Delia's Gone


delia2_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif


Boss Man (NPC by Russo)

Scene Title Delia's Gone
Synopsis Smedley's worst nightmare comes true…
Date December 14, 2010

The Western Prairies

Delia, oh, Delia Delia all my life

The dry creaking of metal as the wind blows a distant weathervane around in a swirl is the only sound that can be heard aside from the soft rustle of a tumbleweed rolling across the field. It's dark, or it would be if it weren't for the large full moon painting the landscape an ominous pale silver. A long fence lines the edge of the field, the old posts tangled with barbed wire and yellowed weeds. The thrum of hooves overtop the dry husks of corn stalks, dead from lack of sun and water, seems to echo loud crunches over the prairie. Four black horses race across the plain, leaving a large trail of dust behind them. As they draw nearer to the fence, into their view the scarecrow on the other side looms into view.

It's time for the sacrifice.

Not all villages treat their witches the same, though they're all loathed and feared for what they are, the punishment for being different is quite varied. Here in the plains, they led a different sort of life. A peaceful existence that hadn't been bothered by the more Eastern plagues and trials that wore on the people, the Havenots. They hadn't been bothered until the sun stopped rising in the east and setting in the west. They hadn't been bothered until the crops withered and died. They hadn't been bothered until their children got sick from lack of food. That was when they found the scarecrow.

As the horses slow to a stop, the dust settles to reveal a mass that's been tied behind one of them. A young woman, bloodied and torn, mangled beyond recognition… aside from one very important feature… a long sheaf of curly red hair.

If I hadn't have shot poor

Delia I'd have had her for my wife

But it's just another variation on the same theme.

The horses snort, steam rising from their nostrils and curling up toward the sky. One paws the ground as his rider dismounts, dresses as the others in a long leather coat, spattered with the light colored dust. In the silver light of the moon, it might even be snow.

The other three riders laugh, their faces twisted with the joy of righteous justice, but no sound comes from their throats. The dark Stetsons they wear throw their features into shadow, but their grins stand out - savage teeth glistening in the moonlight.

The unsaturated sky slowly fills with the rising sounds contemplative guitar chords strummed with a beat reminiscent of a horse's steady gait.

Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone

One approaches the fence while another unties the ropes from the horses only to tug her toward a post. A third stands without laughing - only a smug leer painted across his craggy face. He reaches into his coat to pull out a long iron rod, the tip of which glows the same fiery red as the girl's hair. The forth stands by the horses, his gray eyes taking it in, his mouth pulled into a frown.

"Fuckin' give me a hand, Wes!" the man dragging the dead weight of the girl says, cutting through the fabric of the shadowy tableau to snap the fourth man to attention. Wordlessly, as if programmed, Wes takes one of the ropes that makes up the lashing on the girl's wrists, and hoists it over his shoulder before he pulls.

I went up to Memphis

The mangled remains of what used to be a young woman are hoisted into the air on Wes’ back. Her head droops weakly and if God were merciful, she would be unconscious. Unfortunately, he’s not. Not here. There’s a small whimper that escapes Delia’s throat as she’s roughly pulled from the ground and up to her knees. She’s never been this badly beaten before in her entire life, she’s barely recognizable.

“God she’s ugly…” One of the other hands comments in a gruff voice, “Never figgered they’d be lookers but …” He whistles low before placing a calloused hand to her cheek, smacking her hard across the face to jolt some life into her. His response to her withered whine is a chortle of glee, knowing that he left a mark on her however fleeting that red handprint on her cheek may be.

And I met Delia there Found her in her parlor

And I tied to her chair

“Fuuuuuuuuck.” It’s a comment directed at the hand in question, left to linger between them like some everyday expression. “Bet she wouldn’ta be any gud in the sack anyways.” The statement is matter-of-fact as the Boss-Man, who aptly has no other recognizable features, smirks at the redhead’s form. His hat, a broad cowboy hat with an unusually large brim designed to conceal his eyes and face in shadow, is tilted forward even more, making his face little more than a mouth.

“Ye’rn’t sppos’d tah be ‘traccted to ‘em idjit,” he scoffs with that grim mouth— nearly vampiric in nature and appearance, his overly white canine teeth have that affect. There’s an equally grim smile given as he reaches over with a large calloused hand rough like leather towards Delia’s throat. Along her delicate neck distinct finger like bruises that match the boss’s fingers have already been laid. And within this moment he tightens his grip.

The hands themselves, while leathery, have that undeniable strength brought forward by years of physical labour, a strength that wouldn’t be easily escaped even in the best of circumstances. But the Boss-Man isn’t what many would expect. He doesn’t have the grace to end it now. Instead, with his left hand, his opposite hand— in essence, the wrong hand, he delivers a ridiculously hard blow. Delia’s bloodspatter along the ground sprays from her lips— her teeth having cut flesh under the pressure— in an indiscernible nearly moon-shaped pattern.

Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone

Regardless, the vivid red blood burns into the monochromatic ground, the image echoing in Wes’s hollow eyes. His face blurs, momentarily replaced with one more in line with the others - a mask of rage, fear, and the adrenaline that comes with strenuous physical activity in the dead cold of a February night. But in another breath, it’s replaced again with that robotic blankness, lit only by the dim remorse in his pale gray blue eyes.

“We’ve still got to cover our asses,” he says with a grunt as he swings the young woman over his shoulder, aiming her toward the fence as if she were no more than a sack of feed. “This can’t take all night.” But with the woman off his back, she’s something to look at - something to be seen and remembered.

Wes scowls down at the broken body. “Fuckin terrorist bitch,” he snarls, his lips curling back with the words. They close up afterward, only to send a glob of saliva through the crisp air to land on the beaten form.

She was low down and trifling

The loogie hits the side of her cheek where the first hand left his print. Sliding down skin mottled with cuts and bruises, it soothes the sting a little but knowing what properties this medicine carries sends a violent churn through the young woman’s stomach. Two of these men are ones that she’s known all of her life one of them is a relative stranger and their leader… His failed attempts at courtship had made a bitter enemy. Lifting her blue eyes to look at him, her eyebrows sink in something of a defiant frown. Had she the strength, had she the power, she might have fought back but she’s nothing and in realizing this, her head drops again her body sagging pathetically.

“C’mon when’re we gonna have some real fun!” The first hand leers, his arms stretching around the young woman’s form to lash her to the post. His breath smells like the rank odor of cigarettes and cheap whiskey, too many days without brushing lends a sour smell to the mix and puts the young woman off enough to turn her head. It’s a gesture not taken nicely by the man and his hand grips her face painfully as he wrenches head back forcing her eyes to look into his. “You think you’re better’n me?! You think so?!?” His hand fumbles at her dress, tearing it at the waist as he finds a nice place for the red hot iron. One bit of untouched milky skin to lay their mark.

And she was cold and mean

Kind of evil make me want to Grab my sub machine

The milky skin lingers like the untouched, unshed, purely innocent white of a young lamb. But Boss-Man sees no innocence. The smell in the air wreaks of bloodlust, desperate for some compensation for the state of the world. Somehow, this girl, with her devil red hair, cannot possibly be innocent, even under the guise of Snow White. The man’s lips curl into a sadistic smile like they were never made to reflect merriment. There’s nothing but anger, hatred, and an odd delight at her pain mixed into the smile. In a way, even this action brings him no joy.

“She’s nothin’ but a demon. A slut. Not even human. Breedin’ o’ her Ma and Pa brought nothin’ but misery and paaain.” He skulks around Delia’s limp body, the balance of power so evident in each step that allows him some measure of lightness, like somehow in her pain he finds an oddly sadistic twisted version of joy that doesn’t even hold happiness within it, only revenge. “Y’hear that, bitch? Y’re nothin’ ‘tah us. Nothin’ but a fuckin’ animal. Y’know what we cowboys do ‘ta animals? They belong to us. Y’re ass? ‘S’ours.”

Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone

Wes moves to flank the girl, kneeling by the fence and helping to pass the rope around the post, her wrists, and her waist until it digs into her flesh with an uncomfortable tightness. The rope itself is scratchy, for all it’s years of use - the bristles biting through skin and fabric. As limp as she may be now, Wes knows as well as any of them that new life will course through her at the application of the iron.

He curls his fingers into her hair, matted and dirtied by her trip through the fields but without any effect on the color of her hair. Wes twists the hair in his grip before he pulls her head back against the post, baring her neck for the wolves who stand slavering for revenge. “He’s right, you know,” Wes says in a voice barely above a whisper, his face blurring back to that thematic scowl, as if the two masks were jockeying for a position on his skull. “S’gotta be a way t’make you useful. But in the meantime, we gotta make it so you can’t hide.

First time I shot her I shot her in the side

The first hand is already down on his knees, tearing the young woman’s dress a little more, his rough hands running over her battered form as though he has ideas of his own to make her useful. A strip of cloth from her waist to her knee is shredded down, baring the pale skin of her thigh to the iron. Little patches that aren’t scuffed up from her drag behind the horses are few and far between but they do exist, it’s just a matter of picking one out large enough for branding.

At the feel of the man’s hands touching her, Delia lets out a shriek of terror that echoes out over the prairie and uses up the last reserves of her strength. Her bright blue eyes fixate on the hot brand and she struggles weakly to release herself from the bonds. “Please.. no please… I didn’t do anything wrong… I can’t even…” She turns to face Wes, salty tears mixing in with the trail left by the glob of spit that he gave her. The redhead presses her lips into a thin line and narrows her eyes some, only causing more tears to spill down her face. “I’ll remember you… forever.”

