I'm Slowly Drifting To You

They were walking down the middle of the street. Ghostly figures garbed in old clothing that looked to be from the 1800's. Some of them had pickaxes. Others had old six-shooters strapped to their thighs.

The dead were walking. And they were walking with a purpose.

Gus and Carson had ducked behind the front counter of The Last Video Rental with Nodia. Nodia was confused as to why both of them seemed so nonchalant about seeing ghosts wandering the town. It was like they had seen worse. They just kept telling her that everything would be okay. That they wouldn't come in. And strangely enough, their words filled Nodia with a sense of ease.

Gus reached his hand over the counter and grabbed a box of goobers and opened it. He offered some to Nodia, she shook her head. She didn't feel like eating, and wondered why he did at this given moment. Then Gus offered some to Carson, who smiled at him and accepted.

"Okay, how the hell are you two so calm right now?" Nodia said in a fast whisper.

"This isn't the first rodeo we've been to." Gus said with a knowing smirk.

"You've seen ghosts wander the streets before?" Nodia said, confused.

"No. That's a new one, I'll give ya that," Gus said. "Usually it's aliens. The ghosts usually come to me in visions." He looked to Carson. "What do you think is going on?"

"I feel a great sorrow over the town." Carson said. "This is an old wound that's never healed. I fear more blood will be spilled before it's closed."

Gus nodded, "I think so too. I just hope Allison and the others know what's going on. We're gonna need their help."

It was at that moment that they heard a car approaching from the back. All three of them listened as the sound of the rear door opening and footsteps approaching from the back of the store drew closer. And then Freddy Falcone stepped in.

"Guys? Where are you? You alive in here?" Freddy exclaimed.

Gus stood up. "Freddy! Good to see you! Do you have any idea what's going on out there?"

"Yeah-huh, I do." Freddy said. "I'll explain the whole story on the way but first lets get the hell out of here... something tells me those guys aren't interested in renting Caddyshack!"

Gus turned and saw a trio of ghostly miners walk through the front wall of the store and advance on them.

Nodia looked distressed but Carson embraced her and told her to trust her and Gus as they followed Freddy out the back to his car where a young woman with red hair was waiting.

"Alright. We need to pay the Mayor a visit." Freddy said. "And no doubt we'll need you two to get him to talk."

"The mayor?" Gus frowned. "Maybe it's time to start telling us that story of yours."

---

Allison,” Jackson requested, “can I see you just outside?”

Allison nodded and followed Jackson out. She wondered what it was he wanted to speak about. She searched his eyes for any hint and almost got lost in them. She forced herself to look somewhere else and hoped he hadn't noticed she had been giving him "fuck me eyes."

"What's up?" She asked after clearing her throat.

---

Simon was pleased when he saw Leland's BMW in his driveway. He peered through the binoculars he had bought alongside a bag of beef jerky, finally free of the god awful hospital food. Before getting back into his fifth stolen car today he produced the bottle of painkillers Ira had provided for him and swilled them down with a bottle of Gatorade. He was gonna need the energy and lack of pain for what came next.

He drove to a spot a little closer to the Vaughan estate before getting out and huffing it on foot the rest of the way. The Vaughans weren't ones for going with a humble abode. The place was a gaudy mansion, an ugly thing really, that screamed wealth. Simon had his pick of entrances, but opted to slip in from the ground floor through a half-open window. He found himself inside a young woman's bedroom, no doubt Isobel's room. The young woman wasn't in the room but he could tell it was her's from the various items ranging from worn clothing and bras strewn about the floor. He was surprised to see a poster on her wall that showed a UFO with the worlds "I want to believe" underneath it. Like that one from The X-Files. He chuffed silently to himself and stepped out into the hallway.

He could hear raised voices coming from down the hall. It was Leland's and his wife. They were arguing, but he couldn't tell about what. Though given the clusterfuck both Leland and Milo were in after Simon had managed to slip out of their grasp, no doubt it wasn't any good. As he drew closer he could hear them more clearly.

"What do you mean he talked? This is Milo Castagnacci we're talking about here, Leland! Castagnaccis don't talk to the feds!" Mrs. Vaughan shouted.

"I don't know what they did, but they got him to talk. We need to get out of here before they come for us!" Leland exclaimed as the sound of clothes being put into a travel bag could be heard.

"Oh Jesus, how could this have happened?" Mrs. Vaughan said.

"It's my fault. I fucked up. I betrayed Milo when I tried selling out that bald fuck Falcone to the cartel, and then I had to sell out Simon to Milo to cover my own ass."

"And that ended up backfiring on you as well." Simon said as he entered their bedroom with his gun drawn.

