3 – The Heavy Hand of the Law
Sheriff Ludwig turned his back to Black and shouted to the men in the room. “All right, all right. Quiet the hell down! Get in line. This guy’s pretty big, so we can probably go two at a time. I’ll set the watch to a minute each, so we can make sure that everyone gets a crack.”
There were some people that sounded like they were upset with their place in line. Black let out a small chuckle.
Ludwig turned around quickly and rushed up to him. “You think something’s funny here, dead man?”
“Not funny,” Black said. “Just shows a bit of your leadership abilities. That’s all.”
The Sheriff backhanded him across the face. “Meaning what?”
“I’m just pointing out that some of your men seem to be unhappy with their place in line,” he said. “You should make them draw straws or something. I don’t know. You’re the sheriff.”
Ludwig punched him in the gut. “You’re damn right, I am the sheriff.” He turned around and walked back over to his men. “Shut your damn traps! No one is changing places with anybody!” He pulled out a stopwatch from his pocket. “Sterns! Hill! Go!”
Suddenly, two men jumped out of the darkness at Black and began a barrage of punches to his face and torso. They took turns, one going high and one going low, for a few combos, before switching. They did a number on Black, but wore themselves out in just over twenty seconds. Black laughed.
“Come on, you pussies!” Ludwig shouted. “Is that all you got?”
“No, sir!” they both shouted, then continued a slower paced assault, with half the force of the first.
“Next!” Ludwig shouted, and two more men appeared, giving Black a beating to remember. This continued for the next ten minutes. Angry men, hungry for revenge, sprinting in and not having the endurance to last the full minute.
By the time they had all had a turn, Black spat a mouthful of blood on the floor and smiled at Ludwig. To everyone’s surprise, including Black’s, he was still conscious and full of hell. “You taking a turn, Chief?”
“That’s Sheriff Ludwig to you.” He quickly waddled over to Black and punched him with all of his might, right in the chest.
Black coughed, then cleared his throat.
Ludwig smiled as he rubbed his pained knuckles. “I’m gonna really enjoy this. Boys! Get the pipe!”
Black tried not to express any fear as to what was going to happen next, but he wanted to scream when he saw the heavy, lead pipe that one of the deputies brought over to Ludwig.
The sheriff smiled and said, “It’s piñata time. String him up, boys!”
A few men came from the darkness and lifted Black to his feet. Above his head, he saw a large metal hook. He knew they were going to hang him by the cuffs.
“Sheriff, we are going to have to take the cuffs off for a minute to get his arms in front of him so we can hang him up,” a deputy said.
“Then hurry up and do it!” Ludwig shouted.
As soon as Black heard the cuffs unlock, he sprung into action and broke the man’s arm next to him, at the elbow, before quickly spinning around and kicking another man in the groin with everything he had in him, dropping the man to the ground. The next closest man was Sheriff Ludwig himself. He swung the lead pipe down at Black, who sidestepped the impact, grabbed the sheriff by the wrist and punched him in the nose, causing a heavy flow of blood to pour down over his mouth.
Ludwig then dropped the pipe with ease, right into the hand of Black, who stood with it raised above his head ready to strike. The sound of hammers cocking back, drowned out the moans of pain from the three downed men.
“Wait! Stop!” Ludwig gurgled through a throat full of his own blood. “None of you fire! We need his death clean. If one of you idiots put a bullet in him and any ballistic tests are done on this asshole’s corpse, were all screwed!”
Black grinned. He knew that he had them right where he wanted them. “Do I have to kill all of you, one at a time? Or are you going to give me the keys to get out of here?”
One deputy spoke up. “What if he’s trying to make a break for it, Sheriff? Like an escaped criminal? Like, resisting arrest?”
Black looked at Ludwig and saw his eyes twinkle. “That might work,” the sheriff said.
“But then you would have to book me. On the record,” Black argued.
“Not if I say you broke custody before we got you to the station.” Ludwig smiled through the blood.
Suddenly, a door flew open and a deputy ran into the room. He stopped abruptly when he saw that things weren’t the way they should be. “What’s going on?”
“What is it, Russel?” Ludwig asked. “I told you not to leave the front desk.”
“But, sir,” he said. “I need to tell you something. It’s important.”
“Can’t it wait?” Ludwig shouted.
“I don’t think so, sir,” Russel said.
“Okay then,” he said, in defeat. “What is it?”
The short, young deputy hurried over to him and whispered in his ear. As he whispered, Ludwig’s eye grew wide and his jaw dropped low.
He swallowed hard. “Stand down, men!” Ludwig said, through gritted teeth. The men were confused, so he shouted. “I said, stand the hell down!” He lifted his large frame off of the floor and approached Black. “It turns out, that you’re free to go.”
Black was even confused. “Excuse me?”
“Let’s just say, you’ve been bailed out.”
The men were shouting. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing.
“By who?” Black asked.
Ludwig grinned. “Someone much more terrifying than me.”