In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Six
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Chilli is mostly upright, Samson get's madder by the minute.


The Firefly characters are someone else’s property, I am not getting paid for this.

All reviews welcome


The Mule was travelling at near enough full speed through rough terrain. Jayne having had a large say on what got loaded there was a lot of weaponry and ammunition strapped to the back.

They were moving fast to beat the dawn and came to the town a respectable forty five minutes before sun up.

As they entered the outskirts they found themselves behind a flat wagon driven by two women and accompanied by four men on horses. Every one of them was heavily armed, the women carrying rifles across their knees.

The mule peeled of towards the jail, the wagon made for Main Street.

“Where the hell they going at this time of the morning?” Groused Jayne, short on sleep and hungry.

“Gone to get supply’s, scared of Samson’s men, hoping they’ll all be asleep and they can keep things hidden.”

“What they hiding?”

“Can’t tell for sure, they’re scared to think of it, minds keep skipping away.”

The Mule pulled round to the back of the jail without incident. Jayne lacking finesse hammered on the back door.

The door was opened by a strange strapping old woman with a business like rifle in her hand. She beckoned them in fast, Jayne humping a large crate of weapons and ammo with him, River pausing long enough to throw a tarp over the Mule.

“Any trouble coming in?” Asked Mal.

“Naw, Mule ride weren’t nothing,” huffed Jayne, “But you’re damn lucky you still have a ship.”

“You bin flying my ship wild again little ‘Tross?”

“He’s just a big scaredy cat.” River drifted over to the window where Zoë was still keeping watch.

Jayne dumped the guns and ammo in one of the cells and looked without favour at Jacob ‘Chilli’ Pepper, who was sat head in his hands still in the same foul combinations.

“This that fella you were all so keen to get to, don’t look a mite of use to me.”

Chilli didn’t take his head out of his hands, but with remarkable speed used a leg to hook Jayne’s out from under him. Jayne sat down hard.

There was a certain amount of muffled laughter.

“I was killing folks before you were a babe on your mammy’s teat boy.” Remarked Chilli, head still in hands.

Jayne moved to get up, his intentions towards Chilli manifest in his face.

“You don’t lay a finger on that man, you hear me clear.” Cut in Mal. Jayne gave Mal the full blast of his dirtiest look, then got up muttering and found a chair to sulk in.

Mal got up and walked over to Chill, “Prick your pride did it, well something should cos I aint never seen more of a wreck of a man.”

Chilli’s head came out of his hands a viscous look in his eyes. He made to get up and take a swing at Mal but his balance went and he landed back down on the bunk, falling over backwards.

“You aint up to hitting me yet,” said Mal and then more softly “I promise you that when you are you can have a free swing at me. “First order of business is to set you straight and sober enough to talk and act, you’re in a hell of a situation and in one area I might agree with God, I only help those who help themselves.”

This time Chilli made it to his feet, swaying slightly, he looked round the room into every face his jaw set.

“Agnes, where in hell is my pants?”


They parked the flat bed wagon round the back of Main Street, in the shadows and went into the General Store by the back entrance.

They where part of the Ran family, owners of a Ranch forty miles out of the Town. They hadn’t been present when Samson had taken over and as yet he’d shown little interest in them. Occasionally some of his goons would turn up at their ranch and poke around looking for Patience’s Grandson, make a few threatening noises and leer at the women folk.

The Rans were cautious and sensible people and having no desire to attract any more of Samson’s attention than they could help, they had made arrangements to go to the General Store before daybreak.

The proprietor of the General Store let them in quietly. Once they were out of sight, there was movement under the tarp of the flatbed. A human shaped shadow slipped away from the wagon and merged with what remained of the night.


Samson was pacing with irritation; Owen Thomas was watching him through narrowed eyes. He found it interesting that this man with his melodramatic ways was terrifying the shit out of not only his men but himself.

Owen had met a whole bunch of stone cold bastards in his time; and in fact considered himself to be one, but Samson combined stone cold bastarddom with a love of play acting that was down right peculiar. He would slit your throat not just because it was in some way expedient, but because the character he happened to playing (or thought he was) demanded it; and then to add to the confusion he might NOT slit your throat when it was expedient for exactly the same reason.

The man was the producer, director, writer, theatre critic and lead actor in some play he had in his head, which he was constantly re-writing and refused to show to any of the other actors.