Hard to watch her suffer

But with the second shot she died

Mirthless laughter escapes Boss-Man’s lips like some dark witch’s licherous emission. “Kitty’s got claws~” he nearly sings in his lazy Southern drawl. The hot branding iron is cast a glance while the virtually-hooded (thanks to the concealment of his eyes) man presses iron to flesh. The smell of burning flesh permeates the area, almost like that of a ham in the oven. With cows you count, making sure you don’t cause damage to other layers of the cattle. The Boss Man believes Delia deserves no such luxury. There is no count, merely the holding of the iron to her white skin, permanently scarring her so she knows she will never be free, not even death can free her from their mark.

Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone

Smell is the most capable of senses when it comes to capturing memory. The smell of burning flesh, mixed with the crisp night air, throws the mask of the grimacing cohort from Wes’s face. He stares wide-eyed at Delia, tear-stained, bruised, and bloodied, and he swallows. His brows furrow, but he doesn’t release his grip on either her arm or her hair. He holds her steady, arms and fingers locked into position as steam rises from the iron on her thigh.

He doesn’t speak, but there is a wealth of words in his eyes. Everything from the most elaborate of excuses and if-onlys to the simplest apology. His jaw tightens, and the tendons in his neck stand out when, for a moment, every wrinkle and line on his face is clearly visible in the moonlight.

The sounds of the other hands and even the sizzling of the iron fade, overcome once again by the strumming the guitar. Wes’s eyes dim as he looks at the girl under his hands, his lips turning down into a frown of the deepest self-loathing. But then his eyes narrow, and Wes leans in just that much closer to look at Delia’s face.

“You…you’re not her.

But jailer, oh, jailer Jailer,

No, she isn’t and the glare that Smedley receives is withering, almost as much as she withers against the pain of the hot iron that’s pressed against her thigh. She doesn’t scream or cry out, she merely holds her stare on the cowboy. The smell of her own burning flesh causes her eyeballs to sting with tears that spill down and seep into the cuts on her face.

The first hand is holding onto her tightly, leaving purple bruises instead of fingerprints. When the iron is finally lifted, he gives her just a little mercy by spitting onto the scarred flesh, cooling it suddenly with a wad of tobacco filled spittle of his own.

I can't sleep 'Cause all around my bedside

I hear the patter of Delia's feet

“Wooooheeee!” Boss-man cheers loudly while the burned flesh shows their symbol. She is theirs for better or worse. His hands are shoved unceremoniously into pockets as he nods at the farm hands. This is the reality. He tosses a lasso around her neck, much the way he would a steer to haul around and bend to his will.

With a sharp whistle, he urges loudly, “Get up, bitch.” He clucks his tongue like he’s trying to sway or navigate some great animal around, but his intentions are nowhere near the intended. There’s no goodwill in his stance, no mercy in his face, just a smug smile like some well-intentioned murderous leech.

“Fuuuuuck Wes. This fuckin’ bitch ain’t nothin’. Not even worthy of an ‘er.”

Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone

Wes flinches when the noose is thrown, and he shoots an angry glare at the Boss-Man before turning it to the hand crouched on the other side of the girl. “You’re just sore that if y’take ‘r for a spin, you’ll end up with whatever it is she’s got that makes her so damned special.” The words echo as only memory can, even if the rest of the elements have been molded and marred by time.

But her - Wes has seen that head of hair before, those slightly harsher features. It isn’t Brianne Kendrick on that fence. It’s… it’s someone else. There’s a vague recollection of hair that color in a building - his building - hooked up to an IV drip. And then the haunting eyes and voice of a woman who was both there and not there at the same time. His eyes fall from Delia’s face to the fresh burn on her thigh - an elongated S with one bar coming off one side, and two coming off the other.

“I’m not there,” he murmurs as he squints at the brand. It’s different too. But memory is like that.

So if you woman's devilish

You can let her run

The first hand quickly unties the woman from the post to allow her to be hauled around like an animal by the Boss. Delia stumbles before falling forward, catching herself on the scuffed and scraped heels of her hands. Still, she doesn’t cry out or give these men the satisfaction of hearing her scream.

As Wes grows conscious, the last vision he sees of the posse he helped is them swinging the rope up over the arm of the tall scarecrow and hoisting the young woman up against it by the neck. Her hands are pulled to each of its outstretched arms and nailed in place. Still those blue eyes pierce into Smedley’s dark ones and her chin lifts defiantly at her treatment.

He’s not there… but he was… and now she knows it.

Or you can bring her down and do her

Like Delia got done

Those dungaree blue eyes open with the accompaniment of a sharp intake of breath. Wes doesn’t sit bolt upright on the small cot he’s rigged in the cabin of What Jenny Thought, but Carson does, his dark ears pinned back against his head as he looks plaintively at his master. Wes’s fingers curl tightly around the single sheet that covers the thin camping mattress, and his gaze bores holes in the hull.

The variations on the theme are what make the dream hard to swallow back, hard to push away so that sleep can come again. Instead, Wes lies awake, listening to his dog - the only thing within arms reach other than his own flesh and blood that’s older than his crime - lose the battle against sleep.

Delia's gone, one more round Delia's gone

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