know if it was the impact with the surface of the river or the cold shock that ran through my body from the frigid temperature of the water but something took all my breath away. Now I could swim just fine under normal circumstances but in my condition and hands bound it proved quite difficult. The strength of the moving water did nothing to aid me neither. I did my best to get my head out of the water and gasp for air as often as I could. I slammed into boulder after boulder each one removing the breath from my body that I had struggled so hard to get. Finally the river pushed me onto the top of a boulder that just barely broke the surface of water. It took every bit of my remaining strength to pull
up onto the rock without the use of my hands. Eventually I did just that though. Once out of the water I was able to catch my breath. The sharp edge of a nearby rock was enough to free me of my bindings. I sat for only a few minutes to rest and gather my thoughts. I reflected on the events of the last twelve hours and a mix of emotions flooded my mind. Sadness was the first but utter rage would take over next. I knew what I had to do.
I made it to Valentine just before sundown. Hank had maintained good relations with just about everyone in town so maybe I could get a few things on credit. My first stop was the general store. I needed food. I hadn’t eaten in almost twenty four hours and I was gonna need my strength tonight. I grabbed some food, a new set of clothes, and some other odds and ins I thought I might need in the immediate future including a flask and a little whiskey. The store clerk let me have them with the promise that I’d pay him back as soon as I could. My next stop would be the gun shop. It took a bit more persuading but eventually the shop owner relented and allowed me to get a few things on credit.
I wrapped my new gun belt around my waste, fastened the buckle, and slide my new revolver into its holster. I slipped my new knife into its sheath and I slung my new rifle onto my back. It was a nice rifle, Italian made the shop owner told me, and tonight it would be put to the test.
It was time to make my way north, north to my destination. The walk wouldn’t take too long. I should be able to make it before the moon reached its highest point..
I snapped back to reality..it was time to work
I slipped my flask back into my pocket and
I could always recount my memories later
raised my rifle back into the ready
position. There were only six men around
the fire now. I wasted no more time
I lined up the first shot and squeezed my
trigger. The deafening shot rang
in my ears. It was fine though..I didn't
need my ears right now, I only
needed my eyes..The man slumped over
into the fire. I pulled back the bolt
and chambered another round. The second
shot tore through the next man's
throat sending a wave of blood visible in the
moon and fire light, on the third man...
my next shot put a hole in the forehead of the man
covered in his friend's blood. My next three
shots all hit their mark as well. Six rounds, six dead men...I was just getting started. I left the rifle where it law and started to move
I knew those first shots were too fast for the men in their tents and in the cabin to have seen where they can from but I reckon they could hear just fine. They would know my general location based on the direction of the sound. I had to move quickly but I also had to move silently. I did my best to avoid stepping on anything that would give away my position as I circled around to the opposite side of the camp from where I shot. Through the trees I could hear the remaining men scrambling from their resting places and trying to figure out what had just taken place.
I made it undetected to the other side. At this point the men had discovered their lifeless friends around the camp fire. They were searching the campsite and surrounding area now, guns at the ready. I counted six more souls in all that I would send to hell momentarily. I silently made my way towards the closest man. His back was to me and he wasn’t ready for the rage that was heading his way. My left hand covered his mouth and my right hand plunged my blade deep into his neck. I held him there until I felt the life leave his body. Five more to go. The next was standing by the camp fire, in shock at the sight of his fallen friends. Although it wasn’t a throwing knife I had no problems burying the blade of my new knife into his heart from fifteen yards away. Unfortunately he collapsed with a loud thud that caught the attention of two other men nearby.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before they spotted me so I had to act first. I drew my revolver and put a bullet in them both. Now only two men remained. I retrieved my knife and prepared. I knew they’d be headed my way after they heard the shots fired. I wasn’t wrong. From the corner of the cabin I saw the flash and heard a bullet whizz past my head. I dove for cover and broke line of sight. I wasn’t sure of the other man’s location but I had to deal with this man who knew mine. I rose from the ground and sprinted faster than I’d ever ran towards the man at the corner of the cabin. He tried to get off one more shot before I reached him but again he missed. I slammed into him full force with all of my weight. The impact sent him flailing to the ground and jarred the repeater from his hands. I leapt on top of him and my hands found his throat. I squeezed with everything I had. I watched fear fill his eyes as he realized this was his end. I then watched the life leave his eyes. Only one more man to go now.
As I stood I could hear the last man rustling around inside the cabin. He called out to his men and immediately I recognized his voice. The last man alive was the rider who spoke the night before. The one who gathered these men, the one responsible for the death of Hank. He was the one responsible for the death of his own men as well. I heard the cabin door crash open and his foot steps as he began to run away. I smiled a moment before I started my pursuit. I caught the man in mere seconds. I tackled him from behind sending him face first into the ground. I grabbed the back of his head and pushed his face into the earth. I didn’t want him to see my face. He only struggled for a brief moment before he gave up. He turned his head slightly in an attempt to catch a glimpse of his assailant. I didn’t allow him to lay eyes on me though.
“Who are you?” He gasped. I didn’t respond. “Who are you and what do you want?!” He asked in desperation. Again I didn’t respond. “Don’t kill me! I have money. You can have it. You can have it all. Just don’t kill me please.” I wasn’t going to kill this man. Not because he asked. No I had bigger plans. I wanted all the O’Driscolls. And I wanted them to know that someone was coming for them. “You aren’t going to die here tonight.” I said. “I have something for you to tell the rest of your friends: Anyone who calls themselves an O’Driscoll is gonna meet the same end as these men here. I’m coming for you.”
“Who are you? Who is coming for us? I ain’t seen your face, mister.” The man said as he trembled under my grip.
“I know, and you never will.” And with that I turned the mans face towards the earth once more. I reached a hand around each side of his face until my fingers were over his eyes. The man began to scream and writhe in pain as I dug my fingers into both of his eyes. I forced both of his eyes from their socket. Once I was sure he’d never see again I released him. He continued to scream as he scrambled to his feet he ran away as best he could.
I gathered my belongings from the cabin and the stash of cash that Hank had hidden. Luckily the men hadn’t found it. I could use it to pay back what I owed. I found where the men had tied their horses and I picked a decent looking one to get me back to town. I set out for Valentine after retrieving my rifle from where I left it.
I laid low in Valentine for few days using the cash to pay back the general store and gun shop and secure myself a room at the hotel. I released the temporary horse and bought a new one. A mount that could get me out of here. The news had spread about the the killings at six point cabin. Although there were no witnesses, the people of Valentine knew me and knew that Hank and I lived there and it wouldn’t take long for folks to start asking me questions. I made my way into the bar on the night I planned on leaving. I figured I’d get myself a good meal and some whiskey before I left. No telling how long it’d be before I had the opportunity to do so again. As I ate and drank I couldn’t help but overhear a nearby conversation..
You hear ‘bout that man they brought to the doctor? They said he was missing both his eyes. Says he was there at six point cabin when all those men were killed. I reckon he’s an O’Driscoll just like the rest of them boys was. He ain’t right in the head now though. Whatever he saw before he lost his eyes messed him up bad. Rambling on ‘bout a shadow or something, THE shadow, is comin’ after him and his friends.. Ya know I wonder if it wasn’t The Born Brothers who done that? You know they got it out for the O’Driscolls among other gangs. I think they’d be the only ones who could get the drop on twelve men like that and get out without no one spotting ‘em.” I stopped listening after i heard that talk.....
The Born Brothers? Who were they? If they were also killing O’Driscolls then I had to find them. As far as I was concerned my life as I had known it just a few days ago was over. I never wanted to see that cabin again. I needed a new life. A fresh start. A new family.