Someone knocked on the door.

Samson made an impatient movement; he nodded to one of his men who pulled the door open to reveal a tired and scared looking woman.

“It’s Sally Ann, sir.”

The daughter of Gerald Hancock, the owner of the General Store was on the shady side of forty and colourless, but Owen put that down to fear.

“Mr Samson sir, Pa sent me to tell that the Rans have come to town for supplies, he reckons you’d want to know if anyone did anything strange.”

Samson’s irritation blazed away, “They know something, they are hiding something, why else would they lurk in the shadows.” He strode over to Sally Ann, who shrank away but was unable to prevent Samson from taking her roughly by the shoulders, kissing her violently, then as quickly thrusting her away.

Sally Ann had got some colour now, two livid spots flared on her cheeks and a trickle of blood dribbled from her lower lip. She touched a shaking hand to the broken skin and looked at Samson with wildly dilating eyes.

Samson jabbed a finger in turn at three of Owen’s men, who tried to look at ease and failed.

“You will accept this challenge; bring me these un-believers on their knees. …No! No! I will come with you; they will knell before me in the dirt, the town will rise with the dawn and see the truth!” He turned to Owen, “You are my Lancelot, no, no… Galahad, you will be my ladies champion. Protect her while I go on this quest.”

Samson turned his pointing finger at Sally Ann, “And you, go to the church and pray for your deliverance from the un-deserving.”

Sally Ann stumbled out of the room.


Dennis Baedillion Treahearne was practicing deep breathing exercises while lighting the candles for morning service when Sally Ann Hancock came hurtling into the Church, sobbing frantically a drying streak of blood running from her lips to her chin.


The Rans were loading their wagon as fast as possible, the sun was a pale sliver over the horizon and they wanted to be gone.

Their alarm was enhanced by Gerald Hancock shutting the door smartly behind them, locking it, drawing the bolts and pulling down the blinds.

He looked mightily like someone who wanted to be out of the way, though not so badly that he wouldn’t first take their money.


Samson began to lead his men down Main Street…

Dennis ran near sobbing with terror through the Alley Ways…

The Rans hauled the last sack of flour onto the wagon and mounted up…


Zoë watching the street saw Dennis shoot from an alley way; she had enough time to say “Sir, I think…” before Dennis threw himself at the door. Zoë acting on her own initiative let him in before Dennis had a chance to beat it open, strengthened by the sheer force of his own fear.


The Wagon was on the move, the buildings were petering out and before them was open country, there was a general relieving of tension.

About twenty yards ahead Samson stepped out, the three goon’s behind him, guns out and levelled.

The men, Zhimu, Maoken, Airui and Luining, all brothers spurred their horses forward and dismounted to take up position between their women and danger.

Tianling started to back the wagon, hoping to turn round, Maokun jumped down and went to stand by her husband Zhimu, her knuckles white round her rifle.

Samson spread his hands wide in pacifying gesture.

“Friends, there is nothing to fear, you have wisdom, you have knowledge, I too have these things but I have more, I have qì pò, bold vision. I see the future, I see what is needed and however hard the journey, whatever the sacrifices we must move forward together.

“Where is the one you call Lishang? Where is Lucius?”

Airui levelled his rifle at Samson “tā bù biàn shū mài? Tā kuáng?”

“Tā jī bì,” Samson pointed directly at Airui.

One of the goons fired and a bloom of blood spurted from Airui’s gut.”

Airui folded at the knees, mouth open, and hand to his belly.

Maokun dropped her rifle and threw herself on her brother in law, covering his body.

Samson stepped calmly behind his men.

The three upright Ran brothers un-froze and brought up their guns.

The goon’s started to scatter.

Zhimu shot one in the leg,

Luining caught Maoken as he fell.

The Goons ran.

And Samson… was gone.

There was a soft thud from behind them; Tianling had fallen from the wagon, a neat hole through her heart.


Samson stepped through the door of Jenny’s bar and boarding house to be greeted by Jenny personally. The bar was filled with Samson’s men, a piano player making lively music, a few girls, carefully chosen from Auntie Meg’s Cat House and the smell of fried bacon. Technically it was breakfast time.

Samson smiled sweetly at Jenny, “One of your fine breakfasts my dear.”