Mrs. Vaughan looked at Simon in surprise then to her husband. But she didn't scream. She was tougher than that, Simon could see it in her eyes. This wasn't the first time someone had drawn a gun on her.

Leland dropped the socks he had in his hands and raised them up. "Simon... please."

"Please... what?" Simon furrowed his brow. "Don't shoot you? Forgive you for sending me into a trap? Getting myself shot up by your buddy Milo? Leland, you said it yourself... you fucked up."

"I did... I know that." Leland nodded. "But... maybe I can pay you..."

"I don't want your money, Leland. It's no good to me. I don't accept money from people I can't trust."

Leland sighed. "Fine. I understand. I get it. But please... there's no need for my wife to see this..."

"I'm not leaving any witnesses." Simon said firmly.

"She won't say anything, and she won't go looking for revenge." Leland told him. "She's not that loyal to me anyways."

Mrs. Vaughan frowned at her husband.

"Lovely family," Simon said. "Where's your daughter? I don't need her coming in to surprise me. Or to exact revenge, since you were so kind to remind me of that."

"She's gone. Been gone for days." Leland said, his voice quickened. "But please, don't hurt her. She's not a part of this."

"Can't leave things to chance anymore, Leland. You blew it when you sent me into the jaws of hell last night." Simon said raising his Smith & Wesson.

"Wait! Please! I'll let you kill me but you have to swear that you won't hurt my daughter!" Leland shouted.

Simon paused. "You're in no position to make demands, Leland."

"Consider it a last request?" Leland said.

Simon sighed. "Fine. I won't kill her. Alright?"

"Or my wife?"

"Or your wife."

"I swear we won't come after you. We wont tell the authorities about you." Mrs. Vaughan said. "Isobel hates this life, hates us. You'd be doing her a favor. Freeing her."

Simon sighed and nodded. "Alright." Then he looked to Mrs. Vaughan. "If you want you can step out while I finish my business with your husband."

Mrs. Vaughan looked to Leland. Leland nodded. And she stepped out and closed the door behind her. The two men stared at one another for what seemed like an hour. Then Leland spoke.

"Would it make you feel any better if I told you none of what I did was personal?"

"No, not really. You sold me out to save your own skin." Simon said.

Leland nodded. "Fair enough." He sighed. "Oh... one more thing. If you don't mind?"

"Shoot." Simon said.

"Please don't fuck my wife. I don't know if she'll try to, but I wouldn't put it past her." Leland chuckled.

Simon chuckled. "Don't worry. I'm not into blondes."

"That's a relief." Leland sighed and nodded. "Okay."

There was a loud bang and then a dull thud. After a moment Simon stepped out of the bedroom and went to the main living area where Mrs. Vaughan was sitting on the sofa with her back turned to him. She was cradling a vodka martini in her left hand.

Simon didn't say a word as he made his way towards the front door.

"It wasn't easy being his wife you know." Mrs. Vaughan suddenly spoke before he could take another step. "Always off doing business across the country. It was a lonely life. I'm only human, and it helped me make connections to help him. Help our business."

Simon thought for a moment before speaking. "You don't have to explain yourself to me. I'm not judging."

"But he did." Mrs. Vaughan said. "The first time he found out. I knew it broke his heart. And every time afterward, every man I slept with. I know it broke his heart again and again. But he wasn't around. He chose the job over me."

"Again, not judging." Simon said.

Mrs. Vaughan hissed. "Not loyal... Mr. Hitman, let me tell you something. I may be a lush who opens her legs to any man who would have me, but everything I did... I did for that man... and my little girl." Another hiss. "Not loyal..." Then she turned to look at Simon, at the same time producing a Walther PPK in her right hand. "I was always loyal to him!"

She fired just as Simon leaped to the side and slid into the kitchen behind the island in the middle. "You crazy fuckin' whore!" He pulled his Smith & Wesson out of his waistband and checked to see if he had enough rounds. He did. When Mrs. Vaughan stopped firing after two more shots he got up from behind the island found her and fired two shots. The first missed, but the second struck her in the shoulder. She screamed and fell back. Her martini fell onto the rug. Blood splashed on the nice white furniture, and she fell into a seated position onto the sofa and clutched at her shoulder.

Breathing through clenched teeth she looked at Simon with fire in her eyes. "You still agree to not kill my daughter? Or was that just to shut up Leland?"

"Honey," Simon said as he took aim once again, "if your daughter is even half as crazy as you are, I want to be as far away from her as possible."

Mrs. Vaughan glared at him with hate filled eyes as he pulled the trigger.

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