Magic or Something...
"So if I can just clarify... What you're telling me is that if I smoke this, it'll cure a bullet to the gut?"
"Yup," the man replied as a smirk spread across his face. "It's like, magic or something. Want me to show you?"
"You want to shoot me in the gut, just so you can prove magic exists?"
"Magic or something," he said. "Don't forget the something. That's important."
"You want to shoot me in the gut, just so you can prove magic or something, exists?"
"Nah." He chuckled as he took in the much younger man. Appearance-wise the two were as near to being identical as made no difference. The chaps and trench coat, boots and hat. Even the facial hair the two men had upon their respective faces bore a similarity that could only be put down to them sharing a handful of chromosomes.
They were unrelated though, as best either of them knew.
"Nah," he repeated. "Where's the fun in that? I want you to shoot me in the gut, and see for yourself."
He lit a cigarette, an Ecrivain's Special, inhaling deeply before allowing the smoke to meander its way from his open nostrils and mouth in its own time.
"Well?" he asked. "What're you waiting for?"
The younger man shrugged, levelled his shotgun and fired straight into the smoking man's gut. The sound of the shot echoed around the desert canyons and valleys of which the Eastern Continent mostly consisted.
He watched in wonder as the elder of the two, still standing upright and smoking, flinched only the tiniest of amounts as his body knitted itself back together, dealing with what would ordinarily have been a fatal shot as if it were nothing more than a peck from a duck.
Within a matter of seconds with the wound almost completely healed, the bullet emerged, blood-soaked, and dropped to the rocky ground. Before it had so much as clinked as metal met mineral, other than a tear in the man's jerkin there was no sign at all that he had suffered a gunshot to the gut.
"That's fucking crazy."
"Right?" The man chuckled. "Told you."
"But that has to be magic, doesn't it? I mean, there's no way that can be put down to anything other than those cigarettes having been charmed in some way or other. Do the Toadies know about this?"
"Couldn't say for sure. It's not like Ecrivain's Specials are advertised anywhere... I'd never even heard of the brand before I found this packet."
"Where did you find them?"
"Would you believe me if I told you they fell from the sky during a storm?" he asked, but he saw the look upon the younger man's face and knew he needed to elaborate more fully.
"It was a couple of summer's ago... I was out beyond the Galacia Ridge working a ranch for this well-to-do family and I got caught out in this bastard of a storm searching for a calf that'd wandered off.
"Found the lil fucker, of course, and we took shelter in the entrance to one of the mountain mines. I'd got a fire lit, the calf was nice and close as the poor little bastard was shivering like a good 'un then outta' nowhere the clouds opened up and the packet fell to the ground a few feet from the mine entrance."
"You've managed to keep the packet all that time? Pretty impressive, for a smoker."
"I've not got that much self-control," he replied, chuckling once again. "But every time I smoke the last in the packet, it refills!"
"Magic, or something..."
"Aye," he replied. "Or something..."
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Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...