Marie stepped carefully out of her bedroom, the last punch had been placed on her slow healing ribs, her finger had healed but a great deal of her exposed flesh was marked by bruises of various ages and shades.

There was a man in the hall. He took off his hat and bowed.

“Owen Thomas Mrs…Samson, your Husband has decided that I’m to be your personal bodyguard.”

Marie looked the man over, ‘cold eyes’ she thought.

What Owen saw was the wreck of what should have been a pretty woman of early middle age. Her swollen belly sitting incongruously with all the bruises. She had dignity; she was holding herself straight even though it must have hurt her just to stand.

“Mrs Samson will do, my husband has not been inclined to tell anyone his surname, not even me. You may give me your arm down the stairs to the breakfast parlour Owen Thomas.”

“Yes Mrs Samson.”


Chilli, Al, Agnes, Mal and Zoë left the jail barely sixty seconds before the first gun fire. They found the Rans without difficulty; Maokun came wailing into their arms.

“Agnes, get back to the jail quick and bring Simon.” Mal ordered.

Chilli having run a ways was retching in the dirt. He pulled himself up using his rifle for support.

“Which way did they go Zhimu?” He croaked.

“That way Sheriff, towards the old church outside of town. You will find these men?”

“I will, you have my word on it.”

“You have people to help you, that is good. Once my family are in the charge of a Doctor I will be with you.”

“You, will stay the hell here Zhimu, no more of the Rans are gonna get shot today. What’s your name girl Zoë aint it?” Zoë nodded.

“Want you to stay with the Rans, keep them here, even after your clever ass Doctor get’s to ‘em.”

Zoë looked to Mal who just nodded.

“Where’s Samson?” Asked Mal.

“He was here,” replied Zhimu, tears running un-touched from his eyes, “He ordered his men to shoot Airui, who is just a foolish and hot headed boy.”


The sun was low behind the old church, Mal went up one side of the street hugging the buildings, and Chilli went up the other with Al following close behind.

The church was in silhouette, the shape of the bell clear in the tower.

Chilli gestured to Mal to join him, Mal moved fast across the narrow street, getting shot at for his pains.

“There’s someone up in the bell tower, you look at the line of the window, reckon that’s a shoulder? Al, can you shoot straight enough to hit that bell?”

“You know Johnny Diamond din’t much approve of women using firearms, but I reckon I can hit it, or at least close enough to keep their heads down.”

“You telling me you aint experienced with a gun?” Mal was looking surprised and pissed.

Al grinned at him, “Johnny Diamond had an idea to turn me into a lady, Agnes taught me to handle a knife on the quiet. With a gun I can hit things I aim at maybe one in three times.”

“Never mind that,” snapped Chilli, “Soon as Mal and I start to run, you start playing a tune on that bell, best you can.”

Chilli set of at a fast and untidy shuffle. Mal sprinted after him.

There was a gun shot behind them, the church bell went… Ding…


Tā bù biàn shū mài – he be unable to tell beans from wheat - have no knowledge of practical matters Tā kuáng – he conceited; mad Tā jī bì - him strike dead


Friday, July 7, 2006 7:56 AM


OK, I submitted a comment, but it didn't show up for some reason. Couldn't let this chapter go without a review and a rating...

This is one awesome story! Can't wait to read the rest!

Saturday, July 8, 2006 6:00 AM


my favourite part:
This time Chilli made it to his feet, swaying slightly, he looked round the room into every face his jaw set.
“Agnes, where in hell is my pants?”



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In sunshine and in Shadow Part Nine
The finale.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 8
Samson's going to jail, Jayne gets a sandwich.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 7
A trail leads to a Rat's nest and Chilli finds his guts again.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Six
Chilli is mostly upright, Samson get's madder by the minute.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Five
There's a drunk to sort out, River has fun with Jayne (Not the rude kind)and Lizzie Appleby's Auntie turns out to be a right little Madam.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part Four
Mal brings his people to Whitefall, into a situation which looks darker and nastier than before.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Part 3
A nice dinner and a little gun fight.

In Sunshine and in Shadow Pt 2
A new passenger has come aboard, Jayne's had one of his itches scratched, a dangerous gunman is due for dinner and something nasty is brewing ready for the crew....

In Sunshine and in Shadow
Plot partially stolen from the favorite Western of my childhood. Please review but be a little gentle, it was written during a bout of insomnia last night.