Western Warrior

The steam train hissed as it stopped at the platform of Karsmith City. It was a hot day and the crowd of people waiting to depart could see the heat waves rising off the ground. The crowd's attention was drawn away from watching the shimmering heat waves to the side carriage where a strange looking man had just stepped off.

This man was wearing the armour of an ancient time and carrying a very decorative sword. Nobody carried swords anymore. They were primitive weapons of no use against their more up-to-date rivals, guns.

The stranger peacefully walked through the crowd, not bothered by the staring eyes that followed his every move. Not bothered by the pointing. Not bothered by the comments. At complete peace with the world.

But peace was not to be found in Karsmith city for this man.

About ten minutes walk from the station he came across a saloon. At first he had no idea what the word 'saloon' actually meant but he got the idea of what it was after observing men going in and coming out completely drunk. He continued to walk thinking that perhaps he may go back their later for a drink if he required one. On his way to the other side of the city he saw a 'bank', once again he had no idea what it meant, he was still practising his English. There were men outside the bank with their cotton scarves pulled up over their noses as if to hide their identity. They couldn't hide it from the stranger, the stranger new what they were thinking and what their lives were like just by their eyes. There was a total of five men committing what the stranger thought must have been a robbery.

Three of the men, the stranger could tell actually wanted to be there and to go through with it. One of the men didn't want to be there but was goaded onward by his sense of pride and the fact that he might be rich afterwards. The other man was, if the stranger knew right an undercover deputy sheriff that obviously had hopes of catching the other four men red- handed.

The stranger thought it pointless to watch the outcome, as he knew what was going to occur. The men would rob the bank, they would get away for now, they'd eventually be caught due to a leak of information by the undercover lawman and hanged. The stranger was now feeling thirsty and needed a drink and so made his way back to the saloon that he had seen when he first arrived.

Inside the saloon was dark and hot with a muggy atmosphere. The once clean air was polluted with smoke from the customers' cigars. He slowly walked up to the bar and waited for the barman to serve him. From what the stranger observed it seemed that the barman was deliberately pretending that he was non-existent. The stranger proceeded to clear his throat loudly in an attempt to receive some sort of notice. Nothing, the barman continued to clean the glass. The stranger cleared his throat again, this time louder. Eventually the barman reluctantly turned round and quoted a well-practised line, which he must have rehearsed every day of his life. "What'll it be stranger?" "Sake" the stranger replied confidently as it was a word of his native tongue. "You what?" the barman asked quizzically. The stranger heard a small amount of laughter emanating from the man to the left of him. The stranger gradually shifted his gaze to see what was so funny. He was met with the man staring right back at him. "You got a problem Chinaman?" the man to the left of the stranger spoke in a slow Texas drawl. Now came the part where the stranger would have to use his English. "No problem here". By the look on the mans face the stranger could tell that he had difficulty understanding his English. "Then what do ya keep staring at Chinaman?" The stranger chose not to reply to this comment but instead to stay silent. "HEY! I'm talking to you Chinaman." The man said whilst standing up and knocking over his drink. The stranger replied calmly and slightly more confidently. "I am not Chinese, I am Japanese." "Oh yeah, well Japanman I'm callin you out." The stranger casually declined and turned away.

The stranger woke up in the sand outside with a splitting sore head where the man had hit him with a bottle. Lying next to him was a gun. About ten paces away stood the man who had insulted him and then hit him with the bottle. The stranger slowly stood to his feet and turned to face the man. "Draw your weapon," the man said in his annoyingly slow drawling accent. "I will not fight you," the stranger struggled to reply because of his poor English. "Then your gonna die."

The stranger's samurai beliefs kicked in and he knew that he would rather die fighting and thus preserve his honour, than die standing there doing nothing.

A tumbleweed rolled past, pushed along by a slight breeze.

The man's hand quivered over his gun in anticipation of grapping it as fast as he could. The stranger's hand tightened round the handle of his Katana.

The man pulled out his gun and got a shot off. The stranger at a time- bending speed dodged the shot. The next bullet was reflected by his sword and hit the ground just in front of the man's foot. The man took a step back and fired another two shots. Both dodged in mid-flight by the stranger. The next two shots missed completely in the man's panic. The man was still squeezing the trigger frantically, hitting empty rounds as the blade of the stranger's Katana pierced through his rib cage and skewered his heart like a kebab stick would skewer a piece of meat. The man dropped to his knees and fell forward face down in the sand. "You lose Americanman."

As to this day the stranger has never been seen in Karsmith City again. Some say he was shot, others say he was hanged for killing the man that challenged him. I personally think that he is out there somewhere. Riding the wind. Fighting for his honour.