The In-between – Part 22 of 31

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Night of nin’. I forgot to work that in though. Oops…

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it. It’s certainly taking me longer than ten minutes but I will keep going with this for as long as I can and see where each days takes this. Either that or Ill stop if no one is reading it because its either too long or too ridiculous.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part15 Part16 Part 17 Part18 Part 19 Part 20 Part 21

Selfish, drunken, irrational, dangerous and Inconsiderate. Some of O’Rourke’s finer qualities, and those that knew him knew he was something else too. He was lucky. With the exception of the unfortunate matter with the Prussians things always seemed to end well for him and over time he had come to realise that should he take action then it would more than likely work out rather favourably.

He hoped this would be one of those occasions.

What O’Rourke did not know was that his luck was a matter of inheritance. His great great grandmother Dorinda Flaherty, a woman with a thing for men of short stature, had spent a night of passion on midsummers eve with a taller than average leprechaun. Nine months later this resulted in the birth of his grandfather Concobhar O’Rourke and a change in the families fortunes from that point forwards.

“What the hell is he doing?” Plumduff said peering out from the booth as O’Rourke propped himself up against the bar. It was a long, dark room with the bar running along one side and booths and tables opposite. An old man stood behind the bar stacking glasses on a shelf and save for Armitage and his companions the place was empty.

McCann unsheathed her sword.

“They have pistols” said Crompton.

McCann shrugged and grinned.

O’Rourke called out again and raised his drink. “Armitage my old mate” he said. “It’s me, O’Rourke. How long has it been?”

Armitage and everyone else around the table turned towards O’Rourke, a look of horror on Armitage’s face. He shook his head as if trying to warn O’Rourke off.

“Oh come on lad” he continued. “I know it’s been a while. Join me for a drink” and he walked over purposefully. The old man behind the bar looked at O’Rourke, shook his head and ducked down behind the bar.

Armitage sat motionless as Thrumhall’s men got to their feet, hands on their pistols. McCann stirred and Plumduff put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s see how this works out” she cautioned.

“He doesn’t know you stranger” a squat fellow insisted stepping forward and placing himself between O’Rourke and Armitage. “And he doesn’t need a drink.”

“Oh come on now, you’re in a pub and in a pub everyone should have a drink. Barkeep, drinks all round.” He shouted, but the old man remained hidden. McCann grinned as Armitage slammed his tankard down on the bar top.

“Barkeep, drinks all round” he pressed.

“No drinks” barked Thrumhall’s man drawing his pistol. Armitage flinched and O’Rourke, refusing to be deterred took another step forward.

“Now come on friend, no need to be like that” O’Rourke continued. “I simply wanted to catch up with an old friend and have a beer.”

The creature took a step forward and raised his pistol, holding it just inches from O’Rourke’s face who grinned and stretched out a hand picking up his tankard. The other creatures bristled and reached for their weapons, Crompton and McCann with hands on their sword hilts.

“Fair enough ” said O’Rourke and in one swift movement swung the hand holding the tankard bringing it crashing down against the side of the creature’s head. As it slumped forward he dropped the tankard, spun him around and snatched the weapon from its hand before the others could even raise their weapons.

“Now” he said loudly, his eyes wide and a maniacal grin on his face. “I said I wanted to have a drink with my friend here and must insist.” He raised the pistol to it’s head. “Why is that such a problem?”

“You’re going to regret this” said one of Thrumhall’s henchmen.

“Oh come on, always with the threats and the aggression” O’Rourke replied. “How about I just take my friend here and I’ll be on my way?”

Before his question was answered a door that O’Rourke hadn’t previously noticed to the side of where the Armitage and Thrumhall’s men had been swung suddenly open and Thrumhall strode through.

“What the hell’s going on here” he boomed raising his pistol and pointing it at O’Rourke. “who the hell are you?” Plumduff placed a hand across McCann’s chest. ”

“Just wait” she whispered.

O’Rourke lowered the pistol ever so slightly. “I was saying to your man here that I just wanted to have a drink with my friend.” He motioned towards Armitage. “I’m not looking for any trouble.”

“Crompton Look” said Plumduff quietly noticing the two shadows prowling around Thrumhall’s legs. Thrumhall walked forwards and O’Rourke strained to take a few step backwards and drag the deadweight of the creature with him.

Thrumhall motioned to one of the men stood with his pistol raised. “In the back, get the crates.”

“Yes Boss” he replied and disappeared through the door.

“Now here’s what’s going to happen next” Thrumhall said one hand on the head of the shadow nearest to him. “You’re going to release my man and I may just let you get out of here alive.”

O’Rourke laughed. “How about you release my friend and we all have a drink, sound like a deal?”

Plumduff looked at McCann, the three still hidden behind the high backed sides of the booth. “This may work after all” she whispered.

“No thanks” said Thrumhall and without warning fired a shot into the chest of the creature shielding O’Rourke who stopped smiling, dropped the dead weight and vaulted over the bar. Thrumhall continued shooting and those with him opened fire.

“Alright pal” he said to the old man as they both lay on the floor together, shards of glass raining down on them. “Nice place you have.”

As Thrumhall and his men advanced towards O’Rourke’s position Crompton, McCann and Plumduff burst from their cover.

“Ill take the big lad” said McCann drawing her sword and bearing down on Thrumhall who pivoted and squeezed a shot off at her. He was too slow though and she was on him in a flash landing a blow with the hilt of the sword across his Jaw and sending him sprawling. She then leaped over the bar joining O’Rourke and the bar keep.

“Elizabeth how grand to see you” he exclaimed.

Taken by surprise the others turned to see Crompton and Plumduff close behind McCann and turned their fire on them at which point O’Rourke reappeared from behind the bar, pistol raised, and began returning fire.

“Great distraction” O’Rourke said smiling as Plumduff and Crompton dived into cover in another booth, shots splintering the table and wooden seating around them.

Two of Thrumhall’s men fell to the ground, shots exploding in their chests, the shadows scattering and melting into the gloom.

“Move it Armitage” McCann barked peering over the bar top and he scrambled to his feet and threw himself into the booth sheltering Crompton and Plumduff. Thrumhall’s lot had taken cover behind tow overturned tables and were returning fire

“Hello lad” she said grinning. “I thought we’d lost you”. A shot split the wood panelling between them and Armitage placed his hands over his head. It never ceased to amaze him that no matter what she never let go of her hand bag.

Thrumhall slowly regained his footing, noticing his downed men and waved them back. “Get the crates now” he ordered and vaulted over the table to where the two men were dragging them from the room. The shadows raced to his side.

“On me” he said reaching inside his black tunic and pulling out the device. The petals opened and a hum filled the room, a feint blue light emanating from it. Leaving the downed men behind the remaining few followed Thrumhall and formed a protective wall in front of him.

“That’s right, run” yelled O’Rourke as he reappeared once more from behind the bar firing off shots wildly. Returned shots ripped into the bar but he didn’t flinch, suddenly feeling indestructible.

He saw Thrumhall look up at him, grin. “I’ll be seeing you lot real soon” he said and then quite suddenly there was a flash of blue light, a feint pop and every one of them disappeared – crates and shadows included.

For a while no one said anything. Slowly they all emerged from their places of hiding.

“They’ve gone” Armitage said stepping over the body of one of the dead men.

“Bright lad you got there” O’Rourke said clambering over the bar, glass crunching beneath his feet. “The question now is where oh where have our friends gone.”

Part 23 coming soon…